A DIVINE HERBALL Together with A Forrest of THORNES. In FIVE SERMONS.

  • 1. The Garden of Graces.
  • 2. The prayse of Fertilitie.
  • 3. The Contemplation of the Herbes.
  • 4. The Forrest of Thornes.
  • 5. The end of Thornes.

By THO. ADAMS.

ESAY 55. 11.

My word, sayth the Lord, shall not returne to me void, but shall prosper in the thing wherto I sent it.

AVGVST. de benedict. IACO. & ESAV.

Simul pluit Dominus super segetes, & super spinas: sed segeti pluit ad horreum, spinis ad ignem: & tamen vna est pluvia.

LONDON, Printed by George Purslowe, for Iohn Budge, and are to be solde at his shop, at the great South-dore of Pauls, and at Brittaines Burse. 1616.

TO THE RIGHT Honourable, WILLIAM Earle of Pembroke, Lord Chamberlaine of his Maiesties house­hold, and one of his Maiesties most honourable Priuie Councel, and Knight of the most noble order of the Garter: The most noble embracer, and encourager of GOODNESSE.

Right Honourable,

I Am bolde to present to your Honour a short contemplation of those Herbes, (cut in rough pieces) which grow really and plentifully in your owne Garden: and giue so good nourishment to your vertues, delightfull taste to the Church, and odo­riferous sauour to all; that, like the Vine in Iothams Parable, they cheare the heart of both God & man. Your Honour, I [...]now, cannot dislike that in sight, which you so preserue in sense, and (for a happy reward) doth and shall preserue you. You are zealously honour'd of all those that know goodnesse; and haue dayly as many prayers, as the earth Saints. Into this number I haue (hop [...]fully presuming) thrust myselfe; as loth to bee hindmost in that acknowledgement, which is so nobly deserued, and so ioyfully rendred of al tongues: dedicating to your Honour some publicke deuotions, that can [Page] neuer forget you in my priuate. I will not thinke of adding one Herbe to your store: I onely desire to remember your Ho­nour what hand planted them, what dew waters them, what influence conserues, and enspheares a sweet prouident ayre a­bout them: and when gay weedes, that shoote vp like Ionas gourd in a night, shall wither in an houre, (for moriuntur, quomodo oriuntur) Your Herbe of Grace shall flourish & be prays'd, both ob eminentiam, and permanentiam; and at last bee transported into that heauenly Paradise, whence it receiues the originary roote and being. Your Honour will ex­cuse mee for coupling to a Diuine Herball, a Forrest of Thornes; by a true obseruation in both materiall and mystical Gardens, though a Poet records it.

Terra salutiferas herbas, eadernque nocentes
Nutrit, et vrticae proxima soepe rosa est.

Your Honour will loue the light better, because the darke night followes so neare it, That your Sunne may neuer set, your noble Garden neuer wither; that your honours may bee still multiplied with our most Royall and Religious King on earth, and with the King of Kings in heauen; is faithfully prayed for by

Your Honours hum­bly deuoted, THO. ADAMS.

To my worthy friend Tho. Adams on his HERBALL.

THe Herbes which these dead leaues now bring,
Thy liuing voice did sweetly sing.
That thy transported Hearers thought
A PARADISE before them brought.
As if their inward eyes had seene
Another EDEN fresh and greene.
How they will smell, or taste, thus sent,
Will be perceiu'd in the euent.
I stay no censures; for my part,
May they grow greene still in my hart.
VV. B.

R. S. His good-speede to the Herball.

TRuely thou dost the world disclose, which growes,
Promiscuous; here a Thorne, & there a Rose.
So shall blacke vices vgly face adde grace,
Vnto the vertue, which shines next in place.
So when a stinging Thorne shall wound, is found,
An Herbe to heale the Soule, and make it sound.

To the diuine Author of the diuine Herball, his true friend dedicateth this small Encomium of that which his pen dispaires to prayse.

HAd ADAM liu'd till this decayed age,
And seene an HERBALL so Diuine, and Sage,
He would haue sayd, that no succeeding man
Might doe for Adam that which Adams can.
For while he till'd his Garden, his darke mind
In all that compasse no Herbe-Grace could find.
This man hath found it; and herein is blest:
Adam was good, my Adam's still is best.
W. R. D. of Physicke.

To the prayse of the Herball.

THe Ground Gods Image, & his word the Raine:
His Christ the Sunne, neuer ecclips'd againe:
The Cloudes his Ministeriall instruments:
His Mercy the all-working influence.
From these a Garden of sweete Herbes doth grow,
With such a Spring, as shall no Autumne know.
I. STOKES.
GReat Persons loue a GARDEN for delight;
To please their nosthrils, or content their sight.
The poore mans state likes it to feast withall.
Physicians for the vertues medicinall.
For Odour, Ornament, and med'cinal worth,
A sweeter HERBALL neuer yet came forth.
Cecinit The. Parny.
A DIVINE HERBALL OR …

A DIVINE HERBALL OR GARDEN Of GRACES.

HEB. Chap. 6. Vers. 7. 8.

For the earth which drinketh in the raine that commeth oft vpon it, and bringeth forth herbes meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiueth blessing from God.

But that which beareth thornes and bryars, is reiected, and is nigh vnto cursing, whose end is to be burned.

I Presume, heere is no Atheist to heare and denie;Rom. 1. 16. The Gospell is the power of God to saluation. I hope here is no Libertine; if there be, let him heare also: It is the power of God to confusion. [Page 2] It is a double-edged Sword, Heb. 4. 12. and giues, vel vitam, vel vindi [...]tam, either instruction, or destruction. It is Fire, that doth melt waxe to repentance, and harden clay to vengeance. It is here a Raine or Deaw falling on the ground of mans heart; causing one soyle to bee fertile in good workes, another to abound with weedes of impiety: For it returneth not backe to him that sent it, in vaine. That it conuayes grace to vs, and returnes our fruitfull gratitude to God, is a high and happy mercy. That it offers grace to the wicked and by their corrupt natures occasions greater impietie, is a heauy but holy iudgement.

Not to trauell farre for Diuision, heere lyes Earth before vs. And as I haue seene in some places of this Iland, one hedge parts a fruitfull medow, and a barren heath: so of this Earth, Man; the same substance for natures constituti­on, clay of the same heape in the creating hand of the Potter; for matter, masse, and stuffe, none made de meliore luto; though in respect of Eter­nities Ordination, some vessels of honour, of dis­shonour others; here be two kindes, a good and a bad soyle: the one a Garden, the other a de­sart: the former an inclosure of sweet herbes, ex­cellent graces: the latter a wild and sauage Forrest of Bryars and thornes, scratching and wounding offences.

For the better ground we wil consider. 1. The operatiue meanes, or working cause of the fertili­ty; the raine that commeth often vpon it. 2. The [Page 3] thankefull returning of expected fruite; it brin­geth forth herbes meete for them, by whom it is dres­sed. 3. The reward of mercy; it receiueth bles­sing from God.

All is an Allegory. The Earth is Man: the Raine, Gods Word: the herbes are Graces: and the Blessing, is a sweet retribution and accumulation of mercie.

The Earth

IS the best ground that lyes betwixt heauen and earth, Man: the noblest part of this world: the worthiest creature, that hath earth for the pauement, and heauen for the seeling: the Crea­tors Image; and as some read, his Shadow; which moues as the body doth, whose it is. When the body puts forth an arme, the shadow shewes an arme, &c: so man in his actions and courses de­pends vpon the disposition of God, as his all­powerfull Maker and Mouer. The blessed Deity (which hath in it a Trinity of most equall and e­ternall Persons) is the first and best of all beings: the holy Angels next: & a Ioue tertius Aiax, man next them.

Ardens conceateth vpon Marke 16.Marke 16. 15. in the A­postles commission, Goe ye into all the World, and preach the Gospell to euery Creature; that by this E­uery Creature, is meant Man. For to liuelesse, senselesse, or reason-lesse things, God neuer en­ioyned to preach the Gospell. But man is called [Page 4] Euery creature, because hee hath a participation of the best in all creatures. * Stones haue a be­ing, not life: plants haue a being and life, not sense: beasts haue a being, life, and sense, but not vnderstanding: Angels haue both being, life, sense, and vnderstanding. Man participates with all these in their best. He hath a being with stones, life with plants, sense with beasts, vnder­standing with Angels: a sweet abstract or com­pendium of all creatures perfections.

Let not all this make man proud. Euen this word Earth, though here vsed in a spiritual sense, puts him in minde that this excellent man is a mortall creature. Earth, must bee earth: hot earth to colde earth: that earth which hath now a life in it,Iere. 22. 29. to that earth which hath no life in it. Therefore I will say from the Prophet. O earth, earth, earth, heare the word of the Lord. Bestow not too much paines in adorning this perishable earth, thy flesh: the earth thou must be careful of, and which God here waters from heauen with his holy deawes, is thy heart, thy conscience.

I could willingly steppe out a little to chide those, that neglecting Gods Earth, the Soule; fall to trimming with a curious superstition the Earths earth, clay and lome: a body of corrup­tion painted, til it shine like a Lilly (like it in white­nesse, not in humility,Cant. 2. 1. the candor of beautie; for the Lilly growes lowe; Lilium conuallium, a flow­er of the vallies and bottomes) a little slime done ouer with a past-boord; rottennesse hidde vnder [Page 5] golden leaues; stench lapp'd vp in a bundle of silkes: and by reason of poison suck'd from sinne and hell, worthy of no better attribute then glo­rious damnation. Is there no sicknesse? is there no disgrace? is there no old age? is there no death? that you make so much of this earth. Or doe you desperately resolue to dote on it liuing, as if you neuer hoped to finde it againe being dead? Feare not, you shall meet with it againe; perhaps when you would not. God hath struck as gallant, as you can make or thinke your selues, with sodaine, sore, and sure iudgements. Be­leeue it, his hand is his owne. His arme was ne­uer yet broken, luxate, or manacled.

Woe worth them that haue put Pride and Couetousnesse fellow-commoners among vs: for they out-eate vs all, and sta [...]ue the whole house of our Land. Couetise would be charita­ble, but there is that other summe to make vp. Pride would giue, or at least forbeare to extort, but there is a ruffe of the new fashion to bee bought.* Dignity, a caroch, or strange apparell is to be purchas'd; and who but the poore te­nants must pay for it! vpon whom they (once so accoutred) afterward looke betwixt scorne and anger: and goe as if they were shut vp in wain­scote.

Sed vitate viros cultum formas (que) professos.
Quique suas ponunt in statione comas.

Such a one will not giue, lest his white hand [Page 6] should touch the poore beggars: who perhaps hath a hand cleaner then his; I meane, from a­spersions of bloud, rapine, iniury, briberie, lust and filthinesse. He cannot intend to pray; for he is called to dinner iust when his last locke is hung to his minde. O the monstrous curiositie of tricking vp this earth of earth! yet from the Courtier to the Carter, from the Lady to the Inkle-beggar,* there is this excesse and going be­yond their calling.

But I haue strayed out of my way, to cut off a lappe of Prides garment: I conclude this Earth with this caution. Respice, aspice, prospice. Looke back what thou wast: behold what thou art: con­sider what thou must be.BERNARD Recole primordia, atten­de media, pr [...]uideto nouissima. Haec pudorem addu­cunt, illa dolorem ingerunt, ista timorem incutiunt. Call to mind former things, see the present, fore­see the last. The first will breede in thee shame, the other griefe, these feare. Remember thou wert taken out of the earth: behold thy strength of life subiect to diseases; manifold, manifest, sensible ones: foresee that thou must dye; this earth must to earth againe.

But the Earth here meant is a diuine, spirituall, immortall nature; called Earth by a Metaphor, incapable of suffering terrene fragilitie. This is Gods Earth, and that in a high and mysticall sense, though proper enough. Indeed Domini terra, the earth is the Lords and the fulnes [...]e thereof, sayth the Psalmist. But he hath not such respect [Page 7] to the Earth he made, as to this Earth for whom he made it. This is Terra sigillata, earth that he hath sealed and sanctified for himselfe, by setting his stampe and impression vpon it. Now the good mans heart is compared to Earth for di­uerse reasons.

1. For humilitie. Humus, quasi humilis. The Earth is the lowest of all elements, and the cen­ter of the world. The godly heart is not so low in situation; but so lowly in it owne estimation. God is sayd to hang the earth vpon nothing. Io [...]. 26.Iob. 26. 7. He stretcheth out the North ouer the empty place, and hangeth the Earth vpon nothing: that it might wholly depend on himselfe. So a true Christian heart, in regard of it selfe, is founded vpon no­thing; (hath an humble vilipending and dispri­sing of it owne worth) that it may (ex toto, & ex tuto) wholly and safely rely on God. O man of earth, why exaltest thou thy selfe? this is the way to preuent and frustrate the exaltation of God. Keepe thy selfe lowly as the Earth; reiect all o­pinion of thy owne worth, and thou shalt one day ouer-top the cloudes. The Earth is thy mo­ther, that brought thee forth when thou wert not: a stage that carries thee whiles thou art: a tombe that receiues thee when thou art not. It giues thee originall, harbour, sepulchre. Like a kind mother, shee beares her off-spring on her backe; and her brood is her perpetuall burden, till she receiue them again into the same womb, from whence she deliuered them. She shall bee [Page 8] yet more kinde to thee, if her basenesse can teach thee humility; and keepe thee from being more proud of other things, then thou canst (with any reason) be of thy Parentage. Few are proud of their soules; and none but fooles can bee proud of their bodies: seeing here is all the difference betwixt him that walkes, and his floore he walkes on: Liuing Earth treads vpon dead earth, and shall at last bee as dead as his pauement. Many are the fauours that the earth doth vs; yet a­mongst them all there is none greater, then the schooling vs to humility; and working in vs a true acknowledgement of our owne vilenesse, and so directing vs to heauen, to find that aboue which she cannot giue vs below.

2. For Patience. The Earth is called Terra, quia teritur: and this is the naturall earth. For they distinguish it into 3. sorts. Terra quam teri­mus: terra quam gerimus: terra quam quaerimus; which is the glorious land of Promise. That earth is cut and wounded with culters and shares; yet is patient to suffer it, and returnes fruits to those that ploughed it. The good heart is thus rent with vexations, and broken with sorrowes; yet offers the other cheeke to the smiter, endureth all with a magnanimous patience; assured of that victory, which comes by suffering, Vincit qui patitur. Neither is this all: it returns mercy for in­iury, prayers for persecutions, and blesseth them that cursed it.Psal. 129. 3. The Plowers plowed vpon my backe: they made long their furrowes. Psal. 35. 12. 13. They rewarded mee [Page 9] euill for good, to the spoyling of my soule. Yet when they were sicke, my cloathing was sackecloth, I hum­bled my soule with fasting: I was heauy, as one that mourned for his friend or brother; and my prayer returned into mine owne bosome. When the heart of our Sauiour was thus ploughed vp with a speare, it ran streames of mercie, reall mercie; which his vocall tongue interpreted, Father for­giue them: they know not what they doe. His bloud Heb. 12.Heb. 12. 24. had a voice, a mercifull voice, and spake better things then the bloud of Abel. That cryed from the cauerns of the earth for reuenge; this from the Crosse in the sweet tune of compassion and forgiuenesse. It is a strong argument of a heart rich in grace, to wrappe and embrace his iniurer in the armes of loue; as the earth quietly receiues those dead to buriall, who liuing tore vp her bowels.

3. For faithful Constancie. The Earth is called Solum; because it stands alone, depending on no­thing but the Makers hand.Eccle. 1. 4. One generation pas­seth away, and another generation commeth; but the earth abideth for euer. Shee often changeth her burden, without any sensible mutation of her selfe.Psa. 119. 90. Thy faithfulnesse is to all generations: thou h [...]st established the Earth, and it standeth. The He­brew is, To generation and generation: inferring that times, and men, and the sonnes of men, posterity after posterity passe away, but the Earth whereon, and whereout they passe, abideth. The parts thereof haue been altered; and violent [Page 10] Earth-quakes begot in the owne bowels, haue totterd it.Psal. 104. 5. But God hath layd the foundations of the earth, (the Originall is, founded it vpon her bases) that it should not be remoued for euer: the body of it is immoueable. Such a constant soliditie is in the faithfull heart; that should it thunder Buls from Rome, and bolts from heauen, Impau [...]dum fe­rient ruinae. [...] Indeede God hath sometimes bent an angry brow against his owne deare ones; and then no maruell, if they shudder: if the bones of Dauid tremble, and the teeth of Hezekiah chatter. But God will not be long angry with his: and the balances, at first putting in of the euenest weights, may be a little swayed, not without some shew of inequality: which yet after a little motion, settle themselues in a iust poyse. So the first terrour hath moued the godly, not remoued them: they return to themselues, and rest in a resolued peace. Lord, doe what thou wilt: if thou kill mee, I will trust in thee. Let vs heare it from him, that had it from the Lord. Psal. 112.Psal. 112. 6. Surely he shall not be moued for euer: the righteous shall bee in euerlasting remembrance. He shall not be afraide of euill tydings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord. His heart is established, &c. Oh sweet description of a con­stant soule!

They giue diuerse causes of Earth-quakes: Aristotle among the rest, admits the ecclipse of the Sun for one; the interposition of the Moones body hindring some places from his heate. I know not how certaine this is in Philosophie: [...]n [Page 11] Diuinity it is most true, that onely the ecclipse of our Sunne, IESVS CHRIST, raiseth Earth-quakes in our hearts: when that inconstant and euer-changing body of (the Moone) the world steppes betwixt our Sunne and vs, and keepes vs from the kindly vitall heate of his fauour: then, O then, the earth of our heart quakes; and we feele a terrour in our bones and bowels, as if the busie hand of death were searching them. But no ecclipse lasts long: especially not this: our Sunne will shine on vs againe: we shall stand sure,Psal. 129. 1. euen as mount Sion, which cannot be remoued, but abideth for euer.

4. For Charitie. The Earth brings forth food for all creatures that liue on it. Greene herbe for the cattell: oyle and wine for man: The vallyes stand thicke with corne: the Mower filleth his sythe, and the binder vp of sheaues his bosome. A good man is so full of charitie: he releeues all without improuidence to himselfe. He giues plentifully that all may haue some: not indiscreetly, that some haue all. On the Earth stand many glori­ous Cities, and goodly buildings; faire monu­ments of her beauty and adornation. The sancti­fied soule, in an happy respondencie, hath mani­fold workes of charitie, manifest deedes of pie­ty; that sweetly become the Faith which he pro­fesseth.

5. For Riches. The Earth is but poore with­out: the surface of it, especially when squalid winter hath bemired it, seemes poore and barren: [Page 12] but within, it is full of rich mines, ores of gold, and quarries of precious minerals. For medals and mettals, it is abundantly wealthy. The sancti­fied heart may seeme poore to the worlds eye, which only beholds and iudgeth the rinde and huske, and thinkes there is no treasure in the Ca­binet, because it is couered with leather. But within hee is full of golden mines, and rich ores; the inuisible graces of faith, feare, loue, hope, patience, holinesse: sweeter then the spices of the East Indies, and richer then the gold of the West.Psal. 45. 13. Omnis decor filiae Sion ab intus. The Kings Daughter is all glorious within. It is not the super­ficiall skinne, but the internall beautie, that moues the King of heauen to bee enamoured of vs;Cant. 4. 7. and to say, Thou art all faire my Loue: there is no spot in thee.

6. Lastly, for Fertilitie. The Earth is fruit­full: when the ayre hath giuen influence, the Clouds showred downe seasonable deawes, and the Sunne bestowed his kindly heate; loe, the thankfull earth returnes fruites, and that in abun­dance. The Christian soule, hauing receiued such holy operations, inspirations, and sanctify­ing motions from aboue, is neuer found without a gratefull fertility. Yea, as the Earth to man, so man to God, returnes a blessed vsurie; tenne for one; nay sometimes 30. sometimes 60. sometimes an hundred fold.

But the succeeding doctrine will challenge this demonstration. I haue been somewhat co­pious [Page 13] in the first word; the breuity of the rest shall recompence it. The operatiue cause, that worketh the good earth to this fruitfulnesse, is a heauenly Raine that falls oft vpon it: and the earth doth drinke it vp. Wherein is obseruable, that the raine doth come, that it is welcome. God sends it plenteously, and man entertaines it lo­uingly. It comes oft, and he drinkes it vp. Gods loue to man is declared in the comming: in the welcomming, mans loue to God. In the former, we will consider, 1. The matter. 2. The manner. The matter that commeth, is Raine. The manner con­sists in 3▪ respects. 1. There is mercy, It commeth. It is not constrained, deserued, pulled downe from heauen; It commeth. 2. Frequencie, it commeth of­ten: there is no scanting of this mercy: it flowes abundantly, as if the windowes of heauen were opened: Often. 3. Direction of it right, vpon this earth. It falls not neere it, nor besides it, but vp­on it. To begin with the

Raine.

GOds Word is often compared to Raine or Deaw. Deut. 32. 2. Moses beginnes his Song with My doctrine shall drop as the raine, my speech shal distill as the deaw; as the small raine vpon the ten­der herbe, and as the showers vpon the grasse. Ther­fore in the first verse, he calls to the earth to heare his voice. Man is the Earth, and his Doctrine the [Page 14] Raine. Mica. 2.Mica. 2. 6. Prophecie yee not: the originall word is Drop ye not, &c. Amos 7. 16.Amos 7. 16. Thou sayest, Prophecy not against Israel, drop not thy word against the house of Isaac. Ezek. 21.Ezek. 21. 2. Sonne of man set thy face toward Ierusalem, and drop thy word toward the holy places. The Metaphore is vsuall: wherein stands the comparison? In 6. concurrences.

1. It is the property of Raine to coole heate▪ Experience tels vs, that a sweltring feruour of the ayre, which almost fryes vs, is allayed by a mo­derate shower sent from the clouds. The bur­ning heate of sinne in vs, and of Gods anger for sinne against vs, is quenched by the Gospell. It cooles our intemperate heate of malice, anger, ambition, auarice, lust; which are burning sins.

2. Another effect of Raine, is Thirst quen­ched. The drie earth parched with heate, opens it selfe in refts and cranies, as if it would deuoure the cloudes for moisture. The Christian soule thirsts after righteousnesse; is drie at heart till he can haue the Gospell: a showre of this mercy from heauen quencheth his thirst: he is satisfied. Who­soeuer drinketh of the water that I shal giue him, shal neuer thirst: Ioh. 4. 14. but it shall bee in him a well of water, springing vp into euerlasting life.

3. Raine doth allay the windes. When the ayre is in an vprore, and the stoutest Cedars crouch to the ground before a violent blast; e­uen Towers and Cities tremble; a showre of raine sent from the cloudes mitigates this fury. When the Potentates of the world, Tyrants, lit­tle [Page 15] better then Diuels, Gog and Magog, Moab and Ammon, Turkey, Rome, Hell, storme against vs; God quiets all our feares, secures vs from al their terrours by a gracious raine, droppes of mercie in the neuer-fayling promises of the Gospell.

4. Raine hath a powerfull efficacy to cleanse the ayre. When infectious fogges, and conta­gious vapours haue filled it full of corruption, the distilling showres wash away the noysome putri­faction. We know, that too often filthy fumes of errors and heresies surge vp in a land, that the soule of faith is almost stifled, and the vnclean­nesse of corrupt doctrine gets a predominant place: the Lord then droppes his word from hea­uen: the pure Raine of his holy Gospell cleanseth away this putrifaction, and giues new life to the almost smothered truth. Wo to them then that would depriue mens soules of the Gospell, and with-hold the Truth in vnrighteousnesse. When they locke vp the gates of grace (as Christ repro­ued the Lawyers) and labour to make the heauens brasse, they must needes also make the Earth iron. How should the earth of mans heart bring forth fruits, when the raine is with-held from it? No maruell, if their ayre be poyson'd.

5. Raine hath yet another working; to mol­lifie a hard matter. The parched and heat-hard­ned earth is made soft by the deawes of heauen. O how hard and obdurate is the heart of man, till this raine [...]falls on it. Is the heart couetous? no teares from distressed eyes can melt a peny out of [Page 16] it. Is it malicious? no supplications can begge forbearance of the least wrong. Is it giuen to drunkennesse? you may melt his body into a dropsie; before his heart into sobrietie. Is it am­bitious? you may as well treat with Lucifer about humiliation. Is it factious? a Quire of Angels cannot sing him into peace. No means on earth can soften the heart; whether you annoint it with the supple balmes of entreaties, or thunder a­gainst it the bolts of menaces, or beate it with the hammer of mortall blowes. Behold! GOD showres this raine of the Gospell from heauen, and it is sodainely softned. One Sermon may pricke him at the heart; one droppe of a Saui­ours bloud distilled on it by the Spirit, in the preaching of the Word, melts him like waxe. The Drunkard is made sober, the Adulterer chaste, Zaccheus mercifull, and raging Paul as tame as a Lambe.

They that haue erst serued the Diuell with an eager appetite, and were hurried by him with a voluntary precipitation; haue all their chaines eaten off by this Aqua fortis: one droppe of this raine hath broken their fetters; and now all the powers of hell cannot preuaile against them. There is a Legend, (I had as good say, a tale) of an Hermite, that heard (as he imagin'd) all the Diuels of hell on the other side of the wall, lif­ting, and blowing, and groning, as if they were a remouing the world. The Hermite desires to see them: admitted, behold, they were all lifting [Page 17] at a feather, and could not stirre it. The appli­cation may serue; yeeld the fable idle. Satan and his Armies, Spirits, Lusts, Vanities, Sinnes, that erst could tosse and blow a man vp and downe like a feather; and did not sooner present a wickednesse to his sight, but he was more ready for action, then they for instigation; now they cannot stirre him: they may sooner remoue the world from the pillars, then him from the grace and mercy of God. The deaw of heauen hath watred him, and made him grow; and the pow­er of hell shall not supplant him. The raine of mercie hath softned his heart, and the heat of sinne shall neuer harden it.

6 Lastly, Raine is one principall subordinate cause, that all things fructifie. This holy deaw is the operatiue meanes and working cause, next vnder the grace of God in our Lord Iesus Christ, that the soules of Christians should bring forth the fruits of faith and obedience. I know, God can saue without it: we dispute not of his power, but of his worke; of ordinary, not extraordina­ry operations. God vsually worketh this in our hearts by his word. Thus for the matter: the manner is:

  • 1. It commeth.
  • 2. Often.
  • 3. Vpon it.

It commeth:

IT is not forc'd, nor fetch'd, but comes of his owne meere mercy, whose it is. Iam. 1.Iames 1. 17. So sayth the Apostle: Euery good gift, and euery perfect gift is from aboue, and commeth downe from the Father of lights. They that want it, haue no merit of congruity to draw it to them: they that haue it, haue no merite of condignitie to keepe it with them. It is the mercy and gratuitall fa­uour of God, that this Gospell commeth to vs. For, if ipsum minus be munus, how highly is this great gift to be praysed! What deserue we more then other Nations? They haue as pregnant wittes, as proportionable bodies, as strong si­newes as we: and perhaps would bring forth bet­ter fruits. Yet they want it: with vs it is. Wee need not trauell from Coast to coast, nor iourney to it; it is come to vs. Venit ad limina virtus: will you steppe ouer your thresholds, and gather Manna? When the Gospell was farre off from our Fathers, yet in them Studium audiendi supera­bat taedium accedendi: the desire of hearing it be­guiled the length of the way. But we will scarce put forth our hand to take this bread: and, as in some ignorant countrey townes, be more eager to catch the raine, that falls from the out-side of the Church in their buckets, then this raine of [Page 19] grace preached in it, in their hearts. Oh you wrong vs; wee are fond of it; we call for preach­ing: yes, as your forefathers of the blind times would call apace for holy water; yet when the Sexton cast it on thē, they would turn away their faces, and let it fall on their backes. Let God sow as thicke as he will, you wil come vp thinne. You will admit frequencie of preaching, but you haue taken an order with your selues of rare practising. You are content this Raine should come, as the next circumstance giues it,

Often.

GOD hath respect to our infirmities, and sends vs a plentiful raine. One showre will not make vs fruitful; it must come oft vpon us. Gutta cauat lapidem, non vi, sed saepe cadendo. The raine dints the hard stone, not by violence, but by oft-falling droppes. Line must be added to line: here a little and there a little. God could powre a whole floud on vs at once: but mans vnderstanding

Is like a viall, narrow at the toppe:
Not capable of more, then drop by droppe,

Sayes the Poet. If much were powred at once, a great deale would fall besides, and be spilt. Like children, wee must bee fed by spoonfulls, accor­ding to the capacity of our weake natures. It is [Page 20] not an abundant raine falling at once, that makes the plants grow; but kindly and frequent showers. One sermon in a yeare contents some throughly; and God is highly beholding to thē, if they wil sit out that waking. You desire your fields, your gar­dens, your plants to be often watred; your soules will grow well enough with one raining. How happy would man be, if hee were as wise for his soule, as he is for his body! Some there are, that would heare often, may be too often; til edifica­tion turne to tedification; and get themselues a multitude of Teachers; but they wil doe nothing. You shall haue them run ten miles to a Sermon; but not steppe to their owne dores with a morsell of bread to a poore brother. They wish wel to the cause of Christ, but they will doe nothing for it worth God-a-mercie. The world is full of good wishes: but heauen only full of good workes. O­thers would haue this Raine fall often, so it be such as they desire it. Such a cloud must giue it, and it must be begotten in thunder; faction and innoua­tion.Hier. in Ep. ad Galat. Till Euangelium Christi fit euangelium homi­nis; aut quod peius est, Diaboli. Till the Gospell of Christ be made mans Gospell, or which is worse, the deuills, If the raine, as it falls, doe not smell of Nouelty, it shal fall besides them. They regard not so much heauen whence it comes, as who brings it. I haue read of two, that meeting at a Tauem,Manl. fel a tossing their religion about as m [...] ­rily as their cuppes: and much drunken discourse was of their profession. One protested himself of [Page 21] Doctor Martins Religion: the other swore, hee was of Doctor Luthers Religion: whereas Mar­tin and Luther was one man. No raine shall water them, but such a mans: otherwise be it neuer so wholesome, they spew it vp againe. As if their consciēce were so nice & delicate as that ground at Coleine, Baron. where some of St. Vrsula's eleuen thou­sand Virgins were buried; which will cast vp a­gaine in the night, any that haue bene interred there in the day: except of that company, though it were a child newly baptised. For our selues, the limits of sobriety being kept, desire wee to heare the Gospell often; and let our due succeding obe­dience iustifie the goodnesse of our thirst. When Christ spake of the bread of life, the transported Disciples beseech him, Lord, euermore giue us this bread. Ioh. 6. 34. So pray wee, Lord euermore showre down vpon vs this raine.

Vpon it.

GOd so directs this deaw of his Word, that it shall fall on our hearts, not besides. The Raine of the Gospell, like the raine of the clouds, hath sometimes gone by coasts. Amos 4.Amos 4. 7. I haue with-holden the raine from you, and I haue caused it to raine vpon one Citie, and caused it not to raine vpon another Citie: one piece was rained vp­on, and the piece whereupon it rayned not withered. But I haue wetted your fields, moysten'd your [Page 22] hearts, with the deawes of heauen, giuen you my statutes and ordinances, Psa. 147. 20. sayth the Lord: I haue not dealt so with euery people; there be some that haue not the knowledge of my lawes. The Sunne shines on many nations, where this spirituall raine falls not. This is not all; but as at the last day, two in one bed shall be diuorced; so euen now one seat in the Church may holde two, vpon one where­of this sauing raine may fall, not on the other. The Spirit blowes where hee pleaseth: and though the sound of the raine be to all open eares alike, yet the spirituall deaw drops only into the open hart. Many come to Iacobs well, but bring no pitchers with them; wherewith to drawe the water. A good showre may come on the earth, yet if a man house himselfe, or bee shrouded vnder a thicke bush, or borough'd in the ground, hee will be drie still. God sends downe his raine; one hou­seth himselfe in the darkenesse of securitie: hee is too drowsie to be told in with the bells: Ano­ther sits dallying with the delights of lust vnder a green bush, a third is borough'd in the ground, mining and intrenching himselfe in the quest of riches. Alas, how should the deaw of grace fall vpon these! Thou wouldst not shelter thy ground from the clouds, lest it grow barren: oh then keep not thy soule from the raine of heauen.

You haue heard how the raine is come; now heare how it is made welcome. The good groūd drinkes it, nay drinkes it in. Imbibit. The com­parison stands thus. The thirsty Land drinkes [Page 23] vp the raine greedily, which the cloudes poure vpon it. You would wonder what becomes of it: you may finde it in your fruites. When your Vines hang full of clusters, your Gardens stand thicke with flowers, your Medowes with grasse, your fields with corne; you will say, the earth hath been beholden to the heauen. That hath rained moisture, this hath drunke it in; we see it in our fruits.Hos. 2. 21. The Lord sayth, I will heare the hea­uens, and they shall heare the earth, and the earth shall heare the corne, and the wine, and the oyle, and they shall heare Iezreel. The fruits of corne, wine, oyle, witnesse that the earth hath heard them, that heauen hath heard the earth, and that the Lord hath heard the heauen. The heauens giue influ­ence to the ground, the ground sappe to the plants, the plants nourishment to vs, the Lord a blessing to all. The Lord watereth the hills from the chambers: Psa. 104. 13 the earth is satisfied with the fruit of the workes. Hee causeth the grasse to growe for the cattell, and herbe for the seruice of man: Wine to make glad his heart, and oyle to make his face shine; and bread to strengthen mans heart, &c. With such thirsty appetite, and no lesse happy successe, doth the good soule swallow the dew of grace. If you perceiue not when the faithfull take it; you may see they haue it: for their fruits testifie it. It is a most euident demonstration, that they haue bin beholding to the Gospell; they haue a sanctified life. Drinkes it in.

There bee very many great Drinkers in the [Page 24] world. The maine drunkennesse, that giues de­nomination to all the rest, is that throte-drunken­nesse: whereof the Prophet, Vae fortibus ad po­tandum. These are they, that will not drinke this mysticall wine in the Church, so willingly as bee drunk in the tap-house. Wine-worshippers, that are at it on their knees, protesting from the bot­tomes of their hearts to the bottome of the cups; if the health be not pledged, actum est de amicitia: farewell friendship. I haue read of a streete in Rome, called vicus sobrius, sober street. Find such a street in any Citie or populous towne in Eng­land, and some good man wil put it in the Chro­nicle.

It hath beene sayd, that the Germanes are great drinkers; and therefore to Carowse is gi­uen to be deriued from them; the word being o­riginally to Gar-rowse, which is to drinke off all: Gar signifying totum: so the Germanes are called by themselues Germanni, quasi toti homines; as if a Germane were All-man; according to another denomination of their Country, Allmanie. And so wee are growne to thinke him, that can tipple soundly, a tall man, nay all-man from top to toe. But if England plyes her liquor so fast as shee be­gins, Germany is like to loose her Charter. I haue heard how the Iesuits out-stripp'd the Fran­ciscans. Indeed Saint Francis at the first meeting sawe sixe thousand Fryers. Ignatius, because he could not begin his order with so many, made vp the number in Diuels. The Germanes had of [Page 25] vs both priority and number for drunkards. Our English beggars first got the fashion: but because their number was short, and it was like that the Nation would be disgrac'd, it was agreed to make it vp in Gallants.

No maruell, if the Lord for this threaten vs with the rod of famine, and to scourge vs with that most smarting string of his whippe. God hath layd himselfe faire in his bow already, and is ready to draw this arrow vp to the head, and send it singing into our bosomes. Ferro saeuior fames: it is one of Gods sorest iudgements. Beasts and Sword kill quickly; and the Plague is not long in dispatching vs: but Dearth is a lin­gring death. Lament. 4.Lament. 4. 9 They that be slaine with the sword, are better then they that be slaine with hun­ger: for these pine away, stricken through for want of the fruits of the field. We see how our seasons are changed, because we can finde no season to repentance. Our Springs haue bin graues, rather then cradles: our Summers haue not shot vp, but withered our grasse: our Autumnes haue taken away the flockes of our sheepe. And for our la­test Haruest, wee haue had cause to inuert the words of our Sauiour, Luke 10.Luke 10. 2. Hee sayth, the Haruest is great, but the Labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord to send forth more Labourers into his haruest. But wee might haue sayd: the Labou­rers are many, and the haruest is small: pray ye ther­fore the Lord to send a greater haruest for the Labou­rers. God hath thus, as it were, pulled the Cup [Page 26] from the Drunkards lippes; and since hee will know no measure, the Lord wil stint him. If there will bee no voluntary, there shall be an enforced fast. Wee haue other great drinkers besides.

What say you to those that Drinke vp whole townes, vnpeople countreys, depopulate villages, inclose fields? that Pharise-like, swallow vp poore mens houses, drink their goods, though mingled with teares of damme and young ones, mother & children? Are not these horrible drinkers? Sure God will one day hold the Cup of vengeance to their lippes, and bid them drinke their fils.

The Proud-man is a great drinker. It is not his belly, but his back, that is the drunkard. He pincheth the poore, rackes out the other fine, enhanceth the rent, spends his owne meanes, and what he can finger besides, vpon clothes. If his rent-day make euen with his Silkeman, Mer­cer, Taylor, he is well. And his white Madam drinkes deeper then he. The walls of the Citie are kept in reparation with easier cost, then a La­dies face, and the appurtenances to her head.

The Ambitious is a deepe-drinker: O hee hath a dry thirst vpon him. He loues the wine of promotion extremely. Put a whole monopoly into the cup, and he will carouse it off. There is a time when other drunkards giue ouer for aslee­ping-while: this drinker hath neuer enough.

Your grimme Vsurer is a monstrous drinker: you shall seldome see him drunke at's owne cost: yet he hath vow'd, not to be sober til his Doomes­daye. [Page 27] His braines, and his gowne are lin'd with foxe; hee is euer afoxing. It may be some infer­nall spirit hath put loue-pouder in his drinke; for hee dotes vpon the deuill extremely. Let him take heed; hee shall one day drinke his owne ob­ligations and they wil choke him.

The Rob-altar is a huge drinker. Hee loues, like Belshazzar, to drinke only in the goblets of the Temple. Wo vnto him, he carowses the wine he neuer swet for, and keeps the poore Minister thirsty. The tenth sheafe is his dyet: the tenth fleece (O 'tis a golden fleece he thinkes) is his drinke: but the wooll shall choke him. Some drinke downe whole Churches and steeples; but the bells shall ring in their bellies.

Euery couetous worldling is a great drinker: he swallowes aurum potabil [...] as his dyet-drinke. And like an absolute, dissolute drunkard, the more he drinks, the dryer he is; for he hath neuer enough. It may be said of him, as it was of Bonosus, whom the Emperour Aurelian set to drinke with the German Embassador; not a man, but a rundlet fill'd with wine.

And my fine precise Artizan, that shunnes a Tauerne, as the Diuell doth a Crosse, is often as drunke as the rankest. His language doth not sa­uour of the pot; he sweares not, but indeed: but trust him, and indeed hee will cozen you to your face. The loue of mony hath made him drunk. And though the Prouerbe be, In vino veritas; yet as drunke as he is, you shall neuer haue truth break out of his lips.

[Page 28] And the vnconscionable Lawyer, that takes fees on both hands, as if he could not drinke but with two cuppes at once, is not hee a great drin­ker? If what is wanting in the goodnesse of the cause, be supplied in the greatnes of the fees, O these ‘Foecundi calices, quem non fecere disertum?’

Let all thinke these ebrieties must be accoun­ted for. How fearefull were it, if a mans latter end should take him drunke!Luke 21. 34 Take heed to your selues, lest at any time your hearts bee ouercharged with surfeting and drunkennesse, and so that day come vpon you vnawares. In corporall ebriety the soule leaues a drunken body: in spirituall, the bo­dy leaues a drunken soule; both desperately fearefull.

There is yet a last, and those a blest sort of Drinkers: which drinke in this sweete raine of grace and mercie. They doe not onely taste it: so do the wicked. Verse 4. They haue tasted of the heauenly gift: they haue tasted of the good word of God, and of the powers of the world to come. 2. Nor drinke it onely to their throat, as if they did gar­garize the word; as carnall Politicians, and for­mall Professors doe. They must attend, they must admit, but no further then their throates: they will but gargarize the Gospell. It shall ne­uer come into their stomakes, neuer neere their hearts. But these drinke it in, digest it in their [Page 29] consciences; take liberall draughts of it, and do indeede drinke Healths thereof. Common health-maintainers drinke their sicknesse. There­fore sayes the moderne Poet honestly, ‘Vne salus sanis nullam potare salutem.’

But this is a sauing health: such as our Sauiour began to vs; when hee dranke to vs in his owne bloud, a sauing Health to all Nations. And wee are bound to pledge him in our owne faith and thankfulnesse; as Dauid, I will take the cup of sal­uation, and blesse the name of the Lord. This is a hearty draught of the waters of life; the deeper the sweeter. Blessed he is that drinkes soundly of it, and with a thirsty appetite. There is, as Di­uines say,Ardens. sancta ebrietas: such as fell on the bles­sed Apostles on Whitsunday. Acts 2. They were drunke (not with new wine, but) with the holy Ghost. This holy plenitude doth (as it were) ine­briate the soules of the Saints.Psal. 36. 8. They shall be abun­dantly satisfied with the fatnesse of thy house: and thou shalt make them drinke of the riuer of thy plea­sures. The Spouse sings of her Sauiours kindnes, He brought me to the banqueting house, Cant. 2. 4. 5. and his ban­ner ouer me, was loue. Stay mee with flagons, and comfort me with apples, for I am sicke of loue. In the originall it is called, House of wine. Christ hath broached to his Church the sweet wines of the Gospell, and our hearts are cheared with it; our soules made merry with flagons of mercie [Page 30] Come to this wine,Cant. 5. 1. bibite & inebriamini: eate O friends, drinke, yea drinke abundantly, O beloued: drinke and be drunke with it. God will be plea­sed with this (and no other but this) Drunkennes.

The vessell of our heart being once thus fil­led with grace, shall hereafter be re­plenished with glorie.

A DIVINE Herball, Or …

A DIVINE Herball, Or, THE PRAYSE OF FERTILITY. The SECOND SERMON.

MATH. 25. 29.

Vnto euerie one that hath shall be giuen, and he shall haue abundance.

AVGVST.
Magnae Virtutis est, cum foelicitate luctari:
Magnae foelicitatis est, à foelicitate non vinci.

LONDON, Printed by George Purslowe, for Iohn Budge, and are to be solde at his shop, at the great South-dore of Pauls, and at Brittaines Burse. 1616.

A DIVINE HERBALL, OR The prayse of Fertillitie.
THE SECOND SERMON.

HEB. Chap. 6. Vers. 7.‘For the earth which drinketh in the raine that commeth oft vpon it, and bringeth forth herbes meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiueth blessing from God.’

THAT difference which the Philosophers put betweene learning and mettals, wee may truly find betweene hu­mane writings and Gods Scriptures conferred. They that digge in the one, finde Paruum in magno, a little gold in a great deale of [Page 34] ore. They that digge in this rich field (which the wise Merchant solde all hee had to purchase) finde Magnum in pa [...] no, much treasure in a few words.

Wee haue heard how the good earth is be­holding to God for his holy Raine: the next circumstance obiects to our meditation this earths thankfull fertility. It bringeth forth herbes meete for them by whom it is dressed. Euery word transcends the other; and as it excludes some vi­cious defect, so demonstrates it also some gradu­all vertue.

1. It brings forth. It is not barren like a dead ground that yeelds neither herbes nor weedes. This is no idle heart, that doth neither good nor harme; that like a meere spectator of the world, sits by with a silent contemplation for whom was made that Epitaph:

Here lyes he, was borne and cryed,
Liu'd threescore yeares, fell sicke and dyed.

Doing neither profit nor preiudice to the Coun­trey hee liued in. Heere is no such stupid neu­tralitie, nor infructuous deadnesse. It brings forth.

2. They are not weedes it produceth, but herbes. A man had as good do nothing, as doe naughty things. It is lesse euill to sit still, then to runne swift by in the pursuite of wickednes. They that forbeare Idlenesse, and fall to lewdnesse, [Page 35] mend the matter, as the Diuell (in the tale) men­ded his dames legge; when he should haue put it in ioynt, he broke it quite in pieces. It is not enough that this ground brings forth, but that it yeelds herbes. Of the two, the barren earth is not so euill as the wicked earth: that men pittie, this they curse. It brings forth herbes.

3. Neither is it a paucity of herbes this ground affordeth, but an abundance: not one herbe, but herbes; a plurall and plentifull number. There is neyther barrennesse nor barenesse in this ground; not no fruites, not few fruits, but ma­ny herbes.

4. Lastly, they are such herbes, as are meet for the dresser: such as God expects of the garden, who planted it: such as hee will accept, not in strict iustice for their owne worth, but in great mercy for Iesus Christ. Meet for them by whom it is dressed.

We haue now opened the mine, let vs digg [...] for the treasure. Foure demonstrations com­mend this good Ground.

  • 1. It is fruitfull.
  • 2. It is fruitfull in good.
  • 3. It is fruitfull in much good.
  • 4. It is fruitfull in such good, as the Dresser lookes for.

1. Fertillitie. It brings forth.

BArrennesse hath euer beene helde a curse, a shame, a reproch. So the mother of Iohn Baptist insinuated, Luke 1.Luke 1. 25. Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the dayes wherein he looked on mee, to take away my reproach among men. When God will bring the Gospell, and with it saluation to the Gentiles, he is sayd to take away their barrennesse. So was it prophecied, Esay, 54. 1. So was it accomplished, Galat. 4. 27. Reioyce thou barren that bearest not, breake forth and crye (with ioy) thou that trauellest not: for the desolate hath many moe children, then she that hath an hus­band. The primordial praise of this good ground is, that it is not barren. This Fertillitie in the Christian heart, doth 1. conclude thankfulnesse. 2. exclude idlenesse.

1. For the former; GOD hath giuen him Raine for this purpose, that he should bring forth fruite: if hee should take the raine, and not an­swere the senders hopes, he were vnthankful. The good man considers the end why he receiued a­ny blessing, and examines what God meant in conferring on him such a benefite. Hath God giuen him wisedome? Salomen hath taught him to Let his fountaines be dispersed abroad, Pro [...]. 5. 16. and his ri­uers of waters in the streets. Whether thy know­ledge [Page 37] be great in diuine things, tanquam lumina­re maius; or in humane, tanquam luminare minus; remember our Sauiours lesson Math. Mat. 5. 15. 5▪ Put not your light vnder a bushell, but vpon a candlesticke; that it may giue light to all that are in the [...]. Let your light shine before men, &c. They that are Gods lights, must waste themselues to giue light to others.Aug. Conf. lib. 12. cap. 25. Non licct habere priuatā, ne priue [...]ur [...]a. To keep it priuate is the way to be depriued of it. So the old verse. Scire tuum nihil est, nisi te scire hoc sciat alter. As we must not be wise in our selues, so nor onely wise to ourselues. Hee that con­ceales his knowledge, cancels it, and shall at last turne foole. Doe not inclose that for seuerall, which God hath meant common. The not im­ploying will be the impayring of Gods giftes.

This is the fruite, which the good ground must send forth for all the feeds of grace sowne in it. Neither doth this instruction bound it selfe with our spirituall; but extend also to our temporall gifts. Hast thou riches? when God scattered those blessings vpon thee, in the seed-time of his bountie, he intended thou shouldst returne him a good croppe at the haruest. Be thankfull then, in doing that with them for which God gaue them. Custos es tuarum, non dominus, facultatum. Thou art a deputed Steward, not an indepen­dant Lord of thy wealth. God ment them to pro­moue, and helpe forward thy iourney to heauen; let them not retard thy course, or put thee quite out of the way. Thou art a thankfull ground, if [Page 38] thou suffer thy riches to bring forth those fruites, which the hand of God lookes to gather from them. [...] mercifull; be charitable; be helpfull. Stips pauperum, the saurus diuitum. The rich mans treasure is the poore mans stocke. The distressed soule asks but his owne. Christ may say to thee in the Beggars person; Pay (not giue) me a pen­ny thou owest me. Da mihi ex eo quod tibi dedi: de meo quaero, Chrys. non de tuo: da & redde: Giue mee of that which I gaue thee: I demaund some of my owne, not of thine: it is more properly a re­storing then a gift. Petimus (que) damus (que) vicissim. Thou askest the Lord, and he giueth thee: but on this condition, that thou giue him some of it backe againe. Thou art more truly the beggar: and God but a demaunder of a iust and easie re­tribution. This is not all.

God did also meane, that thy selfe should take comfort in these things. It is a part of that Bles­sednesse, Psal. 128. 2. which the Psalmist promiseth to him that feareth the Lord. Thou shalt eate the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall bee well with thee. For God gaue wine (for this purpose) to make glad the heart of man, Psal. 104. 15 and oyle to make his face shine, and bread to strengthen his heart. How doth man diuert Gods goodnesse, when he turnes his blessing into a curse, and puts his good creatures from their intended vses! The Lambes are for thy cloathing, Prou. 27. 25. and the Goates are the price of thy field, sayth the Wise-man. Thou must weare the wooll, and drinke the milke of thy owne flocke. [Page 39] Neither be so sparing, as to starue thy selfe in the middest of thine owne plenty. As the couetous wretch, that dares not eate an egge, lest he should loose a chicken. Nor so profuse to thy own lusts, that thou shouldst giue all, vel veneri, vel ventri: not that surfets or wine should sluce out thy e­state into thy belly. Not that with vnnecessary quarrels of lawe, thou shouldst afflict and weary thy neighbours. O madnesse! that to put out both thy brothers eies, thou shouldst put out one of thine owne: nay, both thine owne for one of his. Ingratefull men for Gods great mercy; that what they get by peace with forraines, vainly spend it in ciuill warres: where the Lawyers set them together, as men clappe on vnwilling Ma­stiues! Most commonly they fight at the long weapon, a tedious, wearying, weather-beaten sute. Sometimes they fight close; Poniard and Pistoll, killing quarrells: laying traynes for one another, till both be blowne vp. Can the backe of charitie beare no loade? Are the sinewes of loue growne so feeble? Alas fooles! you get both nothing but the blowes; the Lawyer goes away with the victory. He fills his purse, and you come home both well beaten.

Well, the good ground knowes no such end for Gods blessings. He sees with the eye of faith, another intentionall and internall meaning for such bountie. He doth not say of his riches, as the Atheists of their tongues. Psal. 12.Psal. 12. 4. They are our owne. What hath Magistrate on the bench, [Page 40] or Preacher in the pulpit, or friend in priuate, to do with it? I waste none of theirs: let me doe with my owne, as I lift. But sayth the Apostle. Foole, what hast thou, that thou hast not receiued? And wherefore hast thou receiued them? To sa­tiate thy owne lusts? or to bring forth fruit mee [...] for them, by whom thou art dressed? There is no­thing, that a man can properly and in district termes call his owne, but his sinnes. His impie­ties, weaknesses, ignoranc [...]s, vices, lusts; these are his owne. All good things are Gods giftes, Iames 1. 17. Bee thankfull then, and after the raine of mercy, bring forth the herbes of obedience. You see what this Fertillitie concludes; Thank­fulnesse. Heare now what it excludes.

2. Idlenesse. This good ground lyes not dead and barren: nor returnes all heauens raine with a naked and neutrall acceptation: it brings forth. You read, Luke 19.Luke 19. of a Seruant, to whom when his Lord had intrusted a Talent, he hidde it in the ground, as an Vsurer his money, to keepe it safe. And at his Lords returne, Domine ecce tuum: hee answered his account with, Lord behold thine own. I knew that thou wert seuerus Magister, a hard Master: therfore I thought it my securest course, to make good thine owne againe. But the Lord replyed, Ex ore tuo: Oh euill seruant, out of thy owne mouth I condemne thee. Thou shouldst then haue answered my austeritie, with thy laborious care of my aduantage. Therefore heare his doome.Mat. 25. 30. Cast ye the vnprofitable seruant into outer [Page 41] darknesse: there shall bee weeping and gnashing of teeth. Hee did not euill with his talent: no, it was enough to condemne him, he did nothing. There is abundance of this dead ground in the world, which brings forth nothing. Idle wret­ches, that sleepe out time and admonition: but their damnation sleepeth not. 2. Pet. 2. 3. It was neuer sayd, Samson hath lost his strength, till hee slept in the lappe of Dalila. Idlenesse doth neither get nor saue: there is nothing more emptie of good fruits, nor more abundantly pregnant with euill. That man doth ill, that doth nothing; and he loo­seth, whiles hee gaines not. Many beholding with cowardly and carnall eyes, what a long and t [...]oublesome iourney it is to heauen, sit them downe and fall fast asleepe. O barren grounds! will ye bring forth nothing? Is difficulty made your hindrance, that should bee a spurre to your more eager contention? Know you not, that the violent shall get the kingdome of heauen? Some can follow their dogges all day in the fielde: o­thers hunt Mammon dry-foote in their shoppes yeare after yeare, and neuer complaine of wea­rinesse. Only an houre or two in the Church puts an ach into our bones; as if nothing wearyed vs so soone as well-doing. Is it feare of too much la­bour, that keepes you from God? why doth not the same reason deterre you from seruing the di­uell? His lawes are true burdens, and his seruice drudgerie.Mat. 11. 30. But Christs yoke is easie, and his burden light.

[Page 42] I'may boldly affirme it: your couetous man takes more paines to goe to hell, then the godly ordinarily to get to heauen. He riseth early, and resteth late, and eates the course bread of sorrow: and after tedious and odious miserie, goes to the Diuell for his labour. Shall we refuse easier pains, for a farre better recompence? It is but Satans subtiltie, that makes men beleeue the passage to life so extremely difficult, that it is impossible. Herein the Diuell doth like the inhospitable Sa­uages of some countries, that make strange fires, and a shew of dismall terrors vpon the shores, to keepe passengers from landing. The Sluggard, sayes Salomon, doth but faine Beares and Lyons, (as the superstitious doth bugges) in the way; as apologies of idlenesse, that he may sit still and be at ease. The slothfull person is the Diuels shop, wherein he worketh engines of destruction. He is most busie in the lazie.Eccles. 9. 10. But whatsoeuer thy hand findeth to doe, doe it with thy might: for there is no worke nor knowledge, nor deuice, nor wisedome in the graue whither thou goest. If thy soule be watred with the deaw of heauen, thou must needes bring forth. What?

2. Herbes. There is Fertilitie in Goodnes.

THe eldest daughter of Idlenesse is to doe nothing: the next borne to doe some­thing to no purpose. But the good man [Page 43] is not onely doing, but well doing, Math. 24.Mat. 24. 46 Blessed is that seruant, whom his Lord when he com­meth, shall finde so doing. This so consists in doing Bonum, and Bene. As the former verse may seeme to intimate. He giues them meate, there he doth good: in due season, there he doth it well. The for­bearance of wickednesse is not enough to acquit the soule, but the performance of righteousnesse. The rich Glutton is tormented in hell, not be­cause he did hurt, but because he did not helpe Lazarus. Non quod abstulerit aliena, sed quod non donarit sua, August. sayth S. Chrysost. Not for taking a­way another mans, but for not giuing his owne. He would not giue the poore the crummes that fell from his boord; and so facere damna lucrum, make a gaine of his losses: for they were lost that fell from his libertine table, and yet would haue refreshed the hungry and famished soule. But Diues would not giue a crumme, to get a crowne. He wore fine linnen; but it was his owne. Hee was cloathed in rich purple; but it was his owne. Hee fared sumptuously euery day, but hee did eate his owne meate: he tooke none of all this from Lazarus. Yet hee went to hell. God con­demned him, because hee did not giue some of this to Lazarus. Thus it is not only the commis­sion of lewdnesse, that sinkes men to hell, but e­uen also the omission of goodnesse. Dost thou heare, O Earth; vnlesse thou bring forth herbes, thou shalt be condemned. The Fig-tree had no bad fruit on it, yet was it cursed, because it had [Page 44] none at all. The axe that is layd to the roote, shall hew downe euen that tree, Mat. 3. 10. which brings not forth good fruite: though it bring forth no euill. Fire shall take the barren, as well as the vveedie ground.

Except your righteousnesse shall exceede the righ­ [...]ousnesse of the Scribes and Pharises, Mat. 5. 20. ye shall not en­ter into the kingdome of heauen. Wherein (me thinks) our Sauiour implyeth a three-fold grada­tion to heauen. First there must be Iustitia, Righ­teousnesse; an habituall practise of godlinesse; an vncorrupt life, which shall only be entertain'd to Gods Hill. Psa. 15. 2 But the ground must be made good, before it can produce good herbes: for the per­son must bee accepted before the worke. And this worke must be good both quoad fontem, and quoad finem: wee must deriue it from an ho­nest heart, and driue it to a right ende. In the next place, this Righteousnesse must bee a mans owne. Nisi iustitia vestra. Heere, that ground which brings forth herbes receiueth blessing; not that borrowes them of another. For so, as stony and barren an heart as Cheapside, may be a far richer garden then some of those, where those herbes (brought thither) naturally grew. The Pope hath a huge harden of these herbes; where­with hee can store as many, as will pay for them. Iohn Baptist fasted more then hee was comman­ded: and Mary liued more strictly then God re­quired. Now the Church of Rome keepes an Herball of these superabundant workes; and mo­ney [Page 45] may haue store of them. But heauen and Rome stand a great way asunder. And as God neuer gaue the Pope authority to make such bar­gains, so he neuer means to stand to them. It is not onely spoken, but commanded to be written of the dying Saints, that their workes follow them. Their owne workes, Reu. 14. 13. not the workes of others. No righteousnes of friend liuing, or of Saint dead, shall doe thee good, but the herbes of thy owne Garden shall bee accepted of God. Lastly, this Righteousnesse must excell, nisi abundauerit. If it come short of those that come short of heauen, what hope haue you? It must exceed innocence, and come to reall goodnesse.

We haue not sufficiently discharged our du­ties in being painfull, vnlesse wee be profitable. Some will take no paines, vnlesse the Diuell set them on worke. They must be their owne car­uers in their imployment, or they will sit idle. But so a man may worke and haue no thankes for his labour. It is not then simply and onely bringing forth, commends a ground, but bringing forth herbes.

The fruit of Peters repentance is not to deny his Master no more; but to stand to him to the death. We thinke, if wee forbeare our wonted notorious sinnes, wee are on the sodaine excel­lent Christians. As if God were beholden to vs, for not wounding his name with oathes; for not playing out Sabaoths; for not rayling on his Gospell; for not oppressing his poore members: [Page 46] when we neither reliue the poore, nor obey the Gospell, nor hallow his Saboths, nor honor his name. Perhaps an Vsurer when he hath gotten enough will cease that damned trade: now he is sure of heauen in a trice. Alas! how repents Zac­cheus, if he restores not? Shall I goe a step high­er? If he giue not liberally, and shew compassi­on to the afflicted Saints? Perhaps an old Adul­terer when his sappe is growne to cinders, breaks off his vncleannesse. When the enuious looseth his obiect, he may suspend his malice. But where are the returned fruits of penitence, manifest and visible obedience? Say the weedes are gone, where be the herbes? To roote vp the weedes, is but the first step to heauen: and some are fortie, threescore yeares taking this steppe. How long will it be ere their garden be set with good grow­ing herbes? Iudg. 5. 23. But Curse ye Meroz, sayd the Angell of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the Inhabitants thereof: because they came not to the helpe of the Lord, (and that it might fully appeare, that this curse came not on them, for taking part with Gods enemies and fighting against him; but onely for deniall of succour, the song doubles it) to the helpe of the Lord against the mighty. Mat. 18. 28. The offended Lord deli­uered that Seruant to the tormentors, that (did not extort from his fellow that hee had no right to, nor wrest away an others goods; but) did onely say, Pay me that thou owest; and in a harsh manner, or vnmercifull measure, required his owne due. It is the forme of the last doome,Mat. 25. 42. I was hungry, [Page 47] and ye gaue me no meate: though you tooke not a­way mine, yet for not giuing your owne, Goe yee cursed.

But if that ground be neere vnto cursing, that brings not forth herbes; what shall we say to that, which brings forth weeds? What hell, and how many torments are prouided for oppressing Di­ues, when Diues that but denyed his owne shall be tortur'd in endlesse flames! If he were bound to an euerlasting prison, that rigorously prosecuted his owne right, chaleng'd his owne debt: whi­ther shall they bee cast, that vniustly vexe their neighbours, quarrell for that which is none of theirs, and lay title to another mans proprietie? If hee that giues not his coate to the naked, shall lye naked to the vengeance of God; then he that takes away the poore mans coate, shall bee clad with burning confusion. If hee that giues not, wring his hands; hee that takes away shall rend his heart. The old world did but eate and drink, build and plant, marry and be merry; and were swept away with the beesome of an vniuersal de­luge; which things were in themselues lawfull: what shall become of lyars swearers, adulterers, idolaters, malicious, monstrous, scandalous sin­ners; whose workes are in themselues simply vn­lawful. There are 3. sorts of ground mentioned, Marke 4. and the very worst of them receiues the seed, yet all damned: whither shall the tempest of Gods wrath driue them, that would neuer giue the Gospell a religious eare? O beloued! waigh it.

[Page 48] Our Idle words must come to iudgement: what shall be our answere for vnlawfull deedes: If omission of good works be whipp'd with rods, commission of impieties shall be scourged with Scorpions. If they that stand in a luke-warme neutralitie, shall be spewed vp; sure the palpable and notorious offender shall bee troden vnder foote of a prouoked Iustice. Indifferency shall not scape: and shall extreme presumption be spa­red? that like dogges, sup vp the dregges they haue vomited. I haue read of a Popish Saint, Henry the Dane, that in a mad and hare-brain'd deuotion, when wormes crawled out of a corrupt vlcer in his knee, did put them in againe. There are such franticke wretches, that when the word hath squeased some poyson out of their conscien­ces, and driuen forth lusts, like crawling worms; they in a voluntary madnesse put them in againe. As the Tode casts ont per poison, when she goes to the water to drinke; when shee hath drunke, sups it vp againe. Adam lost himselfe, and all his posterity by one transgression; and do we think, can we hope that our infinite shall scape iudge­ment? Or doe we extenuate our iniquities with such selfe-flattering mitigations, that if they bee not innumerable, they are pardonable; and that a few shall bring no man to iudgement? And what call wee this paucitie? As the Glosse deales with a piece of Gratians Decretum. The Text sayes, Meretrix est, quae multorum libidin [...] patet. Shee is a whore, who serues many mens turnes.

[Page 49] Now the Glosse brings this indefinite num­ber to a certaine, and giues Multorum a reasona­ble latitude; saying, the name of Whore should not be giuen her, til she hath lyen with three and twenty thousand men. So till we haue doubled, iterated, and multiplyed our lyes, oa [...]hes, op­pressions, lusts, vnto thousands, and thousands, we do not thinke that we merite the names of ly­ers, swearers, oppressors, or luxurious persons. Beloued, these things must be reckoned for: and if nescience be beaten with stripes, wilfull impie­ty shal be burned with fire. Blessed ground then, that brings forth herbes; and that not in scarsitie, but in

3. Plenty. Many herbes.

THe good ground is plentifull in fruits. It beares fruit, good fruit, much good fruit. Multiplicitie of grace is requisite, though not perfection. What Garden is only planted with one singular kinde of herbe? The Christian hath need of many graces; because he is to meet with many defects, to answere many tentations, to fight with many enemies. Therefore, 2. Pet. 1.2. Pet. 1. 5. Ioyne with your faith vertue, and with vertue know­ledge, Cant. 4. and with knowledge temperance, &c. One Iewell will not serue: Christs Spouse must haue diuerse to adorne her. One piece of armour wil not secure vs; we know not which way the blow [Page 50] will come,Eph. 6. 11. nor where it will light. Therefore, Put on the whole armour of God, that yee may bee able to stand against all the wyles of the diuell. The loins, the brest, the head, the feete; all parts must bee armed. The fruite of the Spirit (those happy fruits which the Spirit of God worketh in vs, and bringeth out of vs) is manifold. Galat. 5.Gal. 5. 22. Loue, ioy, peace, long-suffering, gentlenesse, goodnesse, faith, meeknesse, &c. The Apostle chargeth vs to bee rich in good workes. 1. Tim. 6.1. Tim. 6. 18 And for this cause bowes his knees vnto the Father of our Lord Iesus Christ, Eph. 3. 14. 16 that according to the riches of his glorie wee might be filled with all the fulnesse of God. The rea­son is giuen by Christ. To whom much is giuen, of them shall much be required. And it was his com­mendation of Mary Magd [...]l [...]n, that because shee had much forgiuen her, therefore she loued much.

Happie then is that ground, which abounds with good herbes; the fruits of faith, patience, content, charitie. Not our riches, but our wor [...]s shall follow vs. Goodnesse shall only giue Pul­chrum sepulchrum: and as we vse to sticke dead bodies with herbes; so these herbes our fruitfull good workes shall adorne and beautifie our me­morialls, when the name of the wicked shall [...]ot. I know England, inueigh the Papists till their galls burst, is full of pious and charitable workes. It is a Garden full of good herbes. Not to vs, but to God bee the prayse; who hath moued such instru­ments to workes of his glory. Yet Que [...]on feci­mus ipsi, vix ca nostra voce: let [...]uery man quiet his [Page 51] owne conscience, with the good herbes his owne garden produceth.

The rich man growes easily richer, so the good man easily better. It is the custom of most men to be pleased with a very little religion. For the world, wee are enraged and transported with such a hunger, that the graue is sooner satisfied: but a very little godlinesse contents vs. But if we would not bee barren nor vnfruitfull in the know­ledge of our Lord Iesus Christ, 2. Pet. 1. 8. we must, sayth the Apostle, abound with these herbes. And then for a proportionate reward, An entrance shall be mi­nistred vnto vs abundantly, Verse 11. into the euerlasting kingdome of our Sauiour Christ. Blessed is he that brings forth herbes, many herbes, and lastly such as are

4. Meet for them by whom he is dressed.

THe word By whom, may as well be transla­ted For whom: [...] Two instru­ctions are here necessarily offered vs.

  • 1. By whom this goodnesse comes.
  • 2. For whom it must be intended.

1. By whom it is dressed.

GOD is the Husbandman that dresseth this ground, and causeth in it Fertillitie. It was the Pelagian errour. A Deo habemus qu [...]d homines sumus, a nobis ipsis autem quod iusti sumus. We are beholding to God that we are men,Aug. Tract. 81. in Ioh. to our selues that we are good men. But the con­trary is here euident. God doth not onely make the ground, but hee makes the ground fruitfull: he raines vpon it, hee dresseth it, hee blesseth it. Christ sayd not,Ioh. 15. 5. Sine me parum potestis facere, sed sine me nihil. Without me ye can doe nothing, sayth our Sauiour, and to the best men, euen the Apo­stles: not a little, but nothing. If God had one­ly made thee a man, and thou made thy selfe a good man, then is thy worke greater then Gods worke.August. For, Mel us est iustum esse, quam te hom [...] ­n [...]m esse. Our meere being is not so happie, as our better being. No, this Text conuinceth that lye. For, according to that distinction of grace. 1. Here is Gratia operans, God begins the worke; he makes the ground good. sanctifies the person. 2. Here is Gratia cooperans, God that begins, per­formes the worke; he raineth vpon, he dresseth the heart, and so causeth it to produce herbes. 3. Here is Gratia saluans, whereby hee crowneth our will and worke in the day of our Lord IESVS. It re­ceiueth blessing from God. So [Page 53] Qui viret in foliis, venit a radicibus humor.’

The sappe of grace which appeares greene and flourishing in the branches and fruit, comes from the root. Now in all this Deus non necessitat, sed factl [...]tat: God induceth the good to good by alacritie, not enforceth against their wills. Quo­niam probitate coacta, Prud. Gloria nulla venit. For God doth not worke vpon vs, as vpon blockes and stones, in all and euery respect passiue: but con­uerts our wils to will our owne conuersion.August. Qui fecit te sine te, non iustificabit te sine te. Fecit nesc [...] ­entem, Iustificat volentem. Hee that made thee without thy selfe, will not iustifie thee without thy selfe. (without thy merite indeed, not with­out thine act). He created thee when thou knew­est it not, he doth iustifie thee with the consent of thy owne will. Let this consideration lay vs all prostrate before the foot-stoole of God, kissing the feete of his mercy,Heb. 5. 23: who is the Beginner and finisher of our faith. Who hath made the ground good, and encreased the number of herbes with his holy dewes from heauen; dressed it with his graces, and promised to reward it with his bles­sings. Thus By whom: now For whom.

Meete for them who dressed it.

AND is it possible, that man should pro­duce herbes meete for the acceptation of God? Hath he not pure eyes, which see vncleannesse and imperfection in all our workes? Is there any man so happy, as to bee iustified in his sight? No; but it pleaseth him to looke vpon our workes in the Crystall glasse, Christ; and be­cause they are the effects of a true faith in him, to esteeme them meete. S. Peter sayth,1. Pet. 2. 19. This is thanke-worthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure griefe, suffering wrongfully. Doe euen our sufferings then merite? [...] euen this is grace. To you it is giuen not only to beleeue in him, but euen to suffer for his sake. This was none of yours, but giuen you. And when you haue suf­fered,Rom. 8. 18. yet you must truely with Paul reckon, that the afflictions of this present world are not worthy of that high inestimable waight of glory. There are no workes acceptable (Quae praecedunt instificandum, sed quae sequuntur iustificatum) which goe before Iustification, but these that follow it. All of vs, as Luther was wont to say, haue naturally a Pope bred in our bellies; a Mountebanke-opinion of our owne worth. Narcissus-like, wee dote vpon our owne shadowes; and thinke our workes ac­ceptable enough to God. If wee haue prayed, [Page 55] releeued, beleeued the history of the Gospell, or attentiuely heard the word, these are works meete for God. The Monke had but one hole in his Cell, and though it was in the toppe, vpward to heauen, yet the Diuell made a shift to creepe in there. The Serpent thrusts in his head often in some cracke of our good workes. Luther para­doxically. [...] [...]niustitiarum [...]ere sola causa [...]. Almost the only cause of all vnrighteous­nesse, is (a too-well conceited) righteousnesse. We are easily induced to thinke our selues euery one,Act▪ 8. 9. as Simon Magas, some great man. There must bee a deiection of this thought, an annihi­lation of our owne worth; that we can doe no­thing meete for God, or worthy his iust accep­tance. For Serdet in distincti [...]e Iudicis, quod fulget in opinione operantis. That is often foule in the sen­tence of the Iudge, which shines in the imagina­tion of him that doth it.

But as Physitians say, no man dyes of an ague, or without it: so seldome any soule dyes of pride, or without pride; not meerly of pride, for (though that sicknesse were enough to kill it, yet) it is euer accompanied with som other disease and vicious wickednes; nor without it, for it is so inherent vn­to mans nature, that pride, if it doth not prouoke yet at lest holds the dore, whiles any iniquitie is doing. Hence flow so many errors, and factions, and singularities.

For as in the body, a raw stomach makes a rhu­matick head, & a rhumatick head a raw stomach. [Page 56] So in the soule, an indigested conceit of some good thing in vs, makes the head rume of some rheumaticke opinion, or madde factious singu­laritie: and this petulant rheume in the braine, keeps the conscience raw stil; that the physicke of repentance, or good diet of peaceable obedience cannot helpe it. Let vs correct these exorbitant and superfluous conceits, which are like proude flesh vpon vs; and knowe, wee are able to doe nothing of our selues, but God is faine to put euen good thoughts in vs. And if wee doe good from him, how good soeuer it be as from him, yet running through vs it gets some pollution.

Neither let vs run into the contrary errour, as if in a stupid willfullnesse, what good soeuer wee did, we could not hope that God in Iesus Christ would accept it. There is a thresholde of des­paire below to stumble at, as wel as a post of high presumption to breake our heads at. There is a base deiection, a sordid humility. Bar [...]ena the Iesuite told another of his order; that when the deuill appeared to him one night, out of his pro­found humility hee rose vp to meete him, and prayed him to sitte downe in his chaire; for hee was more worthy to sitte there then he. This did appeare a strange kind of deiectednes. Surely I thinke, a man should by Gods word and war­rant, take comfort in his wel doing, and be chea­red in the testimonie which a good conscience, on good cause beareth to him. So Dauid hartned himselfe against all the malicious slanders of his [Page 57] his enemies; O Lord thou knowest mine innocence. Good workes are the necessary and inseparable effects of a true faith. We are by nature all dead in sinne, and by sinne concluded vnder death. Our Sauiour bore for vs this death, and by his passion freed vs from eternal damnation. It was not enough to scape hell, how shall wee get to heauen? Loe, we are cloathed with the garment of his righteousnesse, hung with the Iewels of his merits. So not onely hell is escaped by his suffe­rings, but heauen got by his doings. Why should wee then worke? what need our gardens stand so full of herbes? Good reason. Shall God do so much for vs, and shall we do nothing for him, for our selues? If the Lord of a Forrest giues me a Tree, it is fit I should be at the cost to cut it downe, and bring it home, if I will haue it. I cannot say that I deserued the tree; it was ano­thers gift: but my labours must lead me to en­ioy that, which was freely giuen me. Neither, can the conscience haue assurance of eternal life, so frankly bestowed in Christ, without a good conuersation. Faith doth iustifie, and workes do testifie that we are iustified. In a clocke, the fin­ger of the dyall makes not the clocke to goe, but the clocke it: yet the finger without shewes how the clocke goes within. Our external obedience is caused by our inward faith; but that doth ma­nifest how truly the clocke of our faith goes. As a mans corporall actions of sleeping, eating, di­gesting, walking, declare his recouery from sick­nesse, [Page 58] and present health. So his life witnesseth by infallible Symptomes, that the disease and death of sinne is mortified in him, and that he hath taken certaine hold of eternall life. It is meet then that we should doe good workes: but all our works are made meete and worthy in him that bought vs. I will conclude then with that Antheme, made by a sweet singer in our Israel. Pendemus ate, credimus in te, tendimus, ad te, non nisi per te, Optime Christe.

AMEN.

THE GARDEN Or, A Con …

THE GARDEN Or, A Contemplation of the HERBES. The THIRD SERMON.

The Song of Salomon. Chap. 6. Ver. 2.

My Beloued is gone downe into his Garden, to the beds of spices; to feede in the gardens, and to gather Lillies.

AMB. super LVC.

Non Virtus est non posse peccare, sed nolle.

LONDON, Printed by George Purslowe, for Iohn Budge, and are to be solde at his shop, at the great South-dore of Pauls, and at Brittaines Burse. 1616.

THE GARDEN OR A Contemplation of the Herbes.
THE THIRD SERMON.

HEB. Chap. 6. Vers. 7.‘For the earth which drinketh in the raine that commeth oft vpon it, and bringeth forth Herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiueth blessing from God.’

THat the Herbes of our graces may be meete for the dresser; contentful to GOD, who hath planted, watred, hus­banded the Garden of our hearts; wee will require in them foure vertues: Odour, Taste, Ornament, Medicinall Vertue.

[Page 62] 1. That they haue a good odour. God is de­lighted with the smell of our graces. My Belo­ued is gone downe into his Garden, Cant. 6. 2. to the beds of spi­ces, to feed in the gardens, and to gather Lillies. The vertues of Christ are thus principally pleasant; and all our herbes onely smell sweetly in his Gar­den. Because of the sauour of thy good ointment, Cant. 1. 3. thy name is as ointment powred forth, therefore doe the Virgins loue thee. This sauour is sweetly accepta­ble in the nostrils of God. All thy garments smel of Myrrhe, Psa. 45. 8. Aloes, and Cassia: It is his righteous­nesse, that giues all our herbes a good odour: and in him it pleaseth God to iudge our works sweet. When Noah had built an Altar, Gen. 8. 21. and sacrificed burnt offerings on it, the Lord smelled a sweet sauour and sayd, I will not againe curse the ground any more for mans sake. Mat. 2. Myrrhe and Prankincense were two of the oblations, which the Wise-men offered to CHRIST being an Infant.

Tres Reges, regum Regitria dona tulerunt:
Myrrham homini, vncto aurū, thura dedere Deo.
Tutriafac itidem dones pia munera Christo,
Muneribus gratus si cupis esse tuis.
Pro myrrha lacrymas, pro auro cor porrige purum,
Pro thure, ex humili pectore funde preces.
Three kings to the great King three offerings bring,
Incense for God, Myrrhe for man, gold for king.
Thy Incense be the hands a white soule reares.
For gold giue a pure hart, for myrrhe drop tears.

[Page 63] The way to make our herbes smell sweetly, is first to purge our garden of weedes. For if sinne be fostered in our hearts, all our workes will bee abominated. God heareth not the prayers of the wicked.Leuit. 26. 31. If yee will walke contrary to mee, saith the Lord, I will bring your sanctuaries vnto desola­tion, and I will not smell the sauour of your sweete o­dours. But being adopted by grace in Christ, and sanctified to holinesse, our good works smell sweetly, Phil. 4.Phil. 4. 18. I haue receiued of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God. It seemes, GOD highly esteemes the herbe Chari­tie in our gardens. Hee that serueth the Lord, shall smell as Lebanon: Hos. 14. 6. 7. hee shall growe as the Vine, and his sent shall bee as the wine of Leba­non.

Man is naturally delighted with pleasant sa­uours, and abhorres noysome and stinking smels. But our God hath purer nosthrils, and cannot a­bide the polluted heapes of iniquities. The Idle man is a standing pitte; and hath an ill-sauour'd smell, an ill-fauour'd sight. The drunkard is like a bogge, a fogge, a fenne of euill vapours: God cannot abide him. Your couetous wretch is like a dunghill; there is nothing but rottennesse and infection in him. Omnis malitia eructat fumum. All wickednesse belcheth forth an euill sauour. Wonder you, if God refuse to dwell with the V­surer, Swearer, Idolater, Adulterer? There is a [Page 64] poyson of lust, a leprosie of putrefaction in them: no carryon is so odious to man, as mans impie­ties are to God. Yea the very oblations of defi­led hands stinke in his presence.Esa. 66. 3. Hee that sacrifi­ceth a Lambe, is as if hee cut off a dogges necke, &c. As if Ass a foetida was the only supply of their gar­dens. But good herbes giue a double sauour: one outward to man, another inward to God. The sweete smoke of a holy sacrifice, like a subtil ayre, riseth vp to heauen; and is with God before man sees or smels it. It also cheares the hearts of Chri­stians, to behold Christian workes. Reuerence to the Word, hallowing the Sabaoths, releeuing the poore, deeds of mercie, pittie, piety, giue a delightful sent: solacing the soules of the Saints, and pleasing him that made them both men and Saints. Therefore Hearken vnto me, ye holy chil­dren, Eccl. 39. 13. and budde forth as a Rose growing by the brook of the fielde. Giue ye a sweet sauour, as frankincense, and flourish as a Lilly, send forth a smell, sing a song of prayse, and blesse the Lord in all his workes.

2. That they taste well. Many a flower hath a sweet smell, but not so wholsome a taste. Your Pharisaicall prayers and almes smelt sweetly in the vulgar nosthrils: taste them, and they were but rue, or rather worme-wood. When the Pharise sawe the Publican in the lower part of the Temple, standing as it were in the Belfrey; he could cry, Foh this Publican: but when they were both tasted, by his palate that could iudge, the Publican hath an herbe in his bosome, and [Page 65] the Pharise but a gay, gorgeous, stinking weede. The herbes, that the Passeouer were eaten with, were sowre: yet they were enioined with sweet bread. Sowre they might be, but they were whol­some. Herbes haue not onely their sauour, but their nutriment. He causeth the grasse to growe for the cattell, Psa. 104. 14 and herbe for the seruice of man: that he may bring food out of the earth. Herbs thē are food, and haue an alimentall vertue. So we may both with the herbes of charitie feed mens bodies, and with the herbes of piety feede their soules. A good life is a good sallet: and in the second place to precepts, are vsefully necessary good exāples. The bloud of Martyrs is sayd to haue nourished the Church. The patience of the Saints, in the hottest extremity of their afflictions, euen when the flames of death hath clipped them in their armes; hath been no lesse then a kindly nourish­ment to many mens faith. It is expounded by an vniuersall consent of Diuines, that one of those 3. feedings, which Christ imposed on Peter, is Pasce exemplo; let thy life feed them. Blessed Gardens that yeeld herbes, like Iothams vine, that cheare the heart of both God and man. Iudg. 9 [...] 13. The Poets fain'd, that Nectar & Ambrosia were the food of their Gods. Iupiter Ambrosia satur est, est Nectare plenus. But the true Gods dyet, is the vertues of his Saints, wherwith he promiseth to suppe, when he comes into their hearts. Faith,Reu. 3. 20. loue, patience, meeknes, honestie; these dishes are his dainties.

If thou wouldest make Christ good cheare in [Page 66] the parlour of thy conscience, bring him the herbes of obedience. Doe not say, I would haue beene as kinde and liberall to my Sauiour as the best, had I liued in those dayes, when he blessed the world with his bodily presence. But now I may say with Mary Magdalen: They haue taken away the Lord, Ioh. 20. 2. and I know not where to finde him. Damne not thy selfe with excuses. Wheresoe­uer his Church is, there is he; exercise thy piety. Wheresoeuer his members are, there is he; exer­cise thy charity. Thou art very niggardly, if thou wilt not afford him a sallet, a dinner of herbes. Yet, sayth Salomon, A dinner of greene herbes with loue, is better then a fatte Oxe with hatred.

3. That they be fitte to adorne. Herbes and flo­wers haue not only their vse in pleasing the no­strills, and the palate, but the eye also. They giue delight to all those three senses. Good workes are the beauty of a house, and a better sight then fresh herbes strew'd in the windores. The Cham­ber, where Christ would eate his Passouer, was trimmed: and the Palace of our Princely Salomon is paued With Loue of the daughters of Ierusalem. Cant. 3. 10.

There is no ornature in the World like good deeds: no hanging of Tapestry, or Arrase, comes neere it. A stately building where an Idolater dwells, is but a gawdy coate to a Sodome-apple. When you see an Oppressour raising a great house from the ruines of many lesse; depopula­ting a Countrey to make vp one Family; buil­ding his Parlours with extortion, and cimen­ting [Page 67] his walls with the morter of bloud: you say, there is a foule Minotaure in a faire Labyrinth. Be a man dead, it is a foolish hope to reare im­mortalitie with a few senselesse stones. Perhaps the Passenger wil be hereby occasioned, to com­ment vpon his bad life; and to discourse to his company the long enumeration of such a mans vices. So a perpetuall succession of infamie an­sweres his gay sepulchre: and it had bin better for him, to haue been vtterly inglorious, then inex­cusably infamous. The best report, that can be drawne from him, is but this. Here lyes a faire Tombe, and a foule carcase in it.

These things doe neither honest a man liuing, nor honour him dead. Good works are the best ornaments, the most lasting monuments. They become the house wherein thy soule dwelleth, whiles it dwels there: and blesse thy memorie, when those two are parted. A good life is mans best monument: and that Epitaph shall last, as if it were written with a pen of iron, and claw of a Diamond; which is made vp of vertuous acti­ons. Good herbes beautifie more then dead stones. Wheresoeuer thou shalt be buried, ob­scurity shall not swallow thee. Euery good heart that knew thee is thy Tombe; and euery tongue writes happy Epitaphes on thy memoriall. Thus height vp your soules with a treasure of good works. Let your herbes smel sweetly, let them tast chearfully; let them adorne beautiously. So Gods palate, his nosthrils, his sight shall be well pleased.

[Page 68] 4. That they be medicinable; and serue not onely as Antidotes to preuent, but as medica­ments to cure the soules infirmities. The poore mans physicke lyes in his Garden: the good soule can fetch an herbe from his heart (of Gods planting there) that can helpe him. Plinie writes of a certaine herbe, which he calls Thelygonum; we in English, The grace of God. A happy herbe, and worthy to stand in the first place, as chiefe of the garden. For it is the principal, and (as it were) the Genus of al the rest. We may say of it, as some write of the Carduus benedictus, or Holy-thistle; that it is herba omnimorbia; an herbe of such vertue, that it can cure all diseases. This may heale a man, who is otherwise nullis medicabilis herbis. Wretched men, that are without this herbe, The grace of God, in their gardens.

Hysope and Humilitie.

IS a man tempted to pride? and that is a saw­cie sinne, euer busie among good workes, like a Iudas among the Apostles: let him looke into this Garden for Hysop, Humility of Spirit. Of which herbe it is written.

Est humilis, petrae (que) suis radicibus haeret.

Let him be taught by this herbe, to annihilate [Page 69] his owne worth, and to cleaue to the Rocke, whereout he growes, and whereof hee is vphol­den, IESVS CHRIST. Or let him produce the Camomill, which smels the sweeter, the more it is trodden on. Humility is a gracious herbe, and allayes the wrath of God; whereas pride pro­uokes it. It is recorded of an english king, Edward the first, that being exceeding angry with a ser­uant of his, in the sport of hawking, he threatned him sharply. The gentleman answered, it was well there was a riuer betweene them. Hereat the King more incensed, spurr'd his horse into the depth of the Riuer, not without extreame danger of his life; the water being deep, and the banks too steep and high for his ascending. Yet at last recouering land, with his sword drawne, he pursues the seruant; who rode as fast from him. But finding himself too ill-hors'd, to out-ride the angry King; he reyned, lighted, and on his knees exposed his neck to the blow of the kings sword. The King no sooner saw this, but he put vp his sword, and would not touch him. A dangerous water could not with-hold him from violence; yet his seruants submission did soon pacifie him. Whiles man flyes stubbornely from God, hee that rides vpon the wings of the winde, postes af­ter him with the sword of vengeance drawne. But when dust and ashes humbles himselfe, and stands to his mercie, the wrath of God is soone appeased.

This Camomill or Hysop growes very lowe: [Page 70] Humblenesse roots downeward, yet no herbe hath so high branches. We say, that proud men haue high mindes: they haue not. For their mindes only aspire to some earthly honours, which are but low shrubbes indeed. The humble man a­spires to heauen, and to bee great in the eternall Kings fauour; and this is the true, but good height of minde. His desires haue a high ayme, though their dwelling bee in the vale of an hum­ble heart. There are engines, that raise water to fall, that it may rise the higher. A lowly heart, by abasing it selfe in the sight of God and men, doth mount al the other graces of the soule as high as heauen; and the eye of mercie accepts them. Pride is a stinking weede; and though it be gay and garish, is but like the Horse-flower. In the field it is of glorious shew: croppe it, and you cannot endure the sauour. At the best, the proud man is but like the bird of Paradise, or the E­stridge; his feathers are more worth then his bo­dy. Let not thy Garden be without this herbe Hu­militie. It may be least respected with men; and among other herbs ouerlooked; but most accep­table to God. Respexit humilitatem ancillae suae, sings the Virgin MARY. He had regard to the low­linesse of his hand-maiden. It shall not want a good remembrance, a good recompence. For the last, the least, and the lowest may come to be the first, the greatest, and the highest. This is a necessary herbe.

Bulapathum. The herbe Patience.

IS a man, through multitude of troubles, al­most wrought to impatience; and to repine at the prouidence of GOD; that disposeth no more ease? Let him fetch an herbe out of the Garden to cure this maladie; Bulapathum, the herbe Patience. The Adamant serues not for all seas; but Patience is good for all estates. Gods purpose cannot be eluded with impatience: and man vnder his hand, is like a bird in a nette; the more he struggles, the faster he is. Impatience regards not the highest but secondary causes: and so bites the stone in stead of the thrower. If our inferiour strike vs, we trebble reuenge. If an equall, we requite it. If a superior, we repine not: or if wee mutter, yet not vtter our discontent. Thinke whose hand strikes: it is Gods. Whe­ther by a Pleurisie, or a Feuer, or a Sword, or what euer other instrument. The blow was his, whatsoeuer vvas the weapon. And this wound will not bee cured, vnlesse by applying the herbe Patience.

The good man hath such a hand ouer fortune; knowing who guides and disposeth all euents; that no miseries, though they bee sodaine as well as sharpe, can vn-heart him. If he must dye, he goes breast to breast with vertue. If his life must [Page 72] tarry a further succession of miseries, hee makes absent ioyes present, wants plenitudes; a [...]d be­guiles calamity, as good company does the way, by Patience. 1. King. 22. 34. A certaine man drew a bowe at a ven­ture, and smote the King of Israel betweene the ioynts of the harnesse. The man shot at random, or as the Hebrew hath it, in his simplicitie; but God di­rected the arrow to strike Ahab. 2. Sam. 16. 11. So Dauid spake of Shimei. Let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him. It may be that the Lord will looke on mine affliction, and that the Lord wil re­quite good for his cursing this day. Consider wee not so much, how vniust man is that giueth the wrong; as how iust God is that guideth it. Non venit sine merito, quia Deus est iustus: nec erit sine commodo, quia Deus est bonus. It comes not with­out our desert, for God is iust: nor shall be with­out our profite, for God is mercifull. God hath an herbe, which he often puts into his childrens sallet; that is Rue: and mans herbe wherewith he eates it, must be Lapathum, Patience.

This Rue is affliction; which hath a profita­ble effect in those that qnietly digest it. Of all the herbes in the garden, onely Rue is the herbe of grace. How much vertue is wrought in the soule by this bitter plant! It is held by some a sicknes: it is rather Physick: a sharpe and short medicine, that bringeth with it much and long health. This, if they wil needs haue it a sicknesse, may be com­pared to the Ague. The Ague shakes a man worse then another disease, that is mortall. At [Page 73] last it giues [...] a kinde farewell, and sayes, I haue purged thy choler, and made thee healthfull; by consuming and spending out that humor, which would haue endangered thy life. Affliction in the taste is often more bitter, then a iudgement that kills outright: but at last it tells the soule, I haue purged away thy foulenesse, wrought out thy Iustes, and left there a sound man. So the good Physician procureth to his Patient a gentle Ague, that hee may cure him of a more dangerous disease. Vt curet spasmum, procurat fe­brim. Christ our best Physician deales a little roughly with vs, that hee may set vs straight. And howsoeuer the Feuer of affliction disquiet vs a while, we shall sing in the conclusion with the Psalmist. Psal. 119. 71. It is good for me that I haue been af­flicted; that I might learne thy statutes.

Saepe facit Deus opus quod non est summ; vt fa­ciat opus quod est suum. GOD by a worke that is none of his, effecteth a work in vs that is his. He molests vs with some vexations, as hee did Iob; which is Satans worke immediately, not his; that thereby hee might bring vs to patience and obe­dience, which is his work immediatly and whol­ly,1. Cor. [...]1. 30 not Satans. So wee are chastned of the Lord, that wee might not bee condemned with the world.

Bees are drown'd in honey, but liue in vine­ger, and good men grow the better affected, the more they are afflicted. The poore man for his ague, goes to his garden, and plucks vp thyme. The remedy for this spirituall seuer, is true, but [Page 74] sensible pâtience. Men should feele Gods strokes, and so beare them. It is dispraiseable, either to be senselesse or fenselesse. Not to know wee are stricken, or not to take the blowes on the target of Patience.

Many can lament the effectes, but not the cause: and sorrow that God grieues them, not that they grieue God. They are angry with hea­uen, for being angry with them. They with hea­uen for iustice, that is angry with them for iniu­stice. But Maereamus, quod mereamur paenam. Let not the punishment, but the cause of it, make thy soule sorrowfull. Know thou art whipp'd for thy faults; and apply to the prints the herbe Pa­tience.

Hearts-case, and spirituall ioy.

DOth sorrow and anguish cast downe a mans hart, and may he complain, that his soule is disquieted within him? Psal. 42. Let him fetch an herbe out of this Garden, called Hearts­ease; an inward ioy which the holy Ghost wor­keth in him. Though all the dayes of the afflicted be euill, Pro. 15. 15. yet a merry heart is a continuall feast. This is Heauen vpon earth. Rom. 14.Rom. 14. 17. Peace of consci­ence, and ioy of the holy Ghost. His conscience is as­sured of peace with God, of reconciliation in the [Page 75] bloud of IESVS; and that his soule is wrapp'd vp in the bundle of life.

This may be well called Hearts-ease: it is a ho­ly, a happy herbe to comfort the spirits. When worldly ioyes, either (like Rahels children) are not, or (like Eli's) are rebellious, there is Hearts­ease in this Garden, that shall cheare him against all sorrowes, certainty of Gods fauo [...]r. Let the world frowne, and all things in it runne crosse to the graine of our mindes; yet with thee, O Lord, is mereie and plentifull redemption. And, if no bo­dy els,Psal. 73. 1. yet God will be stil good to Israel, euen to those that are of a pure heart. Those which we call penal euils, are either past, present, or to come: and they cause in the soule, sorrow, paine, feare. E­uils past sorrow, present paine, future feare. Here is Hearts-ease for all these. Miseries past are sola­ced, because God hath turned them to our good; and we are made the better, by once being worse. Miseries present finde mitigation: and the infi­nite comfort that is with vs, within vs, sweetens the finite bitternesse that is without vs. Miseries future are to vs contingent: they are vncertaine, but our strength is certaine; God. Noui in quem credidi: I know whom I haue trusted. Heere is a­abundant ease to the heart.

Balsamum, or Faith.

HAth the heart got a greene wound, by comitting some offense against God? for actuall iniquity makes a gash in the soule. The good man runnes for Balsamum, and stan­cheth the bloud: Faith in the promises of Iesus Christ. He knowes there is Balme at Gilead, and there are Physicians there: Ier. 8. 22. and therefore the health of his soule may easily be recouered. He is sure, that if the bloud of Christ bee applyed, it will soone stanch the bloud of his conscience, and keepe him from bleeding to death: and that the wounds of his Sauiour will cure the wounds of his soule. And though this virtuall healing herbe be in Gods owne Garden, yet he hath a key to open it, prayer: and a hand to take it out, and to lay it on his sores, faith. This is a soueraigne herbe; and indeed so soueraigne, that there is no herbe good to vs, without it. It may bee called Panaces; which Physicians say is an herbe for all manner of diseases: and is indeede the prin­cipall herbe of grace; for it adornes the soule with all the merits and righteousnes of IESVS CHRIST.

Saint Iohns-wort, or Charitie.

DOth the world, through sweetnesse of gaine, that comes a little too fast vpon a man, begin to carry away his heart to co­uetousnesse? Let him look in this Garden for the herbe, called Saint-Iohns-wort, Charity, and bro­therly loue. It is called S. Iohns. herbe not vnpro­perly: for hee spent a whole Epistle in commen­ding to vs this grace; and often inculcated; Lit­tle children, loue one another. And he further tea­cheth, that this loue must be actuall. For he that hath this worlds goods, 1. Ioh. 3. 17. and seeth his brother hath need, and shutteth vp his cowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the loue of God in him? He hath no such herbe, as Saint-Iohns-wort in his garden. The good Christian considers, that he hath the goods of this world, to doe good in this world. And that his riches are called Bona, August. Goods; Non quod faciant bonum, sed vnde faciat bonum; not that they make him a good man, but giue him meanes to doe good to others.

He learns a Maxime of Christ from the world; which the world teacheth, but followeth not; that is, to make sure as much wealth as he can: as if it were madnes, to leaue those goodes behind him, which he may cary with him. This policie we all confesse good; but faile in the consecution. The world thinkes, that this assurance is got by [Page 78] purchasing great reuenews, or by locking vp gold in a coffer. The Christian likes well to saue what he can; but hee thinks this is not the waie to do it. He considers, that the richest hoorder leaues all behind him; and carries nothing but a winding­sheet to his graue. But he finds out this policy in the Scripturs;Psal. 73. as Dauid was resolued of his doubt in the Sanctuary: that what hee charitably giues aliue, hee shall carry with him dead; and so re­solues to giue much, that hee may keepe much. Therfore what hee must loose by keeping, he will keepe by loosing: and so proues richer vnder ground, then ere hee was aboue it. The poore mans hand he sees, to be Christs treasurie: there hee hoords vp; knowing it shall be surely kept, and safely returned him. His Garden shall stand ful with Saint-Iohns-wort; and Charity is his herbe, to cure all the sores of couetousnes.

Peny-royall, and Content,

DOth pouerty fasten her sharpe teeth in a mans sides and cannot all his good indu­stry keepe want from his familie? Let him come to this Garden for a little Peny-royall, Con­tent. This will teach him to thinke, that God who feedes the Rauens, and clothes the Lillies, will not suffer him to lacke foode and rayment. The birds of the ayre neither plow nor sow, yet hee neuer sees them lye dead in his way for want [Page 79] of prouision. They sleepe, and sing, and fly, and play, and lacke not. He gathers hence infallibly, that God will blesse his honest endeuours: and whiles he is sure of Gods benediction, he thinks his Peny royall, his poore estate rich. No man is so happy as to haue all things; and none so mise­rable as not to haue some. He knowes hee hath some; and that of the best riches: therfore resol­ueth to enioy them, and to want the rest with Content. He that hath this herbe in his garden, Peny-royall, contentation of heart; bee he neuer so poore, is very rich.

Agnus castus, and Continence.

DOth the rebellious flesh, vpon a little in­dulgence, grow wanton; and would con­cupiscence enkindle the fire of lust? The good soule hath in this Garden, an herbe called, Agnus castus, the chaste herbe; and good store of Lettuce: which Physicians say, coole this natu­ral intemperate heat. His Agnus castus & Lettuce, are Prayer and Fasting. He knowes, that if this kind of diuel get possession of the hart, it goes not out but by Prayer and fasting. It is fasting spettle, that must kill that Serpent. Mistris Venus dwels at the signe of the Iuy-bush: and where the belly is made a barrell, stuffed with delicious meates, and heating drinkes, the concupi­scence will be luxurious of turpitudes. Sine Ce­rere & Baccho friget Venus. Venerie will freese, [Page 80] if wine and iunkets doe not make her a fire. Lust will starue, if flesh-pampering shall not get her a stomach. Where there is thin diet, and cleane teeth, there will follow Chastitie.

Barly-water, or Coole-anger.

DOth the heate of anger boyle in a mans heart; and enrageth him to some violent and precipitate courses? Let him extract from this garden the iuyce of many cooling herbes; and among the rest a drinke of Barly-wa­ter; a Tysan of Meekenesse, to coole this fire. He that hath proceeded to anger, is a man: he that hath not proceeded to sinfull, harmefull anger, is a Christian, Iras [...]i hominis, i [...]iurtam non facere Christiani. Ierem. The most louing man will chide his friend sweetly; and he that doth not, hates him in his heart. Sic vigelit tolerantia, vt non dormiat disciplina. August. But hee will not be transported with anger, to the losse of his friends, of himselfe. He considers, that God is prouoked euery day, yet is long suffering, & of great goodnes. He heares that others speake ill of him: he iudgeth not without certaine knowledge. Knowing, hee suffers not himselfe abused. It were sillinesse to beleeue all; sullennesse to beleeue none. The wrong done to God and a good conscience must moue him.

[Page 81] Non patitur ludum fama, fides, oculus.

A mans name, his faith, and his eye must not be iested withall. Yet when he is most angry, he recollects himselfe, and clappes vpon his heate a Tysan of meekenesse.

Parsley, or Frugalitie.

DEclines a mans estate in this world, as if his hand had scattered too lauishly? There is an herbe in this Garden; let him for a while feed on it: Parsley, Parsimonie. Here­on he wil abridge himselfe of some superfluities: and remember, that moderate fare is better then a whole Colledge of Physicians. He will weare good cloathes, and neuer better; knowing there is no degree beyond decency. It was for Pompey to weare as rich a scarfe about his legge, as other Princes wore on their heads. But the frugall man can clothe himselfe all ouer decently, with halfe the cost, that one of our gallant Pompeyes caseth his legge. He that would not want long, let him practise to want somewhat, before he extreamely needs.Martyrol. pag. 1872. I haue read of an English Martyr, that being put into a prison at Canterbury, tryed (when shee had liberty of better fare) to liue on a spare dyet; as preparing and prearming herselfe with ability to brooke it, when necessity should [Page 82] put her to it. Frugality puts but three fingers in­to the purse at once: Prodigality scatters it by heapes and handfuls. It is reported, that Caesars host liued a long time at Dyrrhachium with Cole­worts: whereof arose the Prouerbe, Lapsana viue­re, to liue sparingly. That stocke lasts, that is nei­ther hoorded miserably, nor dealt out indiscreet­ly. We sow the furrow, not by the sacke, but by the handfull. The wise man knowes, it is better looking through a poore lattice-window, then through an iron grate. And though hee will lend what hee may, hee will not borrow till hee must neede.

Liuer-wort, or Peaceable loue.

IS a man sick in his liuer, by accession of some distemperature? Doth his charity and loue to some neighbours, for their malignancie a­gainst him, faile and faint in his heart? For they say, Cogit amare Iecur. I stand not here on the distinction betwixt Amare and Diligere. Then let him steppe to this Garden, for some Iecuraria; we call it Liuer-wort. Hee askes of his heart for his olde loue, his wonted amity: if his reason an­swere, that the persecutions of such and such ca­lumnies haue fled her into another countrey; he is not at quiet, till affection fetch it home again. [Page 83] He thinkes, that night hee sleepes without Cha­ritie in his bosome, his pillow is harder then Ia­cobs was at Bethel. If carnall respects can draw him to loue his friend for his profite,Gen. 28. or his kins­man for bloud: he will much more loue a Chri­stian for his Fathers sake, for his owne sake.

There is a story (nothing worth but for the morall) of a great King, that married his daugh­ter to a poore Gentleman, that loued her But his grant had a condition annexed to it, that when­soeuer the Gentlemans left side looked blacke, or hee lost his wedding ring, hee should not onely loose his Wife, but his life. One day pursuing his sports, he fell into a quarrell; where (at once) he receiued a bruise on his left breast, and lost his ring in the scuffing. The tumult o­uer, hee perceiued the danger, whereinto his owne heedlesnesse had brought him; and in bit­ternesse of soule shedde many teares. In his sor­row, he spied a booke, which opening, he found therein his ring againe; and the first words hee read, were a medicine for a bruised side. It di­rected him three herbes, whereof a playster ap­plyed should not faile to heale him. Hee did so; was cured; was secured.

The application is this. The great King of heauen marries to man, poore man, his owne daughter, Mercie, and euerlasting kindnesse: But threatens him, that his side must not looke black; his heart must not bee polluted with spirituall a­dulteries: nor must he loose his wedding ring, [Page 84] loue to God and his Saints: l [...] hee forset both Gods mercy, and his owne saluation. Man in the pursiue of worldly affaires, quarrels with his neighbours, and sc [...]ffles with cotention. So his heart takes a bruise, and looks blacke with ha­tred. And Charity his wedding ring is lost, in these wilfull turbulencies and vexations. What should hee doe but mourne? Loe, God in his goodnesse, directs him to a book, the holy Gos­pell. There the Spirit helpes him to his ring a­gaine, his former loue; and to heale his bruise, prescribes him three herbes.

First Rue, or herbe of grace, which is repen­tance this teacheth him to sorrow for his strife and emulation; and purgeth away the bruised bloud.

The second is the [...] deluce, Thankfulnes: he considers how infinitly God hath loued him; therefore he must needes loue God, and in him his. Beatus qui amat te, & amicum in te, & ini­micum propter te. Hee [...] it impossible, to loue him he hath not seene, and to hate his Image, which he hath seene.

The third, [...], which will grow the fa­ster for iniuries. Many wrongs hereafter shal not put him out of charitie. A good plaister of these herbes will draw his bosome white againe. And when it is so, let him vse Iecurarta, L [...]er-wort; a continuall application of loue to his heart: that he keeping his ring of faith sure from loosing; and his brest from the selfe-procured blowes of [Page 85] contention; hee may hold also his wife for euer; that beautifull daughter of the King, Gods eter­nall mercy.

Lilly, or Purenesse of heart.

DOth a man perceiue his heart a little be­guiled with o [...]tentation, and desires hee to seeme better then he is? And how ea­sily is man wonne, to answere his commenders speculation? Let him fetch the Lillie, purenesse of heart; which is an herbe of grace, growing in the humble valley of a meeke spirit; yet is white, and louely. He knowes, God can vnmask the vizarded face, and turne the inside outward. If a man be a Herod within, and a Iohn without: a wicked Polititian in a ruffe of Precisian-set; God can distinguish him. There are too many of these, that stand vp in the fabricke like Pyrami­des: it were better for vs, for themselues, if they were but good honest pillars. Plaine-dealing, is a good plaine song, and makes better musicke, then a forc'd squeaking trebble, that troubles vs all with [...]ouelties. Shallow honesty is more com­mendable, then the profound quicke-sands of subtiltie: and one leafe of the Plane-tree, is bet­ter then many handfuls of the pricking Holly. They search out iniquities, they accomplish a diligent search: Psal. 64. 6. both the inward thought of euery one of them, and the heart is deepe. But when God shal wound [Page 86] them with his arrowe, They shall make their tongue fall vpon themselues. Such a mans owne witte shall snare him; and hee shall sing, or ra­ther sigh, Ingenio perii. They are glad of Christs Crosse; not to suffer for it, but to enioy plenitude of riches by it: And so, like many in great Fune­rals, reioice to bee mour [...]ers; that they may get some of the blackes. Put them to no charges, and they'l make you beleeue, they are strongly, strangely religious. But, 2. Sam. 24.2. Sam. 24. 24. Shall wee offer burnt sacrifices to the Lord our GOD of that which cost vs nothing? Christ compares this man to a painted sepulcher. Sepulchrum quasi semi-pul­chrum, sayth one. Extra nitidum, intus foetidum. But let them be the men they seeme; and not net­tles in the midst of a rose-cake. The good great man, though hee bee able securely to doe much mischiefe; regards more the sins indignitie, then his owne indemnity.

Enula campa [...]a, or Obedience.

PErhaps euill example hath suddenly, and, without prouided consideration, led a man into euill. Let him runne to this Garden for Enulaeampana. This herbe is that Christ enioi­ned vs. Search the Scriptures; adhere to the word of the Lord. This shal giue decision of al doubts: and teach thee what path to flye, what way to take. It is giuen of this herbe. Enula campana [Page 87] reddit praecordia sana. It is true of our constant cleauing to the word; that it shall purge the hart of what corruption soeuer bad precedents haue put into it. Of all the herbes in thy Garden loose not this. Forgoe not the Sword of the Spirit: it is thy best weapon.

Heart-wort, or Affiance in Gods promises.

IT may be, sorrow of heart for sinnes hath cast a man downe; and he is swallowed vp of too much heauinesse. There is an herbe to com­fort him, called, Heart-wort; affiance in the mer­cifull promises of God: past to him by Word, Oath, Seale, Scriptures, Sacraments,: and ther­fore infallible. At what time soeuer what sinner soeuer repents of what sinne soeuer, God wil put all his wickednesse out of his remembrance. Hee will not let that promise fall to the ground, but meets it with peace and ioy. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shal be comforted. Mat. 5. 4. He beleeues that his wet seed time shall haue a glad haruest:Psal. 126. 5. for they that sowe in teares, shall reape in ioy. Hee perswades himselfe, that the dayes of mourning will passe ouer, as the winde blowes ouer the raine; and then God will wipe away al teares from his eyes, Ren. 7. 17. with the hand of mercie. This confidence, in the midst of all sorrowes, is his Heart-wort.

Hyaeinth, or Following Christ.

SAy that the Christian hath met with some guilded pill of corruption; some poyso­nous doctrine, yet plausible to flesh and bloud. Let him search this Garden for Hyacinth, or So [...]sequium, Tornesol: an herbe, that duely and obediently followes the Sunne. Doe thou follow the Sunne of righteousnesse: Mal. 4. 2. and let his bright beames guide thy course: who hath promised to teach all those, that with an humble heart, and earnest prayer seeke it at his hands. Follow the Sunne, and he wil bring thee where he is, to hea­uen, at the right hand of his Father. Let no wandring Planet erre thee; but adhere to the Sunne with a faithfull imitation.

Care- [...]way.

IF worldly troubles come too fast vpon a man; hee hath an herbe called Careaway. Not that hee bequeathes himselfe to a supine negli­gence, as if God would fill his house with proui­sion, while he sits and sings care away. But as he is free from idlenesse, so also from distrust. Hee considers the Rauens and Lillies; and knowes, that the Lord is the Preseruer of men, as well as of Fowles and flowers: that hee respects man a­boue [Page 89] those, and his owne aboue other men. Therefore hee throwes all his cares vpon God; as if they were too heauy a lode for himselfe. Sollicitous thoughtfulnes can giue him no hurt, but this herbe Careaway shall easily cure it.

Holy Thi [...]tle, or good Resolution.

YEeld that hee is pressed with iniuries; as who will liue godly in Christ, and shall not suffer persecution! He is oppressed by force or fraud, might or subtilty; and cannot helpe himselfe. He hath a good herbe in this Garden, called Carduus Benedictus, Holy thistle: a godly resolution, that through many miseries he must enter heauen. He rests himselfe on God; and rather wisheth his harmelesnesse should suffer, then himselfe not to giue passiue and patient o­bedience to lawfull authority. Our God whom we serue is able to deliuer vs from the burning fiery fur­nace, Dan. 3. 17. and hee will deliuer vs out of thine hand, O King. But if not; be it knowne to thee, O King, that, wee will not serue thy gods, nor worship thy golden Image.

There are many other herbes in this garden: as if hee be to deale with craftie aduersaries, let him fetch some Sage, honest policie; and such as may stand with an vntouched conscience. For [Page 90] Christ gaue vs this prohibition, to bee wise as Serpents; though withall a cohibition, that we be harmelesse as Doues. Mat. 10. 16. If he be tempted to ebriety, he hath in this Garden, Coleworts; moderate ab­stinence. Matthiolus on the preface of Diosco­rides notes such a naturall enmitie betwixt this herbe and drunkennesse: that if you plant Cole­wort neere to the rootes of the Vine, of it selfe it flyeth from them. But I excuse my selfe.

Non ego cunct a meis amplecti versibus opto.

I would not leaue nothing vnsayd. Thus I haue walked you through a sacred Garden of many gracious herbes: happy soules thus plan­ted. I will stay you no longer, then to heare your blessing.

It receiueth blessing from God.

THe Reward giues a happy conclusion to this good ground. So it pleaseth the Lord to accept our labours, that he will reward them; not after our owne merit, for that is not an atome; but after his owne mercy, which ex­ceedes heauen and earth. Receiue this blessing with a thankfull heart; thou hast not earn'd it. It is obiected, that here it is sayd, their workes are meet for God, therefore deserue this blessing. And Wisd. 3.Wisd. 3. 5. God proued them, and found them meete for himselfe; as if they could stand Gods tryall. And [Page 91] Paul exhorts vs to walke worthie of the vocation, Eph. 4. 1. wherewith we are called. I answere, Deus coronat don [...] sua, non merit a nostra. Aug. God rewards his owne workes, not our worth. It is giuen, Non meritis operantis, sed miseratione donantis: not for the de­serts of the doer, but for the mercie of the giuer. Datur operatoribus, non pro operibus. Luke chap. 12. Verse 32.Luke 12. 32. It is my Fathers will to giue you a kingdome.

Do wee good? from whom is it? doth not God worke in vs to will and to doe? Thou hast done well: be comforted; be not proud. It was Gods worke,Bern. not thine. Omnia merita Dei dona sunt: & it a homo propter ipsa magis Deo debitor est, quam Deus homini. All our good workes are Gods giftes: and therefore man is more behol­ding to God for them, then God to man. If in this Garden any good herbe spring ouer the wall, and sawcily challenge to i [...] selfe a prerogatiue of merite; deale with it, as the Gardiner with su­persluous branches; prune it off. Or as Tor qua­tus with his ouer-venturous sonne; cut it short with the sword of the Spirit, for daring beyond the Commission. Our Aduersaries oppose this truth very violently, both in the Schooles, and in the Pulpits: but come they to their death­beds, to argue it between God and their owne soules; then grace and grace alone; mercy and onely mercie; IESVS and none but IE­SVS.

And this euen their great Bell-weather is for­ced [Page 92] to acknowledge.Bellar. de Iu­stif. lib. 5. cap. 7. Propter incert it udinem pro­priae iustitiae, & periculum inanis gloriae, tutissi­mum est fiduciam totam in sola Dei misericordia & benignitate repo [...]ere. I will translate his words truly. By reason of the vncertainty of our owne righ­teousnesse, and the danger of vaine glorie; the sa­ [...]est course is to put our whole trust and confidence in in the onely fauour and mercie of God. But perhaps Bellarmine spoke this as a meere Iesuite; and now made Papable, hee bee willing to recant and vnsay it.

This blessing then comes not for the Grounds merite, but for the Dressers mercie. It is sayd, Gen. 6.Gen. 6. 5. tht God would destroy the World with a floud, Because the imaginations of mans heart were onely euill continually. And Gen. 8.Gen. 8. 21. it is sayd, that GOD will no more curse and destroy the ground for mans sake; because the imaginations of his heart are onely euill from his youth. The same reason that is alleaged, why God will not spare the world, is also alleaged why God will spare the world.

It serues plentifully to demonstrate, that not for mans merite, but for Gods mercie, confusi­on is withholden.Mal. 3. 6. I am the Lord, I change not. Therefore ye sonnes of Iacob are not consumed.

It receiueth.

SVch is the immense goodnesse of God, that he will adde grace to grace, aud when hee hath showne mercy, hee will shew more mercy. As if he expected no other argument of future bounty, but his former bounty. Whom he did predestinate, them also he called: and whom he called, Rom. 8. 30. them also hee iustified: and whom he iustified, them he also glorified. Man is to be considered in a foure-fold estate. Confectionis, Infectionis, Refe­ctionis, Perfectionis. First, God made him hap­py, without misery, without iniquity. God hath made man vpright: but they haue sought out manie inuentions. Eccl. 7. 29. If a glorious heauen aboue him, a fruitfull earth vnder him, feruiceable creatures about him, could giue him solace and folici­ty, hee was not scanted. Heere is mans first draught of Gods bountie; his originall state. 2. Then man fell from holinesse, and so from happinesse; and lost the fauour of the Creator, with the good of the creature: that a generall curse fell on the earth for his sake. Loe, now hee lyes weltring in his gore, who shall heale him, who shall reuiue him? God promised him a Sa­uiour, and kept his word. Looke on his owne only Sonne hanging, bleeding, dying on an ac­cursed Crosse. 3. A Redeemer is come; what is man the better for it, that hath no power to beleeue on him? Faith hee hath none, but what [Page 94] God must put into him. Againe, Lord helpe: let vs receiue yet a third mercie: make vs belee­uers, or we are neuer the better. We had as good haue no Sauiour, as not to haue him our Saui­our: and ours hee cannot be, vnlesse the Lord make vs his. 4. Lastly the Lord giues vs Faith: and so we shall receiue a happines by this belee­ued Sauiour, better then euer our first creation gaue vs: a kingdome; a kingdome of life; an eternall kingdome of life; that can neuer be ta­ken from vs. Thus wee are still receiuers, and God is the giuer. Wee receiue blessing from God.

Blessing.

THis word is of a great latitude. What good is there, which will not be brought within this compasse? This blessing hath a double extent. There is Beatitudo viae, and Bea­titudo Patriae. A blessing of the way, and a bles­sing of the Countrey: one of grace, the other of glory. The former is either outward, or inward.

1 Outward, Psal. 132.Ps. 132. 15. I will abundantly blesse her proutsion: I will satisfie her poore with bread. Deut. 28.Deut. 28. 4. Blessed in the field, blessed in the ci­tie. The fruits of thy body, of thy ground, of thy cat­tell shall be blessed. Thy basket, thy store; thy going out, and comming in shall be blessed. Which things doe often come to the godly euen on earth, and that in abundance. For as all haue not riches, that exceedingly loue them: so ma­ny haue them, that doe not much care for them. [Page 95] Wealth is like a woman; the more courted, the further off.

2 Inward. The godly on earth is (as it were) in the suburbs of heauen;Rom. 14. 17. whose kingdome consists, not in meate and drinke, but righteousnesse, peace of conscience, and ioy of the holy Ghost. Could his life bee as full of sorrowes, as euer Lazarus was full of sores, yet he is blessed. The Sunne-shine of mercie is still vpon him; and the blessing of GOD makes him rich. Let the ayre thunder, and the earth quake, and hell roare; yet He that walketh vprightly, Pro. 10. 9. walketh surely. Qui vadit plane, vadit sane. I haue read it storied of a young Vir­gin, that at a great Princes hands had the choise of three vessels. One whereof should be freely giuen her, euen that she should chuse. The first was a vessell of gold, richly wrought, and set with precious stones; and on it written. Who chooseth me shall haue what he deserueth. The second was of siluer. superscribed thus. Who chuseth me shall haue what nature desireth. The third was of lead; whose motto was this. Who chuseth me, shall haue what God hath disposed. The former pleased her eye well, but not her vn­derstanding. It offred what she deserued. She knew, that was iust nothing: therefore re­fused it. The second considered, offred what Nature desires. Shee thought that could bee no solide good; for Nature desires such things as please the carnall lust. This shee also refused. The third had a course outside, but [Page 96] the sentence pleased her wel; offering what God had disposed. So she faithfully put her selfe vpon Gods ordinance, and chose that. This Virginis mans soule. The golden vessell is the worlds ri­ches; contentf [...]ll to an auarous eye. Too many chuse this: but being open'd, it was full of dead mens bones, and a fooles bable. To testifie them fooles, which cleaue to the world: and at last all their hopes shall bee rewarded with a ba­ble. Neither is this all. Though their inward thought be, that their houses shall continue for euer; yet they shal be layd in the graue like sheep, Psal. 49. 11. 14. and death shall feed on them. The siluer-vessell is the lusts of the flesh; those fond and vaine delights, which concupiscence seeks. So saith the Motto: It giues what nature desireth: but corrupt nature affects nothing, but what giues cōplacency to the flesh. This vessell open'd was full of wild fire, and an i­ron whip. God shall scourge the lustfull here with the whip of iudgements, diseases of body, infamy of name, ouerthrow of estate, vexation of conscience. And Satan shall hereafter burne them in wild fire, such flames as can neuer bee quenched. The leaden vessell is, as the sense & sentence declares it, the blessing of God. The chu­ser of it shall haue what God hath disposed for him. Blessed soule that makes this election: for opened, it was found full of gold and most preci­ous iewels; euery one more worth then a world, the immortall graces of Gods Spirit.

The Virgin chose this, and she was married [Page 97] to the Kings sonne. Chuse this vessell, O my soule; and Iesus Christ the king of heauen shall marry thee. No matter though it seeme lead without; glister not with earthly vanities: it is rich within; the wealth thereof cannot be valu­ed, though all the Arithmeticians of the world goe about to summe it.Psal. 4. 6. There bee many that say, who will shewe vs anie good? Lord lift thou vp the light of thy countenance vpon vs.

This blessing hath yet a further extent, to the blessednesse of our Countrey: when wee shall heare it: Come yee blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdome prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Mat. 25. 34. For, si sic bonus es sequentibus te, qua­lis futurus es consequentibus! If thou Lord,Bern. Serm. 47. in Cant. be so good to those that follow thee, what wilt thou be to those that finde thee! If there be such bles­sing in this world, what shall that be in the life to come! If the first fruites of our inheritance, and the earnest of the spirit bee so graciously sweete here: surely when that infinite masse of glory shall be broken vp, and communicated to vs, we shall be wonderfully rauished. When that which is perfect is come, 1. Cor. 13. 10. then that which is in part shall bee done away. This is, beat a vita in fonte, sayth Aug. a blessed life indeed. Aeterna sine successione, di­stributa sine diminutione, communis sine inuidia, sufficiens sine indigentia, iucunda sine tristitia, bea­ta sine omni miseria. Thou wilt shewe mee the path of life: in thy presence is the fulnesse of ioy, Psal. 16. 11. at thy right hand there are pleasures for euermore.

[Page 98] No tongue can declare this blessing; happy heart that shall feele it: whose glorified eye shall one day behold all: and ten thousand times more then we haue spoken. Who shall say, as it is in the Psalme: Sicut [...], it a & vidimus; as we haue heard, so wee haue seene in the Citie of our God. As we haue heard it preached on earth, we now finde it true in heauen: though the Citie we enioy farre excell the mappe we sawe.

Well this is Gods blessing, and he will giue it to the good ground. Labour we then to bee fruitfull Gardens; and to abound with gracious herbes; that God may in this world showre vp­on vs, the deawes of his mercie: and after this life transplant vs to his heauenly Paradise. Let not the pleasures of sinne; the lusts of the wanton flesh, the riches, snares, cares of the world, nor all those transient delights, whose taste is only in the sense, the operation in the conscience; that tickle men for an houre, and wound them for e­uer: nor all those vaine desires of carnall com­placency, which shall one day bee layd vpon Gods cold earth; intercept vs to the priuation of this blessing.

Let vs not be hunting after sports, as Esau for venison, and loose our blessing: lest wee cry, howle, rore, when it is too late to recouer it Thinke, oh thinke: there is a heauen, a GOD, a IESVS, a kingdome of glory, society of Angels, communion of Saints, ioy, peace, hap­pinesse, and eternity of all these; which it will [Page 99] bee a fearefull thing to loose, for the base plea­sures and short delights of this world.

O great God of all, and sweete Father of thy chosen, poure vpon vs thy holy deawes of grace: make our soules to stand thicke with sanctified herbes; that we may receiue thy blessing. That honouring thee in the day of Grace, we may bee hononoured by thee in the day of Glory. Grant this for thy loued Sonne, and our louing Sauiour, euen, IESVS CHRIST his sake. Amen.

THE FORREST Of Thorn …

THE FORREST Of Thornes.

THE FOVRTH SERMON.

EZEK. 28. 24.
There shal be no more a pricking Bryar vnto the house of Israel, nor any grieuing Thorne of all that are round about them.

Terra salutifferas herbas, eadem que nocentes Nutrit; & vrticae proxima saepe rosa est.

LONDON, Printed by George Purslowe, for Iohn Budge, and are to be solde at his shop, at the great South-dore of Pauls, and at Brittaines Burse. 1616.

THE FORREST Of THORNES.
THE FOVRTH SERMON.

HEB. Chap. 6. Vers. 8.‘But that which beareth thornes and bryers, is reiected, and is nigh vnto cursing, whose end is to be burned.’

THis verse begins with a word of Dsiunction; But. The Raine of grace falls vpon the good ground: it returneth berbes; it receiueth blessing. But that which beareth thorns and bryers, is reiected, and is nigh vnto cursing. &c. It is vndeniably true, that S. Paul Act. 20. 27. knew no Purgatory: otherwise, he that shunned not to declare to men all the counsell of God, [Page 104] would not in a voluntary silence haue omitted this mysterie. He deliuers two sorts of Grounds, the good and the bad; the one blessed, the other neere vnto cursing. Hee knew no meane, either betwixt good and euill men, or betwixt reward and punishment, blessing and cursing. It seemes that Christ him [...]elfe was ignorant of that point, which the Papists know so soundly, and beleeue so roundly.Mat. 13. 24. For he sayes, In Gods Field, what­soeuer growes is either corne or cockle: for the one whereof a Barne is prouided; for the other, vnquenchable Fire. A third sort, betweene herbes and weedes, had either the Master or the Seruant knowne, they would haue acknow­ledged.

This first word of the Text, But, is a strong engine set to the wals of Purgatory, to ouer-turne them, and ouer-burne them with the fire of hell. For they are imaginary pales, that diuide hell and Purgatorie: take away your conceit, and they are both one: all is hell. For surely hell was raked, when Purgatory was found; and it is nothing els but a larder to the Popes Kitchin. What fancie soeuer founded it, their wittes are foundred, that labour to maintaine it. For they cannot tell vs, vel quid sit, vel vbi: what it is, nor where it is. They cauill with vs for want of vni­ty and consent in iudgement.De Purgat. lib. 2. cap. 6. Yet Bellarmine re­cites eight seuerall opinions amongst them, a­bout the place: And concludes at last, that it must remaine among those secrets, Quae suo [Page 105] tempore aperientur nobis; which shall bee vn­folded to vs in their times. Some thinke the torments of it to consist in fire, others in water: some that the afflicters are Angels, other that they are Deuils. So they teach omni modo, that which is nullo modo: and because it is vbique, is therefore nullibi. Howsoeuer, it being the Popes peculiar; and in his power to command the An­gels to fetch out whom hee list; mee thinks the Popes are strangely vnmercifull, that in all this time none of them hath made a generall Gaole-deliuerie. But our Purgatorie is the blood of Iesus Christ, 1. Ioh. 1. which clenseth vs from sinne. And they that haue no portion in this blood shall be reiected, are nigh vnto cursing, and their end is to be burned.

The barren, or rather euil-fruited ground is the ground of my discourse: and according to the common distinction of Euill, here is a dou­ble euill in the Text. Vnum quod malus facit, alte­rum quod malus patitur. An euill which the wic­ked man doth; and an euill which he suffers: an euill that is sinne, and an euill that is punishment for sinne. In the former the wicked are agents; in the latter, patients. The one euill is done by them, the other vpon them. They offend Gods iustice, and GOD in his iustice offends them. They haue loued cursing, and cursing shall be vnto them: they desired not blessing, and it is farre from them. They produce Thornes, and the end of thornes is to bee burned. The first and worst euill [Page 106] (for the other, though euill to them, is good in Gods good Iustice) is sinne. Herein 1. the wic­ked are compared to bad ground. 2. their ini­quities to thornes and bryers. 3. and the manner how so ill weeds arise from this ground, is said to be bearing. The earth that beareth thornes, &c. Here first obserue,

1 The different word the Apostle vseth. For the good earth, hee sayes, it is [...] bringing forth herbes. For the euill, it is [...], bearing, not bringing forth. As if good workes were brought forth like children, not without paine and trauell: euill workes but cast out like froth or skimme; as easily vented, as inuented. Therefore the earth is said ebullire, to bubble or boile out such things, as meere excretions. Our prouerbe sayes, An ill weed growes apace. Herbes grow not without preparing the ground, planting and watring them by seasonable deawes and di­ligence. Weeds are common: it is hard to set the foote besides them. The basest things are e­uer most plentifull. Plurima, pessima. I haue read of a kind of mouse, that breeds sixe score young ones in one nest. Whereas the off-spring of the Lyonesse or Elephant is but single. You shall find your furrowes full of Cockle and da [...]ell, though you neuer sew them. The earth, sayth the Philosopher, is now an own mother to weeds, and naturally breeds and feeds them: but a step­mother to good herbes. Man by a procliuitie of his own naturall inclination, is apt to produce [Page 107] thornes and bryers: but ere hee can bring forth herbes, Graces, God must take paines with him. No husbandman so labours his ground, as God our hearts. Happy earth, that yeelds him an ex­pected haruest. But that which beareth Thornes is neere to be cursed and burned.

2 Obserue, that a wicked man is compared to bad earth, and that fitly in 5. respects.

1 For basenesse. The earth is the heauiest of all Elements, and doth naturally sinke downe­wards; as if it had no rest, but in the center; which it selfe is. A wicked man is base-minded, and sinkes with a dull and ponderous declination; not regarding the things aboue, but these below. He hath commune with men sursum os, but with beasts, deorsum cor. All his affections haue a low obiect, not out of humilitie, but base deiection. His hope, desire, loue, ioy, are set on these inferi­our things: and like a Mole, he digs still downe­wards, till he come to his Center, his owne place, Hell.Acts. 1. Telluris inutile pondus.

2 For coldnesse. Experience teacheth that the earth is cold; & coldnes is a natural quality perti­nent to it, though accidentally there be bred in it fierie vapours. The wicked man hath a cold heart, frozen vp in the dregs of iniquitie; though there be an vnnaturall heat sometimes flaming in him; the fire of lust and malice tormenting his bow­els: but this is no kindly heate to warme his con­science. That is deriued from the fire of the Temple, that neuer goes out, and only giuen by [Page 108] Iesus Christ, that baptizeth with the holy Ghost, and with fire.

3 For foulenesse. The squalid earth (for we speake not heere of any good ground) is called Lutulenta terra; miery and noysome: yet is it neate and cleane in comparison of a sinne-conta­minated soule. The body was taken from the earth; not the Soule: the body shall resolue to the earth; not the soule: yet the polluted soule is more sordid, then either a leprous body, or a muddy earth. In the eye of GOD, there is no beautie so acceptable, no foulenesse so de­testable, as the soules. The Doue carried the prayse of beautie from the Peacocke, by the Ea­gles iudgement: that though the Peacocke li­uing had the fayrer plumes, yet dead he hath but a blacke liuer. Gods iudgement of all mens fairenesse, is by the liuer, the cleanesse of the heart in his eye-sight.

4 For obscuritie and darkenesse; the earth is called a place of blacke darkenesse, the land of forget­fulnesse. So Iob and Dauid tearme it. The wic­ked Soule is full of darkenesse, thicknesse of sight, caecitie of vnderstanding; not seeing the glori­ous libertie of the Sonnes of God. Our Gospell is hid to those that are lost. 1. Cor. 4. 4▪ Whose minds the god of this world hath blinded. [...]ugo. There is in them Hebetudo mentis, which is acutae rationis obtusio, carnalis in­temperantiae crassis sensibus inducta. They are so vtterly ignorant of heauen, that (as it is in the Prouerbe) ne pictum quidem viderunt: they haue [Page 109] not seene it, so much as in the mappe or picture. As to men shut vp in the low cauernes of the earth, not so much as the sunne, and starres, and the lights of heauens lower parts haue appeared. Tolerabilior est poena, viuere non posse, quam nescire. Ignorance is a heauier punishment then death; sayth the Philosopher.Se [...]. Darkenes is their desire, because their deeds are euill. Perhaps at last, after a long dotage on their darke delight, earth; they come to heare of a better & richer countrey: and then take onely with them the Lanterne of Na­ture to find it. But so erepto lumine can delabrum querunt. Hauing lost the light, they grope for the Candlesticke. A man that comes into his house at midnight, sees nothing amisse: in the day-light he finds many things misplac'd. Nature is but a darke Lanterne, when by it we endeuour to ransacke the conscience. Onely the light of grace can demonstrate all the sluttish and incuri­ous misorders in our soules.

5 The maine resemblance betweene an euill ground and worse man, consists in the ill fruites, that they both produce: bryers and thornes; and such (not onely vnhelpefull, but) hurtfull vices. This is the principal analogie, which our Apostle intends; the pith and marow of this reference. But before we come to a particular anatomizing of this Subiect, some obseruable doctrines fall profitably to our instruction. Obserue therfore.

1 The word of God will worke some way. It fals not vpon any ground in vaine; but will pro­duce [Page 110] herbes or weeds. It is such Physicke, as will either cure or kill. It mollifies one, makes ano­ther more hard.Acts. 2. Some hearts it pricks, others it terrifies, though conuerts not, as it made Foelix tremble. None euer heard it, but they are either better or worse by it.1. Cor. 1. 23. We preach Christ crucified, vnto the Iewes a stumbling blocke, vnto the Gentiles foolishnesse. But vnto them which are called, both of Iewes and Greeks, the power of GOD, Heb. 4. 12. and the wisedome of God. In this Epistle it is called a dou­ble-edged sword, &c. It is either a conuerting or conuincing power; sealing receiuers to redemp­tion, contemners to reiection. The word which I haue preached, shall iudge you in the latter day.

If this doctrine were considerately digested in hearers hearts, what a zealous preparation would it worke in their soules! It would bring vs to these seats with other minds, if we remem­bred, that wee returne not backe to our owne doores the very same wee came out; but either somewhat better,Act. 13. 7. 8. or much worse. Sergius Paulus was turned, Elimas obdurated at one Sermon. After our Sauiours heauenly Sermon. Iohn 6. Some went backe, Ioh. 6. 66. and walked no more with him; that Christ bespake his Apostles, Will ye also goe away? Others stucke more close.Verse 68. Lord, to whom shall we goe? Thou hast the words of eternall life. The Prophet Esay speakes fully to this purpose. As the raine commeth downe, Esay. 55. 10. and returneth not backe, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may giue seede to the sower, [Page 111] and bread to the eater. So shall my word be that go­eth forth out of my mouth: it shall not returne vnto mee voyd; but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

The word that we haue preached, shall either saue you, or iudge you. It shall be either a copy of your pardon, or a bill of your inditement at the last day. Iohn Baptist cals the Gospell a Fan, that will distinguish betweene true and false chil­dren, betweene Wheate and Chaffe. It will make knowne the faithfulnesse of those,Mat. 3. 12. that with ho­nest harts embrace it; and scatter hypocrites like chaffe, by reason of their insolid leuity. Simeon so prophecied to Mary the Virgin of her Son, That he should be the fall and the rising, the reparation and ruine of many:Luke. 2. 34. and whiles he is set for a signe Which shall bee spoken against, by this meanes the thoughts of many hearts shall be reuealed. The word is like fire, that hath a double operation vp­on the seuerall subiects it works; stubble or gold. It fires the one, and fines the other. Some hearts it enflames with zeale to it: other it sets on fire to quench, impugne, persecute it. It is to con­uersion, if beleeued; to confusion if despised. Lo, Christ, himselfe preaching, some faithfully enter­taine, others reiect;Mat. 8. as the Gergesens, that had ra­ther haue their hogges saued then their soules.

2. That thornes are produced, the fault is not in the good Raine, but the ill ground. What could I, Esa. 4. 5. sayth God, haue done more to my Vineyard? I haue done inough to make it beare good grapes. [Page 112] Wherefore then, or from what cause brings it forth wild grapes? The earth desires the influence of heauen, and showres from the cloudes, to make it fruitfull. It is granted: the Sunne shines, the dewes fall. The Garden hereupon brings forth herbes, the desart thornes. If these blessings of heauen were the proper cause of the weeds; why hath not then the good ground such cursed ef­fects? The euerlasting lampe of heauen sends forth his sauing rayes: and the sacred deawes of the Gospell fall on the pure and vncleane heart. There it is requited with a fertile obedience: here with an impious ingratitude. Let not the mercy of God be blamed for this mans miserie. Perditio ex se: God hath done enough to saue him. S. Augustine directly to this purpose. Si­mul pluit Dominus super segetes, De benedict. Esauet Iacob. & super spinas. Sed segeti pluit ad horreum, spinis ad ignem: & tamen vna est pl [...]uia. GOD at once raines vpon the herbes and the thornes. Vpon the herbs or good seed, to shoot it vp for his barne, for himselfe; vp­on the thornes to fit them for the fire: yet is it one and the same raine.

This shall couer the faces of Libertines with [...]uerlasting confusion; who are euermore rub­bing their owne filthinesse on Gods puritie; and charging him as the authour of their sinnes. If the Diuels in hell should speake, what could they say more? wee haue falne from our happinesse, and God caused it. Reprobate thoughts! Men haue spilt bloud, defiled forbidden beds, strucke [Page 113] at Princes with treasons, ruin'd countries with depopulations, filled the earth with rapes, and shot at heauen with blasphemies; and lay their damnation on their Maker: deriuing from his purpose excuses of their wickednesse. The ine­uitable decree of Gods counsell is charged: the thought of that hath made them carelesse: so with good food they poison themselues. Wil­ling fooles, racke not your beleefe with impossi­bilities. Behold! God is so farre from authori­zing your sinnes and falls; that he raines on yo [...] the holy deawes of his word to mollifie your hearts. Iustifying himselfe by this proffered meanes of your saluation, that he would not the death of a sinner. O but his hidden will is to damne vs. Mad men, that forsake that signed will, written in tables, published with trumpets, commanded with blessings, cursings, promises, menaces, to which euery soule stands bound! and fall to prying into those vnsearchable my­steries, couered with a curtaine of holy secrecy, not to be drawne aside till the day comes, where­in we shall know as we are knowne.

Cease aspiring man to roote thy wickdnesse in heauen; and to draw in God as an accessary to thy profanenesse. God would haue thee sa­ued, but thou wilt beare thorns and briars, though thou endangerest thy selfe to cursing. Is this the requitall for his mercy? Are all his kindnesses to thee thus taken? That when he hath done so much to bring thee to heauen, thou wilt taxe him [Page 114] for casting thee to hel? when he hath so laboured to make thee good, thou wilt lay to his charge thy owne voluntary badnesse. No: iustifie God, and magnifie his mercie. Accuse thine owne corrupt heart, that turnes so good and alimen­tall food into offensiue crudities. Say, Heauen is good, but thy ground is naught. Fatnesse and iuyce hath been bestowed on thee, but thou hast yeelded pestilent and noysome fruits. Lay not the fault on heauen, but on the natiue corrupti­on of thy owne heart, that hath decocted the goodnesse of God into venome.

3. This obseruation shall make way (and giue place) to another. That the ground is very vnthankfull, which answeres the kindnes of hea­uen in rayning on it, with bryars and thornes. Wretched man, that receiues so blessed deawes from the fountaine of mercie, and returnes an vngratefull wickednesse. Vnthankefull it is; as failing in both these essentiall parts of Gratitude; acknowledging, and requiting a benefite: and so guilty both of falshood and iniustice. Say the wicked did confesse Gods mercies, yet where's their obedience? True thankfulnesse is called Gratiarum actio, non dictio. Whiles for holy deawes they render vnholy weedes, this disobe­dience is the greatest Ingratitude. The silence of our tongues; the not opening our lippes, to let our mouth shew forth his prayse, is a grieuous vnthank­fulnesse. He is of an euill disposition, that con­ceales or dissembles a benefite. This is one [Page 115] branch of Ingratitude: but our speech hitherto keepes but lowe water; let vs rise vp to view the mountenous billows of that ingratitude here tax­ed; a reall, actual, sensuall, senselesse vnthankful­nesse: if it bee not a degree beyond it, and vn­thankfulnesse too poore a word to expresse it. Meere ingratitude returnes nothing for good; but this sinne returnes euill for good. Silence in acknowledging is too short: we must thinke of a contumacious and contumelious retribution. God, after his mercifull raine lookes for some herbs of Grace, when he walks down into his Gar­den, to see whether the Vine flourished, Cant. 6. 11. and the Pome­granates budded. And behold weedes, stinking weedes, stinging weedes; thornes and bryars! Here is Ingratitude in ful proportion, wiith all the dimensions of his vgly stigmaiticke forme. This is that wickednes, which brings the ground here to reiection, malediction, combustion. Obserue further that

4. Wicked men proue commonly so much the worse, as they might haue been better: and diuert the means of their conuersion to their confusion. The more raine of the Gospell they receiue, the more abundantly they thrust forth the thornes of iniquities. The rootes of these bryars are surely earthed in their hearts, and do boyle out at the warme deaws of the Word. It fares with them, as with a man of a surfeted stomach: the more good meate he eates, the more hee increaseth his cor­ruption. The former crudities vndigested, vne­gested, [Page 116] hauing the greater force, turne the good nutriment into themselues. There is such an an­tipathie betwixt the good word of God, and the heart of a reprobate; that the more it wrastles to bring him to heauen, the more he wrastles against it, that hee might be damned. Tully mentions a Countrey, wherein a great drought and heat ma­keth abundance of mire and dirt; but store of raine causeth dust. It is here experimentally true: the plentifull raine of Gods blessed word is an­swered with the dusty and sandy barrennesse of mens euill liues. So the Sunne, shining vpon vn­cleane dung-hils, is said to cause a greater stench: yet no wise man blames the beames of the Sunne, but the filthinesse of those putrified heapes, for such offence. The Sunne of righteousnesse hath sent downe the glorious rayes of his Gospell a­mong vs [...] the wicked hereupon steame out the more noysome and stenchfull fruites. Vpon whom shal the accusation light; Gods comforta­ble heate of mercie, or our putrid and ranke ini­quities? Sometimes the Sunnes heat working vp­on a muddy and baneful obiect, breeds horrid ser­pents. No wonder then, if this raine of the Gos­pel ingender in reprobate minds, weeds, and pric­kles. The Cicones haue a riuer, that doth harden the bowels,Ouid. and make the entrals stony: a strange operation in them that drink it. But if the water of life do harden the hearts of Pharaohs, and exaspe­rate the mischiefes of a malicious Elimas, let the imputation of fault light where it is deserued. [Page 117] It was a strange protestatiō, that God had against Israel. I haue nourished and brought vp children, and they haue rebelled against me. Esa. 1. 2. I haue brought them vp in my house, and taught them my precepts, and yet (as if my instructions and fauours had made them worse) they haue rebelled against me. Thus when the Sunne is hottest, the springs are coldest: and the more feruent the loue of God is to vs, the more cold is our charity to him, and to others for him. As if the sweet dews of Hermon had made the hill of Syon more barren.

It is written of the Thraeian flint, that it burnes with water, and is quenched with oyle: a fit Em­bleme of those wicked soules, that are the worse for Gods endeuour to better them. But such con­trary effects hath the Gospell in contrary natures. As by the heat of the Sunne waxe is softned, and yet clay is hardned: so by the preaching of the word, the hearts of such as shal be saued, are mol­lified; but the hearts of the lost are further obdu­rate. God in his wis [...] iustice wil be euen with men: since they will not bee the better for his fauours, they shal be the worse. Seeing they wil not bring forth herbes, they shall cast forth weeds: and he that might not in their saluation, will be glorified in their subuersion. For application.

This Raine hath falne vpon vs all: how haue wee entertained it? where bee our herbes? It is obiected against vs, that our forefathers who wan­ted this raine, brought forth more herbs, then we that haue it. That they in the daies of ignorāce did [Page 118] more then they knew; that we in the light of the Gospel know more then we do. Apollonius among other wonders writes one most wonderfull: that there was a people, which could see nothing in the day, but all in the night. What, hath the Sunne blinded vs? Cannot wee see to serue God so well in the light, as they did in the darke?

It was once said, Ignoti nulla cupido: but now it may be inuerted; Noti nullus amor: we little e­steeme the Gospel, because it is frequent amongst vs. The long enioying it hath dulled our estima­tion. Full children are weary of their bread, and play with it. Like the Indians, that haue such store of gold and precious stones, that they truck them away for glasses and rattles. Perhaps the cold legs of custome will bring vs to Church: and we are content to heare the Preacher taxing our frauds, vsuries, oathes, oppressions. May be for some shew of deuotion, wee will aske counsell at his lips: but say what he will, wee will not part with our sinnes.

The Princes of Israel came to Ieremie, and in­treat him to inquire of the Lord fot them:Ier. 42. promi­sing, that whatsoeuer direction the Lord should send they would obey. The Prophet accordingly presents their supplication to God. God answers You shall not goe into Egypt, Ier. 43. lest you be destroyed: but abide still in Iudah, and you shall be safe. When they heard this Oracle, because it was not their humours, they replied, We will goe into Egypt. This was their purpose from the beginning, (though [Page 119] they dissembled a will to know Gods mind) which if Gods command crosseth, they will crosse his command: they will goe into Egypt. So people will be content to heare what God sayth to them by his Ministers: but if hee speake not what plea­seth them, they will follow their owne affections. Wee are such nice and froward pieces, that the more God wooes vs, we are the further off. As it is with some shallow professors of Musicke, sayth the Poet.

Omnibus hoc vitium cantoribus,
Hor. lib. 1.
inter amicos,
Vt nunquam inducant animum cantare rogati.
Sat. 3.

When they are most earnestly intreated, they make most daintie to sing or play. So the more the Lord cals for our praises, the more hoarse are our voices, the more harsh our notes; or perhaps we will not sing at all. But if God hath giuen vs musicke, and we will not dance; as Christ repro­ued the Iewes; wee shall mourne in sadnesse for our obstinate refusall of profered mirth. You haue heard Herodotus tale of the Piper. He came to the water-side, and piped to the fishes: they would not dance. Hee tooke his net and caught some of them; and being throwne vpon drie land they began to leape and skip vp. Nay, quoth the Piper, I offered you musicke before, and you would none: now you shal dance without a pipe. Men commonly regard the Songs of Sion, as they doe musicke heard late at night in the streets, whiles they are in bed. Perhaps they will step to the windore, and listen to it a while; and present­ly [Page 120] to bed againe. So men step from the couch of their lusts and sinnes to, Church, heare the Sermon; and then to bed againe; lulling them­selues in their former securitie.

There are some, that care for hearing it no more: but sit downe with a conceit of their owne sufficiencie. They know as much as all the Prea­chers can tell them: let the youth go to be Cate­chized. So the sluggish and irreligious Master sits at home, whiles hee sends his seruants to Church. There is an old tale, idle in it selfe; the vse may be good. A certaine man that would neuer go to Church, when hee heard the Saints­bell, would say to his wife. Goe thou to Church and pray for thee and me. One night he dream't, that both he and his wife were dead, and that they knocked together at Heauen-gate for entrance. S. Peter (by the Legend) is Porter, and suffred the wife to enter in, but kept the husband out: answe­ring him, Illa intrauit pro se ette: She is gone in both for her selfe and thee. As thy wife went to Church for thee, so shee must goe to heauen for thee. The Morall instructs euery one to haue a personality of Faith, and a proprietie of deuotion: that himselfe seruing GOD, himselfe may bee blessed of God.

It now remaines, to examine more narrowly the nature of the sinnes these vngodly hearts pro­duce.Lib. 21. cap. 16. They are called Thornes and Bryers. Plinie sayth that the Thorne is more soft then a Tree, and more hard then an Herbe: as if it were some vn­kindly [Page 121] thing; and but an vnperfect excrement of the earth. For the Philosopher sayth, It is not the intent of kind, that Trees should be sharpe with prickles and thornes: but he would haue it caused by the insoliditie and vnfastnes of the tree. By which meanes the cold humour is drawne out by the pores ere it bee concocted: whereupon for scarcitie of matter, it is hardned by the sunne; and [...]o shaped and sharpned into a thorne.

But it is vnquestionable truth, that God crea­ted the thornes and bryers on the earth. Some thinke, because it is sayd, Gen. 3.G [...]n. 3. 18. in mans punish­ment, Maledict [...] esto terra propter te: Cursed be the earth for thy sake. Thornes and Thistles shall it bring forth to thee: that therefore if mankind had not sinned, the ground should haue produced no such thing. But the most receiued opinion, and consonant to truth is; that these Thornes and bry­ers should haue been, though man had neuer faln: but they should not haue been noxious and hurt­full to him. Now let vs consider what resem­blances may be found, betwixt those naturall, and these allegoricall thornes and bryers.

1 Where is abundance of thornes, there is most commonly a barren ground. For they hin­der the happy influence of the heauens, the kind­ly heat of the sunne, the deawes of the clouds, and all those working causes of fertillity. God pre­armes Ezekiel, that he should not wonder at the barrennesse of Israel, Ezek. 2. 6. for bryers and thornes shall be with thee. Let no man maruell at our vnprofi­table [Page 122] times; we haue too many Bryers and thorns among vs: which do what they can to hinder the goodnes of heauen to vs, or our goodnes to hea­uen. That which is sowne nigh or among thorns seldome prospers. Our Sauiour saith, that the Seede sowne in some hearers, brought forth no fruite;Mat. 13. for the Thornes choked it. The very com­pany of the wicked is harmful, for they are as thorns to stifle any goodnes. The companion of fooles shal be afflicted, saith Salomon. He dwels among thorns, that shall wound him. To lay no more affliction vpon him then Salamon there meant; as appeares by the opposite member of the verse: he shall en­dure a priuation of what good soeuer he had; and a position of their lewdnesse. A good man with ill company, is like a liuing man bound to a dead corps: that will sooner suffocate him, then hee can reuiue that. The Soule that liues among thornes shall hardly thriue. Therefore saith the Lord of the vineyard concerning the barren tree. Cut it downe, Luke. 13. 7. why troubles it the ground?

2 Thornes and bryers grow most commonly on heapes, and seldome are found single, or de­stitute of company of their owne kinde, And though they be troublesomely harmefull to other trees, yet they fold and embrace one another, without hurt. It is so vsually seene, that wicked men hold together, and sinnes grow in vnited clusters. There is a combination of the vngodly; euen so farre as to the very participation of their estates.Pro. 1. 14. Cast in thy lot with vs; wee will haue all [Page 123] one purse. They are intangled in mutuall amity, like beds of Eeles; nothing but thunder can break their knots.Mat. 5. 46. Is it much, sayth Christ, that you pur­pose diligere diligentes, to loue them that loue you? Why, bryars and thornes do it, euen Publicans doe the same. Yea, I would to God, their vnity did not shame ours. We see here, that one of the Papists chiefe marks of their church is not infallible; their cōsent or vnity: when bryers & thorns haue it. The Pharises, Saduces, Herodians conspire against Christ: may be, they with the rest. Sins grow in heaps, like thornes in bushes: where are some, are many. The Apostle brings them in by couples & companies. Gluttonie & Drunkennes, Chambering and wantonnesse, Rom. 13. 13. strife and enuying. Me thinkes Gluttonie & Drunkennes come in like an English­man, and a Dutchman. Chambering & Wantonnes like an Italian and a Venetian. Strife & Enuie like a Spaniard and a Frenchman. These sins being so Nationall, and naturall to the countreys: to o­uer-drinke in Germanie; to ouer-eate in England; to wantonize in Italie and Venice; to quarrel in Fraunce, and to be enuious in Spaine; Enuie be­ing euer the bosome-companion of Pride.

3 Thornes and bryers, by reason of their thicknes and sharpnes, are refuges for Serpents, Snakes, Addars, and such other venemous beasts. Where the vngodly haue a strong part, oppression, rapine, robberie, murder, and all those fatall and death­striking serpents are fostered. God, when he told Ezekiel. Ezek. 2. That bryers and thornes should [Page 124] be with him; addes in the very next words, And thou shalt dwell among Scorpions. Therefore in Latine, Rubetum is a place of bryars and bram­bles; and Rubeta is a toad, and that land-toad, the most venemous of the kinde. It is dangerous slee­ping neere such places. He that liues among the wicked, hath no neede of security, but to haue cleere and circumspect eyes; lest either the thorns pricke him, or the Serpents vnder the thorns sting him. Woe is me, sayth the Psalmist, that I must re­maine in Mesheck, and dwell in the tents of Kedar.

4. Neither doe the wicked, onely with their thorns and bryars, hinder others passage, but euen their owne. No maruell, if it be so difficult for an vngodly man to get to heauen; for hee hedgeth vp his owne way. Men multiply their transgres­sions to infinite, and cast vp innumerable thornes, yet hope well to be saued. But in vaine he purpo­seth to trauell to Ierusa [...]em, that hedgeth vp his owne passage.Pro. 22. 5. Thornes and snares are in the way of the froward: not of Gods setting, but of their owne planting. For (the next words testifie) hee that keepeth his soule, shall be farre from them. There are hindrances enough to heauen, though the wicked make none themselues. The diuell will looke, that the way shall not bee easie. Neither hath God set saluation vpon such termes, that we may play and get it. The kingdome of heauen is got by violence: and they must striue, that wil passe the narrow gate. Satan hath so many plots and tricks to deceiue them; so many tentations, and cor­ruptions [Page 125] to oppose them; that they haue no cause to fense vp the way themselues, against them­selues, with a hedge of their owne thornes. Hea­uen-gates will not fall downe before men, as the iron-gates of the Citie to Peter, of their owne ac­cord. Nay,Acts. 12. 10. If the Righteous s [...]arcely be saued, where shall the vngodly and the sinner appeare? 1. Pet. 4. 18.

5. Sinnes are fitly compared to thornes and bryars, for their wounding, pricking, and such harmefull offenses. Therefore they are called tri­buli, a tribulando; from their vexing, oppression, and tribulation they giue those that touch them. The wicked are such Calthrops to the Countrey, boring and bloudying her sides. Either pricking the flesh, or tearing of the fleece; as bryars and bushes that robbe the sheep of their cotes, which come to them for shelter. A great man wicked is like Abimelech, whom Iotham calls a Bramble in his Parable.Iudg. 9. 8. The Oliue would not leaue his fat­nesse, nor the Figge-tree his sweetnesse, nor the Vine his goodnesse, to bee promoted ouer the trees. But the aspiring Bramble vsurpes it: and (as if he were some great Cedar) he calls the Trees to trust vnder his shadow. But when poore men come to this Bramble for refuge, here they loose a locke and there a locke, til they are left naked, Yea, the clothes are not onely rent from their backes; but like the sonnes of Sceua exorcising the euill spirits, they depart not away naked onely,Acts 19. 16. but wounded. Their garments satisfie not these bryars, scarce their bloud aud liues.

[Page 126] These Bryers and Thornes haue such pricking and wounding effects, in regard of three obiects, whom they strike. For sins are like Thorns. 1. To men. 2. To Christ. 3. To the owne consciences of the committers. First to men. Plinie mentioneth three sorts of Bryers. Lib. 21. cap. 16.

1. The moorish Bryer, that onely growes in ranke and fen [...]e places, & is nourished with rotten mud, and such squalid putrefaction. There is a generatiō of men like these bryars, giuen to drun­kennesse, whose affections are fed only with the moisture of the pot. They cannot liue but in fen­ny and moorish places. Pliny saith, that addars & toads loue and eat the fruits of these bryars; and it is the food of serpents. The effects of drunkennes (in like sort) is a condiment for the diuell. Augu­stine somewhat neare our purpose, when he com­pares drunken places to the fens; where are bred snakes and serpents, and such vile noxious things, which euery yeare must be burned. It were a good turne, if these morish brambles were stocked vp by the roots. If you ask how you should rid them; I will not point you to the Fen-men, who to make quick dispatch of their anoiances, set fire on their fens: but I wil giue you another precedent. When a king asked how he might be rid of certain noi­some fowles, which came abundantly flying into his land; one answered him. Nidos eorum vbi (que) de­struendos: that the only means was to destroy their nests in euery place. So if you would be shut of these morish bryers, the course is to destroy their [Page 127] nests; their haunts, and rendeuous, as they terme them; the common quagmires of all filthinesse. The ale houses are their nests & cages, where they exhaust and lauish out their goods, and lay plots and deuises how to get more. Hence they fal ei­ther to robbing, or cheating; open courses of vio­lence, or secret mischiefs: till at last the Iayle pre­pares thē for the gibbet. For lightly they sing tho­rough a red lattice, before they cry through an irō grate. And when those bryars are hamperd, & put into prisons; it is said, that those places teach them more villanie then they knew before. That when a lewd fellow comes out of prison, he is furnished with such a pack of mischiefs, that he now sets vp schoole, and teacheth others. It is wonderfull, that places ordained for reformation, should bee instructions of worse lewdnes. I speak not against mercy: but experience & truth witnesseth that the mercy of some times is crueltie. And the pittie to a notorious malefactor argues vs of a hard heart, & of vnmercifulnes to the common-wealth. The sparing of rapes, robberies, whoredomes, chea­tings, frauds, vniust measures, false balances, occa­sioneth, yea encourageth the like. If thou be a Magistrate, deputed to iudge it, and sparest a man that hath shed bloud; the next bloud he sheddes thou art guilty of. Thou consentest to the second robbery of a thief, that hast remitted him the first. A Father brings in a notorious malefactor arraig­ning at the bar before the Iudge. When the mo­ther coms, miserādavlulatione, with bitter weeping desiring mercy for her son.

[Page 128] The wife Lachrimabili voce, with mournefull speech, imploring mercie for her husband. The little children plorantibus ocellis, with crying eyes, beseeching mercy for their Father. The people wishing he may be spared for the goodlinesse of his person. Yet sayth the Iudge, Non misereor mo­do: I pitie, but must not spare. Pereat vnus, poti­us quam vnitas. Better one perish, then all. Weed vp the implacable thornes, for they will keepe the ground barren. It hath beene sayd, Beare one iniurie and prouoke more: but here in case of iustice, forgiue one publick iniury, I mean a fact of horrid nature as I formerly taxed, and you prouoke and encourage many. The Marri­ners would faine saue Ionas; but when there is no remedy, they will rather loose one Ionas, then all themselues.

2. Plinies next sort of Bryers are Tribuli agre­stes, Field-bryers; which are (sayth he) shrewd ene­mies to tillage, and the fruits of the earth. This Iland of ours, within these late dayes, hath bred a great number of these field-bryars: which vnnatu­rally turne their mother into barrennesse. Op­pressors, Inclosers, Depopulators, Deportators, Deprauators; that runne the land to ruine for a priuate benefite: and work out a particular gaine from a publicke and generall losse.

Gaine said I? Where is it? Did you euer know Inclosers prosper? I will speake boldly. I neuer knew great man grow greater by his depopulati­ons: and I hope no man will say, he hath growne [Page 129] better by them. Corne-fields are turned to sheep­walkes; once-inhabited townes feede Oxen; and Churches are made Shepheards Cottages: and yet the doers of all this neuer the richer. They keepe lesse Hospitality; for a few roomes in London serue their turnes: they extort sorer rents, and yet they haue neuer the more money. It cannot bee denyed, but the maine end of these courses was profite, and euhansing their estates: and loe, in this very end GOD crosseth-them. Speake what you will of their pride, of turning the alms they should giue to the poore into feasts for the rich, of their infrugall courses: I say con­fidently, hic digitus Dei: here is the very hand of God striking them. Man, though hee hath au­thority, will not looke to these Field-bryars; but let them waste and forrage, and play the Abime­lechs; but God will. But if wee doe not looke to it, let me say to you, as Iotham to the Shechemites of that aspiring Bramble, Iudg. 9.Iudg. 9. 20. If fire come not out of Shechem to deuoure Abimelech; fire will come from Abimelech to deuoure Shechem. If you vndoe not the oppressions of the Field-bryers, their op­pressions will vndoe vs all.

3 There is the Town-bryar too, which grow­eth in our mounds and fenses, and about the clo­sing of townes. You in the City haue no great plenty of these bryers; yet you are troubled (in a metaphoricall sense) with Towne-bryers, and Ci­ty-brambles: which would not a little vexe you, if you were not those your selues.

[Page 130] 1. What say you to the Vsurer? Is hee not a Thorne amongst you? If you were not Vsurers your selues, you would confesse it. But they say, the most horrible vsurie in the world is here practi­sed, to 40. in the hundred: nay, to doubling of the principall in one yeare. A landed Gentleman wants money, he shall haue it; but in commo­dities: which some compacted Broker buyes of him, for halfe the rate they cost him, in ready money. Are these Christians? dare they shew their faces in the Temple? But I know, you haue been often told of these things. In a word, euen the gentles [...] vsury is a most sharpe thorne, and pricks the side of the Countrey till the bloud fol­lowes. An Vsurer with his money, is like a man that hath no worke of his owne, yet keepes a ser­uant to let out: and takes not onely hire of others for his dayes labour; but chargeth him to steale somewhat besides, and neuer to returne home emptie. You vnderstand me: I neede not further apply it.

These are vile winding and wounding bryers, that fetch away clothes, and skinne, and flesh too. Now the mercie of God ridde vs of these thornes. And let vs know it is for our sinnes, that God suffers Vsurers among vs. It may be he per­mits them, as he did the Cananites for a while in Israel, lest the wilde beasts should break in vpon them. Lest pride, and haughtinesse, and vnclean­nesse should spill mens soules by a full estate of wealth. God suffers Vsurers like Horse-leeches [Page 131] to suck and soke them: thereby (possibly) to hum­ble them. Yet in meane time, I may say of them, as Iosuah did of those Cananites;Iosh. 23. 13. that they are pricks in our sides, and thornes in our eyes.

2 What doe you thinke of Adulterie? Is it not a Thorne, yes, a sharpe thorne, wounding the purse, enuenoming the body, condemning the Soule. The ground that beares it is lust: the sappe that feeds it, is fulnesse of bread and Idlenesse: the heate that makes it glow, grow, and shoote, is lewd and wanton speech, and effeminate gestures: infamie is the budde; pollution the fruite; and the end Hell-fire. And as Caietan and Theophilact obserues on 1. Thes. 4.Thess. 4. 4. that the Apostle hauing bid men possesse their vessell in holinesse, he addes; And let no man goe beyond or defraud his brother in any matter: that this circumuention may be appli­ed to Adulterie, when a man is deceiued of his bosome-spouse; who is hired to the subornation of bastards. So that lightly, concupiscence and cousenage goe together. As that wickednesse, of all others, neuer goes but by couples. For Adul­terers non possunt ire soli ad diabolum. Ierom. An Adulte­rer cannot goe alone to the Deuill.

3 Corrupt and consciensce-les Lawyers you will confesse to bee sharpe and wounding brambles, and exceedingly hurtfull. A poore Client among them, is as a blind sheepe in a thicket of thornes: there is no hope of his fleece, it is well if he car­ry away his flesh whole on his backe. A motion this terme, an order next; instantly al cross'd: scarce [Page 132] the twentith order sometimes stands: execution is suspended, a writ of errour puts all out of course. Oh the vncertaine euents of suits! I hope, sayes the poore bloud-drawne wretch, I shall haue an end of my suite next terme; nay, nor the next terme, nor the next yeare. Foole! thou art gotten into a suite of durance; almost an immortall suit. And when the vpshot comes, perhaps the mis­pleading of a word shall forfet all. It is a lamen­table vncertaintie, and one politicke addition of ficklenesse to the goods of this world, that no man might set his heart vpon them: that an estate bought, truly payd for, and inherited, shall bee gone vpon a word; sometimes vpon a sillable; v­pon a very bare letter, omitted or mis-written by the Scriuener. These are scratching bryers. If what is wanting in the goodnes of the cause, be supplyed by the greatnes of the fees, their tongs shall excuse their tongs for their contra-consci­ent pleadings. The Italians haue a shrewd pro­uerbe against them. The Deuill makes his Christ­massepyes of Lawyers tongs and Clerks fingers. This prouerbe I leaue with them; and come to their kinsmen.

4 Corrupted Officers, who are also sharpe and sharking brambles. Their office is a bush of thorns at their backes, and they all to rent the countrey, with briberie and extortion. These men seeke af­ter authority, and commanding-places, not with any intent of good to the common-wealth, but to fill their owne purses, to satisfie their owne lusts. [Page 133] As some loue to bee poring in the fire, not that they care to mend it, but onely to warme their owne fingers.

5 We haue Papists amongst vs; looke to them, they are rankling thornes, and renting bryers. False Gibeonites they are; and howsoeuer they pretend their old shooes, the antiquitie of their Church, we haue euer found them thornes; ready to put out our eyes, and (if they could) the eye of the Gos­pell. They exclaime against vs for persecution; and cry themselues (lowder then oyster-women in the streets) for patient Catholicks, Saints, Mar­tyrs. But match the peace they enioy vnder vs, with the tyrannie they exercised ouer vs; the bur­ning our Fathers at stakes, the butchering our Princes, their conspiracie against our whole Realme, their continuall bending their weapons against Soueraignes and subiects throtes; and you will say, they are thornes. I haue read of a bird, that when men are deuout at their sacrifice, takes fire from the Altar, and burnes their houses. All their blacke treasons, and bloudy intendments, they deriue from the Altar; and pleade the war­rant of Religion, to set our whole Land in com­bustion. O that these brambles were stock'd vp: that Ishmael were cast out of dores, that Sara and her sonne Isaac might liue in quiet.

6 There are furious male contents among vs: a contemptible generation of thorns; that (because their hands are pinion'd) pricke onely with their tongs. They are euer whining, and vpon the [Page 134] least cause filling the world with importunate complaints. These are sauage & popular humors, that cannot suffer eminency to passe vnreproched. But they must vellicate goodnes, and gird great­nesse; that neither the liuing can walke, nor the dead sleepe, in quiet. Affecters of innouation, that are euer finding fault with the present times: any thing pleaseth them but what is. Euen the best blessings of God scape not their cēsures: nei­ther do they esteem by iudgement, or pronounce by reason: they find fault with things, they know not wherefore, but because they do not like them. Beware these thornes: they are like the wheeles of some cunningly wrought fire-workes; that flie out on all sides; and offering to singe others, burne themselues. Laudant veteres, &c. as if no times were so miserable as ours. As if the ciuill wars of France, or the bloudy Inquisitiō of Spain, or the Turkish crueltie in Natolia, where hee breeds his souldiers; or at home, the time of the Barons war; or yet later, the persecution of a Bo­ner; were none of them so cruell, as these dayes, when euery man sits and sings vnder his owne figge-tree. Sure if they had once tasted the bit­ternesse of war, they would better esteem of their peace. These are pestilent thornes: nothing but feare keeps them from conspiracie. Nay, so they might set the whole land on fire, they would not grudge their owne ashes.

7. There are bryers too growing neere the Church; too neare it. They haue raised Church-liuings [Page 135] to foure and fiue yeares purchase: and it is to be feared, they will shortly racke vp presen­tatiue liuings, to as high a rate, as they did their impropriations, when they would sell them. For they say, few will giue aboue sixteene yeares pur­chase for an impropriate Parsonage; and I haue heard some rate the donation of a benefice they must giue, at ten yeares: what with the present money they must haue, and with referuation of tythes, and such vnconscionable trickes; as if there was no God in heauen, to see or punish it. Perhaps, some wil not take so much: but most will take some; enough to impouerish the Church, to enrich their owne purses, to damne their soules.

One would thinke, it was sacriledge enough to robbe God of his maine tythes: must they al­so nimme away the shreddes? must they needes shrinke the whole cloth, (enough to apparell the Church) as the cheating Taylor did, to a dozen of buttons? Hauing full gorged themselues with the parsonages, must they picke the bones of the Vicaredges too? Well sayth S. August. Multi in hac vita manducant, quod postea apud inferos dige­runt. Many deuoure that in this life, which they shall digest in hell.

These are the Church-briers; which (let alone) wil at last bring as famous a Church, as any Chri­stendome hath, to beggerie. Politicke men, be­gin a pace alreadie to with-hold their children from Schooles and Vniuersities. Any profession els better likes them; as knowing, they may liue [Page 136] well in whatsoeuer calling, saue in the ministe­ry. The time was, that Christ threw the buyers and sellers out of the Temple; but now the buyers and sellers haue throwne him out of the Temple. Yea, they wil throw the church out of the church if they bee not stayed. But some may say to me, as one aduised Luther, when he began to preach against the Popes vsurpation and tyrannie, You had as good hold your peace. This wickednesse is so powerfull, that you will neuer preuaile against it. Get you to your study, and say, Lord haue mercy on vs, and procure your selfe no ill will. But be it good will, or be it ill will, we come hither to speake the truth in our consciences. And if these Church-thornes will continue their wickednesse, bee it vnto them as they haue deserued. If they will needs go to hell, let them go: we cannot helpe it, let them perish. I had purposed the discouery of more Brambles, but the time forbids it. I would to God, we were well freed from those I haue taxed.

THE END Of Thornes. …

THE END Of Thornes. THE FIFT SERMON.

ESA. 9. 18.

Wickednesse burneth as the fire: it shall deuoure the Bryers and Thornes, and shall kindle in the thickets of the For­rest, and they shal mount vp like the lifting vp of smoke.

GREG. lib. 4. Dialog.

Ad magnam iudicantis iustitiam pertinet, vt nunquam mortui careant supplicio, qui nunquam viui voluerunt carere peccato.

LONDON, Printed by George Purslowe, for Iohn Budge, and are to be solde at his shop, at the great South-dore of Pauls, and at Brittaines Burse. 1616.

THE END Of THORNES.
THE FIFT SERMON.

HEB. Chap. 6. Vers. 8.‘But that which beareth thornes and bryers, is reiected, and is nigh vnto cursing, whose end is to be burned.’

OVr sinnes are thornes to others; some wounding with their direct blowes, others with their wipes, all with their examples. Man on­ly hath not felt their blowes; our Sauior also so found them: when hee was faine for our sakes to set his naked breast, his naked heart, his naked soule against them. They say, the Nightingale sleepes with her breast [Page 140] against a thorne, to auoide the Serpent. Christ was content to bee wounded, euen to sleepe to death with thornes, that hee might deliuer vs from that deuouring serpent, the great infernall Dragon. His head was not onely raked and harrowed with materiall thornes: Bern. Caput Angelicis spiritibus tremebundum coronatur spinis That head which the Angelical spirits adore and trem­ble at, was crowned with thornes. But these my­s [...]call thornes, our iniquities, with fiercer blowes drew bloud of his soule. They doe in a sort still. Heb. 6. 6.Heb. 6. 6. They crucifie to themselues the Sonne of God a fresh, and put him to an open shame. Not in himselfe, for they cannot: but can them no thankes; they would, if they could: and to them­selues they doe it. Wretched men, will you not yet let Iesus Christ alone, and be at rest? will you still offer violence to your blessed Sauiour; and labour to pull him downe from his throne to his Crosse; from his peaceful glorie at the right hand of his Father, to more sufferings? You con­demne the mercilesse Souldiers, that platted a crowne of thornes, Mat. 27. 29. and put it on his innocent head. Sinfull wretch, condemne thy selfe. Thy sinnes were those thornes, and farre sharper. Thy op­pressions, wrongings, and wringings, of his poore brethren, offer him the violence of new wounds: thy oathes, thy fraudes, thy pride scratch him like bryers. Heare him complaining from hea­uen, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou mee? These Thornes grow on earth, yet they pricke Iesus Christ [Page 141] in heauen. Oh wee little know the price of a sin, that thus play the executioners with the Lord of life. Thinke, thinke; Christ felt your sinnes as sharpe thornes.

Lastly, you finde them thornes your selues, if Christ did not for you. When God shall enli­uen and make quicke the sense of your nummed consciences, you shall confesse your owne sinnes [...]ruell thornes to your soules, 2. Cor. 12.2. Cor. 12. 7. A thorne in your flesh, that shall buffet you with terror. For a while men are insensible of their iniquities. Christ, Math. 13. 22.Mat. 13. 22. calls the riches of this world thornes, which choke the good seede of the Gos­pell.

The common opinion of the world is, that they are goodly, fine and smooth things; furres to keepe them warme, oyle to cheare their faces, and wine to their hearts; of a silken softnesse to their affections. But Christ saith, they are thorns; stinging and choking thornes. And the couetous conscience shall one day perceiue in them, Tri­plicem puncturam, Ludolph. a threefold pricking. Laboris in acquisitione; they are gotten with trouble. Ti­moris in possessione; they are kept vvith feare. Doloris in amissione; they are lost with griefe.

Men commonly deale with their sinnes, as hedgers do, when they go to plash thorny bushes: they put on tyning gloues, that the Thornes may not pricke them. So these harden their hearts, that their owne thornes may giue them no com­punction. But all vanities are but like the fooles [Page 142] laughter, Eccl. 7. 6. which Salomon compares to the crackling of thornes vnder a p [...]t: they make a noise, and sud­denly go out. But sinne neuer parts with the wic­ked, without leauing a sting behind it.In. Galat. cap. 1. ver. 3. Luther saith, there are two fiends, that torment men in this world: and they are sinne, and a bad conscience. The latter followes the former: or if you will, the former wounds the latter: for sinne is the thorne, and the conscience the subiect it strikes. This thorne often pricks deepe; to the very heart. Acts 2. to the very bones, Psal. 38.Psal. 38. 3. There is no rest in my bones because of my sinne. I sid. lib. 2. So­liloquiorum. mens enim malae consci­entiae proprijs agitatur sti­mulis. Vis nunquam esse tristis? bene viue. Nunquam securus est reus animus. Wouldest thou neuer be sorrowfull? liue well. A guilty mind cannot be securely quiet. An euill mind is haunted and vexed with the thornes of his owne conscience. Sinne to the affections, whiles it is doing, is oleum vngens, supple oyle. Sinne to the conscience when it is done, is tribulus pungens, a pricking thorne. What extreame contraries doe often wicked conceits runne into? In their time of securitie they cannot be brought, to think sinne to be sinne. At last desperately, they thinke it such a sinne, that it cannot be forgiuen. At first they are delighted with the sense and smel of their iniquitie, as of a sweet rose: but the rose of their delight withers, and there is a thorne vnder it, that pricks the hart. Hereupon Salomon couples pleasāt vanitie, and troublesome vexation together. If that tickles the flesh, this shall wound the spirit. You shall heare an Vsurer in the madnes of presump­tion [Page 143] expostulating, what? may I not make bene­fit of my money? Obserue him, and in the end you shall heare him in the madnes of despaire, cry out of his owne damnation for it. At first they make question whether it be a sinne: at last they know it such a sinne, that they make question whether God will forgiue it. So men will looke to sin either too superficially, or too superstitiously. There was no danger saith the Drunkard, when he is asked how he seap'd such a passage: bring him backe in the sober moming to see, and hee falls downe dead in astonishment.

I need not further amplifie this point. Christ giues a vae ridentibus; Woe to them that laugh, for they shall weepe: and euery smile of sinne shall be turned to a grone of sorrow. They that exhibite their liues as sacrifices risuiet lubentiae; shall one day feele pricks, and goads, and thornes; scrat­ching and peircing their hearts: when (like the strucken deare, with the arrowhead rankling in his side) they shall not bee able to shift or change paines with places. Let this reach to our soules two instructions.

1 That we labour our hearts betimes to a sen­siblenesse of these thornes. A Thorne swallowed into the flesh, if it be not look'd to, rankles. Sinne without repentance, will fester in the soule; and is so much more perilous, as it is lesse felt. Oh the number of thornes that lie in many conscience, who complaine no more, then if they ayld no­thing. [Page 144] The pricke of a thorne is not so painefull at first, while the bloud is hote, as after a cold pause. Euerie man hath his complaints; & who liueth out of the reach of discontent? You shall heare tradesmen complaining of few or false customers. Labourers, of little worke, and lesse wages. Beggars complaine the want of Charity: and rich men the want of money. Merchants of rockes and Pyrats: Lawyers of short fees; and Clyents of long suits. But no man complaines of the thornes in his owne bosome. He nourisheth bryers there that wound him: and the heart is as dedolent,Ephe. 4. 19. as if it were past feeling. But where there is no discouerie of the disease, the recouery of the health is in vaine hoped for.

2 After sense of the smart will follow a de­sire of remedy. The throbbing conscience would be at ease, and freed from the Thorne that vexeth it. Dauid rores out for the very disquietnesse of his heart. The aking heart will make a crying tong, and wet eyes. Loe the mercie of GOD! A remedy is not sooner desired, then offred. The sacred Gospell directs vs to a medicine, that shall supple the heart, and draw out these thornes; though they stucke as thicke in it, as euer the ar­rowes did in Sebastian. They speake of the herbe Dictamnum, call'd of some Ditanie, that it hath a secret vertue to draw out any thing fastened in the body.Lib. 26. cap. 14. Plinie sayth, that this herbe drunke, Sagit­tas pellit. Experience telleth, that it is soueraigne [Page 145] to exhale a thorne out of the flesh. Our onely Dictamnum is the precious bloud of our merciful Sauiour IESVS CHRIST. A plaister of that is truely vertuall, to draw out all thornes from our consciences, Saucia [...]nimis, which is nulla medica­bilis herbis, is thus cured. Our sinnes drew bloud of him; that his bloud might saue vs. He was crowned with Thornes, that we might not be kil­led with thornes. He was wounded for vs, that we might not perish for our selues.

Take we heed, that we despise not this medi­cine. The law was so farre from drawing out these thornes, that it would driue them in further, and cause them to rankle in the heart, without a­ny hope of ease. It did but exasperate their stings, and giue them a deeper continuance of pricking. The mollifying and healing Gospell extracts their venome, and sucks out their poy­son. Let vs not dare then to vilipend this cordi­all and soueraigne medicine.

You perceiue that our sinnes are Thornes; and what is their onely remedy. Know now, that if they be not drawne out in this world, they shall be found thornes hereafter; when the owners shall heare Christs sentence, Goe yee cursed, &c. for the end of them is to be burned. So I come to the punishment: but I will soone haue done with that, which shall neuer haue done with those that must vndergoe it.

There is a threefold gradation in the Penalty, Reiection, malediction, combustion. Is reiected, is [Page 146] nigh vnto cursing, and the end thereof is to be bur­ned. And it seems to haue relation to a threefold distinction of time. 1. For the present, it is re­iected. 2. For instance or appropinquation, it is nigh vnto cursing. 3. For future certainty, the end of it is to be burned. As men commonly deale with thornes: first they cut them vp with bils and mattocks: then they lay them by to wi­ther: and lastly burne them in the furnace.

1 Reiection. This which we here translate (is reiected) is in the originall ( [...]) which may signifie Reprobios, or reprobatus: so Beza hath it; is reproued, or disallowed of God. This ground shall haue no ground in heauen, no part in God inheritance. It is reprobate siluer, not current with the Lord. No man desires to pur­chase Land, that will bring forth nothing but weedes: he will not cast away his siluer vpon it. And shall GOD buy so base ground, that will be no better, at so inestimable a price, as the in­corruptible bloud of his owne Sonne? It des­piseth the Lords goodnesse, and the LORDS goodnesse shall despise it. It is reiected. If any man sayth, this is Durus Sermo, let him consider of whom the Apostle speaketh, verse. 4. against whom hee concludes ab impossibili. It is impossi­ble, &c. A hard saying to vnderstand, but more, most heard to vndergoe. If God be driuen to loose all his paines and cost vpon an ingratefull heart, he will at last renounce it, and giue it ouer [Page 147] a desperate nature. As he in the Comedy, Abeat, pereat, profundat, perdat. If it will be filthy, let it be filthy still. If nothing will bring it to good­nesse, it shall be reiected.

2. The second degree of the Punishment is cursing: and this may seeme to exceed the for­mer. Gods curse is a fearefull thing. If you would view (though but in part) the latitude and extension of it, I refer you to the 28. of Deu­teronomy. But I purpose not to bee curiously punctuall, in the demonstration of these particu­lar degrees of the Punishment. That which I wil obserue, is this.

That God is more propense and inclined to blessing, then to cursing: more prone to shewe mercy, then to inflict iudgement. It is sayd in the former Verse, the good ground receiues blessing of God: receiues it presently, receiues it at once. But here of the euill ground; it is nigh vnto cur­sing: it is not presently cursed, but nigh vnto it. There is some pawse and delay: some lucida interualla misericordiae. The whole viall of wrath is not poured on at once. But first there is a de­spising or reiection; to let the wicked see, how hatefull their vices are in Gods sight. If this serue not, they are not sodainely cursed; but there is a breathing time, and a mercifull space betweene that and cursing; and betweene cur­sing and burning. So slowly doth GOD proceed to iudgement, so little haste he makes to the ex­ecution [Page 148] of his vengeance. Hee is speedy to de­liuer, to saue, to giue his blessing; but hee hath leaden feet when he comes to strike.

The vse of this to our selues is, that the pati­ent forbearance of God may leade vs to repen­tance, Romans the second and the fourth.Rom. 2. 4. The Prophet Ioel bids vs Rent our hearts, Ioel. 2. 13. and fall to weeping and mourning; Because the Lord is mercifull and slow to anger. Gods long-suffering is as a hand reached out, that points vs to re­pentance. Such is his goodnesse, that when all his terrors and menace; are set in their places, yet hee makes roome for Repentance, whensoe­uer it comes. And though they bee as ready to strike, as Abrahams hand was to Isaacs sacrifice; yet Repentance, tanquam vox Angeli, shall stay them. O blessed Repentance, how sweet and a­miable art thou! yet how few loue thee!

The great man, that thinkes he may securely be wicked, because he is honourably great; and dares affront the Pulpit, though the greatest Bi­shop in the land were preaching in it; cares not for repentance. The wealthy Gentleman, that can bung vp Hospitality into a Diogenes tubbe; nestle himselfe warme in a City-chamber, whiles Owles and Dawes parlour themselues in his countrey-manors: that (as it is storied of that Iew for the vse of his money) takes his rent in bloud; the heart-bloud of his racked Tenants; cares not for Repentance.

The countrey Nabal, that hoords his graine, [Page 149] and with it lockes vp his soule in a Garner, that the Sunne of Gods blessing may not come at it: that starues the poore, his family, himselfe; cares not for Repentance. The auarous Citi­zens, whom the glad Diuell can neuer find with­out a false measure in one hand, and a cozening waight in the other; that haue trickes in their sconces to ouer-reach the diuell himselfe; but that (like a cunning Fenser) he that taught them all their trickes, kept one to himselfe, to cheate them of their soules; care not for repentance. The muffled Lawyer, that hath no sense left aliue but his feeling, and waighs all causes by the poyse of gold; that talkes against others right and his owne conscience; that leades Iurie into pe [...]iury, with his fraudulent circumuentions; cares not for repentance.

The sharking Officer,Zosun. lib. 2. (that like Menelaus, an Armenian Archer in the wars betwixt Con­stantius and Magnentius) can shoot three ar­rowes at once, at one loose; wherewith hee wounds not one, but three at the least: the Prince whom hee serues, the person whom hee drawes bloud of, and the body of the Com­mon-wealth; cares not for repentance. I neede not speake of the Church-robber, the Vsurer, the Drunkard, the Proud, the vncleane adulte­rer: no man can think, that they care for repen­tance. O but they all purpose to repent. Spare them a while; they are but new set into the O­uen; not yet fully baked in their hot vanities: [Page 150] let them foke a little in their pleasures, and at last they will returne.Hos. 7. 4. They are as an Ouen heated by the Baker. Repentance is an ascent of foure steps: many get vp three of them, but climbe not to the fourth and best.

1. Some there are that purpose to amend their liues. But purpose without performance is like a Cloud without raine; not vnlike Hercules Clubbe in the Tragedy, of a great bulke, but the stuffing is mosse and rubbish. If the tree bee fairely blossom'd, and naked of fruite, it may speed as the Figge-tree in the Gospell. be curseo: or at least (it is as the euill ground here) nigh vnto cursing. Many that purposed to repent, are now in hell, as the fiue foolish Virgins, that inten­ded to goe in with the Bridegroome; but before the time their lights dropp'd out.

One sayd, that hell is like to bee full of good purposes, but heauen of good workes. If a bare Intention would serue, Gods Church on earth would bee fuller of Saints, and his Court in hea­uen fuller of soules. Ignorance and Sloth adul­terating, bring forth this lanke brood, this abor­tiue embrion, Purpose. Such a man is like an ill debtor, who will not pay God his due of deuoti­on till hee is old: and then hee cannot pay for want of (time & mony) space and grace to repent. We make (in these daies) our purposes like our Eeues, and our performances like the holy-daies: seruants work hard vpō the Eeues, that they may [Page 151] haue the more liberty to play vpon the Holy­dayes: so we are earnest, and labour hard on our purposes; but are idle and play vpon our perfor­mances. But Resolution without action, is a gol­den couch to a leaden Iewell.

2. The second round of this Ladder is Preparation. Some there are that will prepare, & almost set themselues in a readinesse for their iourney to heauen; yet neuer set one steppe for­ward. Preparation is indeed as necessary, as the dore is to the house: but as idle, if there be no house to the dore. It may (as Iohn the Baptist did for Christ) prepare the way of the Lord into our hearts: and it may be as vaite, as the Apothe­caries Beast, Testia Phar­macopolae. which hee promised his Patient would helpe him of all diseases; but before mor­ning it had eaten vp it selfe. Preparation is a ne­cessary antecedent to all great workes, Amos 4.Am. 4. 12. Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel. But a man may prepare meate, and not feede: prepare meate, and not eate. Prepaeration does well, if reparati­on followes. A man may climbe both these rounds, and yet fall short of the true height of Repentance.

3. The third stairre is a Beginning to abstaine from some horrid iniquities; and as it were, an entring into a new path; but not going one step in it, without a voluntary reuolting. But Be­ginning is nothing to perfection. Some begin in [Page 152] the spirit, and end in the flesh: that s [...]lute Christ in the market place; take acquaintance of him in the street, but neuer bid him home to their houses. It is (vox praetereuntium derisoria) the speech of them that passe by. This man began to build. A house but begun is not fit to dwell in: and shall wee thinke that Gods Spirit will dwell in an inchoate habitacle, and not likely to be fi­nished? The Apostle sayth,2. Pet. 2. 21. It had been better for them not to haue knowne the way of righteousness, then after they haue knowne it, to turne from the ho­ly commandement deliuered vnto them.

4 The fourth Round onely pleaseth God, and is good for our Soules, Repentance; without which the euill ground is neere to cursing; as it were at next dore by; and it shall come on him with a speedy visitation nisi interueniente poeniten­tia. This is the Bulwarke to defend vs from the shot of Gods thunder from heauen: this hed­geth vs in from his iudgements on earth. Woe to sinfull man without this: for he is neere to cur­sing; and his end is to be burned. Blessed Soule that hath it. Wheresoeuer it dwels, mercie dwels by it. If England hath it, it shall ease her of her thornes, Ezek. 28.Ezek. 20. 14. There shall be no more a pricking bryar vnto the house of Israel, nor any grieuing Thorne of all that are round about them.

3 The last and forest degree of the Punish­ment, is Burning. I will not discourse, whether [Page 153] the fire of that euerlastingly-hote furnace be ma­teriall or spirituall. Surely, it is strangely terri­ble; and wee are blessed, if wee neither vnder­stand it nor vndergoe it. The miserie of the dam­ned is vsually distinguished into the Paine of losse, and the paine of sense. Both implied in this verse, and expressed, Thessalonians the second, Chap. 1. Verse 8, 9.2. The. 1. 8. 9. Christ shall take vengeance on such as know not God, and obey not the Gospell of Iesus Christ, there is paine of Sense. They shall be punished with euerlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power, there is paine of losse.

1. This Poena damni, or priuation of bles­sednesse, may seeme to be implyed in the first degree here mentioned, Reiection. The repro­bate are cast away of God. Much like that forme of the last sentence, Math. 25. 41.Mat. 25. 41. Depart from me, yee cursed: a fearefull sentence, a terrible se­paration. From Me, sayth Christ; that made my selfe man for your sakes, that offered my bloud for your redemption, & receiued these & these wounds for your remedie. From Me, that would haue healed, would haue helped, would haue sa­ued you. From Me, that inuited you to mercy, and you would not accept it. From Me, that pur­chased a kindgome of glory, for such as belee­ued on me; and will wrappe their heads with crownes of eternall ioy: Depart from Me. This is a fearefull Reiection, My friendship, my fel­lowship, [Page 154] my Paradise, my presence, my heauen, where is fulnesse of ioy, and pleasure for euermore, Psal. 16. vlt. are none of yours. They might haue been; they are lost. Neither shall they onely loose Christ, but all the companie with Christ: the Quire of glo­rious Angels, the society of his blessed Mother, the Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, all the happy and holy Saints, with the whole host of heauen. They shall fret, and vexe, and bee ready to eate their owne galls, to see those triumphing in glo­ry, whom they on earth persecuted, martyred, tortured. They could here exercise their sauage tyranny ouer them; not onely denying their owne bread, but taking away theirs: they could despise, beate, maligne, vndoe, burne them at stakes: now the estate of both is changed: as A­braham told Diues. They are comforted, Luke 16. 25. and thou art tormented.

2. This is not all. The priuation of blessed ioyes is not enough: there must follow the posi­tion of cursed torments. For their Punishment is proportioned to their sinne, Ier. 2.Ier. 2. 13. They haue committed two euils. They haue forsaken the Lord, the fountaine of liuing waters, and hewed them out cisternes, broken cisternes that can hold no water. As they turned from their Maker, so their Ma­ker turnes from them: there is Poenadamni. As they fastned their delights on the creatures, so the creatures shall be their tortures: there is Poe­na sensus. They reiected God, and hee reiects [Page 155] them; they adhered to wickednesse, and it shall adhere to their bones for euer, and bring them to burning.

Their torments which are here expressed by Fire, haue two fearefull conditions, vniuersali­ty, and eternitie.

1. They are vniuersall, vexing euery part of the body, and power of the soule. It is terrible in this life, to be pained in euery part of the body at one time. To haue ache in the teeth, gowt in the feete, collick in the reines, &c. and to lye (as it were) vpon a racke, for innumerable diseases, like so many executioners, to torture him, is in­tollerable. But the largest shadowe of these tor­ments to their substance, is not so much as a lit­tle bone-fire to the combustion of the whole world.

2. They are eternall. If it had but as many ages to burne, as there be trees standing on the earth, there would bee some, though a tedious hope of their end. But it is such a Fire, as shall neuer be quenched. This word Neuer is feare­full. Though they raine floudes of teares vpon it, they shall bee but like oyle to encrease the flame: for the worme neuer dyes, the fire neuer goes out. You see the end of Thornes. Wickednes burneth as the fire: Esa. 9. 18. it shall deuoure the bryers and thornes, and shall kindle in the thickest of the For­rest, and they shall mount vp like the lifting vp of sm [...]k [...].

[Page 156] I resolued against prolixity. The generall and summary doctrine is this. That since the wicked ground, which beareth thornes and bry­ers, is neere vnto cursing, and the end thereof is e­ternall fire: it followes necessarily, that all they which lay the foundation of vngodlinesse, must needs build vpon condemnation. Let no man de­ceiue you: I. Ioh. 3. 8. He that committeth sinne is of the Diuell. If the course of a mans life be wicked, couetous, vncleane, malicious, idolatrous, adulterous, drun­ken; hee layes the ground-worke of his owne destruction; and precipitates himselfe to the malediction of God. Hee that layes the foun­dation in fire-work, must looke to be blowne vp. Perhaps this meditation, though it bee of vn­quenchable Fire, may yet worke coldly in our hearts; and leaue no impression behinde it; yet you cannot deny this to be true. He that would denie it must deny my Text, must turne Atheist, and reiect the holy word of God. Nay, he must thinke there is no God, no reuenge of wicked­nesse, no diuell, no hell. And he vndertakes a very hard taske, that goes about to settle this perswasion in his mind. No, no. Let no man de­ceiue you with vaine words: Eph. 5. 6. for because of these things cometh the wrath of God vpon the children of disobedience. And in this passage I must value all men alike: of what stuffe, or of what fashion soeuer his coate be: if his life be full of bryers and thornes, his end is to be burned. What shall we then doe vnto thee, O thou preseruer of men, that [Page 157] wee may escape it? what,Mark. 1. 15. but Repent, and beleeue the Gospell!

Let the commination of hell instruct vs to preuent it: as the message of Niniuehs ouer­throw effected their safetie. 1. Let vs flie by a true faith into the armes of our Redeemer, that God reiect vs not. 2. Let vs poure forth flouds of repentant teares, that wee bee not nigh vnto cursing. 3. And let vs bring forth no more bry­ars and thornes, that our end may not be, to bee burned. Faith, Repentance, Obedience; this same golden rule of three, will teach vs to worke vp our owne saluation. This done, wee shall not be reiected, but knowne to bee elected: we shall be so farre from cursing. that we shal presently re­ceiue the blessing. And our End shall be, not fire, but glorie and peace.Psal. 37. 37. Marke the perfect man, and behold the vpright: for the end of that man is PEACE.

FINIS.

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