PROTOTYPES, OR, THE PRIMARIE PRECEDENT PRESIDENTS OVT OF THE BOOKE OF GENESIS.

Shewing, The Good and Bad things They did and Had

Practically applied to our Jnformation and Reformation.

By that faithfull and painefull Preacher of Gods Word, William Whately late Pastour of Banbury.

Together with Mr. WHATELYES Life and Death.

Published by Mr. Edward Leigh and Mr. Henry Scudder, who were appointed by the Authour to peruse his manuscripts, and printed by his owne Coppy.

Vivitur Exemplis. Praecepta ducunt, Exempla trahunt.

1 COR. 11.1.

Be yee followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

EXOD. 23.2.

Thou shalt not follow a multitude to doe evill.

1 COR. 10.11.

Now all these things happened unto them for Ensamples: And they are written for our admonition.

LONDON. Printed by G. M. for EDVVARD LANGHAM Booke-seller in Banbury, MDCXL.

TO THE RIGHT WORSHIPFVLL THE MAIOR, THE VVORSHIPFVLL THE ALDERMEN AND BVRGESSES, AND THE REST OF THE INHA­BITANTS OF THE TOWNE AND PARISH OF BANBƲRY.

Right Worshipfull, &c.

AS I could not but con­gratulate my owne and your happinesse in the injoyment of your wor­thy Pastours labours, so both I and many o­ther Christians do now condole your misery in the losse of the good Authour. The greater your happinesse was, the greater now is your misery, and I feare many [Page] of you prized not the blessing so much as you should have done, and that you knew not the greatnesse of the benefit so well by the fruition as now by the want of it. At Banbury even a­mongst you was your Pastour borne and bred, and there he lived and died. Ministers are cal­led Incumbents, so was he being diligently re­sident in his place, they are stiled Lights, so was he, like a candle or lampe which spent himselfe to give light to others. He spent his means and strength amongst you, and as himselfe in his sick­nesse said, He sought not yours but you. Of all the Ministers that ever I knew so experimentally, he was the most unblameable in his conversation. I had the happinesse to live almost a yeare with him in his house, neare foure yeares under his Ministry, and to be esteemed by him one of his faithfullest friends, I have cause to blesse GOD for him whilst I live, since it pleased him by his meanes, not onely to reveale many saving truthes unto mee, but also to set them on with such power, as I hope I shall never forget them. Oh, with what life and zeale would hee both preach and pray! and how strict and watchfull was hee in his whole life! being (as every good Minister should be) Blamelesse, Sober, Just, Holy, Temperate, 1 Tim. 3.2. Tit. 1.8. of good Behaviour, given to Hospitality, apt to teach, a lover [...]. will beare both rea­dings. 2 Tim. 2.15. of good things and good men. Hee studied to approove himselfe unto GOD, a workeman that needed not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word [Page] of Truth. 1 Tim. 4.12 1 Pet. 5.3. Tit. 2.7. There are two singular virtues in a good Exam­ple. He propounded to you the Examples of holy Writ, and was himselfe whilst he lived, an Example and Patterne of all good works, If that saying therefore of Austins be true, So ma­ny as a man shall edifie by a good Example,1 It may profit a world of people. 1 Thes. 1.7, 8 2 It is lasting and may doe good for a long time after. 1 Pet. 3.5, 6. M. Harris at Hanwell.for so many he shall receive a reward of a blessed life, than surely he hath now received a full reward for all the good hee did by his holy life, unto those with whom he conversed. In a word, hee was a most pious and accomplisht Divine for his ministeri­all parts and paines (as one of his neare Friends said truely) hee might sooner bee envied than matcht and equalled; being in this like Saul, high­er than his brethren by the head. He was well skilled in both the Originall tongues, being able to render the Text out of his Hebrew Bible or Greeke Testament to another in our mother tongue, as familiarly almost, as if it had bin En­glish. For the Arts, he was a good Logician, as his exact Analysis of the ten Commandements shew­eth, a good Philosopher, as his Sermons in manu­script on the 104. Psalme doe witnesse, a good Rhetorician or Oratour, as his printed Treatises a­boundantly testifie. Hee had words at will and could readily and aptly expresse himselfe in his Sermons, which gift of Elocution is requisite if not necessary for a compleate Divine.

He had by long He was a Preacher at Banbury a­bove thirty yeares. Experience gotten the art of preaching, and he wrote a tract concerning that subject; hee had an excellent faculty in cha­racterizing [Page] or fitly describing a vertue or vice, or any other thing, and though he had no com­mon-place-booke of his own, yet he could treat of any subject, I might also extoll his other in­dowments, and without danger of exceeding magnifie him for his strong naturall parts, his solid judgement and tenacious memorie, and commend some vertues wherein hee excelled to your imitation, as his Humility, Merci­fullnesse, Beneficence, Laboriousnesse and Di­ligence Hee went over in his preaching the whole Booke of Iudges, both the Samuels, the 1 Kings to the 11. C. or therabout, all the Psal. to the 106. & the whole Gospel of Iob. besides al the principles of Religion often. in his Calling, and then also shew how comfortably he died, being full of heavenly spee­ches and godly Exhortations.

Therefore I passe from himselfe to this Opus posthumum, this first worke of his which since his death came to light, viz. Sermons on all the Examples or Historicall part of Genesis, which Booke containeth a briefe and short Story of the things done from the beginning of the world to the death of Joseph, for the space as it is thought by some of 2309. yeares, by Doctor Willet of 2368. yeares. Examples are not unfitly compa­red unto looking-Glasses, wherein one may behold as well what to eschew, as what to fol­low: So you should follow the Faith of Abra­ham and Obedience of Isaack, but shun their ly­ing and dissembling; follow Noah and Lot in their Righteousnesse and Zeale, but shunne their drunkennesse and incest.

And because an Example of a Person living a­mongst [Page] you may bee more prevalent with some then the Examples of others though singularly holy whose vertues they onely read of (as a Sermon delivered, Ʋiva voce, doth more affect then the same reade out of a Booke) So walke therefore as you had him for an Example, and bee you followers of him, as hee was of CHRIST, in the Gra­ces before mentioned and all holy conversa­tion. Remember him who had the rule over you, Heb. 13.7. who hath spoken unto you the Word of GOD, whose Faith follow and Charitie too; for Ma­ster Whately was the most bountifull Mini­ster to the poore I thinke in England of his meanes, your Consciences will witnesse that hee hath often pressed and urged this Dutie upon you, and as hee was earnest in per­swading his Hearers to beneficence, so hee practised the same Himselfe, entertaining some poore widdowes or necessitous Persons weekely at the least at his Table, and gi­ving the tenth of all his Estate that way, and see how GOD blessed him for the same, his Estate (as himselfe told mee) prospered the better after hee tooke that course, and in his sickenesse hee comforted himselfe with that Promise, Psalme 41.1, 3. Blessed is hee that considereth the poore, the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble. The LORD will strengthen him upon the bed of [Page] languishing. O follow him therefore who by Faith and Patience inherits the Promises, let his good Example and wholesome Instructi­ons provoke you to all holinesse, that you all­so may partake with him in that happinesse of which hee is now fully possessed,

Your true Christian Friend, Edward Leigh.

TO THE CHRISTIAN READER.

Reader,

AMidst the numberlesse number of Bookes wher­with in this scribling age the presses are op­pressed, there is scarcity enough of such as are usefull and profitable. As therefore the Art of Printing was a happy invention for the propagating of learning, so surely wee are beholding to those who write such things as are worthy to be published: Since (as one saith) Hee that speaketh profiteth for an houre, but he that writeth profiteth for ever. This subject thus handled by this worthy deceased Au­thour is an unbeaten tract, few (if any) having gone over the Ex­samples of Scripture in such a doctrinall and practicall way both. It seemed to me in the preaching both pleasant and profitable;Owne tulit punctum qui miscuit utile dulci. pleasant in regard of the explaining of divers stories; profitable in respect of the particular application of all, Hee being (according to his man­ner) large and lively therein. Had it pleased God to have con­tinued him in life, untill hee had finished all the Examples of either Testament, such a worke from so able a Divine would have beene of singular use. But he was Frumentum Dei, as Ignatius said, by Mortification and Selfe-denyall, Hee was made cleane bread for Christ who was the bread of life for him; God therefore hath gathered this wheate into his garner,Mat. 3.12. and he now rests from this and all other labours. We thinke fitting also to give others to understand, which be M. Wheatelyes owne workes done by him­selfe, and such as they may account genuine, viz. those onely [Page] which come forth either in our names, viz. EDWARD LEIGH, HENRY SCUDDER, or with an Epistle at least from one of us. You may observe in the beginning of this Treatise, what was M. Wheatlies constant method in handling the Examples. In each per­son hee considered three things, His Birth, Life and Death. In his Life he observed his carriage and behaviour in respect both of the deeds hee did, good, bad, indifferent and doubtfull, and the things which befell him, either prosperously or adversly, in bene­fits or afflictions. This shall suffice in briefe to premise concerning this Worke, and so wishing thee much benefit by the same, I rest

Thy hearty Well-wisher, EDWARD LEIGH.

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF Mr. WILLIAM WHATELY, LATE Minister of the Word at Banbury in the County of Oxford, written by Henry Scudder Mini­ster of the Word at Collingborne-ducis, in the County of Wilts.

IT hath beene a commendable use in the Church of God from the Primitive times downe to us; that the lives of some or other (especially of the more famous Ministers and lights therein) have beene written by men who best knew, and had learned what their lives and conversation was. This they did not onely to vindicate their names from the slanders of the wicked, who will speake evill of all that oppose their evill wayes, and also that the dead might bee duely honoured; but chiefly that the living by their good Examples might glorifie God for them and be edified.

This writing and printing the lives of worthy men, is like the engravings with the point of a diamond, raising up for them an everlasting monument; upon which the light of their Faith and good workes is made to shine before men, that seeing their Faith and holinesse they may follow them; and may also praise God for his graces in them, and for the good which hath bin done by them, and so glorifie their Father which is in Heaven.

[Page]I have beene earnestly intreated to write the Life and Death of M. William Whately, late Pastour of the Church of Banbury, I was made choice of the rather, because of that intimate­nesse of Friendship which was betweeene us, and because of our long acquaintance, being of the same time in the fa­mous Vniversity of Cambridge and of the same Colledge and Chamber and having the same Tutor; and afterward when wee were both placed in the Ministery wee lived sometime together in one house,By marriage of sisters. and a great while neare one another, and were also nearly allyed

I know none that had like meanes to know him more thoroughly then I. I have therefore not unwillingly set pen to paper, and doe here in all plainenesse and sobriety of truth reckon up and report his life and death in a short summe, that those who will may read and make their use of it. For in many things hee may bee a lively patterne to us his Brethe­ren in the Ministery of the Gospell of Christ; and the like in many things for the imitation of all that desire to live godly in Christ Iesus.

This M William Whately was borne at Banbury a burrough Town very well known in Oxfordsbure.

M. Thomas and Mistres Ioyce Whately.His Parents were both of them forward professours of the Gospell of Christ, and of the power of Godlinesse and Reli­gion, according as it is now mainetained in the Church of England. They were both of chiefe note and place in the Towne, his Father being oft Major, and a long time a stan­ding Iustice of Peace in that Burrough. His Mother was a rare woman for naturall parts; but chiefly for Piety, Dili­gence in her Calling, Frugality and Mercifullnesse to the poore. She was a right Lois or Eunice in breeding up this her Son (as shee did her other Children) in the Knowledge of the holy Scriptures from a child.

His Parents trained him up in his yonger daies to learning, setti [...]g him to the best Schooles that were in those parts, where he profited in learning (as also hee did in the Vniversitie) a­bove most of his equalls in yeares. This hee did by reason of the Excellency of the naturall parts which God had given [Page] him, namely, a quicke apprehension, a cleare judgement and a most happy memory.

His ripenesse in Grammer learning in Latine, Greeke and Hebrew was so earely that about the fourteenth yeare of his age, he was sent to Christs Colledge in Cambridge; where God provided him and me a M Thomas Pot Tutor, one of a thousand for Pietie, Learning, Diligence in reading unto, and in a most loving and wise care of governing and godly instructing of his pupils.

In the Vniversity he was an hard Student and quickely be­came a good Logician and Philosopher, a strong disputant, and an excellent Orator. He delighted much in the study of Poetry and the Mathematiks.

Hee was a constant hearer of M. Doctor Chaderton and of Mr. Perkins who at that time were famous Preachers in Cam­bridge. And it was our Tutors manner to cause all his Pupills to come to Prayers into his Chamber every evening, and hee called all the under graduates to give account of what they had heard upon the Lords day, and when any of us were at a stand and non-plus, hee would say Whately, what say you? then hee would seldome faile, but repeate as readily, as if he had preached the Sermon himself. By this he did win our Tutors love, and our wonder at him; but (such was our pride) he gained our envy of him

His Father (whether because he was not resolved what cal­ling to breed him to, or for what other cause I know not) after that hee had with credit proceeded Bachelour of Arts, hee took him home, where he abode some good time, yet applying himselfe unto his studies.

While hee remained at home with his Father hee married the Daughter of one Master George Hunt, the sonne of that tryed and prepared Martyr Iohn Hunt mentioned in the Book of Martyrs, who was condemned to be burnt for Religion, but was saved from the execution thereof by the death of Queene Mary. This Master George Hunt was bred up in the Famous f [...]ee Schoole of the Marchant-Taylers in London, and afterward by the incouragement of Master D. Humfry (by [Page] occasion of a visit of that Schoole) and by the furtherance of M George and Mr. Iohn Kingsmells, and by the exhibitions of Bishop Pilkinton (all which for their honour sake I name) he was called unto, and mainetained in that worthy Foundation of good Learning, Magdalen Colledge in Oxford, till hee was Fellow of that House, where hee continued till hee had borne the offices of Deane of Arts and Deane of Divinity. After­wards by the meanes of those worthy Master Kingsmells, hee was preferred to the Church of Collingborn-ducis in the Coun­ty of Wiles. where for the space of fifty and one yeares and five moneths he lived a sound and constant Preacher of the Word, and was of an unblameable and holy life, even untill the oyle of his radicall moysture was spent, and the candle of his life of it selfe went out, in a full and good old-age, after a long and joyous expectation, and longing for his blessed change, which was in the eighty and third yeare and fift moneth of his age.

This Master George Hunt (after that by importunity hee had got this his sonne in law to make tryall of his ability to preach) he overperswaded him to intend the ministery. And thereupon he entred himselfe into Edmund Hall in the famous Vniversity of Oxford, and tooke his Degree of Master of Arts.

Not long after hee entred into the Ministery, and hee was presently called to be a Lecturer at Banbury which he commen­dably performed above the space of foure yeares, and then was called to be Vicar of the same Church, which office hee faith­fully discharged neare thirty years till he died.

The abilities wherewith God had indued him for his work of the Ministery were more then ordinary. For hee was of a quicke understanding, of a cleare and deepe Iudge­ment, of a most firme memory, and of a lively spirit. Hee was naturally eloquent, a master of his words, having words at will. Hee had a most able body and sound lunges, and till some yeares before his death, he had a most strong and au­dible voice. And according as his matter in hand, and his au­ditory needed, he was both a terrible Boanerges, a sonne of [Page] Thunder, and also a Barnabas, a sonne of sweet consolation. And which was the crowne of all, God gave him an heart to seek him and to aime at the saving of the soules of all that heard him. His speech and preaching was not with entising words of mans wisedome, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power. He was an Apollos not onely eloquent, but withall mighty in the Scriptures. He like some of the Ancient Fathers was as occasions fell out sometimes an every dayes Preacher. He preached ordinarily in his owne Church twise each Lords-Day, and catechized for above halfe an houre before evening Prayer, examining and instructing the youth, and once a weeke he preached the ordinary Lecture.

Hee was much against all such preaching as was light, vaine, scenicall, impertinent, raw and indigested.

His preaching was plaine, but as much according to the Scripture and also to the rules of Art, and of right Reason, as any that ever I heard or have heard of. In conference he hath told me what hee aimed at, and what use he made of the Arts, and what rules hee set to himselfe in the studying of his Ser­mons, which was as followeth,

That he might better understand his Text, hee made use of his Grammer learning in Greeke and Hebrew, in which tongues the Scripture is written. Also hee would use the helpe of Rhetoricke to discover to him what formes of speech in his Text was to be taken in their primary and proper signification, and what was elegantly cloathed and wrapped up in tropes and figures that hee might unfold them, and see their naked mea­ning: Then well weighing and considering the context, hee would by the helpe of Logicke finde out the scope of the Holy Ghost in that Scripture. Hee would endeavour when he be­gan to enter upon the preaching of any Chapter, to Ana­lise and take the Chapter into its severall branches and parts. Then he would if it were a doctrinall Text, note the Doctrine as it lay in the Text and so prosecute it. Or if the Text con­sisted of illustrations or circumstances of some principall truth there prosecuted; hee would then gather from some notable part or branch of his Text, an apt Doctrine, or Divine Truth [Page] which should so immediately follow, that the Truth observed in the Text should be the argument or middle terme, wherby in a simple Sillogisme, he could conclude his Doctrine. Next, hee would seeke for apt proofes out of Scripture to confirme it. Fewer or more as hee thought best, which done, because o­ther arguments according to Scripture and right Reason are forcible to convince and confirme reasonable men in any truth, hee would find out Reasons of his Doctrine, but he aimed that they should bee strong Arguments, or middle termes by which hee might likewise Sillogistially conclude his said Do­ctrine.

Then according to the nature of the Doctrine, and the need and aptnesse of his Auditory; hee would as from an infalli­ble consequent of his Doctrine by way of Application, con­firme some profitable Truth, which yet by some might happily bee questioned, or else convince men of some errour, or reproove some vice, or exhort to some Dutie, or resolve some doubt, or case of conscience, or comfort such as needed Con­solation. In all which sorts of Applications hee did make use of more or fewer of them as there might bee cause, and hee would bee carefull that his Doctrine should bee the Argument or middle terme whereby hee might sillogistically conclude the maine Proposition of any of his said uses: And if the re­proofe or exhortation did need pressing home upon the con­science, then hee would study to enlarge his Speech, shewing motives to induce to such a duty; and allso disswasives from such a vice, taking his Arguments from dutie to God, decen­cy or shamefullnesse, pleasure or paine, gaine or losse.

And here again he would use the help of Rhetorick, but all for the most part in a concealed way, without all affectation. And sometimes he would shew the effectuall meanes of attaining of the Grace and power to performe the duty to which he exhor­ted. And sometimes likewise he would shew the remedyes a­gainst such or such a vice from which he disswaded, as may bee seene by his Sermons already extant. Also when hee thought it was needefull to discusse and handle any common place or head of Divinity, hee would doe it very judiciously, fully and most profitably.

[Page]Though hee had but an ordinary study of books for such an accomplisht Divine, yet hee was one who had read very much. For hee would read most swiftly, yet not cursorily, for he could give an account of the substance and most remark­able particulars of what hee had so read.

Hee had allso allwayes when hee pleased the benefit of a Booke-sellers shop, which caused him to forbeare to buy ma­ny Bookes.

Though hee preached so often, yet what hee preached was before well studied and premeditated. Hee usually did pen his Sermons at large; and if before he preached, hee had but so much time as to read over what he had written, and to gather it up into short heades, hee was able if hee thought it fit to deliver it in publike well neare in the same words.

It pleased God to put a seale to his Ministery in the conver­sion, confirming and building up of many thousand soules by his meanes in the whole course of his Ministery.

Hee was a most diligent visitor of the sick people that were under his charge without respect of Persons, after that it came to his knowledge that they were sicke.

He was a ready Peace-maker amongst his flocke that should happen to be at variance.

He abounded in works of Mercie, hee was a truely liberall man, one that studyed liberall things; for hee would seeke out to finde objects of his mercy, rather then to stay till they were offered. Hee did set apart and expended for the space of many yeares for good uses the tenth part of his yearly com­mings in, both out of his temporall and ecclesiasticall meanes of maintenance.

Hee had an heavenly gift in Prayer, both for aptnesse and Fullnesse of Confessions, Petitions, Supplications, In­tercessions and Prayses, as allso for readinesse and copious­nesse of apt words, together with Fervency of Spirit to poure them out unto God in the name of Christ in the behalfe of himselfe, and of all those who in Prayer joyned with him.

[Page]He had this singular abilitie that in his Prayer after Sermon, he could collect into a short Sum all which hee had delivered to his Hearers and make it the matter of his Prayer to God, to the end they might be inwardly taught of God, and become Beleevers and doers of what was taught them.

Likewise when hee had read a Psalme or Chapter in his Fa­mily, hee was so well seene in the Text, and of so good a Judgement, and of so choice a memory that though the Chapter was part of the Ceremoniall Law, or in the bookes of Numbers, Chronicles, and hardest Prophecies, he in his Pray­er would discover the scope and meaning and chiefe notes of Observation, and their use, in such sort, that oft-times when I have heard him, I have much longed that I could call them all to minde; For I found the matter of his Pray­er to be a better Commentary of that Chapter, with apt ob­servations and applications for use, then I could finde in any Authour that I had read, who had vvritten there­upon.

His manner was daily Morning and Evening to call his Fa­mily together, and to reade a Psalme or Chapter in the Scrip­tures, and to pray with them and oft to catechize them; besides his constant Prayer Morning and Evening with his wife and al­so constantly alone by himselfe.

He did set a part private dayes of Humiliation for his Fami­ly upon speciall occasions, and oft times before their prepara­tion for their due receiving of the Lords-Supper. At which times he did exceed himselfe in powring out his soule to GOD in most aboundant and most free Confessions of sinne, and expressions of Sorrow for sinne, with teares and with earnest­nesse of Petition for pardon and grace, and for the good of the Churches of God, but for our whole State and Church of England more specially and particularly.

He was much in dayes of private Fasting and humbling himselfe before God alone, that hee might make and keepe his peace with God, and obtaine more Grace to keep more close to him, and to walke more evenly with him, and that hee might the better keepe under his body, and bring it [Page] into subjection (following the Example of the Apostle) least having preached to others hee himselfe should not live answerable to his Doctrine without reproofe, knowing that Ministers ought to be unreproveable. He was so much in this that it is thought by such as knew him best that it impai­red the health of his body, though it made much for the good of his soule.

He was very able and very ready to conferre with, and to re­solve the doubts of those many who in love and desire of infor­mation came unto him.

He bare a tender love unto, and had a conscionable care of that great people over which God had made him over-seer. For, although his mainetenance from them was but small in comparison, and unkindnesses and discouragements many and his offers of greater preferment in the Church in respect of outward mainetenance were oft and importunate; yet he would not be perswaded to leave them. Yea though once for reasons which suddenly tooke him, he did promise to accept of another charge, yet within a while hee intreated mee to tell that Person to whom he had promised, that hee had better thought of it, and did desire to be released of his Pro­mise, and that out of Consideration of that great people which he should leave, saying, that if he should accept of that lesser charge, when he should come into the Church amongst them his heart would in yerning towards his other people, aske him what he did there.

He was duely inquisitive after the affaires of Gods Church and people, and according as hee received true intelligence of their weale or woe, so hee had his sympathies and Fellow-fee­lings with them in either of their conditions

Hee was much grieved and troubled when hee saw that difference of opinions, and thereupon strangenesse, distract­ions and rends to arise and bee made in the Church amongst Bretheren professing for the maine, and in fundamentalls the same Truthes. Hee signified so much to mee with be­wayling many times.

Hee was judiciously charitable to any that should differ in [Page] some opinions from him, so long as he saw that they agreed with him in the maine and Fundamentall Points of Religion, and were diligent to enquire after the Truth, and saw allso that they did indeed shew the Power of Godlinesse in their lives. Hee could and did highly esteeme them, love them, and converse Christianly and familiarly with them, and that because (although hee thought they were in an errour, and hee would in private and publike endeavour to reclaime them) yet he was perswaded that their desire was to seeke Christ, and that they had an aime to know God aright, and to serve him in sincerity.

Notwithstanding all this good which according to the truth hath beene said of him; it must be remembred that hee was a man and not without his imperfections and frailties. For what man is he that liveth and sinneth not. And as it is also said, In many things we sin all.

It is usuall with God that men of the greatest parts and gifts should be exercised with some or other inordinate affecti­on to bee mortified, and some strong temptations, to have some thorne in the flesh, or some or other messenger of Satan (as the Apostle had) to buffet them: Else they would be ex­alted above measure to the sleighting, contemning, and con­demning of their Bretheren, and other men would have too high an opinion of them, halfe deifying them, despising those vvho are no lesse holy, but not so excellently gifted as they.

There was nothing which did more evidently discover truth of Gods grace in this man, then that which was occasioned by his slips and strong temptations; For these made him more watchfull over himselfe, then otherwise hee would have bin; It made him more humble and more to loath his originall cor­ruption and sinfull nature, and bewailingly to cry out with the Apostle, O miserable man that I am who shall deliver me from the body of this Death. And that because hee was (as other the deare servants of God are) most sensible of the captivitie and bondage which sin would strive to hold him under, sith that when he would doe well, evill was present with him, and made [Page] him sometimes to doe some things which in the bent of his soule he would not have done. This served to make him more humble in himselfe, more earnest in prayer to God and more pittifull towards others in whom this sinne remaineth and dwelleth (even after conversion) which (as the Apostle saith) is a weight and doth easily beset them, to hinder them in their Christian race. And this I am assured off, that hee would be the first espier of those faults of his when the world could not nor did take notice of them, having no peace in himselfe untill he had with all speed and earnestnesse, sought and regained par­don and peace with God.

He may be a patterne to all in receiving admonition from any that should in love mind him of his fault. Hee was glad when any of the righteous smote him and would take it well, not from his Superiours onely, but from his equalls and farre inferiours. Hee had learned with David to blesse God that sent them, and to blesse the advice, to follow it, and to blesse the party and thanke him that gave it. Hee would intreate such, as hee hath done me in particular, not to be wanting to him in this Christian office of Love; and hee would really shew more testimonies of his love to such afterwards then ever formerly; which is a sure argument of uprightnesse. A most reverend Divine who had knowne him from his infancy, and had often conversed with him, gave testimony of him to this effect unto me and others when lately he spake of him by occa­sion of the mentioning of his sicknesse.

His latter daies were his best daies; for in the judgement of those who could judge spiritually, hee grew exceedingly in hu­mility and in spirituall and heavenly mindednesse, his last works were his best works, arguing him to be of Gods grafting, and planted in the house of the Lord.

Lastly, hee had a most happy and comfortable successe of his conflicts against sinne▪ For a good while before his sicke­nesse and death he did with Comfort and Joy make knowne to his dearest friend that God had given him victory against his greatest corruptions vvhich had for a long time kept him in continuall exercise.

[Page]About eight weekes before his death a great fit of inward and short coughing and extreame shortnesse of breath did cease upon him, in so much that those who came about him fea­red that hee would presently have departed. This fit bee­ing over, much weakenesse continued, yet hee preached di­vers times, untill that his encreasing weakenesse did disable him.

In the time of his sickenesse and weakenesse hee gave hea­venly and wholesome counsell to his people, neighbours and friends that came to visit him: giving particular advise to his wife, children and servants respectively according to their place and condition as they oft came about him, thus hee did oft so long as hee was able to speake unto them.

His Christian speeches that concerned all, tended to this, that they would be carefull to redeeme the time, and to bee much in reading, hearing and meditating of the Word of God. That they would be much in Prayer, much in brotherly love and communion of the Saints. And that they would be care­full to hold fast that which he had taught them out of the Word of Truth. And that while the light and meanes of Salvation was to be had, they should not spare paines nor cost to enjoy them. He was oft in his sickenesse upon the painefull racke or torture of inward snatchings and convulsions, which sometimes left him, but (three or foure dayes before his death) they returned and increased upon him; all which hee bare exceeding patiently. Hee was much in ejaculations and short prayers and lifting up his heart to God in the behalfe of the Church and State, and for himselfe allso, which hee was most frequent and earnest in, a little before his death. In the time when a brother of his (not onely in the common bonds of Christianity, but allso by alliance, and a brother in the Ministery) was praying with him and for him to this effect, that if his time was not determined or expired that God would be pleased to restore him for the good of his Church, or if o­therwise that hee would put an end to his paine if he saw good; at the hearing thereof hee lift up his eyes stedfastly towards Heaven and allso one of his hands (hee being not able to lift [Page] up the other) and in the close of that prayer gave up the ghost, shutting downe his eyes himselfe, as if hee were fallen into a sweet sleepe. Hee lived much desired and died much lamented.

Thus a great, a good and mercifull man, a chariot and horse-man of Israell is by Gods owne hand fallen and taken a­way from the evill to come, and is entred into peace, and rest in his bed of everlasting pleasures and joyes, enjoying the fruit of his Faith in Christ, and of his walking with God in upright­nesse. Pretious in the sight of the Lord is the death of the Saints though the wicked regard it not, but are glad of their absence. But the living indeed they must, and they will lay it to heart, and will prepare and long for their owne dissolution, that they maybe more immediately gathered to Christ the Iudge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, ex­pecting and waiting for a blessed Resurrection of themselves and of all that die in the Faith of our Lord Jesus, to whom bee ascribed all Might, Majestie, Dominion and Glorie, both now and for ever more, Amen.

This Man of God and faithfull Minister of Christ, de­parted this life upon Friday the 10. of May, Anno Domini, 1639. neare the end of the six and fiftieth yeare of his age.

Feb. 25. 1639.

Imprimatur, THOMAS WYKES.

Banburies Funerall teares powred forth upon the Death of her late pious and painefull Pastour Mr. William Whately deciphered in this Sympathizing Elogy.

I am that Orbin which of late did shine
An heav'n enlightned starre with raies divine,
Which did arise within mee and dispence
Light, life, heate, Heav'n-infusing influence,
And went before me, steering right mine Eye
Vnto the very place where CHRIST did lye.
He was a Cynosura in my motion
To Heaven's bright haven on this worlds vast Ocean;
Or as the Aegyptian Pharos to descrie
The rockes of sinne and errour to mine Eye.
Hee was my Glorie, Beautie, Consolation,
My very soule, I but the Corporation.
I would goe on with bleedings to recite,
His and mine owne sad fall, but I can't write,
Throbs shake mine hand, and griefe my sight destroyes,
And when I speake, ah! teares doe drowne my voice:
Yet will I sigh, and give my sorrowes pent
Within my breast, by mournefull breathings vent.
Come then speake sighs, write teares, and sadly storie,
The dark Ecclipse that hath befell my glorie.
My Starre is falne, and Heavens did so dispose,
That there he fell, where he at first arose:
The Starres above us thus their races runne
Returning thither whence they first begunne.
But did I say hee's fallen? Stay me there,
He is translated to an higher spheare,
Where (though to th' world he is obscur'd) he may
Shine forth unvailed in a purer ray,
Fixt to an endlesse rest in heavens bright throne,
Above all starry Constellation.
But ah, alas Death hath dispos'd it so
[Page]That his rise prooves my fall, his weale my woe:
His weale my woe? strange! what a change is this?
My welfare was but now in wrapt in his:
But thus Death innovates; and did he not
Tell me that he Commission hath got,
And warrant for his fact from heavens great King
I would have brought him into questioning;
Ah death what hast thou done? Dost thou not care
To make a breach which ages can't repaire?
So rare a Frame in peeces for to take
VVhich Heav'n and nature did combine to make
A Master-peece? For who did ere behold
So sound a spirit in so strong a mold?
Heaven's treasure which within his breast abode
VVas by his liberall tongue disperst abroad.
All Graces gave a meeting in him, even,
To make his breast a little map of Heav'n.
His lips distilled Manna; and he stood
Not so for Church-goods as the Churches good.
His voice it was a trump, whose sound was made
VVith breath divine which it from Heaven had.
His life a dayly Sermon, which alas,
Methinkes was measur'd by too short a glasse.
Ah Death though Painters give thee holes for eyes
Yet thou canst see to take the richest prize,
To hit the fairest mark; yet I suspect
It was my sinne which did thine hand direct:
My light had I improov'd it well for gaine
VVould have remaind, els lights sha'nt burn in vain.
Yet sure he is not dead, for why? I find
Him still surviving, in my breast enshrin'd;
And who can say that he's of life bereaven
That lives in's works, inpious hearts in Heaven?
He's but a sleepe, by death undrest, not dead,
Or hath but changd his dresse; for he in stead
Of these sin-staind ragges of mortality
VVeares a pure robe whose length's eternity.
M. B.

EXAMPLE.
I.
OF Adam and Eve.

AS all other knowledges are conve­niently taught by Precepts and Examples;The Preface to the insuing Treatise. so is that best of knowledges, the art of living holi­ly. Hence it is that as I have instru­cted you to my poore ability in the Law and the precepts of good life, so I doe now intend to set before your eyes the Examples recorded in Scripture of Men, both good and bad, that by observing the swervings of the one, and the right walking of others, you may bet­ter keepe your owne feete in the streightest paths. Onely con­cerning Examples, you must know this thing in generall; that no Example at all hath the force of a precept either to binde the consciences of men to any thing as a duty, or to restraine from any thing as a sinne:Bare Examples binde not. because the knowledge of sinne is from the Law, and where there is no Law there is no transgression, and our care must be to walke in Gods waies, not in the waies of any man whatsoever. But Example prevaileth alone to perswade the will as a fit argument of Exhortation or Dehortation, not as an argument to proove a thing needfull or sinfull. Seeing then my [Page 2] duty is to perswade you to all goodnesse, and to disswade you from all evill, and the Examples of Scripture are undoubted and certaine, and they offer themselves as it were unto the sences, and so more worke on the will to allure or deterre: I thinke it a conveni­ent meanes of helping you in all righteousnesse and against the con­trary, to make a collection of those Examples of good or bad things which are left us upon record by a divine pen, and I will range these Examples according to the order of time wherein they lived, so farre as I can informe my selfe thereof by the Word of God. And I will begin with Adam and Eve, and put them both toge­ther, because their good and evill was put togeher in practise thereof.

The Method observed in handling all the Examples.The Method I intend to take in each person is this, I will con­sider his Birth, Life and Death, and in his Life I will looke to his carriage and behaviour in respect of the deeds he did, good, bad, indifferent and doubtfull, and the things that befell him, either pro­sperously or adversely, in benefits or afflictions.

Now for Adam and Eve because they were the first foun­taines of mankind, and therefore could not be borne in the same manner as others be (for he that is borne must have a Parent, and he that hath a Parent was not the first man or woman, because his Parent was before him) therefore I cannot tell you any thing of their Birth,Nothing can be said of Adam and Eves Birth, but of their entring into the world. but of their entring into the world by another way, which was to them the same in effect, that our begetting and birth is to us. I will informe you according to the Scriptures, for it much concernes us to understand our originall and to know certainely how mankinde came into the world. Know then in summe, That God made Man of the dust of the earth, Gen. 2.7. and breathed into him the breath of life and man became a living soule. Here is in briefe the Creation of Adam (now Adam signifieth red Earth,Adam what it signifieth. because his body was made of such kinde of Earth) and concerning Woman it is no­ted that God caused a deepe sleepe to fall upon Adam,21, 22. verses of the same Chapter. and then tooke one of his ribbes, closing the flesh in steed of it, and framed it into the body of a Woman, in which also he placed a reasonable soule.

Concerning this Creation of Man, you must first informe your selves of the necessity of it.The Creation of Man was necessary. It must needs be granted by force of reason, that there must be some first man, seeing otherwise there must be infinite men,There must be first Man, and why? because a number without beginning must be also without end, in as much as there is the same reason of both, that which caused men without beginning, did cause them necessari­ly, and therefore it must cause them for ever; now all reason agrees to this truth,Non datur in­finitum actu. that there cannot be an infinite number, seeing to a number still one at least may be added. I meane it of actuall numbers and actuall infinitenesse, so wee reason thus, either an infinite number of men, or some first man and woman, not the former, therfore the latter. And if there must be a first man and woman, either they came by chance and without any maker, which is so absurd, that no [Page 3] man can choose but hisse it out, or else they were made by some agent or matter that had a being before them; and if so, then either as Heathen Theologie tels, they grew out of the mudde as frogges doe in some Countries, or else were formed by God as our Theologie teacheth, and let every man that hath his right wits about him, judge in himselfe whether of these twaine is more agreeable to reason, and more likely to be true. So man was created by God,The time and matter of mans Creation. now about his Creation, the time and matter of it is to be noted. For first man was not created till the sixth day when a fit place for him to dwell in, and all necessary furniture for the place, and all needfull servants and attendants were before provided for his use. God saw it not fit to bring man into the world, before it was garnished and stored with all contents usefull for him. And then man was made in the first place and woman after him, to shew that man is the superiour in nature, wo­man was made for man and not man for woman, therefore was man made first and woman after, and so doth the Apostle reason in two places where he handles the difference of Sexes, 1 Cor. 11.8, 9. 1 Tim. 2.13. So you have this cleared, how man came into the world, and how woman; but you must observe more particularly the diffe­rent matter of which they were made, and the parts of which they consist.

Man had a body and that was made of the dust of the earth,Why Man was made of the dust. Gen. 2.7. to teach him Humility, but he had also a soule and that was breathed into his nostrils, that is, infused by God, wonderfully and immediately put into mans body, it is called a breath of life, and after a soule of life, that is, a soule which procured breathing and living, nothing is har­der for a man to conceive of then the nature of his owne soule next the nature of God and Angels, for the former is much more hard to comprehend, the latter equally difficult at least, and it should be unto us a matter of great abasement that wee cannot tell what to make of our selves that is, of our soules, that it is we know by the effects it workes in the body and the absence of these effects, and the follow­ing of contrary effects when it is departed from the body, and this is all we know in a manner, onely we may gather by discourse that it is a substance incorporeall, because it selfe doth informe the body, and one body cannot in reason be fit to informe another.

The Scripture also tells us certainely that it is an immortall substance which must returne to God that gave it,It is hard to understand the nature of the soule. and reason subscribes to this truth, because finding the soule a thing simple, it cannot conceive how it should be corrupted; O how ignorant are we and what cause have we to be puffed up with conceit of our knowledge, seeing so much blindnesse doth now possesse our mindes, that in a manner all we have to say of our owne soules and spirits, the best part of us, is this, that we cannot tell what to say.

As for Evah shee also consisted of a body,Eves body was made of a rib, and why? and that was made not of earth, but of a bone of her husband, to instruct her and him both of their duty, that shee should acknowledge her subjection unto [Page 4] him as being taken out of him, and helpefull to him as being made of a rib an helpfull bone in his side, and to instruct him that he should ac­count her deare unto him and make precious reckoning of her, using her as in a manner his equall, as being a peece of himselfe and extracted from his own side. Now a woman also hath a soule, an immortall spi­rit to make her a living and a reasonable creature; for where sin is found there is a reasonable soule, because none other is capable of know­ing and consequently transgressing a law made by God, but woman was in the Transgression, that is, shee sinned, and sinned first before Adam, A fond con­ceit that wo­men have no soules and the originall of it therefore shee had a soule and a reasonable soule, and they seeme to have beene wilfully blinde, that whether out of the silence of God in not mentioning the breathing of a soule into Evah, or upon what other mad conceit would needs make themselves and others beleeve that women had no soules. I conceive it was the de­vice of some brutish and sensuall man, that by instilling this most absurd conceit into that Sexe, would faine draw them to commit all licentiousnesse with boldnesse, for if they have no soules it could be no fault in them more then in the bruit creatures to give over them­selves to all sensuality and libidinousnesse. You have heard Mans begin­ning know now his life, and herein consider his behaviour and the things that befell him;Their life. his behaviour bad, good, indifferent, doubtfull.

Their bad car­riage. The first sinne of our first Pa­rents. Gen. 2.16.17.Their bad carriage stands in two things. Their first sinne where­by they fell, and their following sinnes which they added after their fall. The first sinne was the eating of the forbidden fruit; for you shall have it recorded that the Lord having placed Adam in a garden to dresse and keepe it, spake to him in this wise. Of all the trees of the garden thou maist eating eate, that is, thou maist lawful­ly and with mine allowance eate, it was at his choice to eate of what kind he pleased, and if it seemed good unto him to forbeare eating of any he might forbeare, then followes a prohibition of one kind of fruit, viz. of the tree of knowledge of good and evill which is in the midst of the garden thou maist not eate, that is, you shall not lawfully do it, in regard of naturall power he had ability to eate and not eate of that as of any other, but God did take away from him the morall liberty of eating of it, and by his authority saw good to abridge his liberty, and this alone to make it appeare to Adam, that he was an absolute and a soveraigne Lord over him, and had full power and authority to forbid him what he saw good to forbid, and to command what he saw good to command. So the Lord did here call Adam to a profession of his absolute subjection to God his Maker, and of Gods absolute right to himselfe and all other creatures: and to this prohibition he subjoynes a threat of death, In the day that thou eatest it thou shalt certainely die, in dying thou shalt die. Doubtlesse the Lord meant this of both deaths naturall and spirituall, and it is to be interpreted, thou shalt become subject to a naturall and to an eter­nall death, thy body and soule both shall be made in their kind mor­tall. Thy body subject to such putrefaction and distemper as shall [Page 5] cause it to be an unfit receptacle for the soule, and thy soule subject to such sinfullnesse and distemper in its kind, as shall make it unfit to hold any fellowship with God, and so thy soule shall be separated from thy body, and both from God the life of thy life; in this same phrase is the wicked man threatened by the Prophet at Gods ap­pointment. O wicked man thou shalt die the death, that is, most surely die and be damned. The Lord did not meane that naturall and eternall death should instantly follow upon their eating, but obnoxiousnesse to both, and some degrees of both should follow instantly, and at last the consum­mation of both, with an implicite exception of his grace in Christ in pardoning him. Lo now Adam had from Gods own mouth an expresse and plaine Commandement, wherein he was directly forbidden one and but one tree, with warrant for the use of all the rest, and a plaine and expresse threat of death to begin to insue immediately upon his eating. And this Commandement, either God himselfe, or else Adam had made knowne to Evah, for you heare that shee doth both alleadge it and oppose it to the Serpents temptation at the first. Now this Commandement so plaine, so easie, so equall, that hee could not be ignorant of it, nor incurre any inconvenience by yeelding to it, nor picke any exception against it. This Com­mandement which both of them knew full well did they trans­gresse, and that very speedily.How long Adam conti­nued before he sinned is not revealed. How long they continued free from the sinne, I know not, because I find it not revealed and will not conjecture; because the not revealing it by God makes mee thinke it is not to much purpose to know. If the first act of eating were that of the forbidden fruit, it is a great aggravation of their sinne, that they transgressed Gods Law in a manner afore they did any other thing, if they stood any while it is a great aggravation, that after much ex­perience of Gods bounty they would be bold to offend him, and taste of the forbidden fruit after the feeling of the sweetnesse and goodnesse of other fruits: but it was not long afore they did eate, and it was likewise done upon a poore motive, the temptation of a base Worme, and it was yeelded unto without much resistance, for not many words passed them before Eve had condescended. You have the Storie of this sinne in Gen. 3.1, &c. where is first the Tempter, a Serpent, the most The Hebrew word is ambi­guous. The fall of our first Pa­rents described naked or subtilest of all beasts; then the temptation in the matter of it and the successe. The matter, The Serpent said to the Woman, hath God indeed said, you shall not eate of every tree of the garden, in which hee would make Eve either doubt of Gods Commandement, or else be discontent with it, as if hee had dealt niggardly with them in not permitting them to eate of eve­ry tree, or as if the forbidding of this were as much as if hee had prohibited them all the trees, intimating that this was as good as all the rest, and the not giving them this as much as the deniall of all the rest. Then the Womans answer, telling him that he had allowed them all the rest and forbidden this alone, and that on paine of death; then the Serpents reply, in which he contradicteth Gods [Page 6] threat, that the Woman might not give credit unto it, for he tells Evah, that they should nor certainely die, yea not onely so, but that God knew well enough how eating of that tree would procure to them an increase of knowledge, then the successe of the Temp­tation is, that shee beleeving the Serpent and conceiving that shee should gaine knowledge by the eating and considering the beauty and pleasantnesse of the fruit, did not alone eate of it her selfe, but also gave her husband, perswading him also to feed of it, which he at her perswasion did.

Thus was the first Commandement utterly transgressed, which so soone as it was done they began to have sence of their nakednesse, and sewed figleaves together to make them aprons for the covering of their nakednesse, which now began to appeare shamefull unto them.

Divers sinnes followed the first sinne.This was their first sinne, upon this followed divers other sinnes, viz. their running away from God, and hiding themselves among the trees, as if it had beene possible for them so to have escaped his sight, and then excusing their fault, he by laying the fault partly on Eve which gave him, and partly upon God which gave her to him, and shee upon the Serpent which had seduced and beguiled her. So they had done evill and sought to hide their sinne instead of con­fessing it and humbling themselves, for so sinne blindes the minde, hardens the heart, drives a man from God and sets all the minde out of frame, estranging the soule from God and causing a man to be filled with slavish feare that makes him flie from his presence. This sinne brought terrour of conscience, from whence of necessity fol­lowed sinfullnesse and mortality. This is their bad carriage.

Their doubt­full and indif­ferent behavi­our.Doubtfull and indifferent may seeme to have beene their making of them aprons of leaves, for that shewed some shame and desire to hide their shame.

Their good carriage. Evah why so called.Now follow the things that were good in them, viz. their im­bracing of Gods goodnesse, and turning to him by Faith and Repen­tance after the promise, intimated in the giving Eve the name of Evah or Mother of all living, as much as if he had said, though we be all dead by this sinne, yet wee shall live by the promised seed which Evah shall bring forth, and then Evah giveth the name of Caine to her first sonne, saying, I have obtained a sonne the Lord, or of the Lord, perhaps expressing her hope that Caine was that sonne the Lord which should bruise the Serpents head, and after calling the second sonne by the name of Abel, to signifie their submitting themselves to the crosses and miseries which they felt, and after bringing up their sonnes in a calling, the one a Shepheard, the other a Husbandman, and in teaching them to worship God and to bring gifts and sacrifices to him, the one of his sheepe, the other of the fruits which the land did affoord.Their benefits 1. Before their fall.

Now consider we the benefits God had bestowed upon them be­fore their fall, the making of them after his owne Image, in know­ledge, righteousnesse and true holinesse, with a most beautifull, [Page 7] strong, swift, healthie and comely body, free from all danger of sicknesse, death, or other misery; giving them dominion over all creatures, planting so excellent a place for them as Paradise, and granting them the use of all the trees, and that of life, and putting on them so pleasant a service as that of dressing and keeping the Gar­den, besides the hope and assurance of Eternall life upon condition of their obedience, of which Paradise it selfe and the tree of life were signes unto them. For if wee should live the life of glory by obeying the Law, so should they have done seeing they also were under the same Covenant of workes that we be under.

Now after their sinne God bestowed divers benefits on them.2. After their fall. The chiefe was the promise of a Saviour, viz. The seede of the Woman to tread on the Serpents head, that is, to destroy the Divell, and the workes of the Divell, and to deliver them from the mischiefe which Satan sought to bring upon them. By which words he did make the Covenant of grace with them and their Posterity, providing a re­medy equall to the disease, and the meanes of revealing it to all, in that be manifested it to them that they might teach it to their children, and so one to another till all knew it, and then making them Breeches and continuing their life, and granting them children. These be the be­nefits.

The miseries they felt were pronouncing a curse upon them,Their Crosses. ad­judging them to an inavoidable necessity of naturall death, to much sorrow in their life, he by tilling the ground (which should bring forth ill things to him) and that with sweat and labour, and shee by bearing children in sorrow, and by being compelled by subjection to her husband; then by casting them out of Paradise, debarring them the tree of life, and giving Caine over to kill his Brother bet­ter then himselfe, which must needs be an heavie crosse to them, which God did somewhat mitigate by giving them another godly sonne, even Seth. This is their life, their death followes.

Adam lived 900. yeares, and for Eves death,Their Death. it is not mentioned how long shee lived,Why the length of any Womans life except Sarahs is not mentio­ned in Scripture. for God hath not thought it fit to tell us the length of the life of any woman except Sarah in Scripture: upon what consideration it is hard to guesse, but sure it is to humble wo­mankinde, that because they were first in bringing in death, deser­ved not to have the continuance of their lives, recorded by Gods pen. So have I briefely runne over the first man and the first woman. And now I will make use of all.

First from their Creation,The uses of the whole. and the benefits bestowed upon them in and after their Creation; let us learne to acknowledge God to be our Creator, the Fountaine of our being, and to submit our selves who­ly to him in all things, seeing we have received our being from him; for in making them he made us in them, and whatsoever benefits he gave him in Creation, he gave them to us in him,Omnes nos era­mus, ille unus. seeing if he had not cast them away we should not have wanted them. Wee must not lesse praise God and be lesse thankefull for that happy estate, be­cause [Page 8] Adam forfeited it; for his naughtinesse in sinning cannot dimi­nish the goodnesse of God in granting to him and his so great a heape of pleasures here with certainty of Eternall life after. Doe you not see that God made us all to happinesse and life in our first Parents, fitting all things, so that he might have stood and delivered over all those benefits unto us. Let us not murmure against God for the punishment justly inflicted upon us in them and on them for the sinne committed by them; especially wee must praise God for the promise of the seed of the Woman which now God hath perfor­med to us, by whom salvation and life was offered and tendered to all, so that by the second Adam all might have received happi­nesse as they lost it by the first, if the fault had not beene and were not meerely in themselves, that have beene and are carelesse of Gods goodnesse neglecting to consider of his mercy, to beleeve in him and to turne to him.

Secondly, in Adams sinne let us all see our owne sinfullnesse, and our mortality and misery in his misery,Rom. 5.12. For by one man sinne came in­to the world, and by sinne death, and so death passed over all. This sinne is our sinne after a sort, we must lament it and bewaile it, and be humbled for it, and in the sence of our wretchednesse runne to the promised seed to deliver us from sinne and death, and to repaire the Image of God in us by the mighty worke of his Spirit, which is as easie for him to doe as to create us just at the first, and which he will as certainely performe for us if we seeke it as hee did then in our first making.

Againe, let us learne to hate and loath sinne and Satan, not to hearken to his suggestions, but to beleeve Gods threats and submit to his Commandements, let the husband resolve not to obey the voice of his wife against God, let the wife take heed of drawing her husband to sinne, let the husband rather reforme her then be cor­rupted by her. O beware of thinking to get any thing by doing wickednesse, disobedience will bring nothing in conclusion but mi­sery and unhappinesse.

Let us take heed of flying from God and of excusing our faults and casting the blame upon others, chiefely upon God himselfe, as Adam did, but let us rather confesse, lament, and trust in his mercy, and implore it, then dawbe and dissemble, and thinke to escape by fri­volous shifts and extenuations;We should not bee proud of apparell. and especially learne not to be proud of apparell which is no better then a badge of our wicked rebellion and of our shamefull nakednesse. Let us be the better for the things we know concerning Adam and Eve our first Parents.

Againe, let us be carefull to follow them in all good deeds which they did; O let us repent and beleeve in Christ hoping for life by him according to the Covenant of grace, as they did when they had bro­ken the Covenant of Workes. For by trusting in Christ we shall goe to Heaven in the way of Evangelicall obedience, standing in a resolu­tion and indeavour not to sinne, and a carefull humbling our selves and [Page 9] seeking pardon when we faile, as sure as they or we should have done in the way of Legall obedience, if they and we had remained innocent; and God will as surely inable us to this Evangelicall obedience, if we seeke to him for grace and the renewing of his Image in us, as hee had inabled him to Legall and exact obedience. In truth Christ hath made the way to life eternall as easie to us in the path of the Gospell, as it was to him in the path of the Law, for wee have grace to keepe us from loving and servnig sinne as sure as hee had power to abstaine from committing sinne. Say to your selves, Adams sinne shall not damne mee, if in sence of the misery which it brought upon me I can fully seeke to Christ the promised seed.

Further, let us follow him and her in that was good in both. How did Adam accept his wife, saying, This is flesh of my flesh, and shee shall be called Evah, and a man shall forsake Father and Mo­ther and cleave to his wife; O you husbands love your wives as your owne flesh, cleave to them above all, and forsaking all other, keepe you onely to them. You wives be content to be subject to your husbands, as it is sure Evah was before her fall at least, and pro­bable after too, for we reade of no braules betwixt them. O joyne together to bring up your children well, first in some honest calling, then in the knowledge of the true God and care of worshipping him. I say teach your sonnes and daughters things necessary for their profi­table and holy living in the world; bring them not up in idlenesse and ignorance, but so carry your selves to them, that it may not be impu­ted to you if they prove wicked, and be thankfull to God for your children, and learne to rejoyce, especially in their goodnesse, as Adam and Evah did in Seths. Learne of your first Parents to be good Pa­rents, and follow all the things that were good and commendable in them.

Againe, from their afflictions, learne to prepare for afflictions, and to make a good use of them when they come, if you thinke to live in this world without briers and thornes, without sweat and labour you are much deceived. Crosses are assigned to us as just chastisements for our sinne; we must to dust, let us expect misery and death, and la­bour to make our selves fit for crosses. It was Gods great goodnesse that he would not suffer Adam to remaine in Paradise and to joy the tree of life. For had hee lived in so much pleasure as that place would have affoorded, and had he found all the creatures as good and comfortable to him now after his fall when his nature was made sin­full, as when it was sinlesse, O how greatly would his sin have growne through the fatnesse of that over delightfull estate, even as weedes doe in a rich and unmanured soyle. Sure had not God sent a curse on the earth, and inflicted griefe and misery upon man, hee would never have repented, never have conceived of his spirituall misery, never have turned to God and sought God; so that as it is a mercy in the Physitian to make the patient sicke with a medicine, so it was in God to send these afflictions on us. Let us not therefore flatter our selves [Page 10] in vaine conceits of living merrily, but let us prepare for afflicti­ons, which all must in some degree meete withall in their severall callings. It was the voice of an Epicure in the rich man, that said, eate and drinke and take thine ease; Ede, bide, lude, &c. we should say to our selves ra­ther, sinne hath made mee subject to divers crosses, and I will la­bour to receive them patiently from Gods Almighty hand, if he thinke it fit to exercise me with them.

Especially you that are Parents of children, looke for crosses in your children; thinke this boy may proove not an Abel, not a Seth, but a Caine, a wicked and a sinfull Caine, a hater of goodnesse, and fugitive from God. Let mee take heed therefore that I doe not over-love him, that I doe not cocker him, and as it were marre and kill his soule by over-cherishing his body. If wee finde our selves apt to over-prize and over-love our children, wee must moderate those passions by such meditations, and if we finde our selves apt to over-grieve for their death, wee must tell our selves, Ah might not their lives have prooved much more bitter to mee then their death can; who would not rather bury a sonne young then live to see him proove a Cain, and who can tell but his sonne for whose death he takes on with so much excessive sorrow, may not fall out to be as wicked as Caine. If any say I hope not so, I answer him, where be the grounds of his hope? did not our first Parents hope as much thinke you? Sure Evah giving Caine a name shewed that shee had good hopes of him when he was borne, yea those that have good and godly chil­dren must prepare to be crossed in their afflictions. Hast thou an Abel, a godly child, O make thine heart ready to heare that some wicked hand hath knockt him on the head, perhaps his owne Bro­ther, that some violent death hath seized upon him and taken him away before his time, and labour to be willing to yeeld to Gods hand if he will so crosse thee, for why shouldst not thou stoope to as heavie a burden as that which Adam and Eve did beare in the beginning of the world. For the death of good children, yea their miserable and untimely death, and for the wickednesse, yea the notorious and unnaturall wickednesse of other children, let every man prepare himselfe, by looking upon the example of Adam and Eve, that suffered these crosses, yea let every godly man learne to prepare for persecution from all Caines, but that wee shall treat on when we come to Abels example.

But Brethren we must not onely prepare for crosses of this kinde, but we must also make a good use of them when they come, that is, wee must turne them into medicines as Physitions doe some poysons, causing the sorrow which they will worke in us to become a medi­cine against our sinnes of which they be the proper and naturall effects. When you meete with crosses and calamities, say, now I see Gods Justice and Gods Truth, now I see the hatefullnesse and hurtfullnesse of sinne, and therefore now I will mourne, not because I am crossed, but because I have deserved this crosse, and a worse too, and so frame [Page 11] to confesse and bemoane the sinne, and to supplicate for pardon and helpe at the hand of God in the name of Christ, especially looke to those sinnes to which your crosses have some reference and respect. Are you crossed in your goods, thinke if you did not over-love them and get them unjustly, or if in your children, see if you did not over-love them and cocker them, and so in all things of like kinde. In what God smites you, see if you have not in that sinned against him, and so frame to lament your sinnes and to seeke helpe against them. This will helpe to make your crosse easie and quick­ly to remove it, this will cause that you shall be gainers even by crosses. When wee see the ill deservings of sinne and the perfect righteousnesse, yea the goodnesse of God in calling thus to repen­tance; happy are they that be so afflicted and so taught in Gods waies.

And Brethren let mee yet make one use of Adam and Eves great sinne, to warne you, that you take heed of presuming of your owne strength, and of boasting that you will never commit such and such a sinne, for if these two in their innocency could not escape when they neglected to sue to God for strength, O how much more shall not we stand if we adventure to bragg and boast, and pro­mise much of our selves, but when sinne begins to gather upon you, and Satan to tempt, then flie to prayers and to requests, and to the threats and Commandements, and apply those threats, and pray God to inable you to keep the Commandements, then shall you doe so well as you can wish, else large promises will bring forth no­thing but sorry performances. Thus should Eve have done, and then shee should have had her prayers granted, and her faith sta­blished, and escaped the fault. And as I thinke the first of all the faults of Evah was,Eves first fault. that shee was led away by the wary speeches of the Serpent (by which he sought by step and step to descend to this solicitation,) that then shee did not revive in her mind the con­sideration of Gods presence, and of her dependance upon him, and of his readinesse to give her helpe on her seeking it, and of her owne imbecillity as being a creature, to stand without continuall support from him. For sure the Morrall Law lay upon Adam and Evah as well as upon us, and they ought thus to have behaved themselves in temptation; here therefore I say was her first failing. For we must not thinke that there was no sinne precedent to the actuall eating of the forbidden fruit, yea her being enticed and drawne away to distrust Gods Truth, to deny his threats, to affect knowledge against Gods allowance, and to be bold to sinne, when shee conceived that no danger would grow from it but much bene­fit: all these were faults and preparations to the great actuall fault. Indeed it is probable, that if shee had taken her selfe in these slips, and set her selfe and graces on worke to have resisted them before they had come to such an head, that then shee should not have beene corrupted by them, so as to fall into sinfullnesse and mortality, [Page 12] because the Lord had limited the threat of death to actuall eating: but howsoever these things were faults in Eve, and now wee must learne therefore not to presume any thing of our selves, but to confesse that if wee doe not seeke to God for his sustentation and so obtaine the same from him, we shall surely be overcome to com­mit any sinne though never so grievous.

But againe, wee must be incouraged to repent of sinne and to crave pardon of it, any greatnesse of it notwithstanding, for even this sinne of our first Parents is to them pardoned. This first and grand sinne,The greatnesse of our first Pa­rents sinne. the sinne of sinnes, that did inwrap in it all the blasphe­mies and Idolatries, &c. of all after-times, and was as I may so speake in power all sinne, even this sinne is forgiven; Adam which cast all into sinne, out of Paradise, and out of Heaven what in him lay, even this Adam is in Heaven himselfe, yea Eve that drew Adam to it, and perswaded her husband to the committing of so monstrous a Trespasse, to the poysoning of him and all his; shee is pardoned, shee is in Heaven. As God set forth the riches of his Mercy in pardoning so vile and capitall a sinner as Paul was, that in him he might shew an example of all long-suffering; so hath he set forth the abundance of his Grace in Christ by remitting the fault, and saving the soules of these and these sinners, which did not what they did in false zeale as Paul, but in wilfull unbeleefe and rebellion. Wherefore let no man doubt of obtaining pardon by the grace of God in Christ, because of the greatnesse of his sin. For if by the offence of one many be dead, much more shall the grace of gift, and the gift by grace abound unto mercy; and if in Adam all die, that is, be made subject to death, so in Christ much more shall all be made alive, if they trust in him and turne, if death raigned by the first Adam, much more shall grace raigne by the second Adam; If, by one mans disobedience many were made sinners, much more by one mans obedience shall many be made righteous. It is an extreame dis-valuing of Christs righteousnesse, and under-pri­zing of Gods mercies in Christ, if any greatnesse of sinne hinder us from seeking to God for pardon and trusting to finde it. If we should be appointed to deserve remission of our owne sinnes every man for himselfe, then a man might hope to get out of little sinnes but not out of great, and so greatnesse of sinne might dishearten him: but seeing it is Christ the Sonne of God as well as Man, that hath satisfied at once for the sinnes of all, by being a Propitiation for the sinnes of the whole world, now it is too too great a weakenesse, and too too palpable an ignorance of Christ and disparagement to him, to doubt of pardon, because of the greatnesse of sinne, and that wee may assure our selves, loe Adam and Eve saved, a cou­ple that let in the floud-gares to all sinne, and that in committing so great a disobedience, did commit at once all the sinnes of all the world. There cannot be thought any offence greater, for the time, place, persons sinning, occasions of sinning, helpes against sinne, [Page 13] Commandement transgressed, no nor the matter of the sinne nei­ther. For though the thing materially considered were but eating an apple, a plum, or whatsoever fruit it might be, yet that apple was as it were a Sacrament, a visible profession of their care to forbeare all sinne by forbearing it, and so the taking of that was a worse sinne then if it had beene very actuall adultery or murder, as if a man should take the Sacramentall bread and give it to a dogg, or cast it into the fire, or trample it under feet knowing it to be the Sacrament, sure he were as vile and farre more vile an offender, then if he should lie in waite at his neighbours doore to defloure his wife, or to murder himselfe or any of his household. Now therefore take heart to runne to God penitently for pardon in Christ, and be sure of successe. And if greatnesse and multitude of sin offer it selfe to discourage you and to dampe your hopes, referre your selves to Adam and Eve, and say, their one sinne was more in badnesse then all my sinnes, and yet they were pardoned upon their repentance, and so shall I, and then even violently breaking thorough all ob­jections, give over thy selfe to sorowfull confessions and supplicati­ons and thou shalt be pardoned.

If any say my sinne was worse then Adams, for I have sinned against the Holy Ghost; I answer, if thou hast sinned against the Holy Ghost, repent and thou shalt be pardoned, for the cause why that sinne cannot be forgiven, is not want of mercy in God or merits in Christ, but such abundance of hardnesse in them, that they will not seeke to God for pardon or for grace to repent. Wherefore I say againe looke on thy first Parents, that how bad soever thou beest were causes of thy being so bad, and promise thy selfe pardon upon repentance, because they are pardoned, and hope to be penitent if thou indeavour and seeke it, because they were helped which were as vile sinners as thy selfe.

THE SECOND EXAMPLE.
OF Caine.

NExt after Adam and Evah, the Scriptures propound unto us the Examples of Caine and Abel, two sonnes of those Parents. First, wee must speake of Caine, who being the elder Brother was yet the worser man, for the Lord hath never accustomed to give his graces according to the priviledges of age, that the gift may appeare to be free and gra­tuitous, not at all deserved by any thing that the man may finde in himselfe.

Now speaking of Caine, we must handle his Birth and Life, for it hath not seemed good to God to tell us any thing of his death. His Birth wee have, Gen. 4.1.Caines Birth. Adam knew Evah his wife and shee conceived and bare a sonne, and called his name Caine, or a possessi­on: saying, I have obtained a man of the Lord, or, as it may be translated, a man the Lord, perhaps expressing her conceit to be, that this sonne of hers must be that man who was also to be God, that should redeeme her selfe and all men from the mischiefe which the Serpent had brought upon them, but if shee had any such hopes shee had much deceived her selfe, for God doth seldome make [Page 16] such hast in granting so great things immediately after the pro­mise, he chooseth rather to exercise the faith and patience of his people in waiting some good and large space of time for the perfor­mance of the promise.

Caines carriage 1. Good. 1. Hee had a calling. The commen­dation of hus­bandry.Now concerning this man we will note first his carriage and be­haviour, then the things that befell him. In his carriage some things are for mattrer good, some things altogether evill. That which is good is, that at his Fathers appointment and education he betook himselfe to a needfull trade of life, for so it is said, Caine was a tiller of the ground, that is, he gave himselfe to Husbandry. This cal­ling as it is very usefull, for even the King is served by the land that is tilled, so it is you see a very ancient calling, it is full of paines and full of profit, much increase (saith Salomon) doth come by the labour of the Oxe, but where no Oxe is the crib is empty. You see it hath the precedencie of the Shepheard, for the elder sonne was assigned to this trade as the most necessary. Wherefore mee thinkes they doe not shew themselves to be of the same minde with Adam, that are still ready to pull downe tillage and set up pastorage, as I may call it. Indeed pastorage gives most private gaine to one or two men, and therefore they that are led more by selfe love then by charity or the love of mankind, are more affected to it; but surely Gods pleasure was in making the World to make provision for a multitude to live in convenient abundance, rather then for a few to live in excessive riches. Howsoever you see this is good in Caine, he imbraced a calling and lived painefully therein, for hee was tilling the ground, he did not alone take upon him the name of a Husband­man, but did exercise himselfe in the workes of that calling.

2. Was out­wardly religi­ous.Secondly, Caine was religious too, at least in respect of the outward acts, for in processe of time hee brought a gift to the Lord of the fruit of the ground, hee worshipped God by offering something to him of that which by his goodnesse and blessing the earth did bring forth unto him. The Lord will be served even with our costs, with gifts, with rendring him backe againe something of that which him­selfe hath given us. He commanded Israel not to appeare before him emptie, but to bring free-will-offerings and heave offerings of their hands. God loves not an empty worshipper, he is liberall to us, he would have us also liberall to him, wee receive much from him, he lookes to receive something of us, that so we may actually acknowledge him to be the giver of all. He is not contented that the mouth worship him in prayers and praises, nor the eare in hea­ring and attending to him, nor the body in bowing it selfe to him, nor the hands in lifting up themselves, but he will be honoured with our goods, as Salomon saith, Prov. 3.9. even with our substance. For though he hath not now commanded any thing to be burnt upon the Altar, having abolished all Sacrifices by sending his Sonne, to offer up himselfe in Sacrifice for our sinnes, that he might take away our sinnes by that one offering once for all; yet now he hath appoin­ted [Page 17] such a worship as cannot be maintained without cost, in regard of the persons attending it and the instruments of it, and hee hath now appointed them to reape our earthly things in his steed, which in his steed doe sowe unto us spirituall things. Marke this then as a thing in it selfe good, to worship God and to worship him with giving a gift unto him, as also in the Psalme hee saith, bring pre­sents to him that ought to be feared.

Further,3. Built a City it was a lawfull and good thing in Caine even after his great sinne committed, that he built a City, for surely to take order for the replenishing of men with people, and the commodious habi­tation of men borne into the world, is a good and commendable thing in it selfe, though men may easily and often doe transgresse much in the manner of doing it. Therefore the Lord saith, Esay 58. 12. in commendation of his people and in way of promising a great benefit and honour. There shall be of thee that shall build the old waste places. Thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations, and thou shalt be called the Repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in. Surely, if to build old wasts and repaire decaied places that they may stand to many generations be a praise, as you heare from the Prophet, then to build new that were not built be­fore, that also is a good thing and laudable. This therefore must be noted as a good thing in Caine, that hee gave himselfe to build a City.

Lastly,4. Had but one wife. that is good in him, that he was the husband of one wife and did content himselfe with the first institution of marriage, not corrupting it with taking variety of women to one and the same man at the same time, as God had made but one Eve for Adam, and said, a man shall cleave to his wife, not to his wives, and they shall be one flesh, meaning, the [...] two, not three or foure. Some are of opi­nion that in the beginning Evah at every burden bare twinnes,Some thinke Eve still bare twinnes. and so there came into the world together a man and a woman, whether this was so or not I cannot affirme, but it may seeme probable, because the Holy Ghost makes not much mention of the bringing forth of any woman before the flood, therefore it may be thought that their birth is comprehended in the narration of the birth of the more worthy Sexe, and that together with man they were concei­ved and and borne; but whatsoever became of this conceit, it is evident Caine had but one wife, and that is commendable in him. And this is all that I can picke out of the Story that is good in this bad man, for even in a bad man also may be found many things that for the matter of them are very good.

I proceed now to set forth the evill of Caine, 2. Caines bad carriage. 1. In generall, He was a wicked man. who was an unsan­ctified man, as witnesseth S. Iohn, 1 Epist. 1.3. He was of that evill one, that is the Divell, a child of Satan hee was notwithstanding all that good that he did. A man unsanctified therefore may be painefull in his calling; a man unsanctified may worship God and bring him gifts; a man unsanctified may build Cities; a man un­sanctified [Page 18] may live honestly with his wife. Neither must any man conceit himselfe a childe of God because hee can truly affirme of himselfe that he doth these and many other good and commendable things. This is no more then may be found in a Caine who was of that evill one.

Caines faults in particular: 1. He was an Hypocrite.But let us looke into his vices and faults. The first and worst fault is, he was an Hypocrite, one in whom hypocrisie ruled, for had he not beene such a one, the Lord would not have forborne to shew the same respect to him and to his gift that hee shewed to his Brother Abel and his gift. God is not an accepter of per­sons, he doth not regard one sincere man and neglect another that hath the same sincerity, but hee heares all that call upon him in truth, as saith the Psalmist: and in every nation those that feare him and worke righteousnesse are acceptable to him, seeing then God did not testifie of his gifts,What an Hy­pocrite is. they were but the gifts of an hypocrite. For an hypo­crite is hee which contenteth himselfe with a forme of religion, in performing the externall acts of it and is not sanctified by it, hath not the dominion of sinne broken, hath not the image of God renewed in him, hath not the divine nature bestowed upon him, nor cares nor seekes to have it, but contents and satisfieth himselfe in these externall devotions. Whosoever is carefull to come to Gods Or­dinances, to pray, heare, reade, receive the Sacraments, and the like acts of religion, and doth so carelesly, overly, and negligently performe them, as not in them to seeke and attaine true sanctity and recovering out of the snare of the Divell and power of sinne, (for these effects of true religion are not denied to any in and by those ordinances but to those which neglect to serve for them in and by these Ordinances) he is a very Caine that is, an Hypocrite. Hypo­crisie is a fearefull sin, and this was Cain [...] first and worst sin, that he was an Hypocrite, he performed indeed [...]e outward work of religion, but performed it not out of faith and with a desire therby to do true honour to God, and to give himselfe unto God, and [...]o get grace from God to make him his, but barely out of custome o [...] respect to his Fathers au­thority who had so trained him up, or out of a kinde of imperfect naturall devotion, that he might seeme to himselfe good, and nourish in himselfe good hopes of escaping Hell and getting Heaven: Notwithstanding his taking leave to himselfe to commit other sins which liked him, or such other like corrupt and meere selfe re­specting ends, as credit with his Father and Mother and the rest of his Brethren and Sisters; the Lord that saw deepely into Caines heart and found it fild with guile, that it did not draw neere to him when his body did, would at first make it appeare, that it was not possible to deceive him by disguises, and therefore by not shewing any note of respect, did plainely discover his utter dislike of such meere outside service as hee hath also done at other times, saying, that those which draw neere to him with their lips and have their hearts farre from him, doe worship him in vaine, and that if any man seeme [Page 19] to be religious alone, his religion is in vaine, and that hee is not a Iew which is one outwardly.

The second sinne of Caine followes,2. Was vexed at his punishment. that when he perceived that God had not respect to him and his sacrifice, hee was wrath and his coun­tenance fell, he had a furious inside and a dogged outside, whereas hee should have looked into the cause, he onely chased at the thing. This is a fearefull sinne, when a man is punished, to be vexed at the punishment, and not take care to see and reforme the sinne which causeth the punishment. This is to accuse God as the Author of the evill, and not himselfe, and so to justifie himselfe above God; this is to shew a predominancy of pride and blindnesse, that out of an high opinion of himselfe hath his minde mufled as it were from seeing his owne faults, it is to shew that he serveth that sinne which punishments cannot make him humbly to confesse; and this wrath and falne countenance was procured through envie against his Bro­ther; for he did not onely vexe himselfe because his one Sacrifice found no approbation, but also hated his Brother, because his was accepted, as appeares, because God in reprooving his sullen and dogged lookes, doth tell him instantly, that unto thee shall be his de­sire, that is, I know Caine what aileth thee, thou art wrath against thy Brother, and hatest him, because he is more regarded by mee then thy selfe, but know that I intend not to take away the superiority which thine age gives thee, he shall be thine inferiour in respect of governement, though he be better then thy selfe in vertues. Thou shalt be the ruler of the Family after Adam and not hee.The governe­ment of the World dome­sticall. For at that time the governement of the world was onely domesticall, and the elder Brother was the chiefe Magistrate under and after the Fa­ther. So envie ruled in Caine, discontent festred to an hatred of his Brother, because he thought his Brother had more respect then him­selfe, and so that his Brother hindred him from being accepted.Envie a great evill. This envie is much condemned. It is said, Envie not sinners, much lesse the righteous, and S. Paul saith,Gal. 5 26. Let us not be covetous of vaine-glo­ry, provoking one another, envying one another, noting vaine-glory to be the roote on the which envie growes; and Salomon saith, Who can stand against envie, noting it to be one of the most unreasona­ble faults that is, as hating a man because hee is not as miserable as himselfe, or at least because he is more happie than himselfe. This is a second fault of Caine.

A third is,3. Did not mend his fault though he was gently admo­nished by God himselfe. that when God himselfe did gently and duely admo­nish him of his fault, and sought to asswage his hatred and his wrath, yet he did nothing at all reforme it, but rather grew worse, shewing that envie carried him away still, and hee did nourish and foster, not oppose and resist it. For God came and shewed him good reason, both that hee should not be angry at his not being accepted, and also that he should not have a grudge against his Brother because he was accepted, for if thou doe well, saith the Lord, shalt thou not be accepted, that is, not thy Brother is an impediment to any respecting of thy selfe [Page 20] and thy Sacrifice, but thine ill doing. Thou servest mee with out­ward service, but thou art a bad man and livest not well, therefore must not I regard thy service, for I tell thee, my pure nature is such, that if men be of sinfull lives and wicked, their prayers and oblati­ons are so farre from pleasing me, that they be abomination to me: therefore doe I not care for thee nor thy religion, so long as thou continuest impenitent, and a wicked liver, but if thou frame thy selfe to doe well, to repent and amend thy life, and live holily, then al­so shalt thou be accepted, as if hee had told him, that hee ought to amend his life, and might so set himself about it, as to obtaine help and power to do it. For even to any reprobate may any man say as much as God to Caine here, there is no necessity of thy being cast off by God, set to amend thy life, and he will take thee into favour, and then should he also be taken into favour, and his gifts regarded. For though the Sacrifice of sinners be odious to God, yet the prayer of the upright is his delight. So no cause of Caines wrath and envie, seeing the cause of his Brothers be­ing preferred before him is his owne naughtinesse, not any partiality in God nor trickes that his Brother had used. Againe, there is no cause he should hate his Brother, who should still continue an infe­riour in subjection to him. All this notwithstanding uttered by God himselfe, yet Caine continued his sower lookes and bitter thoughts against his Brother, onely because his Brother was better than him­selfe, and had received more approbation and acceptation from God then himselfe. Note this fault, he would not be amended by words, he hardned himselfe against an admonition.

4. Murthered his Brother.A fourth and a worse fault was, he spake to his Brother and gat him into the field out of company (for no doubt there were more men and women in the world though wee doe not reade of any more) and there he knocks him on the head (with what weapon it is folly for us to enquire) but sure his tooles of husbandry yeelded him fitter helpe to doe it then the jaw-bone of an Asse,But with what weapon is un­certaine. which some will needs thinke to have beene used. So his envie and hatred boy­led so long, and prevailed so much in him, that it makes him dip his finger in blood and in the blood of his own Brother; notwith­standing the greatnesse of the sinne in it selfe and great torment that would ensue thence unto his Parents. Moreover, Murder that is Caines sinne, and with this sinne of murder is joyned fraud and guile, and fearing man more then God: for he spake to him and gat him out, and then rose up against him, when they were together alone in the field, so it was a pretended and premeditated murder, he used words of kindnesse, at least which did not shew forth any ill intention, for then would not Abel have gone with him, and having him in a solitary place where no man could see him to disco­ver or hinder him, there not regarding Gods presence, hee tooke away his life and spilt his blood on the ground. You see Caines fourth sinne.5. Did not re­pent of his murder.

The fifth was he did not repent of the sinne when hee had done [Page 21] it, nor of himselfe ranne to God with humble confession, nay when God came to bring him to repentance, then hee stood in deniall of his fault, and was angry with God for going about to charge him with his Brother; for when the Lord came and asked him where his Brother was, he made answer that he could not tell, lying to God him­selfe you see, and shewing himselfe to be altogether ignorant, or at least heedlesse of his All-seeing eye, and in a kind of discontent as­king the Lord, why he should aske of him, where Abel was, seeing no man had ever appointed him to be Abels keeper.

Here is a fearefull sinne not to confesse a sinne committed, but to lie and seeke if he could to hide it from God by deniall. So that Caine was growne worse then Adam, he onely excused the fault, he denies, saying, he could not tell what was become of him whom himselfe had murdered, so denying in his heart that God was pre­sent in all places and saw all things. So his heart was hardned in wickednesse, and he was growne a despiser of God, a denier of his Omniscience, and he had made himselfe quite impenitent.

Impenitencie in his sinnes, that was another of Caines faults. Instead of falling downe and saying, I have sinned, he saith, I have not done it, thou dost unjustly in asking me such a question, like the Pharisees, that after they had killed Christ, were so farre from repenting, that they seemed to take it in high disdaine, that the Apostles would seeme to bring that mans bloud upon them. Marke this sinne, I say marke it, he hides his sinne, denies it, will not goe to God with humble confessions and supplications. This is to be a Caine, to commit great sinnes, and continue remorselesse and unrepentant, not regarding to confesse no not to God himselfe, though God use meanes to make him see and confesse.

Now another fault is,6. He muttered and despaired that after God had censured him for his offence, he grumbled and despaired, for his speeches carry an im­pression of both these vices, and are uttered, so that they will beare both renderings, My sinne is greater then can be pardonad, or, My pu­nishment is greater then I can beare. So Caine was possessed with a mixture of desperatenesse and murmuring, he denies God the honour of his mercy in not conceiving him able to forgive that sin, therfore he thought it in vaine to confesse and aske pardon and so forbare to doe it, and he thought the punishment unjust and too severe, as being more then hee could beare, as if God in punishing an unpenitent sinner should looke not what the sinne did deserve, but what the sinner could undergoe. Whereas punishment must be proportioned to the greatnesse of the fault, not the strength of the offendor. He should have cryed out of the greatnesse of the sinne, not of the punishment, hee should have confessed the greatnesse of Gods mercy, but he mutters against him as both unjust and unmercifull, and so repents not but re­pines, complaining that God had laide him open to all mens injuries now, so that every one might kill him. This is a Caine, a man so hard­ned with sinne that he can neither submit to Gods justice nor implore [Page 22] his mercy, but denies the one, and calumniates the other, and so persists impenitently.

7. Persists im­penitently in his sinnes.For that is the last of all his sinnes, he goes away quite from God and his Father, ceaseth to continue a member of that family, and of that Church, gives over all outward shewes of religion, turnes meere worldly and earthly, and seekes to ease the smart of his con­science by building and busling in the world, declaring a piece of vaine glory too, by calling his City after the name of his first-borne, as it were boasting of it, that hee should have his sonne the Lord of a City of his owne name, Henoch of Henoch. A fearefull offence to persist still in impenitencie, to cast of all shew of religion, to excommunicate himselfe out of the Church, and burie himselfe in vanity and worldlinesse, so to stifle his owne conscience and dea­den his owne heart more and more.

3. His prospe­rity and adver­sity.Now I have done with Caines carriage good and bad. I come to the things that befell him, good and bad.

1. His benefits, had posterity and lived a long life, and was preserved from the vio­lence of all men.First good, you see God gave him a sonne and sonnes sonne, and continued his life along time to give him space of repentance, and set a mark upon him to save him from the violence of all men, threatening to punish him seven-fold, that is, seven times as much as he had hurt Caine if any should kill him. Seeing it pleased not God to tell us what this marke was with which hee noted this prime murtherer; it is fondnesse in us to weary our selves with conjectures; some think it was visible to all men, but what I know not, nor I am sure can any man else tell, but it was the goodnesse of God to secure him of life who had deserved death, for the Law of putting the murderer to death was not yet, and God would not put Adam to so hard a taske as killing his owne sonne, but would shew himselfe to be above Law, in forbearing to doe that which he will not suffer a Magistrate to forbeare, even putting to death of a wilfull murderer; yea, it was the great goodnesse of God to give him health and many children, and childrens children, and to grant him riches and prosperity in the world abundantly if it had beene possible to have drawne him to repentance,2. God vouch­safed him meanes to keepe him from sin and to draw him out of sinne. yea it was a great benefit that God came gently to ad­monish him of his inward malice, if it might have beene to have hin­dred the breaking of it out into murder, and after it was done to come againe with this gentle second admonition, if it had beene possible to have melted him and have drawne him to submissive humiliation. So God vouchsafed him meanes to keepe him from sinne and to draw him out of sinne, and time long enough to make use of those meanes, and many benefits to allure him to make use of them, thus good is God even to sinners, and impenitent sinners, to offer them meanes of re­pentance and acceptation upon their repentance, and vouchsafe them store of good things for a long time, notwithstanding their obstinate­nesse in refusing to repent.

2. His crosses.Now lastly, let us consider Gods punishments, viz. the evill things he met withall.

[Page 23]The first is sentencing him for his fault,1. God aggra­vates his fault and sentenceth him for it. and laying open the greatnesse of it in saying, What hast thou done, thy Brothers blood cryeth to mee from the earth which hath drunk it in at thine hand.

Secondly, hee curseth him from the earth, that is,2. Curseth the earth to him. in respect of the earth which shall not be halfe so fruitfull to him as before, nor yeeld its increase as it had done, for he doth not meane simply it shall yeeld no fruit, but nothing so much nor so easily.

Lastly, thou shalt be a fugitive, a runnagate, that is,3. He was full of terrour. a man full of unquietnesse and terrours, that canst have no rest nor peace in thine heart, nor any content any where; yea, it signifieth a giving him over to cast off all goodnesse, and leave him to himselfe to forsake his Fa­thers house, and so a selling him over to profanenesse and utter impe­nitency.

Thus we have done with Caines life,Caines death not mentioned and for his death the Scrip­ture vouchsafes not to mention it, nor how long he lived, but he li­ved a long time even to see the sonnes of Lamech, who was the sixt generation from him, and vaunted that if God would so avenge Caine, he would be avenged more, by which speech it is very probable that Caine was then alive.

So we have spoken all we have to speake of Caine. Now I will make some use of all.

First, from that that was good in Caine, The use of all. I pray you learne at least to be as good as so bad a man was, and therefore may sure be attai­ned by naturall indeavours. You see Caine did not give himselfe to runne idling about the world, but submitted to his Fathers go­vernment, so farre as to give himselfe to Husbandry. O let no man turne himselfe into a cipher, nay into an excrement that lives in the world to no purpose, yea to bad purpose; for hee shall not but doe naughtily that will doe nothing, set your selves therefore to have and to follow some calling and employment. Live not like those play­full creatures, imperfect pictures of men, but of such men the fitrest emblemes, like apes and monkeys onely to skip up and downe and to make sport, but live to bestow your selves in some profitable vo­cation for your owne and the common good.

If any say Caine was necessitated to it, because there were no other to till the ground for them he being Adams first-borne.

I answer, first, I desire you should live somewhat better then Caine and doe good out of choice, which perhaps he might doe out of necessity.

Secondly, I answer, that though you be not necessitated to any cal­ling by want, yet wisdome and a good conscience binde you, for must you not submit to that of God, In the sweate of thy browes shalt thou eate, and to that of the Psalmist, he shall eate the labour of his hands, and to that of Paul, which condemnes the inordinate walkers which wrought not at all, and is it not wisdome to forbeare walking on a thorne hedge, which Salomon saith the idle man doth? and to prevent many occasions, as the having no calling, and being carelesse of it [Page 24] will surely bring. I say againe then, be as good as Caine, have and follow some calling.

Againe, looke that there be some at least outside of religion in you, worship God and be not so much lovers of money as not to give him something, even to be at cost for his worship in such kind as cost is now needfull, as they were to performe a worship then re­quired the cost notwithstanding. Be not profane to neglect Gods Worship out of sleighting it, be not niggards to put of God with as little as you can, but give him of the fruits of your ground; and now know that that is given to God which is given to the maintenance of his Ministers which performe his Worship, and other instruments necessary to the performance of it, as a fit place and the like: O be as good as a Caine, nay willing to be at cost in Gods Worship and for it.

Also satisfie your selves with one wife, for Caine did so, he knew his wife, wives he had not.

Yea, be builders up of your families by thrift and husbandry, for so could Caine, not pullers of them downe by riot and unthriftinesse: say to thyselfe, How shall this first of all bad men rise up in judgement against mee, if I cannot frame my selfe at least to be as good as he was? A man should even blush to thinke what is the eldest sonne of the Divell more vertuous then I am, O how bad a man am I then.

Secondly, we must make some good use of that was bad in Caine, which is double. First, to take great heed to our selves to morti­fie those vices, and shun those sinnes which we finde related of him. Caine was a very Hypocrite, a man that contented himselfe with the outward acts of Gods Worship, but was not Sanctified, did not frame his heart to please God and set himselfe to doe well. O take heed to your selves that you be not such, but labour to present your hearts to God, and in all his services to offer your soules and bo­dies to him, and not alone the externall service, seeke in and by the duties of religion to be made new creatures. Joyne care of a good life in your whole conversation with your outward devotion, then you shall not be Hypocrites, but uprright. Beware of Hypocrisie, find out it selfe and its ill effects, lament them, confesse them, pray a­gainst them. Be afraid least you should prove Hypocrites, cry to God to keepe you from being such, and to make you sincere. An Hypocrite is apt to runne into all sinne, nothing is accepted from him, he is apt to fall away into open profanenesse, and to be quite cast of by God for his sins.

The signes of an Hypocrite.And you may see in Caine what be the signes of an Hypocrite. 1. Envie at those that be better then himselfe, and even hating them because they have better esteeme then himselfe. 2. Not striving to reforme his sinnes when hee is admonished, nor confesse them to God, and craving helpe against them, but rather persisting in them and denying them. 3. Chasing at admonitions. 4. Casting of at last [Page 25] all care of religion. 5. Murmuring against God for the greatnesse of his punishment and so despairing of his mercy as to run away from him. O beware of all these signes of prevailing Hypocrisie, and do as Caine should have don. Strive against guile, set against envie, la­bour to profit by Gods admonitions in his Word, though hee come not now in person to admonish you. If you have sinned confesse it to God, stoope to his Justice, confesse him righteous if he destroy you. Hold fast a perswasion of the possibility of having your sins pardoned how great soever, and a hope of finding pardon at least in such a degree as may make you runne penitently to God and boldly to crave pardon. And most of all, take heed of growing utterly impe­nitent out of despaire, and goe not about to burie your selves in the world and so to ease the torments of your consciences, but by hum­ble falling downe before God, seeke for mercy which will indeed refresh you. Profit your selves by the lamentable and tragicall story of Caine. And above all, take heed of letting envie proceed to that height as to carrie you into actuall murder, but resist and oppose it, and cast it out of your hearts, that it may not bring you to be spillers of innocent blood, that is a crying sinne, and you see what torment and hardnesse it is apt to bring upon the committer, chiefely if the cause of hatred and envie be goodnesse.

Againe, blesse God heartily for preserving you from envie, from murder, from hypocrisie, from muttering, from despaire, from open profanenesse, from meere and prevailing worldlinesse. For wee have the same nature that Caine, the same corruptions, full of pride, full of hypocrisie, full of ignorance of God, and apt to be bold to any evill if wee may conceale it from men. Wee who have the selfe-same bad nature, if God have preserved us from so mighty prevai­ling and breaking forth of corruption, let us not lift up our selves above others, but give the glory to God, and be satisfied with the comfort, not daring to take the praise unto our selves, each one of us in his kinde would be as bad as Caine, if God had in like man­ner left us unto our corruptions and the temptations. O that wee could be humbly thankefull for our preservation from such soule sinnes and crimes.

Now let us remember Caines miseries and crosses, and let us affright our selves from sinnes by them. Thinke, would I have God make mee a fugitive and a runnagate, fill mine eares with the voice of terrour, and make a dreadfull sound possesse mine heart alwaies, curse the things I take in hand for my sake, as hee did the earth for Caines sake, deliver mee up to grosse sinnes, to hardnesse and utter prophanenesse, to impenitencie and despaire, and a meere forsaking of God and Apostacie; then let mee not be an Hypocrite, let mee not mocke God with shewes, let mee not sleight reproofes not caring to amend. Let me not hide my sinnes and allow my selfe to doe evill in secret, fearing mans eyes more then Gods. Let mee not mutter against his Justice, let mee not [Page 26] denie his Mercy. Let mee not runne into the sinnes of Caine, which by degrees procured to him this mischiefe. Hypocrisie brought forth rejecting his service, not profiting by that chastise­ment brought forth discontent and envie against his Brother, not hearkening to reproofe to resist envie, brought forth murder, not confessing and lamenting that, but hiding it, brought forth Gods judgement to make him a fugitive, not stooping to that, but mur­muring, brought forth despaire, and that utter Apostacie and pro­fanenesse. Beware of these sinnes which you see so fearefully pu­nished, and affright your selves from these faults by the miserable effects of them in Caine. Take great care that sinne make not such a progresse in your soules, till it utterly separate you from God, as it did Caine. Wee have more and clearer meanes then Caine, besides his evill to be our warning; if wee proove as bad as he, wee shall fare much worse, because of that aggravation of sinne which it will receive from this consideration. Tremble to thinke of yeelding to Hypocrisie, envie, murder, muttering, despaire, &c. flie from those waies which brought Caine to ruine. Yea learne thankefullnesse to God, that hee hath not laid such miseries upon you as upon Caine, viz. a terrified conscience and a curse upon your estates that can affoord you no comfort, and an heart possessed with desperate fancies and impatient risings against God. These be fearefull evills, wee also have deserved them, but God hath not inflicted them upon many of us. O let our hearts rejoyce in his goodnesse that hath delivered us, and let us make use of his patience to draw us to repentance, that wee doe not pull the same upon our selves hereafter.

Lastly, from Caines benefits, I pray you learne to see the bounty of God which gives great outward benefits to the worst men, there­by assuring your selves that hee will provide well enough for you that are his owne people. Will he preserve Caine from being slaine and not mee that desire to feare him? Did he offer mercy to Caine if hee would doe well, will hee not accept mee that desire to doe well and to turne to him? Did hee give Caine a City and chil­dren, will hee not give to mee things needfull for mee and mine? Gods mercy to the worst must make his people certaine, that no good thing shall be wanting to them.

Againe, you must learne not highly to esteeme these earthly things. Did not Caine even after his cursing and casting off yet flourish in worldly things, beget children, build a City, see his chil­drens children gallantly maintained in the world, growing in arts and riches? Surely there is no cause of being good in our owne eyes, because wee have gotten that which a Caine may get. Wee must not be so foolish as to flatter our selves in a conceit that God is our God, because wee meete with such drossie benefits and meane favours as a very reprobate, and a fugitive may have in abundance. Indeed if God give these things with an heart to [Page 27] make use of them, to doe good to others, to be thankefull to God, to be mooved to repentance, and to grow better, and be drawne neerer to God, and more carefull of obeying and worshipping him, this is a signe of his speciall favour, otherwise to have such things as these and still continue in impenitencie and to grow worse by them rather then better, is a proofe that a man is fatted to destruction, rather then God the giver of these things doth favour him. *⁎*

THE THIRD EXAMPLE.
OF ABEL.

I Have done with Caine the elder Brother, I come to Abel the younger Brother, and as it is likely the next after him.Abel what it signifieth. His name sig­nifieth vanity, which is all one with unprofi­tablenesse, or inability to make happy. It is the same that Salomons long experience made him to impose on all earthly things, which he calls vanity of vanities, as well he might, be­cause in seeking to finde felicity in them, hee was utterly disappointed and after a long inquisition met with nothing but vexation of spirit. By this time like enough Eve had learned the vanity of all earthly things, and by name of a sonne which before shee called a possession, but now calls vanity, for that children also be but a possession of vanity as well as other things.

Of Abel let us consider his birth, life and death.

His Birth is plainely set downe by the authors of it,His Birth. Eve and Adam, for shee conceived againe and bare a sonne and called his name, &c. but the time of it as also of the elder Brothers is uncertaine. We know not how long they lived without children, whether shee be­gan to be fruitfull instantly upon the fall, or that God held them a little under barrennesse, to make them beget a child by their prayers to God for that blessing, as well as by the faculty of generation planted in nature, I cannot affirme: but such a sonne shee had. Con­cerning [Page 30] whose life observe wee, 1. His virtues and good deeds. 2. His faults. 3. His benefits and afflictions.

His vertues. 1. Was paine­full in his cal­ling.His good deeds are here set downe, he was painefull in the cal­ling of a Shepheard, for so it is said, Hee was feeding a flocke, meaning not alone that hee had undertaken this vocation, but that he did also painefully discharge it. The Shepheards calling is now a necessary calling as well as the Husbandmans, though not equally necessary: but wee finde in experience, that it is a calling subordi­nate to Husbandrie, for that the profitable sheepe is not alone be­neficiall for her flesh and skinne, but also for her soyle, and that in such degree profitable, as in many places they could scarce have any corne growing by their art and paines in Husbandry, if the sheepes dung did not fat the ground. And this is I conceive one of the best uses of the sheep when she becomes attendant to the place. O that this simple and harmelesse creature might not be changed into a most ravenous and devouring creature, thorough the rapine and ava­rice of those men which thinke all too little for themselves, and had rather dwell alone or amongst beasts then amongst a number of Tenants, and as the members of a Towne-ship or a Church. Now the world is turned quite upside downe, in this time Caine killed Abel, spake to him, and having him in the field rose up against him and slew him; but now Abel killeth Caine, speaks to him roughly or fairely, I cannot tell, but drives him quite out of the places where he did once inhabit. I meane the Shepheard doth eate out the Hus­bandman. But you see that as well Abel as Caine was painefull in his calling, and was brought up in some externall and worldly businesse, wherein he might serve God, advantage the world, and exercise and profit himselfe.

Surely true piety and godlinesse will very well accord with dili­gence in a calling, and it is but mens mistake if they thinke that their vocations hinder them from the true Worshipping of God; Abel as well as Caine had his trade of life. The miserable corruption of our nature will turne all things into occasions of hurt and mischiefe, and make them meanes of interrupting us in good waies, but else a calling duely followed by exercising the graces of Gods Spirit, and humbling and taming the flesh, and well imploying the thoughts, and preventing many temptations and opportunities of sinning, doth greatly further our growth in piety, and is farre from being any just hinderance unto it: we must therefore marke this in Abel as well as Caine, and be carefull to imitate it.

All you that have children to educate, bring them up to some calling. Let them be as members not excrements in the body of humane societies.It is good to have a calling and be faith­full in it. All you that are already come to such a state as you can discerne betweene good and evill, apply your selves to some calling, some worke of body or minde, some constant and set­led imployment in some lawfull actions, tending to the common good and your own, that you may be sure as S. Paul saith, to labour if not [Page 31] with your hands, yet with your heads the thing that is good, that you may have to give, and that you may not be counted inordinate and un­ruly walkers, not working at all but being busie bodies, workers round about as the word signifieth, do nothing but fetch friskes and vagaries through the world. O expose not your selves and yours to so much misery as to have nothing to do. An empty vessel is fit to receive any liquor that is powred into it; the Divell will put you on evill imploy­ments, if you do not bestow your selves on good: A bird that sitteth still on a tree is easily hit with a piece or crosse-bow, but it is hard to take the flying bird. It is easie for Satan to intangle with his temp­tations the Idlesbee, but hard to fasten on the man of imployments. The Lord commends and rewards diligence in a calling, and bids know the state of thy flocke, and bids men goe and learne of the Pismire, and discommends idlenesse and sluggishnesse, and threatens him that followes the idle. Let good Abel teach you faithfull­nesse in your calling. Cast away sluggishnesse and unthriftinesse, wearing out your bodies in vanities and worse then vanities, and set your selves to some such worke as may make you able to answer the question of God and your Master when hee shall call you to account for the laying out of so pretious a thing as time.

But secondly, hee was religious and devout,2. Was religi­ous. hee brought of the fruit of his flocks, yea of the firstlings and of the fat thereof. He did bring to God one of the best and fattest of his Rammes, or Ewes, for Weathers were not for Sacrifice, and no maimed thing was to be offered on Gods Altar. It is not observed of Caine, that hee brought of the first fruites and best of his corne or other graine: It is likely that the Holy Ghost would have done this office of a faithfull Historian, and have given Caine his due by telling the qua­lity as well as the matter of his offering, if it had beene as well qualified in this respect as his Brothers. Wherefore when he com­mends Abels offering, because it was of the choice and fattest of his flock, it may be well thought in forbearing to say any thing in like commendation of Caines, that hee tooke no great care, whether it were of the best or not, and therefore wee may well conceive that one cause of Gods rejecting Caines Sacrifice was, because hee did not bring of the best of his fruites, as one cause of his accep­ting Abels was because hee did bring of the choicest of his flock, not that God looketh to these outward things, but to the minde of the doer, which for the most part (if necessity hinder not) doth shew it selfe in the valew and worth of the gift. He that loves God will bring him as full a Sacrifice as hee can, hee that loves him not will give him as leane a Sacrifice as it may stand with his credit to give. A man whose heart is not upright with God will be at as little cost with him as is possible. A man that is upright with him will inlarge his bounty towards him, you shall see in Mal. 1.13. that God refuseth the Sacrifices, because they were halt and blinde, the worst and refuge of all, and he curseth the deceiver that [Page 32] hath in his flock a male, and voweth and sacrificeth to the Lord a cor­rupt thing, and verse 8. he saith, Offer it now to thy governour will hee be pleased with thee and accept thy person saith the Lord? The Lord knowes that niggardlinesse towards him shewes want of love and faith, but freenesse and bounty shewes truth of love and of faith, and because he looketh to the heart, therefore hee liketh that gift which comes from a loving and faithfull heart, and hates that which comes from a contrary heart.

Learne therein to imitate Abel, bring to God the best things you have, he must have the fat, the fat I say of your heards or flocks. The chiefest of your affections must be his, and your affections must shew themselves in action. You must be willing to serve him with a costly service, and be ever of Davids mind that said, I will not serve God without charge.

Now these two things you have in the Text of Abel, two other things you have in another place, Heb. 11. He offered a better Sacrifice then Caine by faith.3. He offered in faith. Hee offered in faith, and that caused him to bring a better, that is, I suppose he meanes there, a more costly Sacrifice of better worth and valew, of more price and cost, not the cost but the faith that made him willing to be at the cost, and the cost alone as it was a fruit and signe of the faith did content God, and made the Sacrifice acceptable.

Let us learne therefore to doe all wee doe in faith. The faith that good Abel had was the same that after is commended in Henoch, hee was perswaded that God was and was a rewarder of them that di­ligently seeke him, it was such as that which the Apostle there describeth, it was the evidence of things not seene and the substance of things hoped for. It was such an apprehension of Gods being and goodnesse to true Converts, and such a perswasion of his will to give him the future invisible things hoped for, as made Abel serve God in the course of his life in righteousnesse, and not alone for a time to come to the Altar and offer Sacrifice.

Sacrificing was a profession of their owne guiltinesse, submitting themselves to the Justice of God, as men worthy to die and be burnt, as that beast or other thing to be burnt, but withall of their hope that God would pardon them for his goodnesse sake through that true Sacrifice which was to come. And hee that offered Sacrifice with­out this faith of Gods accepting him for his mercy sake, and with­out acknowledgement of his worthinesse to perish, did not please God, and all our Sacrifices must be done in faith, now more di­stinct, because we have a fuller revelation, wee must doe all wee doe in faith, not alone a perswasion of the lawfullnesse of what we doe, but also an indeavour to trust particularly for our acceptation both of persons and Sacrifices in Christ, not in the worthinesse of our selves or of our workes. He that hath this faith, he and his ser­vices shall please God, hee that hath it not cannot please God what­soever he doth. Let mee therefore commend unto you the care of [Page 33] searching into your hearts, whether you have this faith or no, viz. that you beleeve your selves in your selves to be miserable sinners, but confesse that Christ Jesus is a perfect Saviour, and therefore even trust upon Gods mercie in him for grace and salvation.

But the Scripture saith, that Abel was righteous, and saith,4. Was righte­ous. that he obtained witnesse that hee was righteous. Where hath hee that witnesse? Partly in that God testified of his gifts by accepting them (for he accepts nothing but that which comes from a righteous man, he heareth no sinners,) or more fully from the mouth of our blessed Saviour, who calleth him righteous Abel. Note therefore that Abel was a righteous man. The Scriptures give infinite com­fort and commendation to the righteous man.

Now there is a righteousnesse of the Law and of the Gospell.A twofold righteousnesse of the Law and Gospell. Gal. 2.16. Rom. 3 10. Job 9 31. A righteous man by the Law we shall finde none in all the world, for S. Paul telleth us, that by the workes of the Law no flesh shall be justi­fied before God, and that there is none righteous, no not one, and Iob saith of himselfe in this sence, that if hee went to justifie himselfe, his owne cloathes would defile him. This righteousnesse standeth in an exact conformity to the Law of God in that a man hath not committed, neither is prone and inclined to commit any of the things which the Law doth forbid, nor hath not omitted nor is not prone to omit any of the things which the Law doth command, but is utterly free from all sinne of omission and commission, and hath perfectly ful­filled the Law in all points and degrees. Such a righteousnesse since Adams fall was never found, but in our blessed Lord Jesus Christ.Gal. 2.21. Therfore the Apostle saith, If righteousnesse were by the Law Christ were dead in vaine, he meaneth, that if God appointed us now to come to Heaven for Christs sake, upon condition of our perfect fulfilling the Law, it would be to no purpose, for we should not be saved by his death; and after he saith, that the Law concludeth all under sinne, Gal. 3.22. that the promise through the faith of Iesus Christ may be given to them that beleeve; and before he had said,Gal. 3.21. If there had beene a Law given which could have given life, righteousnesse had beene by the Law, so that there was not a Law given that could give life, and therefore the Psalmist confesseth, that in Gods sight there is no flesh righteous, Psal. 143.2. and S. Paul durst not stand to this righteousnesse which was his owne by the Law. This Legall righteousnesse it would justifie if we had it, but wee have it not, for wee lost it in our first Parents, in whom all sinned and all died, all were made sinfull and mortall creatures, and a sinfull mortall creature cannot possibly performe such a Law, as was given to a sinnelesse and immortall creature. There­fore wee must finde out another righteousnesse by which some men may be called righteous, and by which Abel was righteous, see­ing that by this righteousnesse the Scripture testifieth, that neither hee nor any other can be made righteous. This is the righteous­nesse of faith, the righteousnesse of the Gospell, the righteousnesse of God, the righteousnesse which is by the faith of Jesus Christ, [Page 34] even the righteousnesse of God without the Law, and the righ­teousnesse which is by the faith of Jesus Christ.

A double righ­teousnesse in the Gospell. 1. Imputed.Now there is a double righteousnesse taught in the Gospell. The one is made ours by imputation and is not ours by inherencie; wee never performed it our selves, but another performed it for us and we have it imputed to us: It is by S. Paul described thus. A righ­teousnesse without workes imputed to the happy man, not simply without workes, for that is impossible, because the Law cannot be fulfilled but by working according to its direction, and unlesse the law be fulfilled there is no perfect righteousnesse, but a righteous­nesse without any workes of ours, and therefore without the Law too, for the Law accepteth of no righteousnesse but that which is wrought by our selves,Rom. 4.3. as it is said of Abraham, that hee wrought not but did trust in him that justifies the ungodly. Abraham wrought diligently and plentifully, how then can it be said that he wrought not? hee meaneth that he did not worke that by his owne workes hee might attaine this righteousnesse. By this righteousnesse alone we are justi­fied. It is the perfect and exact righteousnesse of our Lord Jesus Christ accepted for us and put to our reckoning. For he was our surety, he tooke our nature, hee bare our sinnes, hee fulfilled our duty and bare our punishment, and so satisfied Gods justice in our roome, and is become The Lord our righteousnesse. This is the one righte­ousnesse commended to us by the Gospell. To this and this alone we must cleave for the obtaining of remission of sinnes and life eter­nall at the hands of God. By merit of this are we pronounced just by God at his heavenly Tribunall, and in the judgement of our owne consciences, and hereafter shall be so pronounced openly at the last day, to this S. Paul cleaved. This the Gospell taught, for therein is declared the righteousnesse of God from faith to faith.

2. Inherent.But the Gospell telleth of another righteousnesse that is a compa­nion of this, alwaies at the same time and by the same meanes given that this is given, and it is a quality inherent in us and wrought in us by the Spirit of God, and floweth immediately from our faith. The Apostle S. Paul doth describe it plainely, saying, that Wee must count our selves dead unto sinne but alive unto God, Rom. 6.11. and then saith. Wee must not yeeld our members as weapons of unrighteousnesse unto sinne, but as weapons of righteousnesse to God, Verse 13. and saith, Wee are become servants to righteousnesse, Verse 19. and that wee must yeeld our members servants unto righ­teousnesse, and againe, must raigne by righteousnesse unto life eternall. It is not the cause of our life but the way to it.Via ad regnum, non causa reg­nandi. Bernard. It is a vertue wrought in us, by which we are made able to strive and indeavour, and desire to keepe the Law. A man till he be justified by faith and reconciled to God, is estranged from the Lord and from the life of God and is an enemy in his minde, and is dead in sinnes, and loves sinne and will not leave it, and out of a stiffe and strong bent of will to sinne cannot but serve sinne, and will and resolve to continue serving it in one kinde or other.

[Page 35]Now this is also a righteousnesse of the Gospell, and it differs from that of the Law in two things, 1. In regard of the degree, it is imperfect and defective, failing in many things, but it is upright and sincere, allowes not its failings, but with an upright desire striveth to perfection, and is still labouring against its imperfections.

2. It differs from the righteousnesse of the Law in use; for the Law doth require this righteousnesse as an accomplishment of the Covenant of workes, to justifie us before God by the merit and worth of it; but the Gospell requireth this as an act of obedience alone to shew our thankfullnesse, and to proove us truly justified be­fore God, because as it is said,Gal. 3.21. There is not a Law given which could give life, seeing that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, Rom. 3.23. and whosoever goes about to put this righteousnesse into the use of justifying him before God, I meane of attaining eternall life and remission of sinnes from God by vertue and worth of it, that man cannot but be damned, because he cannot have the imputed righte­ousnesse and the inherent both for that purpose. If he trust to Christs righteousnesse he cannot trust to his owne, if to his owne he cannot trust to Christs, seeing S. Paul opposeth them as things contrary, saying, not having mine owne but Christs, Phil. 3.9. which were weakely spo­ken, if a man could have both to the use of justifying: yea he saith, He that will be justified by the Law is fallen from grace, Gal. 5.4. and Christ is become of none effect unto him; and by the Law he seekes to be justified that seeketh to be justified before God by doing this and by his owne working.

Now of a man that is thus righteous,Three signes of a righteous man. Psal. 119.48. Psal. 119 5, 6. there are three sure plaine and evident signes. 1. Hee desireth to know and doe all that God revealeth to him out of his Word. I have lifted up mine hands unto thy testimonies which I have loved, and O that my heart were directed to keepe thy righteous judgements, then shall I not be confounded when I have respect to all thy Commandements. 2. Hee confesseth and bewaileth before God his failings and errours, that breake forth in him quite contrary to his purpose and desire.Psal. 51.4. Prov. 28.13. Zach. 1 3. Against thee have I sinned, and He that confesseth his sinnes, &c. And if you turne to mee I will turne to you, for If wee say we have no sinne wee deceive our selves,1 Joh. 1.8, 9.But if wee confesse our sinnes hee is faithfull, &c. 3. He resteth wholy upon the mercy of God in Christ for pardon of his failings and ac­ceptation of his indeavours: So saith Iohn, If any man sinne, 1 Iohn 2.1. wee have an Advocate with God Iesus Christ the righteous, and hee is the Propi­tiation for sinne, and Abraham beleeved in God that justifieth the ungod­ly. S. Paul would have the righteousnesse which is by the faith of Je­sus Christ, I beseech you looke that you be so righteous men as Abel was, else you shall never be saved. For even Balaam saw, that only the righteous should be saved, and therefore he wisheth,Numb. 23.10. Let mee die the death of the righteous and let my last end be like his. No sinnes of Abel mentio­ned in Scrip­ture, and why?

Now we have the good of Abel, we should speake of his evill, but wee have none to speake of. For the Holy Ghost hath not told [Page 36] us of any evill that hee committed, not because he had none, but because his life was so short, and withall so good, that the Lord saw it not fit to make mention of any, and surely though the Scrip­ture doe report the faults of other godly men, yet it seemes here to set forth Caine and Abel as the two seeds, the one of the Woman, the other of the Serpent, and therefore of the good seed mentions no faults, because in him God saw none, that is, would not impute any.

Now let us consider the things that befell him, 1. Good, 2. Bad.

3. His prosperi­ty. 1. God had re­spect unto his gifts.The good are two, first God had respect unto his gifts. Secondly, God gave witnesse and testimony of his gifts.

He had respect unto them for the present, he gave testimony to them both at that time and also after by the pen of Moses and by the tongue of our Lord Jesus, calling him righteous Abel.

2. Gave witnes and testimony of his gifts.We cannot affirme any thing concerning the meanes by which the Lord did expresse the liking of Abel and his Sacrifice, but that it was by some sensible and evident signe discoverable by Caine as well as by himselfe, Caines doggednesse stirred up by it doth clearely evince. The Lord hath respect unto his true hearted ser­vants, that worship him in truth and in faith, and are truely righteous, he hath respect unto them and to their Services; he likes their persons, loves their workes.Pro. 15.8. Psal. 11.7. The prayer of the upright is his delight, saith Salo­mon, The righteous Lord loveth righteousnesse. God doth to his faith­full children sooner or later evidently discover his approbation and liking of them and their workes, as David prayeth, Accept the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart, Psal. 19.14. yea he doth make knowne this his favourable acceptation, by which as it is in the Psalme, he accepts their burnt Sacrifices, that is, all their holy ser­vices, he makes it knowne by the comfortable testimony of the Ho­ly Ghost,2 Cor. 1.12. as Paul saith, This is my glorying, the testimony of my con­science that in simplicity, &c. When Gods people walke in Gods waies, he causeth his Spirit to witnesse with their spirits, and their spirits to witnesse to them, that themselves and their waies please God, by which their spirits are refreshed and comforted against all the taunts and opprobries of sinners and scoffers. And this is a suf­ficient recompence to all our labours and for all our sufferings that God accepteth us. If hee accept us, what need wee care though the world deride and scorne and hate us. O let those that have seene God thus vouchsafing to respect them, comfort themselves in that, yea I shall not need to give them such advice, this appre­hension of Gods gratious accepting us is a thing so sweete and delight­full, that the people of God which have enjoyed it, will preferre it before the approbation of all men. For whom he thus respecteth, them will hee likewise approve in the face of all the world, and therefore beare testimonie to their workes, even at the last day; yea the light to which he that doth well delighteth to come, that will make it knowne that his workes be wrought of God, Iohn 3.11. If [Page 37] Gods Spirit within, if Gods Word without doe testifie of your deeds, that they bee wrought in God, how easie a thing is it to sleight and despise the false and foolish censures of the world?

But now come we to the evills that he suffered;4. His adversi­ty, was hated and killed by his Brother. for Gods people must suffer evill for well-doing, his Brother hated him, laied a traine for him, slew him. Abel was the first Martyr, the first man that died for goodnesse; hee was Gods first; Witnesse, as Steven was Christs. Those that will live godly in Christ must suffer persecution, 2 Tim. 3.12. and of whom, even of the dearest friends they have in the flesh, and how farre even to the lying in waite for their lives and taking the same away. The Lord would have the first bloud that was spilt, spilt in his quarrell, in his holy quarrell, in standing for righteous­nesse sake, that we which follow after might learne to stick close to this cause, and not to feare to lay downe our lives for it. S. Iohn tells us, no wonder if the world hate us. The world is the number of unsanctified men in the world, these will hate such as Abel the righteous, yea if Father be unrighteous and Sonne righteous. Bro­ther righteous and Brother unrighteous, Husband righteous and Wife unrighteous, the Father, Brother, Wife, will hate and maligne the childe, the Brother and the Husband. God hath put enmity be­twixt the seed of the Woman and of the Serpent; good and bad are of two contrary natures, what the one loveth the other hateth, and contrarily, this contrariety in disposition will breed contrariety in affection. Hee that is Caine, a formall Hypocrite and satisfieth himselfe with a bare outside service, will hate him that worship­peth in spirit and in truth,Gal. 4.29. They that are after the flesh will persecute them that are after the spirit, and all that will live godly must suffer for it. Prepare your selves to meete with the same measure that Abel met withall; you had need of patience saith our Saviour. Be not discouraged at the hatred and ill usage of wicked men, but have respect to the recompence of reward, looke to the end of your faith, set the joy before your eyes and feare not any of these things that you may suffer. An over-tender spirit is not fit to be Christs Souldier, if you will raigne with him you must be crucified with him. Arme, arme my Brethren, arme, you are in the battell, you must expect knocks, but be not dismaied, the victory shall be yours. God will so stablish you that you shall not be driven out of the way of righteousnesse, by any thing that Satan can do by the world: and hee conquers that keepes close to the waies of righteousnesse what ever he suffer.

Wee have done with Abels life, wee bring him to his death,His death. at what age we cannot shew you, but in what manner and by whose hand we can tell you. Here is a tragicall narration, the murderer a bad man and a Brother, the murdered a good man and a Brother, and the quarrell goodnesse, and the manner sodaine and unexpe­cted and violent. Flesh and bloud perhaps would finde fault with [Page 38] God, why did not God protect Abel when the world had so few Inhabitants? was it not pittie that one should be taken out of it so untimely and in such a manner? and much more was it not pittie that the more godly and the more usefull should be so soone bereft of life? It is a thing that a shallow wit is ready to impleade God for. But God is such a ruler that will order things according to his owne perfect wisedome. It shall be worse in outward respects with the good then with the bad, the sinner shall out-live the Saint, and flourish in the world when the other is rotting in the grave, and why so? that God may teach them hereby to looke for happinesse in another world that is to come, that they may expect a better and induring substance in Heaven.1 Cor. 15.19. If in this life onely wee had hope, wee were of all men the most miserable: but, We are dead with Christ and our life is hid with God in Christ. Col. 3.3, 4. When Christ shall appeare then shall wee also appeare with him in glory. We must not therefore be offended at the miseries which befall the godly in this life, but cause our mindes to look beyond the world unto the future recompence. God were not just towards his people, if there were not another world where they shall have their portion, as the worldly minded have their portion in this life.

Abels death was violent and sodaine.Now concerning Abels death, consider we that it was violent and suddaine, whereby we must be taught to walke alwaies ready for death, and to looke for it in every place by such violent meanes as our selves cannot foresee in particular. Who knowes when or where he shall die, how soone, and by what meanes he must leave this world afore he be aware. Labour therfore to prepare for death every day, get faith, get repentance, get new obedience, get your sinnes pardoned, and your selves sanctified, that if death come sodainely, yet it may not be sodaine to you, because you have made your selves ready for it, if we be thus fitted for death happie are we though it come with­out giving warning, but if we have not so fitted our selves, we shall be most miserable though our death be long and lingring, and come not with any violence.

Yea we must learne to be thankefull to God for his goodnesse in protecting us against the rage of evill men, that they be not able to cut us off in the midst of our daies, as they would do if God did permit us to fall into their hands. No good man that liveth but some Caine or other would soone dispatch them out of the world, and doe the same thing for them that Caine here did for Abel, for the sinner hateth the righteous and gnasheth against him with his teeth, but the Lord will not give him into his hands. It is a divine providence that maketh the godly dwell in safety in the midst of their enemies, and walke in a fiery furnace and yet not be burned, and lie in the den of Lions and yet not be touched by them. Now therefore let Abels example put you in minde to be ready alwaies for death, and to observe the goodnesse of God in saving you from the hands of sinfull men and spirits, that they cannot destroy and devoure as their malice and [Page 39] might would cause them to doe, if God did not incompasse you with his favour as with a shield.

We have done with Abel, Caines poste­rity. the next to be spoken of are Caines poste­rity, of whom little is spoken, because the Lord intended a very short story, Caine begat a Sonne and called his name Henoch, at the same time he was building a City and called it Henoch. The word signifieth to initiate, dedicate or teach, perhaps because hee left the City to his Sonne to finish and to dedicate, himselfe not being able to doe it, because of his distempered conscience which made him wan­der as a fugitive.

This Sonne begat a Sonne also and called him Irad, Irad what it signifieth. the word signifieth (I thinke) a City of one that ruleth, of the Hebrew words Gnir that signifieth a City, and Rad that signifieth to beare rule, be­cause belike he had finished that City, and hoped to leave it to his Sonne to rule in it.

And this Irad begat a Sonne and called him Mehuiael which sig­nifieth one that is destroyed or blotted out by the Lord God, perhaps because God had laid sore punishments upon them at that time, their sin increasing against him.

This Mehuiael begat Methusael, which signifieth, one that asketh after, or requested his death: it may be, because then men were so afflicted that they grew weary of life. (*⁎*.)

THE FOVRTH EXAMPLE.
OF LAMECH, &c.

THE roote of Woman-kinde were Adam and Eve. The branches were, 1. Bad, Caine and Caines posterity. 2. Good. The first stocke, Abel, the second Caine and his posterity. Now the linage of Caine is set downe in the sixth generation, mentioning onely the eldest in a direct line. Adam had Caine, Caine Irad, he Methuiael, he Methusael, he Lamech, Lamech had two wives, one Adah, the other Zillah, Adah had Iabal and Iubal, Zillah had Tubal Cain, and a daughter called Naamah, shee is the first woman named after Evah, perhaps,Naamah why so called, the first woman named after Eve, and why? because shee was a woman of great power and name in her time, for her name signifieth faire, or sweete, or pleasant, or beautifull, and it seemes that in those times beauty began to be much set by. Now for Lamech we must observe his faults, I meane of his behaviour, and the benefits he enjoyed and the misery that befell him.

His faults are, 1.Lamechs faults, His Polyga­my, the first be­ginner of it. He corrupted the ordinance of marriage by taking two wives; God at first made but one man and one woman and joy­ned them together, and Adam said, they shall be one flesh, signify­ing that hee conceived it to be the will of God, that one woman should serve for one man, and addes, A man shall forsake Father and [Page 42] Mother and cleave to his wife, not wives. But this man would not satisfie himselfe with Gods appointment, his lust (in all likelihood it was his lust, for what other cause should move him I cannot con­jecture) would not be contained within the bounds of lawfull matri­monie. He dares adde a second wife and so bring into the world a painted whoredome, a guilded adultery, a pretended marriage, but indeed a very breach of wedlock. For our Saviour Christ telleth us, that he which putteth away his wife and marrieth another commits adul­tery, and if that be true as we must confesse,Luke 16.18. for his authority sake that spake it, then without all question hee that keepeth his former wife still and will needs take another to her, is guilty too of commit­ting adultery. The reason is cleare and cannot be denied. For if it were not adultery to have more women then one at one time, then the taking of another wife upon a causelesse divorce should not de­serve that odious title, and if it be so, poligamy must needs take the same title to it selfe. This was therefore a grievous audaciousnesse in this wicked man, that hee would leape over the poles as it were which God had fixed. The thing was naught, and his doing it first before others made it worse in him, and made him guilty of their faults that after followed it upon his example. For indeed it was quickly taken up and practised in the world, insomuch that it conti­nued to the time of Abraham, and was practised also by him as a thing not reputed sinfull. For when sinne hath gotten yeeres and ex­amples upon its backe it doth many times cease to be counted what it is, and goes under the repute of a lawfull thing, though it be in it selfe even somewhat evidently unlawfull; because partly the minde of man corrupted by the pleasing or profitable effects of it, is wil­ling not to thinke it sinne, and the judgement is easily sweyed by the will, and partly because the example of men doth worke too much to draw unto evill, as an heavie thing is easily cast downeward.

2. His revenge­fullnesse.Now to polygamie he addeth a notorious revengefullnesse. Ha­ving married a couple of women, it seemes he found some distem­pers in them and therefore to calme and over-awe them a little, hee falls to breath out revenge with violent threats, saying, that he would kill a man in his wound, or for his wound, hee meanes because of wound received, and a young man for his hurt or bruise, he meanes because of a bruise or stripe given him, yea he goes farther and adds, that if Caine should be avenged seven-fold then hee seventy times seven fold. If any man whosoever he were should hurt him, hee should die for it, yea were he never so young and lusty a fellow that should offer to smite him, it should cost him his life, and he would proceede to an higher degree of revenge, then that which God himselfe had appointed to Caines murderer, viz. hee would be revenged seventy times seven times more,What it is to revenge. that maketh in all almost five hundred times as much more, here is passion and pride in all extremity. To re­venge is to render evill for evill, to revenge a thing seven times is to inflict a thing seven times more grievous upon a wrong doer then that [Page 43] which he did to another, to revenge seventie times and seven is to lay an evill 490 times more heavie then that received. The Lord of Heaven hath cause, because hee hath authority, to inlarge his pu­nishing justice, and to execute a threat of seven times revenge, be­cause after such a threat to commit the fault makes it seven degree more faulty, as being an audacious despising of his anger, and a ve­ry setting his threats at naught, but for any man to exceede measure so farre in punishing though he were a lawfull Magistrate, punishing the malefactor at the complaint and instance of the wronged person, it were a great offence. How much more then for a private man so farre to exceede all degrees in respect of a wrong done to himselfe. Sure he that threatens to be revenged 400 times more then Caine, con­ceived himselfe to be more excellent than Caine 400 times, for ac­cording to the measure of the parties worth that was wronged, must the revenge be increased. O how proud a man was hee! that durst so farre preferre himselfe above his great grand-fathers Father, for so was Caine, who being then alive and departed from under the governement of Adam, was now the King of all the sonnes that descended from him, during his life, and the Priest too, for King­domes and Priest-hoods in those first times went to the eldest of the family by succession. These were chiefe Rulers in matters civill and religious. He was therefore a very haughty minded man, and a very passionate angry man, and so a very revengefull man which springeth from pride and and passion.

These be his faults, yet see how good and patient the Lord shewes himselfe unto such a wretch, for hee had two sonnes by one wife,His benefits, he had children and a sonne and daughter by the other, God gave him the fruit of marriage, though he were the first that so shamefully abused mar­riage, for God doth not instantly stretch forth a punishing arme a­gainst an offender, and these sonnes of his too were very active and profitable men, of good parts and account, as appeares by their in­ventions mentioned in the Text.2. His crosses, hee led an un­quiet life by reason of his wives. But yet he is not left quite unpu­nished, for his life was unquiet, as appeareth by his threatning and bragging what he would doe, for such kinde of threats be but boa­stings of the future time. It is not to be doubted of but that his two wives, what by the brawles which would fall out betwixt them and their children, and what by the stirres that they would make with him, each to have him take her part against the other, made his life uncomfortable, so that hee was faine to see if hee could make the matter a little better by big and violent words, to keepe them in awe by feare whom duty could not order. Now this is Lamech.

Let us make some use of his Example,The uses of all. even to blame our selves for having committed, if wee have committed the like sinnes to his, that we may be drawne to repentance which he was never so happy as to performe.

Secondly, to arme ourselves against those sinnes, and to abound in the contrary vertues, for so it is our duty, as Bees doe honey out [Page 44] of weeds, to gather good out of bad Examples. Come hither then and let mee examine you in Gods name. Is there not any amongst you that hath violated marriage worse then Lamech. He did sinne by taking two wives. The Lawes would punish you for following him in that, and would not suffer you to keepe two women under the name of wives, have not you therefore falne to flat and downe-right adultery. If so, repent of this enormity; The Lord will not suffer the transgressors of his Covenant to beare it free if repentance doe not stay his hand.

Yea have not some of you beene Lamechs in making the first breach into a sinne; Inventers of evill things, S. Paul cals them which are the first which doe them, that runne into them not induced by any for­mer examples, but carried by their owne corruptions, and so by go­ing over the hedge, induce others to follow them: such sinners be the more grievous before God by how much they shew a more impudent disposition, that dare leade the way to wickednesse, and make them­selves captaines and ring-leaders to so vile and mischievous a thing, and such sinnes doe call for a larger measure of sorrow and humilia­tion.

Againe, have none of you beene passionate, angry, and full of threats, working in proud wrath as Salomon calls it, and as here, you may see wicked Lamech doing with an angry voice, and a counte­nance sutable thereto. You may be sure he calls upon his wives to leave their brawling and let him speake, and then blusters out these words, that he would kill the man whosoever should wrong him. Are not there some men among you so mad and furious, that they threaten bloud and death to any that shall wrong them. O this wrathfull and angry roaring as I may call it, is a signe of much folly and pride, and therefore doe not please your selves in it, as they doe most times that are given to it, but abhorre it, and judge your selves for it, and hum­bly acknowledge to God, that you have deserved his wrath for shew­ing your owne wrath so immoderately. And lastly consider, have you not beene revengefull men? that would take no wrong but returne death and slaughter for a stroke, a wound, and seven yea twenty, and if you were able an hundred blowes for one, yea death for a word speaking, and a great evill for a little.

Revenge is a great sin.Brethren, revenge is a fearefull sinne; there are two waies of re­venge, some doe compasse it by maine strength, presently and openly if one wrong them, they raile or strike and lay about them, as it were an angry Dog or Beare or other Beast, others be more still in their revenge, they lay it up in store and set it on the score till a fit oppor­tunity come, and then they pay him home with the like and more that hath wronged them, both these revenges be naught, and it is hard to say whether is the worse of the twaine: the one hath more craft, the other more furie, both shew an heart destitute of all meekenesse and charity and faith. If you have found your selves so disposed, untill you repent you shall be sure to finde God as bitter against you. He [Page 45] will be revenged of the revengefull. He will be an enemy to him that will fight and keepe a stirre if he be touched or wounded. Doe not count it valour to give stroke for stroke or wound for wound, or blow for blow, it is an hellish valour, it is not man-hood, it is dog-hood, or I may terme it beare-hood, it is brutish, so will a Lion or a bruit creature. It is not courage but outrage, it is not fortitude but meere furie. And yet alas where shall you finde breasts that doe not beare the stampe of Lamechs words within them, that perhaps be not come to such an high degree as he was to revenge 490 times, but are come to that, that they resolve and purpose, if a man wound them, they will wound him againe if they can, if any man strike, they will doe the best they can to strike him againe. Beloved, hee in whom this sinne raigneth, is a wicked man though it be not of so high a growth in him as it was in this wretch. He that holdeth this purpose, I will requite blow with blow [...] wrong with wrong, he is not a true Chri­stian, for he doth not overcome evill with good, but is overcome with evill. He is a man that lives allowedly in a sinne as bad in Gods account as theft or whoredome. Revenge in Gods account is a sinne as foule and fouler then lust or injustice. I beseech you ex­amine your selves, and if you have found your selves carried away with revenge, and resolve to be so still, take notice that you be too like to Lamech to be the children of God.Mat. 18.22. Our Saviour commands us if our neighbour offend to forgive him till seventy times seven times, I thinke alluding to this very speech of this here in the Text, and in­tending to teach you to labour to abound in patience, meekenesse, and forbearance, as much as he abounded in proud revengefullnesse.

If any say, why then I shall expose my selfe to all manner of wrongs.

I answer, first, if one should doe so, better suffer all manner of in­juries from man, then to have God enter into judgement with him for all his sinnes.

Secondly, I answer, that God hath the rule of things, and as the sheepe must dwell in safety not by their owne sturdinesse, but by the care and diligence of the Shepheard, so must Gods people enjoy free­dome from wrongs not by their owne violence but by his protection and wisedome.

And lastly, I say if the wrongs be notorious and such as it is not fit to suffer, God hath put the sword of revenge into the Ma­gistrates hands, and so farre as the heart is not imbittered with Ma­lice, but seeketh alone his owne defence and safety without trium­phing in the smart of an enemy, it is very lawfull to seeke him for rescue.

So have we done with Lamech, Lamechs three sonnes inven­ters of Arts. we goe on to his three sonnes that were profitable persons and inventers of good arts, at the least per­fecters.

The one perfected that part of husbandry which consists in fee­ding cattell and making tents to shelter both the Shepheards and the [Page 46] sheepe, that with those moveable habitations they might be able to drive their cattell from place to place for the best pasture. It is likely that before his time they were faine to be content with the shade of the trees, or with some cave under ground, or a few turfes put upon some sticks of wood which they had made a shift to get in­to the ground or some such like. But he considering better of the matter, invented the way of making linnen cloath and so with fitting that upon poles with peggs and stakes to keep of great stormes and heat, yea by this meanes they could carrie their houses with them whither soever they had occasion to travell for pasture sake, and this kinde of fleeting life, dwelling in tents and following cattell continued to Abrahams time and long after, yea it was the commandement of Ionadab to the Rechabites that they should alwaies live so.Jer. 35. This there­fore was a commodious and beneficiall invention, and it is for his praise that first devised it, much is owing him by those that comming after have enjoyed the benefit of his devices.

Iubal the next Sonne of Lamech, he was a man not given so much to toilesome profit as to merriment and sport, he was a lover of musicke, and he perfected the art of making Organes, and you must understand, playing upon them too, for to what purpose would hee finde them out but to play on? This is a lawfull invention and good and com­fortable. Cheerefullnesse and Mirth so that it be moderate and well guided for the circumstances, is a lawfull thing, whether Musicke by voice or instrument, whether winde instruments or other hand instru­ments. It is a very good and lawfull thing to solace ones selfe with musicke, and a warrantable recreation, so that it be not abused, and hee that first found it out is to be counted a benefactor to man­kinde.

But the last named, he was the most profitable inventer, he that found out the art of iron worke, he was an excellent Smith. This was Tubal Caine, thought to be the same that the Heathens called Vulcane. Smiths are a necessary calling. Their art is helpefull to all other Sci­ences both for peace and warre, to them belongeth the making of all the necessariest instruments of husbandry, of all sort of tooles for other trades and of armes also for the Souldier. No part of mans life can be without iron worke. A knife, a key, an hatchet, a forke, a saw, a mattock, a sythe, a raking hooke, a chezill, a sword, a speare, a shield, an helmet, who can reckon up the things that Smiths do make for mans use. This was therefore an exceeding fruitfull inven­tion, so much the more to be commended by how much it is more wearisome and laborious, for it is you know a strong labour in some things and a curious in other things, and much of it is much annoyed with heate about the fire. And thus hath God stored the world with needfull arts, by meanes of Lamechs sonnes that were it seemeth un­sanctified men.

The uses of all.We must make some use of all this, first, to be thankefull unto God that hath imparted to some men such good wits and understan­dings [Page 47] that they were able to finde out and perfect those severall Sci­ences and Callings, for how toylesome and uncomfortable would our lives be if we did not enjoy these helpes and comforts. Even this naturall ability is from God and deserveth thankes from us.

Againe, men must set themselves to be profitable to the world, by either inventing or adding to the inventions of others in any kinde. It is good to doe something for which the world may be the better, and not to come into the world meerely as rats and mice onely to de­voure victuals and to runne squeaking up and downe. Be you fol­lowers of such, if you cannot invent and perfect an art, yet learne and follow some that is already invented. These men were not idlesbees, doe naughts; O be you as good at least as these sonnes of Lamech, onely labour to be so moderate in following and using all these earthly things, that you be not earthly minded thereby, but may become carefull of things that pertaine to the soule and to ano­ther life, as well as of those that belong to this present life and to this body of clay. It is good to use the world but not to love it, to set our hands on worke about the things of it, but not to set our hearts upon it. This is a baiting place and not a place of habitation, we make a journey through this world, we do not dwell in the world. O let our mindes and desires and wishes be in Heaven, and let us doe those outward things with reference unto Heaven, that by pro­fiting men and serving God in a calling, we may make our way to Heaven the easier, and our wages there the greater. And so much for the linage of Caine.

Now we come to another off-spring of Adam. If is not to be thought that he remained childlesse till the birth of Seth, or that God would smite him in that newnesse of the world with so long a bar­rennesse, or that he so long forbare society with Evah. As it is said, that he lived an hundred and thirty yeeres and begat Seth, Gen. 5.3. so it is said, hee lived long after and begat sonnes and daughters; there­fore it is likely also, that in that hundred and thirty yeeres before he begat sonnes and daughters, but because the Lord intended to draw out the linage of Christ, therefore he lets all the rest goe and fastens alone upon Seth, of whom the promised seed was to come in a direct line: Of Seth then we must speake.Seth little said of him. His Birth gladded Evah and Adam too no doubt, because they understood by revelation from God, that he should be a godly man. Therefore hee is called Seth, that is, he hath appointed, because saith Evah, Gen. 4.25. God hath appointed mee another seed instead of Abel whom Caine slew. Loe it is an hundred and thirty yeares after and yet shee hath not forgotten the murder of Caine. The infamy of a sinne will cleave long to a mans name, and the griefe of a crosse if it be a stinging crosse indeed as this was, will lie long upon the soule. But why saith shee a seede instead of Abel, it may be it was, because shee saw little piety and goodnesse in the other sonnes and daughters: none of them was like Abel in religion and godlinesse. But for Seth shee understood that God would make [Page 48] him as good a man as Abel, and therefore shee rejoyceth in him, for a good Parent is little gladded in children, if they proove not pious and godly children, Gods children as well as his or hers; wherefore those children that would glad the hearts of their Parents, must see themselves to follow the waies of vertue, that their aged Pa­rents may have joy in them.

Now of Seth nothing is said, but that he begat a Sonne at an hun­dred and five yeares old, as the next Chapter shewes, calling him Enosh, that is, sorrow or griefe, because of the many griefes and sorrowes to which men are subject in this life. Well may man have the name of sorry given to him, so full of miseries is he as Iob spake long after.Gen. 4.26 Onely it is added, that in Seths daies men began to callon the name of the Lord. It may be rendred (some thinke) the name of God was prophaned in calling on, that is, men grew then very pro­phane in a carelesse abusing Gods publike Service and Worship. Others thus, then it was begun to call on the name of the Lord, that is, men began more publikely and religiously and openly to call on the name of God, to professe true piety more carefully in publike assem­blies. It notes in the former sence a growing worse of the times, in the latter a growing better. I am in doubt whether sence to fasten upon, I thinke rather of the twaine it is a taxing of the publike pro­fanation of God in abusing his worship, because it followes imme­diately upon the giving of the name Enosh, sorrowfull, miserable, mortall man, as a reason of that name, why did his Father call him so, because Gods name then began to be prophaned in calling upon, men grew more and more carelesse and remisse in Gods service, and did it in so bad and negligent and indevout a fashion, as it was rather a profaning then a worshipping or honouring of his name. And this seemeth the rather to be the meaning, because there is little reason to thinke that Adam and Seth did not long before this apply them­selves to the carefull worshipping of God in their assemblies, and to take all good meanes to save themselves from the corruption of the Kaynites. Or it may be rendered, then it was begun to call by the name of Lord, that is, men began then to have that name given them of the sons of God, and this I like best of all the three, because in the beginning of the sixt Chapter (which continues the story, and the fift Chapter is but a digression put in to shew the age of the world at the floud) it is said, the sonnes of God saw the daughters of the sonnes of men. Whereby it is apparent, that to the men that professed true religion with Adam and Seth the name of the sonnes of God was given, and to the rest the name of the sonnes of men. The professors of the true religion were called sonnes of God, that did worship the true God after the manner that God taught by Adam. The other were called sonnes of men, that gave themselves over to worldlinesse, and vanity, and prophanenesse; for my part I suppose that before the floud there was no Idolatry, because the Holy Ghost would not have omitted the taxing of that sinne as well as those it doth [Page 49] taxe if it had beene then used in the world. But let us take the words to meane, then it was begun to call on the name of the Lord, and then it shall be added as a commendation of Seth, that in his daies religion began to flourish more then ever before, by his diligence joyning with his Father Adam, much more respect was had to piety, and greater numbers of men imbraced the profession of piety. And this ought to be the care of every good man to further the progresse of true religion, and to cause the name of God to be faithfully called up­on of many.

Now of the rest of Adams seed there is a Catalogue made in the fifth Chapter of all the ancient Fathers, from the first man Adam to Noah, in whose daies the floud fell out, by which it appeares of what standing the world was, when it was growne so corrupt, that the Lord could no longer endure the manners of it. And in this Ca­talogue the Holy Ghost takes this order; 1. He shewes of what age every one was when he begat his eldest sonne. How many yeares he lived after the birth of that sonne. 3. How old he was when he died. The number of the persons are in all ten, Adam, Seth, Enoch, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Iared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, and Noah. Adam at a hundred and thirty yeares begat Seth, and after lived eight hundred yeares and had more children in that time, and died aged nine hun­dred and thirty yeares. Adam was in truth the eldest man all things considered, for though Methuselah out-lived him thirty nine yeares (for he was nine hundred sixty nine yeares, and Adam but nine hun­dred and thirty) yet Methuselah was borne an infant, Adam was made a perfect man the first day, and in those times a man was but a child at thirty nine yeares, for no question they would give their mindes to marriage in that newnesse of the world, paucity of men, and plenty of ground so soone as they were fit for it. So Adams perfect estate at the first countervailed the living of forty yeares and more. Seth he li­ved a hundred and five yeares and begat Enos, and living eight hun­dred and seven yeares begat divers more children, and ended his daies at nine hundred and two. Enos lived ninety yeares and begat Cainan, &c. as you may reade in the story. Nothing is mentioned of any one but the length of his life, the time when hee had his first sonne, and that hee had more sonnes.Henoch. Onely of Henoch it is noted that he walked with God, that is, lived a most holy life and that he died not at all, but was translated after hee had lived three hundred sixty five yeares. The Lord shortned the daies of his pilgrimage, and rewarded his singular piety with taking him up to Heaven, soule and body immediately without dying. He was changed without any se­parating of his spirit from his body, and in him we have an example what should have beene the course that God would have taken with all men if man had continued in the state of innocency, viz. he should not have died, soule and body should never have departed one from the other, but after a man had proceeded in godlinesse, till hee had gotten so large a measure of it, as in this life hee could (for though [Page 50] Adam were perfect habitually yet not actually, I meane though hee had an ability to attaine perfect knowledge of God and the creatures, yet hee had not yet actually gotten all such knowledge as hee was to get both of God and of the creatures) then should he have beene translated into Heaven to see God immediately and to know him bet­ter then in this life he could be knowne. Sinne entring caused death, had not that come in we should have gone to Heaven without death as this Henoch did.

Now out of all these things written concerning these Ancients the direct parents of our Lord, wee gather this, that death is common to all, and how long soever a man lives at last hee must leave the world, and therefore we learne two things principally.

First, to prepare for death, that whensoever it befalleth wee may change for the better not for the worse, and this preparation for death must be not alone a little before it comes, or at the houre of its ap­proach, but in the whole course of our life by beginning early to re­pent and continuing daily to turne and renew our repentance, that so we may get an assurance of our being taken from earth to Heaven: for he that begins unfaignedly to turne to God and so continues, hee shall surely be saved, and for the most part shall obtaine before his departure hence an assured apprehension of his salvation. Therefore hee must (as Henoch did) walke with God in a continuall care of obeying him, and labouring to hold fast a constant perswasion of his favour and love to him in his Sonne, for it is testified of Enoch, that he plea­sed God,Heb. 11.5. so that what in Genesis is called a walking with God, that S. Paul calls pleasing of God, and also that by faith he was translated that he should not see death, even by his beleeving and resting upon Gods mercy, for so it is said, he beleeved that God was and was a rewarder of them that diligently seeke him, which finding himselfe to do, he resolved that God would reward him: So must each of us walke with God, con­stantly resolve and indeavour to please God in all things, and retaine in our selves an assured peaswasion, that God will graciously accept and reward us in Christ, with giving us life eternall and causing us never to see the second death: though we must not be freed from the first, for that was the speciall priviledge of Enoch and Eliah, and was never gran­ted to any other that we read. Labour therfore to hold fast in your soules a firme perswasion of Gods love to you in Christ, and withall a firme purpose of pleasing him in all things. Let sincere truth of obedience be joyned with a firme perswasion of Gods love, and the firme perswasion of Gods love be joyned with a sincere indeavour of obedience, then death shall never come amisse, then you are alwaies ready for it, So Da­vid faith;Psal. 119.166. I have hoped in thy salvation and done thy Commandements. So then if we would be ready for God we must doe two things. Turne to him and walke with him. To turne is to begin to walke with God, to walke with God is to continue to turne to him. O ye that have not begun to turne doe it to day, turne now, call to mind your former evill waies to judge your selves for them, to lament them, to seeke of [Page 51] God in Christ forgivenesse of them and power against them, and labour to rest your selves upon his goodnesse in Christ for pardon and helpe, and so have you made your peace, then keepe your peace by a constant indeavour to please God in holinesse of life, and a con­stant renewing of your assured perswasion of his love. O happy man he that can so fit himselfe for his latter end. Brethren let the mention of the deaths of so many aged persons, make you carefull to prepare for death; you that be young doe it, because death takes away young men as well as old, and you that be old doe it, because you may meete with it very suddenly, and must needs meete with it afore it be long.

Againe, you see these long-liv'd men here, wrestling with the cor­ruptions of the world and their owne, some a longer time and some a shorter, but all in comparison of our selves a great while. The longest lived man for number of dayes was Methuselah who lived nine hundred sixty nine yeares, but for perfection of life Adam, who li­ved a perfect man nine hundred and thirty yeares. The shortest lived of all the Patriarkes was Noahs Father, Methuselahs Sonne, Lamech, for he lived seven hundred seventy and seven yeares, and died the yeere before the floud, a little before his Father Methuselah, who li­ved till that very yeare that the floud came and drowned all, and was taken away that he might not see the floud.

Now why did God lengthen out the daies of the Patriarkes?Why the Pa­triarkes lived so long.

I answer, chiefely to maintaine the knowledge of God and true re­ligion in the world, that by the long life of one godly man, the truth which then was not put in writing, but by word of mouth delivered from man to man might be kept more pure and undefiled. Adam lived till Methuselah was two hundred forty and three yeares old. Methuse­lah lived till Sem the Sonne of Noah was one hundred yeares lacking two; so that Sem talked with him that had talked with Adam, who could acquaint him with all things concerning the creatures, the fall and the promised seed out of his certaine knowledge and experience, he had beene made of nothing, he had seene all perfections, and Methuse­lah could tell it to Sem, and Sem lived to see Isaac borne and a Father. So that Isaac might speake mouth to mouth with him that had spoken with him that had spoken with Adam the first man that ever was. Was not this a notable con­firmation of his Faith.

THE FIFTH EXAMPLE.
OF The Old World.

WEe have propounded particular Examples unto you hitherto, as also the Scriptures have done. Now following them, wee must set before your eyes the Examples of an whole multi­tude, even of an whole World, full of men and women, that gave themselves to worke wickednesse before the Lord. It is called in Scripture, the old World, 2 Pet. 2.5. and the world of un­godly. In the space of a 1656. yeares the generation of mankind was growne to that height and exorbitancie of wickednesse, that the patience of God could no longer endure them.

Now concerning this Old World we will shew you three things. 1. Their sinnes. 2. The goodnesse of God to them notwithstan­ding their sinnes. 3. The severe punishment that fell upon them at the last, and so will make use of all.The sinnes of the old world. 1. In generall.

First, for their sinnes, the Holy Ghost sets them out in generall, and more particularly. In generall, the sinne of man is said to be great, Gen. 6.5. and that every imagination of the thought of his heart was evill and one­ly evill and that continually. Secondly, it is said,Verse 11. that all flesh had cor­rupted [Page 54] his way upon the earth. So their naughtinesse was remarkeable in these two respects, it was exceeding hainous and grievous in that they committed great and fowle sinnes, in great abundance with great wilfullnesse, and gave themselves to add sinne to sinne, doing no­thing but plodding and contriving wickednesse,They all were given over to sinning, except some in Noahs house. and then all men gave themselves over to the same bad course; you could not finde a man that made scarce a shew of goodnesse out of Noahs house. When all consent together to sell over themselves to worke iniquity, and grow past shame or feare, running into most grievous and notorious sinnes with greedinesse and wilfullnesse, this is very offensive to Al­mighty God, and will certainely provoke his wrath to bring upon them some fearefull and heavie punishments.

Divers reasons may be thought of that caused this exceeding great growth of sinne in those times.Why sinne was so great then. 1. The long life of men, for let an unsanctified man continue long, and he will grow more and more sin­full the longer he continues. Sinne by frequent exercise growes more and more violent and head-strong. So living a great space of time they grew above measure naught.

2. They had strong and able bodies together with health and ability to enjoy the things of this life.

3. They had great peace in regard they all lived under a paternall governement, the agedst in the family still being acknowledged the governour of the family, and they had all one language and so no great cause of controversie, and one religion too, it is like, seeing the Patriarkes lived so long, that they were immediately taught of God, save that they degenerated to prophanenesse and the most became of no religion, and so did not warre with the contrary little partie, un­lesse it were with jests, scoffes and contumelies. Long life, great strength, great peace begat great wickednesse.

2. In particular.But more particularly the Lord takes notice here of their 1. Un­lawfull and carnall marriages, 2. Of their violence and oppression. And our Saviour telleth of their great worldlinesse,Mat. 24.37, 38. that did sell over themselves to temporall dealings, and cared nothing for better things; and S. Peter tells of their obstinacy in sinning, and their not beleeving nor regarding,1 Pet. 3.20. they were disobedient whilest the long suffe­ring of God waited in the daies of Noah. Mat. 24.38. Yea our Saviour telleth of their notable unbeleefe, that did not give any credit to Gods threats, nor knew of the floud till the waters came and drowned them. All Noahs preaching prevailed nor to make them take notice of the judgement that hanged over their heads.

Gods mercy to them.The mercy of God towards them appeareth, in that he gave them a large warning, a hundred and twenty yeares to repent, in which his Spirit continued to strive with their wickednesse, God taketh to him­selfe the similitude of a man, who being greatly displeased with the ill carriage of his Inferiours, is faine to strive with himselfe to keepe downe his anger, that it raise not up it selfe against them in excesse and over-suddenly. The striving of Gods Spirit is a patient continuing [Page 55] to use the meanes of reclaiming sinners, to see if it be possible to winne them, Gods bounty taketh paines as it were to breake mans sinfull heart. So God resolved to continue striving but for a hundred and twenty yeares, and all that while he determined to continue this course of gentlenesse, and withall hee used in that time the ministery of Noah, 2 Pet. 2.5. who was therefore called a Minister and Preacher of righ­teousnesse by S. Peter, that he might reduce them to some repentance and amendment; therefore is it said,1 Pet. 3.20. The long-suffering of God waited in Noahs daies, and in all this space they had great outward mer­cies. Yea there were men of great stature borne which prooved also men of great renowne for wealth, riches, honours and outward emi­nencies, so that they felt no manner of punishment almost in earth­ly things, but were reserved to that great and heavie punishment which waited for them at last, even to the deluge or floud of waters.

God made all the great deepes to breake up,Their punish­ment. and the springs to over-flow, so that the waters gushed up from the ground, and then opened the windowes of Heaven, and caused all the waters from above to fall downe, till at length the raine continuing for the space of forty daies,The Deluge. and the waters finding so violent an issue upwards, the whole earth and all the highest mountaines were covered with water fifteene cubits, that is, a cubit being coun­ted for halfe a yard, seven yards and an halfe high, to the cutting off of all the sonnes and daughters of Adam, and of all the birds and beasts that could not live in the water, save those few that were in the Arke with Noah, who besides his preaching by the signe, of building the Arke did warne them but all in vaine of the follow­ing floud.

So you have the summe of the story of the old World in their sinfullnesse, and Gods forbearance for along time, and Gods severi­ty and their misery at the last. Let us make due uses now of all.The uses of all. For the chiefe thing in such stories as these is to make a good use, because these are set forth for an Example to them that shall hereafter live un­godlily. For their soules also perished eternally as well as their bo­dies, for anything that can be learn'd out of Scripture to the con­trary, except that we may conceive, the Lord might be mercifull to the soules of infants, that were not of age to make use of the meanes that should have brought the rest to repentance, nor did not runne to the same extremity of wickednesse, unlesse I say wee may hope in charity that God would shew compassion on the soules of these, the men of yeeres perish soule and body both. Now what uses must wee make, 1. Of their sinnes, 2. Of Gods patience, 3. Of Gods severity. Of their sinnes we must make divers uses.

First, to take notice of our owne corrupt nature that is ready to grow so extreamely naught. For wee also are the posterity of Adam, and have the same corruption of nature that these had, and our imagi­nations and the forme and frame of our hearts and all our thoughts [Page 56] will be onely evill continually, if God give us to ourselves, and there is not one of us that would not grow unjust, voluptuous, worldly, violent, and most extreamely wicked in every kinde of wickednesse, as occasion would offer it selfe, if the Lord did not hold us backe, either by restraining or sanctifying, or both. To him let us give the praise of our being restrained or sanctified, and let us confesse his goodnesse that doth not give us over to all licen­tiousnesse, to commit all wickednesse with greedinesse. An hearty praising of God for delivering us from notorious sinfullnesse, is a testimony of some grace. Mans heart is apt to turne such freedome into matter of swelling and selfe-conceitednesse, if our lesse badnesse makes us more thankefull and humble not haughty and arrogant, it is a signe of some truth of goodnesse. But innocency joyned with swelling, lifting up our selves and despising others, is no better then that of the Pharisee. This is the first use of their sin.

The next is to teach us to take heed of such wickednesse, that great sinnes may not grow common, but that there may be some to oppose the rest, some to mourne for the rest, and to take care of keeping themselves unspotted in the world, that so great and publike punish­ments may be kept back. Let us every way strive to cause that sinnes grow not huge and universall, that they come not to an high degree and to commonnesse, so that all joyne in them; for then likely some great and heavy calamity must insue. With us sinnes do grow very great, great faults are committed by many, but yet we are to praise God that all flesh hath not corrupted their waies, there be some though but few in comparison of the multitude, yet I say some, that set themselves against the great and common iniquities, which may give us some hope, that the Lords chastisements shall follow us one­ly for reformation, not for utter extirpation of the Nation. Let us all use our best diligence to hinder the greatnesse and commonnesse of sinne, that wee may prevent destroying and all-devouring blowes.

A third use from their sinnes is that we be carefull to avoid these particular sinnes, or to repent of them and to reforme them, if wee have committed them.

1. Take great heed of making carnall marriages with persons sin­full and wicked for beauties sake, or any such carnall respect. For if it offend God that men be lewd to take wives voide of true reli­gion and piety because of their fairenesse, then surely to be so farre over-ruled with gaine or any other earthly consideration, as for these things sake to make matches with carnall and naughty men must needs offend God. Let no man doe so therefore, let piety I say piety be the match-maker, let beauty, riches, and all such things come after in the second or third place, and let no man for any re­spect of face, faire state, &c. marrie themselves to foule conditions, foule manners, false religion, wicked conversation. Surely that which swayes a man most in matrimony, swayes him most in his whole [Page 57] life, this being one of the maine matters that concerne him in his life. If godlinesse and religion be not of force to command us in this thing it cannot be conceived that we have any sound knowledge of it, and if outward things sway us most here, they have the soveraignty and dominion of our hearts. Shew your selves spirituall in choice of yoke-fellowes, if you will enjoy the comfort of being so in good earnest and in sincerity. And if any have done otherwise, O let them be much humbled, it is a great fault an hazarding of ones selfe to de­struction or of his children, a signe that one doth not rightly know neither sinne or goodnesse, if in this matter wickednesse cannot dis­grace all other things, and vertue over-ballance all other, and there­fore if God have made such a match very dismall and unhappie to any one, and that they have found these things unable to give con­tent, and with these they have beene turned aside from the right way; let them acknowledge the justice of God and turne the pu­nishments into a meanes of unfained repentance for the sinne. It is just with God to crosse mens false opinions of things, and make them meete with wretchednesse, where they did falsely and unwarrantably promise to themselves contentment, as they doe most times in such kinde of ill made marriages. If any good man have so transgressed, he is now called to repentance for it, by Gods hand crossing, and Gods Word warning him.

Againe, beware I pray you of the next sinne, viz. unjustice and violence, that is, taking away the goods of others by strong hand, whether by manifest violence, or by violent wresting and abusing of law through strength of wit, or purse, or both. To take away that from another by any manner of strength which is his in right that is violence. God hath often in his Word spoken against this,Violence what it is. A great sin. for the waters of the floud have not yet washed it out, but it hath place in the world still. Those that are stronger then others will wrench and pull, and make a shift to tug all they can unto themselves, though they have no right unto such things, covetousnesse and greedy desires be­get oppression to satisfie such an unsatisfiable desire; David com­plaines, Psal. 55.9. that hee hath seene violence in the citie, and Psal. 11.5. Him that loves violence his soule hateth. By violence men tread underfoot the light of nature, and bury their reason in passion and under it. It is the property of beasts to be lead by will and passion, what they desire to have if they can possibly get it by any device or power they will have it, rules of right they acknowledge none nor can acknowledge, because they want reason, which is the sole distinguisher betwixt right and wrong. But man that hath reason which can set downe limits and bounds to every mans possessions and benefits, should follow his reason and not take so much as his hand can reach and pull unto it selfe, but alone that which he findes the rules of equity to give him. He that doth otherwise doth infinitely trespasse upon Gods Royalty over the whole world, for he doth not carrie himselfe in this great family according to the will of him that [Page 58] is the sole maker and master of it, and so lives as if himselfe were Master and chiefe Lord, and not bound to any rules but those of his owne will. Violence therefore is a grievous sinne. It will bring Gods curse, and anger, and hatred upon the committer. A violent man is odious in the world and in Heaven too, his love of himselfe makes him i [...]jurious to all, and therefore also loathsome. Flie violence therefore either of hand or head, and take nothing but what in true right you can prove to be your owne, and if you have gotten any thing by violence, repent of it, and rid your hands of it, else the hand of God shall be heavie upon you for it, he will bring your violence upon your owne pates.

And know I beseech you, that as there be two sorts of violent beasts so of men. You know there be Lions, and Beares, and Tigers, and great creatures that prey upon the weaker as upon the Sheepe, the Cowe, &c. and then there be little beasts too that prey upon the lesser, as the Weezle on the Mouse and on Chickens, and such like that be lesser then themselves. So there be two sorts of violent men too, the great and wealthie man, and the poore and meaner man. The one can beare out his violence openly, and doth it in greater things. The other doth it more closely and in lesser things, but both will have what equity doth not give them by one or other shift or wile, or act of his hand. And truly as great wickednesse is found in poore men this way as in the wealthier. He that is as bad as his place will suffer, is as wicked a man as another that in higher place is more apparant­ly wicked. Give the Weezle the fangs and limmes of a Lion, hee will doe as much mischiefe as a Lion. Therefore the poore robbing the poore is compared to a sweeping raine that leaveth no food, Prov. 28.3. and none more violent then these little violent ones when they can tell how to make way and beare out their violence, will not you see it evidently in the boldnesse of the poorer sort to steale corne at this time of the yeare. He that will pull a piece of ones sheafe from him, if hee were a great Prince of name and power, would pull his whole living from him. Beware therefore of those unjust waies of getting which are under your hands, and in your powers incident to your places, repent of them, shun them, and forbeare them for conscience sake, that you may not provoke Gods wrath against you.

Further, the men of this time were extreamely worldly as our Lord Jesus noteth, they sold over themselves to the world, and ca­red not for Noahs preaching, nor for any thing that might concerne their soules, but sold over themselves to earthly dealing as you reade in Luke 17.26, 27. O be not many of you such, are not your hearts fully possessed with all earthlinesse. Doe not you set your selves al­together to the things of this life with the meere neglect of that which concernes a better. Surely those that doe so are in heart Atheists, they doe not thoroughly beleeve that immortality of the soule, nor the being of another world. For were every mans heart [Page 59] fully perswaded that his soule should continue for ever in another world either in eternall weale or woe, it were not possible for him not to consider of the estate to come as well as of the state present, if we did as well know and beleeve that there is an Hell and Heaven, as that there is an earth and in it misery and welfare, we could not but be as studious to get the future happinesse and escape the future misery as the present. I pray you therefore strive against that sinne of the old World, viz. giving up your selves excessively to the world, and put your selves in minde of a world that is to come, and minde the things that are above and set your affections on them. If you so performe workes of Gods Worship, as that they weane you not from the world, you doe them but hypocritically, you have alone the forme and not the power of godlinesse. Though a man use not violence, yet if hee be excessively worldly the Word of God is choaked in him, and will not bring forth the fruit of eternall life un­to him.

Another sin of the old World is,4 Disobedient. 1 Pet. 3.20. The floud came upon them and they knew nothing. they abused Gods long-suffering and Noahs preaching, and gat no manner of knowledge of the long threat­ned floud, nor no care of amending their lives. This is a fearefull thing to get nothing by Gods patience or by the labours of the Mini­sters whom he sends to teach and warne us. This shewes that the Divell ha [...]h blinded their eyes, that sinne hath hardened the heart, and that a man hath given over himselfe to the servitude of some lust: this is a great wrong to Gods goodnesse and authority both, and it brings severe punishments, for in aggravating the sinnes of men it must needs aggravate the punishment also. O brethren consider of your selves if you be not guilty of this sinne. How long hath God beene striving to pull you out of your sinnes. How much patience hath he shewed; how much teaching have you heard, and yet alas the old World got as much by Gods kindnesse to them as you doe and you no more then they. Many of you know nothing of your miserable estate. As little be you acquainted with the truths you are taught every day, as they were with the floud that came upon them, as little doth our preaching prevaile to worke you to amendment, as did the preaching of Noah with them. We may well comfort our selves in this, that our successe is no worse then Noahs, and also la­ment that it is no better. Indeed you have not had so many yeeres preaching as the 120. old World had, but consider it with the proportion to your lives and you have more. Then men used to live some seven, eight, or nine hundred yeeres. Loe God gave them a Preacher a long time, and at length determined the very yeere of the floud, it shall be a hundred and twenty yeeres hence, and so from yeare to yeare lesse as the yeeres went up. Yee have lived and died (many of you that be dead) under the Ministe­ry. Indeed we cannot tell you the yeere of your death, or bring you tidings of a floud of water to overflow you altogether, but of a river of fire and brimstone to overflow and overwhelme you one after one [Page 60] wee can tell you from God, and you feare this floud of brim­stone no more then they did that floud of water. O repent of your long impenitency and miserable unbeleefe and wilfull igno­rance of Gods threats, and other things that are continually taught you out of the Word. And now cease to imitate this world of ungodly men, but apply your selves to flie from the wrath to come and from the vengeance that must overtake all wilfull sinners. I beseech you lay to heart the things you heare, take notice of them, beleeve them, and set your selves to amend your lives and cast away all your sinnes, which this old World did not but should have done: be better I say be better then they were, and let their wickednesse teach you some goodnesse. When will it once be that you will know and beleeve the threats of God and his promises? when will it once be that you will submit your selves to those that are as Noah was, Preachers of righteousnesse, and seeke to get the righteousnesse of faith, which Noah would not have gotten him­selfe, if it had not beene the same that hee preached to others? Now I pray you at last to exceede this generation of wicked men. And these uses you must make of their wickednesse.

Now of Gods patience towards them in giving them all outward prosperity and long deferring the execution of his wrath, and sen­ding Noah by preaching and building the Arke to draw them to repentance; learne first to praise God for the like long-suffering to us, and using the like meanes to bring us to repentance and to life eternall. It is the same God that ruled the world at those times who ruleth us also at this time, and he discovers the same vertues in his governing. O how patient is God now also? how great care doth he take to leade us to repentance also? How many out­ward benefits have wee? This goodnesse of God towards them that perish, whereby he tooke such order and care for them, that they might have escaped perdition if they would have made use of his meanes is not sufficiently heeded nor observed. Might not the world then have escaped both drowning and hell too, if they would have hearkened to Noah and beleeved him, and followed his in­structions. Did any thing but their owne wilfullnesse and heedles­nesse shut them out of the Arke and out of Heaven, and thrust them downe into the Deluge and into Hell? Brethren, God magnifies his mercies to the vessells of wrath, he doth labour to bring them out of their ill estate, he hath not ceased for many yeares to in­tice them to repentance by his long-suffering. Certainely this should magnifie Gods goodnesse to us and make us to applaud him exceedingly, and acknowledge the brightnesse of his Justice in their future destruction. O how just was God in the drow­ning of these men? is hee not as just in the damning of the sin­ner now? Lord be thou praised for thy mercy and forthy justice, and let the one serve to cleare the other, and both to commend thee.

[Page 61]Againe, I pray you now the the second time to make a good use of Gods clemencie to you. He sent but one Noah to all the world, who yet is said to condemne the world. He sends amongst you to every towne almost one to tell you of the judgement to come, and to stirre you up to repentance. Now be intreated to hearken and obey, and to get you to the Arke. Brethren wee doe here in Gods name offer you assurance of pardon of sinne, and free­dome from hell and death, if you will accept it, O let not our prea­ching be in vaine. Come, come into the Arke, come into Christ by true faith, into whom you are come by Baptisme in respect of outward profession. The Arke was a figure of Christ, and Bap­tisme is as it were the Arke: O labour for the true Baptisme with the Spirit that you may shunne and escape the Deluge of Gods eternall wrath and vengeance. Let us not preach to you in vaine as Noah did to the old world. And present to your selves the hideous­nesse of that plague, O how did mens hearts ake within them? how did horrour take hold upon them, when they saw the wa­ters rage so furiously? O now did they find that in experience which they would not beleeve by Noahs preaching! What cry­ing, what roaring, what lamentation did fill the Cities and Villa­ges? they did not die of a sudden as in the overflowing of the Sea, but they died by degrees, they had time to get up upon hills and trees, and to foresee and fore-feare their choaking by waters afore it came, and to see the Beasts many perishing before them, many looking for the same ruine with them. Doth not this floud per­taine to you? Doth not it pertaine to you also? Doe you not here see, 1. The Omnipotent power of God, and his absolute and sove­raigne command over all creatures. The Sea and Springs are his and will breake out upon us. The Cloudes and Waters above are his and will fall downe upon us to revenge his quarrell. He is Lord of Hosts, O plant in your selves an holy feare of him, and say to your selves, shall he threaten and not performe, who hath the whole world at hand to be serviceable unto him. If we would represent the Lord before our eyes according to his fearefull greatnesse, so as to make us tremble and depart from sinne, happie were wee. Doth not Christ send us to the old World, and doth not Peter also minde us of this destruction by water. Surely the Lord is a terrible God still, he is now as terrible, as he shewed himselfe then in the overthrow by waters.

Againe, you must in this plague see the justice of God, his will to punish sinners by inflicting great evill upon them, that so you may yet make the feare of him the more stedfast and more effectuall, for as hee is of power to crush the highest and stoutest and those of grea­est power in the world, so he is resolved upon this course, and will surely declare his excellency by making them smoake with most heavie calamities, that dare advance themselves against his authori­ty. See here how severe God is, he will not spare the wicked, he [Page 62] will not hold them innocent, though he deferre many daies, yet will the heavinesse of the stroake answer the delay. The floud was long a comming, but being come it's furious and irresistible, and wipes out all the sonnes of men sparing none. The Lord can finde in his heart to execute hideous evills upon sinners. Let them if they please fan­cie a God wholy consisting of mercy, they shall find him such as his Word describeth, not as they themselves have counterfeited, hee will recompence vengeance on his Adversaries, hee will not pitie their cries nor groanes. Hee will not be melted with their complaints, but utterly destroy them according as his Word hath spoken.

Behold also the equity of Gods proceeding, hee answers their sinnes with the kinde and measure of punishment. Great sinnes and great waters. All flesh corrupted with sinne, and all flesh cut off for sinne, the earth filled with violence and now filled with waters. None tooke care to forbeare almost any sinne but Noah, and none escapes but Noah. No multitude of sinners can save them out of his hand, as all sinned so all perish. This great and heavie judgement should be often in our thoughts,2 Pet. 2.5. we should thinke thus, if God spared not the old World neither will bee spare us. It is S. Peters inference, and it is a great sinne in us, that we doe not often put our selves in minde of these things to frame our selves to humble obedience.

If any say, but God hath promised never againe to destroy the world by water.

Gen. 9.11.I answer, true, but he hath never promised not to drowne sinners, neither hath he promised not to punish them with punishments as fearefull as this of perishing by waters. God hath great variety of weapons to wound his enemies; if he hath renounced the use of one, he hath others enough to take up for that purpose. And Brethren, I pray you take notice of what S. Peter tells us of, That as the world that then was did perish being drowned in the waters,2 Pet. 3.6, 7.so the world that now is shall perish by fire, for he telleth us, that it is by the same word re­served for fire kept in store against the time to come. Jude verse 14. The Prophet Enoch foretold of that great day before Noah foretold of this deluge. That day is longer before it come, but it shall be more terrible when it comes,2 Pet. 3.10. for the heavens shall passe away with a noise, as the holy Apo­stle tells you. Now as the righteous Noah shewed a way how to escape that water, even repent and get into the Arke, so we shew away how to escape that fire, repent and turne unto the Lord, otherwise when he shall come in flames of fire, you shall receive the judgement of eternall destruction from before the presence of his glory.

Brethren, I beseech you so to ponder upon that great misery which fell upon the old World, that you may be the better for knowing all the passages of so strange a story. It was the first remarkeable judgement. No generall calamity that we reade of did come upon the world till then. The first and last acts of justice will be most severe, and the last likely severer then the first.

[Page 63]The Lord gave to the men of this old World a very long life, and very great outward benefits, and shewed to them exceeding great long-suffering, why so? but because he would first, as he delighteth to do, proove men with benefits. As if he should have said, I will proove Adams sonnes with the fruites of my favour. They shall have time enough to repent, some eight or nine hundred yeares, and they shall be allured by all prosperity, nothing but comforts shall come upon them for a long time, but if they will not profit by this gentlenesse, I will shorten their lives by halfe, having taken away all those fearefull sin­ners by a floud of waters. You see Gods displeasure against sinne, O at last profit by it and learne to be righteous, there is no way to escape Gods judgements, but by fol­lowing after righteousnesse, this course take, and you shall be safe. (*⁎*)

THE SIXTH EXAMPLE.
OF NOAH.

ONe godly man is worth a whole million of sinners, as appeareth in that the Lord made more reckoning of one Noah then of all the world of the ungodly. Having laid before you the bad Example of that most wicked generation which lived before the floud, I will now speake of one godly man which lived in the same times with them, and saw them all swept away with the besome of destruction. His name was Noah, the word signifieth rest, and we have a reason given us of imposing that name by his Father,Noah what it signifieth. Gen. 5.29. This same shall comfort us concerning our worke and the toyle of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed. It is some­what doubtfull how Noah was a comforter to the godly Patriarckes In respect of their troubles of all kinds, both those they tooke in stri­ving against the bad men of their times, and the common labours of life in regard of the curse that was gon out against mans sinne. The most probable opinion is as I thinke, that because he was a Prea­cher of righteousnesse, and did more largely and plainely denounce Gods wrath against sinners, and his blessing to the godly (for a Prea­cher of righteousnesse must needs doe both these things) therefore [Page 66] he gave much refreshing to the soules of the godly, and made all their labours easie. Even as now if Gods people have a painefull Mini­ster amongst them, that ceaseth not to acquaint them with Gods mercy and justice, and to revive the remembrance of Heaven and all the Promises in their hearts, they live much more comfortably, then any outward thing without this helpe could make them to live. So it was in those times also with those godly Patriarkes. Againe, as it would be a great comfort to good men now, if any man were sent by God to assure them of the last day of judgement, for they would even lift up their heads and rejoyce: so Noah in telling of the floud which to that world was a kinde of judgement-day did greatly solace the spirits of the good against all their sorrowes.

His Birth.Now this Noah was the sonne of Lamech the sonne of Methuse­lah in the 1056. yeare of the world. He was the tenth after Adam inclusively, borne after. Adams and Seths death, and Henochs tran­slation, and lived to see the death of Enos, Kainan, Mahalaleel, Ia­red, Methuselah and Lamech. This is all we have to say of his Birth or entrance into the world.

His life.Now concerning his life I pray you consider foure things, 1. His goodnesse. 2. His bad deeds. 3. The sorrowes and miseries he met with. 4. The benefits God gave him. And let us make use of all as we goe along and so come to his death last of all.

In which 1. His vertues. 1. In generall. Was a perfect man and wal­ked with God. Gen. 5 22. Heb. 11.4.First for his goodnesse, it is set forth in the Scripture generally and particularly. In generall these three things are affirmed of him, Gen. 6.9. He was a just man and upright, or perfect, and walked with God. Before it is affirmed of Henoch that hee walked with God, and the Scripture told us also of Abel, that hee obtained a divine testimo­ny that hee also was just, and Iob is said to have beene a perfect man, yea it is added by way of amplification to his goodnesse that hee was a just man and perfect in his generations, that is, in his owne time, in those most sinfull daies when all were naught. Noah was good when all had corrupted their waies, he was sincere and up­right in his waies. For this is the truest commendation of vertue, when it keepes a man unspotted of those evils which are every where practised in the world.

Let us now request you to consider of your selves every man whe­ther he be a Noah. Surely none but Noahs shall be admitted into the Arke, and escape the waves of destruction: none but Noahs shall finde favour with God, and be delivered from eternall death. Who­soever cannot approve himselfe to be such a one as this good man, let him never dreame of comming to Heaven.

But who is a just man? who a perfect? who walketh with God?

Who is a just or righteous man.I answer, A just man is first he that renounceth his owne justice which is of the Law and imbraceth the righteousnesse of faith, even the righteousnesse which is of God by faith, relying wholy upon the merits of Christ and Gods mercy in Christ, for pardon [Page 67] of his offences and acceptation of himselfe and his indeavours to sal­vation. The Scripture witnesseth that Noah was an heire of this righteousnesse, Heb. 11.7. And this is that that must be first found in every man. He must see and confesse his owne unrighteousnesse, and utterly disclaime his owne righteousnesse as knowing that it is no bet­ter then a menstruous rag, in respect of his justification. Doe you this my Brethren? Are you made to see your selves grievous sin­ners, such as in your selves must needs be damned, and cannot possibly bee saved by the worth and merit of your owne good­nesse.

Secondly, a righteous man must stay, rest, depend on, beleeve in the righteousnesse of Jesus Christ, labouring to build up in his own heart a particular perswasion and assurance, that the Lord of Hea­ven will accept him as perfectly righteous in the name and media­tion of Jesus Christ his Sonne, and that alone,Rom 4. for so was Abra­ham made partaker of that blessednesse, which stood in the imputing unto him of righteousnesse without workes, and Abraham is the Father of the faithfull, as he was justified so must all we be justi­fied, and no otherwise. See into your selves, doe you rely upon our blessed Saviour the Lord Jesus for pardon of your sinnes? or doe you waver from him or stay upon any other besides him?

Lastly, a righteous man must himselfe also worke righteousnesse, and give himselfe to be a servant of righteousnesse, that is to say, he must resolve and indeavour to leave every sinne by Gods Word con­demned, and to doe every duty by Gods Word commanded, and that also for Gods sake with reference to him, and out of a desire to please him, that is, to keepe his favour. This is a righteous man. He strives in all things to please God according to his Word, but fin­ding his defects bewailes them, and resteth alone on Gods good­nesse in Christ for pardon and salvation. If you be such, then are you Noahs indeed and shall surely bee saved, if not you bee but dissemblers, and no shew of religion shall save you from destruction.

Therefore all of you that are not such, I pray you feele your un­happinesse, you are not good enough to goe to Heaven yet, what­soever you have imagined of your selves. Therefore also now seeke to be such, begin with lamenting your unrighteousnesse before God and craving pardon and helpe, and so proceed to pray for and indea­vour after all the things before prescribed. Be the better for Noahs example. Let not this story be preached unto you in vaine: you know Noah was one whom God loved, whom God hath saved, study to be such as Noah. What riches he had, the Scripture takes no notice of, but righteous he was, studie you to be such and be hap­pier then all riches can make you.

And especially I pray you labour to follow Noah in this onething, to be good in your generations, in those things I meane wherein your present times take generall liberty to be nought, that so you as [Page 68] Noah may at once glorifie God and condemne the world. What evill things all doe commit those doe you forbeare, what good things all doe neglect, those be you more carefull to performe. Many things are growne into common fashion, swearing, pride in apparell, formality in religion, covetousnesse, monstrous fashions, mishapen long haire, O be yee in these things carefull to avoid the corruption which is in the world. Many good things are growne quite out of all fashion almost, constant reading Gods Word, holy confe­rence, keeping a treasure or purse for God in your houses, meditati­on of Gods Word, and carefull sanctifying of the Lords day. O strive to performe these duties. He that is good alone according to the common streyne is hollowly good, wee must be pure of those faults which are allowed almost of all.

2. His vertues in particular. 1. Was a Prea­cher of righte­ousnesse. 2 Pet. 2.5.But let us consider the particular good things noted of Noah. First, S. Peter testifies of him, that hee was a Preacher of righteousnesse, meaning of that righteousnesse whereof hee was also an heire and practiser. All you cannot be Preachers of righteousnesse by speciall office as Noah was, this belongs alone to us Ministers, and O that we could learne to be like Noah in our places, continuing faithfully to teach men the will of God and call them to repentance, and to true righteousnesse in Christ and good life in themselves. Surely Noah had slender encouragement,Isa. 49 4. for we doe not reade of any one man that heeded his Preaching, he if any other might complaine that his labour was in vaine, and that his time and strength were spent to no purpose. We that are Preachers must imitate him in a pa­tient discharge of our duties, what if God doe not vouchsafe to work with our labours? to bring men to righteousnesse, shall we be dis­heartned? No no, but following this good man, continuing to doe Gods worke and looke for our reward from him.

And againe, I call upon you for great thankfullnesse to God, for that he hath set many Preachers of righteousnesse amongst you in this Kingdome, and hath vouchsafed to hold mee in this office amongst you for these thirty yeares or thereabouts, I have Preached righteousnesse among you according to that measure of knowledge and utterance that God hath vouchsafed mee. O let mee have some better encouragement from you then Noah had from the old world, and indeed I have had, and I blesse God, and I blesse those among you from whom I have had it. Some of you have beene carefull hearers to the preaching of righteousnesse, and have turned your feete into the paths of righteousnesse. The Lord stablish you in those happy waies for ever. And one thing now I beseech of you, that you be suitors unto God to raise up to all the places that have not Preachers, and to continue to them that have such as Noah was, Preachers of righteousnesse, which themselves also will practise; especially, I require you not to forget your selves in this towne, but make it one part of your daily supplications to God, to grant you a succession of Preachers of righteousnesse when my selfe must [Page 69] leave you, God knowes when, O Lord let there never want so long as this Towne and Church standeth, a faithfull Preacher of righteousnesse to supply this roome in which I now stand amongst you this day.

But secondly, Noah is commended for his faith.2. Had faith Heb. 11.7. By faith Noah (saith the Author to the Hebrewes) did, &c. you must all labour to get this same faith. This is the grace of graces commended in Abel, in Henoch before named, and now in Noah, without which we can­not possibly please God.

But what is this faith you will aske mee?

I answer, I will shew the nature of faith unto you:What faith is. It is that grace by which a man assents to all that God speaketh for the authority sake of the speaker. This is the nature of faith in generall. Under it is comprehended that which is called justifying faith, being an assent to the Promises of the Gospell, or of the new Covenant upon the same ground. This assent is double, first generall to the word generally spoken, and particular to a particular conclusion duely de­ducted thence concerning ones selfe. And whosoever doth truly assent to the generall, must needs assent to every particular concluded under the generall, because the contradiction of an universall propo­sition is made by a particular contrary to it, and the generall is ac­counted false if it may be denied or be denied of any particular, for Example, if I say all the twelve Apostles were godly men, and another say one of them as Iudas, was not a godly man, though a eleven were good, yet because this one was not so, he hath shewed that proposition to be false. Now then, marke that faith yeelds a double assent: First, to the thing generally spoken: Secondly, to the particular conclusion contained therein and thence deduced, and this assent must be grounded upon the bare authority of God the speaker in respect of his perfect and infallible truth, because it judgeth him faithfull, therefore it esteemes his words true, not be­cause it can see reason for things in his owne discourse and understan­ding. This is faith, for example, God said to Noah there shall be a floud to drowne all the world, there was no reason to thinke it should be so,Heb. 11.7. but God said so (warning Noah of things not seene as yet, as the Apostle speakes) and therefore Noah was verily perswa­ded, that there should come such a floud to destroy all mankinde. Againe, God promised Noah that if hee would build an Arke, God would save him and all his family, and all that would come with him into the Arke, There was no naturall likelihood for this neither, for in such a floud an Arke or the best ship in the world could not keepe men safe, but that with the furie of the waters they would have beene dashed against some rocke or other, and wracked, yet God said so to Noah and he beleeved it for himselfe and his family. This you see was Noah his faith. And I call upon you to consider, whether you have this faith or not. Doe you assent to all the narrati­ions, promises, threats of Gods Word, even because God the [Page 70] Author of it is true and doe you assent to the particular conclusion concerning your selves in that generall contained. The Lord threateneth in his Word,Gal. 3.10. Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things, doe you beleeve this generall, and the particular that will follow from it, but I have not continued, &c. therefore I am cursed. Againe, the Gospell saith, all that doe not repent and beleeve shall be damned. Doe you beleeve this? and doe you beleeve the par­ticular contained under this? I doe not repent and beleeve the Go­spell, therefore I shall be damned, or contrarily I doe repent and be­leeve, therefore I shall be saved. Search what authority Gods Word hath with you, if you deduct the particular from the generall in every point, then you doe beleeve the generall, els you do not.

And alas how manifest is it that most men have no faith but alone say they have as S. Iames speaketh, and beguile their owne selves. The threats of Gods Word and his promises are of no va­lue with most men, they doe not perswade themselves, that any of those evills shall be performed against them which the Scripture de­nounceth against such sinners as they be, nor that any of the pro­mises shall be performed to those that performe the things contained in the promises. If they see naturall likelihood of any good or evill they can be perswaded it will come, but if there be no proofe but a bare promise or threat out of the Bible, they make no reckoning that that good or evill will come ever a whit the sooner.

Now I pray you see and lament your unbeleefe, it is the roote of all sinne, neither can any sinne be found to rule farther then this ru­leth, and I pray you cry to God to worke faith in you by the Word you reade and heare, for no good at all can it doe you if it be not mixed with faith. And if any man have such faith in Gods Word indeed and not alone in profession and shew, happy is that man, for hee shall be sure to find the like acceptance of God that Noah, hee that hath this faith must needs be in Christ and Christ in him; for where Gods Word dwells, there himselfe dwels, and the Word of God dwells in men by faith.

3. He was mo­ved with feare. Heb. 11.7.A third thing in Noah is noted by the Author to the Hebrewes, that he was moved with feare, you see he feared Gods threats, he was afraid least he should be drowned with his family among the rest, if he did not obey God and live vertuously and build the Arke at Gods Commandement, and indeed if he had not done so he should have perished with the world: as whosoever lives wickedly shall be damned, this is a threat, he that hath true faith will not deceive him­selfe with vaine words, and say, I am elected, I am a beleever, I shall be saved though I take liberty to sinne, but he will feare and depart from evill, and use those meanes of escaping destruction which God hath appointed. So true faith will undoubtedly worke such a feare of Gods threat, as will make a man depart from evill, because it brings a lively apprehension of danger and much evill before his eyes if he sinne, and therefore cannot but worke feare, I [Page 71] meane a feare of caution as they call it, whereby a man is made warie to shunne and escape the evill. There is a passionate feare whereby the heart is perplexed, the joynts shake, and such naturall bodily accidents doe follow it. This feare ariseth from the bodily presence or imminent danger of some sensible evill, and Noah did not so feare the floud.A double feare There is another rationall feare as I may well name it, by which a man apprehends an evill thing to come, so as he is made carefull to shunne, prevent, and dares not bring it upon himselfe. And this feare lookes on things a great way off, long be­fore they offer themselves to the sences, and such was Noahs feare. And such a feare faith will evermore bring with it. It will cause that a man shall not dare to doe the things forbidden out of an appre­hension of the greatnesse and extremity of the danger that will arise.

Now looke to your selves my Brethren, doe you feare Gods threats, doe you feare the curse of the Law, the wrath of God, hell fire, damnation, with such a feare as makes you use the meanes to escape these evills, and makes that you cannot be bold to doe the things against which the Lord speaketh these things. If you brag of faith in Gods promises and have not faith in his threats, your faith is a vaine fancie, and a meere painted or dead faith, for no man can credit any thing which God speaketh if he doe not credit all so farre as he knowes and considers it, because God cannot be deceived in any thing. And if you say you beleeve Gods threats and doe not feare, I say againe, be not moved through feare to doe the things by which you might escape those evills threatned, even to forsake the sinne and repent, certainely you deceive your selves and doe not beleeve. Now it is most evident, that most men entertaine Gods threats without any feare. They are not affected at all with the heare-say of these evills, therefore it is sure they have no faith. See your want of faith by the absence of this never failing effect thereof, and cousen your selves with a shadow of faith no longer. And now pray God to plant in your hearts such a feare of his threats as hath beene said. It is a most wholesome thing to have the soule over­awed with apprehension of the evills which God denounceth against evill-doing, and to be thereby kept downe, so that it hath no courage to lift it selfe up to naughty deeds. Blessed is he that thus feareth alwaies, O that you would worke out your salvation in this feare and trembling, O that the same minde might be in you that was in godly Iob! who said that terrour from God did keepe him from doing any wrong to his servant, and that of the holy Apostle S. Paul, 2 Cor. 5.11. who said that knowing this terrour, he did perswade men and was made manifest to God. Let those threats, if you live after the flesh you shall die, Rom. 8.13. and those that doe such things shall not inherit the kingdome of God, 1 Cor. 6.9. Col. 3.6. and for these things sake the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience, and many the like be often in your mindes, let them awe you and hold under the strength of your corruptions, causing you to denie [Page 72] your selves all unlawfull profits, pleasures and effects of sinne, and to crosse your owne wills, and to set your selves to do the things that are most contrary to flesh and bloud.Prov. 8.13. The feare of the Lord is to depart from evill, this feare of the Lord is the beginning of true saving wis­dome, to them that thus feare are all the promises of the Gospell made,Psal. 34.9. yea it is in one word said, those that feare the Lord shall want nothing. Never thinke that your faith is right and good if it do not produce this feare, for faith must acknowledge God to be faithfull in all his words, threats as well as promises, and this grace is that which being planted in the heart of man, doth keepe him from fal­ling away from faith, doth preserve the soule to salvation, by wor­king in it this good and vertuous feare of damnation: as faith kept Noah from drowning by making him holily to feare drowning.

4. He built an Arke as God bad him.Now the last vertue of Noah is, that he built an Arke as God bad him, and furnished it with all foode, and went into it at the time ap­pointed, and received in with himselfe and family all manner of Beasts and Birds that could not live but on drie ground: two and two, male and female of the uncleane that were not fit for foode and Sa­crifice, and 7. and 7. of those that were cleane, that is fit for foode and Sacrifice, at least for the last.

Here is his faith which brought forth obedience to the word of God, in such things which seemed ridiculous to the world, and made him a laughing stocke unto all the world almost: Noah for­sooth the youngest of the Patriarkes, hee will needes be thought to have better acquaintance with God, then either Henoch or Methu­selah or Lamech or any of his Grandfathers that have lived or do live. None of them could see a floud comming, none of them had a fancy of the worlds being drowned, none of them bethought himselfe of making an Arke, but this fellow hath gotten some new revelation, and hee is a building a huge thing like a Chest almost so long, &c. So you think the man is not in his right wittes! Bretheren you easily perswade your selves, that this good man was laden with these scoffes, and the like behind his backe, and like also before his face, and to his very teeth. For wicked wittes will never cease gybing at those good things that crosse their sence and reason, Yet Noah obeyed, went on, built the Arke, that is, was obedient to God in a thing that made him ridiculous to the world. So will true Faith do, it will make a man obey the Lord in those actions by which hee shall make himselfe a derision to all men almost, and more then a derision, a prey and spoile too. The Obedience of Faith is such an Obedience as will make all men to be at Gods becke in acts of that nature as will cause him to be blamed and despised of all the world, as we see in Abraham, in Moses, and in all those almost that are reckoned up in the 11. of the Heb. Because it makes a man firmely and stedfastly to apprehend greater good things and greater evill then those that are seene, and so those visible ones do not sway him and rule on him; for hee that sees a greater danger or evill, will easily cast himselfe upon [Page 73] a farre lesse to shun the greater, so contrarily a good thing. And so much for Noahs goodnesse before the floud.

Now see in and after the floud how he carried himselfe.Noahs good­nesse in the floud. Hee en­tred into the Arke as God bad him, and committed himselfe to Gods protection trusting on him for safety. Here was no mast, oare, rudder, canvasse or marriners to steere and guide this vessell, a won­der it was that the billowes did not cast it over and over, that they did not breake the barres by their continued rage, and that it had not perished with all its burden. But in went Noah taking all the Beasts with him, assuring himselfe to be safe, for so God had told. Here is an excellent act of faith, even to use Gods meanes of attaining the good things promised, and there rest himselfe without any further carking and perplexity of mind. This was the act of Noahs faith all the floud time, hee heard it raine as if Heaven and Earth would come together, he perceived the cloudes to be in a fury with the sonnes of men, the waters raged and roared, and through the windowes hee might see how all was changed into a Sea, yet there he kept himselfe quiet, and made account, that himselfe and his houshold should do well enough in all this confusion of nature. Hee had Beares, Lions, Tigers, Wolves and all manner of devouring beasts within the Arke, hee was never a whit afraid of such neighbours, but rested himselfe peaceably upon Gods promises. O Beloved that we could do so for our soules, for our estates, for every thing, use Gods meanes, and then promise our selves the wished effect, and trouble our selves with no further feare and dismayednesse as S. Peter saith,1 Pet. 3.6. doing well and not being dismayed with any feare. O how happy would our lives be in the midst of a deluge of dangers, if we could thus enter into our closets as it were, and shut the doore: I meane use Gods meanes and rest on him.

Againe, Noah continued in the Arke till God bad him come out, hee perceived the waters to cease raging, hee discovered the tops of the mountaines: hee sends out the discoverers, the Raven and the Dove, and learnes by them great abatement, and he sees with his eyes all day when he had removed the top of the Arke, yet hee stirres not out till God bad him goe out, who had bidden him goe in. So must you do my Bretheren, you must tarry in the Arke as it were so long as God sees fit and not make hast out of it of your owne heads. Be so long in affliction as God will have you, goe not out till hee leade you out, you may wish the time of deliverance, and send out the Raven and the Dove, use the best meanes you can to helpe your selves, especially by prayers to God, and you may remove the co­vering of the Arke, you may looke round about by faith, and with joy see your deliverance comming forward, but keepe this as a cer­taine conclusion, not to stirre out of any estate though never so trou­blesome, till you have good warrant from God going before and guiding you.

Now at last see what good Noah did after the floud,Noahs good­nesse after the floud. hee built an [Page 74] Altar to God and offered sacrifice in thankes for his deliverance, and in a desire to frame his houshold to true piety, and to establish the worship of God amongst them. O let each of us learne carefully to acknowledge Gods goodnesse in great deliverances, and to offer him the sacrifice of praise, if hee have safe guarded us from the ra­ging flouds of adversity and calamity. And let us be carefull to establish and set up the worship of God in our families, and amongst our people publikely and privately every way. Build Gods altar, offer Gods sacrifices, I meane exercise Gods religious worship, pray, heare, read, meditate, come to the Sacraments: set not Gods ordinances at variance. Doe not picke quarrells with anyone of them, exalt not one to depresse another, let them all goe together in their times, and especially performe the true meaning of these sa­crifices. Offer up the sacrifice of Christ in a perpetuall renewing of the memoriall thereof in your soules to God and renewing of your faith in it, offer up the sacrifice of a contrite spirit and broken heart, sighing daily for daily sinnes and infirmities, offer the sacrifice of earnest prayers for all good things, and of hearty praises for what wee have received already, and offer up your selves to God by him to be sanctified to doe him faithfull service in all holy obedience to all his holy lawes. Be truely, heartily, uprightly religious and de­voute in your whole lives.

But next, Noah planted a vineyard, hee fell to husbandry, for my part J doubt not but that God had made vines from the first, and that though wee heare of no vineyard, yet there might have beene store of them. But howsoever Noah set himselfe to his calling, to husbandry. O let us every man follow him and give himselfe to his husbandry and his vineyard, the tradesmans trade is his vineyard, every mans calling is his vineyard, be like Noah fall to planting and dressing this vine. Abhorre idlenesse, have some vineyard, O how miserable is hee that hath nothing to do? O how unhappy a thing is it to be in the world as a cipher in Arithmeticke.

But lastly, Noah is a faithfull Prophet, and pronounceth Gods curse even against his owne sonnes, herein he becomes to us a pat­terne of fidelity in the calling of a Minister, even to denounce all things that God puts into our mouthes against all persons, how neere and deare soever they be, and so of all Governours, to punish their inferiours without partiality, whatsoever their offences be.

Noahs sinnes.And thus you have Noahs goodnesse, of his badnesse we have some­thing related too.

1. Hee was drunke.First, that hee dranke of the wine which he had planted so over-liberally, as that hee was drunken, in his drunkennesse discovered his nakednesse, being besides himselfe with excesse of wine, he had not care to keepe those parts covered which nature would have to be con­cealed. So his Sonne Cham finding him lying in this immodest fa­shion, was scandolized and drawne into a great offence.

Here we learne to take heed of drunkennesse, and of all immodest [Page 75] carriage, which being bad in case of drunkennesse, must needs be worse when a man is sober and hath ability to consider better what he doth, and to refraine from such unseemely deeds. Brethren, if any of you have beene drunken, if any have in his drinke or otherwise perpetrated immodest and leud acts, I beseech you learne of Noah to repent of it, and be assured that upon your repentance you shall finde pardon. And I pray make not your soules bolder to persist in drunkennesse, by abusing Noahs example, for he offended but once this way, and through weakenesse it may seeme, in that be­ing desirous to refresh himselfe after so long pensivenesse in the floud, he was freer then was fit. Let not his once offending out of weak­nesse make you bold to doe the same sinne 100 and 100 times, yea be you more carefull to avoid that trespasse which sped so ill with Noah. Drunkennesse will make every man discover his nakednesse, if not of body yet of minde. There is no crime so notorious, but the drunken man will cast himselfe into it, if occasion offer it selfe, as we may see also in Lot. Wherefore know yee that a good man may be overtaken through infirmity with some such grosse sinne, but he will not wallow in this mire, he will not allow himselfe in the pra­ctise of it, and give over himselfe to be drunk day by day, weeke by weeke. And as for these grosse externall acts of evill, you are to be so much more carefull to avoid them, by how much God hath given you more power to forbeare them, for a man hath power if he will to forbeare drinking, and therefore if he doe not leave this fault, it is be­cause hee will not, and the custome of sinning doth make the will so inthralled to evill that a man will needs doe it, not needs must doe it, whither he will or no, which is so farre from excusing the fault, that it aggravates it exceedingly.

Yea beloved take heed of all immodest and undecent carriages, by discovering the shamefull parts: for if this were a sinne in a drunken man, that had not understanding to know he did amisse, how much more in a man that is sober which knowes he doth evill and will doe it.

Now you have Noahs faults and his vertues. Looke upon his cros­ses and his benefits.

His crosses were besides the common miseries of mans life which he suffered together with others, First,Noahs crosses 1 No man re­garded his preaching. he spent his time in vaine Prea­ching and no man regarding it.

Secondly, he lived to see all mankinde destroyed and to behold a fearefull deluge,2 Hee lived to see all man­kind destroyed and for a whole yeere and more (for the floud began on the second moneth and seventh day of his 600 yeere, and he came not out of the Arke till the twenty seven day of the second moneth of his 601, yeare) he was as it were imprisoned in the Arke, shut up amongst the beasts and other creatures.

Thirdly,3 Hee had a wicked son. he had a gracelesse wicked sonne and was put himselfe to pronounce a curse against him with his owne mouth in the name of God, for he did it not out of anger or distemper, but as a Prophet [Page 76] in the Name of God and by his instigation and authority.

4. Lived to see his ofspring naught.Lastly hee lived to see his ofspring after the floud grow very naught and suffer fearefull punishments. Hee saw the building of the tower of Babel, the dispersion of men from Babel, the halving and quartering of mens ages, the universall overspreading of idolatry, in so much that Abrahams father Nahor and Terah did not escape it.Josh. 24 2. These crosses did Noah suffer.

Buckle your selves to crosses, and be thankfull if you have not felt so grievous evills and universall as those of Noah. Wee should make our owne miseries more tollerable by comparing them with the grea­ter miseries of better men then ourselves, that have gone before us in the like and worse. Have you lead children? so had Noah. Doe you labour in vaine in your places? so did Noah. Doth the world run all to wickednesse? so did it in Noahs dayes.

Againe let us feare to fall into those sinnes of his which did bring upon him great miserie. Be not drunke least you become a scandall to many through your evill carriage, and least God set you to some worke as contrary to your good like as it was to Noah, when hee was faine to pronounce a curse against his owne child. Now goe and thinke of the crosses of Noah to fright thy selfe from sin.

His benefits. 1 He found fa­vour with God.And last of all consider his benefits, 1. Hee found favour with God, that is, God made knowne his love and kindenesse to him, made him know that he loved, liked and accepted him to life, so it is testi­fied of divers others. Now labour to be good, incourage your selves in piety, with God you shall find favour, hee will make manifest his love and kindenesse to you though men seeme to disfavour you, and the love of God is a thing so pretious and comfortable, that it may well overweigh all the anger wrath and displeasure of men. Jf God favour you no matter who hateth you, and this all Gods people may be said to find, by walking in the wayes of righteousnesse with Noah, for God is not an accepter of persons.

2. Hee was di­rected by God to a way of sa­ving himselfe from the floud with his familyAgaine Noah was directed by God to a course of saving himselfe from the floud with his family and many other creatures, and accor­dingly did escape the common destruction. This is a speciall favour of God to deliver his people from common calamities, especially that eternall destruction of hell fire that must overwhelme the world. This benefit God will give to all his Saints, and safety also from com­mon calamities when the time serves, and so farre as is fit, if they strive against the common sinnes by mourning and oppose the same. God will be an arke unto them in the midst of a deluge, and they may triumph as David, Psal. 46.2, 3. I will not feare though the waters rage, and though the mountaines he cast into the midst of the sea, as then they were. Let all Gods people set themselves resolutely against common sinnes, and God will preserve them from common judgements.

3 The Lord ac­cepted his sa­crifice.Thirdly, The Lord accepted his sacrifice, and resolved hee would not drowne the world anymore, and made a covenant with Noah and all creatures, confirming it by the raine-bow, as a signe [Page 77] thereof. So God did shew his goodnesse to Noah, and gave him do­minion over all creatures, and power to eate flesh, which before God had given them no warrant to doe, and therefore I suppose the godly did not usually unlesse in sacrifice if then. And herein the Lord was gratious to Noah, that for his sake he made a covenant. And he was a figure of Christ in whom the Lord did make a covenant with all man­kind, then the second time, not to destroy them with eternall destru­ction, if they would trust in his mercy, and repent of their sinnes. For this temporall covenant was a shadow of that eternall, into which all mankind was againe admitted through Christ that was to come. But they did soone cast of this covenant in running to other gods, which may seeme to be the onely sinne that then did cast the committers quite out of the covenant, other sinnes did keepe them from injoying the good things of the covenant; but this did cast them out of it altogether, so that having runne into that they were no longer in the covenant. Now see Gods grace more fully to us, that hath renewed this covenant which is in Christ more evidently, and take we heede of casting our selves out of it againe, by following strange Mediators and Jesusses, as I thinke the Papists doe. Whosoever doth seeke to any other merits but only those of Christ, thrusts himselfe out of the covenant of grace, and Christ is become of none effect unto him.

Lastly, Noah had two Godly sonnes,4. He had two godly sonnes. and this is a singular favour to give a man a Sem and Iaphet, if he have a Cam, and that all his sonnes be not discoverers of their Fathers shame.

Lastly after 950. yeares Noah died,Noahs death. and so must we all after not so long a life, O therefore prepare wee for the comming of death, that it may not take us away in the midst of our impenitency. (*⁎*)

THE SEVENTH EXAMPLE.
OF HAM, NIMROD, Babilonians.

I Have offered to your consideration the Ex­amples of the Old World, I proceede to speake of the World that now is, as S. Peter calles it, 1. from the floud to Abraham, and then from Abraham to the death of Ioseph, for there the Booke of Moses called Genesis is concluded. Now here first I will set before you the bad examples of bad men, then the good examples of good. Of the bad we have Cam, Nimrod, particulars, and the builders of Babel in an heape as it were, and of the good wee have Sem and Iaphet, and the godly posterity of Sem, whose geneologie is noted to shew the age of the world till Abram.

First J will begin with Ham and note his parentage and life,Ham. for of his death in particular Moses hath made no mention. For his pa­rentage, he was the son of Noah borne to him before the floud after his 500. yeare. for to that age lived he before he became a Father,His birth. and after that in the whole time of his life hee had no more children, God [Page 80] of purpose it may seeme giving him but few children, because his minde was to begin the present world with a few, as he did the first with one man, that so his blessing in the large increase of man­kinde afterwards might be more evidently discovered. But the youn­gest sonne was this Ham.

His life.Now for his life I marke three things in it. First, the great benefits God bestowed upon him. Secondly, the great sinnes he committed. Thirdly, the great punishments which God inflicted upon him for his sinnes.

In which 1. His benefits, he was saved in the Arke from the De­luge.First, God vouchsafed to save him in the Arke from the Deluge of waters, so that he perished not with the world, but escaped with his Father and Brethren. It was a speciall and singular favour, to make him one of the few, that is, eight persons that were delivered from the raging waves, and enjoyed the benefit of a miraculous preserva­tion of that little handfull of men, whereof the Church visible did then consist. Wee see that one was an Hypocrite, a dissembler, a wicked unsanctified man, who though he continued a professour of the true religion, and worshipper of the true God with his Father and Brethren, yet was destitute of true piety and continued gracelesse, a servant of sinne, voide of due reverence and charity towards his aged Father, Gods Minister and the most holy man of all those times, and served God with them alone in outward forme and fashion. For had he beene truly good he would not have run into so foule a sin, at least he would not have persisted in it without repentance as he did.

See then that the Lord shewes a great deale of patience, long-suffe­ring and goodnesse to hypocrites in the Church, and maketh them partakers of all outward benefits and priviledges which are bestowed upon the Church: so did Ishmael live in Abrahams family a long time, and Esau longer in Isaacs. So Core, Dathan, Abiram, and the rest of those rebels and murmurers were brought out of Egypt, passed thorough the sea, saw the miracles, and did eate Manna, and drunk wa­ter out of the rock, and were shadowed with the cloud, and conducted by the pillar of fire among the rest of the sons of Iacob. And I pray you to take heed by this warning, of priding and pleasing your selves in this, that you be members of the Church, escape divers punishments, en­joy many mercies, live in good esteeme among the godly, and carrie away as great credit as any other men in the Church. All this befell Cham a wicked Hypocrite, and at last a damned Reprobate. It is a dan­gerous thing to flatter our selves in a bad estate and to couzen our selves with false arguments, making our selves to trust upon a false conclusion, and to judge our selves Gods children and in the state of salvation, upon such reasons as have no verity nor stability in them. You live in the true Church, so did Cham, you live amongst godly men, have beene borne of godly parents, have beene instructed in the doctrine of godlinesse, so was Cham: you have escaped great punish­ments, enjoyed great benefits, and beene well reputed of by godly men: all this befell Cham, and all this notwithstanding Cham was [Page 81] cursed and damned and so may you. In after times, the Jewes brag­ged of the Temple of the Lord, and the Temple of the Lord are we, and yet the Lord rejected them and cast them out of his sight. In Christs daies the Jewes bragged that Abraham was their Father, for Iohn Baptists warning would not serve the turne to make them for­beare such idle boasting of their Pedigree, but our Saviour telleth them that the Divell was their Father; yea Iudas himselfe was one of Christs Familie and Disciples and Apostles, and trusted with the bag, and yet a Divell. O therefore beguile not your selves with ill grounded hopes and build not upon a rotten foundation.

If you say unto mee, why then you leave us in uncertainty and affoord us no sure pillar upon which to ground our hopes.

I answer, not so, but I will turne you to some Texts of Scrip­ture that shall give you sure arguments of comfort, from which if you can conclude your selves Gods people, that you are so indeed and not alone in shew, your comforts will hold water as it were in the day of death and judgement. Ierem 7 5. the Prophet bids them thoroughly amend their waies and their doings and not trust in lying words. Loe thorough and universall reformation of heart and life, that, that is the onely sufficient proofe of being Gods children, and such as shall inherit his Kingdome: all that can be alledged without this is no better then lying words which will deceive, So Iohn did after teach the Jewes, Mat. 3.9. Say not wee have Abraham for our Father, that Allegation will prove fruitlesse if it goe alone, but what must they doe more? Bring forth fruits meete for repentance, that is, frame your selves to a thorough reformation of your hearts and lives, and so S. Iohn teacheth, Hee that doth good is of God, 3. Epist of Iohn 11. hee that doth evill hath not seene God, whosoever he be that makes so good use of those helpes which God hath for that end provided in his Church, as to attaine true repentance, true amendment of life, that is, a con­stant and upright care and endeavour to cast away all transgressions and make him a new heart and a new spirit, resolving in nothing to sinne, but in all things to walke according to the direction of Gods Word, and where he faileth still continuing to lament and confesse it before God, judging himselfe, and craving pardon and helpe in the name of Christ, that man shall be saved, that man is a solid Christian, that man is not a Cham, let him rejoyce in God as a true member of the Church: but whatsoever else may be either had or done without this bringing forth fruits worthy of repentance, is no more then may be alledged by some Cham or other. Therefore againe, I beseech you satisfie not your selves with other things, but apply your selves to this amendment of heart and life with all speed and with all diligence. Let Cham be your warning, trust not in lying words.

And further, now that you see in the Arke among the eight persons one Hypocrite, who did afterwards evidently discover his hypocrisie, learne to know that there will be such in the Church to the worlds end, as were also in the family of Abraham, Isaac, [Page 82] Iacob, David, Hezekiah and other good men, even tares among the wheate, and goates among the sheepe, and unfruitfull branches in the vine, that you may learne as to feare your selves, so especially to satisfie your owne hearts, and not to be offended by the like accidents in your owne times. If a man that hath long lived in an orderly course of life and gotten himselfe the name of a good man, and en­joyed many benefits in the Church, shall afterwards fall quite away from goodnesse, and manifest himselfe to have beene no better then a Cham, let not this trouble you nor dismay you, neither take you occasion from their wickednesse to condemne either goodnesse it selfe or good men, as to say that they be all dissemblers, there is ne­ver a better in the pack, but improve their fall to the making of your selves more watchfull over your selves and prayer-full for your selves: and still love and honour Gods Church, though some that professe themselves to be lively members of it, doe manifest their guile by their utter falling away at the last.

We have done with the goodnesse of God to Cham in suffering him to live in the Arke. Now follow his sins.

[...]. His sinnes. 1. He was a Hypocrite.The first sinne which we gather from that which succeeded is this, that he was an Hypocrite, one that contented himselfe with a bare outward shew of goodnesse, and did not labour for the power of it to humble him, to discover his secret faults to him, and to heale his soule by bringing the Image of God, even the divine nature to him which was also the sinne of Caine before, and after too of Esau and of Iudas, and Achitophel, and many others. Take you heed of this Brethren, take you heed of this. Beware that you be not Hypocrites, satisfied with some externall shew of religiousnesse joyned with ci­vill conversation of life, freedome from grosse sinnes, and orderly living to the world-ward, but seeke after the soule-spirit of godlinesse, which consists in finding out and reforming the corruption of your natures, and the secret disorders of your inward man. He that so prayeth and heareth, that these ordinances make him see and be hum­bled in the sight of the filthie quagmire of sinne that is within him, by which he is carried from God to himselfe, and to sinne, and the world for his owne sake, and labours to have his inside more and more cleansed and reformed, and drawne up to God and the things of God, this man is a true Christian. But he that satisfies himselfe in an out­ward forme of holy duties and of civill honest conversation, not di­ving to the depth of his heart, this man may proove, and if he mend not will proove a guilefull Cham at last.

2. He saw the nakednesse of his Father. Gen. 9 22.But now his next sinne is, and Ham the Father of Canaan saw the na­kednesse of his Father. If he had suddenly and occasionally come into the place where Noah lay uncovered, and his eyes before he was a­ware, had lighted on that object, and he had presently turned away his countenance from it with griefe for his old Parents fault, and out of tender compassion, that seeing had beene no sinne. But the meaning is, he gave himselfe to stand and gaze upon his Fathers [Page 83] unbeseeming carriage and unseemely parts, so as to delight in it, and thereby to stirre up and nourish in himselfe a contempt and slight esteeme of his Father. Hee did not see it with pitie and remorse, and make the best of it as of a matter of infirmity, into which the good old man fell unawares: but he beheld it with gladnesse, laugh­ter, derision, jesting, sporting at his Fathers nakednesse and mis­demeanour. This is a great fault to behold the sinnes and offences chiefely of Parents and other superiours, and most of all of godly and holy men. Fathers of the Church and of Religion as well as of our persons, I say, to behold their faults with an over-open and a greedy eye, with scorne and scoffes and contempt of them and of piety, and of goodnesse in and thorough them. For this certainely comes from nothing else, but a secret dislike and aversnesse from goodnesse it selfe, against which we are glad to pick a quarrell, and are willing to have somewhat to object against it, that wee may hinder our selves from imbracing it, and from a gladnesse also to have somewhat to alleadge in excuse of our owne naughtinesse, and for the imbol­dening of our selves to persist in it still without feare. It is nothing but hypocrisie, I meane a being contented with a false counterfeit goodnesse, yea willingnesse to favour and allow our selves in our owne sinnes, that maketh us with joy and delight in our selves and scorne and contempt against them, to gaze upon the faults and ill carriages of the godly men with whom wee live, which is also so much the more aggravated, if the reverence which we owe them in regard of their places, and love in regard of their neerenesse to our selves, have not beene able to withdraw us from such injurious­nesse.

This is one sinne of Ham, cursed Ham the Father of Canaan, come and examine yourselves, if none of you have acted Hams part against your Parents, against the Magistrate, against the Minister, against any Christian or neighbour: Have you not beheld the faults of any such with content and gladnesse in it? have you not beene willing to stand thinking of that fault? and to make your hearts thereby bold to despise and sleight them, to laugh at them and to censure them. If this have beene to a person neere and eminent, the fault receives great aggravation by that circumstance, but if it have beene done to any Christian man though not of such worth or neerenesse, or to any man at all, it was a wickednesse to be abhorred, shewing a most uncharitable disposition;1 Cor. 13.6. for charity rejoyceth not in iniquity, that is, is not glad to see another commit sinne, and withall an heart that is willing to hide its owne sinnes and make them seeme little or nothing, and make it selfe bold to commit them still by beholding other like sinnes in other men chiefely such as are bound in duty to be, and in reason should be expected to be better then ones selfe: hee alwaies sees the faults of others to some mischievous intention and with some evill af­fection that lookes upon them with an open and earnest eye, as ta­king [Page 84] king some content in this, that such and such also be bad as well as himselfe.

Now if you have runne into such a fault, call it to minde and re­pent of it, and know that how great soever the crime was, your crime was as great or greater in so beholding, Hams thus beholding his Fathers nakednesse was worse then his Fathers discovering him­selfe. And now I require you to make Ham your warning, doe not as he did, but as your owne consciences tell you that he should have done. Aske thy selfe if thou beest a reasonable man of any judgement, what should this sonne have done in such a case, should he not have turned away his eyes from looking on such a specta­cle, should he not have sighed and mourned, and said, alas, alas, how hath this befalne my poore aged and godly Father, O how was he overtaken with wine that was never wont to exceed him­selfe in foode or the like. Should he not have prayed God to for­give him and have told himselfe in this wise, ah doe thou learne O Cham, how weake a thing a man is, and how apt to fall into sinne, that thy selfe maist learne to be more watchfull, and so have cast some garment over the old man to have saved him from further disgrace, if any other person might have had occasion to approach him: Sure you cannot but yeeld that Chams duty had beene to have carried him­selfe thus respectively and pitifully towards his Father, doe you as duty bound him to doe, not as leudnesse and naughtinesse promp­ted him to doe. Mend his faults and imitate them not, be refor­mers and not followers of what was amisse in him: Commiserate the sinnes and falls of other men, chiefely Parents, Magistrates, Mi­nisters, Aged men, and men of former godly conversation and of vertuous and religious carriage in other things: I say commiserate them, pray for them, lament their weakenesse and their slips, take notice of your owne dangers and so wake your selves by their offen­ces. But whosoever will contemplate such dolefull sights with glad­nesse and insultations, saying, Aha, aha, as David speaketh of his Adversaries, that man will collect boldnesse to sinne and impeniten­cie in sinne, and a sleighting of righteousnesse and righteous men from such offences, and so will stumble and fall and destroy himselfe against those blockes as they may be termed.

But I come to another fault of Chams. He contented not himselfe to see but must also blab abroad what he had seene,He acquainted his Brethren with his Fa­thers naked­nesse. and tells it not alone to one, but to his two Brethren that were without and did not see it. He left his Father still uncovered, and gets him out of doores to finde Sem and Iaphet, and so soone as he met with them, reports, no doubt laughingly and fleeringly what he had seene, like enough adding also words to this purpose, to draw them to the like, and bid them goe in and they should see such a thing as they would little have thought ever to have seene. But let us satisfie our selves to take the fault as it is set downe. He told the fault and told it to his two Brethren that were without and needed not to have beene acquainted with their Fathers [Page 85] nakednesse, if hee wretched whisperer could have commanded him­selfe silence.

So you have in him that foule sinne of whispering of another mans faults behind his backe,Whispering is a great sin. aggravated with the consideration of the persons against whom he sinned, his Father, and towards whom, his Bretheren both of them, and where, even without. It is a sinne and wickednesse to scatter abroad the faults of others, and to divulge those matters of disgrace against them, which a man might easily keepe close, if he were master of his mouth, and is not bound by any duty to reveale; and especially to blab them to such as else would not know them, and such as might be most grieved and hurt by hea­ring them. This J say is a sinne, it proceedeth either from a twat­ling laxative humour causing that a man must vent all he knowes, and be talking of many things, or else from an uncharitable disposition to the party whose name one tenders not, his person one loveth not. It is hurtfull to the speaker, feeding his hypocrisie, making him ready to commit the same or the like sinnes, and hurtfull to the hearer, to infect him or to grieve him, and to him of whom report is made to reproach and discredit him, and withdraw the heart of the hearers from him. It is much aggravated when the thing reported is false and uncertaine, taken up upon meere hearesay, and the person of whom J speake, either my Parent, Brother, Friend or Superior, my Magistrate, Master, or of note in the Church, as a Minister, or eminent in goodnesse, as this just Noah. This was the fault of Cham.

I call upon your consciences to find out your sinnes in the like kind, if not degree, have you not spoken of the faults of your governours or of others, to others meerely to disgrace, or else meerely to hold up talke when other matter failed. Bretheren do not count this a small offence, a talebearer, a whisperer, a revealer of secrets, is no small offender. Hee doth not walke according to the plaine rule of our Christian Religion, doe as you would be done to, he doth not bridle his tongue, he doth not walke according to charity. He is injurious to the name of another, and a wrong doer to the whole world, by scattering abroad examples of evill, hee shewes himselfe no hater of sinne, that loves as it were the smell and favour of it. He is a manifest transgressor of Gods Commandement, and at last makes himselfe odious to those that heare him, and to those that are ill spoken of by him. For the hearer cannot choose but discourse thus, if hee spare not anothers name, whether will he spare mine in another place, and therefore I have no reason to trust him or be familiar with him, and he whom he hath misreported will heare of it at last, and then hee will hate him, as a person treacherous and false-hearted, and cannot but reason thus with himselfe, so long I have lived by him and so neare, so often have I beene in his company, hee never opened his mouth to admonish me, but in mine absence to do me disgrace hee hath not beene sparing. It cannot be that he wisheth my good in his [Page 86] heart, that useth not his tongue to do me the greatest good, that is, to reforme, but doth imploy it to doe me the greatest hurt he can, that is, to disgrace me.

Therefore if you have beene whisperers, see the fault and be sorry. It is a Cham like trespasse; And now charme your tongues I pray you, as from all evill language, so specially from telling other mens secret sinnes abroad, and making that open which might have beene well kept close: Whosoever hath made his Brothers faults, especially a Parents or the like, open to any man, if he himselfe might have kept them from that one without sinne, hath committed a sinne in so doing. Further then wee are moved by the necessity of our duty to reveale other mens offences, we are bound in duty to conceale them, farther then it would have beene a sinne not to have spoken of them, it can­not but be a sinne to talke of them. You must not thinke, that it is at your liberty to declare your neighbours secret faults, when you will your selves, you would not have others deale so with you. As wee may not lawfully hurt our neighbours body till some necessity of duty bind us, so neither his name, for the ninth Commandement, at least the fift requireth to be as chary of that, as the sixt doth to be chary of his body. Cease, cease to be whisperers, above all take heed you bee not worse then Chams, for hee spake nothing but what he saw with his owne eyes, O do not you dare to speake what you never saw, but either conjecture alone of your owne head, or have onely heard of others.

Thus wee have done with Chams fault, now let us consider his pu­nishments.

3. His punish­ments. 1. God cursed him in his son Canaan.God cursed him in his sonne Canaan, not that himselfe in person was exempted, but that the curse should shew it selfe most apparently upon Canaan, and that Israel might be more encouraged to goe up against the Cananites, a nation antiently cursed of God, and his curse standeth in this, that he should be a servant of servants, not so much to men, although that also in that was understood and fulfilled, but to Idols, to sinne, to Satan. So Cham by discovering his Fathers fault gets a grievous curse upon himselfe and his posterity.

O learne to terrifie your selves from this sinne, by threatning your selves with this curse. Shall J provoke God to curse me and my chil­dren after me? shall I sow the seed of misery for my selfe and those that are to come of my body hereafter? Let Gods severity upon those whereof himselfe hath given us knowledge in the word, make us care­full to preserve our selves from their offences, and to that let us both acknowledge our owne aptnesse to the same crimes, and inability to deliver our selves from them, as also crave at the hands of God the gracious helpe of his Spirt to preserve us.

If any demand. But why should the curse fall on Canaan for Chams fault?

I Answer, The Lord hath all the children of all wicked men so farre obnoxious to his justice, that it cannot be a wrong in him to [Page 87] punish the Father in the sonnes, or the sonnes in the Parents. So have we done with Cham. Gen. 10.

The next bad man of whose badnesse the Holy Ghost takes notice is Nimrod. Hee was the fourth from Noah, Nimrod. and thus his geneologie riseth, Noah, Cham, Cush, Nimrod. His name signifieth wee will re­bell, or a rebell, whitherby chance or otherwise given to him;What his name signifieth. of him this one thing alone is noted, that hee began to be mighty in the earth, Gen. 10.8. hee was a mighty hunter before the Lord, insomuch that his name gave occasion to a proverbiall speech, if any man would de­scribe a violent tyrannicall fellow, he would say, as Nimrod the mighty hunter. By hunter here is not meant an hunter of beasts, but an hun­ter of men, the word translated hunting may well be englished foode or prey, and hee may be called a man of prey, that is, of spoile and booty. Hee was the first that affected to erect a Monarchie,The first that strove to erect a Monarchie. and to make himselfe a commander over men by force and strength of armes, so that his sinne, was ambition, usurpation, tyrannising, that is, a vi­olent inforcing men to yeeld to his dominion,Was as a tyrant and ambitions. whether they would or not, though he had no right or title to command over them, for hee was the sonne of Cham, who was the youngest of Noahs sonnes, and withall accursed of God to be a servant of servants, and yet he would make himselfe a commander over others, and we have it noted, what City he began first to erect his tyrannie in, viz. Babel, whence it may seeme the plague spoken of afterwards did drive him, and yet he left not but went to other Cities, and made his dominion still larger and larger.

Learne of him to take heed of ambition and tyranny, J need not to pray you to forbeare a tyrannicall usurpation over Cities and na­tions, but take you heed of that degree of tyranny which is incident to men of your ranke, even of carrying out your owne will against equity and right. A tyrant is an odious name, this mighty hunting made Nimrod infamous, he did openly professe and practise it, which seemeth to be meant by calling him mighty hunter in the sight of God. He cared not for God nor man, but openly and in the sight of God and man attempted to subdue the nations and people round about him, and to make himselfe a great commander. Put away from you ambition, vaine glory, covetousnesse, violence, and all those sinnes which are together wrapped up in this one word tyranny; so I have done with these two particular sinners.

I goe on to set before you a troupe of sinners all at once, whereof I conceive that Nimrod was the ringleader, for it was done at Babylon his City which he built, and which he had constituted the head and Metrapolitan City of his dominion. The fault you have set downe, Gen. 11.2, 3, 4. viz. The Babylo­nians. that passing through the countrey Eastward from the place where Noah lived, and meeting with a very fruitfull plaine in the land of Shinar, that is, of Chaldea, Their faults. they consulted to make brickes (for that the countrey afforded not hewne stone,) and to use a kind of naturall mortar or slime that abounded in that place in steed [Page 88] of artificiall mortar, and so to build a City and a Towne that should reach up to Heaven, mooved thereto partly out of an ambitious de­sire of a great name and credit to continue long afterwards, and to spread farre and neere for the present, to prevent dispersion, which their guilty consciences caused them to feare, though no such thing was yet begun to be executed upon them. Here we must informe you of their sinne, which was not simply the building of a City, nor buil­ding of it of such matter, but ambition and vaine glory, and carnall confidence, and then the punishment of their sinne in the dividing of their tongues, and scattering them abroad.

First then their sin is a vaine-glorious erecting of a strong City and an exceeding high tower, joyned with a confident perswasion that they should save themselves from any mischiefe and calamity, by meanes of their City. The occasion that did further them to this worke is, that they were all of one language, and so would easily agree upon a bad thing, and that they met with a fit place, and had fit matter bricke and slime, and that they were so fully bent upon it to finish this their tower, that no meanes was left to stop them, but Gods comming downe upon them with some heavy chastisement, I conceive that they had finished, or neere finished their City, and were now setting apace and eagerly about the tower, afore the Lord did crosse them by that punishment. For seeing Babel was the beginning of Nimrods King­dome, and that he could not have finished it after the division of tongues, if he had not done it wholly, or for the most part before, it will follow in likelihood, that they were permitted to settle therealong while, and to finish their City. But when they grew so mad that with a City they would have a Tower, as it were to outface God and save them from dispersion in despight of him, then it was high time for the Lord himselfe to oppose them.Vaine-glory, Carnall con­fidence. Obstinacie. Here there are 3. sinnes, 1. Vaine-glory, 2. Carnall confidence, 3. Wilfulnesse and obstinacy. Vaine-glory, for they sought a name by an exceeding strong City and high Tower. 2. Carnall confidence, for they imagined to make themselves safe from dispersion and misery, by meanes of that City and Tower. 3. Obstinacy, because that God himselfe witnesseth they were so fully bent upon their projects, that except by violence, there was no way to stop them in their attempts. Here be 3. sinnes in the Babel builders Tower.

They gave themselves to earthly mindednesse in hunting after a name, and this they would get forsooth, by such a building as the world had never seene the like for greatnesse and height, and never should see.Vaine-glory a sinne. Be not you vaine-glorious, studying to doe some earthly vaine thing, for which you may be talked of farre and neere, and for a long time. This is vaine-glory, the vice by which men affect to be famous and much talked of, and magnified in the world for some great earthly matter that they have gotten, for getting a great deale of riches together, for raising their family, for a fine house, for being the first that did such or such a thing or the like. Be not I say vaine-glorious, [Page 89] let not your hearts affect this foaming froth of mens tongues. Care not for such kinde of praises and commendations: but set your hearts upon better things, to get you a name in Heaven, and in earth to be good, holy, just. Praise is a thing which the Apostle commandeth us to follow, but by praise he meaneth praise worthy things, not praise it selfe further then it is a necessary effect and companion of things praise-worthy. Be good for conscience sake to God, that so you may have, though you seeke not after it, good esteeme of men and their good reports. This vaine-glory will so choake all true desire of goodnesse and all true goodnesse, that at last it will make you to fall into that high degree of Hypocrisie, as with the Pharisees you shall doe all your deeds to be seene of men, and if you doe any good thing, shall even loose your reward in Heaven.

But againe, take heede also of carnall confidence, that is,2. Carnall confidence is a sin. promi­sing your selves safety from any affliction in respect of any outward thing. That is carnall confidence, to make ones selfe beleeve that he shall continue secure from all earthly dangers in respect of a Citie, a Tower, a friend, a great estate, or the like. Alas, all these things be vanity and lies, they are the arme of flesh. Trust not in Princes, trust not in Horses or in Chariots, trust not in wisedome, trust not in man. The Holy Ghost doth every where disswade men from this vaine confidence, and pronounceth a curse against them that trust in flesh and tells them that they withdraw their hearts from God. He that conceiveth so well of any earthly thing as to promise himselfe safety from that, is made carelesse by that of seeking Gods favour, and is so earnest after that, as hee will not have leasure to thinke of pleasing and obeying God, and seeking to him and trusting on him. It is a fearefull sinne, and yet a common one, hardly can men keepe their hearts from committing this idolatry, you must humbly pray to God to discover to you the vanity of all earthly and terrene things, and to shew his Omnipotency and All-sufficiency, that so he may be your confidence and your dread.

Lastly, beware of that sinne of wilfullnesse and obstinacie,3. Obstinacie is a sin. that are so bent upon an evill course, as no words nor other like meanes will turne you from your ill courses, this was the sinne of Elies sonnes, of Pharaoh, of Israel, of Amaziah. This is a fore-runner of mischiefe, Hee that hardens his heart against a reproofe shall surely come to mischiefe, let no man stay him. When the Lord sees that words will not serve the turne, he comes with rods, and if the rod will not divert men from their evill paths, then swords must. Wherefore put you on a flexible and tractable disposition, and an heart that will easily be disswaded from an evill way. Pray to God, pray to him to give you a minde full of light that may quickly dis­cerne evill, and an heart full of softnesse that may quickly be with­drawne from it.

Now consider the punishments, God comes downe to see, that is,Their punish­ment. takes notice of their sinne and wilfullnesse in it, and therefore con­sults [Page 90] with himselfe, the Father with the Sonne and Holy Ghost to goe downe (by the powerfull worke of his hand) and to confound their languages, and by that meanes to stop their worke and scatter them thence, from which effect the world did call that Citie Babel or confusion, so instead of great honour and a great name, they gate shame and confusion, and were thence dispersed, from whence they expected safety from dispersion. Thus God catcheth the wic­ked in their owne devices, brings mischiefe on them from that wherein they trusted for safety, and shame from that from which they expected glory. Yea see here, that God hath strange and unwonted punishments to lay upon sinners, for who would have ever had a dreame of such a thing as this, viz. to have them made unable to speake their mother languages, and all of a sodaine to speake gibrish one to ano­ther. So powerfull is God over man that he can take from him, his tongue, his wit, his soule, all things in a moment.

The punish­ment of strange languages is a heavie punish­ment.It was an heavie chastisement making way to much ignorance and barbarisme, and to much warre and bloudshed, and to a great estrangement among mankinde, and to great toile and la­bour for the getting of all learning, and causing much errour and mistaking in all Arts and Sciences chiefely in Religion, so that next to our casting out of Paradise and to the floud it deser­veth the name of the heaviest punishment that the world hath felt, yea in respect of the succession of men it was worse then the floud, that onely drowned the men who lived in the present time, this hath drowned in ignorance and errour all succeeding times. Let us feare the Lord our God who onely doth wonderfull things, and can tell how to plague his enemies with heavie scourges. We have now finished the Examples of these bad men.

Sem and Ia­phet, their ver­tues, they cove­red their Fa­thers nakednes. Gen. 9.23.Looke to the good, Sem and Iaphet, and Sems posterity to Abram. Of Sem note his good deed, his reward and his death; for his good deed, it was common with him and Iaphet, they went backward, and so covered their Fathers nakednesse, that they might not see it, partly out of modesty, and partly out of filiall reverence and respect which they bare unto him. Thus, thus should all good children doe, even refuse to see their Parents nakednesse or any thing that might withdraw a due regard and feare of them, any sinnes or weakenesses of theirs notwithstanding, yea all men should be so truly loving one towards another, as to use the mantle and veile of love to cover a multitude of sinnes, so as to goe backward as it were and not see them. Wee should what in us lies and so farre as duty will suffer, conceale the faults of all men, further then the necessity of healing them and of preventing the mischiefe that may else follow of them will permit us. Every man would be so dealt withall him­selfe. Who doth not praise the vertuous carriage of these two Bre­thren. Imitate it, I beseech you chiefely towards Parents, Magi­strates, Ministers, keepe secret if you can their secret faults, and hide their shame from breaking forth. Nothing is more fit to be [Page 91] covered then sinne. It is like a carkasse which doth least hurt when it is buried under ground, so farre therefore as duty will suffer you, bury, bury it, under ground with it, and let it lie hid under the garment of silence. See it not if you can choose, say nothing of it more then you must needs.

Now consider the blessing with which their goodnesse was rewar­ded,Their benefits, true religion was continued in their poste­rity. Sem had God for his God and the dominion of Canaan given him, that is, the true Religion was to continue in his posterity, the Messiah to come of him, and his seede to have the possession of the land of Canaan, and Iaphet at last was to be brought to the parti­cipation of the same Religion with him, by the perswasion of the Gospell. So it is a great mercy to have the true Religion continued in a mans posterity, and to be brought from errour unto the truth. Whether Iaphets selfe were a godly man, it is not certaine, but in doubtfull things it is good to incline to the best side, and to take things in the best part, therefore we will hope that he was so, and with Sem did inherit the blessing in his person as well as after his seed was admitted unto it. And let us now blesse God that hath per­formed this Prophesie, for it is likely that we of these Countries are of Iaphets posterity, and now we see the Lord of Heaven be blessed, that God hath perswaded us to accept and imbrace Christ and so to dwell indeed in the tents of Sem.

But now for the seede of Sem they were these,The seede of Sem. Gen. 11.10. Arphaxad who li­ved 438 yeares, almost 200 fewer then his Father Sem, as Sem did 350 fewer then Noah. Selah who lived 433 yeares, the halfe alone of the lives of men before the floud, for at the floud God did shor­ten mens lives by halfe, to keepe them from so great a height of wickednesse, as in that long lived age they came unto, and to shorten the toile of the godly upon earth. Heber lived 464, the longest of all but Sem after the floud, it is likely he was a very worthy man, from him the name Hebrewes came to his posterity, and endured for many yeares after. Peleg lived 239 yeares, about the building of the Tower of Babel, so you see then God shortened mans life one halfe, seeing them againe to grow so exorbitantly wicked. Reu lived also 239 yeares, just as long as his Father, which is not found in any other that I remember. Serug lived 230 yeares. Nahor lived 148 yeares, it may seeme that he was the first of the Patriarkes that fell to Idolatry, for Laban sware by the gods of Nahor, therefore his life is almost by halfe as short as any of his predecessors. Then Terah lived 205 yeares, he fell to Idolatry but repented afterwards and went with his sonne Abraham towards the land of Canaan, dying in the way, and buried his eldest sonne before himselfe, which had not befalne any Patriarke before that we reade of. (*⁎*)

THE EIGHT EXAMPLE.
OF ABRAHAM.

IT is agreed upon by all, that from Adam to the floud there passed 1656 yeares inclu­sively, I meane from the beginning of Adams Creation. Noah was the tenth from Adam inclusively, Abraham the tenth from Noah exclusively. I meane not reckoning Noah as one. How many yeares passed betwixt the floud and Abrahams birth, it is uncertaine, because the relation of Abrahams birth Gen. 11.26. is set downe in such words as have ministred occasion of difference to the Reader. Terah begat Abraham, Nahar and Haran, but at what age he begat each of them, it is not manifested: Some thinke, that Abraham was the first-borne, begotten at his fathers 70 yeare, some thinke that hee was the youngest begotten at his 130 yeere, so there is difference of yeeres in the account by this meanes, 60 yeares; but I rather incline to them that thinke Abraham was the eldest sonne at his Fathers 70 yeare, for surely if Abrahams Father had beene able to become a Father at 130 yeares, it would not have beene said of Abrahams selfe, that he was as good as dead at a 100 yeares old. It is improbable, that there should have beene so great difference of bodily strength betwixt the Father and the Sonne. Now from Abraham forward, the Holy Ghost maketh his story [Page 94] more large then that of former times. We shall follow Gods pen and propound unto you this Father of the faithfull, that by doing his workes you may shew your selves his children. In him looke to his 1. Birth. 2. Life. 3. Death.

Abrahams Birth.For his Birth, he was the sonne of Terah, borne as some thinke about the 200th yeere of the world, some 352 yeeres after the floud, but as some thinke 60 yeeres sooner, about 1948 of the world, and after the floud 298.His Life. For his life we will consider his carriage good and bad, and the things that befell him good and bad.

Let us begin with his vertues and good deeds, and observe him as an excellent patterne of all vertues and goodnesse, that we may profit the better by considering his life more particularly. Let us see what vertues and good deeds he practised towards God first, and then to­wards man.

His vertues to­ward God. 1 His faith. Heb. 11.8.First for God, hee is commended for faith, Abraham saith the Author of the Hebrewes, by faith called of God, &c. and Abraham by faith offered up, so that faith he had, and was called the friend of God, James 2.23. as the Apostle S. Iames witnesseth, now without faith no man can possibly please God or be his friend. So had Abel as we shewed you before, so had Noah, so had Henoch, so had all the godly at all times. This grace is the cardinall grace, the radicall grace, that upon which all other graces grow as on their roote, and on which they move as the doore upon its hinges. Therefore you that would be called the children of Abram, heires of the blessing of Abram, come and compare your selves with him, and see whether you be faithfull as he was,What faith is. to that end know, that faith is the grace by which we be­leeve things invisible and supernaturall concerning another life here­after. So the Apostle distinguisheth walking by faith from walking by sence or sight,Heb. 11.1. and Faith is said to be the Evidence of things not seene and ground of things hoped for. Reason and naturall discourse will informe of things sensible and naturall concerning the pre­sent life, but the things that are above sence and reason concer­ning a future life hoped for hereafter nothing doth informe us but faith, and faith is that grace by which the soule beleeveth such things.

Three acts of faith 1. Faith of God, which hath foure acts.It hath three sorts of acts in regard of which it is stiled by three titles: Faith of God, Faith to God, Faith in God. Faith of God is that by which we beleeve that there is such a God as indeed he is. All conceits of God are not of faith, but those apprehensions of him which agree to his being and conceive him to be such as himselfe doth set forth himselfe to be, and you shall see what Abraham beleeved concerning him. 1. He beleeved that this God was one and but one as the Scripture witnesseth of him. He worshipped God, he called on the name of God, he builded an Altar to God, not to gods or more gods, but to one God JEHOVAH. 2. He beleeved that this one God was True, Omnipotent, able and willing to doe any thing that he should speake, viz. that he was All-sufficient and faithfull, as [Page 95] S. Paul witnesseth, being fully perswaded that what he had spoken he was able also to performe, and Heb. 11. that he was able to raise him from the dead. 3. He beleeved that this one God was possessor and judge, and therefore also Maker of Heaven and Earth. And 4. That he was righteous and would doe righteousnesse in punishing the wicked that lived in sinne, and in sparing and being favourable to the righteous man that did study to walke before him in a good conversation. Now these be the principall things to be assented un­to concerning God.

Secondly, Abraham had faith to God, that is,2. Faith to God he gave consent to all those things that God said, because he said them, which ne­cessarily followeth from his acknowledgement of the truth, power, and All-sufficiency of God: So doth the Author to the Hebrewes note, that it was a land which after he should receive for an inheri­tance. He beleeved that God would give him that land according to his promise, and he beleeved above hope in hope, that he should be Father of many Nations, and it is said, that God preached the Go­spell unto him, saying,Gal. 3.8. in thy seed (which is Christ) shall all Nations be blessed. He beleeved that of his seed should come the Messiah which should free mankinde from the curse, and make them partakers of the blessing. So he beleeved Gods threats against Sodome, that God would destroy it with fire.

Thirdly, he believed in God. 1.3. Faith in God He trusted upon his mercy in the promised seede, that for his sake, not for the worth of his owne righte­ousnesse, God would be mercifull to him and save him.Rom. 4 3. He beleeved in God, and this faith was counted unto him for righteousnesse. He was justified by this faith as the instrument, he did not worke, meaning in respect of justification, he did not thinke to be pardoned and accepted for the workes sake, but beleeved in him that justified those which in themselves be ungodly, by justifying he meanes, pardoneth their sinnes, as it is said,Psal. 32.2. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not im­pute sinne, for the promise was not made to him by the workes of the Law, but the righteousnesse of faith, that is, the righteousnesse with­out workes as he described it before. Now if you have this faith and all these acts of faith, then you are Abrahams sonnes, if not, in vaine doe you lay title to his inheritance. Therefore trie your selves, and if you have this faith then know your selves happy, if not, you are farre from blessednesse, you are still under the curse.

But secondly, Abraham feared God.2. He feared God. True faith will bring forth the feare of God, not the passion of feare, nor slavish feare, nor feare of flight, but the feare of caution and warinesse, a not daring to offend God, as the Lord himselfe witnessed of him, saying, Now I know that thou fearest mee when thou hast not spared thine onely sonne. Gen. 22.12. Loe, the feare of God is such a disposition of heart to God-ward, out of the apprehension of his excellency and greatnesse and justice, that will cause a man not to be bold to dare to omit any worke that Gods Commandement injoyneth him unto, and so not to commit any [Page 96] thing that God condemneth. I pray you consider, have have you this vertuous feare of God? Doe your hearts stand in awe of him? so that you flie from the offending and displeasing of him, as from the greatest of all evils; those that have Gods feare before their eyes, they are godly like Abraham, those that have it not, they are wicked, as Abram thought the men of Gerar and Egypt to be; O labour for it, if you have it not yet, get it, if you have it, labour to increase and nourish it by considering his great excellencie and great terrible­nesse.

3. Was obedi­ent.A third vertue, Abraham had obedience, that is, his will was thoroughly subject to Gods will in all things, so that he held this re­solution within himselfe, that whatsoever God bad him doe that he would doe, for which God praised him, saying, because thou hast obeyed my voice, and the Apostle, saying, he obeyed and went out. Obedi­ence is a resolution and indeavour to doe all that God bids, because he bids.Some speciall acts of Abra­hams obedience Let us take some speciall acts of obedience, wherein Abraham did crosse his reason, and his affection, and his credit, and his profit, and all to performe the will of God, even therefore onely, because God bad him, whom he durst not out of feare and would not but out of love follow in all things.

1. Left his Countrey at Gods Com­mandement.First, God gave him Commandement to leave his Countrey and Fathers house, to goe out into a land which he should shew him: A strong Commandement, leave all thy kindred and goe into a Coun­trey thou knowest not whither, but goe from place to place as I shall shew thee. Here seemed no reason in this Commandement, but Abraham obeyed it, Gen. 12.1.

2. Lived in tents at Gods Commande­ment. Heb. 11.9.Secondly, when he came into the land of Canaan, he did not build a Citie, nor an house there, but dwelt in tents as the Apostle noteth, as a pilgrim and a stranger, not having possession in it at all, so much as a foot, God gave him no place of abode, but caused him to wander as himselfe telleth, Gen. 20.13. This seemed an unhappy and unsetled life, and flesh and bloud could not take content in such a kinde of li­ving, but because God injoyned Abraham so to live. He submitted himselfe and did live so, save that onely he bought a place to burie in, as being still mindfull of his death.

3. Circumcised himselfe and all the males of his family.A third heavie Commandement he received from God, Gen. 17. 10. and 26. God made him to circumcise himselfe and all the males of his family, and all that should after be borne when they were eight daies old, and he made no question of it: To circumcise was to cut off the top of the uppermost skinne of the secret part; This seemed the foolishest thing in the world, a matter of great reproach which would make him, as it made his posterity after, to seeme ridiculous to all the world. It carried an appearance of much undecencie and shamefull­nesse, to cause all his servants to discover themselves unto him. Much more might have beene alledged against this ordinance, what good could it doe? what was any man the better because he had wounded himselfe and put his body to that torment? yet for all this, Abraham [Page 97] disputed not, objected not, made no contrary allegations, but presently the selfe same day tooke himselfe and his sonne Ishmael and all his ser­vants in his house, and circumcised them according to the comman­dement of Almighty God.

Yet a fourth commandement more tedious and contrary to reason and affection then all these,4. He expelled his wife Hagar and sonne Ishmael. which was of it selfe exceeding grievous in his sight, as the Holy Ghost witnesseth, that is, the expulsion or excommunicating of his sonne Ishmael, and of his mother Hagar, yet when God commanded him to doe it, Gen. 21.12. hee rose up the next morning betimes, v. 14. and sent away both the mother and the sonne.

But last of all he obeyed a commandement, that seemed to contra­dict nature and religion, and Gods promise, and his owne salvation,5. Hee would have sacrificed his sonne Isaac at Gods commandement. and the salvation of all men, and the truth and honour of God him­selfe, so that God was said to try him to the utmost in that comman­dement. It was in sacrificing Isaac, as the Spirit of God not [...]th. Heb. 11. and Gen. 23. God bad him take Isaac, and not instantly kill him in the place, but goe three dayes journey, and not knocke him on the head and there an end, but offer him for sacrifice. But what was this sonne, the sonne of his old-age, the sonne of his love which was so deare unto him, yea the promised seede in whom it was said,Heb. 11.18. In Isaac shall thy seede be called, and this sonne he offered after a most mel­ting conference betwixt himselfe and Isaac his sonne all alone. Here was an obedience incomparable and unparalable, no man ever did the like except our Lord Jesus Christ, who offered up himselfe, which must needes be dearer to himselfe then Isaac was to A­braham.

So now marke the excellency of Abrahams obedience,The excellen­cy of Abrahās obedience. hee was obedient for the matter in hard and difficult things, for the manner promptly and readily without gaine-saying, speedily and presently without deferring, and universally without excepting, without pic­king and choosing. If you be able to produce such obedience to justifie your faith, that it may appeare your faith is a working faith, then have you faith indeed and not in word alone: but if your faith be not accompanied with an obedience of the same kind, though not in the same degree, whereby you are able to yeeld your selves to God, resolving in all things readily and without delay or murmuring to yeeld unto him, how are you obedient? how have you faith, such a faith as was Abrahams. All therefore that say they beleeve as Abraham did, but yet obey not as Abraham did, yea are wilfull against Gods Commandements, refusing to doe knowne duties, and to leave knowne sinnes, that will not circumcise the foreskin of their hearts, nor leave their countrey and Fathers house, nor cast out their Ishmaels, nor offer up their Isaacs, all such are beleevers alone in shew and not in deed. Compare your selves with Abraham, and if your obedi­ence be not like his, I say as before, having the same ground, extent, and properties, it is but a counterfeit faith whereof you boast, and no [Page 98] true faith. Therefore now be earnest with the living God to worke in you true subjection to him, and to make you like Abraham his ser­vant: for God that wrought his heart to such flexiblenesse, will and can performe the same for you. Pray him to incline your hearts to his statutes, beseech him to write his law in your hearts, and to cause you to keepe his Commandements and judgements and doe them. And if you find such an obedience, though not so great, yet that which hath the same ground, and strives to attaine the same extent and pro­perties, then take comfort, and be not afraid to call your selves sonnes and daughters of Abraham, for Zacheus was the sonne of Abraham, when leaving his greedinesse, hee could make restitution and give to the poore.

4. He was reli­gious.Now a fourth vertue in Abraham, was religiousnesse, for it is said of him, that hee built an Altar to God, and that hee worshiped God, and that he called on the name of God, and that he payed tithe of all he had to Melchisedech, and this is for our learning. We must call upon God, we must professe and practise true religion, we must offer reall sacrifices on Christ the Altar, we must also pay tithes of our goods, Gen. 12.7. You have an Altar built to God, a profession of his true religion among the Cananites, there he called on Gods name, that is, performed publike worship of sacrificing and praying, one named for all. And v. 13.14. againe it is said, that he came to the place of the Altar which he had made at the first, and there called on the name of the Lord. And v. 18. there at Hebron he built an Altar to the Lord, and when God appeared to him, C. 17. v. 3. he fell on his face before God, shewing all due outward respect unto him, when he spake unto him. And C. 14. Melchisedech was Priest of the most high God, and he met Abraham and blessed him, and Abraham gave him tithes of all. I do not thinke he meant onely of all the spoiles, though that hee did too, but a constant tithing of all he had is meant. This tithing was an acknowledgement of his subjection to Melchisedech, and so necessary to be performed to Christ who is a Priest for ever after that order, who must blesse and take the tithes of us.

Surely tithing is no Leviticall ceremony, for it is not originally and primarily due to the Leviticall Priesthood, but it is due to an eter­nall Priesthood, even that after the order of Melchisedech, and there­fore so farre as I see, it must be eternally due, neither can any man law­fully forbeare to pay them to Christ, neither can any man receive them in Christs steede, but he that is Christs officer to preach in Christs steed and sow his spirituall things.

Now I pray you looke that you be religious as Abraham, professe religion, come to Gods house, call on Gods name. Learne that pub­lique prayer is an holy ordinance of God, frequent that, and doe not slight and despise it as many of you do, offer up spirituall sacrifices to God. Pay your tithes duely of all, which I know none of you all that doth make conscience of, you thinke that too deare a price to buy the worship of God with, but why should you not shew your selves [Page 99] subject to Christs Priesthood as well as Abrahams? If you could make it manifest to be a Leviticall ceremony, you might thinke your selves dispensed with it by Christs comming; But you cannot shew any good reason why it should be so, and here is a good reason it was not so, for it was due to a Priest of another order then that of Aaron, wherefore shew your selves truely religious, by a conscionable setting a part to God the tithe of all you have, as Abraham did. For when here it is said he tithed all, and in the Hebrew the spoiles, it is no reason to shorten the wider place by the narrower, but to reconcile both to­gether thus, he paid tithe of all, and also of the spoiles, as well as other things. I am in hope to prevaile with you for all other things, but in this I have no hope to prevaile, because profit pleades against me, and because the thing is controverted and denied by divers. Now when a costly service is questioned, O how hard is it to perswade men to see that truth and follow it. Well I shew you mine opinion, and leave it to God to perswade you, but in other things which are not controverted, I pray you to obey as Abraham did, and to shew your religion as he did. And so we have shewed you Abrahams faith, obe­dience, feare and devotion. O that we could shew the same vertues in our lives.

I come to shew you next the good carriage of Abraham to men-ward.1. His vertuous carriage to­ward men. 1. He was truely humble. First himselfe, then others. For himselfe, I request you to note, First that he was a very humble man, truely humble, one that did esteeme himselfe nothing in comparison with God, and that is true humility, to have a meane esteeme of himselfe out of a true apprehension of Gods greatnesse, and the infinite distance betweene God and him­selfe, you shall see this in Abraham, because when God came to shew him what should become of the Sodomites, and he out of mercy was mooved to pray earnestly for them, he saith unto God, I am dust and ashes, O good man, that when he came neere to God, he had a sence of his owne meanenesse, and intitled himselfe no better then dust and ashes.

This humility must wee also be cloathed withall, it is a necessary fruite of the knowledge of God and our selves, without which we can­not be true Ceristians. It is the cabinet and storehouse of all graces. It allures God to give us grace, it causeth all crosses to seeme easy if God will lay them on, it makes all duties appeare seasonable.Phil. 1.7. 2 Cor. 12.11. 1 Sam. 24.14. Luk. 14.11. It is a grace by which a man becommeth like unto Christ, who humbled and made himselfe of no reputation. Paul was nothing in his owne esteeme. David counted himselfe a flea and a dead dog, and Christ hath said, that if we humble our selves we shall be exalted. For alas, be we not sinnefull, and shall we not then be humble? Be wee not mortall men, be we not damnable creatures, and shall we not be hum­ble! Beloved, search if you have this grace, that is, a meane esteeme of your selves in respect of your nothingnesse compared to God, and your sinfulnesse in your selves, and if you find your selves laid low and made vile in your owne estimation, this is to be like Abraham.

[Page 100]You have the vertues of Abraham in respect of himselfe. Now in re­spect of other men, First his family, then others without his fa­mily.

2. Trained up his Family in the knowledge and feare of God.For his family, considered generally and specially. Generally, he brought them up godlily and religiously, and taught them vertue and goodnesse, as is witnessed of him, Gen. 18.19. I know hee will com­mand his houshold to keepe judgement and justice, and to keepe the way of the Lord. If he had not taught them the good way how should he require them to keepe it, and the word signifieth to command and teach both,The Hebrew word is ambi­guous. and it is that of which usually the word translated precepts doth come. Abraham then was carefull to teach his people the waies of God and to teach them all goodnesse. Hee did that to his houshold,Eph. 6.4. which God hath commanded us, bring them up in the nur­ture and information of the Lord. For indeed God did bid him cir­cumcise his children and servants, and if he must administer the Seale of the Covenant to them, then he must teach them the Covenant it selfe, even the whole doctrine of godlinesse.

Brethren, be not a number of you farre from following Abraham in this matter? you have not gotten so much knowledge as to be able to teach your people the doctrine of true piety, the way of God, ju­stice and judgement, nor doe not strive to get knowledge. And many that have knowledge make no care of communicating. Ah if he that provides not for the family things needfull to the body denies the faith, how is he guilty of that fault, which doth not provide for their soules. I beseech you therefore be humbled for your omission of this duty, and set about it now you have helpes enough, and may have time enough, if you will redeeme time from vanity. Doe what God praiseth Abraham for, and what he maketh an argument, why he will reveale to him all that he doth.

Againe, see how Abraham carried himselfe to the particular mem­bers of the family. First towards his wife: secondly towards his children: thirdly towards his servants.

3. Was loving and gentle to his wife.For his wife, you have a notable example of love and gentlenesse to Sarah in bearing with her passion and distemper, and imperious­nesse, as you have it noted, Gen. 15.5, 6. when shee flew upon Abraham with a false and vehement reproofe, saying, my wrong be upon thee, that is, thou art in blame, the fault is thine, it is long of thee that I am sleighted by my maid, shee beares her selfe bold of thee, thou holdest her up in it, and so concludes with calling God to be judge betwixt them. He doth not answer her againe with words as hot and testie as hers, but in gentle manner yeeldeth to her, saying, thy maid-servant is in thine hand, doe with her what thou wilt. This is an ho­nour to him, if he had beene put into a rage by her rage then had he beene overcome of evill, but now he is a right conquerour and over­comes evill with good, when he continued meeke and passed by her distemper and yeelded to her passion.

Beloved, you that be husbands, I pray you follow this example, I [Page 101] pray you be not bitter against your wives. Be not wrathfull to them if you see them in passion, if they take you up falsely and causelesly, and blame you for that for which you are not blame-worthy, beare with them, give them good words, doe what you can to satisfie and content them, shew love and wisedome both at once. Carry your selves to them as men of knowledge, not as men of ignorance, and give honour to the woman as the weaker vessell, this is the counsell that S. Peter gives you.1 Pet. 3.7. Be ruled by Abrahams deeds and Peters words. It is the greatest honour that a man can shew to himselfe to be able to beare and forbeare. A wise man beareth things,Posse & nolle nobile. an unwise man cannot beare. The wife is ones owne flesh, a piece of a mans selfe yea more then a peece. We are commanded to love them as much as our owne selves, and to cherish them as Christ doth the Church; O be humbled for any passions or distempers you have shewed before your wives, or towards them, even though they have provoked you first: and now beseech the Lord to make you like Abraham that so you may keepe your families in peace, even though you have passionate wives.

Perhaps you will say, that Sarahs passion brake out but once, but your wives very often.

I answer, first, it is not certaine that Sarah was passionate onely this one time. Shee that did fall into other distempers might againe fall into this, but if shee did not, Abraham that bare this, out of the same reason would have borne them too, if it were a duty to deale thus mildely at one time, it was a duty to doe so alwaies.

What then, shall a man let his wife beare out her passions still and sleight him that is her head?

I answer, first, better soe, then fill ones selfe with passion too. And secondly, I answer, a loving, milde, gentle, admonition afterwards, will prevaile more to make a woman remember her selfe, then pre­sent rage and bitternesse. A drunken man is best cured by rebuke when he is sober, and passion is but drunkennesse.

You see Abrahams carriage to his wife, now I come to shew you his carriage to his two sonnes. 1. He loved them both very well,4. He loved his two sonnes ve­ry well. as is evident by his praying for Ishmael, and his taking the matter hea­vily, when Sarah would have him cast out of doores, but yet he lo­ved neither of them so well, but that he could be content to have the one cast out of his house, and the other burnt for a Sacrifice, and to cut off both their foreskinnes.

So Parents must learne to love their children, but with a moderate love, such as that they can be be content to put them to smart, so farre as God will have them put to smart, even by just correction to cut off the foreskinne of their hearts, yea to part with them, if God will have them banished, or goe into another Countrey, yea to have them die if God will have them die. Such a moderate love which is subordinate to the love of God, we must have and exercise to the fruit of our bodies, and we must shew the sincerity of our [Page 102] love to them by praying for them, and the moderatenesse or our love by being able to punish them duely, and to part with them even by death when God shall send it. O bewaile your carnallnesse and unloving­nesse, and immoderate love to them. Inordinate love of a childe is a great fault, it will undoe the childe, it will make him despise and abuse the Parents, it will nourish all vices in him, it is the next way to make God crosse a man in him, it makes a childe an Idol, pray to God therefore to moderate your love.

Abraham provided for all his other children by gifts, and gave all he had to Isaac, as wee have it, Gen. 25.5, 6. So must a good Father provide for his children convenient portions, that they may be able to live comfortably, and provide them fit callings, as Abraham did, but make most account of the most godly, and let him be heire whom God hath made heire, even the eldest, unlesse his wickednesse dis-in­herit him, and I suppose that it must be some great wickednesse for which a man should dispossesse the eldest of the greater part of his estate, yet still the eldest must have such a larger portion as that the younger may have a convenient part for them too.

Learne to be ashamed, you that are spendalls, and keepe nothing for your children, have nothing to give them: and learne you all to be moderately carefull for them, and discreetely and indifferently liberall to them. Let not one have all, the other nothing, let not any of them be thrust off with nothing for the others sake, but be a Pa­rent to all, O be husbandly and thrifty to get and save, and be seasona­bly liberall to them, yet so, that still your selves be in such case as not to make your selves underlings to them.

5. He provided a good wife for Isaac.Againe, for Isaac, Abraham was carefull to provide a wife, even one of the best he could though hee sent farre for her, and it may seeme he had not much with her, as you have it in the whole Chapter of Gen. 24. Here Abraham is to be imitated, if in any thing concer­ning a child, he looked to have a good wife more then a rich. O if you that be Parents would doe so, how well would it goe with ma­ny a family? what is he or shee, not what hath he or shee should be the question?

Abraham knew that God would provide a wife for his sonne, it is probable he had prayed for that mercy and received an answer, he could not else have affirmed it so certainely. You that be Parents, must pray to God to give a wife or husband to your sonne and daugh­ter, and make piety and vertue the chiefe match-makers: If you will ever shew your love to be a spirituall love, let it appeare to be such to your children, if by any meanes you will shew your selves affected to them with a spirituall love, let it be in seeking their good really, not imaginarily. That woman shall live happiest, not which hath the richest husband with largest revenues, but that hath the god­liest husband, most abundant in vertues; sure a Father should make his daughters happinesse the maine end of his choosing an husband for her, or else he is not prudent, for prudence is a vertue by which [Page 103] a man doth worke rightly to happinesse. I say the same concerning the wife; be you therefore imitators of Abraham here, and be asha­med as our Saviour saith in another meaning, to seeke those things after which unsanctified men and heathen doe onely or principally seeke.

I should have named one grace more in Abraham towards God,Another grace in Abraham toward God, his Patience. that is, patience, I doe not meane so much or onely in bearing affli­ctions, as in a contented tarrying for the promised seed. A quiet waiting till benefits come, and a quiet bearing of crosses that did come, this is patience, a being silent to God and waiting on him: Abraham had waited divers yeares, no sonne came, his wife was barren, yet he waited and still continued to hope, that God would give him a sonne at length according to his promise. See, how you can waite upon God if he deferre the performance of his pro­mise, and that without muttering and without fainting. This is an ex­cellent thing to beleeve, pray and hope still though God deferre the accomplishment of his word. Learne this grace, Blessed is hee that by faith and patience can inherit the promises, as it is said of our godly fore-fathers.

So Abrahams vertues to God are faith, feare, obedience, wai­ting or hope and devotion. And to Sarah I should have named ano­ther. He mourned moderately for her and buried her honourably,He mourned moderately for Sarah. for he bought a burying place of the children of Heth, that he might interre her with all due respect. So should an husband moderate his affection with discretion, and joyne discretion with his affection, that he may both shew some convenient measure of sorrow for his wives decease, and also power to keepe sorrow within compasse both for degree and continuance, and so should wives stand affected to hus­bands, and all friends each to other, and a decent funerall according to each mans place must be affoorded, to testifie their good will to the whole person when it lived, by due carriage to that earthie part of it which is left behinde. Those yoke-fellowes therefore that are glad or would be glad of each others decease, and care not what be­comes of the body of each other, they must be blamed as naughty and unloving husbands, and those that make no end nor keepe no measure in mourning must be blamed as over-loving and carnally lo­ving. Let us so mourne as to shew the thing was deare we parted with, and withall, that we know we have better things remaining with us then an earthly friend.

I must now speake of Abrahams good carriage to his servants;Abrahams good carriage toward his ser­vants, to Elie­zer his princi­pall servant. There was one principall servant, Ruler, Steward, Over-seere of his house, his name is Eliezer of Damascus, Gen. 15.2. Him 1. He loved much. 2. Trusted much, because by good instructions and examples he had through Gods blessing made him fit and worthy to be both loved and trusted. His love to him he shewes in saying to God (whereby it is manifest that he did not counterfeit, for Abraham was too godly to tell a counterfeit tale to God) one borne in mine house shall be mine heire. Gen. 15.3. [Page 104] Loe a good servant should be very deare unto his master,A good servant should be respected. so that he should plentifully and liberally recompence him (for to say that a servant should be made ones heire if he have no children, that I dare not, but I dare say he should be plentifully and liberally rewarded out of great love.Deut. 15.12, 13) The Lord commanded that an Hebrew servant should not be put out empty, but that his Master should communi­cate to him of his goods,Prov. 27.18. and Salomon saith, that as hee that looketh to the fig-tree shall eate of the fruit thereof, so shall a good servant that attendeth his master come to honour, his meaning is to shew, that Ma­sters should not be indebted to their servants, but should respect and preferre them. Those therefore that having good and vertuous ser­vants, shall not shew themselves liberall, and courteous, and loving, but quite contrarily, froward, and unloving, and niggardly, are much to be condemned, as men that have not wisedome to consider, how much benefit a man hath by his servants, so that neither could men get riches nor enjoy them if they wanted servants; neither could they be without them in many other respects, and if the servants be good, next to God, above all men hee stands most beholding to them. His life is in their hands, his goods are in their hand, and to speake as the truth is, hee is more indebted to them then they to him. A servant might more easily shift for himselfe without a Master, then a Master live as he doth without servants: wherefore I com­mend unto you all humanity, love, courtesie towards your servants that be good and faithfull, such as feare God and doe their duty in such sort as humane frailty will permit unto your selves. Labour to bring your servants to be religious, and trustie, and diligent, and if they be so, shew all good will to them and incourage them in their duty by loving entertainement, especially seeing now they be free­men and not bondslaves that are your servants.

Againe, Abraham trusted his servant with the weightiest businesse of his life, getting a wife for Isaac, and bound him with an oath, but duely limited and freed from all doubt and difficultie as much as might be, as you may reade, Gen. 24. in the beginning, causing him to lay his hand under his thigh and sweare about that businesse, alone limiting him so that he should be freed from it if his friends were wanting to him. So a good Master should trust a good servant, onely giving him necessary instructions, and cautions, and if matter be of such weight, laying the bond of an oath upon him, for no bond stronger then that, none fitter to binde a godly man: what might be the mea­ning of laying the hand under the thigh in swearing, I cannot learne nor conjecture my selfe, onely it had some due signification in all like­lihood, as our laying the hand on the Bible and kissing it. Iacob also required it of his sonne Ioseph, so that it may seeme to have beene done in some religious respect, whether intimating the expectation of the promised seed to come out of the loynes of Iacob and Abraham I cannot say. But whatsoever this gesture might meane, we note that Abraham trusted his servant, and so must all men needs doe in some [Page 105] degree, and therefore had need to choose good servants, or do their best to make them such as may be trusted.

How for all the rest of his servants young men fit for warre, they were 318. with whom he fought against the Kings that vanquished the Sodomites. He did traine them up to warre as was fit, and there­fore they are called his trained or instructed servants, and when hee had gotten the victory, they had leave by him to eate of the spoile; so that a good man should bring up his servants according to his place fitly to do him service, and at least should see that they have foode for them, chiefly when they labour and take paines.

I proceede to Abrahams carriage toward forreiners that were not of his house, whether kinsmen or frinmen as we call them,Abrahams car­riage to his kinsmen. he had one kinsman his Cousin german Lot, that was sonne to his brother Haran, him he loved very well, and studied to keepe all good peace and correspondency with him, and to remove all contention, and for that end, when their states were growne so great, that they could not conveniently dwell together, because being sojournours they were to take up but the waste of the land, which no naturall inhabitant had possessed, or else to take land for money of the inhabitants if they could spare the same, he came to Lot and made the motion of peace, and after gave him his offer to choose what part of the countrey hee would, as you may read, Gen. 13.7.He was peace­able.

Here is an excellent vertue of so mild and peaceable a disposition, that to prevent strife, can yeeld to his inferiour, in seeking to pacifie him by going to him with peaceable and quiet words and offers, and so farre part with his owne right, as to give the other the better a great deale, rather then proceed to jarres and discontents. O that we could all imitate Abraham, especially bretheren, kinsmen, and neere friends, and be so desirous of unity and accord as he was, not stouting it out as many do, with shall I yeeld so farre to him as to goe to him, to let him have his way, let him come to me if he please, and let him yeeld to mee. Most of our spirits be so big, that they will not bow to any that is a little inferiour, no not for peace sake, imparting with a little of their right for it. But know, it is an honour to be able to beare and forbeare, he hath the most wisedome and grace, that can part with his owne right, rather then continue a quarrell, if it be not in a matter of very great weight, wherein great dammage should come to him or his family, by parting with it. And know, that to stand over highly upon tearmes, and not to bate a jot or tittle, as some men use in boa­sting wise to affirme that they will not, is a proofe of a man led much by passion, and filled much with pride and selfe concei­tednesse. Hee knowes not the valew of peace, that will not redeeme it with bending somwhat even to his inferiour, chiefly a neere kinsman. The thing therefore J am to commend unto you, is pea­ceablenesse, and for that end moderation and lowlinesse of carriage, in yeelding a little more then needes to those that ought rather to yeeld to you, and certainely the comfort that peace and concord [Page 106] will repay you withall, shall prove it a good bargaine so to purchase peace.

2. He rescued Lot and redee­med him out of his enemies hands.Againe, Lot Abrahams kinsman was taken by the Kings that con­quered Sodom and Gomorrah, and when Abraham heard of it, he ar­med his owne servants, and got his confederates to joyne with him, and by force of sword redeemed Lot out of their hands, as you have the storie, Gen. 14.14, 15, 16. together with all the goods and people of Sodome, prudently ordering the battaile by night, and comming upon them secretly and unawares. Here are three excellent vertues of Abraham. First, Love to his kinsman Lot. Second, Courage and resolution, that durst fight for him. Third, Prudence in ordering the whole businesse. For you must take notice that Abraham was a little Prince, a kind of petty King in those dayes, as appeareth by the car­riage of Abimelech and others to him, and therefore he had warrant and ground enough to make warre against any King, State or person upon a just quarrell.

He was loving to Lot.But first marke his love to Lot, although Lot was lately departed from him, yet his love to Lot had not left him, but he was at cost and labour and hazard to redeeme him from captivity. Must not wee learne of him to shew great love to our kinsmen and speciall friends, if they be in danger perill and misery, even to doe all that according to our places we may to succour, relieve and rescue them, against wrong, violence, oppression and like calamities. Be charitable and kind kinsmen and bretheren, cleave to your kinsmen and bretheren, and so farre as you may lawfully, and as your places will beare, defend, maintaine and helpe them against unjustice and injury. No man must joyne with his kindred in a sinnefull and unjust cause, but in a good and honest and just cause, he is not of Abrahams minde, that will not sticke to them, and helpe them what in him lieth. All therefore that desert their friends in honest matters, for feare of a little cost or paines or the like, are to see, that they be not good imitators of this good man, nay nor any that doth not according to his place, succour the oppressed, which Salomon commendeth under a question saying, wilt thou not de­liver him? For must we succour an Asse pressed with a burden, and not a brother pressed with a bundle of injuries.

He was coura­gious.Againe, Abraham shewed courage in this worke, for had not hee beene of good resolution, he would not have dared to opposed him­selfe to a conquering army and a Prince, that had held divers other Princes in subjection, and now came for that purpose into those parts, to subdue those that had cast of the yoake. Loe how a good man must be couragious too, and not suffer himselfe to be deterred from his duty, or any good and commendable worke, by feare of danger. Courage is such a disposition and frame of mind that will not be daun­ted by perills and dangers,What courage is. and by evill accidents, that he may en­counter in the workes that his place requireth, but will resolve what in him lies, with due resistance to repell them, or if they cannot be repelled, to beare them. Such courage Abraham here discovered, [Page 107] such courage do you also shew and exercise, let not every shew of dan­ger skare you: but goe thorow with good workes, whatsoever comes of it. It is a good thing to be valiant in battaile, where life is ex­posed to perill, and is it not a good thing to be valiant against all other dangers?

And that you may be couragious in all things. First,Meanes to get courage. be sure the causes in which you put your selves in hazard, be good and just. Se­condly, be sure that you take God along with you, by keeping his favour in a holy conversation, as Abraham did, or else courage may quickly faile and deceive you.

And next, learne to deale prudently in all affaires, as Abraham did, in seeking the helpe of his confederates, and taking the opportunity of night, and dividing his men against his enemies into severall bands. The excellency of a businesse is in the wise carriage of it, labouring to get convenient aid and helpe, and then choosing fit times and sea­sons and other circumstances: We must blame our selves therefore if by any indiscretion or failing, we have hindered our owne good successe in our affaires, as often times men doe, and must pray to God to direct us with discretion (for it is his gift,) that we be not causes of our owne disappointment and misery.

Now see how Abraham behaved himselfe to frin-men as we call them. 1. To the Sodomites, 2. To the Cananites, 3. To Angels whom he tooke to be travellers.

First to the Sodomites, Abrahams car­riage to the Sodomites. Hee prayed for them. first he did most heartily intercede to God for their sparing, if there had beene found, 50.40, 30, 20. Yea but 10. just men therein: So great a lover of good men was Abraham, that he would heartily pray to God to save them, and for their sakes to save also the people whom they dwelt amongst, and how well pleasing this service was to God, it is evident in the storie, Gen. 18.23. ad finem. For God did with wonderfull patience accept his suites, even till hee came to so low a rate, as if he did finde but 10. in the 5. Cities, that is, a poore couple in every City.

Wee must learne hence, to shew our loves to man-kind in generall, and especially to just and good men, in praying God for all righteous men, that they may be saved and delivered, and for the Societies and Cities and countries wherein we live, that they also might pros­per and escape for the good sake of the good that live there. Fervent prayer for humane societies and for just men in them, should be made by Gods people. Why should you not improve the right you have unto Gods eares? For the good of many,1 Tim. 2.1. I will that prayers and sup­plications be made for all men, saith S. Paul, especially to pray that God would deliver Cities and Countries from publike and fearefull de­structions. Bretheren, why are we so defective in this duty? Why do we not pray for the nations abroad? in hope that there may be some righteous amongst them, why are our mouthes stopped from such suites? Let us now follow our Father here, and let our heartes and mouthes be inlarged with all humble confidence to be­seech [Page 108] God, for the good of those Cities and quarters of Christen­dome that are ready to eate up one another, that God would shew favour to them and not give them over to perish by the sword each of other. Account Prayer an exercise of some efficacie, have so much faith as to know that our prayers shall not be vaine labours, and that you beleeve, that God is a God that heareth prayers; onely let all your prayers be as Abrahams were, servent, humble, and re­verend.

2. He shewed humanity and kindnesse to the Sodomites he had taken.Another good worke of Abraham to the Sodomites was, that he did not make them slaves to himselfe and keepe them for his owne use, nor sell them as slaves to others, as by the Law of Nations he might well have done, but granted them liberty, and set them a­gaine in state of freedome after he had by the sword taken them out of the hands of those that had led them captive. He shewed hu­manity and kindnesse to them, though they were wicked men and not rigour and extremity.

Wee must all learne to be kinde and loving to mankinde, and not to presse men with heavie and grievous burdens, even though wee might doe it in extremity of right. This shall bring more love and good will, honour and good esteeme, then rougher and more se­vere carriage. It is better to be loved then hated, honoured then dis­graced, be counted a friend and saviour of men, then a proud per­son that cares not what becomes of others, so that himselfe may make an advantage of them. The comfort that gentlenesse and cle­mencie bringeth, is also very much more then that which will fol­low from the contrary. The dying heart can receive no content in thinking he hath crushed, inthralled or otherwise afflicted men, but that he hath delivered, comforted, saved them, that affoordeth great consolation, in that it becommeth an argument of goodnesse, and a meanes of hope, that a man shall finde mercy as he hath shewed and exercised it. Let not either covetousnesse, or arrogancie, or a cruell disposition make you carrie your selves austerely to men for your owne advantage sake, but use all courtesie, as Abraham did even to these Sodomites. Let them enjoy good things, even though you have power and some shew of right to deprive them thereof, one­ly doe not interrupt justice in her acts of severity. This was his dea­ling with the Sodomites in generall.

His carriage to the King of Sodome, hee would receive nothing from him.See how his dealing is with the King, as you have it, Gen. 14.21. He would not take any thing that was his, no not to a shooe-lat­cher, and he saith, that he had lift up his hands to God to that end, that it might not be said by the King of Sodome, I have made Abra­ham rich Here Abraham shewes himselfe, first, a man that did not regard riches, nor esteeme the wealth of this world, in that of his owne accord he bound himselfe by a vow, not to touch so great a bootie as this, that fell into his hands by just conquest, and which in all equity he might have taken and that with good thankes too for the present time from the King of Sodome, who wished alone the per­sons, [Page 109] and did willingly yeeld the goods to Abraham, but Abraham stood upon termes here of credit for his Religion sake, and would not have the King of Sodome to triumph and say, that his wealth had inriched Abraham.

You see, that we should so dis-valew riches, as freely to cast them away and deny our selves of them, rather then incurre any reproach or disgrace for them, even though the imputation would be unjust. Should not all men labour to have as generous a minde as Abraham? Sure, we should strive for the perfection of vertue which hath beene found in the Saints. It cannot be said yet, Abraham should have sinned if he had taken this spoyle, neither was hee bound so much to the Sodomite, as to affoord him either persons or goods: but he conside­red before hand, that some aspersion of covetousnesse would have beene cast upon him, if he should have possessed himselfe of this wealth, and therefore he bindes himselfe from it by a vow. Noble Abraham, that regardest due esteeme rather then great riches, and wouldst let goe so faire a morsell, rather then incurre any the least shew of disgrace for worldlinesse. Why should not we be followers of Abraham his vertues? Why should we use meanes to get wealth joyned with apparent reproach? such as would set the mouthes of all men on talking against us, more then this fact would have filled the mouth of Chedarlaomer with talke against Abraham: O what a bu­sinesse of minde is this newes? and how doth it shew our in­ordinate affection to riches more then to a good name? which yet is to be preferred above all treasures, if we would hearken to Salomon. I conclude, that we must shew our true magnanimity, by sleighting great abundance of outward things, so as that no man might ever have cause to grudge against us, that these riches which should have beene his if all things had beene fairely carried, have made us rich, especially let no man grow rich by taking forfeitures of poore men, it is worse to use extremity to a meane person then to a great.

Now consider this worthy mans carriage to the Cananites, Abrahams good carriage to the Cana­nites. inha­bitants of the land in which he was a stranger. First for the Coun­trie it selfe, then for the persons that dwelt in it. For the Countrey, Abraham made it much the better for him by two things, wood and water, very necessary things for the life of man. For hee planted groves and hee digged wells againe, which had beene digged in the daies of his Father. As concerning those groves, it is conje­ctured that they might be for religious use, because it is said, there he called on the name of God: but the word here used is not the same under which such groves for religious use are after forbidden, there­fore more like it is that here alone was intended civill use, and sure it is a good thing to plant wood for the benefit of mankind after our selves be dead. A man would have thought,Planting of wood is a com­mendable thing. what should a stranger trouble himselfe to make a grove? He is likely to depart from the place soone, and then he cannot carry his trees with him; but this [Page 110] did not discourage Abraham, he knew that some man might enjoy it if himselfe did not. Indeed for wells and water, the profit re­dounded to himselfe presently as well as to others for the fu­ture.

Now learne of him to be common Benefactors, by helping to store the world with wood and water-springs, and other like things, the use of which shall redound to many as well as to your selves: Especially the care of planting woods should be commended unto you, our age destroies that necessary provision. All cut downe, none plant for another age, wood is usefull for shade, for timber, for fewell, it is one of the things wee cannot want, it is one of the things, that if it be discreetely done, will quit the cost that it re­quireth. The tree after a little time will grow without any labour of expence bestowed about it, it will pay for its standing, if you set your hedge-rowes with trees, they would grow as well as thornes. If here and there at convenient distance, trees were planted, especi­ally timber trees, the grasse would not be much the lesse. But I am not a husband-man good enough to commend these particulars to you; Let mee commend the thing in generall, Order things for the common benefit, and shew your selves lovers of mankinde, be not all for your selves and for the present.

Now to the persons generally, he shewes curtesie, that is, a car­riage savouring of lowlinesse and good esteeme, together with love and good will unto the Hittites when he came unto them about the matter of a field of buriall for Sarah, Hee shewed lowly and re­spective car­riage toward the Hittites. Gen. 23.7. Hee stood up and bowed himselfe, the word is the same that is in other places translated worshipped, meaning he bowed his body with his face downeward in testimony of honour and respect, and afterwards, verse 12. Hee bowed downe himselfe before the people of the Land. You see lowly and respective carriage in this worthy servant of God.

We ought to carrie our selves courteously to all men, Honour all men, saith S. Peter, he meanes it, of this kinde of respective behaviour of bo­dy. This is a meanes to shew love, and to beget love, and to increase love, and to keep out jarres and discontents, as a sower and hautie and sullen dogged carriage doth proclaime contempt or hatred or both, and so causeth jarres and fallings out, and dislikes, and increaseth them if they have beene begun. Those therefore that be of a haughty carriage, or rude and boysterous behaviour, not knowing how to give due salutations or complements of courtesie are to be blamed, as men that doe not alone want education but charity and humility, for if those graces did rule in the heart, though they could not prompt a man to a kinde of artificiall demonstration of them, yet they would some way infuse themselves into the carriage, and make it gentle and ami­able. Therefore let your carriage be faire, and kinde, and sweete, bow, bend, salute, use cap, knees, all such things as either nature or custome maketh to be as it were badges and professions of humble love and serviceablenesse, of a not too much preferring your selves above [Page 111] others, and under-valewing them in comparison of your selves, ac­custome your selves unto and use them for conscience sake, that they may savour of piety in the estimation of God, who can see piety in such things, and so they may be more then morrall vertues, even spirituall actions and fruits of Sanctification. Onely, I beseech you, to take heed of causing your courtesie to be meere complement, and of being the more crafty by how much you seeme more courteous, and of ushering in some naughtinesse by a goodly and lowly car­riage of your selves. If such vertues be corrupted, and that there be nothing in them but the meere out-side, the more loathsome to God, and at length also to man.

Particularly, see how he carrieth himselfe to Hephron the Hittite, Abrahams car­riage to He­phron. with whom he bargained for a field of buriall. He deales plainely and squarely with him, Ephron offered to give it him freely, he would none. A wealthy man should not be apt to receive a thing of gift, it would be a signe of covetousnesse and of an having dis­position. Then he asketh the price and saith, that hee will give as much as it is worth. I will give thee saith hee the money of the field, that is, what it is worth, and Ephron answers, tis worth 400 she­kels. A common shekell is thought to be worth 1 s. 3d. of our money, so 400 shekels is 25 lb. and then Abraham weighes him the money of silver currant with the Merchants. Abraham in a bargaine of 25 lb. doth not stand halfe-perthing, and first bids 15, then 17, then 20, then 22, then 24, then 25, as a number of base niggardly minded men would have done, but when he saw it to be worth the money at a word he payes it, and when Ephron saw Abraham de­sirous of this land, he doth not aske 40, or 35, or 30, or 32, but at one word tells him so much it is worth, and so they agree, the one also payes currant money in full weight, and the other giveth present and good assurance, and so here is justice, and plaine upright dealing betwixt them.

O that you would learne of him to bargaine and pay without any over-reaching or tricks either in bidding or asking, or other devi­ces, that you might shew your selves not to be possessed with the love of money, which is the vice of all vices, even the roote of all evill. But I am sure, the contrary driving of bargaines is usuall amongst us, that it may appeare we doe not buy and sell out of re­spect of our duty unto God, and the common good, but alone out of desire to waxe as rich as we can, yea though it be by other mens losses.

Next consider, Abrahams carriage to Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre. His carriage to Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre. First, in making a Covenant with them it seemeth to have beene a league of peace offensive and defensive. Secondly, in making bold with them to crave their aid in his battell against the King of Shiron, by whom Lot was captivated. Thirdly, in allowing them to take their part of the booty though himselfe would not doe it. So a good man may and in some cases must joyne himselfe in [Page 112] covenants and leagues so farre as his owne benefit, and the bene­fit of other men requireth it, and must use prudence and discretion to keepe himselfe safe, not relying on the care of God without care of using meanes. Hee may also challenge of others, the per­formance of covenants, and must be content to make himselfe be­holding to his friends as occasion serveth, and not stand too much upon termes of being troublesome to them. And hee must also leave his friends to themselves, in point of their right, and not presse them to those things, whereto yet it may seeme convenient to binde himselfe: for you heare Abraham saying, Let Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre take their part of the booty, though himselfe bound him­selfe by oath to take no part of it. O that we could carrie our selves so to our friends! and not be still pinching to them, so as we will part with nothing, unlesse they will be perswaded to part with as much. It is a most base and abject disposition, and carries a relish of excessive selfe-love, when a man is so greedy of his owne gaine, that unlesse others will beare as great a part as himselfe in such and such things, he will hold and keepe and let nothing goe from him­selfe. But it is a noble and magnanimous part, and a signe of true charity, when a man will rather put himselfe to losse, and yet give others leave to have an eye unto their profit.

Abrahams car­riage to Abi­melech. 1. Maketh a covenant wirh him.Now see, how Abraham carrieth himselfe to Abimelech as you finde it recorded, Gen. 21.22. & 33. Abimelech with his chiefe Captaine and inward friend came to Abraham, desiring to make a Covenant of peace and amity with him, perceiving that hee was a man blessed of God and prosperous, and Abraham condis­cended to the motion and makes the oath unto him. So should we willingly imbrace offers of peace and concord, and covenants of love and amity, even if need be, to binde our selves therein with a solemne oath, for the Lord of Heaven is so great a lover of unity betwixt men, that hee is well content, his holy and great name should be used as a bond or obligation to tie them faster and surer together. When therefore a lawfull oath is required of us, for the assuring of others that we will deale faithfully in any part of our duty, we shall not doe well to refuse such an oath, but must informe our selves by the practise of so good a man as Abraham of the lawfull­nesse and usefullnesse of such an oath; only that we be carefull to deale uprightly and sincerely, both in taking and in keeping our oathes. Yea when an oath is ministred to binde as to forbeare all wrongfull car­riage and doe good in our places, we should be glad to have our consci­ences firmely tied in such cases.

2. Dealeth plainely with him.Further note, that Abraham dealeth plainely with Abimelech, and reprooveth him concerning a well of water which the servants of Abimelech had violently taken away from Abraham. So must wee deale freely and plainely with our neighbours and friends, in expostu­lating such and such wrongs as may fall out to be done unto us by them and theirs, and must not lay the matter up in our mindes, so [Page 113] to keepe our selves estranged from them. For it may so come to passe, that we may finde that it was without their privitie and against their will, that such bad measure hath beene offered unto us, as it fell out in the matter whereof Abraham doth complaine to Abimelech. But we must be sure Beloved, in all occasions of such complaints, to tem­per our anger, and keepe our selves in so good tune, that we breake not forth into words of choler and discontent, tending to provoke and exasperate them with whom we deale in such cases, but do it with gentlenesse and mildnesse of speech, that quiet words may pacifie wrath if any be stirred, not grievous words stirre up that which was ready to goe forth of it selfe. Yea when a just and reasonable apology or excuse is used by any upon our complaints, we must be ready to accept of it, and to be satisfied, that we may not prove our selves to be of an implacable disposition.

Yea we see, that Abraham dealeth also bountifully with Abimelech, 3. Hee dealt bountifully with him. for it is said, v. 27. he gave him Sheepe and Oxen when they made a covenant, so men that have wealth must be free handed and free hearted, and ready to bestow convenient gifts and presents upon those whose favour they would keepe, and to whom they would have it manifest that they resolve to be fast and sure friends. Nothing lesse be seemeth a wealthy man then niggardlinsse and close-fistednesse, whereby he is so held in captivity, that he cannot willingly let any thing goe from him, but what he cannot keepe though he would. Indeed bounty is chiefely to be exercised to the poore and needy, but yet so that in due time we must learne to practise it, by a free giving to our equals also, and those that stand not in absolute neede, for gifts are fit meanes to expresse the lovers good will, as well as to supply the wants of the receivers.

Lastly, Abraham sets apart 7. Ewe Lambes,Abrahams good carriage to strangers. and when Abimelech demanded the reason, he tells him that he should receive those Lambes at his hand in testimony of his acknowledgement, that Abraham had digged that well, and that the right thereof appertained to him. So we should in wisedome learne to make all matters cleare betwixt our selves and others, in cases that have beene in controversie, that so wee may cut of all occasions of heart-burning or contention for the time to come, and that though wee put our selves to a little cost, for the setting of things in stable peace betwixt them and us.

The last part of Abrahams good carriage is to strangers, which he conceived at first to be men, though indeed they proved to be Angels: for so you have his hospitality recorded by the Holy Ghost, Gen. 18. 1. ad 17. When he saw certaine men which he tooke to be travellers, he ranne to them, and with importunity brought them on their way. A courteous, free and honourable intertaining of strangers, is a vertue commended to our imitation, by the example of Abraham: for so saith the Author to the Hebrewes. Heb. 13.2. Be not forgetfull to intertaine stran­gers, for by that meanes some have received Angels unawares, and we are bidden to be given to hospitality. Let us therefore be farre [Page 114] from niggardlinesse in this case, and yet farre from profusenesse too. And if to strangers, much more to our friends and acquaintance, must we shew our selves humane and liberall in this kinde, and most of all to our poore and needy neighbours, that cannot reward us, for our Saviour prefers mercy before curtesie, and tells us, that such cost shall be reckoned for. So have we done with Abrahams vertues, which if we can take out in our practise happy shall we be, for to this end are good mens good deeds registred in the Booke of God, that we which reade them, by following them in the waies of goodnesse, might be sure to over-take them in the end of our journey, and to dwell in the place of happinesse, whether they have safely gone be­fore us.

Abrahams faults before his calling. James. 3.2.Now I proceede to tell of his sinnes and offences, for such is the state of mortall men in this life, that it shall be found true of every man, which S. Iames tells us, in many things we offend all. Doubt­lesse he arrogateth greater perfection to himselfe, then ever the word of God hath attributed to any meere man since Adam, that conceiveth himselfe to be quite free from all evill corruptions, and from the brea­king out of corruptions.

His first fault idolatry.The first fault of Abraham was that in which he lived before his calling by God out of Vr of the Chaldees, for it is manifest in the 24. of Iosh. v. 2. that the Fathers in old time, even Terah the Father of Abraham and of Nahor, and consequently the sonnes themselves, being so brought up of their Fathers, served other gods. Here then is a sinne in Abraham, that he tooke up the religion of his Fathers with­out making any diligent inquiry into the matter, whether the religion and gods were true or not. And this is a fault common to all man­kind, they take their religion on trust, serving those gods which they find in the places where they dwell to be worshipped and served, and labour not to find out and serve the true God alone, who is onely worthy to be served, yea if it fall out that the true God be served amongst them, they cleave not to him out of judgement and well grounded knowledge, that he is the onely true God, but alone out of common custome, because all men do so, and this their religon be­commeth but a vaine religion, and is of no force to their salvation. Indeed it was not so strange a thing that Abraham should be thus car­ried away after false gods, according as he was led by the common example, seeing at that time they had not the word of God written by Prophets and Apostles, to direct and guide them in this matter. But for us whom God hath so farre favoured as to give us the cleare light of his holy word, it is a most grievous sinne to be led wholy by custome and example, and not to build and ground our selves upon that light which God hath ministred unto us. And the true cause, why men do follow such false guides in matter of Gods worship, is the blindnesse of their mindes, and carnallnesse of their hearts, and the secret atheisme which is in them, by which they are not thorough­ly and certainely perswaded, that there is a God at all, and therefore [Page 115] care not to finde out and serve the living God, as if it made no great matter, so they served one which they served.

Let us therefore beware of false gods and false religions, and let us beware of walking after a false rule even in following the true God, that is, of serving him, not because wee have any true and certaine knowledge of him in our owne mindes, but onely because we have beene so taught of our Fathers, and see the whole world where we live to take the same course, for he that is thus blindly led, worships God but by chance as it were, and is as ready for a false god as for a true, and this was Abrahams fault before his cal­ling.

Now after his calling, he fell into some sinnes,Abrahams faults after his calling. 1. Weakenesse of faith. though not wil­fully nor presumptuously, but of weakenesse and of infirmity. The first fault was weakenesse of faith. Though he was the Father of the faithfull, and is commended in Scripture for the strength of his faith, and that he wavered not nor staggered at the promise of God through unbeleefe, yet at the first, his faith was mixed with unbe­leefe, and shewed it selfe to have some feeblenesse in it. For first, when he went downe into Egypt because of the famine, and saw that the men were wicked and feared not God, he was in doubt, least the men of the place would kill him for his wives sake. God had promised him before that time to give the land of Canaan to him and to his seede after him, and yet he had no seed, therefore as yet hee could not be put to death, unlesse the promise of God should faile him and come to nothing. Notwithstanding the promise which should have beene frustrated, if himselfe had died without issue, he doubted least he might be slaine by them, as being distempered and diverted by feare from considering and taking diligent notice of the promise. This was a manifest imperfection of faith you see. Where­fore let us take notice that in the faithfullest of Gods people there will be defects of faith, as also there was want of it in David, when he said, I shall one day fall by the hand of Saul, and in Moses, 1 Sam. 27.1. Exod. 6.12. when he said, How will Pharaoh heare mee? seeing the Israelites did not, and againe, Why hast thou sent mee to deliver the people? seeing Pharaoh oppresseth them the more since I spake to him.

And therefore, let us not be discouraged though we finde weake­nesse in our faith, though faith I say doe shew it selfe feeble and be much troubled, and sometimes foiled by doubting, especially in great and sore temptations; yet we must not be heartlesse, nor conclude, that we are utterly destitute of faith, or that our faith is not true and sincere, and unfained. True faith you see in Abraham may be weake, yea cannot but be weake, so long as we be cloathed with tabernacles of flesh. He that truly beleeves, may yet be carried away with doubt­ing sometimes, when occasions of perill and danger incounter his faith; and therefore also let us be carefull to confirme and strengthen our faith more and more, and to grow in it by renewing our medita­tions of Gods promises, and putting our selves often in minde of the [Page 116] power and truth of God the promise-maker, which are the pillars and foundations of our faith. For if Abraham, when these doubts be­gan to stirre in his minde, had called to minde Gods promise of gi­ving him seede, and had reasoned with himselfe thus, hath not the li­ving God possessour of Heaven and Earth undertaken to give mee a seede to inherit this land after me? How then can I be killed by the Philistins? How can they take away my life whilst this promise is not yet fulfilled? Surely God both can and also will give mee life and preserve me from the hands of these godlesse Philistins, for how else should he fulfill his promise to me of giving me seed after me? If Abraham, I say, had thus stirred up his faith by serious consideration of Gods power and truth, he had not beene foyled so as he was. Let his weaknesse and failings be our warning, that we may escape the evills which he fell into.

Againe, as Abrahams faith was weake and yeelded a little to doubt­ings,2. A carnall feare of death. so was he possessed somewhat strongly for the time with a kinde of carnall feare of death, Gen. 12.12. and afterwards, Gen. [...]0.13. He said, they will slay mee for my wives sake. So you must note another weakenesse in Gods people, flowing from the former imperfection of faith. They are apt to be over-fearefull of dangers, and by name of death, even to be so much terrified with the apprehension of dan­ger, especially of loosing their lives, that they cannot must upon God and rest upon him for safety, as they should doe. This feare was found in David, it was found also in Peter, and in divers others of Gods people. The ground of it is, as I said, partly the weakenesse of their faith, and partly the terriblenesse of death, which is the ter­riblest of all terrible things, as being a separation of the soule from the body, and a stripping a man at once of all those things that are most deare unto him, and conveighing him out of this world into ano­ther; concerning his happinesse herein he is not alwaies so full of assu­rance as he should be. For when these feares doe suddainely seize up­on a man, upon occasion of some sensible object that threatens him, they pull out of the minde for the time the thought of Gods promises, and hold the soule alone in the apprehension of the greatnesse and inevi­tablenesse of the danger which looketh him in the face.

Let us therefore learne, not to be heartlesse our selves, because we hare have beene so transported with feare, as was Abraham, nor yet be censorious to others, whom wee shall see thus for a fit even shaken and almost overcome of feare. It is a fault indeed, and we must blame our selves for it and be humbled, but it is such a fault, as may stand with truth of grace, and which doth not give just reason to conclude ourselves unsanctified, or not to be Gods true children.

And let us learne to beware of feare, to resist and oppose it at the beginning by the opposition of Gods love and protection; yea, let us labour to worke in our mindes such a true apprehension of the harmeles­nesse of death and other crosses, that we may learne not to be afraid of [Page 117] them, though we must needs suffer them. For why should we feare that which cannot hurt, yea that which shall be an advantage to us, Feare none of those things that you shall suffer, saith the Lord, and David saith, I will not feare what man can doe unto mee, and againe,Psal. 118.6. Psal. 23.4. I will not feare though I walke in the valley of the shadow of death. It is an ex­cellent thing and very comfortable, when our heart is so setled that feare may not dismay us. And the way is to get assurance of Gods fa­vour and of eternall life, and that all things shall worke for our good, and speedily to set this faith on worke, when dangers shall offer them­selves unto our sight.

But further, Abraham to avoid this danger,3. He dissem­bled. consulted with flesh and bloud, and used deceit, and shifting, and falsehood, for though his words were in some sence true, as he telleth Abimelech, because Sa­rah was his sister by one side, yet in the meaning which he would have those to interpret his words to whom he spake them, they were not true. For his intent was to make them conceive, that she was so his sister as not his wife. He resolved to use false speeches, and draw his wife likewise to joyne with him in these false speeches, yea they agreed upon it before hand as he tels Abimelech, Gen. 20.13. Abraham said to her, this is the kindnesse thou shalt shew mee at every place whether wee shall come, say he is my brother. You see they agreed before hand to dissemble and to continue dissembling; yet sure dissem­bling is a sinne and ought not to be done, as Abraham heares even from Abimelech himselfe, verse 9. Thou hast done deeds unto mee that ought not to be done. So it may befall a good Abraham out of incon­sideratenesse and heedlesnesse in not pondering their pathes, nor thinking of their waies, or in a suddaine to dissemble and deale false­ly for the preventing of danger, as may be seene also in David, and in Peter, when he denied Christ, and when he withdrew himselfe from communion with the Gentiles, for feare of them which came from Iames to Antioch. For a thing not considered of, is for present as use­lesse as if it were not knowne at all.

Therefore here also we must learne not to be utterly discouraged, if we have run into such a fault, when we bethinke our selves after of such offences, we must be humbled, bewaile them, confesse them, condemne and judge our selves for them, but we must not be feare­full of asking pardon, and of intreating mercy to forgive them, must not conclude, that there was no truth of grace in us, because of such palpable failings, yea we must take boldnesse to goe to the throne of grace, renewing our repentance, and earnestly suing for pardon.

And we must also take heed of censuring others, and bitterly and harshly for such offences, though they be grosse: even Abimelech did not esteeme Abraham a dishonest and naughty man, because he had found him tripping in this matter; onely take heed least we misuse this Example and the like, to build upon them a boldnesse to such sinnes, that were a great wickednesse. They must imbolden us to repent and [Page 118] crave mercy, after we have through weakenesse offended, they must not imbolden us before hand to resolve on a sinfull deed. Yea when we behold their stumblings, it should make us to be earnest in our prayers to God for a great measure of strength, that we may escape such offences, and to be more frequent and firme in renewing our purposes of not finning in the like kinde. Resolve therefore, that nothing shall make you lie or dissemble, and if you doe resolve, you will seeke pardon and strive to transgresse no more.

4. He drew Sa­rah to sinne, so farre as to in­danger her chastity.Also note that Abraham drawes Sarah here to sinne in such a kinde, as did even hazard and indanger her chastity once or twice. O let good men take heed of drawing one another to sin, for our sin will so indan­ger another, that we know not when we shall be rid of the evill fruits of our feares and dissemblings. When a man is in perill he doth not likely look about him, to see those mischiefes that will follow the bad courses he takes, to free himselfe from the present evill. Sure if he would fore-see them, he would rather suffer the danger of feare, then expose himselfe to the bad consequents of his escape. Would not Abraham rather have hazarded himselfe by saying she is my wife, then of making her commit adultery, by saying she is my sister, if he had well considered of it before hand.

But yet note we, that Abraham fell into this sinne once, and againe, and if occasion had served, was ready to fall into it often, as we have alledged his agreement with Sarah before. He did it first in Pharaohs Countrie, then in Abimelechs Countrie, and intreated Sarah to doe so where ever he came; so for want of due considering, a good man may runne into the same grosse sinne againe and againe, yea and be ready to runne into it very often, if he were put to it, as we see also in Isaac in the same kinde.

A double ig­norance.There is a double sinne of ignorance. One concerning the fact in generall, when one knowes not that such a thing is unlawfull, the other concerning this particular fact, when I doe not take notice and observe that this act of mine is such a sinne. Often it falls out, that Gods chil­dren through the strength of some passion or corruption, as here out of feare, doe not consider of their particular actions and so run often into foule offences out of this particular ignorance, as I may call it, they know the proposition, deceit is a sinne, but the assumption, this is an act of deceit, is not added for want of considering, and there­fore the conscience doth not presse, this is a deceitfull act, you must not doe it. Now when we finde our selves upon better consideration, to have beene carried thus to doe evill, we must not be dismayed but renew our repentance, and rest on Gods mercy in Christ for par­don, and so for the future, resolve to forbeare the sinne. Also we must learne, often to consider of our owne waies least any such faults be found in us. Mans heart is full of blindnesse and selfe-deceit, and un­lesse he shake himselfe as it were, and examine his waies often in his owne heart, he may live in some great offence and not finde it, and though these kinds of sinnes will not hazard his salvation, yet they [Page 119] may bring divers crosses and miseries, and much reproach, and give much offence, and procure sore temptations, and much disquietment of conscience to him afterwards: Let us not animate our selves to sinne by the falls of the Saints, but rather worke in our selves an holy feare of our selves and care of avoiding such sins.

Now I come to Abrahams last sinne, which was his taking of Hagar, 5. Abraham had two wives a fault in it selfe, for God made one Man and one Woeman, to shew, that he would have marriage an individuall society of life betwixt one Man and one Woeman. But that point was not knowne it seemes in those times, and therefore both Sarah perswaded her husband, and he condescended to take Hagar. A good man may live in a few sinnes of ignorance, and never particularly repent of them. Take we heed therefore of condemning those, who conceiving such and such things not to be sinnefull, take boldnesse to live in them. If want of will to see the light, make a man to resist the light, offering it selfe to his conscience, because that he will not know, fearefull is such a mans estate, and I cannot see that this may stand with sanctification. But if want of light or strength of impediments hinder from knowing, wee should not condemne a man that in other things is upright for such faults, onely we must labour with God to reveale to us our secret faults, that so much as maybe, we may free our selves from those sinnes of ignorance, and take heed of taking things on trust upon the opinion and example even of most worthy men.

Wee goe forward in considering Abrahams example,3. Abrahams benefits. and must ob­serve the benefits which God bestowed upon him. These are of two sorts. First, Temporall, then Spirituall.1. Temporall. The Temporall blessings are of two sorts. First, Those that were given to himselfe. Secondly, Those that were granted to others for his sake.

First for himselfe,1. For himself. besides the common benefits of health and strength, and wit, and limbes and the like, which most men receive at the hands of God. He gave him first a good Wife, Sarah, 1. A good wife who was obedient unto him as the Scripture noteth, and did shew all respect and reverence to him, calling him Sir, or my Lord, 1 Pet. 3 6. and though shee was a woeman and had her fraileties, yet she was a good and dutifull wife unto him, and in the maine a comfort unto him. Abraham had his Sarah with whom he lived very comfortably in the state of matri­mony, and there never fell out that we read of, but one alone discon­tent and brawle betwixt them, which yet by the wisedome and mo­deration of Abraham, was quickly made up and healed.

Now this benefit must be marked as a singular and excellent bles­sing,A good wife a great blessing to have a loving, chast, dutifull and respective wife, is a great blessing. All those to whom God hath vouchsafed the same mercy, must see and acknowledge it with all thankfulnesse. And if we con­sider that a bad wife is like continuall droppings, and as rottennesse in ones bones, and like oyle in his right hand, which will quickly discover it selfe, we shall learne the better to prize and esteeme this favour. Hee that obtaineth a wife saith Salomon,Prov. 18. [...]2.obtaineth mercy of the [Page 120] Lord. Prov. 9.14. For house and goods be the inheritance of the Fathers, but a good wife is of the Lord. Prov. 31.10, 11 And Salomon saith, Who shall find a vertuous woe­man? her price is above the pearles. The heart of her husband shall trust in her, shee will doe him good and not evill all the dayes of his life. This great benefit the Lord gave unto his servant Abraham. All therefore that have obtained the like mercy in some measure, must observe and valew aright so principall a blessing. Though a man have an yoake-fellows in some things imperfect and weake, yet if she be generally good, will joyne with him in piety as Sarah did with Abraham, and beare him company in all good things, and will leave house and all to journey with him, if God call them forth to any service, it is a spe­ciall goodnesse, and a chiefe instrument of his comfort and welfare. Sarah honoured Abraham, Sarah obeyed Abraham, she was ready to provide a feast for the Angels at his appointment, shee was a good huswife and helpefull unto him in the overseeing of his great family, shee was every way contentfull and pleasing unto him, and a little too obsequious, in being content for his sake, to say she was his sister. Wherefore let this first benefit be noted, and let those that have it con­fesse it with praise and thankes to God, and let those that have it not as yet, learne to seeke it at Gods hands, knowing his readinesse to exercise his goodnesse upon all men in all ages, if they feare and obey him, as well as upon Abraham in his time.

2 He had chil­dren.Secondly, God gave Abraham children also. First he had Ishmael by Hagar, then in due time he had Isaac by Sarah, the sonne of the promise, the sonne of his old-age, besides a godly and dutifull sonne, that inherited the promises and the blessings with him, and in whom the covenant of God was established. Hee gave him also many other children by Keturah, which had also children in his life time.

Children are a blessing of God, chiefly if they be good and ver­tuous, willing to be ruled by their parents. These are the inheritance of God, when they grow up as Olive plants round about ones table, and the Psalmist saith,Psal. 127.5. blessed are they which have their quiver full of them, they shall not be ashamed when they speake with their ene­mies in the gate. These comfort him in their childhood, and are a delight to him when they be young, these are a staffe to his old-age. In them his name liveth when his person is dead, and they be as it were branches springing from himselfe as a roote, and making his house to flourish and be greene. So God blessed Abraham in the fruite of his body.

Let all those therefore whom God hath blessed with this blessing, see Gods good hand to them, and praise him for it. Indeed to be a parent of many and towardly children, if it lift up the heart to God, and occasion our hearty thankefulnesse unto the Lord, is a speciall favour. Those that have it must see Gods good hand in it, and those that have it not, must seeke it of God, and walke before him obe­diently, that they may be capeable of it.

[Page 121]Next, God gave Abraham good servants,3 He had good servants, espe­cially one. for they all hazarded themselves for and with him in the battaile fought with foure victorious Kings, and helped him to redeeme his brother Lot out of captivity, and submitted to be circumcised, and to be taught and in­structed. Had they not beene loving and couragious, Abraham could not have accomplished his desire for his kinsmans deliverance. But especially he had one exceeding faithfull servant, religious, diligent, discreete, carefull of his businesse, and one in whom he might put his trust for the well ordering of his goods, and for the dispatch of any affaires committed to him. You see his carriage in the 24. of Genesis. He was cautelous and warie in taking of his oath, and would not sweare rashly, He was carefull in observing his oath after he had taken it. He made use of his masters goods, and the power which his master had given him over his family and goods, to finish well that great worke of taking a wife for Isaac. He commended the matter to God with earnest prayer. He followed it thoroughly, and brought it to passe effectually. He made a good choice for Isaac, and made hast to returne to his master, and bring him backe the fruit of his jour­ney with good successe. No doubt it was a great joy of heart to Abra­ham, when he saw Eliezer returning with so good speed from Padan-Aram, and bringing backe with him so sweet and choice a Virgin for Isaac, according to the earnest desire of Abraham.

Let all masters marke Gods dealing with them in their servants, and if he please to store them with many good servants, or with one or two alone, of excellent parts and graces, let them even praise God for it, considering how great a vexation it is, to be crossed with ser­vants of a contrary disposition, which will be unto him even as smoake in his eyes, and as vineger to his teeth. And let all that desire such a blessing, take the same course that Abraham did, that is, labour them­selves to be good masters, and to command and teach their servants to feare God as Abraham did, and to shew themselves loving, kind and liberall to them.

But further, Abraham had a good kinsman Lot, 4. Abraham had good kinsmen. 1. Lot. that consented to beare him company in a holy pilgrimage, and was easily wonne by his wise dealing, to keepe peace and amity with him, though some little breach began, yet it was soone made up betwixt them, and Lot and he lived in good peace and concord together. No doubt this also gladded Abrahams heart, and proved a speciall consolation unto him. If God have given any man such a religious and godly Cousin or Kins­man, let him make much of him, and be a kind Kinsman as Abraham was. Yea the Brother of Abraham,2. Nahor.Nahor though he continued in the land of Aram, and went not out with Abraham, yet was in his kind a good Kinsman too, for he rejoyced to heare of Abrahams wel­fare, and intertained his servant courteously, and most readily sent his daughter to him, so long a journey into a farre countrey, to be a yoake-fellow to Isaac his sonne, to the no small comfort of Abraham and Isaac both. Herein he shewed mercy and truth to Abraham, as the [Page 122] servant spake, and did the office of a good and loving Brother. If God afford such blessings to any, that he hath a loving wife and cour­teous Brother, ready to gratifie and comfort him, he must observe it with thankes, and those that would have the good hand of God to stirre up their Bretheren to shew them due respect, must even walke upright and before God, that he may reward them as he rewarded Abraham.

5. Abraham had faithfull friends.But another blessing Abraham had too, he met with very faithfull friends who were confederate with him, and did most carefully ob­serve the conditions of friendship and amity, for you see they did readily joyne with him, and helped him in his warre against the fore­named conquering kings, and were instruments by their valour to re­deeme Lot, and to vanquish those conquerours. This is a most de­sirable benefit, to have true and trusty friends and allies, that will sticke to him in his need, and hazard themselves for him, and joyne with him in his good cause, and not prove like unto a leg out of joynt, or a broken tooth when occasion serves to imploy them and use their labour, or hazard for his benefit. Doe you not think that Abraham rejoyced in the fidelity and amity of his associates. Doe you not thinke that he blessed God for it, and did account himselfe very hap­py in enjoying three such noble and worthy confederates. Let us encourage our selves to obey God, and to forsake our country and kindred at his command, for cannot he repay and repaire that losse easily? by raising us up even in a strange countrey, those that shall as heartily love us, and as faithfully cleave to us, as any kinsmen in the world. Feare not to forsake friends for Gods sake, for hee can easily cause you to find as good in a strange countrey, if need so re­quire, as any you may leave behind you in your owne countrey. And if any have in his owne countrey or abroad met with such friends, he must attribute it to the wise and good providence of God over him, and with solid and sincere praises acknowledge it, carrying himselfe friendly also to them, and shewing himselfe as willing to grant a be­nefit to them in fit season, as ever he was to receive a benefit from them,Prov. 18.24. for hee that hath friends, saith Salomon, must behave himselfe friendly. Let us yet consider another mercy.

5. Abraham had a good name. Abraham had good esteeme and reputation, an honest and honou­rable name amongst the men of Heth where he lived, so that they all loved and respected him, as appeareth. Melchisedech loved him and came out to meet him and blessed him, and gave him bread and wine for himselfe and for his troupes, Abimelech used him curteously, and though Abraham and Sarah both had somewhat too grossely overshot themselves, in dissembling that Sarah was his wife, and that way indangered him to a great sinne, and brought some heavy hand of God upon him and his house; yet he shew'd himselfe affable and bountifull, restoring him his wife, and not so alone, but giving him gifts, and commanding his people to forbeare all injurious car­riage to him and his wife, and granting him leave to dwell where he [Page 123] would in his countrey, and after repairing to him, desiring his friend­ship, he acknowledged that God had blessed him and was with him, and requested that a Covenant might be made betwixt them two, and that in the solemnest manner. Was not this a signe of great respect and love in him to Abraham? and was it not a singular comfort and credit to Abraham, and a signe of Gods great favour to him, to incline the heart of such a person to him? Yea in what repute and credit he lived, appeareth in that the Hittites honoured him, called him a Prince of God, and were ready to give him leave to make use of any of their choisest Sepulchers to burie his wife in, and Ephron the Hittite a man of good esteeme amongst them, at first word did frankely offer to give him his field, which he desired, and at first condiscended to sell it him for a reasonable price. So God gave Abraham good will and credit where he came and amongst all even high and low.

Let this also encourage all men to serve and obey God. He can give them a good name and good favour every where, vertue, piety, and goodnesse shall winne good esteeme and kindnesse from men that be not utterly slaves to sinne, so farre as it is good for Gods people to enjoy. They must indeed, (if God see fit to try them by that crosse) endure disgrace and hatred, and causelesse malice and reproach, but so farre as Gods Wisdome judgeth it beneficiall for them, he both can and will incline the hearts of all to respect and regard them, to love and honour them. He will make them to be honoured and favoured of all with whom they live. Feare not therefore to serve God, but cleave to him and obey him, you see his bounty how he can and will requite his faithfull servants.

And those that finde the good hand of God going with them in this kinde, that they be respectfully and kindly entertained, that they have a good name and loving kindnesse with all men, except per­haps some vile and base persons, that they be cordially and heartily loved, that men speake well of them, wish and doe well to them, and are glad and ready to gratifie them, they must acknowledge Gods goodnesse in this mercy and rejoyce in his love, that doth turne the hearts of men unto them, and praise, honour and love him the more, for the praise, honour and love they receive in the world. We must prepare our selves to meete with ill usage, ill will, ill language, but when wee meete with good, then we must confesse, that the Lord our God is the ruler of all hearts, and blesse his name that causeth us to finde favour with men, as David did with Saul at first, with all Israel and with Achish one of the Philistine Lords, King of Gath, that gave him honourable entertainement in his Court.

Now another temporall blessing we observe to be granted to this good man, and it is three or foure times noted in Scripture, Gen. 13.2. Abraham was very rich in silver, cattell, and gold. So Gen. 24.35. The Lord hath blessed my Master greatly, and he is become great, and hee hath given him flockes and heards, and silver and gold, and men ser­vants [Page 124] and maide servants and Camells and Asses, and 25.6. Abraham gave gifts to the sonnes of his Concubines. He could not have inriched them, if he had not beene rich himselfe; So God fulfilled his pro­mise to Abraham, and he was a very rich man as well as very good. Riches are in Gods hand, hee hath them in abundance; He is able and ready to grant them to his servants: Indeed they be but doubtfull blessings, if a man have not power to use them well, they will be more hurtfull to him then profitable. But so farre as the perfect wisedome of God sees that they will be beneficiall to them, wisedome shall bring them also in her hand and fill the houses of her admirers with them also.

Let Gods people learne therefore to trust upon him for their out­ward estate; for though he make not all his children rich, for it is not good for all, yet he will not see the meanest of them to starve, for then he should not answer that bountifull and mercifull title of a Father, by which he loveth that his servants should call him and call upon him. Incourage your selves therefore in all holinesse, righ­teousnesse and vertues, for sure the Lord that filled the house of Abraham and made him so wealthie and great a man, will not neg­lect to give you foode convenient for you, and to supply you with necessaries.

And let those that have houses, goods, and wealth in abundance, learne to use them well, to see it is Gods gift, and to use them as stewards, to praise God for them, to make them a meanes of knit­ting their hearts more sure and fast to him in love and obedience; and to imploy them bountifully, liberally, and mercifully as Abraham no doubt did, that they may lay up treasure for themselves in Hea­ven, and that by well-doing they make them friends of the riches of iniquity. Wealth honestly gotten, mercifully and bountifully used and moderately enjoyed, is a great mercy of God. If God make you rich, doe you shew your selves to be good as well as rich, or else riches doe not make a man the better that hath them, neither can they make his life much more comfortable; yea it doth appeare of­ten that riches are laid up for the owners thereof for hurt. Eccles. 5.13.

And these be the benefits temporall which Abraham had for himselfe, a good wife, good children in their kinde, and one religious, good servants, good friends, good name, good favour and great wealth, to which add one particular benefit, a great and famous victory over foure great and conquering Kings,A great and fa­mous victory. as the Holy Ghost telleth us, Gen. 14.15. he pursued them, he divided himselfe against them he and his servants by night, and smote them and pursued them to Hobah, and brought backe all the goods, and Lot his brother and his goods and the women and his people. An absolute victory was obtained by Abrahams wisedome and valour, God gave him the wisdome, God gave him the valour, God gave him the successe. The Prophet Esay sets forth Gods good­nesse to Abraham in generall, as a sure argument, that God will [Page 125] shew the like mercies to his people in after times, bidding them looke unto Abraham and Sarah, and saying, Isa. 51.2. I called him, I blessed him and increased him, and 41.2, 3. He setteth forth this very benefit in magnificall phrases, saying, who raised up the righteous man from the East? Isa. 41.2, 3. called him to his foot? gave the nations before him and made him rule over Kings? gave them as dust to his sword? as driven stubble to his bow; hee pursued them and passed safely by the way that he had not gone with his feete. God would have his people take notice of this mercy in saving Abraham, and making him victorious, to assure them of his like love in defen­ding them, and giving them victory over all their enemies, even the whole Church, and each particular member thereof. He that sheltered Abraham, was with him, gave Kings before him, shall not he de­clare his love as much in future ages to his people? Surely he is the same for ever. Let this comfort us against all those that rise up a­gainst us.

But what did God for others for Abrahams sake? First,2. God did doe good to others for Abrahams sake. 1. Blessed Lot and delivered him. he blessed Lot the more for Abrahams sake, and as it is noted, Lot that went with Abraham had heards, and after when God destroyed Sodome he thought of Abraham and delivered Lot also. So God for a good mans sake will blesse and helpe even his friends and well-willers, and those that belong to him shall be much the better for him, accor­ding to the promise that he had made, saying, I will blesse them that blesse thee.

And for Abrahams children,2. Blessed Isaac giving him goods and goodnesse. he blessed Isaac and gave him great outward things, yea gave him also grace and made him heire of the Covenant, and continued the Church in his house, giving him a sonne in the life time of Abraham. For Abraham had Isaac at a hundred, and lived 175 yeares, and Isaac married at forty, and had Esau and Iacob at sixty, so Abraham lived to see those two sonnes about five yeares old,He gave also abundance of outward things to Ish­mael. and gave outward things to Ishmael and abun­dance to him, that Princes came of him in likelihood during Abra­hams life time, and he sent away his sonnes by Keturah with great riches, and you know that even after Abrahams death, God honou­red him still, by calling him his friend in many places,Shewed favour to him after his death. and for his sake did great things for his sonnes after him in many genera­tions.

Thus you see, how worth the while it is to serve, feare, and obey God, what abundant blessings he grants, what honour and same even after death; though all Gods people have not all these out­ward things in like manner bestowed upon them, yet they have that which is sufficient for them, and those that finde their friends and children happy in outward respects, must observe Gods hand to be thankfull.

Yea we must all take notice of Gods like dealing with many of his people, whose posterity flourish when they be dead, some in goodnesse as well as goods, and some at least in earthly respects, and leave a good name behinde them, so that many yeares after their [Page 126] decease, their names are honourably mentioned, and all men count them good and faithfull servants of God. The name of the righteous is had in everlasting remembrance, Psal. 112.6. whilst they live, and when they die God shewes himselfe gratious and bountifull to them, even in temporall blessings oftentimes as well as spirituall. But if any want these outward benefits, they must consider of themselves whether their sinnes doe not deprive them thereof. For sometimes such mer­cies are denied to Gods people to chastize, and keepe downe, and roote up some vices in them. David was crossed in his children, to correct his fondnesse, and to chastize his adultery and murder: Sa­lomons posterity was brought low, to chastize his Idolatry; If in out­ward things the Lord seeme carelesse of his people, they might easily finde by searching, that some evill carriage of theirs hath cau­sed him to chastize them in this life, that by being brought to re­pentance, they might not be destroyed and perish in another world, and so much for these temporall benefits.

Abrahams spi­rituall bles­sings. 1. He was cal­led from a false religion to the true.Now for spirituall blessings, the first was, that God called him out of his Countrey and Fathers house, from the Idols of his Fathers house, for they served false gods there, Iosh. 24.2. and acquainted him with himselfe the onely true God. No greater blessing can be­fall a man here, then to be called from a false religion to the true re­ligion, so that his heart be inclined also to the practise of the true reli­gion, and that he be effectually sanctified as was Abraham. Wee must looke that wee have this mercy of effectuall calling; Indeed from Idols and such kinde of false gods, wee are called, or rather we have beene kept from following them at all, but ah, are we cal­led to walke before God in holinesse and righteousnesse? not alone turning from darkenesse to light, from a false religion to the true, but from the power of Satan unto God, that is, from serving the Divell in a wicked life to serve God in an holy life. If we be not so called, we are not sonnes of Abraham, and outward blessings will doe us little good. If we be, then wee have cause to rejoyce before the Lord our God with exceeding great joy, for he that is so called, hap­pie is he. This is a mercy of mercies, to be a Saint by calling, one whom God hath so wrought upon by his Spirit, that his outward call hath wonne him from the state of corruption to the state of grace.

And if any finde not himselfe so called, or finde it doubtfull to himselfe, whether he have beene so called yea or not, let him ear­nestly seeke to God for it, and if wee would know whether we be called yea or not, compare our selves with Abrahams Call, Gen. 12.1. God had said, meaning, before his Fathers death, before he dwelt in Charran saith Steven, for though because Terah was the Father, the departure is ascribed to him, yet God gave the call first to Abraham and he acquainted his Father with it, and so his Father went out and he with his Father, as a sonne in the family and house-hold of his Father, and bids him leave kindred and Fathers house, and [Page 127] goe into a Countrey which God should shew him, promising him large off-spring, great blessings, and that the promised and blessed seed should come of him: for S. Paul saith,Gal. 3.8. that God preached the Gospell before to Abraham, when he said, in thee shall all Nations be blessed, so that he was more largely instructed by God of remission of sinnes and salvation everlasting by one that was to be borne of him. Now God caused him also to beleeve these promises, so that he left his Fathers worship and obeyed God. If any of us have had the Word of God preached in our eares, and by name the promises of the Gospell, and hath found his heart so affected with those promises, and the true beliefe of them, that it hath made him follow God in a holy conversation of life, and leave his former sinnes, travell towards the land of life, that land which God had shewed him in the paths of righteousnesse and true holinesse, this is effectuall calling, happy and blessed is this man. Rejoyce in this calling, and blesse God for it more then for all earthly things whatsoever. And if any of you be not as yet so called, let him see his misery, and now call upon God so to call him, till he finde his prayers granted: for if we turne to God he will turne to us, and if we seeke to him for the performance of his gratious Covenant in putting his Spirit of Sanctification in our hearts, he will not faile to doe it.

But a second spirituall blessing was 1.2. Spirituall blessings. He gave him most gratious promises. 2. He appeared to him many times to renew those pro­mises. 3. He entered into a Covenant with him and his seede after him. 4. He gratiously accepted his prayers and after this life he sa­ved his soule.

First, he made him gracious promises, Gen. 12.2. I will blesse thee, 1. God made him gratious promises. and make thee a great Nation, and thou shalt be a blessing, and I will blesse them that blesse thee, and will curse them that curse thee. Againe, he appeares to him to renew this blessing, and these promises. Gen. 13.4. promising him a large off-spring againe, and the possession of the land of Canaan, understood by Abraham to be a figure of an heavenly inheritance, for he sought a Citie to come, saith the Author to the Hebrewes.

Againe, Chap. 15.1.2. Appeared to him many times to renue those promi­ses. and in the whole Chapter hee confirmeth the promise againe by another vision, I am thy shield and thine excee­ding great reward; so to comfort him against the doubts which hee might have, that the vanquished Kings might prepare an army and returne upon him, and there also againe he renues the promise of gi­ving him a sonne, yea giving him a multitude of children after him, and by a signe confirmes it to him: Looke up to Heaven (saith hee) and count the Starres, &c. yea gave him faith to beleeve it, and assures him that hee was justified, and that hee accepted that faith of him for righteousnesse, accounting him by meanes of that faith for the sake of him in whom hee beleeved, as perfectly just, as if hee had perfectly fulfilled the Law.

And yet more fully assuring him of his goodnesse by entring [Page 128] into a covenant with him in a vision,3. He entred in­to a covenant with him and his seede after him. and by sacrifice. And in Chap. 17. hee renewes the same covenant with him againe, and confirmeth it by the seale of circumcision, and by changing his name, assuring him also, that he should have the sonne of the promise, by his most beloved wife Sarah, and telling him also what name hee should be cal­led by, Isaac, from his laughing at the promise, not by way of di­strust and unbeleefe, but of faithfull joy and gladnesse in it. And in Chap. 18. hee appeareth unto him againe in forme of a man, and tells him the particular time of the childs birth, and acquaints him with his purpose concerning the overthrow of Sodom. And last of all, after he had offered Isaac hee appeares unto him againe, and by an oath confirmes to him the former blessings, Gen. 22.16. which hee had never done before. This is a singular mercy to Abraham, to give him so many promises, to renew them so often to him, and confirme them so strongly to him. And you must looke whe­ther God vouchsafe to shew himselfe thus to you, even to bring home to your soules in the reading and hearing of his word, and exercises of religion, the gracious promises of his word, giving you by his Spirit assurance that hee admittteth you into the co­venant, is your God, pardons you, blesseth you, and will give you all needfull things for soule and body, and make you partakers of eternall felicity. All Gods servants that are the seed of Abraham, have this holy communion with God in his word, in prayer, in his ordinances, which Abraham had in these dreames and visions: for to the Fathers God shewed himselfe by those meanes, to us by these, and Christ saith, that his Father and hee will come and shew themselves unto those that love him and keepe his commandements, and suppe with them. O if you find this spirituall familiarity with God, how happy are you. If not, truly earthly blessings are of no great valew, they be common to good and bad. And now seeke you, seeke you these spirituall bles­sings, Gods assuring you of pardon of sinne, and appearing unto you more and more to confirme your faith in the promises of the Gospell, and to make you assured of your eternall happinesse, and that he is your God, untill at length he do even as it were sweare it unto you, and make you certaine of it?

And Bretheren, be you incouraged to answer Gods call, to repent, to live holily, to cast of your sinnes and become obedient as was A­braham, for though perhaps you may not be so rich as he, nor have so many childeren, nor have so great outward favours, yet will God be your God, he will be your shield, he will be your reward, hee will blesse you in all things, he will give you the inheritance of life eternall, as sure as he did to Abraham; he will heare and accept your prayers, and he will bring you safe to the land of rest, to Heaven that true rest, where you shall have no more unquietnesse inward nor out­ward. Into Abrahams bosome will he receive all those, that be the true sonnes of Abraham.

Learne to esteeme of these spirituall blessings, though perhaps they [Page 129] may be separated from the temporall, God therefore alone divideth them because he sees you be not fit for both, but would be hindered from injoying the one and growing in the one, by the overfull enjoy­ment of the other. But the better I say you shall surely have as well as Abraham, God will more and more assure you of his favour, and of his kingdome, and shew himselfe more and more graciously unto you, in confirming to you his comfortable promises more and more. This is better then all the riches of the whole world; If Abraham had enjoyed this whole world and not this sweete entercourse with God, his life would not have beene halfe so comfortable and happy, but if his estate had bin never so poore and meane in outward things, yet would this sweete fellowship with his Maker have made him happy and blessed enough. Spirittuall good things are the chiefe and principall, blessed is the man whom God pleaseth to take for his owne, to call to himselfe, to strengthen in faith, to make more and more certaine of his salvation. This is the blessing of Abraham that comes unto the Gentiles by faith in Jesus Christ. This poore and afflicted Saints enjoy as well as rich; This seeke, this labour for, by indeavouring to walke with God, and by being upright.

If any say, But alas I want this, I find not God shewing himselfe to me in his ordinances, I find him not setling my heart.

I Answer, If hee have called thee out of sinne to a good life, and that thou indeavourest to follow him, he will in due time shew him­selfe unto thee, feare it not, and the longer he seemes to deferre the revealing of himselfe, the more abundant and exceeding great shall the comfort be at last. God will not faile to blesse his people with spirituall blessings, and comfort them with spirituall comforts, if they walke before him in sincerity.

I proceed to tell you of good Abrahams crosses,Abrahams crosses. which if you com­pare them with Isaacs, were much greater then his, if with Iacobs they seeme in some respects much lesse. But if you consider them simply, they were some of them exceeding heavy to beare. Wee will ranke them into a certaine order.

First, God put him to suffer an heavy crosse at his first call,1. He changed his countrey and left his fa­thers house. as ma­ny times also he doth many of his servants. His kindred and his Fa­thers house were all Idolaters, and God saw that he should have had much adoe to have maintained himselfe and the truth of his religion, if he should have continued amongst them. Wherefore hee caused him to leave that place, and those persons, and to goe into another land which he should shew him, according as in the Psalme, the Pro­phet speakes to Pharaohs daughter,Psal. 45.10. forsake thy kindred and thy fathers house, and this affliction often assaileth the Saints of God, at their looking towards true piety, when they begin to forsake sinnefull cour­ses and to looke towards Heaven; though they change not their coun­trie for a new habitation, nor leave their fathers house to goe into a region farre distant, yet their fathers house falleth out with them, they cease to be friends to them, and they feele that which sometimes [Page 130] our Lord hath foretold,Mat. 10.36. a mans enemies shall be those of his owne house, yea father hates the sonne, and the sonne the Father. For a mans inward and neerest friends are more weary of him then, then any other, because having occasion of conversing with him, they more see his piety, else as Owles are more offended with the light, and because wanting that commerce in evill and vanity which once they had, they are more displeased at the change.

We must learne therefore whosoever mindeth to follow Christ and be his Disciple, learne to love him above all persons, yea as himselfe teacheth us, to hate Father and Mother, even to hate them I say; that is, to be willing to part with them, as if we hated them for Christs sake. And as here the Lord so provided for Abraham, that he wan­ted no friend in any place where ever he came, a forreine countrey afforded him as much welfare as his native soile could have done, so whosoever shall loose any such thing for Christs sake, shall be sure to receive in this life an 100. fold, that is, an hundred times more good and comfort, then those things or persons could have afforded, yea many times also a larger measure, and greater number of outward things and outward friends.

This was the first crosse of Abraham, leaving his countrey, see next what he met with in Canaan another countrey, in respect of his estate and the persons that were dearest to him.

2. Was uncer­taine where he should dwell.First for his estate, God gave him no possession, no not the bredth of a foote, but made him travaile up and downe in tents, without either certaine house or any inheritance. This is a crosse too, and a thing little pleasing to flesh and bloud, to be of a fleeting condition, not knowing where he shall dwell next month or next yeare, to be with­out house or home, that he can call his owne; by which God taught Abraham, to use the world as though he used it not, and to set his heart more upon the things above, because he had so little setlednesse in the things below. The people of God must be content to be row­led as it were up and downe from place to place, to be in the Earth as in a Sea, in which they shall be tossed now hither now thither, and have no fixed dwelling almost, and our Lord Christ after he was a Prea­cher, was accustomed to such a kind of Pilgrims life, now in Iudea, now in Galilee, now in Caesarea, now in Cana, now in Decapolis, hee had not an house to lay his head in. S. Paul was likewise accustomed amongst other miseries, to beare this, of having no certaine dwelling place. If God call any of us to such a condition, it must not seeme much to us, to eate the bread of such worthy men, nor to pledge them in the same cup. Hee whose soule is not glewed to the world, can well endure this kind of tumbling, none other will, unlesse hee be a man that loves to wander.

3. Suffered crosses. 1. In Lot his kinsman.Now for the persons neere to him, first, his Kinsman, then those of his family. One and onely one Kinsman he had with him, that wee reade of, Lot. In him he suffered two troublesome crosses. First, upon occasion of a trouble that fell out betwixt the servants of Lot and [Page 131] of Abraham, they were faine to part habitations. Their riches were so great, that the land affoorded not roome for both their herds and flockes, hence the herdsmen and shepheards on both sides had occasion of jarring about places of pasture. One would have his cattle here, another would have his, and so variance grew. Abra­ham saw that this variance would proceed farther and farther, and to prevent mischiefe, gives Lot his choice where hee would dwell, so saith the Scripture, they were separated a man from his brother. This no doubt was tedious to Abraham, that Lot and he might not be neere neighbours at once, for the event after made it appeare how deare Lot was unto him, and therefore after Lots departure, the Lord ap­peared unto Abraham to comfort him, as taking notice what a trouble it was unto him. And this kinde of crosse doth fall out to men, either increase of riches or want of it, or some thing falleth out, that cau­seth they must be separated from their speciall friends, or some un­kindnesse and jarres grow betwixt them, that their agreement is not so cordiall and hearty as it ought to be.

But the next Crosse in Lot was worse, for in the spoile of Sodome, he was spoiled and taken captive by those that tooke the Sodomites cap­tive. This comming to Abrahams eares pierced him indeed, that his loving Cousin who had beene brought up in his house with him, and had borne him company in all his peregrination from Vr till al­most that time, should fall into the hands of so cruell enemies, should have his cattell and goods seized upon, and himselfe, and wife, and children, made slaves and bondmen. This affliction is usuall enough in the world. Much misery and distresse befalls them to whom wee wish well, and we suffer in their sufferings whom naturall affection doth so indeere us unto, as that wee cannot but have a fellow-feeling with them in their distresses, as the members of the body suffer by consent.

But a second evill that I had almost forgotten pinched Abraham in Lot, for Lot lost all in Sodome and went and dwelt in the Mount, and there lay with his two daughters, and begat of each of them a sonne. This was no doubt noised abroad, it came to Abrahams eares, and filled his heart with a great deale of griefe, that such a man as he had taken Lot to be and found him to be, after God had afflicted and chastened him, and also shewed him mercy and delivered him, should runne into so monstrous and unnaturall sinnes, as to commit incest, not with one of his daughters which had beene farre too much, but even with both of them, one after the other. This I say pierced Abrahams soule to thinke of, he could not but be sensible of all the bitter re­proachfull taunts that the true religion of God would suffer for this crime of Lot. The sinnes and crimes of those that are deare to us, and the reproach that followes thence, both upon themselves and some­times upon the truth of God which they professe, must needs breede much heavinesse unto good men, and sometimes the providence of God so disposeth of things, that the people of God shall be hum­bled so, as Paul saith God would humble him he feared, when he [Page 132] should finde many impenitent sinners in Corinth, and it had brought anguish to his heart, that the incestuous man had not alone so shamefully offended, but also beene tolerated by the Church, as no doubt also the heare-say of Rubens incest was a great vexation of heart to Iacob, when the report of it was brought unto him.

Now see what Abraham suffered in his owne house in respect of his wives and children.4. His wife Sa­rah was twice taken away from him.

First, his wife Sarah a good woman and deare to him, was twice taken away from him, once by the King of Egypt, and after by the King of Gerar, and he could not but be grieved at it so much the more, because it came to passe by his owne default and sinne, and because shee was so taken away, as that it was likely every day, that shee should have beene married to another man, or at least have beene made a minister to serve his lust. What an anguish was this thinke you? How did this gaule his heart? when he abode alone in his Tent, and Sarah was not in hers, when he lay alone at home and Sarah bare him not company, yea when shee was perhaps in the bo­some of another man, to whom he had betrayed her by his cowardly feares and dissembling, it scarce befalleth any of us to meete with such a crosse in his wife.

5. Sarah was barren.But secondly, Sarah his wife was barren, shee had no children, fruitfullnesse and shee were parted, as the Holy Ghost noteth. This affliction hath befallen many good women, and it was so much the more bitter to Abraham, because he did not intend to take any other woman, but that at last Sarah when her selfe was now by meanes of age past all hope, did earnestly perswade him unto it. To be child­lesse is a crosse wherewith some are exercised, but to Abraham it was a worse crosse then ordinary, because the want of a childe was to him the want of salvation too, for himselfe and all Nations were to be blessed in his seede: So that if hee had had no sonne, hee could have had no Heaven, and nothing stood as a stronger objection a­gainst his being saved, then his being childlesse. Barrennesse with this aggravation comes not to any of us, and if God had not eased this burden to Abraham, by often renewing the promise of a child unto him, doubtlesse it would have afflicted him sore.

6. There fell out a great jarre betwixt him and Sarah.But another crosse in Sarah upon occasion of Hagar, there fell out a great jarre betwixt him and Sarah, and shee that ever before had shewed her selfe a dutifull and respective wife, now brake forth into much tartnesse and passion with him, eagerly and wrongfully charging him to maintaine Hagar against her, and to be the cause of her stub­borne and contemptuous carriage. This sounded harshly in Abra­hams eares, and this language was tedious, to be so rated by Sarah, it made him thinke the case strangely altered. Indeed he by his wis­dome calmed the tempest very soone, it continued not long, but it was a soure thing for the time; many a man hath the same trouble for matter, but more frequent and more lasting. A wives passions are an [Page 133] husbands sufferings, her anger and discontent and brawles with maides and men and children sometimes fall upon him, and shee is ready causelesly to quarrell with him, when she is displeased with them, this crosse is so much the more tedious, by how much a man doth more affect and love his wife, and sometimes too it is aggravated by this, that hee hath some way beene an occasion of it though unwit­tingly.

But lastly, Abraham buried Sarah, she died before him,7. Sarah died before him. and he was faine to part with her unto the dust. This calamity falleth upon many men to bury their wives, but to many it is not a calamity, they know how very quickly to make this affliction nothing, by a speedy brin­ging in of another: but to Abraham who loved Sarah and had long lived with her, it must needes be matter of sorrow, and so the Scrip­ture witnesseth saying, Hee rose up from before his dead, Gen. 23.3. whether hee had gone before to mourne and weepe for her. These things he suffered in his wife Sarah.

Now in his Concubine Hagar, 8. He suffered in Hagars ill carriage to Sarah, and in her running a­way being with-child. first her ill carriage to Sarah was surely a griefe to Abraham, when two such persons fall at oddes, hee that is a common friend to both suffers in both. The custome of Poligamie is weeded out of the Christian world, so that men now are happier then to be vexed with the mutuall brawling of two Antago­nists, as I may call them: but now the contentions of neere friends do fall out somewhat bitter sometimes, to them that love both so well that they know not where to take part.

Secondly, When shee was now great by him, she ran away from him and Sarah, and carried the fruite of his body away with her. This no doubt grieved Abraham, he tooke her alone for desire of of-spring, not to satisfie lustfull desires, and now when she promised seede, and his heart was raised up with expectation of a sonne, to have all his hopes dashed by the quarrels that Sarah had with her, she being gone away, and hee knowing not where to have her, nor how to procure her returne, nor what was become of her, nor of his child where­with she went, and which was deare unto him, even now before he saw it in the world. This surely put him to much griefe and sorrow. This crosse is not very usuall, to have a great bellied wife runne from a man, but if such a kind of desertion shall befall any, either hee must be very respectlesse of his wife, or else it would be a corrasive unto him.

But a worse crosse or as bad befell him after,9. Hee was made to di­vorce Hagar and send her quite away. for at last the Lord made him to divorce Hagar, and to send her quite away, never againe to live with him. This was as bad and worse then to burie her. If God do even separate a mans wife from him, either his affection to her is little, or else his griefe for her will be much, but hee had Sarah his first wife, and that served to mitigate the putting away of his superadded woeman.

So you see his domesticall afflictions in his wife, now consider what hee suffered in his childeren, 1. In Ishmael whom hee had first, [Page 134] hee was faine to banish him,10. Hee was forced to thrust Ishmael out of his family. or excommunicate him whether you will, or both, this was an hard thing to him, hee had but two sonnes and now hee must thrust one out of his family for ought that hee knew, never to see him againe. Hee must adventure him to the wide world, and send him abroad with his mother, in all proba­bility of reason to starve or begge hee knew not whether. Would it not grieve and trouble any of you? to send a pretty youth about a douzen or ten yeares old out of his house, without any thing but a bag and a bottle, not knowing what hee would doe, or whether hee must goe: yet God tried Abraham thus, hee must learne to trust Gods word without meanes and above hope. The pro­mise was, that God would make him a great man, and now God began to performe promise, by seeming to make him a begger; If God seeme to threaten us with beggerie in our po­sterity, wee must consider, that such a crosse seemed to bee rushing upon Abraham, but God found meanes to make that sonne great, to whom hee was not suffered to give any thing, that it might be made evident, that it is easie with God to inrich a man cast out and destitute of all friends.

11. Hee was crossed in Isaac many wayes.But Abraham had another sonne, see the crosses that befell him in Isaac. First hee waited long for him before hee had him. To be long deferred from enjoying a thing promised and hoped for, is a burden somewhat tedious, if a man have not faith and pa­tience in some good measure and quantity. Thus God tried Abra­ham, hee lived twenty five yeares after the promise of a large of­spring, before he imbraced the same which the promise pointed to. How could wee brooke the deferring of a promise twenty five yeares?

But when hee had him, was the last triall and worst of all; hee must take him and ride with him a long journey of three dayes to a certaine mountaine, and there hee must offer him up to God for a burnt offering, here God tried Abraham to the quicke. Hee must denie naturall affection, in killing a sonne so deare unto him, and that at this age: If God see fit to have him, why did hee not call for him when hee was a young childe, before hee had filled his heart with so intense love and earnest expectation; If hee will have him now, why cannot hee send some disease to fetch him, but the Father must murder the sonne: so nature must give place to Gods commandement. Hee must also denie his credit in the world, and expose himselfe to most harsh, and in shew just censure of all men, yea of his familie and of his wife Sarah too, whose griefe for her slaughtered sonne must needes cause her to lade her husband with grievous complaints, and in appearance also righteous. Yea hee must in some sence contradict and crosse even faith it selfe, by slaying him in whom the Lord had said unto him. In Isaac shall thy seede be called. Thus faith must conquer nature, conquer credit, and conquer it selfe, [Page 135] which also it did in Abraham: Heb. 11.19. For hee considered that God was able to raise him up againe from the dead, from whence in a figure hee had received him. So it seemeth good to God, to put his servanrs hard to it, and to re­quire such things at their hands, as cannot but bee very difficult unto them.

Thus you have heard of Abrahams life,Abrahams death. now at last hee died in peace and in a good old-age, after he had lived 175. yeares, not so long as his Fathers and fore-fathers, God still shortening the age of man usually, that he might put them and us in minde of our latter end, and make us carefull to prepare for it continually. (*⁎*)

THE NINTH EXAMPLE.
OF SARAH, HAGAR.

AS Abraham is called the Father of the faithfull, so it is also said to Godly woemen concerning Sarah, 1 Pet. 3.6. whose daughters yee are as long as yee doe well, &c. So that shee is honoured with this title of being the mother of beleevers, as hee was the Father. Having therefore set before you the example of Abraham, wee proceede to consider the example of Sarah his wife. Let us see 1. Her birth, 2. Her life, 3. Her death.

Concerning her birth, her Father is knowne,Sarahs birth. her Mother is not knowne. Shee had the same Father with Abraham, not the same Mother, for so he telleth Abimelech saying, Gen. 20.12. Shee is indeed my sister, the daughter of my Father, not the daughter of my mother, and shee became my wife. For as yet God had not forbidden to marry with any of the kindered of ones flesh as after hee did, so that as yet hee might lawfully take his sister by the one side to be his wife, the con­sort of his bed; and shee was borne 10. yeares after Abraham, for it is noted, that when Isaac was borne, shee was 90. yeares of age and he a 100. So was she 10. yeares younger then himselfe, and he ex­ceeded her in age 10. yeares, as it is meete though not necessary, that the husband be somewhat elder then his wife, Gen. 21.5. Abraham [Page 138] was a hundred yeares old when his sonne Isaac was borne to him. Gen. 17.17. Shall Sarah that is ninety yeares old beare? so it is manifest, that there was the difference of ten yeares betwixt Abraham and Sarah. And this is all we have to say of her Birth.

Her life.Now concerning her life, wee will looke into her car­riage good and bad, and then to the things that befell her good and bad.

1. Her vertues 1. Her faith.First then for that which was good in her, in respect of God, man, and her selfe. For God, shee is commended for her faith, for the Author to the Hebrewes telleth us,Heb 11.11. That by faith shee received strength to conceive seede, and was delivered of a sonne when shee was past age, because shee was perswaded that hee was faithfull which had promised, where you see the nature of faith, it is an acknowledging of Gods faithfullnesse, a giving him the honour of his faith, and setting to ones seale that God is true. Faith causeth the minde of a man to sub­mit it selfe to the Word of God, and to be assured that hee can and will keepe promise, for to the promise of God it looketh principally, and this faith will cause a man to receive power from God to doe those things, which otherwise of himselfe he wanted all power to doe. This faith will make a weake man strong, it will put fruitfull­nesse into a barren wombe, and life and strength into a dead body, it will make a barren soule fruitfull in good workes, and make the heart to conceive the Word so as to bring forth the fruit of good li­ving, whereto of it selfe it is as unable, as a body past age is unapt to bring forth a childe. Consider therefore, whether you have got­ten such a faith into your hearts, as makes you fruitfull of good workes. If we beleeve Gods promises faithfully, it will sub-minister strength to produce all sorts of good workes, which otherwise the heart of it selfe would never produce. For he that beleeveth Gods promises shall obtaine strength from God to obey his holy Com­mandement, and according to the strength of it, to abound in good workes of all sorts. Faith is a strong grace and puts a new power in­to the soule by which it shall be fit to doe good workes. We have more largely discoursed of the nature of faith in the Example of Abraham, who is also commended for faith.

Then Sarah in respect of Abraham her husband had two worthy vertues.2. Shee obeyed her husband. First, shee obeyed Abraham her husband. Secondly, shee reverenced him, and that in her heart and tongue too, for shee called him Sir when shee thought of him in heart. Her obedience shewed it selfe in a cheerefull forwardnesse to prepare things necessary to en­tertaine Angels that came unto her in the likenesse of men, for it is said,Gen. 18.6. Abraham hasted into the Tent to Sarah, and bad her quickly make ready three measures of fine flower and make cakes upon the hearth, which shee did accordingly without grumbling or deferring. Shee did not oppose her husband and demand, husband, you know not what these men be? nor whence they come? why should you make such care to prepare for them? but without any more adoe, at her [Page 139] husbands commandement, shee gate all things ready according to his desire. This is a commendable thing in a wife, and is to be followed by all you godly women, who would be counted daugh­ters of Sarah; if your husbands wish you to doe things honest and lawfull, you must addresse your selves not to make your objections, but to yeeld your cheerefull obedience according to S. Pauls commandement, that saith,1 Pet. 3.1. Wives bee subject to your husbands in all things.

If any say, that this was but a small matter.

I answer, true, but it is reported as it were a taste of her good dis­position in this matter, and a signe of her dutifull obedience, the glory whereof the Holy Ghost giveth her more generally, saying, that shee obeyed her husband, meaning,1 Pet. 3.6. constantly and generally shee submitted her selfe and was obedient.

Secondly, it is noted of her, that shee reverenced her husband,3. Shee reve­renced her hus­band. which is also commanded to wives by S. Paul, saying, Let the wife see that shee feare her husband. Loe it is earnestly charged upon wo­men, they must looke to it that they yeeld it: Let the wife, that is, every wife, see, that is, carefully looke to it, and not make shifts or pretend excuses, but see, that shee doe it, even feare her husband.

There is a double feare,A double feare one which maketh one tremble and flie from the thing feared as hurtfull and mischievous, so as men doe feare a Lyon or Beare, to runne from him as fast as they can, that hee may not teare us in pieces, such a feare as this is not required. Another feare is, feare of offending, wronging, or grieving the per­son feared, flying and shunning all such things as would displease him and make him conceive with dislike an irrespectivenesse of him. This is the feare of the wife, not to dare to displease her husband or anger him, not so much least he should flie upon her with reproofes and blowes, as least shee should be an instrument of griefe to one, whom shee loveth and honoureth by her undutifullnesse and rude­nesse. And it must be noted that shee did so reverence him as to call him Lord. And how did shee call him Lord? not in speaking to him, or in speaking of him before others, by whom it might be told him againe what shee had said, but when shee thought of him or spake of him with the inward speech of her heart, which none could relate againe, but God who hath related this to her praise. For that title shee gave him even in her inward cogitations, when she said in her selfe at the hearing of the Angels promise, that she should have a son,Gen. 18.12. Shall I have pleasure after I have waxed old, my Lord being old also.

So the reverence of a good wife should be hearty, and cause her when shee doth but thinke, of her husband, even then to give a title of due respect. Wherefore to give rude and undecent termes to an husband, such as would but become a Mistresse speaking to her bondman, Ned, Iacke, Dick, Tom, Robbin, is even a little too much familiarity in a wife, favouring of some degree of contempt.

[Page 140]The ground of these two duties, reverence and obedience, is the image of God in the husband: For he doth stand in Gods roome over her, because as Christ is the Head of his Church, so is the hus­band the wives head, 1 Cor. 11.3, 7 and the woman is the glory of the man, meaning, one that is made to bring some glory and honour to him.

Now by this fruit of Sarahs obedience which the Holy Ghost hath noted, it is prooved that Sarah was huswifely in her house, even as a woman that could stirre about in her family, and looke to the dispatching of necessary affaires by her servants and them in her family. For had shee beene a coy and nice or idle and sloath­full dame, shee would neither have dressed meale, nor kneaded it, nor made cakes of it, nor seene to the baking of them, nor yet have followed her maid-servants, and looked that they should have beene diligent in this businesse.

[...] Shee was a loving Mother and nursed Isaac her selfe. Gen. 21.7.Further in respect of her sonne Isaac, shee was a very loving Mo­ther and nursed him with her owne breasts, and thought it a duty for her so to doe, for so it is noted of her that shee said by way of thankefull wondering at the benefit, who would have said to Abra­ham that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have borne him a sonne in his old age, as if shee confessed, that giving a childe sucke should not be separated from bearing him. And indeed na­ture doth manifestly call upon women for this duty, for to what purpose hath God given them brests? as it were bottles, at that time replenished with such a fit and well pleasing foode for the babe, surely not to milke out on the ground, not to draw it backe by me­dicines and devices, but to give it to the new inhabitant of the world, with whom it came into the world. So soone as a woman hath a childe in her wombe ready to bring forth, shee hath also milke in her brests fit for its feeding, and is not this as much, as if the Lord should speake unto her and say, I would have you take care to bring up this childe which thou hast brought forth, with this nourishment, which I have laid up in store for it, for surely God and nature make nothing in vaine. This loving part of Sarah is more considerable in respect of her age and her greatnesse of estate and household, for shee was ninety yeares old, and might in that respect have seemed warranted to have given her selfe a dispensation from this service, and to have said, should a woman of mine age endure the labour of watching and waking and looking to a childe, and induring all its froward fits and a number of attendance? why may I not set it to a younger woman stronger and better able to doe it then my selfe? Shee was wife to Abraham, a man of great place and state, fellow to a King, with whom Kings sought to be in covenant, and should such a woman as I? might shee have objected, submit my selfe to this meane and la­borious office, may not I hire another to doe it for mee? mine hus­band, might, shee have said; is a great man and withall hospitall. If he bring in men of place and fashion, must I be hindred from intertai­ning [Page 141] them by dandling a childe and being made unhandsome and unfit for company with tending a babe? might not another doe this as well as I? of whom such intertaining would not be expected. A­gaine, have I not a very great household? must I leave the care of looking to them for suckling of a childe? which another ordinary bo­dy may doe as well as my selfe, that will not perform the duty of over-seeing mine house. Sarah made no such excuses, but when she had borne Abraham a sonne shee would also give the childe sucke. And truly, this duty is a very good duty, and grounded upon very good reason; For who doth not see? that it is a very great meanes of causing Mothers to grow in tendernesse of love to their children, and so of making children afterwards more dutifull to them.

Last of all,5. Shee appa­relled her selfe modestly. Sarah in regard of her selfe did apparell her selfe with modest and not over-costly attire, for S. Peters words pro­pound her to bee imitated by the good women in that par­ticular, saying,1 Pet. 3.5. so did the godly women that feared God in former time attire themselves as Sarah, and shee is manifestly brought in for a pat­terne of this vertue, even decent, not flaring nor over-chargeable garments. The Holy Ghost hath given women warning in two places of this duty both by the pen of S. Paul and S. Peter, 1 Pet. 3.3.4. whose adorning (saith he) let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the haire, wearing of gold, and putting on of apparell, but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in the ornament of a meeke and quiet spirit, and S. Paul saith, Not with braided haire, or gold, or pearles, or costly attire, 1 Tim. 2.9, 10 but as beseemeth women professing godlinesse with good workes, meeke­nesse, quietnesse, good workes, these must be the jewels and orna­ments of a good woman, gaudie and wanton tricks of frizling, plat­ting, curling the haire, and sumptuosity in gallant things and chargeable must not be looked after by good women. This tricking and trim­ming doth nothing but allure the eyes of beholders, and call wanton eyes to play with them. It doth nothing but speake forth their haughti­nesse and selfe-conceit.

I know it is lawfull for women of rich estate and high place to weare jewels, silke, purple, scarlet, gold, silver, but women must be sure not to be given to such things, nor to be more costly then their husbands purses and places will beare, nor to be sumptuous this way, that if their costes about workes of mercy were laid in ballance against their cost in attire, the former would proove in a manner nothing to the latter.

For most times it prooves true, no women more niggardly and pin­ching to any good worke of bounty or mercy, then those that are most costly and finish in their coates. Those that are so curious and costly in attire, are hard and neere in good workes, and so doe gaine to themselves reproach and contempt in steed of that credit and good esteeme, which they thinke their garments doe bring them.

[Page 142]You see Sarahs vertues, compare your selves with her now. And those that finde themselves like her in some degree, viz. faithfull in beleeving Gods Word, especially his promises, obedient and reverent to their husbands, that have nursed their owne children, and doe not curiously and sumptuously set up themselves in their attire; Let them be commended, let their consciences approove them and give them comfort in being found like to this godly Matrone. It is an excellent thing to tread in the paths of those women Gods owne pen hath renowned for gratious and vertuous, and hath borne wit­nesse of their uprightnesse and salvation We may with some good war­rant promise our selves to obtaine favour of God and eternall life with them, whose godly conversation we have followed. Shee that looking her selfe in this glasse of Sarah findes her selfe to resemble her in faith, in obedience, and reverence toward her husband, in doing such good offices to her children, and in comely and not over-costly arraying her selfe must blesse the name of God, that hath fa­shioned her carriage according to the mould of so excellent persons. But those that insteed of these vertues, shall finde themselves de­formed and disguised with the contrary vices, are to be greatly asha­med and humbled, and admonished to repent. And all the women that would have the comfort of being daughters to Sarah, must la­bour to get these graces and to abound in them. See that you be du­tifull and good wives, and pray to God to make you such as was Sarah.

Sarahs faults. 1. Shee was weake in faithAnd now let us consider the weakenesses of Sarah. First, shee was weake in faith, for this caused her to give Hagar to Abraham her husband, and so to bring the sinne of Poligamy into the Church of God wherewith it may seeme it was not polluted before. Shee doubted least her selfe should not be fruitfull, and therefore brought Hagar to him, to trie whether the promised seed might come of her, and yet once more shee bewrayed more unbeleefe, when the Angell of God told Abraham in her hearing, that he should have a sonne by her at the time of life, shee laughed at the promise of God as at a thing ridiculous and impossible,Gen. 18 12. saying, After I am old shall I have pleasure? Ver. 11. and my Lord being old also, for the Scripture saith, Shee was old and it ceased to be with her after the manner of women. See how when God promised a thing in nature and reason utterly impos­sible, shee so farre forgat the Omnipotent power of God, as to think sure it could never come to passe, though God had promised it, and the Angell reprooved her,Ver. 14. saying. Shall any thing be impossible with God?

Thus the people of God doe sometimes stagger at the promise of God through unbeleefe, when God saith one thing and reason saith the contrary, they consult with flesh and bloud, and credit their owne reason above the authority of God which speaketh to them. This is a great fault, and tendeth much to the dishonour of God, as if his power were limited by the rules of reason, or by the course of nature, [Page 143] and did not exceede our reason and stand quite above the power of nature. Wee must see this sinne in our selves, labouring to be hum­bled at it but not discouraged, for this weakenesse of faith may well stand with the truth of faith, not he hath no faith at all who is many times troubled with doubting, but he which yeelds to it and is overcome by it.

Wee must also strive to waxe strong in faith, by putting our selves in minde of Gods Omnipotency and faithfullnesse, as Sarah did at length, for the Apostle witnesseth,Heb. 11.11. that shee judged him faithfull which had promised, and those promises which we must labour stedfastly to beleeve, are the promises of God to pardon our sinnes, and write his Law in our hearts, and to make us able to walke in his waies, and crowne us at last with life and glory, nonwithstanding our sinnes and imperfections. Though the performance of these promises seeme to us as impossible as that a dry woman should be a mother, yet we must labour to rest upon them, because of the fidelity of him that hath pro­mised to perfect his power in our weakenesse.

Another fault of Sarahs, was this,2. Shee being [...]ngry, [...]al [...]ely acc [...]sed her husband. Gen. 16.5. that once shee forgat her selfe to her husband, and was full of anger and discontent, wrongfully char­ging him to take her maides part against her, saying, My wrong he on thee for I have given my maide into thy bosome, and now I am despised in her sight. It was true, that Hagar did sleight her too much, but that Abraham was guilty of this fault by bearing out Hagar in it, that was altogether false, as his answer prooveth plainely, for hee saith, thy maide is in thine hand, doe with her what thou wilt. Verse 6. So Sarahs anger made her use false accusations against her hus­band.

Be humbled yee wives, if you have chafed with your husbands and carried your selves injuriously towards them in words, Sarah did this, but she did it not oft, it was this one time alone, so farre as we read, in other things shee behaved her selfe meekely and reverently. O looke to your selves, that you offend not continually in that thing wherein this good woman offended once alone, and no more, for this once was even too much, keepe downe anger therefore and let it not breake out against your husbands.

And you husbands, learne though your wives doe transgresse some­times, not to be harsh with them againe, but heale their errours with the spirit of meekenesse as Abraham also did. Shee must blame her selfe, but shee may bee indued with grace for all this.

But another weakenesse of Sarah is,3. Shee was somewhat too rough with Hagar. that shee was somewhat too rough with Hagar, insomuch that Hagar could not indure it, for if shee was so violent in words with Abraham, what doe you thinke her carriage was to the maide, yea shee was something too earnest against Ishmael and her too, when nothing would serve her, but that she must have them both together cast out of doores. For though God bad Abraham doe according to her words, it followeth not thence, that [Page 144] she was not overpassionate in it. God for a misterie would have it done, and yet Sarah might offend in doing it. So good people are apt to be overharsh to them that wrong them, and exercise too much bit­ternesse against them.

4. She dissem­bled at her husbands re­quest.Another fault of Sarahs was, that shee dissembled at her husbands request, and that two severall times, saying shee was his sister, and so saying it, that those to whom shee spake, might thinke shee was none of his wife, for that was the intention both of Abraham and Sarah. It is a weakenesse in wives sometimes to be led by their hus­bands, to doe that that is evill, and to joyne with them in sinne. Here Sarah hazarded her chastitie to content her husband, to satisfie his feares, she was like to have brought her selfe and others into a fearefull sinne.

This fault must be reformed by good wives amongst others, and they must resolve not to sinne against God for their husbands sakes, fearing his displeasure more then the danger of their husbands or their anger. Indeede in laying nay to such motions of their husbands, they must use reverence, and do it in a calme and quiet manner, but refuse they must, being warned by the example of Sarah.

5. She lyed. Sarahs last fault was, that shee denied her laughter to the Angell, when shee had sinned in laughing. To lye in a passion for feare of blame, denying that one hath done a thing which indeed one hath done, that so one may escape reprehension or correction, is a sinne to which mans nature is very subject, springing from the want of the feare of God, and from an excessive carnall love to ones selfe, and desire of his owne temporall safety. This fault you may reade, Gen. 18.15. Reade it not to doe the like, but to amend it and to be moved to repent of it, if you have committed it.

Now then let us reflect upon our selves, and consider of our owne carriage, both to condemne the like faults in our selves, and to beare with them in others without bitter censuring, and so we shall profit by the knowledge of their evill deedes.

Sarahs bene­fits.Now let us consider the benefits that Sarah enjoyed, Shee had all those common benefits of health and strength and the like, which God doth usually bestow upon all men, but besides she enjoyed excel­lent benefits.

1. Shee vvas a holy vvoeman.The first, that God gave her faith and saving grace, pardoned and passed by her offences, and sanctified her and hath saved her soule, notwithstanding her faults. This is the mercy of mercies, that God pleaseth to sanctifie and pardon, and save a man, for if he be sanctified he is pardoned and shall be saved, what profit hath any one of other things if he want this, and so be damned for ever, after a little content enjoyed here.

Let us therefore labour to finde this goodnesse of God to us, let us humbly pray him that made Sarah godly, to make us so too. If when we reade of this worke of his grace to others, we praise him for it, he will graunt it to us as well as to them. The Lord is able to make [Page 145] any other man or woeman godly as well as Sarah. Shee had as bad a nature, and as unable to make her selfe good as wee have, for she also was a daughter of Adam. Therefore if you find your selves yet not to be indued with faith and holinesse, take notice of these wants, and goe to the throne of grace for grace, beseeching the Lord to fulfill his covenant to you, in giving you his Spirit to make you his chil­dren, and it shall be unto you according to your constant and humble supplications.

And those whom God hath beene pleased to deale so graciously with, let them heartily and constantly praise him, labouring to make all crosses seeme nothing to them in comparison of this benefit. Say, though I bee poore, despised, afflicted, yet God hath given mee some faith and some holinesse, and begun to sanctifie and will preserve me in this estate to life eternall. What cause have I to be discouraged at crosses; to make one truely godly, though they be not without their faults, is the worthiest of all mercies. In Heaven the Saints rejoyce in God, and are not interrupted in his service, by remembrance of former afflictions, we one earth should labour so to be glad in hope of that eternall weight of glory, that neither feeling of present miseries nor feare of future, should much hinder us therein.

Secondly, Sarah had a godly husband,2 Shee had a godly and rich husband that was well estee­med. and did partake with him of his riches, honours, credit and all the good things which hee en­joyed. This is a great favour to a wife, if she be married to a good and holy man, and a man also of convenient estate and good esteeme, that she may be comforted by his goodnesse, shewing it selfe in good carriage towards him, and may taste the sweetnesse of his good and of his credit. To have an yoake-fellow that can patiently beare with ones wants, that is diligent and trusty, and so provideth for his fa­mily that nothing is wanting to her selfe and family, that lives in so good repute as she for his sake is better respected; in a word, such a one as is a comfort and credit to her, a saviour of his body as indeed the husband should be, is a singular benefit. She hath a great blessing that hath such a husband, and must not forget to be much and often thankfull, yea though in some things he may be faulty, to the hur­ting, and hazarding, and bringing crosses both upon himselfe and her, as twice Abraham did though an excellent man. Take notice of his favour, and learne to be carefull in doing your duties, so much the rather, because your husbands be vertuous.

But next, she had Isaac at length,3. Shee had a godly childe. if God give a woman children and good children, godly and holy, partakers of the blessing of God in their soules, that is a benefit to the wife as well as to the husband, She shall have joy of such a child as well as hee, both the parents of righteous children shall have joy of them. Let woemen as well as men acknowledge this mercy, wee see that those which are crossed in children are much troubled at it, should not those whom God doth free from that little crosse, giving them the contrary mercy, learne to praise and rejoyce in him for it?

[Page 146] 4. God delivered her twice out of a misery into which she had cast her­selfe.But further, God did vouchsafe to deliver her twice out of that miserie into which twice she had cast her selfe, by her owne fault. If any one by their owne unbeleefe, carnall feares, or other evill beha­viour, have thrust themselves into the brambles, and God by his speciall providence and care hath granted them an happy issue and escape, they must even admire and applaud Gods goodnesse, that hath so undeservedly pittied them, and passing by their faults hath car­ried himselfe fatherly to them. Sarah by saying I am Abrahams sister, procured, that she was taken by Pharaoh to be his wife, God hindered Pharaoh from comming neere her, and after by a dreame warned him of the matter, and so hee dismissed Sarah untouched. After she offended in like manner againe, and againe the Lord in like manner delivered her: what a graciousnesse of God was this? She knew not in the world what to doe, she had intangled her selfe in a snare and could not get out, now God hee sets in, hee brea­keth the snare and sets her at liberty. Without doubt Sarah and Abraham both were exceeding glad of this escape, and praised God for it.

If by the meere providence of God without any fault of our hand, miseries breake in upon us, and then we crie to God and be rescued, we have cause to acknowledge it as a great favour. How much more then when he drawes us out of the evills into the which we have sinne­fully thrust our owne selves, sending some such meanes of helpe as we could never conceive of, or procure to our selves. Call to mind such deliverances, to praise God with great fervency and humility for them, and learne both to trust upon his goodnesse after the more stedfastly, especially, if more then once wee have thus insnared our selves, and more then once the Lord hath pittied us and helped us, we must never cease wondering at his goodnesse, resolving also to take heed of ever provoking him by like folly, for he that can open the doore of danger, when we our selves by seeking sinnefully to escape some other evill, have locked it upon our selves, can surely, yea and will keepe us if we doe cast our selves upon him, and refuse to take up sinnefull and unlawfull shifts. Could not the Lord have found a good and holy way of saving Abrahams life and Sarahs chastitie? of restraining the cruelty of these men as well as their wantonnesse: If God can helpe out of reall and present danger beyond our hopes, he can surely keepe us out of feared and imaginary dangers aboue our thoughts.

And if any of Gods people have wound themselves into crosses, they must not be dismayed from seeking to God for helpe, by aggra­vating their crosses with this thought, O foolish and sinnefull man, I have pulled it upon my selfe by my folly, how can I expect helpe from him? but most humbly acknowledge their owne folly and yet take boldnes to sue to him for mercy, both to pardon and to helpe them.

These be the speciall benefits given to Sarah. Now her crosses must be considered.

[Page 147]First, She was barren a long time, this was a crosse to her no doubt,Sarahs crosses▪ 1. She was bar­ren a long time. because of her earnest desire to have childeren, and because as I said of Abraham, the hope of her salvation did hang upon the fruit of her wombe. Barrennesse is such a crosse you see as hath befallen a godly woeman. Let them therefore that are exercised with it, learne to beare it with patience, and labour to get hearts so much more fruitfull of good workes, that such spirituall fruitfulnesse may make amends for the want of the fruit of their bodies. If God make not a woeman to beare children, but make her pious and godly, able to bring forth the fruits of the spirit in that spirituall marriage betwixt Christ and her, she hath cause to be so thankefull for this fruitfulnesse, as easily to brooke the trouble of the other unfruitfulnesse. And those whom God doth not afflict with this affliction, must learne to praise him for their fertile wombe. It is a sinne not to prize even these temporall benefits, but to grumble at abundance of fruit of the body, is so foule a fault of ingratitude and unbeleefe, that a man or woeman should greatly blame themselves for turning a thing beneficiall in it selfe into a distresse and misery unto themselves.

Another crosse was, that she was sleighted by her maide,2. Shee was sleighted by her maide. yea that she bare the crosse somewhat impatiently, must be reckoned in the number of her sinnes. Doubtlesse it is a trying affliction to be assaul­ted with rude saucy and contemptuous words and gestures of a diso­bedient and undutifull servant. Hardly shall the spirit of a gover­nour be able to hold it selfe in patience, when it shall see a servant or inferiour to looke too disdainefully or arrogantly, or heare them utter surly and scoffing words. Pride in an inferiour shewes it selfe by un­dutifulnesse, and it will prove an hard thing to the superiour not to thinke it equall that pride should encounter pride againe with pas­sionate resistance of it. You must learne that have servants most times (as most times Hagar was) dutifull, to be thankefull for it, and must take heede of doing any thing, by which you may give your servants occasion to sleight and contemne you, for their corruption will quickly lay hold upon any occasion of such misdemeanour.

A third crosse was this,3. She was ta­ken from her husband into the house of Pharaoh and Abimelech. to be taken from her husband into the house of Pharaoh, and after of Abimelech. 'Tis true she could blame none but her selfe and her husband for that crosse, but that did not make it lesse a crosse, as hee is no lesse wounded that woundes himselfe by mis­chance, then he whom an enemy should purposely wound, and this crosse was made a little the more bitter by this, that she was though gently and with milde wordes, yet duely chidden for it by Abimelech too, who tels her plainely of it saying, Gen. 20.16. I have given thy brother, (this name hee gives Abraham ironically, with some­what a tart rebuke, as much as if he had said, whom thou wouldest have had us thinke to be onely thy brother) a 100. shekels, that is, of our money, some 72. lb. od money, neere upon a 100. markes, and addes, behold hee is to thee a covering of thine eyes, and to all that are with thee, and with all other: thus shee was reprooved. She was sen­sible [Page 148] of the rebuke, this was somewhat bitter, that a stranger should chide her for not sufficiently covering her eyes. Sure it was a griefe to her to come under just reproofe, we must take heed that our evill carriage make us not subject to just reprehension. We shall be asha­med to heare of what we were not carefull to shunne. And so much of Sarahs life.

Her death.Of her death we reade, Gen. 23. She lived a 127. yeares, and died at Hebron, and was buried in the cave of Makphela, which Abraham bought for money of Ephron the Hittite, for that use upon that occasion. She is the onely woeman,Her age onely of all women is mentioned in Scripture. (so farre as my memory serves me,) whose time of living is registred in Scripture, whither it have any mistery in it I cannot tell, no woemans age is recorded but Sarahs alone, the mother of Isaac, doubtlesse God intended to grace her in it above other woemen. And so we have done with Sarah too.

Hagar, nothing in Scripture of her birth or death. It is probable she feared God, and why?It will not be amisse to add Hagar to her, of whose birth we have nothing recorded in Scripture, and as little of her death, but by that which the Scripture speaketh of her, there is some good probability that she was a woeman fearing God, First because of all woemen in Sarahs house (who having above 300. men-servants, must needes have many maide-servants also) she made choice of her to give unto her husband Abraham, to the end that some seede, yea the promised seede might be taken from her. Sure Abraham and Sarah would not have preferred her above all the maidens in the house, if they had not thought her also a good and godly maiden. I suppose therefore that seeing her matter and mistresse thought her good, we should goe against the rules of charity, though we reade of some faults she had, if we thinke not so too.Her life. Let us consider of her life and see her vertues and faults,1. Her Vertues. benefits and crosses.

1. Shee was o­bedient to her governours.First, it was a great vertue in her, that all the time of her dwelling with Abraham before, shee carried her selfe very dutifully and re­spectively to Sarah, else she would never have given her into Abrahams bosome. Let all servants learne of her to shew all reverence and du­tifull behaviour to their governours, and not onely to the rich and wealthy, but to the poore also, nay as S. Peter saith, not onely to the good and curteous, but also to the froward, for so is Gods comman­dement to them expressely, Ephes. 6. Col. 4. 1 Pet. 2. and if any ser­vant doe otherwise, they do not garnish and adorne, but disgrace and discredit true religion. The servant is no further godly then hee or she shewes reverence and honour to the master and governesse. Looke therefore that you set your selves to please and content your gover­nours with all obedience and duty, if you will have God and your owne consciences to approve of you.

2. Shee told the truth.Secondly, when the Angell met her and asked her whence she came, and whither she went, she answered plainely, and said, I flie from the face of my Mistresse Sarah,Gen. 16.8. she told truth without lying, and that is a good thing and commendable to speake truth though it be to ones owne shame, but to have told a lie to an Angell might have procured her great reproofe, [Page 149] and herein you may see that Hagar exceeded her Mistresse, for when the Angell charged Sarah with laughing, shee denied it, but Hagar being examined confesseth the truth without lying. We shall doe better in this case to follow the maide then the Mistresse.

Another good thing in her was that when shee was commanded by the Angell of God to goe and humble her selfe to her Mistresse,3. Shee submitted her selfe to her Mistresse a [...] the Angels commande­ment. shee did so. Here all you inferiours must learne of her, nay rather of the Angell which taught her what you should doe, if you have by frowardnesse or ill carriage provoked your Governours, so that they doe use perhaps a little too much rigour towards you, yet you must submit and humble your selves, acknowledge your owne faultinesse, and patiently stoope to their words of reproofe, yea or blowes of correction. This submission is the best way to pacifie wrath, and to settle peace. Afterwards, we reade of no falling our betwixt Hagar and Sarah. Learne therefore all yee servants to stoope and bee submissive, that will shew humility and winne favour with God and man.

Further,4. Shee was thankfull to God for his goodnesse in bringing her home to Abra­hams family. it was well done of Hagar and is some good proofe of her piety, that shee considered of this vision, Gen. 16.13. and called the name of God, thou God seest mee, confessing that now shee took no­tice of Gods seeing and observing her waies, and that shee said moreover, have I also here looked after him that seeth mee? as if shee should say. Doe I live after the Lord hath come thus to take notice of mee, and to reproove mee and send mee home againe, and so the name was called it may be by Abraham, to whom when shee retur­ned she related this vision, the well of him that lived, and him that saw, because the Angell looked upon her and shee lived, or because the living God pleased to see her and looke upon her. Shee was thank­full to God for his goodnesse in looking mercifully upon her and brin­ging her home againe to Abrahams family. We must be thankfull if the Lord daigne us that favour to meete us in our wandrings, and turne us backe againe from them.

Further,5. Shee was patient. it was a good thing in Hagar that shee yeelded her selfe to Abraham, to goe away without murmuring and distemper, when hee sent her away and her sonne in such poore fashion, patient bearing of such hard and severe usage was no little proofe of goodnesse. And when her sonne was like to die for thirst, she shewed her selfe patient, for shee went a good way off, because she would not see him die, and there shee sate and wept, shee might have done better to have prayed with her weeping, but to sit and mourne, not to hang her nose over him weeping and roaring was some signe of patient discretion, shewing her love to him.

And lastly, shee tooke care of him afterwards,6. Shee was carefull to provide her sonne a con­venient wife. to provide him a convenient wife, for so it is said, Gen. 21.21. this is a duty of Parents to make fit provision for the timely bestowing of their children in mar­riage, whereof to be negligent is a part of one that regardeth not to keepe his childe in good order, and to make too much haste is [Page 150] to make them hasten to misery. So Hagar was a good servant and a good wise Mother, and a good woman, her carriage except in a few things was good.

Sarahs faults 1. Shee grew proud.See her faults now. First, shee grew proud, because shee was with childe by Abraham and despised her Mistresse. The Maidens of Leah and Rachel may shame Hagar in this, for neither of them is accused for any such misdemeanour. Take heede yee servants, that you grow not insolent and contemptuous against your gover­nours, you see how much it distempered Sarah, and it is a grievous sinne to put your rulers into passion by your ill carriage. When the Angell met Hagar he commands her to goe and humble her selfe to her Mistresse. It is apparant therefore her carriage to her was amisse. There be some servants that having beene over-familiar with the Master, take occasion soone to sleight their Mistresse. So they add sinne to sinne and are found double offenders; If any of you have offended in contempt, much more in so ill grounded a contempt, do that which the Angell bad Hagar, humble your selves before God, if not to your Mistresses. Follow what was good in Hagar not what was bad.

2. Shee ranne away from her Mistresse.Another fault of hers was, that she ran away from her Mistresse, which the Angell also shewes to have beene sinfull by sending her backe againe. Let not the Divell make any of you play the fugi­tive by running away from your governours if they be somewhat sharpe to you, rather strive to pacifie them by submission, then to cast off the yoke by betaking your selves to your heeles. These be her onely faults, for I am loath to charge her with having an hand in Ishmaels mocking of Isaac, for Ishmael was then upon the point of sixteene yeares old, for Abraham was eighty sixe when Ishmael was borne, and 100 when Isaac was borne, and Isaac sucked some while, like enough above a yeare, and so Ishmael must be neere about six­teene, that shee may thinke he was so sensible of being Abrahams heire as to laugh at the stirre made about the young childe, as if by his comming into the world he should be dis-inherited.

Her benefits. 1. She was one of Abrahams servants.Now see her crosses and comforts; First, shee was so happy as to be a servant in Abrahams house and so a member of the true Church within the Covenant of grace, by vertue of her being a member of that domesticall Church. It is a very good benefit, when the Lord vouchsafeth to place a servant in a good family under good and Chri­stian Governours, which will affoord them all good usage for their bodies, and all needfull helpes also for the salvation of their soules. They may enjoy as much comfort in this as in any one thing that can befall them in respect of their habitation and dwelling, to have good Governours in a good house. For in being under the roofe and custo­dy of a godly man, they be under the custody of God himselfe, and guard of holy Angels.

Wherefore, let all those that have children and must dispose of them to be servants, be principally carefull of this matter. Let your care be to provide for yours Masters, not alone of good estate with [Page 151] whom they may live comfortably for their bodies, having good at­tire, good fare, good diet and the like, but by whose meanes the may be helped to knowledge, faith, obedience, graces of all sorts and to life eternall hereafter. Seeing your children be made after Gods image, have a soule as well as a body, and have neede as much of things profitable for the soule, since that is the farre better part, and if that be well, the good estate thereof will easily countervaile and make amends for the evills which the body suffered, but if it be in bad estate, all the bodily benefits will nothing at all advantage it: therefore I require you in the first place to respect this most necessary thing in placing out your children.

And all you servants that have beene directed either by Gods pro­vidence, or by the carefull indeavours of your good friends unto such households wherein you have all good usage for your outward man, and over and above the comfortable helpes of domesticall duties to bring you unto goodnesse, take notice of this mercy and thanke God for it, and take heede that you grow not weary of those holy duties, and shew not your selves so prophane, as to be troubled at that which should be your greatest content. Yea I pray you so many as live in good families, strive so to conforme your selves to the good­nesse of the household, as that you may have goodnesse by the meanes of goodnesse there used, for otherwise that which should have pro­cured life to you shall serve to make your destruction more terrible. Learne to pray, learne to heare Gods Word, learne to be good by the precepts and examples of your Governours, else as our Saviour tel­leth, that it shall be easier with the Sodomites, then the Capernaites at the day of judgement, so shall it be for the servants of profanest Masters then for you that serve good and holy Masters and Mi­stresses.

Secondly, Hagar had the favour of her Mistresse very much,2. Shee had the favour of her Master and Mistresse. else you may assure your selves that shee would never have made her a Concu­bine to her husband, neither would Abraham have taken her to be Concubine wife if hee had not thought some good of her. This therefore was a benefit to her, that she was well reputed of both by Abraham and Sarah, both the Governours of the family were well affected unto Hagar, and this is a great comfort unto a servant, that their Rulers entertaine them with good liking, approoving well of them and of their services, for by that meanes they be made capable of enjoying much comfort in their lives, and of receiving such curte­sies and rewards from their Governours as they be capable of, and of escaping much hard usage which else they should likely feele.

This should teach all servants to doe their uttermost indeavour that they may, to winne the love of their Governours by submissive­nesse and obedience, performing the commandement of the Apo­stle who commandeth to doe service with good will,Ephes. 6.3. Tit. 2.9. and to please them well in all things and to serve with feare, and to doe the will of [Page 152] God from the heart, remembring that they serve the Lord Christ, and if God will as he hath promised give them reward of inheritance, he will much more cause the hearts of their Governours to favour and accept them. Thus Ioseph gat his Masters good will and was great in his house, this is the right way to procure favour, take this course and God shall be with you, but put away farre from you all crossing and thwarting, and idlenesse, and eye-service, and answering againe, and the like evill carriages, which will alienate your Rulers hearts from you and make you seeme hatefull to them, and if any of you doe not finde your Governours good liking, take heed that your own naughty behaviour have not beene the cause of it. And if you have it, take heed of abusing it to wrong both them and your selves; and all you Governours, learne to shew favour to your servants, unlesse their sin­fullnesse hinder it.Pro. 14 35. & 27.18. For the favour of a King shall be to a good servant, saith Salomon, and hee that waiteth on his Master shall be promoted to honour, as he that tendeth a figtree shall eate of the fruit of it.

3. She received great mercies from God.Furthermore, Hagar received great mercies from God, for he gave her to conceive by Abraham, and when she ran away, met with her and directed her to goe backe againe, which shee acknowledged with great thankes, for he gave her also a heart to goe backe and submit to her Mistresse. This is a great favour of God, if he finde us in our out-strayings, and give us both direction and will to come into the right way againe. Pray to God, that he would thus guide you and not suffer you to continue and perish in your out-strayings.

4. Shee had Ishmael and a promise con­cerning him.Another mercy of God to Hagar was, that shee had Ishmael, and a promise, that God would be with him and blesse him, and make him a great man, and that he made Ishmael after dutifull to her, for he was guided by her in taking a wife which she had chosen for him. If children have not grace, yet if they prosper in the world and yeeld themselves dutifully to their Parents to be guided by them, they must acknowledge it as a great favour from Heaven.

Againe, it was a speciall goodnesse of God to her, that when shee wandred in the wildernesse, and the water was spent, and her sonne was ready to die for thirst, God pitied both him and her, and shewed her a Well whereby shee gat water to give him, and promised to blesse him, and so he revived, and lived, and prospered. All these favours Hagar had.

Her crosses.Consider what crosses she felt, for some bitter things she met withall as well as these comfortable and pleasing things.1. Sarah used her hardly. First, the hard usage of Sarah was tedious to her, and so much the more tedious by how much she was more guilty of pulling it on her selfe by her disobedi­ence, stubbornenesse, rude and contemptuous carriage. All you that be servants, if you finde your Governours sharp and rigorous, consider with your selves, whether your irreverent and disobedient behaviour have nor provoked them against you, and exposed you to this affliction, and if so, humble your selves before God first, and after to them. But if any have escaped this crosse, let them blesse the name of God that hath kept them from stubborne and undutifull courses, and given [Page 153] their governours wisedome and meekenesse not to be sharpe as some governours be without just cause.

Now another crosse to Hagar was this,2. Shee and her son were cast out of Abra­hams family. that she and her sonne were both sent out of Abrahams family, in such a poore and ill provided manner as the story telleth us. This is a misery very heavy to beare, to be cast out of ones countrey and place of habitation, where they lived comfortably, and forced to want all those benefits being deprived of them all at once. Wherefore take heed least by abusing these kinde of benefits, you provoke not the Lord to cast you out of the Church, or out of your houses and dwellings, but make you a good use of such mercies that they may be continued to you, and learne, if such a crosse should befall you, yet not to be disheartned and discouraged, but to humble your selves before God knowing that in such extremity the Lord is ready to helpe and succour you.

The last crosse of Hagars was,3. Shee saw her sonne ready to die with thirst. that she saw her sonne Ishmael spent with thirst and ready to die, and she was utterly destitute of all meanes to helpe him, not being able farther to ease him or her selfe but by get­ting out of sight and hearing, and sitting downe to weepe and mourne. This is a lamentable heart-breaking to a Parent, if they be destitute of things needfull for this life, whether by occasion of travell & wandring out of the way, or of penury and necessity at home. How most heavie a heart hath a Father or Mother, if they see their children ready to be fa­mished through hunger, and have no bread to breake unto them, or are almost choaked through thirst, and have no drink to bestow upon them, neither know what to doe for them, but to conveigh themselves out of sight, and sitting downe to empty their griefes in teares. This is a mise­ry that God sent upon the Parents of Ierusalem, by reason of famine and scarcity their children sowned in the streetes, and no man could supply them with bread. Lament. 4.4.

Wee must learne to blesse the name of God most heartily, that hath freed us from this misery, and hath not caused us to behold such a la­mentable sight by one occasion or other, but hath given us abundance of things necessary, yea if he have not furnished us with great store, yet we have sufficient to keep our selves and ours from pining away with want. O that we could be as full of thanks, when we are freed from wants, as we have beene of complaints even for small crosses. And now use moderately your abundance, that God may not strip you of all and bring you to such extremity, and why should we forfeit our selves and ours to famishing? when wee see that God is tender to us, and wil­ling to satisfie us with good things.

And lastly, let every man prepare for this crosse, think of it, tell him­selfe, it may befall him, and resolve if the wisedome of God shall bring it upon him, that he will labour patiently to undergoe it, not so as to be sorrowlesse, that were no way commendable, but so as to be moderate in grieving, and to turne his griefe into spirituall griefe, and powre it forth before the Lord in humble and penitent confessions and lamenta­tions for sinne.

[Page 154]Before I depart from handling of Hagars Example, I must say some­thing of Sarah and her, which I knew not how so fitly to speake of in the life of either, viz. that these two Mothers and the children borne of them were Allegories, as S. Paul calls them, that is, figures of some other thing mystically signified by them. For this we have the authori­ty of S. Paul, Gal. 4.21. Gal. 4.21. In these words, Heare you not what the Law (that is, the writings of Moses commonly called the Law, because the Law was the principall part thereof) doth say, for it is written that Abraham had two sonnes, Ver. 22. one of the bond-woman another of the free-woman, and the son of the bond-man was borne after the flesh that is, by a bare natu­rall power of generation, as any man naturally may beget a child of a woman without any power above nature concurring to the work,Ver. 23. But she that was borne of the free-woman was borne by promise, that is, not so much by any naturall strength of the Parents, as by vertue of Gods promise, which bound his truth to set his Omnipotency a worke above nature, otherwise Abraham that had so long lived with Sarah in her youth, and could never become a Father by her should much lesse have beene so by her,Ver. 24. now when her body was quite dried with age, which things (saith S. Paul) are an Allegory, according as I told you before. For these are Testaments or Covenants, the one from Mount Sinai, which came thence being there published and promulgated, it is the Law, the Covenant of workes, whereof it is said, The Law came by Moses, and this is said to gender unto bondage, that is, to beget and make not sonnes and daughters of a free and ingenuous spirit, loving God, and out of love doing him service, and meerely of his grace, love, free favour and promise expecting their reward, but bond-slaves which out of a feare of punishment or hope of reward, doe service and expect the reward for the worthinesse sake of their workes,Ver. 25. and this Covenant is Hagar, meaning, is signified by Hagar, for saith he, this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, meaning is so by signification and representation, and an­swereth in signification and Type to Ierusalem, which now is and is in bondage, meaning to the Law and to the curse and rigour of it, being debtors to the whole Law to doe it, or if they doe it not to the curse to suffer it.Ver. 26. But this Ierusalem which is from above, that is, the Heavenly Ierusalem, the Church, the number of true beleevers, that doe indeed seriously imbrace the doctrine of the Gospell, which began by Christ and his Apostles to be preached at Ierusalem, not hoping to be justified and saved by the merit or worth of their owne workes, but by the free promise of God in Christ, those are free from the curse and rigour of the Law, and shee is the mother of all true Christians of us all, that is, of my selfe and all those which with mee looke for righteousnesse and salvation alone through the merits of Christ, and mercy of God in Christ through faith in his name,Gal. 4.29. and after he saith, As then he that was after the flesh persecuted him that was after the Spirit, even so (saith he) it is now.

Here you have the full Allegory, two Mothers, a bond-woman and a free-woman, two manners of begetting, after the flesh and after the [Page 155] Spirit, two kindes of children, bond-men and free-men, and the bond still persecuting the free. The Mothers are the two Covenants, that of the Law and that of Grace. The two manners of begetting one of the promise, the other by the flesh, two kindes of children, bond-men to good and free-men. The matter is this, Those that bring nothing but their owne naturall power to the Law and so seeke by it to be justi­fied, they are but of a slavish disposition, and have nothing but the re­ward of slaves, but those that looke to the goodnesse of God in the Covenant of Grace, having the power of Gods Spirit, are made to love God as children, and admitted to the inheritance of sonnes.

Let us take heed of being sonnes of the bond-woman, for many be such still. The Papists will needs challenge salvation as due by the me­rits of their owne workes, and so in very deed doe exclude themselves from it by challenging it on a wrong ground. And the multitude are in this respect no whit better then the Papists; for their owne good deeds are still in their mouthes, as if they would be saved by workes, which yet cannot save them, yea some reliques of this ignorant and foolish pride was found in the Saints, who if they finde not (which they will never finde) perfection in themselves, are still apt to question their estate, as if it were their owne goodnesse that should bring them to Heaven, not the goodnesse of God in Christ, rewarding them freely with that unde­served crowne, because they are become the children of God by faith in Christ. Now let us take heed of being the sonnes of Hagar, but let us acknowledge still our owne sinfullnesse and unworthinesse, yet still rest on his mercy in Christ, and strive to obey him in love, as children doe their Father, and so much for Hagar. (*⁎*)

THE TENTH EXAMPLE.
OF KETVRAH, ISHMAEL, ELIEZER.

NOw Abraham had a third wife, her name was Keturah. Keturah. The Scripture bringeth her in as it were a dumbe person, tells nothing of her parents, life, nor death, but mentioning her bare name alone, shewes that shee was Abrahams wife as I conceive, and what chil­dren shee had by Abraham we are told, Gen. 25.1. her sonnes were sixe, as you may reade in that place. Now the Lord seemeth to tell us this little of this woman and her sonnes, because we should the more acknowledge the blessing of God upon Abraham in restoring him to a second youth as it were, and making him so fruitfull as to beget six sonnes in his old-age after Sarahs death, whereas before at an 100 he was as good as dead, according to S. Pauls phrase, Rom. 4. So Gods blessing is able to make our soules fruitfull in all good workes, though of our selves wee be utterly barren and unfruitfull. And thus we have done with Abrahams wives.

Now let us speake something of his contemporaries, beginning [Page 158] with his sonne Ishmael. Ishmael. Ishmael was sonne of Abraham and Hagar his maide servant, borne unto him at his 86. yeeres, as saith the Holy Ghost, Gen. 16. ult. He was the sonne of a godly Father, but whether himselfe were godly or not it is uncertaine. But in his life we must note, First, his Vertues. Secondly, his Faults. Thirdly, his Benefits. Fourthly, his Crosses, and then shall we come to his death.

His Vertues. 1 He was out­wardly confor­mable and o­bedient to his father.His vertues. First he lived in his fathers house in outward confor­mity and obedience, for he submitted to his father at 13. yeares to be circumcised, Gen. 17.25. and so had the outward seale of the co­venant, but yet he was not the promised seede, nor had the covenant made with him, nor had the Church and true religion continuing in his family. So we must learne not to satisfie our selves with being in the Church outwardly, but must labour to become true members of it, and to enter into the covenant indeed. It will not profit us to have the Sacraments outwardly administered to us, (for he is not a Jew which is one without, neither is that circumcision which is out­ward in the flesh) but wee must indeavour after the inward circum­cision, even to get the righteousnesse which is by faith, that that faith may purifie our hearts, and purge away from us all filthinesse of flesh and spirit. And if we make use of the outward seale, thereby to be made to see and feele our uncircumcisednesse of heart, and heartily acknowledge Gods will and power to make us partakers of the in­ward circumcision, so putting forth our selves to beg for, and labour after that inward circumcision, the Lord will surely bestow it up­on us.

Againe, all children must learne to submit themselves to their pa­rents, at least to an outward performance of such holy duties, as by their parents they shall be instructed in, else they are worse then Ish­mael, and will become matter of anguish and vexation to their godly parents. Would Ishmael accept circumcison, and wilt not thou ac­cept instruction, learne the principles of Christian religion, and settle thy selfe to some shew of goodnesse, then shall Ishmaels example rise up in judgement against thee and condemne thee. And parents must observe Gods goodnesse in their childeren, if they find them even in such a degree tractable and ruly, for this is farre better then to be wilde and furious, and to cast of all semblance of goodnesse, and yet such would the best mans childeren prove, if the hand of God did not restraine them.

2. He submit­ted himselfe to his father to be banished out of his house.But another good thing in Ishmael was, that he submitted himselfe to his Father to be banished out of his house, no question but Abra­ham that loved him, would informe him of the necessity which lay upon himselfe so to expell his sonne, and would furnish him with all good counsell, who then being some 16. yeares old was capable of good advice, and so did he without murmuring or wilfull refusing to go yeeld himselfe to that punishment. It is a good thing in childeren to take quietly their parents chastisement, even though they should be somewhat severe. But to oppose them, or to rebell against them, [Page 159] or fall to clamorousnesse and impatiency is a great sinne, even though the correction should be causelesse and unjust, how much more if they be righteous and deserved. Learne of Ishmael this submission, how will you hope that you be Gods childeren, if you do not equall such a one as Ishmael in goodnesse?

Againe,3 Hee ioyned with Isaac in his Fathers fu­nerall. Ishmael did another good office in the conclusion of his Fathers life, for it is noted of him, that he came to Isaac and joyned with him in his Fathers funerall, Gen. 25.9. by which it is manifest, that he bare no grudge against his Father for casting him out of his house, but bore that respect towards him which was due to a Father, and therefore did him the best honour he could at his latter end, yea that hee did not harbour in his minde any envious and malicious thought against Isaac, and therefore would come unto him and unite his paines to burie his Father. Learne so much good of him I pray you, as to forget that severity which perhaps Parents may have shewed to any of you, and not put off the dutifulnesse of childeren, because you have met with something that flesh and bloud would call hard measure. The lesse inducement any man hath from a parents kindnesse to love and honour him, the more commendable it is if hee performe all honour to him: but he that will be so transported with discontentment against a parent for some sharpenesse, as even to hate and contemne him, most of all if his owne folly have inforced his parent to such proceedings, is without all doubt a gracelesse and a wret­ched childe.

I pray you learne also by Ishmael, not to suffer envy to rise against your Bretheren if in any thing they be preferred before you to your detriment. Love not them lesse then the name of a Brother or Sister doth require, because you may thinke that they have stood betwixt your parents love and bounty and your selves, and so as it were overshadowed you, and kept the sun-shine from you, but behold the hand of God in so disposing of things and resolve to love still as Bretheren.

Further Ishmael did one good act of honour and duty toward his mother Hagar. For it is said, Gen. 21.21.4. He was ru­led by his mo­ther in marri­age. that his mother tooke him a wife out of the land of Egypt, so he was ruled by his mother in mar­riage, having her liking and consent, yea giving himselfe to be gui­ded by her, as did also Isaac to Abraham, and Iacob to Isaac. It is a needefull thing for childeren to take the consent and assent of their parents, (yea if it be but of the mother, supposing the father to be dead or absent,) and not to rush into this estate against their willes and privity. No comfort can come to the conscience in such a match, for whosoever is joyned together otherwise then Gods Word alloweth, can have no ground of comfort, as those are that are joy­ned without the good will of those whom God hoth made his depu­ties in this businesse. The Lord saith to Parents, take wives for your sonnes, and give your daughters, plainely putting them into his roome in that behalfe, wherefore having not consent from them, they live [Page 160] in an unlawfull matrimony, untill such time as by humble repentance before God and submissive intreaties to their parents, they have at­tained that good leave of their parents, which they ought to have gotten before. If therefore any amongst you have so offended, they must see the fault, and be humbled and seeke pardon. Most times the Lord doth sensibly crosse such matches, make use of those crosses to increase your godly sorrow for sinne. And let those children that are yet unmarried, take heed of intangling their affections without the privity of Parents, or of seeking to draw the affections of one a­nother, untill such consent have gone before, for feare they make this duty very difficult unto them, or thrust themselves out of the way of duty and obedience, by their headstrong passions. So much of Ishmaels good deeds, now of his bad.

His faults. 1. He mocked his brother.First, at some 15. or 16. yeares he mocked Isaac, this mocking was a degree of persecution and a fault in him. I cannot conceive that he did it out of any dislike of Isaacs piety, who being but a new weaned childe could not discover any piety unto him, at least any such act of piety as should stirre up disdaine and derision, but seeing such a great gladnesse and a merry feast at the weaning of Isaac, he made a sport of him, as it were disdaining that Isaac should seeme to thrust him out of the inheritance. Now it is a great sinne to mocke any one out of envy and scorne that they should be preferred before them. Mocking shewes a great deale of pride in him that useth it, nothing but overvaluing of our selves makes us undervalew others. Mocking is a tedious thing to suffer, the good esteeme wee have of our selves and those that are neere unto us, makes the contrary carriage of others unsufferable, therefore is mocking a great offence. Take heed I pray you of using it toward your bretheren or neighbours; It is an act that tendeth strongly to provoke, and we must not provoke one ano­ther: It is then most loathsome when it comes from envy and malice, make not a may game at your bretheren, floute them not, breake not jests upon them;Ephes. 5.4. this jesting is that which S. Paul forbids, especially laugh not at their miseries and at their sinnes, but most of all mocke not at them for well doing. Mocking is any carriage by which a man expresseth his contempt of another, and seekes to make him also con­temptible and despicable unto others. He that can set light by a man for goodnesse sake which should procure honour, how blind a minde, how perverse a judgement hath he. Be penitent if your folly have carried you to such a sinne, and now bridle your selves from such ill carriage, hath not God shewed his dislike of it sufficiently, by puni­shing it in Ishmael with banishment out of Abrahams house?

2 Was a wilde man.Another fault of Ishmael, is that which was foretold of him, that he was a wilde man, a kind of Asse-colt, that would not be subject to any almost, nor ruled by any. This is a grievous fault indeed, when he that hath the face, shape and faculties of a man, and should have wisedome to submit himselfe to such as have authority over him, will yet know no governour, submit to no authority, be kept within [Page 161] no boundes, but leape over hedge and ditch as it were, and runne about after his owne fancy, and live as he lists himselfe, that is to say, will evertake upon him the qualities of a wild Asse-colt to man-ward, will never carry himselfe as a sheepe dutifully to God-ward. Be­ware of being such wild fellowes that now follow their owne hu­mours, and care not what trickes they play, not heeding any admo­nition or any reason. If any of you have shewed your selves such formerly, bewaile it before God, pray him to pardon you, pray him to turne you by shewing you your sinnes, and miserable estate by na­ture, and pray him to make you at length to learne to take the yoake of obedience, and cast of all wilde courses, live like men not like wilde Asses. The wilde Asse runnes up and downe in the wildernesse, and will not be led nor driven, but will be where her fancy carryes her. Be not you such, but let the directions and admonitions of your parents and governours, like bounds keepe you within compasse. He that will live wildly shall surely procure a world of miseries to himselfe at last: hardship shall tame him whom nothing else will tame, or else at the end of his wilde race, he shall stake himselfe as it were, upon the vengeance of God and eternall death.

Yet another fault, Every mans hand was against him, 3. Hee was a quarrellsome fellow. Gen. 16.12. and his against every man. The meaning is, he was a quarrelsome fellow, still braw­ling and falling out, one that would easily take and give matter of strife and debate; apt to speake and doe that which would give di­staste to others, and apt to distaste the things that others said and did to him, so as to make it the matter of a fray or grudge, or both. This is the fault that is described in these words; Now a sore sinne it is that makes a man troublesome to himselfe and all his neighbours, and causeth his life to be like the life of a Cocke of the game, that is still bloudy with the bloud of others and himselfe. I pray you examine your selves whether you be not such froward contentious men, still in suite, in contestation, in opposition with some or other, that will take no shew of wrong, but will doe enough, that cannot long keepe out of some brabling matter. If it be a legall kind of quarrelling, it is a signe of much folly, much pride, or both, much more if it be a kind of martiall quarrelling that tends to stroakes and bloudshed. Re­pent, repent of this evill humour, and seeke to God to give you a meeke and quiet spirit, able to beare and forbeare, able to shew kind­nesse and to passe by unkindnesse, for surely it is a kind of diabolicall life to live so unquietly, and it will cause Gods hand to be stretched out against him, whose hand is against every body. And these are Ish­maels faults.

Now his benefits are, First, deliverance from two great dangers,His Benefits. 1. Deliverance from two great dangers. one before hee was borne, when his mother was taking a course to undoe both her selfe and him, God was so favourable to both, as to meete her in the way and turne her backe from her wandering, that returning home againe, Ishmael might be borne in Abrahams house, and by him brought up in all good order till his 17. yeere or there­abouts. [Page 162] A great benefit it was and the foundation of his future worldly greatnesse. This mercy must be confessed, if God have prevented danger from us whilest we were in our mothers wombes; and it were fit that Parents should acquaint their children with such mercies, that they might learne to inlarge their thankesgiving by mentioning of them also. We cannot shew our selves too exact and diligent in reckoning with God for his benefits.

2. God provi­ded water for him when hee was ready to die for thirst.Secondly, God himselfe vouchsafed to meete him againe when he was banished, and to provide water for him and refresh him when he was now ready to die for thirst. How great was Gods care of him? that sent an Angell to open his Mothers eyes and cause her to see a Well neere hand, which either griefe of minde or weakenesse of sight thorough faintnesse had disabled her from seeing, or else made a Well for the purpose and then shewed it her. Hath not God succoured some of us in dangers almost as great? by sending us or shewing us some present meanes of helpe, which it was not possible for any wit of ours to provide. Let not such a benefit be forgotten, and let us learne to trust upon him ever after, and not to be carkingly troubled with casting dangers before hand and disquieting our selves with feares, because we see no way out, God will have a Well in store and shew it us at the exigent.

3. God himselfe gave him his name.Againe, it was a great mercy of God, that himselfe vouchsafed to give him a name and so sweet a name, as that of Ishmael, which signifi­eth, God will heare, and may seeme to point out the deliverance where­of I spake last,Gen. 21.17. for then it is said, I have heard the cry of the lad. O that we could labour to be Ishmaels in this sence, such as have interest unto this mercy of being heard of God. Such we shall be if we de­part from iniquity and study to please God, for if any man doe the will of God him will God heare. Joh. 9.31.

4. He prospered much in the world.Lastly, God blessed Ishmael in outward things, and made him to prosper so much in the world that he became a great man, and had twelve Princes issuing from his loynes and after a great nation. Why should the Saints doubt of things needfull? seeing even those of whom we are not sure that they were Saints, enjoyed so great abun­dance, or why should any man boast himselfe of these things? which an Ishmael may have as well as an Isaac. And why should not we be incouraged to serve God in uprightnesse? who vouchsafeth so libe­rally to reward his servants, as to blesse their children so much for their sakes. And so much for the life of Ishmael.

His death.Now for his death, which is set downe, Gen. 25.17. These are the yeeres of the life of Ishmael 137 yeeres, and then hee gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered to his people. He lived ten yeeres more then Sarah, for she lived 127 and he an 137 and this is to be noted of him, that the yeeres of his life are reckoned, which is not done to any wicked man in Scripture againe,See Ainsworth on Gen. 25.17 whereby some probability is given that he was a good man, seeing it is also said, that He was gathered to his people, a phrase not used of any but good men, signifying that [Page 163] he went among the Congregation of the good men which went before him. But howsoever, we must learne by his death to prepare for ours, that we may be gathered unto our people. If we live as Gods people, we shall die as Gods people, and be gathered amongst them, and shall be raised up also with them at the resurrection of the just. But if we live with the wicked, we shall die with the wicked, and be gathe­red together with them to shame and torment at the last. And so much of Ishmael Abrahams sonne by Hagar.

Now of others that lived at the same time.Eliezer. Eliezer of Damascus the Steward of his house, into whose hands hee committed all that he had, so it is told us, Gen. 15.2. and 25.2.The Scripture saith nothing of his Birth and Death, nor of his faults. Hee was his eldest servant, and ruled over all that he had, of his Birth and Death we reade nothing in Scripture, but of his Life some passages are related. 1. His vertues and good deeds, for of his bad deeds no mention is made, not that he was altogether free from sinne, for if Abraham and Sarah were in some things found faulty, it cannot be thought that this man a servant of theirs was faultlesse, but because the Lord did not write an entire story of his life, but would set him before the eyes of servants as an example for them to imitate. Now of him therefore wee must note his good carriage, his benefits and his crosses.

First for his good deeds, when Abraham called him and would have him put his hand under his thigh (a gesture used to the godly Patriarkes by such as bound themselves to them by an oath, perhaps to signifie their subjection to them, and faith in the promised seed which was to come out of their loynes) he would not hastily and hand­over-head take that oath which was ministred unto him, but with due caution and warinesse, that he might not thrust himselfe into the danger of forswearing himselfe by rashnesse, but might have a quiet conscience by seeing clearely how farre his oath bound him and to what, that so he might know himselfe able to performe his oath and might accordingly fulfill it.

In him therefore we learne to be warie in swearing and to sweare in judgement, that is, advisedly and with good consideration, infor­ming our selves fully of the thing sworne too, that it might not be either impossible or unlawfull to the intangling of our soules in the perill of falling into that hainous offence of perjury.His vertues. 1. He procee­ded warily to an oath. No man must proceede to an oath hastily and inconsiderately, but must ponder upon the thing sworne too, that he may have a full resolution to accomplish the same. Looke to your selves that you shew the like religious re­spect to the great name of God. An oath is a strong bond in which a man laies his soule as it were in pawne to God, so that the breach of his oath is a forfeiture of his pretious soule to the hands of Gods judgement, so great a bond must not be taken upon us without great cautelousnesse. They therefore that have sworne on a suddaine not de­liberating seriously of it, must know that they have even offered con­tempt to God, because though perhaps the thing was just and possi­ble, [Page 164] yet it was so by chance alone and as it fell out, and if it had beene otherwise, yet they would have taken it so that no thankes was due to any religious care of theirs if it were otherwise. Repent therefore of your hastinesse and heedelesnesse in swearing, this is to shew your selves such as doe not feare an oath, and so doe not duely re­verence and honour the great Majesty of God, whose name in swearing you invocate against your selves.

Therefore also those that minister an oath must not be displeased at such cautelousnesse, but must readily satisfie the doubts and scruples of those that sweare, that with good conscience and a quiet minde they may take it upon them, for seeing they be carefull before they sweare to understand what they sweare unto, it giveth good hope that after they have sworne they will be as carefull that they keepe it, and so their oath shall be to some purpose, which should very much con­tent and satisfie him that gives them the oath. But he that will speedily and without considering take an oath, will also be as ready to breake it, alledging his former ignorance or mistaking, as an excuse of his not fulfilling it. Hitherto of his devotion to God in respect of his wa­ry entring into an oath.

2. Carried himselfe well to Abraham. Now comes to be handled his good carriage towards Abraham in the businesse by oath committed unto him.1. Hee used speed in per­forming his oath. First, he used due speede in fulfilling his oath, for without more then necessary deferring hee addressed himselfe to the performance of his oath having thoroughly understood it, for knowing his Masters will to be that he should fetch the woman and not bring Isaac backe againe thither, and that if they would not give him a wife for Isaac without his owne comming, then he should be free from the oath, and withall being incouraged by Abrahams words,The iourney was about 300 miles. that God would send his Angell before him and prosper his journey, he made all good speede to take his journey about that weighty service, and went unto Mesopotamia to dispatch it, taking to that end ten Camells with all other things necessary, seeing all his Masters estate was at his command.

Here learne, that when you have sworne you must not delay the performance of it, but so soone as shall be convenient, and as you have power, must settle to doe the thing sworne to. All you that have sworne any lawfull and possible thing, looke on Abrahams godly servant and be mindfull of your oathes, consider the great­nesse of God to whom you are tied, and put not off the worke from time to time, seeke not needlesse delayes, make not fearefull or sloath­full excuses, but free your faith and pull your selves out of the danger of Gods displeasure by a conscionable fulfilling of your oathes. The Pharisees could say,Mat. 5.33. thou shalt not forsweare thy selfe but fulfill thine oathes to God. Let us shew our selves at least as wise and conscionable as a Pharisee could teach us to be.

But what if we perceive the oath to have beene of an unlawfull thing?

I answer, then we must repent of our naughtinesse in taking it, and [Page 165] so forbeare to add a second sinne in doing that which is unlawfull. For it is impossible that an oath should be of more force to binde a man to a thing, then Gods Commandement is to restraine him from it. Nothing can have more force to binde conscience then Gods Com­mandement.

But what if it proove impossible?

I answer, if that impossibility might have beene foreseene, our rashnesse in not foreseeing it must be repented of, but if it could not have beene foreseene, we must rest our selves satisfied in this, that our minde was faithfully to have fulfilled it, if God had not cast in our way such an impediment, but no hazard, no cost, no labour must stand betwixt us and the accomplishing of our oathes,Psal. 15.4. for Da­vid saith, that a good man sweares to his hinderance, and yet fulfills. 'Twere better for a man to be undone in the world or to loose this naturall life, then to breake his oath for feare of losse or death. So much of this mans conscionablenesse in regard of taking and keeping an oath.

Now see his vertuous carriage in the thing. 1. His great diligence in the maine worke. 2. His discretion. 3. His piety and religious­nesse.

To begin with the last, he served his Master religiously. First,2. He served his Master re­ligiously. he thanked God for his good successe. 2. He prayed to God for good successe. His prayer is, Gen. 24.12, 13, 14. Wherein he besought God to cause him to meete with a fit wife for Isaac. We must all learne specially servants, for of such a one we speake now, to commend our Masters businesses to God, praying him to prosper us. A good and godly servant when he imployeth himselfe in his Masters worke, must shew himselfe to be Gods servant and to have faith in his providence, trusting in his goodnesse and blessing more then in his owne ability. In­deed such a particular begging of such and such occurrents to shew us Gods minde was peculiar to him, and is not required of us, for he did it by the peculiar inspiration of Gods Spirit, but in generall to beg Gods assistacce that belongs to all good Servants. You that would be counted godly servants, have you thus sanctified your indeavours by prayer? have you thus called on his name to guide and speed you? if you have, you have done well, take comfort in it, it is a testimony that you serve for conscience sake, not as men-pleasers, and that you serve the Lord in serving your Masters, if you have not, be humbled and lament it, as a matter of prophanesse and a cause of many crosses and a meanes to make you proud of your selves, if good successe attend you. And now tread hereafter in the steps of this god­ly Servant. Pray, pray to him for his assistance and blessing upon your selves, and the workes you take in hand for your Masters, that so it may appeare you doe all in faith and obedience to God.

Againe, this man finding that God did answer his requests,3. He praised God for his good successe. blesseth God, verse 26, 27. Where is his reverent behaviour outwardly, hee bowed, and then the matter of his thankes, he said, blessed be the Lord, [Page 166] you must learne with all humble behaviour of body and consequent­ly of mind and with all sincerity and heartinesse to praise God for your good successe, and so it will appeare that you ascribe all to God and not to your selves. If you have beene thus thankfull, it is an ex­cellent thing in which you must take comfort; nothing is a truer proofe of true goodnesse, then a constant care to blesse and praise God for his perpetuall goodnesse in prospering us, if not, lament the want of it as a manifest proofe of pride and want of faith.

And now let us all learne to be particularly thankfull to God for particular benefits, yea even such outward benefits, much more for in­ward. This is the way to continue, to sanctifie, and increase benefits, God loveth thankfullnesse as men also doe. If we improove his be­nefits to so good a purpose, we shall not want them in due time, onely, see that your thankes be not alone verball.

4. He was dis­creete.You have seene his piety, now his discretion shewes it selfe first in setting downe what a woman he would have for Isaac, viz. a cour­teous and laborious woman, one that came out to draw water, and one that would respect a stranger, and give him to drinke and his Ca­mels also; truly a woman courteous of disposition, and of body strong, and healthy, and painefull, is a fit woman to make a wife.

Againe, he proceeds, discreetly in his carriage to winne her and her Parents, he gives her gifts and them also, and truly relates the prospe­rous estate of his Master, all which tend to perswade them to yeeld her, and her selfe to give her selfe to Isaac for a wife. So must every ser­vant use discretion and prudence in his Masters affaires, taking the best course he can to make them sort well in the end.

5. He had a care of his Camels.Another part of his good behaviour, is care of his Camels, to which he lookes to give water and provender in due time. So should a good servant, and every good man in his travells, have a due care of his beasts, and looke that they have things fit for them. Yea first should hee looke to them unlesse necessity compell otherwise, and then to himselfe, not like to them that tie their horses to the rack-staves, and fill themselves with drink or victuals.6 Was diligent and made hast about his bu­sinesse.

Then his last good deed is, he makes hast about his businesse, to tell it and set it a foot, for he would not eate till he had done his errand, and then he effects his businesse fully, for he rose up betimes in the mor­ning and would not stay one day, but with all speed returnes to let his Master see his good successe. O that you servants would all be such servants,Col. 3.22. Ephes. 6.5. faithfull, diligent in your Masters affaires, religious, devout, prayerfull, thankfull on all occasions, and carefull of the beasts and other goods committed to your charge, and returne home when your businesse is dispatched.

Now faults in him the Lord shewes none as I said before for the cause then mentioned.

His benefits. 1. God gave him a godly Master.Benefits he had foure very great. 1. That God gave him a godly Master, 2. That God gave him favour in his eyes, so that he trusted him with all he had. 3. That God made him a true Christian, for bond [Page 167] and free are all one to God. And lastly,2. He had his favour. that he prospered him and brought him safe and with good successe to his Masters house.3. He was a true Christian You that be servants pray for these blessings. Beseech God to make you his free men, and if God grant you favour and good successe in your journeys,4. God prospe­red him. learne to be very thankfull for it.

And for his crosse it was this, he was a servant,His crosse, Hee was a bond-man. to be a bond-man is a lesse desireable condition as Paul intreateth, saying, if thou maist be free use it rather, but it is an easie crosse if a man can meete with so godly a Master and be accepted with him, hence S. Paul saith, care not for it, you that must live by service, grumble not at this crosse. For your service is not a bondage for life; but alone as apprentices for a certaine time, or as hired servants from yeere to yeere, murmure not at the meanenesse of your estate, but frame as this man to be faith­full and godly, and you may live as happily here, and get as much glory in Heaven here­after as your Masters. (*⁎*)

THE ELVENTH EXAMPLE.
OF LOT, his VVife and Daughters.

AFter the Example of Abraham and his Fami­ly,Abrahams Contempo­raries. wee come to those that lived in the same Age with him, particular persons and whole Cities and peoples. Among particular per­sons I will begin with Lot, and then speake a word of his wife and daughters.

For himselfe,Lot. when and of what Mother he was borne, it is not recorded, but wee have notice of his Father, who was Haran the bro­ther of Abraham, who died before his Father in the Countrey of Me­sopotamia.

The death of Lot is also concealed in Scripture,His death is not mentioned in Scripture. so that we cannot ac­quaint you when he ended his daies, nor where.

But in his life we must observe what good is found in him and what evill, and secondly, what things he met withall in his life both good and bad.His vertues. He was a righteous man. 2 Pet. 2.8.

First for his goodnesse in generall, he hath the testimony of the Holy Ghost by the pen of S. Peter, that he was a righteous man. It is said there, that God delivered just Lot, as also, that righteous man dwel­ling amongst them vexed his righteous soule. This is proofe enough of his goodnesse, and it was necessary for the cleering of his name, that [Page 170] the New Testament should testifie of his righteousnesse, because the narration of his life in the old leaves him in such a case as would make the Reader afraid, least hee had quite falne away from all goodnesse, but Peters testimony is proofe enough, that the commit­ting of that great sinne did not take him of from the number of the righteous.

No sinne is so great but repentance wipeth it so cleane away, that the offender is righteous and must be so esteemed, notwithstanding the grievousnesse of his crime. Now let each of us labour to get true righteousnesse, that though this title be not bestowed upon him by the undeceivable pen of some Author of holy Writ, yet hee may heare it pronounced by our blessed Saviour at the last day, when standing on the right hand he may be blessed with the blessing of the righte­ous. And let me be bold to turne my speech unto you that have beene and are the grievousest sinners; If you lament your unrighteousnesse, rest on Christs righteousnesse, and hereafter studie righteousnesse in your lives, you shall enjoy the happinesse of righteous men at last.

A twofold righteousnesse.There is a seeming righteousnesse, a meere Pharisaicall paint, when a man carries himselfe blamelesly to men ward, at least in respect of the grosser acts of evill. This will save no man at the last, nor com­fort him in time of temptation; there is a true and reall righteousnesse, which will undoubtedly save them which can be so happie as to get it, and of this true righteousnesse there are two sorts, one of the Law, it standeth in a perfect conformity of heart and life unto the exact rule of Gods Law,Gal. 3.21, 22. And if there had beene a Law given which could have given life, doubtlesse righteousnesse should have beene by the Law, but now the Scripture hath concluded all under sinne, that the promise by the faith of Iesus Christ may be given to them that beleeve: So now we must have a righteousnesse by promise, that is, by the Gos­pell, for that of the Law is too high for us.

The righteous­nesse of the Gospell is two­fold.And the righteousnesse of the Gospell is twofold, one without us, performed by our blessed Saviour for us, as a surety paies the debt for the debters use and benefit, by which we stand just before God, and have our sinnes pardoned and are accepted to salvation. When we have so seene our own misery as to goe quite out of our selves and rest alone upon Christ for all good things according to the promise. The other is within us, it is a gift bestowed upon and wrought in us by the Spirit of God, alwaies and inseparably joyned with the for­mer, by which we are manifested to our selves and to others to be just, and it standeth in a true desire and indeavour to know and leave every sinne forbidden by God, and to know and doe all good workes required, so that we still continue to humble our selves for our failings, and to seeke unto God for pardon and helpe in and by Christ and his Spirit. This righteousnesse of faith which denomi­nates him in whom it is righteous, you must all get, else you shall ne­ver attaine eternall life. It is a thing appointed of God in such [Page 171] perfection of goodnesse and wisdome, that it cannot be found in any Hypocrite seeme he never so good, and will surely be found in any upright hearted man be he never so weake; never leave striving till you have gotten it, and gotten certaine knowledge that you have it.

Dost thou in thy heart see and acknowledge thy selfe to be a cursed sinner, by reason of thy corrupt nature that is derived to thee from Adams loynes and thy wicked life, whereby thou thy selfe hast actually transgressed the Law of God? Yes. Dost thou confesse thy selfe altogether unable of thy selfe to satisfie for or deserve par­don of any of these sinnes, or to conquer and overcome them in thy selfe? Yes. Dost thou acknowledge Jesus Christ to be a sufficient and perfect Saviour, ready and able to pardon thee and heale thee, and dost thou even labour and desire to rest upon his merits and his Spirit for pardon of sinne and true holinesse? And dost thou hereup­on put on a resolution, and proceede in an indeavour to cast away all sinne and to worke all righteousnesse, still confessing and lamenting [...]hy faults and failings, and renewing thy requests for pardon and grace and thy purposes of amendment? Yes. I say then to that soule amongst you that can truly make this answer to these questions, that he is a righteous man according to the language of the Gospell, not righteous with Legall righteousnesse (for in that sence never was any found since our first Parents falling from the state of innocency, one alone, the Lord Jesus Christ excepted, nor ever shall be to the last day, but righteous with the righteousnesse of the Gospell, perfectly justified in the sight of God and sincerely sanctified in him­selfe, yea though any such amongst you have many and strong cor­ruptions divers times stirring in you, and producing evill and wicked acts, yet if he persist in lamenting them and renewing his repen­tance, as often as he findeth himselfe an offender, yet is he a just man, yea if any have runne into most foule and grosse sinnes more then once, yet if he have now cast away those sinnes, and be returned againe to his purpose and indeavour of godly living, he is a righ­teous man and shall be saved as was Lot. So much for Lots good­nesse in generall.

Now I will speake of those particular good deeds which hee is commended for in Scripture. First,Lots particular vertues. 1. He left his owne Coun­trey and Fa­thers house. he left his owne Countrey and Fathers house with his Grand-father Terah and his Unkle Abra­ham, this was a good deed and commendable. Indeed if hee were then a meere young man, not yet living as the Master of a family of himselfe, but under the roofe of his Father, then the commendati­on is not great, for he might be then driven to it by the authority of his Grand-father, rather then be lead by any faith in himselfe. But I suppose, he was then of age to make his owne choice of habitati­on, and might if it seemed good unto him, have stayed in Aram Naharaim as well as his Unkle Nahor did the Father of Rebekah, for in the yeere of the World 2079, Abraham left his Countrey, [Page 172] and in the yeere 2009 or thereabouts, Sodome was consumed. So betwixt the comming out of Mesopotamia and the conflagration of Sodome were but about thirty yeares, but Lot had at that time two marriageable daughters, therefore it is likely that himselfe was of a fit age at the time of his going out of the Countrey, to choose whether he would have gone or staied. Well, Lot left his Countrey, and so shewed himselfe a Pilgrim and stranger on earth together with Abraham, for though he inherited not Canaan, yet because he left the false gods which were served by his kindred in Mesopo­tamia, to serve the true God which Abraham went to serve, it prooveth, that hee had faith in that God and was accepted to life.

You must all learne to be ready to forsake false gods and cleave to the true, if ever you desire to inherit salvation. Now the false gods that we are in danger to serve, are the World, and the things of the World, and our selves, Pleasure, profit, credit, ease, and the like, these be your Idols, these be the things that men in our times and Countries doe erect as it were stumbling blocks unto themselves, the belly, the backe, the purse, the profits and contents of this world, these we seeke for more then for Gods favour, these wee long for more then grace, to get or keepe these we leave the waies of God, we give our affections and thoughts more to these then unto God, and will not obey his blessed Commandements farther then these wicked Idols will give us leave. Now you can no more serve God and Mammon and the belly, then you can serve God and Dagon or Ashtaroth, or God by Iupiter and Iuno. The Lord hath imployed mee now thirty yeares or thereabouts, to call you from following these unhappy Idols, at length rid your hands of them and doe the same thing in effect, that Lot did when hee left his Countrey and came into the land of promise with Abraham.

2. Hee was troubled at the evill con­versation of the Sodomites. 2 Pet. 2.8.But another good deed of Lots we reade of, and that is, he vexed his righteous soule from day to day with the uncleane conversation of the Sodomites, and it is said, he was labouring against, for so much the word in proper signification of it doth expresse. He was burdened with it, and even laboured under it as under a burden, hee was also upon the rack with it. He grieved so for it, that hee would faine have amended it, and not finding that possible it was a torture unto him to see it growing more and more. This is a good thing to grieve at the common faults and sinnes, I beheld the transgressour and was grie­ved, Psal. 119.136. Psal. 119.158. and in another place, Rivers of teares gush out of mine eyes, because men keepe not thy Law. If wee hate sinne, if wee love the glory of God, or the soules of men, we must needs be grieved to see that done which our selves hate, and which tendeth to Gods dishonour and the damnation of men. If we grieve for sin we shall be preserved from the contagion of it, and keepe our selves unspotted in the common pollution: but if wee have not so much grace as to bewaile it, we shall quickly shew our selves so weake as [Page 173] to fall to the imitating it at least in some degrees. Yea the Prophet Ezekiel noteth, that the mourners were marked out for deliverance, as Noah was in the destruction of Sodome and Gomorrha.

Now come let mee enquire of you my Brethren. Doe you take the sinnes of others heavily? doe they pierce your hearts with sor­row? Are they burdens to you? Ah, how many doe rather rejoyce, in seeing other mens evills in secret, and joyne with them in the same excesse of riot, are glad to see and heare lewdnesse from others,So in drun­kennesse. and to joyne with them it. What are these? how farre from deserving to be called righteous? But even of those that be righteous (as wee hope there are some) so farre inferiour are they to Lot in goodnesse, though having farre better meanes then any Sodome affoorded, they ought also to be better persons, that few teares serve them, and little sorrow is found in them for the common sinnes. The common oathes, cursing, Sabbath-breaking which are every where rife, doe not grieve them at all. One little trifling losse or crosse hath made them more take on with sorrow, then all the disorders of the Land. It is but weake goodnesse that is not sensible of the contrary both in it selfe and others too, and it is but little sensible of it that is but little grieved for it.

If you say, our land is not like Sodome that wee should live in it so as Lot did there.

I answer, God be thanked in some things it is not, and in publike the faults breake not out that there were done openly, but many of the sonnes of Sodome are bare-fac'd amongst us, and wee looke upon them without remorse. You must be sorry that you have not beene more sorry for the publike iniquity. Surely if a scourge come it shall take you away with the rest, because you have not shewed your zeale of Gods glory and detestation of sinne in the rebellions of the rest.

And now set you to it, set you to it, it is said, that Lot did put his soule upon the racke, he was an actor in this sorrow, he put himselfe upon it. I say he was even willing to exercise himselfe in grieving for their naughtinesse, and he strove to make his sorrow piercing. O you must labour to doe this as well as any other good worke, to chafe and grudge and be furious against such a sinner and such a sinner, to jest, scoffe, and gird, or raile, and bitterly inveigh against such and such sinnes, be such straines and flashes of wit and anger, as may be found in men of no true holinesse, but to get alone and even sell over himselfe to sighing, mourning, and lamentation for the common sinnes that are every where runne into, this can hardly be ascribed to any thing but true piety, if the sinnes be such as doe not in any particular respect touch a mans selfe in way of wrong and injury. Indeed to grieve for such sinnes of others, may seeme in some respect as a more difficult thing, so a more sure signe of truth then to grieve for ones owne sinnes, you shall see men driven to teares for their owne of­fences in respect of shame or losse, and sometimes terrour of heart, [Page 174] but grieving for the common sinnes can hardly proceed from any thing but charity to them as they be men, and hatred against sinne as it is sinne. If a meere friend of our owne have offended, wee are so tender of his reproach, because it is somewhat linked with our owne, that many men can blubber for it exceedingly. O let us love the Common-wealth so well and the state of mankinde, as to yeeld some of our sorrow to quicken us in prayer against their sinnes.

3. Hee was hospitall.And now a third good deed of Lots is, hee was hospitall in that unhospitall Citie, you know hee entertained the Angels. Herein he did follow the steps of his Unkle Abraham, it is a good thing when a man carries the vertues which hee hath seene amongst his friends as it were home with him, or about him whethersoever hee goes, and becomes a practitioner of them in all places. Of Lots hospitality you may reade, Gen. 19.2, 3. he intreated the Angels whom he tooke for men to lodge in his house, and gave them the best en­tertainement he could, yea and hazarded himselfe to defend them from the insolent attempt of the brutish Sodomites. This is a worke worthie to be imitated to be given to hospitality, forget not to enter­taine strangers, Heb. 13.2. 1 Pet. 4.9. use hospitality one to another without grudging. Gajus hath this commendation, that he was the Host of the Church, Rom. 16.23. and a Minister is expressely commanded to be hospitall. This is a rich mans duty, I meane his that hath some indifferent proportion of wealth, he that hath but one bed or roome must lie abroad him­selfe, or sit up all night if he lodge strangers. But of those that have to spare, the Lord requireth a free communicating of what they have to others. May not wee be strangers? may not our children and neere friends be strangers? will not our hearts tell us? that it would bee a very ill part in them that should in such case neg­lect us.

But I am to commend unto you a kinde of hospitality somewhat of another nature, a stranger of any fashion by meanes of Innes, which it seemes that age did not know, is able to be hospitall to himselfe with his money, even to buy all things needfull: but alas you have poore neighbours and kinsmen in the same Towne, or neere hand inhabiting, O invite them to your houses, make them cheerefull with a good meale now and then, that have little provi­ded at home. This Hospitality hath beene formerly much practi­sed at this season of the yeare,Christmas. and certainely it is a fit season to practise it. If wee would shew our selves glad for our Lords com­ming into the world, let us refresh his poore members that they may rejoyce with us. Some men be not rich enough to invite many of their wealthie neighbours, but many be of so much ability that they may well invite those of lower ranke, to whom their owne ordinary provision will be better then a banquet to some wealthier persons. Let Lots example commend unto you this hospi­tality.

[Page 175]Another good deed we have of Lot, He went out, and earnestly,4. He intreated the Sodomites to desist from their villany. yet lovingly and gently intreated the Sodomites to desist from their villany, My Brethren I pray doe not so wickedly, and againe, to these men doe nothing, for therefore came they under my roofe, Gen. 19.7, 8. He would faine have stopped these miscreants from their abominable attempt; If we see men rushing into sinfull courses wee shall doe a good office of charity if with all good termes and gentle language we disswade them from wickednesse. If wee must reproove af­ter a sinne, sure wee must disswade aforehand: Eli disswaded his sonnes from persisting in evill, Abigail disswaded David from murder; what sinne wee hinder not to our best power, that we cause to be written in our owne score, and inwrap our selves within the guilt of it. Who would not intreate his neighbour hard not to drinke a cup of poyson? If therefore any man have done the contrary, instigated others to sinne, and egged them forward rather then held them back, surely his offence is great, he hath beene not alone a helper but a father of the fault, and unlesse hee repent must answer for it as much as the principall. But though you have not forgotten your duty in so high a degree as to moove others to evill, yet if you have so much neglected your duty as to forbeare to disswade and hinder them, either out of carelesnesse or feare, you are to be humbled for it, as an effect of want of love and zeale. And now I pray you doe this good office often, if you see a man going about an evill thing, take up Lots words and say, I pray you Bre­thren doe not so wickedly, intreate him to forbeare the doing of the like for the future. A loving intreaty will sometimes proove of great efficacy. Had they beene any but Sodomites, Lot should not have beene so churlishly rejected.

If you say, I shall but loose my labour.

I answer, First, what if you doe? you have lost many worse labours. Secondly, I say who can tell? why will you thinke so hardly of your Brother?

Why I have tried already?

I answer, God may give better successe now. Againe I answer, though he hearken not, you shall not loose your labour, for you shall shew love and obey Gods commandement and receive a re­ward from him.

Yet another good deed of Lots was that he fought to deliver his sonnes in Law, and perswaded them to get them out of Sodome too.5. He sought to deliver his sons in law. We should labour not alone to get out of Sodome our selves, but to helpe others out also, whether it be out of the sinnes or out of the punishment of Sodome. We should detest that selvish humour which prevaileth with many, if themselves escape danger, they care not what becomes of others. O selfe-love is a fruit of brutishnesse, cha­rity of a right understanding. Live not like beasts, if they see perill approaching, they runne away for their owne safe-guard and never consider of the rest: let us strive to draw as many as we can out of sin and misery.

[Page 176] 6. For a good while he kept close to his Unkle Abra­ham.The last good thing I will note, though it should have beene brought in before as being done before, was this, for a good while together hee kept close to his Unkle, went with him into Egypt, came with him out of Egypt and dwelt neere him, I meane in Canaan. It is a good thing to love the company of good men, and delight to dwell with or neere them, and happier had it beene for Lot if hee had not suffered himselfe to be divided from his Unkle. Let men learne to count it a great happinesse to dwell neere to good neigh­bours, and let them take heede that a little thing doe not separate them from such. And so much for Lots goodnesse.

His faults. 1. He chose to dwell in a fer­tile place a­mong sinfull men.Now his badnesse. And I will begin there where he began, first to shew it. He chose rather to dwell in a rich fertile place amongst vile sinfull men then with some earthly inconveniencies with a godly and faithfull man, so shewing too great a love to riches, and too small a love to goodnesse. I beseech you if any of you be so minded that you will take notice of it as a fault. To be so much ingaged to earthly things, that for the more easie obtaining of a large quantity thereof, a man can be content to pitch his Tents in Sodome and to dwell there, is too great a proofe of a worldly min­ded man. It was the beginning of Lots ruine. In choice of your habitation looke chiefely to the good of the soule. If you doe not, be assured that some way or other God will crosse you as he did Lot. We shall lesse beare out those faults with impunity for which the godly in Scripture have smarted before us, because men did not re­ceive warning by the dealing of God with them. The brother is whipt more severely that seeing another brother corrected before him was bold yet to rush into the same fault. Doe not commit the fault that cost Lot so deare a price. Leave not a good place for the soule to get a great benefit for the body; let not the world sway you, neither wholy nor chiefely in choosing the place of your habitation. Lot should have said, Unkle, so much content and good doe I re­ceive from your good selfe unto my soule, that I will make an hard shift afore I will leave you, yea I will rather abridge my cattell then loose your company, or at least, I will be content to take a place neere you though it be not so fat and fruitfull as some other places: Doe you, as your owne understanding (now that you see the whole carriage of things) will teach you, that Lot ought to have done. And so much for this fault.

2. He continu­ed to dwell in Sodome among great sinners.Now againe, worldlinesse continued to grow stronger in Lot, for hee continued to dwell in Sodome, even though they were excee­ding great sinners. It was well done that he grieved for their sinnes, it would have beene better done if he had forsaken the City. Hee might have departed of his owne accord with farre lesse losse, then God forc't him out at length. Sure it is a fault, if a man can possibly remove, to make his constant aboad in an extreame wicked place, where heinous and foule sinnes are usually and impudently commit­ted, for if a mans selfe escape the infection, yet it is too too probable [Page 177] that his children shall be defiled, and catch the sinnes of the places as the daughters of Lot and most of his servants did, for had they beene righteous they should have escaped with him. And most times if any man that hath any the least goodnesse, doe suffer him­selfe to be so neighboured, it is a fruit of some carnall passion or other, in favour of which he hardens himselfe to endure such a mi­serable thing, as the continuall hearing and beholding of great wickednesse. Let us take heed no such thing in inveigle us to pitch out Tents in any Sodome.

But againe, Lot I think, offended in going about to match his daugh­ters with any of the wicked generation of the Sodomites. What could he finde none other in all the world to give his children for wives but to two wicked men in that wicked City? Would he be content to have his children, his childrens childrens children, and all his po­sterity to live in that little hell, and to be indangered unto the like abhominations? Surely the love of the world prevailed here with him more then it ought to have. It is a fault too common with us, many a Father is regardlesse how bad the place and family be into which he matcheth his daughter, so the state be good. Be the Towne as bad as Sodome, and the person as prophane as these men, yet a good living will make them to plant their children in such a garden, as it were, or wildernesse rather. I cannot conceive but that this is a proofe of mans too high esteeming of outward things, and I beseech you Fathers learne of Lot, provide better for the placing of your children.

Another fault of Lots is,3. He offered his two daugh­ters to the So­domites. that he did offer his two daughters to the Sodomites, saying. Doe to them what seemeth good in your eyes. Out of a desire to save his guests from villany he prostitutes those that should have beene dearer to him then any guests: and so would redeeme the strangers from wrong with the hazard of his childrens chastity. He is to be somewhat excused by the present occasion, in that hurrie and distemper he had not leasure to consider well of the thing he did, but through hast was pushed forward to doe so great an hurt unto the two maides. Hee doth evill here that good may come of it, a thing that S. Paul would never allow, for he saith con­cerning it, God forbid. The doing of evill is simply sinfull,Rom. 6.2. the suffe­ring of evill not so, wherefore a man should resolve rather to be a patient in the greatest evill then an agent in the farre lesser. In doing any evill a man doth disobey God and transgresseth his Law, in suffe­ring it he doth alone receive misery to himselfe: now the greatest mi­sery is not so great an evill as the least sinne. It behooveth us to take heed that our carnall reason doe never so over-sway us, no not on the suddaine, that wee should consent to act any evill for the procuring of any good. And if wee have done otherwise, wee are to im­pute it to our selves as a great weakenesse,4. He lingred in Sodome till the Angels tooke him by the hand. and so to confesse it and humble our selves for it before God.

Againe, Lot lingred in Sodome till the Angels tooke him by the [Page 178] hand and in a kind of gratious violence set him in safety against his will. Willing hee was to escape the destruction which was now falling upon Sodome, but loath he was to save his life at so deare a rate as the loosing of all his substance. It is a sinne to cleave so fast in affection to goods, as not to be willing with the losse of all to save out lives. He loves riches too well that will cast his life upon great danger for the saving of them, and not gladly leave them all to free his life from perdition. Satan could say, Skinne for skinne and all that a man hath will hee give for the redemption of his life. Job 2.4. If wee have at any time found our heart so glewed to wealth, that we have beene lingring about it, to the manifest indangering of our lives, much more our soules, we should even heartily condemne our selves for too great lovers of riches.

Another sinne in Lot, was, that he was too timerous and durst not commit himselfe to the Mountaines (whither yet he was faine at length to flie) for feare least some or other mischiefe might be­fall him there, and therefore was he so over-importunate for the sparing of that City, because it was little, might he not as well have trusted the Angels direction as his owne conceits, and sought and expected safety in the Mountaines, when they com­manded him to escape thither. Doubtlesse, it is a fault not to trust God with our welfare, but to cast in our heads, what evill may be­fall us there where he doth send us for safety. Let us not yeeld to our owne fancies, nor frame perill to make us discontent with that estate to which God doth call us, for we shall finde at length, that our owne hopes will deceive us, and we shall be never the farther of from danger, because we followed our owne heads. Let mee goe to Zoar (saith he) and my soule shall live, but after, he found that his soule could not live with comfort there. Live where God would have us live, and looke for his protection there where it shall please him to appoint us to live.

6. Hee was twice drunken.Now I come to his two last offences, he suffered himselfe to be made drunken by his daughters two severall times, one shortly after another. You see how a good man may be overtaken with grievous sinnes, and drawne by those whom he loveth and trusteth to grie­vous abhominations. O let us feare our selves and pittie others, and take heed wee suffer not our neerest friends to be a snare unto us. Especially beware of drunkennesse, it is not alone a great offence it selfe, but laies us open to all other crimes. Make a man drunken, and he will easily be drawne to defloure his owne daughter. Keepe your selves from excessive drinking of wine or strong drink. It is raging, it is mocking, it will change you into very beasts, and make you runne into such crimes, as your soules at other times would even loath to thinke of. Labour to be temperate, or else you do hardly be chaste and modest. Deprive not your selves of reason by pleasing your palate, expose not your selves to the danger of the foulest of all sinnes, by so base a pleasure as satisfying the tast with [Page 179] the relish of this liquor. And all you Governours and Magistrates, set your selves with all diligent severity to prevent and beate downe drunkennesse; if this offence abound, all other evills will abound with it.

Now wee come to Lots benefits. First,His benefits. 1. God gave him repen­tance. God drew him out of his sinnes and gave him repentance, else S. Peters words had not beene true, that called him a just man. O how great a mercy of God is this? not to call us from the state of corruption at first, but when wee have almost departed backe againe to folly, to re­call us from our grievous sinnes, and heale our wounded soules, by causing us to repent unfainedly. Presume not on this mercy, but if you have found it, praise God most earnestly for it, and let not the greatnesse of sinne discourage you from returning unto God againe, for such is his grace, that he will readily receive you after such wandrings.

Againe, you see that God gave him riches great store, the Lord can give the same to other of his people with as plentifull a hand, but if hee doe not, you see in Lot what cause there is not to murmure; for riches did undoe Lot almost, and therefore was God faine to take them all againe, because hee could not so use them as not to set his heart too much upon them. If God hath beene pleased to grant you these things, let Lots example make you carefull to keepe your hearts from being too much inamoured of them.

Further,2. He and his were delivered out of the bur­ning of So­dome. Lot obtained a gracious deliverance for himselfe and his wife and his daughters out of the burning of Sodome, hee la­mented their sinnes and escapeth the punishment. Learne the best way to save your selves from common stroakes, even by be­wailing the common sinnes, and prooving your selves to be righte­ous persons. Yea, God yeelded much to Lots weakenesse in granting him leave to goe to Zoar, and saving that City also for his sake. Surely God is as ready also now to passe by weakenesses, and will much more willingly grant the better digested petitions of his servants.

Now Lots misery,His afflictions were foure. first hee was taken Captive and lost all his goods. Secondly, hee lost his goods againe in Sodome. Thirdly, his Wife. Lastly, hee was plagued with wicked children, that drew him to grievous offences. Prepare to loose all you have, especially if you finde your soules over-earnestly addicted to them, and cause not God to pull them out of your hands by setting your hearts upon them. Prepare your hearts to loose your yoake-fel­lowes by some strange and unexpected accidents. Prepare to have your children naught and wicked, and take heed that your owne folly in choosing for wealths sake an evill place of habitation be not an instrument of making them such, yea learne to be thank­full that God hath yet saved you from such miseries, and make your smaller crosses seeme lighter to you then else they [Page 180] would, by comparing them with these so heavie and burdensome crosses.

Now what became of Lot after all this, the Scripture doth not speake, and therefore here wee leave and will speake two words of his Wife also: first, the benefits shee received. Se­condly, the sinne shee committed. Thirdly, the punishment that fell upon her.

Lots wife. Her benefits. 1. Delivered from Captivity.The benefits shee received were two, first shee was redeemed from the Captivity of the Kings that had taken her selfe, Hus­band, Daughter and whole Family prisoners in the Conquest of Sodome, where they dwelt at that time, and upon their delive­ance neither shee nor her husband had the grace to consider of it, and to remoove from Sodome and dwell againe in some better place neerer Abraham. 2. Delivered out of the bur­ning of Sodome Secondly, shee was delivered out of the burning of Sodome together with her Husband and Daughters, saving that shee made the benefit unprofitable to her selfe by her sinning.

Her sin, shee looked back to Sodome.And her sinne though it seemed little in respect, yet indeed was very great. The matter was small, the transgression was great, as in great poyson, fullnesse may be found in a small quantity of liquor, even in a drop or lesse then a drop. Shee was forbidden by the Angell that sent her forth to looke backe to Sodome and yet expressely against that charge shee did looke backe, the cause of that prohibition may seeme to have beene this, the Lord knowing her too eager affection to the goods shee left behinde her, would have her now cast off that inordinate passion, and accep­ting the goodnesse of God in giving her her life for a prey, not so much as to turne and looke towards Sodome, but trust God for goods who had now vouchsafed them life, but shee belike thin­king (as many of us would have thought) as good die as be sent away a beggar and destitute of all things, could not keepe her heart constant in taking notice of the great benefit of escaping the fire, but out of griefe to leave house and all after her, turned backe to salute them once againe with her eye. This sinne was compounded of disobedience to God speaking in the An­gell, and dis-esteeme of the present mercy and over-grieving the losse of her wealth.

Take heed you give not your selves leave to commit a thing expressely forbidden, for usually much naughtinesse concurreth to produce such an act, so the Lord that searcheth the heart accounteth that great, which your blindnesse maketh you to esteeme nothing, and so to punish it many times with some heavie punishment. As it befell this woman,Her punish­ment. her punishment was to be turned into a Pillar of salt. The Lord instantly smote her with death, and taking her soule from her body changed the body into a pillar, which whether it be called a pillar of salt, because it was of that matter, or because of the everlasting continuance of it, as an everlasting Covenant is called a [Page 181] covenant of salt, I cannot determine. The latter seemeth to mee the more probable, howsoever shee is set forth to us for an exam­ple, by which wee may informe our selves thus much, that when God hath chastened us and by our chastisements taken pittie upon us and granted us deliverances, and yet wee profit so little by both as to continue faulty in the same faults, wee shall then finde his hand more heavie upon us by some exemplary blow, as it is noted by David, that though the Lord brought the people out of Egypt, yet hee did after destroy them in the wildernesse that did not beleeve. Let us feare least the Lord set us up also as Monuments of his just severity when hee findes us not reformed by former goodnesse and gentlenesse. (*⁎*)

THE TVVELFTH EXAMPLE.
OF LOTS Daughters, and others of that time.

WEE have finished the things that are recor­ded of Lots selfe and his Wife. Next let us tell you what is recorded of his two Daughters. Their names, their birth, their death the Lord vouchsafeth not to mention, and of their life not much is written, and that which is tends all to their reproach.

First,Lots daugh­ters had no vertues, their vices. good deeds we have none for which to commend them, or in which to follow them, but bad deeds too many, considering how great they were.

Their first sinne was,1. They agreed together about two grievous crimes. that they consulted together and agreed about a most abhominable sinne, nay a paire of grievous crimes at once. In which, the first-borne did make the motion, and the youn­ger gave her consent. In the consultation about it, see what reason induced, and what it is to which they were induced by that reason. The reason is, 1. Their Fathers age,Gen. 19.31. who being now shortly to leave the world, they would not have his off-spring perish in them­selves. [Page 184] 2. The want of other men to company with them, there is not a man in all the earth to come in unto us after the earth. They wanted other husbands to beget children of them in lawfull matri­monie; Surely their late abode in Zoar might cause them to know, that the whole world was not destroyed, if they meant that there was never another man left with whom they might joyne themselves, they did beguile themselves too too palpably, for onely Sodome and Go­morrha, and Admah and Zeboim, foure Cities of the plaine were consumed with fire from Heaven, the rest stood in their former estate. Zoar they had seene standing and left it with their Father, and seeing they dwelt upon a Mountaine, they could not but dis­cerne other Cities round about, for that Countrey was full of Townes and people. It is like therefore, that they meant none neere unto us, none of our blood and kindred. But why should they make doubt of marrying any other besides their owne kindred. They had beene betrothed to husbands in Sodome, might they not as well marrie any other Cananite as a Citizen of Sodome. It is apparant that their reasons were frivolous and vaine, yet upon them they build a full resolution of committing two fearefull offences, for they agree together saying, Come let us make our Father drinke Wine, and then let us lie with him to preserve seed of him. They would seeme each to other to be carried with libidinous fancies as if lust led them, but that a desire of preserving seed was the motive to the villanous designe.

Wee see how mans nature is easily drawne by weake and poore grounds to runne into very loathsome and foule crimes. Better the world should have wanted continuance and ended in their persons, then have it stored with an incestuous off-spring. No other mee­ting together of man and woman, if it had beene in the way of Ma­trimony, is simply and of it selfe unlawfull, but onely that of Pa­rents and children, for there was a time when the Brother married the sister without fault, as in the beginning when the world had no other persons in it but brethren and sisters, but never at any time was it lawfull for the daughters to have the Father or the Mo­ther the sonne. This therefore was the most unlawfull mixture in the same kinde and of different Sexe that possibly could be. Yet up­on a slender pretext that they knew not how to come by any other man, and so their Fathers posterity should perish, they consent to accomplish it. Had they not beene made more then ordinarily immo­dest with the conversation of impure Sodomites, they would have beene restrained with shame and blushing, from opening any such thought each to other, had it beene to have solicited another man, much more their Father. But custome of hearing and seeing shame­full deeds will banish shame quite away, and make men bold to ma­nifest their wicked conceits one to another, which else modesty would never suffer them to speake of.

Here indeed the more aged maiden is most blame-worthy, for the [Page 185] Spirit of God witnesseth that shee was the first moover to this lewdnesse, but the younger was greatly to be blamed also, for shee consented to such a motion. Let those that be of more age take heede of giving wicked counsell to the younger, and let the youn­ger take heede of opening their eares to lewde advice. Let us be­ware wee suffer not our selves to be drawne upon pretence of I know not what necessity or urgent occasion, to resolve on things plainely sinfull, especially such as are extreamely grosse and unnatu­rall. No necessity can excuse an evill deed, much lesse when it is none other but a counterfeit and false appearance of necessity. Would these sisters have deferred their desires a while, they might have found their Father at length willing to have left that hole in a Moun­taine, and to have conversed againe amongst men. Why had they not rather perswaded him to leave that solitary kinde of living, and betaken himselfe to his Unkle Abraham, who was not growne either so niggardly or unkinde, but that he would have welcomed them with good entertainement. Why had they not taken up any resolution, rather then venture on this monstrous abomination? Let not the Divell and carnall reason beset us so farre, as to faine to ourselves a necessity of evill-doing, and then to grow bold to doe evill.

But what did they doe now, to make their Father incestu­ous? Surely make him drinke wine not moderately and in due quan­tity, for then his wits would have beene his owne still, and his sanctified conscience would have armed him sufficieently against all their most wanton carriages; yea the gravity of his countenance and parentall authority would have affrighted them from lascivious words and gestures, that tended to produce such an effect. They there­fore make him starke drunke with wine, making him by little and little take into him such a quantity as would bury his understanding, conscience and all, and turne him into a bruit creature, and then they doubt not but that they may easily allure him to commit folly with them. A fearefull sinne it is to resolve before hand upon such a wickednesse as this, and that also as a loade-stone to draw on another worse wickednesse. To make one drunke for any cause is bad enough, but to make him drunke of purpose to make him filthy after, that is much worse. Here is a most wicked end pro­pounded, which would make a thing it selfe otherwise lawfull ut­terly sinnefull, if done for such a purpose. Here is also a meanes utterly wicked, though it had beene used for a most lawfull end, but when end and meanes are both so remarkeably and exorbitantly sinfull, how great was that sinne. Had they began alone to drinke for cheerefull refreshing of themselves and their old Father, and then one cup drawing on another had at unawares made both them­selves and their Father drunke, and then unpurposedly fallen to wanton imbraces and so to incest, that had beene sinne enough. But to take advice upon it, to determine before hand, that is, to con­clude [Page 186] fully that they would doe such a thing, this shewes that they had smothered their consciences, and were indeed void of all good­nesse.

O take heed of giving your selves leave deliberately to sinne, take heed of setting downe a wicked conclusion in your mindes, and say­ing, come and let us doe this or this that you know is naught. This is not to slip into the mire but to wallow in it, this is a presumptuous and a wilfull sinne. This is to yeeld your selves captives to sinne, and to shew your selves servants of it. And if any one hath in such sort sinned, great repentance is needfull to wash away so great a crime.

But if they had agreed in hast to perpetrate this lewdnesse and yet before the time came of acting it, had called to mind the loathsome­nesse of the sinne, and repenting of their naughty intention, forborne to proceed, the matter would not have beene so fowle, then it might have beene attributed to weakenesse and hast. But they goe on in it, the elder shee first begins, and then she renewes the matter to her Sister, who is easily perswaded to follow her, and so they both con­sent to doe evill and performe it also. This is a great aggravation of sinne, that if one have some leisure betwixt the resolving and exe­cuting, yet he hath persisted in his wicked resolution, and wanted the grace to change his mind. Persisting in an evill purpose, shewes much blindnesse of mind and hardnesse of heart, and proves that God hath for punishment of wilfulnesse even given one over to his owne hearts lusts.

But now the elder begins to offend, as it were to imbolden her Sister, as if shee should say, I will begin if thou wilt come after, I will doe it to night if thou wilt second mee another night, so she sinnes of purpose to give her Sister a bad example, to animate her to the like. Those sinnes are very grievous, in which a man seekes not alone to satisfie his owne evill desires, but also to corrupt another, and draw him to the like evill. The sinne is greater by how much more love of sinne is discovered, and he loves sinne exceeding much, that labours to increase the number of its servants.

Further, having layne with her Father, shee speakes of it to her Sister, rather in way of boasting then out of shame, and perswades her also to doe the like. It is a wickednesse of an high nature to com­mit great sinnes, and after be touched with no remorse for them, yea rather to talke of them with a bold face, as if they were deedes at least not deserving blame, and when wee have done evill, to presse our examples upon others to imitate. It seemes the younger Sister would not have followed, but that the elder provoked her the second time. To use a kind of importunity towards another, and presse them againe and againe to naughtinesse, is a proofe of one set upon sinne with a full bent of will.

Now the second Sister, she followes her Sisters evill deeds, and evill counsell, and they commit the same sinne the second time with the [Page 187] same wilfulnesse, for the elder is as guilty of her Sisters incest as of her owne. Men having transgressed the bounds of modesty,Qui semel ve­recundiae limites transiluerit, graviter impu­dentem esse o­portet. grow extreamely carelesse, and easily commit the second time what they have ventured upon the first. It is more difficulty to forbeare repea­ting of a sinne then committing it, as it is to drive out an enemy then to keepe him out. Give sinne a strong deniall at first, so shall we be soonest rid of it.

Now let us consider the offences themselves,Their owne sinne, they make their Fa­ther drunken. for hitherto we have looked alone into certaine aggravations of them. First to make a man drunke, this is a grievous sinne, a purposed lying in waite to over­come another with wine or strong drinke, is a foule fault; it hath its originall ever in some further evill intention, either to laugh at the offenders, or otherwise to wrong them, as here, and draw them to some wickednesse or inconvenience, which else they would not be drawne unto. He seekes mischiefe to his neighbour, that seekes to spoile him of his understanding, and makes him a beast, that he may draw him to beastly deeds. Come now and consider your selves, if none of you have thus sinned against your bretheren. He is worse then a drunkard, that is a maker of drunkards; a man may be drunke of meere weakenesse, but it is wilfulnesse that causeth another to be drunken. He loves this sinne more, that causeth it in another, then hee that commits the same himselfe; If any of you have so sinned against his brother, he is a very lewd man, and must answer for that sinne before God with more severity then the person that hath beene drawne into it by his meanes. Much repentance therefore is required of such an offender.

In keeping himselfe sober for an evill end, hee is worse then if himselfe had beene drunken for company. These two sisters did keepe themselves free from excesse, that they might better abuse their owne reason to worke upon their Fathers unreasonablenesse. Had they beene all overcome of wine, incest had not so easily fol­lowed from drunkennesse; but now that the man is swallowed up of wine, and the woeman not so, they prevailed more easily to make their Father lewd. It is a drunken sobriety that is directed to un­cleanesse, they would not be drunken because they desired to be fil­thy. Some men boast that themselves have borne their cups where­with another hath beene overcome, but that sobernesse makes them greater offenders, then if they exceeded measure in drinking. Wher­fore you must blame your selves with exceeding detestation of your selves, if you have abused a thing otherwise vertuous to make another man more vitious. Thou mad'st another to take cup after cup, that when he had lost his wits, and thou kepst thine, thou mightest better prevaile to draw him unto further wickednesse, thy sobernesse was as bad and much worse then his drunkennesse. O that you would see and lament your extreame ungraciousnesse in this abusing both wit in yourselves, and want of wit in others.

But now Lot is drunken and fitted for any wickednesse, the two [Page 188] Sisters in their turnes goe to bed to him and solicite him to abuse their bodies, and prevaile with him, because he had not reason to know what hee did. Incest is a most unnaturall crime, yet the wicked nature of man is apt to runne into it, and that wilfully. O what a filthy heart hath a man and woman, that can transgresse all the dictates of reason to satisfie impure desires. No person comes amisse to lust, the Father will serve as well as another man, when the lewde desire hath prevailed, they care not with whom the fault be committed so that it be committed. Have none of you given way so farre to libidinous desires, as to mixe your selves unlaw­fully and without marriage with those, to whom you might not have drawne neere, no not in the warrantable imbraces of Matri­mony? Is there not some incestuous man or woman amongst you, yea some that hath not out of weakenesse but purposely run into incest? The crime is not so often committed in so high a degree, but yet sometimes it falleth out in the world, that men may learne there is more evill in their nature then they would have beleeved, but that experience teacheth it; we have not another example of it in Scripture, but here are two at once, that wee might learne to know how bad a nature we have. And so much for their sinnes common to both, making their Father drunke, and then going to bed to him, for matter, and for manner purposely and without re­morse and without any sorrow after, for when they had borne chil­dren, they give them such names as prooved that they rather boasted of the crime then bewailed it, Ammon the sonne of my people, Moah of my Father, as if they had rejoyced at their happinesse in being with childe by their owne Father. It is a cursed thing to sinne, more to be so hardned as not to lament it afterwards, most to make a mans selfe glad of it.

Their speciall sinnes.Their speciall sinnes are, the elder perswades to the sinne, then gives a bad example, and after againe incourageth her Sister, and the younger yeelds and followes. O see this naughtinesse and take heede. Hitherto of Abrahams sonnes, servants, and wives, and one of his children and of his Kinsman Lot, his Wife and daughters.

Abrahams con­federates.Now of some others that lived with him, first his confederates Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre, secondly, Ephron the Hittite, thirdly, King Pharaoh of Egypt, fourthly, King Abimelech. Then of the Kings that did take Lot and so of the Sodomites. Now for Aner, Eshcol, Their vertues. and Mamre, they were three Brethren, Hittites, of whose birth and death nothing is revealed, but in their lives two things are recorded deserving our observation and imitation.1. They were friends to A­braham. First, they were friends and confederates with Abraham appeares, Gen. 14.13. Se­condly, they did faithfully performe the office of friends, and con­federates. For the first, these three Brethren were in league with Abraham, joyned in a Covenant with him for mutuall helpe of each other against any that should wrong any of them. Their league it may seeme was offensive and defensive.

[Page 189]It is a wise and good part to live in friendship with godly men and to be knit to such in covenants of amity,It is a good thing to be a a friend to the godly. peace and mutuall helpe, as Hiram King of Tyre was in covenant with David and with Salomon his sonne after him, and it is recorded to his praise that hee was alwaies a lover of David. For by this meanes great benefits are brought unto a man.

First, he shall see their good conversation and heare their wise words, and enjoy their good counsell and their godly prayers and so be in possibility to be wonne to goodnesse by them, at least to a vertuous and civill conversation through their meanes,Prov. 13.20. for hee that walketh with the wise shall be made wise, as he that walketh with sin­ners shall be made worse by them. He that commeth where sweete spices and ointments are stirring, doth carry away some of their sweet savour even though hee thinke not of it, so shall a man re­ceive some savour and taste of goodnesse from good men, if hee live friendly and familiarly with them.

Againe, the Lord had undertaken with Abraham, to be a friend to his friends and an enemie to his enemies, and to blesse them that blessed him as well as to curse them that cursed him. Where­fore in entertaining friendship with them, a man doth interest him­selfe into some degree of Gods favour and blessing according to that promise, for God hath tied himselfe as well to all Abra­hams sonnes, even all the faithfull, as well as to himselfe; you see the profit of such association with good men.

Wherefore they must be reprooved that are imbittered against godly men and are enemies to those that love God, hating men even for goodnesse sake, and persecuting them for righteousnesse sake, without doubt these provoke God to fight against them and to become an enemy unto them, joyning in the quarrell of the Saints, which indeed for his sake they have taken up against them. It is an evill thing to be a foe to those that feare God, and it shewes not alone an absence of goodnesse but also a great strength of wicked­nesse. He is surely carried by Satan at his pleasure, and a slave in a great degree to the Divell, that cannot endure the image of God in a man. And yet our Lord tells his servants,Mat. 10.22. that they shall be hated of all men for his names sake.

But now let every man learne of these three wise men to make choice of godly men for friends, familiars and allies. If a man be not himselfe a worshipper and servant of God, yet let him at least­wise like and love those in whom goodnesse shineth.Acts 28. The Centu­rian Iulius, by being courteous and friendly to Paul who was then his prisoner gate his life and the life of his souldiers for a reward, for God gave unto Paul all the prisoners that were in the ship with him. So many blessings as a naturall man is capable of, he shall assuredly obtaine from God by the prayers of his servants, who cannot choose according to the precept of our Saviour, but pray for their persecutors, much more for their friends and favourers.

[Page 190] 2. They helped Abraham and kept their co­venant.Now another good thing in these three brethren is this, that ac­cording to their covenant and confederation they did affoord helpe to Abraham and joyned their strength with him, to fight against the foure Kings for the recovering of Lot Abrahams Cousin, and performed their part with so much courage, that Abra­ham got the victory and wonne his brother and all the spoile of Sodome, for which also Abraham was carefull that they should have a full reward, in taking their part of the booty which himselfe for­bare to take.

This Example must be followed of all good men, when they have made a covenant, they must so stand unto it, and be ready to affoord such helpe and performe all such offices as by covenant they have obliged themselves unto; Covenants and agreements must be duly kept, though the things be such which come to be done as require labour, cost, and hazard: for this is a practise of that excellent vertue of truth or fidelity, then which nothing is more needfull for the common prosperity of humane societies, for unlesse men may trust one anothers words, what living can there be toge­ther in the world, and without trustinesse in those that make promi­ses, there is no beleeving their promises and so the sinewes of the world are as it were cut asunder or cracked. Therefore in the 15. Psalme it is indeed a signe of a godly man, that when hee hath sworne in covenant or otherwise, he will not change though it should fall out to be for his hurt. Faith requires that the thing be done which hath beene spoken, and how can hee challenge the name of a good man, in whom faithfullnesse is not found? or how should it be expected that hee will be faithfull with God, whom hee never saw that is not faithfull to his neighbour whom hee sees daily.

Wherefore let every man compare himselfe with these civill righteous men, and see whether himselfe hath carried himselfe as honestly and justly as the very light of nature instructed them to doe. I meane whether he hath faithfully kept his covenants, for how shall hee be able to justifie his right and interest unto the honourable name of a true Christian man, that falleth short of those vertues which many of the Gentiles have carefully practi­sed.

And if any mans heart accuse him of unfaithfullnesse and slip­perinesse in this kinde, let him humble himselfe and be much asha­med of it. Should we not blush to see Heathens exceed us in good conversation and that our righteousnesse is not greater then that of the Pharisees who did at least equall the Heathen in righteous dealing. Surely they shall never be admitted into the Kingdome of Heaven, before whom the Gentiles have gone in good behaviour of life; yet many there be professing to be Christians, whose untrustinesse this way filleth the mouthes of all that deale with them with just and grie­vous complaints. They be so possessed with selfe-love, that when [Page 191] they have made a covenant promise or compact, the least disad­vantage will make them use the craftinesse of wit to winde them­selves out and neglect their covenants. They know how to tie others hard and leave themselves loose, through the loosenesse of an evill conscience. These are men that be guilty of neglecting ju­stice, judgement, and faithfullnesse, and if they streine never so much at gnats and swallow these camells, our Saviour will be bold to intitle them, as he doth the Pharisees, and pronounce a woe a­gainst them, saying, Woe unto you Scribes and Pharisees Hypocrites. Learne now to be very sorrowfull, if you have carried your selves more unrighteously in this kinde, then the honester sort of those have done who lived out of the confines of the Church, and be carefull to repent by their example, that their goodnesse may not rise up in judgement against you and condemne you. And resolve with your selves I pray you, now to preferre your credit before any other thing in this earth, and to put your selves up­on losse and hazard, rather then incurre the deserved reproach of men faithlesse and dishonest. It is not wittie tricks and devi­ces that will save you from reprehension before the Lord and your owne consciences and other men, your name shall rot and stinke and become loathsome, if you deale untrustily, though you paint your evill deeds over with never so faire and trim excuses. Wit is never more abused, then when it is made a patron and a pro­tectour for falsehood and evill dealing. Be righteous therefore in this particular, and put your selves in minde of your promises and covenants to keepe them, you cannot but know, that this is a duty your consciences require you to doe to others, even as you desire that they should deale with you, and therefore must needes con­demne you for such falsitie which your selves with open mouth are ready to cry out against in others. And so much for these three men.

Now for Ephron the Hittite he is named alone once, Gen. 23.10.Ephron. His vertues. and in his carriage we observe three things deserving commendati­on and fit to be imitated by us. First,1. He courte­ously saluteth Abraham. 2. He was libe­rall and kinde to Abraham 3. He was just and true in his word. he salutes Abraham with ho­nourable and courteous language, saying, my Lord heare mee, and againe, my Lord heare mee. Secondly, he was liberall and kinde to Abraham, and offered freely to give him the Cave in which he desi­red to bury Sarah. Thirdly, he was just and true in his word, he told Abraham a due and right price, and made him good and full assu­rance of it, when hee received the money. The Holy Ghost hath not for nothing inserted these stories of Scripture, the vertuous de­portment even of Heathens courtesie, bounty, and justice be sweet vertues, they commend the practiser of them to the consciences of men, they adorne him with reall honour, and make him to finde both love and praise from all hearts and mouthes. They be winning vertues, and give a man a kinde of command in the hearts of wise men, especially they become men of good place and ability, for [Page 192] such an one was Ephron, and make him more gratious then without them the greatest estate could. They are generous ornaments and set forth a man more then any gallantnesse of a tire or house-roome. I beseech you fall in love with them, and put them in continuall practise, deale in courteous fashion with all, be ready to give free­ly and deale justly in asking price and making assurances. Why should a man yeeld himselfe to a sterne and currish kinde of speech? Why should he be sowre in his carriage, niggardly and pinching in his conversation, and unjust and over-reaching in his bargaines? Na­ture teacheth us that which S. Paul teacheth of wearing long haire, that it is a shame to him that doth it, 1 Cor. 11.14, 15. and that the contrary is as it is affirmed, that long haire is to a woman a glory unto her. Doe not that which must needs be reproachfull, neglect not that which must needs be gracefull. Be kinde one to another, be bountifull, be righteous, shew that neither selfe-love nor the love of money doth possesse you, the former of which causeth austerenesse of carriage, the latter niggardlinesse and unjust dealing. Presse your selves to these vertues and say, shall not religion make mee more vertuous, then Heathenisme made this Hittite? shall I be lesse affable, bounte­ous, righteous to my brethren and neighbours, then a stranger of another nation and another religion was to Abraham who did but sojourne neere him? We are ill Schollers in the Schoole of our blessed Saviour, if we receive not better instructions from him, then can be found in an Heathen teacher; yea we Christians must practise the same vertues in a better manner, on better grounds and to better ends. We must be courteous, and for conscience sake, not barely for credit, to please God, not alone to winne men, and to those that wrong us and deale frowardly with us, not alone to them that are courteous unto us. These vertues simply in themselves cannot intitle us to the name of members of Christ, unlesse wee doe them with reference to Gods Commandement and authority, but being so as it were dipt in true religion, they will become Seales of our faith and cause unto us an ample recompence.

So I should have said of the former vertues commended in the three fore-named Brethren, of being friends to the righteous, not so much for righteousnesse sake as for other commendable parts, wee see in them, or for the hope wee may have to be advantaged by them. This will not approove a man to be a true Christian, but to love a righteous man in the name of a righteous, an Abraham because he is an Abraham, servant to the most high God, this is a due signe of one sanctified. But I have digressed and now returne againe to my Exhortation; I pray you out-strip the Heathen in all vertues and let your conversing amongst your neighbours be as faire and winning as that of theirs could be. So for these men.

Pharaoh.Now two Kings had occasion of intermedling with Abraham, the King of Egypt, Pharaoh into whose countrey Abraham went to sojourne, for the famine that oppressed Canaan, as you have it related, [Page 193] in Gen. 12.12, 14. in him we have to observe some bad things and some good.

First, he shewed himselfe lustfull and wanton,His faults. 1 He was lust­full. and overslavish to a beautifull face, for he quickly hearkned to his servants that commen­ded Sarahs fairenesse to him, and tooke her into his house: what a vanity and folly and excessive ingagement to lustfull pleasures is this in a man? that he can no sooner heare of a faire woman, but he must covet and take her to him. It is an impotency very incident to mans nature, to be too much led with a faire face, with the mixture of the two colours white and red, and the comely proportion of the face. The sence of seeing over-beares them, and they scarce looke to any thing so much in a woman, as that which Salomons experience made him call vanity and deceitfulnesse, favour and beauty. We that have greater helpes to mortification, should not suffer our passions to be so farre masters over us. Surely Pharaohs Courtiers were well ac­quainted with his inclination in that kind, they would not else have brought him so quicke tidings of Sarahs good face. It is a blame-worthy weakenesse in a Heathen, much more in a Christian, to make use of the meanes which God hath given him to mortify such passions, and let reason have dominion over you, rather then eye­sight and fancy. If Pharaoh had knowne her to be Abrahams wife, it may seeme, he would not have taken her from him for all her beauty, and be none of you worse then Pharaoh pretended hee would have beene, to let beauty winne you to be adulterers, corrupters of those you know to be other mens wives. Let not your dotage upon a come­ly visage, make you rush into so foule a crime as adultery. Remem­ber what Salomon saith, desire not her beauty to thy hurt, Pro. 6.25. be not taken with her eye-lids.

Further it was a fault in him,2. He carried himselfe over-churlishly to Abraham. that he carried himselfe over churlish­ly to Abraham, and in a kind of revengefull passion and chiding of him, for calling her sister and not wife, and so hazarding him to adultery, and in that passion sending him packing out of his countrey. In anger and displeasure to take a man up for a fault, and drive him away, make him be gone, is surely too great an yeelding to that di­stemper, which receiving of injuries doth worke, even a kind of heate and unlovingnesse against the doer of them. Take you heed of giving your selves so farre over to wrath. That he did reprove Abraham was well, that hee did it over angerly and so dispatched him out of his countrey, this was not well. Shunne what was evill in him, and if you follow any thing, follow that was good.

And now take you notice of what was good in him.His vertues. 1. He dismissed Sarah present­ly when hee knew her to be married. First so soone as he perceiveth that God had punished him for taking Sarah, in re­gard she was a married wife, hee presently dismisseth her, so sub­mitting himselfe to Gods hand, and not hardening his heart against stripes. O how happy should we be? if wee could speedily observe Gods corrections, and finding out the cause by diligent inquiry, rid our handes and houses instantly of those offences which are matter of [Page 194] provocation to him. How many miseries might wee escape by so speedy an observation of Gods hand and purpose, and a ready yeel­dance to him. Pray we to God to give us such a quicke sight, such a stooping disposition. He that gave it to an Heathen man, will much more give it to a Christian. And if any of you have beene stoute against God Pharaoh-like, let him abhorre himselfe that hath shew­ed lesse piety then this Pharaoh did. It is a proofe of some softnesse of heart, to be driven from sin even by great plagues.

2. He used A­braham kindly for Sarahs sake.Another vertue in him was, that he used Abraham kindly for his sisters sake, so was she reputed then, and by that meanes he grew in riches abundantly. Favourable dealing with a man for his friends sake, especially for a faire sister, a kinswomans sake, is a kinde of bastard curtesie, and may befall a man given to lust, yea many times the kindnesse of such is more wonne by such a motive, then by any better deservings. Let us doe the same thing, but on better grounds, let the beauty of vertue make us esteeme and countenance those that shew it, more then a beautifull Sister or Kinswoman: but better be loving to a good man even upon such a sinister respect, then not at all to be courteous to him.

3. He lets Abraham depart without offering any in­ [...]ury to him.Another thing wherein this man dealed well, was that he dealt not over harshly with Abraham, but lets him goe without offering in­jury unto him in anything hee had. He doth not take his life from him as Abraham feared he would have done, nay nor his servants, nor his goods, nor any part of them; but takes order for his safe passage and conduct out of his Countrey. Let us at least so moderate our anger, that if it draw us to a little unkindnesse and sourenesse of car­riage, which is one degree of revenge, yet it may not cause us to leape over the pale of justice, and to use unrighteousnesse and cruelty against those from whom we have received injury So Pharaoh was not so farre transported with anger, though perhaps he might have beene able to have done it, and it may seeme at first sight that he had cause of doing so. But it seemeth that the sence of Gods great plagues had made him begin to see, that God was a deare friend of Abrahams, and that he should have incurred further wrath for wronging him in other things wittily, whose injuries God did prosecure so severely, even when it was done ignorantly and unwittingly. We ought to have more feare of God before us, then any King of Egypt. Deale justly therefore, let men goe from us with all they have, make not bold to wreake your teeme on any man, by sending him away without his owne.

But it is to be noted, that God plagued Pharaoh for his doing hurt to Abraham though beyond his knowledge, even with great plagues, you see that sometimes unwitting sinnes make God very angry with men, when done against his deare and faithfull servants, in things neere and deare unto them, for he is a Father to them and full of compassion, and pittieth their case when they sigh and mourne before him, O with how much heavier evills will he plague them who wittingly and of [Page 195] set purpose doe wrong them. How shall his anger burne against pre­sumptuous and wilfull sinners? when such heate ariseth upon occasion of sinnes of meere ignorance. Take you heed of causing his wrath to arise against you for such crimes, sure his sword will cut of for such faultes, if it wound and cut deepe for the farre lesser.

And againe, see that even plagues sometimes are sent to doe a man more good then hurt, even to keepe a man from such sinnes, as but for them he would have committed, and to make him see and leave those which he did live in before and not observe. It was a benefit to Pharaoh that he was so scourged, I conceive that this Pharaoh was not a man sanctified, for then God would have warned him by dreame or some other way, as hee did Ab [...]melech, rather then by severity of plagues; but it is a kind of favour to any man to be kept from sin, even by heavy plagues.

Surely the Lord will doe as much for his owne people, as for the Egyptians, rather drive them out of their sins by sharpnesse of blowes, then that they shall live and die in them and perish. Happy is that smart or paine that prevents a greater hurt. The Lord had rather his people should suffer any thing, then continue in sinne to their destructi­on, their outward fame troubles him not so much as their inward wickednesse. Therefore if you find by experience that Gods hand hath restrained you from much evill, and your owne soules can say, such and such a sin I should never have seene, never have left, if God had not by his scourges and blowes even forced me to open mine eyes, and see them, and to cast them away even as it were against my will; be you thankfull to God for such chastisements, learne to say as Da­vid, It was good for me that I was afflicted,Psal. 119.71.that I might learne thy righteous judgements. Will not men pay well for a plaister that hath a vertue to cure the sore? though it put the member to smarting paine. Surely he doth not hate sin according to its hatefulnesse, that hath not learned to be glad of any affliction which keepeth him from sin, or drawes him out of it. And now if any of you doe lie under heavy plagues, let him become an humble suiter to God, to vouchsafe him as much goodnesse as he pleased to grant unto this Pharaoh, even to shew him the cause for which he smiteth, and to give him notice of his faults and power to reforme them, we might hasten our deliverance out of calamities, if we would turne them to this purpose. (*⁎*)

THE THIRTEENTH EXAMPLE.
OF ABIMELECH.

ANother man is mentioned living in Abrahams time, with whom also Abraham had occasion to converse.Abimelech, nothing is said of his birth and death. Hee was a King ruling over a city called Gerar, in the countrey of the Phi­listins. In his countrey Abraham sojourned, you have the story of him, Gen. 20. & 21. v. 22. ad finem. Of his birth and death nothing is recorded. But in his life we must observe, First, His fault. Secondly, His good deedes. Thirdly, His crosses. Fourthly, his Benefits.

One fault alone of his wee reade of, viz. His fault, he was too lust­full. that he tooke Sarah to him, minding to make her his wife: we see him offending in the same kinde that Pharaoh King of Egypt was noted before to have offended in. Hee was too too libidinous, and over-taken with an inordinate affection to beauty. Hee had wives enough before, yet when one stranger singularly faire did come into his countrey, he would needes take her to himselfe, and that not so much by perswasion and intreaty, as by violence and strong hand, for so much seemeth to be signified by the word hee tooke her, hee sent and tooke her, hearing of a beau­tifull person, and having spoken with Abraham, and finding her to [Page 198] be his sister alone and not his wife, for the former both of them affir­med, the latter he did not inquire of so diligently as to learne the truth from them, he resolved to have her to himselfe. God himselfe after doth seeme to acquit Abimelech of any adulterous intention, for when hee alledged that he had done this in the integrity of his heart, God himselfe beareth witnesse to his uprightnesse in that re­spect saying,Gen. 20.6. I know thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart, mea­ning, that he thought verily that she was onely sister, not yoake-fellow to Abraham, and that if hee had knowne her to have beene a wife he would not have taken her; so that he was free from intending to commit adultery, but from an excessive desire of beauty hee is not free, for why should a man be so carried after women, that if he see any beautifull Virgin, hee must needes enjoy her, and not satisfie himselfe with such wives as he had taken before? This verily must needes be a sinne, for God did not appoint the society of man and man for pleasures sake, that a man might seeke to satisfie himselfe in the delight of imbracing so many faire women as he could get, but for the increase of, and storing of the world with people. Let us learne vertue out of other mens vices. This is the sole fault which the Holy Ghost noteth in this man, not because he had not more, but because this alone was that wherein hee wronged Abraham and Sarah, of whom the Holy Ghost intended principally to make his history.

Now for his Vertues, divers good things are told of him, First, in respect of God, Secondly, of his own servants, Thirdly, of Abraham and Sarah.

His Vertues.First, in respect of God. When the Lord appeared unto him in a vision, vers. 3. and told him that he was but a dead man, meaning, was worthy of death, and so should certainely die unlesse he refor­med himselfe, because the woman he had taken was another mans wife, he did defend his innocency before God, truely alledging, that he did no way suspect her to be a married woman, because both her selfe and Abraham said she was his sister, and would not be knowne of their being joyned together in matrimony, which also the Lord confesseth to be true: Yet so soone as God had commanded him to restore the woman, backing his commandements with promises and threats, presently he obeyes the Lord, and returneth the matron to her husband.

1. He speedily and readily o­beyed God.It is a worthy vertue and a proofe of integrity, speedily and rea­dily to obey the word of God, and amend those sinnes which before we did not know, when once the Lord doth vouchsafe to make them knowne unto us. This proveth that the soule is uprightly desirous to avoid all sinnes, when it will instantly reforme the fault once mani­fested. To linger and put of from time to time, and strive to make ones selfe blinde, and to winke and not see the sinne, or not addresse to a speedy reformation, that is a fruit of guilefulnesse, but to yeeld to God and ones conscience, and without further delayes to leave of [Page 199] the sinne and put it away and the occasions of it, that is a proofe of sincerity at least in that particular. When God declareth a fault to us, bids us mend, promiseth life if we doe mend, threatens death if we will not reforme; if we beleeve his promises and threats, and submit to his Commandements, we shew integrity, Abimelechs Ex­ample must teach us this effect of uprightnesse.

If any of us be guilty of the contrary fruit of hollownesse, that we have neglected to acknowledge a fault beginning to be revealed to us, and out of love to the sinne in respect of any profit, credit, pleasure it flattered us withall, have rather indeavoured to shut out the light by false reasonings, then to receive the knowledge of the truth when it began to shine out of the cloud of ignorance, wee must greatly blame our selves for such hypocriticall behaviour. This is that S. Paul accuseth the Gentiles of, saying, that Gods wrath is ma­nifest from Heaven against all ungodlinesse and unrighteousnesse of men who detaine the truth in unrighteousnesse, Rom. 1.18. who doe as it were imprison and suppresse truth and hold it downe, that it may not shew it selfe unto them, out of a love they beare to sinne and wickednesse. And sure Gods wrath shall appeare evidently against all that in such man­ner shall play the dissemblers with him; how much more then, if when a man cannot so darken himselfe with fained pretences, but that he must needs see and confesse the truth in his conscience, shall he be guilty of a great sinne, if still he uphold in himselfe a will and resolution to commit the sinne, that he could not but see to be a sinne, or if he doe not come to a present resolution of amendment, but put it off till afterwards and purpose to continue offending once or twice or a little time longer. Shall not Abimelechs example condemne our disobedience before God, if we shew our selves so much inthralled to sin?

Two things shew dominion of sinne in a man, one where he re­fuseth to know though he have due meanes of knowledge, and a certaine working of knowledge offering to convince his conscience, another, when though he doe know, yet he resolves to persist in all evill, or at least remaines irresolute and doth not determine to leave, but stands as it were unsetled in his will at least for some time. If any of you finde himselfe so disposed, it is certaine, that sinne ruleth in him and he is not under grace. Wherefore you must diligently proove your hearts in this respect, if you desire ever to enjoy the comfort of knowing your selves to be upright. Now then learne to lend a dutifull eare to the Word of God, and see the sinnes that it beginnes to shew you, and put on a full and setled resolution of not adventuring to commit them any more. And if any finde himselfe so subdued to the authority of God in all things, that he seeme rea­dy to entertaine the light of truth and to obey it, and will not struggle and strive against the light in any thing, then may he assure himselfe, that his heart is true within him, and that the Lord will surely accept him and forgive his unpurposed offences and sinnes of meere weake­nesse [Page 200] and frailty. Indeed in some one or two things that are too too grosse as adultery here, a man may be prepared to yeeld to truth, and yet not have an honest heart to God, but he that in all things doth thus submit himselfe, is surely good before the Lord. And so much for Abimelechs obedience to God, in that he receiveth his com­mandements here with faith and present obedience, which wee shall also doe, if we seriously consider his promises of life to the obedient and threatenings of death to the disobedient, till we worke our hearts to a firme and stedfast beleefe of them.

2. He acquaints his servants with Gods pleasure.Now another good deed of Abimelech is in regard of his ser­vants. As soone as it is day he calls them together, and acquaints them with the things that God had revealed unto him by a dreame in the night. He doth well to let his servants know the matter, that so he might make them see the true cause of his restoring Sarah to Abraham, and might approove of his practise therein, and learne themselves to feare God which at least in some degree they did, for it is said, the men feared exceedingly, verse 8. and so did not perswade him to keepe Sarah still, but rather furthered his intentions of her re­stitution. All governours must be ready to acquaint their inferiours with the way that God shewes them, especially such as concerne the reformation of the lives both of themselves and of their inferi­ours, for it was needfull that Abimelechs servants should know, that Sarah was Abrahams wife, least they or some one of them should thinke of taking her, when the King had left her, if they had re­mained ignorant of her condition. Rulers therefore must shew unto their inferiours the danger of sinne and what is sinnefull when the Lord hath made them know it, that they may be an instrument of keeping them also from evill deeds and from the punishment of them. Learne we all of this man to tender the soules of our ser­vants and inferiours, and to reveale to them such things as God hath taught us, that they may be preserved from sinne as well as our selves. And take heed of being carelesse to shew them the good and the evill way, that they sinne not through our default, because we have not duly instructed them. And let inferiours also learne to receive such instructions with holy feare as the servants of Abimelech did, that the words they heare may prevaile to keepe them also from wic­kednesse.

3. He admoni­sheth Abra­ham and Sarah of their fault.And now let us see his carriage to Abraham and Sarah. And first hee doth admonish them both of their fault, and that not with a kinde of discontent and frowardnesse (as before Pharaoh had done) shewing rather that he was sorrowfull he might not have Sarah then that he had attempted so farre as he did, but in gentle and yet plaine manner, saying, What hast thou done unto us? and againe, Wat sawest thou that thou hast done this? His reproofe is sharpe enough, and yet as appeareth afterwards, it was mixed with gentlenesse. So, it is a good thing if our Brethren have sinned against us, to call for them or goe to them, and to demand what ground they had or what in­ducement [Page 201] to sinne so, and to let them understand, that the things they have done were such as ought not to have beene done, especial­ly if they have gone about to draw us to sinne, or to occasion us to rush unwittingly into sinne, that so wee may bring them to repen­tance, or at least free our selves from being partakers with them in their sinnes. So did he deale with Sarah too, but not with the like earnestnesse, for he considered the fault was chiefely Abrahams, who had confessed that she did it at his entreaty, and therefore hee doth alone intimate a chiding to her, saying, thy brother, and adding good counsell, He is to thee a covering of the eyes to all that are with thee, and to all others, verse 16. and it is added, for shee was re­prooved, meaning, that hee intended to reproove her, and that shee did take it and was touched with it as with a re­proofe.

Let us resolve to behave our selves so to our brethren, even to tell them plainely, but yet gently of their faults, and that with more or lesse earnestnesse, as they shall appeare to have beene more or lesse faulty. Some warmth must be in a reproofe as here, but it must not be scalding hot, words of reviling and disgrace they scald as it were, but words that tend to stirre up the conscience to a due consideration of the fault, they be duely warme and tend to make the physick worke the more kindly. If any have done otherwise, either hiding the matter in his heart and so nourishing bitter dislike and alienation of affection from one that hath wronged him, or else opened his mouth in a kind of rage, and used hunting and ray­ling speeches▪ he must be sorry that he was not as discreet and lo­ving as Abimelech. To forbeare reproofe of another, or to doe it with bitternesse of wrath be too common faults and withall very blame-worthy. The one shewes want of love, the other of wis­dome, and in both we wrong our brother, in not taking the right way to helpe him out of sinne, and wrong our selves in making our selves at least in part guilty of his sinne. Be not you faulty in either of these kindes hereafter, but learne in plaine and milde manner to deale with them that have done you injury, and let those that have done wrong learne of Abraham duly to accept of such re­proofes.

Another vertue in Abimelech is,4. He not one­ly restored Sa­rah, but also satisfied Abra­ham in some sort. that hee doth not alone restore Sarah, but also makes amends to Abraham, and yeelds a kind of si­lent confession of his fault, and shewes a desire of making satisfacti­on, by giving him gifts; for vers. 14. It is said, he tooke sheepe and oxen and men-servants and women-servants and gave them to Abraham, and restored Sarah his wife. See a good duty here, wee must not alone surcease to wrong our brethren for future time, if either igno­rantly or otherwise wee have begun to doe them wrong, but if the wrong be manifest unto them, we must even make them some due satisfaction by words, or deeds, or both, chiefely, if the injury have beene done wittingly and willingly. Thinke not that you have done [Page 202] enough in forbearing to doe evill to any man, but if the evill have beene evident unto him, O make also some good amends to re­paire the wrong, and to doe him as much good in some other kinde as you have done him hurt before. That so you may declare your selves as well sorry for the former offence, as carefull to offend so no more, and may make it appeare you cease to be injurious in part out of love to your brother, as well as for any other consideration, and may by that meanes make the pardo­ning of the wrong more easie to him, and helpe to put charity and kindnesse into him, which the receiving of wrongs will goe neare to banish away, if some such care be not used to restore it a­gaine. But he that either continues in a continues of injuriousnesse, or else barely breaketh it off without some demonstration of his sor­row for the fault and good affection to the person offended, hath not yet fully reformed himselfe though he have ceased to doe evill any further.

5. He granted Abraham liberty to dwell in his countrey in any place.Another commendable thing in Abimelech is, that he doth not thrust Abraham away in a chase as Pharaoh had done, but hee grante [...]h him liberty to dwell in his Countrey in any place that shall seeme good unto him. Learne of him not to be so displea­sed with any man for a fault committed by him, especially if it be done out of weakenesse, feare, or the like distemper as to caf him off, have no more to doe with him, or the like; but still to hope and thinke well of him, especially, if hee doe confesse his weaknesse as Abraham, and to affoord any due courtesie and kindnesse to him; over-harshnesse towards others for faults which we finde in them, is a signe of uncharitablenesse and pride. It shewes that we doe not duely perceive our owne faultinesse and aptnesse to some other as bad sinnes, yea perhaps to the very same sinnes, and that wee doe not beare a tender compassion to them, because wee have not a right knowledge of our selves. Compare the dealing of Pharaoh before observed and Abimelechs carriage here noted, and what your consciences tell you was the more commendable and approve­able, that imitate.

6. He takes no­tice of Gods goodnesse to Abraham.I come to the last good deed of Abimelech. He takes notice of Gods goodnesse to Abraham, saying, Chap. 21. ver. 22. God is with the in all that thou dost, and therefore accompanied with his principall Officer, one Phicol, goes and intreates Abraham to make a league of amity with him, as you may reade in the Story, and when Abraham told him of a well of water which was taken from him by his servants, hee excuseth himselfe, that he ne­ver knew of it before, and so willingly restoreth the well and confesseth Abrahams right to it, by taking the Ewe-lambs, and consenting to name the well Beer sheba, that is, the well of an oath, because they swore there each to other.

It is a good thing to observe the goodnesse of God so his people, thereupon to think well of them and to desire to live in amity and peace [Page 203] with them. Why should not wee have our eyes open to see Gods blessing going along with men? and when wee see it, why should wee not rather love them and wish their friendship, then beare an evill eye towards them and maligne them. It is a signe of some goodnesse to acknowledge, that God is the Author of all good successe to mens affaires, herein wee give him the honour of being the ruler of the world. And it is a signe of some good will to men, when their prosperous estate makes us rather like them and joyne friendship with them, then stirreth up grudging and re­pining at them. Surely Abimelechs carriage giveth us some probable grounds to conceive, that himselfe was a holy man, in that hee shewes some knowledge of God, and good affection to so good a servant of God. Let us goe a little further, and strive to interest our selves into Gods blessing on the godly, by following them in godlinesse. But let his willing restitution of the Well which his servants had taken away by violence, teach us also not to beare out the servants or people that are under our go­vernment in any unjust carriage of theirs; yea rather, so soone as wee come to the knowledge of their naughty carriage, let us cause them to amend and to repaire the wrongs that they have done. A mans servants faults must not bee imputed to him, till it bee knowne whether hee be privie to them or not, but if when hee is informed of them, he be carelesse to see them amended, now is himselfe as guilty of the sinne as his servants were before. Thus you have the faults and vertues of Abimelech so farre as I could note them out of holy Writ.

Consider now what benefits God bestowed upon him. First,His benefits. hee made him a King.1. God made him a King. In those daies it is evident that Kings were not rulers over so large dominions as now they be; of old the chiefest ruler over one or two Cities and the territories about it was a King, as in the land of Canaan there were 31 Kings, and the five Cities of the plaine of Sodome and the rest had each of them severall Kings, and yet there were some Kings that raigned over whole Countries as the King of Egypt, but in it selfe consi­dered, it is a favour of God to preferre a man unto the honour of a King, as the Scripture prooveth in saying,Pro. 22.29. a diligent servant shall stand before Kings and not before those of the meaner sort; If to be in favour and account with a King, be a thing fit to be promised as a re­ward of diligence, much more the enjoying of a Kingdome, therefore God upbraides both Saul and David, when he would sharpely re­proove their sins, that he had made them Kings over his people Israel; for Kings have likely, riches, honour, and authority, by the two former of which they may partake of much comfort themselves, and commu­nicate much also to their friends and kindred, by the latter they may bring much honour to God, and much good also to men in establishing true religion and justice: Now God hath not pleased to make any of you Kings, but he hath made some of you richer and greater then [Page 204] others, as I may say little petty Kings in your places. Beware you pervert not this goodnesse of God, by making your wealth and power a meanes of swelling your hearts with pride, and imboldening you to wrong and oppresse others, and furnishing you with instruments to serve your owne lusts, for the such abuse of these benefits will turne them into poyson, as it were to your soules, and cause that they shall serve at length for the same purpose which S.James 5.3. Iames saith, the rust of the rich mans trea­sure shall doe, even to consume your flesh like fire, and to bring upon you greater damnation in another world, to be preferred before this more then an inheritance is before the lease of one alone yeere, none shall suffer so much torment and unhappinesse as those that have played the untrusty subjects to God, and made their high places a weapon to beare out their sinnes. But take notice of God in your Eminency in this present world, and labour to be so much more thankefull and obedient to God, and serviceable and profitable to men; and then shall preferrement here bee a meanes of inlarging your joyes here­after too. O happie is hee, that shall be great in Heaven as well as on Earth, by his well employing of his earthly greatnesse, and you that cannot be great here, yet strive to attaine a Kingdome, and here too in a spirituall sence. Labour to bee Kings over your selves, in establishing the Kingdome of grace in your hearts, that you may bee Kings hereafter, and that in farre greater glory and happinesse, then the greatest of all earthly Kings either did ever or ever could enjoy: the meanest Christian may get the King­dome of grace and of glory, as well as a David or a Salo­mon.

2. God kept him from com­mitting a sinne which else he would have committed.Another benefit wee must observe, the Lord by his pro­vidence kept him from committing that sinne which else hee would have committed, but indeed of meere ignorance, for his heart was upright with God so farre that if hee had knowne it hee would not have committed it. So the Lord tels him, therefore I kept thee that thou shouldst not come neere her, meaning Sarah. It is a great favour of God to preserve a man from sinning by his providence, I meane, to order things so, that hee hath not oppor­tunity or freedome to doe such things, as else hee would com­mit, because hee doth not know them to bee sinnes. And this is one of the graces that God doth shew to those whose hearts hee findes upright with him. O strive to get sincerity of soule, that hee which searcheth the heart, may vouchsafe you the same good­nesse, but if you bee hollow and guilefull, the Lord may and will justly punish you by giving you over to great offences. And if any man finde, that God hath restrained him from doing some wickednesse which hee did not know and therefore should have done much more which hee did know and would have done, he must blesse the name of God for it with heartiest prayers. Hee that was in likeliehood afore hee knew of it to have falne into [Page 205] some great pit, or other like danger, travelling in the night, and fin­deth in the morning how neere he came to mischiefe, and yet escaped the fame, is either very blockish and prophane, or else hee must needes lift up his heart and eyes, and hands to Heaven, and magnifie the name of God that caused him to scape, so much more must wee doe, if when wee were in a forwardnesse to runne into grievous offences, the Lord hath used some or other meanes which our selves did not provide to restraine us from that evill. Spirituall preserva­tion deserveth serious and thankefull acknowledgement as well as naturall.

Another mercy of God is,3. God revea­led himselfe unto him in a dreame by night. that hee revealed himselfe unto him in a dreame by night, and declared his will by a com­mandement, promise and threat. I doe not reade of such a kind­nesse afforded to any wicked man, except it were to Balaam the false Prophet, which was done not in favour to him, but unto Is­rael, that hee might not dare to curse his people, therefore am I conceited, that Abimelech was a godly man, especially be­cause the Lord doth please to talke as it were in so friendly and familiar a manner with him, as if hee had nor beene a stranger to God, but rather of inward knowledge. You shall finde if you reade the dreame, a kind of lovingnesse expressed on Gods part, and a kinde of dutifull boldnesse on Abimelechs: so that for my part, I have a very good opinion of the man, and thinke that the feare of God was in the King of that people, which were themselves so wicked, that good Abraham said, there was no feare of God in them. But the favour affoorded him is this, he was taught of God his duty by a dreame; Dreames were one of the ordi­nances whereby God did reveale his will unto men in those times: Pharaoh was shewed a thing in a dreame, and so was Nebuchadnezar, but God did not appeare unto them and speake to them in dreames, this was an ordinance of his I say, in which most times hee used to teach good men. Now this was a note of Gods kindnesse to Abimelech, that hee so taught him and not by heavy plagues, as hee did Pharaoh King of Egypt fore­mentioned. How much more mercy shewes the Lord to us, to whom hee shewes himselfe in the word, and in the prea­ching of it, whereby wee are taught our damnable estate, and shewed the meanes of escaping it, and called upon with con­tinuall threats and promises to use those meanes, let us pray to God to worke upon us by these his ordinances, that they may winne us to obedience in a thorough reformation of life, as Abimelech was wonne to reform e this one fault, and then happy shall wee bee. But if wee imitate the naughtinesse of Israel, and harden our hearts that wee may not hearken, then shall this mercy aggravate our sinnes, and wee shall onely have this fruite of it, wee shall know there was a Prophet amongst us, when those greater fearefull punishments befall us which were former­ly [Page 206] threatned against us in the word. Bretheren, God doth not please to speake to men now in person by dreames, but hee revea­leth his will by Pastors and Teachers, speaking in his Name. Hee hath imployed mee to you this thirty yeares well neere, to in­forme you that you are but dead men, because of the sinnes you have gone a whoring after, and to threaten you with death if you refuse to leave them, and encourage you with promise of life. upon your converting and amending, O when will you hear­ken as this man did. I beseech you before you come to Church to heare, take sometime to beg of God the assistance of his Spirit, to make you obedient hearers, and then blessed be your eares that heare.

4. God speedily removed his chastisement.Another benefit afforded to this King Abimelech was this, that hee found God as favourable to him as could be, in a speedy removing of the chastisement which was sent upon him because of Sarah, viz. the barrennesse of all his family, for it is said, vers. ult. that God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his maides, and his hand-maides, and they conceived, for hee had fast shut up every wombe in the house of Abimelech, by which it may bee thought, that God sent some gentle sicknesse upon him, by which hee was disabled from comming neere to Sarah: Now so soone as hee did reforme the fault, the Lord heard the prayer of Abraham, and cured him and his house. This is a great favour of God, to make hast to our deliverance, and very quickly to heare our owne prayers, and the prayers of others made for us, and in­stantly to remove the miseries which did lie upon us; for if the long lying on of a crosse bee tedious and heavy, because of the much sorrow it bringeth, and many complaints it wringeth from the mouth even of good men, saying, Lord how long? then sure­ly freedome from all that anguish must bee received as a point of great grace. O my Bretheren, doe you imitate Abimelech in the speedy mending of your faults, that the Lord may also favour you so much as to remove your crosses quickly. If ini­quity bee in your heart, put it from you, and remoove it out of your tabernacle,Job. 11.14, 15. and then your light shall spring as the morning, as one of Iobs friendes speaketh to him. But when we linger and holde sinne under our tongues, and are loath to cast it away, no wonder if God doe take us in our owne nets as it were, and make sorrowes and crosses linger as much upon us. Make hast to obey God and amend your lives, that he may also make hast to heale. These be Abimelechs mercies.

His crosses, God stroke him with sick­nes and weak­nesse and his women with barrennesse.The crosses that the Scripture telleth us of, are no more but one onely, viz. God did strike him with sicknesse and weake­nesse, and his women with barrennesse, and this crosse was rather sent upon him, as a mercy to keepe him from touching Sarah, then in anger or displeasure against him. Sicknesse of a mans per­son, wife and family are crosses, but sometimes the Lord doth [Page 207] send them upon men in favour, to prevent divers sinnes, which else hee knowes they would have committed in that time, if health had continued. Let us not murmure against GOD be­cause of such crosses, but rather take notice of his goodnesse in the same, especially in point of sicknesse, if it linger upon us, and thinke thus with our selves, how many sinnes might I have runne into, if this bodily feeblenesse had not kept mee within dores. And when wee bee sicke or otherwise affected, let us turne our thoughts round about us, to finde out if any such thing be, some sinne that wee should have runne into but for such prevention. See if thine heart have not harboured some unconsidered fault, and fur­ther the health of your bodies, by turning sicknesse into pur­ging physicke for your soules. So have we finished the example of this King.

Somewhat about that time, there lived foure Kings, whose names are recorded in holy Writ, but nothing at all for their praise. Their names were, 1. Amraphel King of Shinar, Foure Kings. that is, as it is thought, of Chaldea, or Babilon, where it may seeme that Nimrod erected a Monarchie, and it may bee that this man was some successor of his or one of his Posterity, and would needes inlarge his Monarchie so farre as the land of Canaan, with whom was joyned Amoch King of Elkasar, Chedarlomer King of Elam, and one Tydall King of Nations. What these Kings were? or whether mentioned in Heathen Stories or not,They were violent. it matters not to enquire. But here they are patternes of unjust violence in Warre. They had the keener swords and therefore would make themselves Lords over other Kings, and compell them by brunt of Warre to receive their yoke and acknowledge some Ho­mage. Nothing more usuall then for potent Kings to make at least unnecessary Warres for their growth in greatnesse, ma­ny times they doe not so much as alleadge a shew of title, but their owne ambition is the ground of their plea, and some­times they pretend most frivolous titles. So doe they disquiet themselves and others, and cause much innocent bloud to bee shed, almost inforcing their Subjects to become wilfull murde­rers.

Wee must blesse God that hath caused us to live now a good time under peaceable Princes, and must inforce our prayers to God begging the like mercy still. The Conquering side is often more miserable by sinning, then the conquered by slaughter or captivity. But God doth use these great Cockes of the game as instruments of his Justice, to punish the naughtinesse of those that abuse peace, and become more wicked by so great a be­nefit. Let us learne to take heede of wickednesse, that the God of Heaven may not also make us a prey to violence and ambi­tion. And though you bee not Kings, to whom I speake, yet I pray you take heed that you runne not into the same fault, [Page 208] that these Kings though not in so high a degree, use not injustice and injuriousnesse and violence so much as your low­er places will suffer, a Weesell is a ravenous beast as well as a Lion.

Their maine sinne was ta­king Lot a­mong the So­domites.But the maine sinne that these committed, and which brought upon them their ruine was this, that they would needs take Lot among the Sodomites. Suppose the Sodomites did owe them Ho­mage, and gave just cause of quarrell, yet was Lot no Sodomite nor Patron of their rebellion. They should have spared him, that never had beene their subject, nor done them any wrong at all: Indeed if Lot had gone to Warre against them, and invol­ved himselfe in the Sodomites evill cause (if their cause were evill) hee was justly taken captive with them, but the briefe nar­ration seemeth rather to intimate otherwise. Chap. 14. verse 11, 12. They tooke the substance of Sodome, and their victuals and went their way, and they tooke Lot also and his substance, for hee dwelt in Sodome, intimating as I said, that hee was taken not in the bat­tell, but in the spoiling of the City afterward: but you see what is the manner of insulting conquerours, they sweepe away all they meete, and every thing and person shall bee good bootie that lies within their reach, but they smart for this spoile; for hence was Abraham justly occasioned to put forth his courage for the reskue of his Kinsman, and so were they deprived of the whole victory, because they spared not a man whom they should have spared. It often falleth out, that one act of inju­stice looseth much that otherwise was justly gotten. Beware of swallowing ill gotten wealth, it hath a poysonfull operation, and like some such evill simple in the stomacke, will bring up the good foode together with ill humours: It is said the King of Sodome had rebelled, so intimating a kinde of justification of the Warre with him, but it is not said that Lot had rebel­led, and therefore they should not have seized on him for the Sodomites sake. Use justice and take nothing from any man that is due unto him , neither punish any without right, chiefely touch not a good man that feareth GOD, unlesse his faults require that hee bee made to smart for them: GOD can beare the carrying away Captive of many Sodomites rather then of one Lot.

Now consider how God humbleth these great and insolent Con­querours, that carried all before them, hee armes Abraham a­gainst them with so much wisedome and valour, that hee sets upon them by night and discomfits them, afore they could well tell who it was that fought with them. So it falleth out often, that God doth beate farre greater armies by the farre fewer: Hee that feareth God and hath a just cause, neede never bee discoura­ged from battell, because his companies are but few. The God of Warre whom the Scripture cals a man of Warre, carries victo­ry [Page 209] to that side where hee pleaseth to joyne, and tell mee if hee have not most times given the greatest victories to his servants, when their enemies power was such as farre surpassed theirs. Some trust in bow and speare, but hee that maketh mention of the name of God, he is in best pos­sibility to become a victor. Take heed of making God your ene­my, that maketh one man to chase ten, and ten to flie before one. (*⁎*)

THE FOVRTEENTH EXAMPLE.
OF The Sodomites.

WEE are come along in Abrahams time to the Sodomites, The Sodomites had no vertues Concerning whom the Holy Ghost found nothing so much as like to any vertue, which might be commended or imi­tated in them, unlesse perhaps, it may have a little relish of vertue that the King of So­dome after Abrahams victory over the foure Kings, Gen 14.17, 21. went out to meete A­braham, and willed him to give unto him the persons, and take the goods for a booty to his owne use. There may seeme to be a small shadow of gratitude in that hee was wil­ling that Abraham should enjoy the spoile, but if wee consider the matter better, this will shew it selfe to be rather a vice, for first, hee doth not so much as thanke Abraham for his hazard and paines in figh­ting with those Kings, that had vanquished himselfe and his confe­derate Kings, and made Captives a number of his subjects, and also that whereas both persons and booty were all Abrahams by the Law of Armes, because he had wonne them in battell, yet he is bold to demand the persons as if they were due unto himselfe. Wherefore I cannot perceive any good at all in this King, or any of his subjects.

[Page 212] Their faults in generall.But for their faults and vices they be many and great. The Holy Ghost speaketh of them in generall and more particularly. First in generall, Gen. 13.13. that they were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly, and Gen. 18.20. The cry of Sodome and Gomorrah is great and their sinne is very grievous. Loe you may see in them, that the wicked nature of man is apt to become out of measure sinfull, and to bring forth exceeding grievous sinnes, and such as make a mighty cry in the eares of God, even as it were wearying his patience and challenging his justice for revenge. As a thing beginning to rot becomes exceeding rotten, even till it come to be very filth and dirt, and a man beginning to tumble downe the hill, makes no stop till he come to the very bottome of the hill. For both Gods righteous­nesse is offended and provoked to punish them for a presumptuous and wilfull sinne, by giving them over to their owne blindnesse and hardnesse, and to Satans power and temptations, and also Satan is earnest to thrust sinners forward in the pathes of iniquity, that if it were possible, hee might satisfie his hatred against mankinde, by making them all as bad as himselfe, and also corrupt nature it selfe finding pleasure, delight, and content in sinne, is made more and more prone to sinne, and so proceedeth further and further, till the Lord shall strip them by opposing of his just vengeance, and cutting them off in the midst of their wilde race.

Learne we therefore to take heed of the beginnings of evill, and to license our selves to commit any sinne out of a conceit that it is small and little, or yet because wee meane to doe it but once, and then an end, for sinne once committed will quickly returne to tempt us againe, and will more easily prevaile to breake forth the second time then the first, and the third then the second and so forward. 'Tis not in a falling mans choice and power to stop himselfe when himselfe pleaseth, nor in one that is sinking in deepe waters to stay himselfe from sinking to the very bottome. And a little sinne doth but make way for a greater till at length there be space enough for the greatest of all to enter, yea harder it will be to abstaine from the fowlest and most grievous at the last, then from the very least of all at the first, pre­sume not therefore to sinne out of any such conceit.

Againe, if wee have sinned in smaller degrees of evill, or once or twice done amisse, let us make hast to repent and turne, humbling our selves and craving power and helpe against our owne naughtinesse, otherwise it is certaine, that extremity of the most horrible wicked­nesses will grow upon us, and wee shall become like them of Sodome, grievous sinners, and exceeding wicked before the Lord, and our sins also will grow so rooring, as to waken the Lord out of his slumber of patience and forbearance, yea and if God have stopped us in the paths of sinne, and not left us to the highest degree of wickednesse, we must acknowledge his goodnesse in keeping us from such excesse of naugh­tinesse, and beware of boasting our selves because wee are not starke naught; for did not a divine power restraine and bridle corruption, and [Page 213] hold it downe as it were by strong hand, there is no man in the work so civill and so moderate, but he would breake forth into the greatest exorbitancy of wickednesse, as the least coale of fire if it be nourished with fewell and incited with blowing, will undoubtedly breake forth into a consuming flame within a little space of time. If we be lesse evill then others, God is more good to us, not our selves more good in our selves. Every carkasse would breed wormes if it were not im­balmed or some way preserved from putrifying.

But now wee proceed to consider the sinnes of Sodome more particu­larly. First, as wee finde them recorded by Moses in Geneses, Their sinnes in particular. 1. They rebel­led. next as the Prophet Ezekiel doth afterwards taxe them by way of upbrai­ding Israel with the same abhominations. The first sinne noted in the Sodomites is, Gen. 14.4. that having served the King of Shinar twelve yeares, in the 14 they rebelled. Those that have beene subdued by another Prince, and received the yoke of subjection at length, cove­nanting Homage and obedience (as in such case they alwaies doe to redeeme their lives by their service) upon such and such conditions, made betwixt the conquerour and conquered, are very weary of the yoke for the most part, and watch all advantages of making themselves free againe by rebellion, whensoever they thinke themselves strong enough to justifie and beare out their rebellions: but without doubt, this course is sinfull and unlawfull, because it is a manifest breach of an oath and covenant, which ought to be firmely kept amongst men even though a mans covenants be made to his owne disadvantage. There­fore was the Lord greatly displeased with Zedekiah the last of Salo­mons race I thinke, that sate on the throne of David, because he re­belled against the King of Babell Nebuchadnezzar, who had conque­red the land and made himselfe King over it, for so saith Ezekiel the Prophet, Chap. 17. ver. 15. He rebelled against the King of Babel in sen­ding his Ambassadours to Egypt, shall he escape that doth such things? or shall he breake the covenant and bee delivered? as I live saith the Lord God, surely in the place whose oath hee despised and whose covenant hee brake, he shalld die, and ver. 8. Seeing he despised the oath by brea­king the Covenant when he had given his hand and hath done all these things, hee shall not escape. The Lord you see is offended with such a kinde of rebellion and punisheth it, because it is as you see a despi­sing of an oath and breach of a covenant. For indeed this is the way to trouble the world and make warres everlasting: though it be a fault in a neighbour Prince without just cause and ground, to make Warre and conquer his bordering neighbours and bring them under his yoke; yet when God by his providence hath made him conque­rour, and the weakenesse of the conquered hath drawne them to sub­jection, and now covenants and agreements of peace have beene concluded upon, the breaking of the covenants doth violate the rules of truth and faithfullnesse amongst men, and breeds new troubles and broyles there, where might have beene much peace and prosperity if they would have beene contented to have borne the yoke; as Ieremy [Page 214] is wished to command the Kings whom Nebuchadnezzar had con­quered that they should doe, Chap. 21.2.—9. The Lord then, that is a lover of truth and peace, doth not likely leave such rebelli­ons unpunished.

This therefore must cause us to detest much more, as a much more plaine and fearefull crime, the sinne of rebellion, against those more rightfull Kings and Princes, to whom we owe more subjection, as being both naturall borne subjects, and also having tyed our selves by an oath of allegiance and loyalty, for the more confirming of us in our duty, and stronger tying our consciences to it. And the Pope that taketh upon him (for his owne advantage you may be sure) to dissolve and unloose such oathes, dispencing with them, and pre­tending to free mens consciences from the obligation of them, and from all danger of sinne by breaking them, carrieth himselfe ex­ceeding wickedly, and is most extreamely injurious to the consci­ences of men, and to the peace of the world, and most impudently bolde against the name of God, and the sacred and inviolable power of an oath. Bee you advertised, that this is to set himselfe above God, in undertaking to dispence with an oath taken by the holy name of God, which the Lord himselfe did never yet dispence withall, for hee that dispenceth with the conscience, must be Lord of the conscience, and hee that dissolveth an oath, must be greater then he that bindeth to the oath, and by the oath, and that is the living God alone, whose Name is invocated in an oath. Where­fore abhorre you this man of sinnes impious boldnesse, and learne also to abhorre all manner of rebellion, learning of Salomon, not to meddle with the seditious,Prov. 24.21. but to feare God and honour the King, and shew all good fidelity and allegiance unto him for conscience. Rebellion against our Kings cannot be seperated from rebellion against God, and this also is like the sinne of witchcraft or Idols. If Israel must beare the yoake of the King of Babell, how much more every people of their naturall Liege, Lord and Soveraigne? And this is the first sin of the Sodomites.

2. They men­ded not by their chastise­ment.The next is, that when the Lord did scourge them by the hand of Amraphel and his confederates, so that they lost the day, and many of them their lives, and the rest their liberties and their goods, and after delivered them againe by the valour of Abraham, they were not any whit amended by this chastisement, but their wickednesse continued still to make the same out-cry and shrill clamour in the eares of God, as he told Abraham before. It is a great wickednesse, not to profit by corrections;Prov. 29.1. Hee that hardeneth his heart being often re­proved, much more corrected, shall surely fall into mischiefe. God complaines of Israel, Isa. 1.5. why should yee bee smitten any more? and againe, thy children would receive no correction. It is a great provocation to a man against his inferiours,Jer. 2 30. if he have punished them for any offence, and cannot finde them one whit amended. Incorrigiblenesse increa­seth wrath in all superiours. For, first it is a frustration of their hopes [Page 215] and labours, and that is tedious. Secondly, it is a proofe that the offender is utterly heardened in an evill course, and that doth stop the way against all further proceeding of clemency, and makes justice arme it selfe with vengeance, when mercy would be but abused if it should shew it selfe. Bee warned therefore to compare your owne selves with these Sodomites, and judge betwixt the Lord and your selves, if you also have not profited naught by his correcti­ons.

I will presse the point upon you in respect of every mans owne particular, hath not God afflicted thee? made thee groane and com­plaine with losses and crosses, and more then one or two calamities, and yet after deliverance granted, you have returned to your vomit, and againe are become wallowers in the mire, even giving over your selves to the selfe same crime, for which your owne soules did smite you in your miseries, and told you plainely that for those very things the Lord sent those testimonies of his displeasure against you, so great is that aggravation of thy fault, and will cause the Lord to make his rods more smarting, and if future amend­ment upon future and worse crosses doe not come betwixt, to cut thee of and destroy thee at once, as here you see in Sodome. Indeed the most horrible abomination that they did publikely live in, required so extraordinary and publike a punishment, but the particular fault of one particular man in a matter vile enough though not so loathsome, shall surely procure another and a sorer chastisement, or else even utter destruction at length. Let this admonition enter into your soules, and move you to re­pent now of that hardnesse of your hearts, which causeth you not to repent upon a former adversity, or else be sure, that you shall treasure up wrath to your selves against the day of wrath, you that doe presently lie under any hand of God, set to the matter of finding out and reforming your offences, and be much more earnest with God to make the crosse profitable to you in that behalfe, then to remove it from your shoulders. And you that have come lately out of a crosse, and now are gotten againe into a large place, beware of forgetting the hand of God, let the present exhortation stirre you up to doe better then the Sodomites. Say in your consciences, was it not a great folly in them, and a just forerunner of their finall ruine? that captivity tooke away nothing from their sinnes: why will you commit the same sinne which you cannot but condemne in them? They had no publike admonishioner amongst them, that did con­tinually perswade them to profit by that calamity, and putting them in remembrance of the lamentable condition in which they were falne, wished them earnestly to study reformation of life. God hath made you his people, hath setled his ordinances amongst you, and ceaseth not daily to remember your of your duty: without doubt your sinne in not being bettered by crosses, shall offend him 10. times more then that of Sodome, and you shall finde by experience, that the [Page 216] wilfulnesse is the greater, by how much the meanes of reclaiming have beene greater.

3. They were unnaturally filthy.I proceed now to a third sinne, and that is their unnaturall filthi­nesse, in offering to commit that foule crime of buggery with the strangers that came to lodge amongst them for a night, and were but men as they conceived by their outward behaviour, though indeed they were Angels. Take notice of the lewdnesse of these, worse then beasts, and learne to have it in utter detestation. First, the crime it selfe. Secondly, the circumstances aggravating the crime.

1. The crime of Sodomitrie it selfe.The crime it selfe is that base and vile, and worse then brutish wic­kednesse, of confounding the sexes which God hath in the creation distinguished. For he made the Male and Female, but these beasts would needes so much as was in them, take away that so necessary and usefull destinction, and would have abused Males as if they had beene Females, and turned men into women for the satisfaction of their prodigious lust, and that not out of a kind of forced necessity, because in the boyling of their unruly appetite there was not a woman to be had, but meerely out of the sinnefulnesse of their desires, which made them take more delight in that which was against nature, and leaving the naturall society of the woman, they flamed in their lusts towards man-kind, and as they had no question wrought villanie one with another, so now they would have violently committed the same outrage upon others. This is an horrible sinne, forbidden by God in the Law under paine of death, Lev. 20.13. the Apostle saith, 1 Cor. 9. that abusers of themselves with man-kinde, shall not inhe­rit the kingdome of God. If there be any light of nature left in a mans minde, he cannot but see the wickednesse of this fact; for seeing the Lord ordeined the conjuction of man and woman, for the im­peopling of the world and multiplication of man-kind, it cannot but be against nature altogether to power out lust in such a foule fashion, as that it becommeth utterly impossible to attaine the proper end of such meeting, wherefore they are carried brutishly after sensuall plea­sure with aversenesse from the fruit that God and nature intend, which doe give themselves over to this filthinesse. This is the crime of So­domitry, so entitled from these Monsters of men that were the first publike committers of it. But how ordinary it was in Athens and Rome among both Latine and Grecian even Philosophers and men accounted worthy and excellent? the Stories will not suffer us to be ignorant. And S. Paul affirmes, that the Lord of purpose to avenge himselfe upon their impiety, in not finding out his true worship, but changing the Image of the incorruptible God into an image made like [...]o a corruptible man, Rom. 1.23, 24. and worshipping the creature besides the Creator, did give them up unto uncleanenesse in their owne hearts lusts, to dishonour their bodies amongst themselves, and those that changed the truth of God, that truth which concerned God and the knowledge of him, into a lie, and set up images of him, did after put out the light of nature into darknesse, and the naturall use into that which was against nature. [Page 217] Now how should it come to passe, that any one indued with reason should grow so utterly unreasonable, as to preferre this filthinesse before that which is agreeable to the course of nature? Surely because when lust hath once taken possession of a man, and that he doth not finde his expected satisfaction therein, then the Divell inflameth his fancies to try new and strange wayes of contenting himselfe, untill he have multiplied his sinnefull inventions to the utmost, and spent himselfe in a fruitlesse pursuing of what he cannot overtake.

Now consider the severall aggravations of their sinne, First,2. The aggra­vations of this sinne. 1. In respect of the persons to whom they would have of­fered this vil­lany. in re­gard of the persons to whom they intended to offer this villanie, even men that came within their gates to lodge and seeke shelter from wrongs. Had they not filthy persons enough among themselves to please their libidinous fancies withall? but they must force honest and vertuous men to suffer such an indignity. Lust is ever the more blameworthy in exercising it selfe, by how much it useth more vio­lence to effect its desire. It prevaileth by force worse then by per­swasion, although wickedly enough either way, for here is a double wrong done to the same person, one of polluting, another forcing to suffer. Abhorre you all manner of impurities, but especially loath to give lust such an headstrong command over you, that it should com­pell you by force and strength to compell others to suffer your unchast offers. And if any man hath by wrestling, and striving, and might even overcome a resisting person, let him bewaile the sinne the more, because it is the greater, else the Lord will violently punish him, that violently abused another.

Againe beware of offering hard measure to a stranger, the more helplesse any man is, the more charity commandeth to pity him, the lesse to wrong him: especially to be so madded with lust, as that a man should impure one with filthy assayes whom he never saw before, this is to shew a most licentious and unsatisfiable humour, that is not contented, unlesse beast-like, it may have any it sees at any time. That lust will know no bounds which is carried after every stranger, and it is the property of lust, when it hath overlashed more then it ought, to disdaine all bounds and limits. Perhaps these Angels ap­peared in the forme of very beautifull young men, and that might cause the filthy Sodomites to cast libidinous lookes upon them, but howsoever it was, lust doth not confine it selfe alwayes to beauty, it is of a raunging humour and loveth variety, and might it have all in the world but one, it would not be pleased without that one also, as other desires in their kindes are infinite and insatiable.

Another aggravation of their wickednesse,2. In respect of the persons that commit­ted it. is from the persons that committed it, not one vile fellow, or three or foure companions in villany, consented together to act such a hideous part, but all the men of the city, ould and young, all from every quarter assembled together, by which it is manifest, that the City was universally cor­rupted, and that there was not a civill honest man left amongst them, [Page 218] but all were turned abhominable buggerers, and did take pleasure either to act that filthinesse themselves or to see it acted by others. It is a fearefull thing, when such grievous crimes grow common, when all commit them or like of them, none reproveth, none op­poseth them, but every one makes another worse then he would be, and no man will thinke that wicked, which is done by each man in the towne or countrey, as well as by himselfe. Men follow sinne amaine, when they swimme downe the streame of example unto it; they make themselves bold to doe what all doe, and can hardly make themselves beleeve they offend in going with the heard as it it were, O let us resist the overgrowing of sinne, the overspreading of all, that it be not as a spreading fretting leprosie: Seldome is it, that hi­deous sinnes grow common, but that some common vengeance fol­loweth, and yet you see the nature even of the worst sinnes to be such, that they will spread themselves by little and become universall di­seases, and when every man hath them, none knowes how to be asha­med of them, or careth to cure them.

But see here the old decrepit goates, that were now scarce able to see or heare or wag abroad, yet these had as lustfull mindes as the youngest there, and what they could not act because of weakenesse, yet the strength of their unmortified lusts did make them delight to behold, and attempt to performe so farre as they could. It is not age that will quench lust, this fault striketh in the fancy and will not be cured by bodily inabilities, they can love to speake wantonly, and to attempt this worst of evill, that yet are impotent through age. But ah, it is a most undecent thing to see the sinnes of youth prevailing in times of age, it were monstrous to behold greene apples on a tree in winter. If the frost of age cannot nip the blossomes of libidinous desires, how great was that heate! who can thinke that he is at all mortified in other things, where nature affordeth lesse helpe, that hath not prevailed against the things that should even die of them­selves. But it is sure, that length of time will not conquer his hatefull passion, unlesse grace be granted from above, the elder adulterer is the most neighing, he desireth so much the more, by how much he can effect lesse, as you see it in some kind of creatures whom the knife hath caused to cease to be perfect males. O if any old man a­mongst you have a wanton heart, head, hand, tongue, and gives him­selfe to please himselfe with dalliances, and lascivious gestures, words and carriages, let him be exceedingly abased in himselfe, the con­sideration of ones ancientnesse makes the least attempt in him more loathsome, then any act in a young stripling, so long as one is carried with the fervour of youth to such offences, there is hope that age will temper, but in whom these fires continue sparkling, when his body is little warmer then a dead carkasse, what hope can be conceived of his amendment? what charity can thinke that hee will ever bee chaste? for hee is not chaste that cannot, but hee that will not be lasci­vious.

[Page 219]But see here young men as well as old, the Holy Ghost nameth not alone men come to the vigour of their youth, but even the youn­ger youths that were scarce past child-hood, these also learnt of the elder, and it pleased them to be present where filthy deedes were done. Verily, child-hood will soone receive the infection of lust and there is scarce a sinne that will shew it selfe more early in imita­ting those evill speeches or actes it heares or sees; young ones will drinke in this poison greedily, and will shew that themselves are of kinne to the elder, by bending the same way. How carefull therefore should elder persons be, to forbeare all such wordes and carriages before these buds, as may begin to season with evill too too timely? and why should any be so naught as yet some parents have beene, to delight to teach their childeren libidinous songs and carriages? some love sinne so well, that they delight to instruct young ones in this foule and obscene trade. Hath any amongst you spate out this venome in the presence of young ones, to make them sooner wicked then else they would? O how very great is his sinne, whose filthinesse will live in another when himselfe is dead. A man hath more cause to bewaile the contagion of his lust in this kinde, then the lust it selfe in himselfe, he may kill it by repentance, but what will he doe to stop the contagion in another.

Againe,3. From the manner of do­ing it. the fault is exceedingly aggravated from the manner of doing. First, they carried themselves most impudently in this mat­ter, they stucke not to tell their minde plainly, bring them out to us, say they, and they doe not pretend any honest errand, nor will so much as goe about the bush a little to shelter their naughtinesse, till opportunity served to put it in practise, but as if it were the most honest occasion that might be, they proclaime, that wee may know them. The Holy Ghost abhorreth turpitude of speech, and therefore delivers their meaning in a modest phrase, but whither they affected any such modest vaile of speaking, its greatly questionable, at least it is more probable, that those which would declare their mindes so openly and so loudly, would utter it also as broadly, for shame is the onely pull-backe to these kinde of loose speeches. Men feare to speake grossely, because they would not be thought so vile as to delight in filthinesse, and he that would be knowne to intend such a leudnesse, no question but he would also please himselfe in the worst phrases he could invent.

Impudency in sinne, especially in this sinne against which God hath pleased to arme corrupt nature with some degree of shame; for were it not a matter of reproach to offend in this kinde, how few would live chastely in their younger and wilder dayes? nay scarce in their elder. Mens credit is dearer to them then their soule, pleasure would conquer conscience in those in whom it cannot conquer vaine-glory: but I say impudency in all sinnes, chiefely in this sinne, doth make it out of measure wicked: they cannot blush, saith the Prophet,Isa. 3.9. they de­clare their sinne like Sodome, they know not how to be ashamed when they [Page 220] had done evill. It is a signe that a man hath stript himselfe of the nature of a man when he begins not to be ashamed of sinne especi­ally not of this sinne. A beast hath not the understanding to discerne the turpitude of evill, therefore he cannot be ashamed, so the shame­lesse is turned into a very beast, having lost the sence of good and evill: such a one, if any, hath gotten to himselfe that which is called a reprobate minde, a minde that cannot trie or proove things, that can put no difference.

Therefore learne to preserve shamefastnesse in your selves, and to know how to blush, it is the colour of vertue in the younger sort, which should onely therefore be separated from elder persons, because they should then be more perfect then to say or doe things that might oc­casion it, else impudencie in vice is the more loathsome by how much the head is grayer; Indeed want of store of bloud will not give so red a hue to the cheekes, but if an old man be not more confounded within himselfe for his wickednesse then a younger, it is a signe that his age hath profited little in ability of judging, and discerning evill from good and good from evill. If any amongst you finde himselfe to have a brazen fore-head, that is never a whit abashed at the doing of evill, chiefely of wanton deeds, that he cares not much who sees or knowes, what dirt is harboured in his minde, he is neere neighbour to a Sodomite.

But as they did it impudently, so most wilfully, for when Lot by loving dehortations, and (as any but a brutish person would have con­ceived) offers of that which might have better contented them, then that which they propounded (even his owne two daughters virgins) yet they grew disdainefull towards him, stand farre of or beyond, the word is, approach beyond, as much as in our phrase, get thee farther of, and accusing him of great insolencie, that being a stranger would needs make himselfe a Judge, (He takes upon him as a chiefe ruler in the conceit of a wicked man that seekes to drive him from his sinne) they fall to threaten, that they will deale worse with him then with them. So gentle words did rather exasperate them, then any thing mitigate their eagernesse, therefore the Angels pulling in Lot unto them into the house, strike the men with blindnesse, a kinde of gid­dinesse of braine and dazeling of eyes, like to those that have fed of some kinde of roote that makes them little lesse then wilde and mad for the time, they could not finde the doore by groping, and yet con­tinued still to wearie themselves by groping after it.

Here is the greatest obstinacy and wilfullnesse in sinning that could be imagined, when not alone no loving disswasion could withdraw their mindes from such a shamefull attempt, but even the heavie and immediate hand of God was unable to pull them backe from conti­nuing in their horrible and outragious onsets. God might by force hold them from doing the evill, but from indeavouring to doe it no­thing would hinder; to be so hard-hearted in a sinfull course, that neither words nor blowes will so much as interrupt a man in his [Page 221] naughtinesse, or cause him to turne a little aside, or make a little stop in it, but that he rusheth like a horse into the battell, plunging him­selfe in it like a madman running to drowne himselfe, and with violence striving to rid himselfe of them that seeke to hinder him from wor­king his mischiefe, this may seeme as high a degree of sinning, as that of the Sodomites.

O take heed that sinne lay not so fast hold upon you, let it not be so absolute and mighty a commander. I pray you examine your selves, whether you have not sinned grossely, boldly, wilfully, and obstinately in some other kinde, as the Sodomites in masculine lusts, at least whether you have not discovered the same faults in lesser de­grees, and know that more deepe remorse and wounding of heart is necessary to be sought after by all men for sinnes that have so many weights at their heeles to make them heavier. They must rend our soules more, which are laden with such considerations, Was not the sinne grosse? Yes. Did I not commit it presumptuously? Yes. Did I not commit it shamelesly? Yes. Did I not commit it wilfully? Yes. Did I not persist in it against dehortaions? Yes. Was I so fu­rious that some strong hand of God befalling in the instant could not hinder mee? Yes. O then how Sodomiticall was this sinne, and how should I wonder that I should so farre surpasse all bounds and breake all bands as to commit such a crime in such a man­ner.

But here is one fault particularly to be noted in Lots sonnes in Law,The sinne of Lots sonnes in Law, they would not be ruled by their Father. their Father sought to get them out of that place, and so out of that plague, and therefore by commission from the Angels, went forth to them, acquainted them with the perill and besought them to save themselves, they count his words no better then the doating dreames of an old man, and will not be mooved at all, unlesse it be to laugh at him, and so they burne with the other Sodomites, because they would not beleeve their danger. Thus doe men yet still pull perdi­tion on themselves, the Ministers of the Gospell preach to us to the same purpose, that Lot did speake unto his sonnes in Law. Come out of such and such a sinne, for God will surely destroy the com­mitters of it, and what successe doe we meete withall? After many an houre bestowed in seeking to make men see, that if they doe such things, they shall not inherit the Kingdome of Heaven, but shall fall into the Lake that burneth with fire and brimstone, wee have no other fruit, our words appeare to them as if they were the words of one that mocked or were in jest, they will not be made to thinke that any such danger is neere them. Tell mee, I beseech you what you thinke? might not Lots two sonnes have escaped this fire of Sodome if they would? What was the cause of their perishing, but because they would not beleeve their Father in Law? also they might have left the City with him and escaped the brimstone. Surely beloved you shall be able to alledge nothing at the last day to make your destruction more tollerable, for why doe you perish but be­cause [Page 222] you will not give credit to the threats of God? and la­bour to leave all sinne which you may as well indeavour to leave, if your wilfullnesse did not hinder, as Lots sonnes might have left Sodome.

If you say, we could not beleeve those words.

I answer, true, but even as these wretches could not beleeve their Father, because by hardening themselves in evill they had made themselves obstinate against every thing that crossed their carnall de­sires. It is a fearefull sinne Brethren, to be no otherwise affected to the threats denounced against your sinnes by Gods Ministers, then as these gracelesse young men, even to thinke them but words of sport, counterfeit words which have no truth nor substance in them, but were very mockery and scoffage: so thought these foolish fel­lowes, but in the morning they were made to feele what they would not beleeve at midnight; when they scorched in the flames, they in vaine repented their ill entertainement of their Father in Lawes spee­ches and perswasions, and to no purpose wished that they had beene over-intreated by him. A number of you live in the selfe-same sinne, hee that threatens hell-fire and destruction against you, for your drunkennesse, filthinesse, revenge, worldlinesse, is counted a mocker, an idle fellow, that knowes not what hee saith, but must say something when he is gotten into his Pulpit, and no more recko­ning doe you make of it: but when death hath carried your soules to hell, then you shall too late accuse your owne folly, and wish you had hearkened with more beliefe. O accept these threats with faith, that they may draw you out of sinne and save you out of hell.

Other sinnes of the Sodo­mites. 1. Pride.The sinnes of Sodome related by Moses you have heard of. The Prophet Ezekiel by way of upbraiding Iudah, relates some other sinnes together with this, as you may reade, Ezek. 16.49. Pride, fullnesse of bread, and abundance of idlenesse were in her, and in her daughters, and they strengthened not the hand of the poore and needy, and they were haughty and committed abhomination before mee.

Pride is a great sinne.First, the Holy Ghost telleth us of their pride, this is a grievous vice, pride of heart is a fearefull sinne. 'Tis like a great swelling in the body, which unfitteth it for any good service, and is apt to pu­trifie,Its nature ful­ly discovered. and to breake and runne with loathsome and foule matter. So doth this pride disable the soule from any good duty, and at left breakes forth into most odious and filthy deeds that cause it to be tedi­ous to God and man. The Scripture often condemneth it, and pro­nounceth heavie threats against it, Psal. 73.6. a wicked man is bla­med, because pride compasseth him as a garment, he weareth it upon himselfe as some faire and gorgeous robe of which hee is so farre from being ashamed, that he rejoyceth in it, and thinketh himselfe to be made more comely and honourable by it, and Prov. 8.13. hee saith, the feare of God is to hate pride, amongst other things there na­med. [Page 223] It must needs be concluded to be a fearefull offence, the ha­tred of which must needs arise from the feare of God. It is bla­med in an Heathen Nation, Ier. 48.29. Wee have heard of the pride of Moab, he is exceeding proud, his loftinesse, arrogancie and pride, and the haughtinesse of his heart. The Prophet saith of the Iewes too, Chap. 13.13. that hee will weepe in secret places for their pride. And our Saviour reckoning up that abhominable litter and broode of sinnes which have their originall in mans heart, that is, his corrupt in­ward disposition, amongst the rest nameth pride, Marke 7.22. And how much God hateth this vice, is evident by the threats which in his Word he hath thundred against it. S. Peter saith, [...] Epist. Chap. 5.5. God resisteth the proud, hee sets himselfe against him as in an armie ordered for the battell, he is alwaies in the field as it were with his troopes ranked and ready to give the onset and take every advantage of doing him mischiefe, Salomon saith, Prov. 11.2. When pride commeth then commeth a fall, a man is apt to runne into most shamefull faults, and so to bring upon himselfe the greatest of all re­proaches when once hee giveth pride the possession of his heart, and after, Prov. 16.28. Pride goes before destruction. This sinne is a ne­cessary forerunner of ruine, it is an Harbenger to note our a lodging place for misery and calamity, and Chap. 29.23. A mans pride shall bring him low, truly low enough, even as low as hell it selfe, for must it not needes cast him low and low that maketh God his utter enemy.

It must be a loathsome vice, if wee consider the causes whence it comes, and the fruits which it produceth. The roote of it is no­thing but ignorance or follie or both;Ignorance what? Folly what? Ignorance is the not knowing of what one should know, Folly the not usefull considering of what one doth know, and were not the heart made starke blinde with one or both of these vices, it could never rush into pride. For so meane is a man in his very Creation that he comes of dust and nothing, and in his sinfull corruption, now much more meane when he is of his Fa­ther the Divell as the Scripture saith, nothing but the spawne of Hell, and a very bastard mis-begotten by the Prince of darkenesse, and subject to so many miseries here, and to such a weight of eternall misery hereafter, that if he were duely informed of this basenesse, and did rightly beleeve it, and consider of it, hee could not possibly be puffed up with a good conceit of himselfe. But his high fancies are ever strong and working in him, when his heart is so filled up with darkenesse and blindnesse, that either he doth not at all or not cer­tainely know these things. A drunken beggar will carry himselfe like some Emperour, and he cares for no man, because he hath not the wit to take notice of his owne basenesse. So it is with the proud man, so very a foole hee is that hee cannot instruct himselfe of his owne contemptiblenesse, and therefore he is apt to be lifted up in him­selfe, now folly and ignorance be so vile things themselves, that no naturall issue of them can choose but be like themselves even sinfull and wicked.

[Page 224]Againe, the effects of it are exceeding hurtfull, the punishments it causeth the Lord to lay upon men are great, as you heard be­fore, he is a professed enemy to him, hee hath threatned to pull him downe,Luke 18.14. Isa. 23.9. Hee that exalteth himselfe shall be abased. God will marre the pride of men and staine their excellencie, and he plagues them often in their bodies and states, by giving them up to such absurd carriages, as doe pull ruine upon themselves, and alwaies in their soules by giving them up to the hardnesse of their hearts, so that they be of all the most impenitent and irreformable, and therefore it is said, that when God will convert a man he covers his pride by chastisements, and when Ieremy chargeth the people to amend and give glory to God before his judgements come upon them, hee saith, if you will not heare my soule shall weepe in secret for your pride, Jer. 13.17. noting that this fil­thy pride doth even stop up the eares against all wholesome advertise­ments. O how fearefull a vice is that which cuts off the way to all amendment, by turning away the eare from receiving instruction, the principall instrument of working amendment?

But it produceth many sinfull carriages in all respects.

First in respect of all persons. Secondly, of all states. Thirdly, of all qualities. For persons, it makes him in whom it ruleth, and so farre as it ruleth rebellious against Gods precepts, carelesse of his promi­ses, and regardlesse of his threats, so that hee despiseth and con­temneth all the authority of God, and will not be guided by his coun­sell. Caine was a proud man you all know, hee would never else have killed his Brother on that quarrell whereof you heard. Now when God himselfe came to admonish him and disswade him from that murder, it was all in vaine, hee would not hearken to God, but continued to harbour malice till it brake forth into bloud­shed.

In respect of men, for ones selfe it makes him selfe-ish, all for him­selfe, not regarding who be hurt so himselfe be pleased, selfe-willed and heady, so that no counsell will rule, but hee will head strongly like a madded beast runne on in his owne race, as the Captaines that came to Ieremy for counsell, because they were proud men, and as the Scripture notes would not accept of his counsell. And it fills him full alwaies of discontent, fretting and vexation, nothing, no per­son can please him, he is still finding faults, just like one that hath a swelling upon his hand, something or other toucheth it still and drives him to out-cries.

And for others, towards his superiours he is undutifull and will not heed their words nor be ruled by them. He thinkes himselfe too good to receive their correction or reproofes or chastisements, and growes worse rather then better. For his inferiours he is likely tyrannicall and Lionlike, and cares not how he disgraceth, and wrongeth, and over-pu­nisheth them, rating and striking, and laying about him even for nothing or as good as nothing. For those that are more prosperous then himselfe and excell him in any thing he is ever envious and spitefull [Page 225] and malignes them for it. For those that are below him, he is scorne­full and disdainefull, and insolent in deriding and sleighting them, for his equals hee is arrogant and insolent too, still lifting himselfe above them and preferring himselfe before them. If he meete with men in a good estate he grudgeth at them, if with miserable men he scornes them; and passeth by them pittilesly, if not scoffingly. And towards all in generall, he is contentious and froward, ready to picke and prosecute quarrells, to make the worst of every thing, and to take all with the left hand ready to work in proud wrath, quickly angry, and apt to vent his anger in lofty and scornefull speeches, compa­rings, revilings, upbraidings. If he deale with friends, he is unthanke­full, they must be his slaves still to humour him in every thing, also all former good turnes, are forgotten; towards his enemies he is in­finitely revengfull, cares not what ill he doth them in requitall, and will scarce ever forget an imaginary wrong. I meane such a one as doth seeme none to any but himselfe, and those whom he hath made crooked by a false and partiall relation. Thus in respect of per­sons.

For estates give him adversity, he is sullen, dogged, impatient, can­not stoope to it: blames every body for it and cares not what shifts he useth to get out. Give him prosperity, he abuseth it and doth mischiefe with it, at least doth no good with it but makes it an in­strument of serving his pride and other lusts, so that hee is good for nothing in any place, he can stoope to no burden, nor buckle to no service, being just like a goutie legg, well neither lying still nor stir­ring, or a sicke body neither well a bed nor up.

For qualities, the good qualities of others he knowes how to vitiate, traduce, calumniate and make them seeme vices, and will have some­what to say to blemish them. For bad qualities he makes them worse then they be, aggravates them by mis-relating, and turnes them into a jest and laughter, scorning rather then pitying him in whom he thinkes they be, as the Pharisee did the Publican. His owne ill qualities, he will not see, he will not confesse, he will not mend, but hides them, excuses them, defends them, and many times boasteth in them. His good qualities he marres and corrupts, and doth so lift himselfe up for them, that most times they be even troublesome to others and re­proachfull to himselfe, he knowes them so too well and makes so too much of them, that no man else can finde any commendable­nesse in them, they be but matter for bragging and boasting and tel­ling gay tales of himselfe, what he hath done or can doe; so it makes his vices worse, and turnes his vertues even into vices. Can that be other then a most hatefull and filthy vice that bringeth forth so many bad effects? and yet all these and many more that I cannot reckon up, doe most apparantly follow from pride in what degree it selfe is suffe­red to prevaile in men.

Now I pray you beloved search into your selves, and looke about if you cannot see this vice abroad in your neighbours. Let me propound [Page 226] this question to each of you, doe you know never a proud man in the Towne? and doe you see never a one in the Church whom you judge to be full of pride? you would answer this question in your owne hearts. Doe you see or know a proud man or woman in the place where you dwell? I am afraid, you that be poore will looke upon the gayer cloathes of the wealthie, and say without doubt they be monstrous proud that must weare such gay things about them, when others of as good earth as them­selves goe almost naked or so simply clad. And I feare, least you that are wealthy will finde cause to blame such a one and such a one for pride, because their carriage is so and so: many of you can see pride (I doubt not) peeping out of the poore mans rags, and craw­ling like a vermine out of his meane garment: yea, you that be poore, I feare will finde a great deale of pride abroad, you will not returne without finding it, for in truth it is a fruit of pride to finde pride every where but in ones selfe. Therefore I recant this speech now, and I pray you leave that forreine inquirie, and come you home every soule to himselfe, and search at home each in his owne bosome, house, carriage. And tell mee or rather God who speakes to each, art not thou thy selfe somewhat a kinne to the generation of Sodome? a vessell in whom the Divell and flesh hath laid up a deale of pride.

You may perhaps aske me, how any man may know whether he be proud or no, I meane over-come with pride, full of it, over-ruled by it.

I speake to thee that art poore and coursely clad, Doe not you thinke that you are as good men and women as those that are fine­lier clad? and if you had as good suites and ornaments as they, you should be never a whit inferiour to them: have you not these kinde of vying buzling thoughts in you? in truth, this is nothing but pride. And you that are richer, doe you not count these poore snakes almost nothing? the mudde, the scumme, three-halfe-pen­ny creatures, lesse then dust almost to you, mushroms, shrubs, veri­ly, these thoughts proclaime you to be monstrous proud, and if you goe away with them on either side and find them not, stop them not, blame them not, it is certaine this vice hath a strong partie in you and in very deed doth over-master you. 'Tis pride of heart we seeke for, and 'tis nothing but pride that sets up these bristling thoughts in you.

But yet I shall give you another note, nothing is a surer proofe of over-ruling pride, then this, that a man sees no pride in himselfe, neither will confesse it to his owne heart: It is certaine, this vice is as naturall to all mankinde as it is to be borne with eyes in their heads, with a mouth, with an heart, with a liver, with braine: The vitall parts of our body doe not more surely come into the world with us, then this vitall part of the body of death and of corrupti­on. Now if you have never seene it nor could meete with it in [Page 227] the effects of it, so as to know it, it is onely because you are igno­rant and blinde, and the more ignorant of your corruptions the more proud. When vices be not seene, they be not lamented, nor re­sisted with spirituall weapons, nay not with naturall good conside­rations neither, and the lesse they be resisted, the more they grow, and the more they grow, the stronger and bigger they be, and the more they rule in him in whom they be. If it were not therefore for want of understanding, by this time a great number of you might perceive that you deserve to be called sonnes of pride, for your selves cannot denie, but that you have in a manner alwaies denied your selves to be proud, you never saw it in your hearts, nor con­fessed before God with secret sorrow for it; Lord I am very proud, such and such effects proove mee to be very proud. And without doubt, hee that never did thus strive to mortifie his pride, cannot but be a very proud man. Loe now I have shewed you how to finde out your pride, by not finding it out, and this is the surest way of finding it, where it is most it hides it selfe most from his eyes in whom it is, like the foundation of a building that is underground, though it beare up all that is above the ground, or like some secret di­stemper in the inwards that shewes not it selfe but by its effects.

But let mee tell you what pride is, that you may the better know it and acknowledge it when you meete with it.Pride what it is? I shall describe it in the words of an excellent describer of vices. The inordinate de­sire of ones owne excellencie is but an effect of it. The Apostle S. Paul tells you most briefely, and yet most clearely, what it is, when he saith,Gal. 6.3. If a man thinke himselfe to be something when hee is no­thing, hee deceiveth himselfe. Loe a singular definition of this vice. It is that vice, by which a man thinkes himselfe something when he is nothing; whereby hee makes too great reckoning of himselfe, judging himselfe to be better then hee is, taking himselfe for gold when he is but copper, for a goodly thing when hee is but dirt, for something when hee is nothing, saith our Apostle. Pride is the vice of over-prizing himselfe, setting too much store by himselfe, as a childe out of his folly makes a great account of a white pibble-stone, so man out of his folly makes great reckoning unduely of him­selfe, sets too high a price on himselfe, as a covetous over-reaching Chapman on his wares. A man if he would consult with himselfe could not but confesse that he is nothing, but hee doth, with him­selfe as some folkes, doe by Dogs and Monkies, they know they be paltry carrions, beasts, yet they set great store by them and make pretious account of them for their mindes sake, so doe we men by our selves, notwithstanding the imperfect knowledge of our nothing­nesse, and this is the pride of heart which wee seeke for. O see it, see it, that is it rules in each of us naturally, every sonne of Adam makes an over-great account of himselfe, sets himselfe at too high a rate, for so slender is the knowledge of God that hee sets more by himselfe then by God, and I am sure that is to set too much [Page 228] by himselfe. A man counts himselfe something that is nothing, yea he accounts him that is nothing, more then him that is infinitely more then all things. Judge you if there be not cause that God should resist him in whom there is this vice regnant, this high thing that lifts it selfe against the knowledge of God.

I shall shew you the degrees of this vice now. They be two, predominant and mortified, predominant where it is not deposed by the power of sanctifying grace, which alone killeth sinne, and so it ruleth in all men naturally, and will rule untill the Lord bestow his humbling Spirit upon them, which making them firmely to beleeve the doctrine of mans misery begins by little and little to dash them quite out of conceit with themselves, and to esteeme themselves the basest of all creatures almost, even creatures worthy to be damned and most vile therefore. But when pride is thus cashiered by the entring in of true humiliation, there it no longer raigneth, there it is continually observed, the evill fruite of it noted, arraigned, condem­ned before God, and many an heavy sigh and supplication is sent up to God against it; and there it is not a King, a Commander, there it is not imputed, there it doth not denominate the man, but where it is not thus deposed and dethroned, it is not marked, the ill fruits of it are not drawne before Gods tribunall, they are not sorrowfully confessed, nor carefully resisted, there it is the Lord of the heart, and there it doth raigne and is imputed, and doth denominate the man in whom it is, and he is a proud man.

But now where it raigneth, it is to be found in two plaine differen­ces. In the one it is like unto a beast that is fed fat at grasse, or is well provendred with good feeding, lusty and strong, and sturdy and bolde. In the other it is like unto the same beast, kept leane and poore, and weake and feeble, over wrought, thinly fed, and ill provendred; It is the same beast. still, but it scarce lookes like the same, or carries it selfe like the same: Sometimes pride is fed with wealth and honour, and these outward things in abundance, and with great excellent parts of nature, wit, learning, beauty, strength and the like, yea and with a kind of fiery temper of body. When it hath all, or many of these encouragements and helpes, it is like a flouri­shing King that goes abroad in progresse among his people; then it is bold and audacious to produce its ill effects, it dares shew it selfe in its proper person, and be seene by any eye, then will a man affirme to himselfe, that he is a person of some valew, one that hath such wit, &c. why he is I hope a worthy and excellent person. So pride will stare a man in the face, and professe it selfe if it be well helped up with these outward things; But if it be kept downe with poverty, with meanenesse in outward respects, and with great crosses, then it is somewhat fearefull to be seene, then it hides its head, it is like a King brought behind by rebels, who keepes himselfe within some place of fortification, and will not commit himselfe to hazard, but still he is a King, and takes upon him as a King. So pride in such will [Page 229] not make a man say plainely he is some body, he is a person of worth, but still in the secret of his heart he makes high account of himselfe and is ready (as I said before) to think he is as good a man, though he be not as rich, as learned; yea sometimes this vice of pride though raigning, yet is like a bad tyrannicall Prince, kept in by some coun­sellor of speciall trust, as Ioash by Iehojada. I meane, it is a little held in compasse by good education and precepts of morality, and a kinde of restraining grace, and then it is farre more moderate in its effects, and will not so excessively bewray it selfe, other times it is like a tyrant, which hath a councell as bad as him selfe, it rangeth whether it listeth, when it wants good education, and restraint of a divine hand to keepe it downe, and then the effects of it be prodigious. Know therefore that a man may be under the dominion of pride, though he be not so outragious and enormious in the effects of it, as some others be, and if you will take a true triall, here it is. I can know what account any man makes of a thing by his carriage, when that thing is depressed, abused, wronged, vilified, and so may I know what account I make of my selfe by my demeanour in occasion of such usage.

When you have learnt how to find out this sinne, if you please,The meanes to subdue. pride. will you learne also to subdue it? the way is first to marke the fruites of it, as they breake forth in your lives, which fruits we have dis­covered before. Impatiency, bragging, contention, envying, sleighting and despising of others, and especially working in proude wrath, that is, falling into such extreame fits of anger, that a man cares not almost what hee saith or doth to them that have angered him.

Secondly, When you finde them to fall upon them with sorrow and lamentation, arraigning and judging your selves for them before God, and labour to make your selves seeme base in your owne eyes be­cause of them.

Thirdly, To pray heartily against it, and to beg the Spirit of God to humble you and cast you downe. There is a thing that looketh somewhat like humility, and it is nothing but a heart a little kept downe with crosses, or with education and good instructions, this may be found where the Spirit of sanctification is not, but true hu­mility is an effect of Gods Spirit thoroughly sanctifying the heart. A man by being conscious to himselfe of his owne naturall imperfections and defects may be kept a little under, so that his pride will not so boldly lift up it selfe, but no man deposeth pride from raigning, but by the Spirit of God, you must therefore intreat the Lord by the operation of his Spirit to subdue your pride.

Lastly, You must exercise your selves in good meditations, con­cerning, First, your naturall misery and meanenesse. Secondly, your spirituall. The naturall seene in our birth, life, death, entrance into the world, continuance in it, departure out of it.

First, how little and meane are we in respect of our entrance, what did we come from at first, and originally but very nothing? there [Page 230] was a time when we were not, having alone a potentiall being, that is, a being not yet in being, but alone lockt up as it were in the causes of it; yea there was a time, when wee were not in any secondary causes, but alone in the omnipotency of God, who was able to make us of nothing. And surely, that which comes from nothing can be no exceeding excellent thing in it selfe, and if it have any excellency, it hath it from another, to whom all the glory of it is due. Yea what was the matter of which God made us at the first? not gold, silver, brasse, iron, wood, or any more then common thing, but even the dust of the earth, for you have heard how Adam was formed. Doubtlesse the Lord did this of purpose to minister matter of humbling men unto their meditations; for if I came from dust, I shall surely savour of mine originall; a thing made will have a relish of the matter whereof it is made, unlesse it receive an excee­ding great change, therefore Abraham confessed unto the Lord, I am dust and ashes. Call we our selves by that name seriously and often, and dust cannot swell: it may be blowne away, it cannot be puf­fed up.

But let us looke upon a man in the course of his life, and that with reference to the good he hath and can doe, and to the evill he hath or is able to doe. The good he hath first is exceeding little, compared to that which God and Angels have, as no man will deny that shall make the comparison; Now he ought if he were wise to compare himselfe with his betters, and not with his inferiours. Set a man in ballance to a beast he is some body, he hath reason, wisedome, and the like, set him in the ballance with God, he is a meere foole, a com­pound of weakenesse and vanity, all he doth know, all he can know, is lesse then nothing. Yea compare him with an Angel, how silly is he, how feeble? one Angell is able to know more then all men, and to doe more, one Angell can beguile all men and destroy all men; yea if you compare him with beasts, he hath a little more wit then most of them, but they have stronger bodies, perfecter sences are able to teare him in peeces, and can live without him many of them better then he without them, so that he is more beholding to them then they to him. So his good is little, little knowledge in respect of what God and Angels have, and in respect of that he once had, and might have had still, but that himselfe deprived himselfe of it. Little strength even in comparison of beasts, and must continue here but for a little time.

Againe, this little is all borrowed, it is none of his owne; he hath it of meere curtesie, and from the goodnesse of another, so that he is not to be counted better for it, but alone more indebted: who swel­leth for a borrowed thing; or if he doe, who doth not befoole him for it? If a man that hath no horse be friended with a good one, shall he be proud of it? and is not all we have borrowed?

Nay thirdly must we not be accountable for all we have, so that we are but as servants which have charge of their matters goods, and [Page 231] and must answer how they have ordered it, shall such a person bee proud?

And lastly, what we have is uncertaine too, 'tis moveable 'tis flee­ting, wee may loose it we know not how soone; we are like te­nants at will, that cannot challenge so much as a quarter, nay not a weeke or minute: it ill becomes so meane a thing to thinke well of it selfe.

Now for the evill we have, that is much, and our owne, that is inseperable and inavoideable, it is great. O to how many and sore crosses is every man subject? to diseases, to casualities for goods, to madnesse, to injuries, and to a 1000. unhappinesses, from which nei­ther wisedome nor strength, nor riches, nor high places can fence and save him, especially to the vexation of his owne heart, which is enough to make him miserable though he were rid of all other evils. And these evils are come unto him as due punishments of his owne sinnes, as fruits of his ill deservings, and as effects of his owne folly, and misery is shamefull as well as bitter, when it is justly imputable to the persons ill carriage that suffers it, because his faults have brought it on himselfe, and this evill is properly his owne, because he owes it to none properly but to himselfe, neither can any care of his pre­vent it, but he shall be so during life, and ever as he lives longer so shall he be subject to more misery. Indeed some men scape in this world with more ease then divers others, but every man hath his por­tion, enough to make him know himselfe to be nothing, and enough to dash pride out of countenance, if he would not hide his owne eyes from taking notice of it.

Now looke to him in his end, how little a thing will kill him? a haire, or a stone of a raisin, the least thing going awry. How little a place will hold him when he is dead? a poore winding sheete, a coffin, a little hole in the earth, how little can he doe then? nothing but feede wormes and yeeld forth a stinking smell. Looke upon a man lying upon his death-bed, groaning and panting for life, looke upon him in his winding sheete and coffin, bound hand and foote, and imprisoned in that narrow stockes. Looke upon him in his grave, rotting and smelling and putrifying, and I hope you will easily con­fesse, he hath cause to make but meane account of himselfe, so will these thoughts helpe to chase out pride.

But consider a man in his spirituall misery, he was conceived in sinne, he is of his father the Divell, he is a slave to sinne, a traitor to God. He is full of all wickednesse, destitute of all holinesse, and cannot escape eternall damnation by any worth or power of his owne, but must needes sinke downe to hell, and be made fuell for that eter­nall burning. You see by what meanes you may subdue pride, hee that findeth it out and resisteth it with these weapons, shall un­doubtedly prevaile against it, hee that thinkes himselfe free from it and takes no paines to subdue it, shall surely bee conquered by it.

[Page 232]And let the consideration of this, that pride is so foule a vice; make you blesse God with much thankfulnesse for crosses, afflictions, and divers temptations and tribulations, for what be they else but medicines to take downe pride? and who that hath a great swel­ling in his body, doth not thinke it a benefit deserving recompence as well as thankes, to have a fit medicine prepared and applied, that at length may take downe that swelling. It is to be confessed that the best of men be too proud even now, notwithstanding all the cros­ses they have felt, and sinnes they have committed. O how much more proude would they have beene had not God made use of such things to tame and depresse them? And of their pride so much.

2. Fulnesse of bread.The next fault is, fulnesse of bread, this is reckoned as a fault, and either it is so indeed, or the Spirit of God was deceived, who put it downe here in the catalogue of Sodomitish crimes. You must either grant that fulnesse of bread is a foule sinne, or else you must tell the Prophet that himselfe and the Spirit by which he spake were both in an error.Luk. 16.19. 'Tis attributed to Dives in the Parable, hee fared deliciously every day. 'Tis charged on wealthy men, as one of the sinnes that shall procure their howling and misery, you have nourished your selves in the day of slaughter, James. 5.5. meaning, they gave themselves over to fea­sting and banqueting every day. A daily continuall stuffing the belly with store of savoury and delicate foode, is hurtfull for the body and soule too. Use abstinence, feed sparingly, fare hard and short sometimes. And so much for the second sin of Sodome, fulnesse of bread.

3. Abundance of idlenesse.The third is abundance of idlenesse, here is the fault it selfe idle­nesse, and the measure of it, very much idlenesse. Idlenesse is a sinne especially when it growes to be abundance of idlenesse. Salomon hath bent himselfe to the disgrace of this fault in many of his Proverbes, Goe to the pismire O sluggard, Idlenes a great sin and why? Prov. 6.9. & 9. how long wilt thou sleepe? & 10. Yet a little sleepe. 24.30. I went by the field of the sloathfull, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding, a witlesse fellow, a foole. And the Apostle condemnes it in the younger widdowes, that they learnt to be idle, 1 Tim. 5.13. and many threats are made a­gainst the idle person and the sluggard, 19.15. an idle soule shall suffer hunger.

There are divers reasons to prove this fault to be a great sinne. 1 First, it is a crossing of that end which God had in making man; hee made him to be usefull and profitable as the members of the body, idlenesse makes him unprofitable; hee gave him a minde and a bo­dy, fit for usefull and laborious imployments, he spends this strength to no purpose. So he doth even thwart Gods intention in creating all things, and himselfe among the rest, for all were made for labour in some fruitfull matter, as we see the Sunn and heavenly bodies, the waters and trees, and all the creatures.

2 Secondly, he depriveth himselfe of all right in conscience to foode [Page 233] and other necessaries, and maketh himselfe a theefe in all he eateth and drinketh, and spendeth, for this cause S. Paul saith,2. Thess. 3.10. hee that will not worke let him not eate, so hee is interdicted the use of Gods creatures, as it were a man banished out of the world. A civill right in the courts of justice hee hath to the possessing of things, be­cause of his title to them and interest in them, but a conscionable right to the use of them hee hath not,Verse 11. therefore Paul wisheth men to labour and eate their owne bread, intimating that it is not their owne in the court of conscience before God if they gaine not an in­terest to it by paines.

Thirdly, idlenesse is a great nourisher of all vices. It nourisheth 3 pride and selfe-conceitednesse,Prov. 26.26. For the sluggard is wiser in his owne eyes then seven men that can render a reason; he is apt to filthinesse and lust, why was Sodome so lewd, but because they were idle? Every temptation doth easily seize upon him that is at leasure, and doth nothing, as a bird that sitteth still on a tree is easily hit with an arrow or bullet. He can have while to hearken to a temptation, and to ruminate upon the evill things which Satan and the flesh doe stirre up. In nature things that lie still gather rust, and standing water soone breeds noysome creatures, and soone putrifies, and es­pecially idlenesse makes a man a busie body, full of medling with other folkes matters, and that for the most part to do more hurt then good. The nature of man is active, and if it be not imployed in some usefull thing, it must follow sinne and vanity.

Lastly, this sinne exposeth a man to want, Idlenesse will cloath with 4 ragges, his penurie commeth like an armed man, and like a traveller, Prov. 23.21. & 6.11. hastily, surely, strongly, it cannot be resisted, it will not linger, Hee that followeth vaine persons shall have poverty enough; & 28.19. & 20.4. The slug­gard will not plow in Winter, therefore hee must begge in Summer and have nothing. And if it fall out, that great meanes doe keepe an idle person from want, yet hee hath a most poore and beggarly soule, utterly destitute of saving graces and vertues, for he must labour for these things that will attaine them.

But let us see, what idlenesse is. It is that vice,What Idlenesse is. by which men refuse to bestow themselves constantly and painefully in some profi­table thing, and take leave to spend their pretious time in things un­profitable. Some things are unprofitable simply, as fond and ro­ving thoughts, tatling and vaine words, some things are unprofitable accidentally, in respect of their excesse, as sports and pastimes, and sleepe, and ease, and sitting still, and in respect of the manner of doing, as dealing with a slacke hand and working by halves. He that will not continue to take paines in things usefull and beneficiall to himselfe and others, but whileth out his time in sitting still and twatling with others of matters impertinent to him, or uselesse in themselves, or discoursing with himselfe about like points, or gives himselfe to excesse of sleepe or of sports, or else followes his bu­sinesse by the halves, this man is idle, and if hee doe so much and [Page 234] often and almost continually, then is hee guilty even of abundance of idlenesse.

I pray you every one, set your consciences a worke to finde out your owne sinnefullnesse in this kinde; Doe not many of your hands refuse to labour? Are you not such as will not worke? Some are idle, because they have beene so ill educated, that they have not fitted themselves for any calling, they have nothing to doe nor cannot tell how to bestow themselves and their times. These are a kinde of vagrant people, though they have meanes enough to live of, cyphers, good for nothing, but to eate and drinke, ver­mine, Apes, Monkies, whose whole life is to eate and drinke and sleepe and sport, and sit and talke and laugh and be merry. These are excrements in humane societies, and the most miserable of the sonnes of men, as having brought upon themselves by long use an habit of being idlesbees, and a kind of necessity to continue naughty; yet such a necessity as doth not excuse but aggravate the fault: others againe are idle, because though they have a calling, yet they have no minde to follow it, but are estranged from the workes of their vocation, and love to be gadding and rambling hither and thither, and every where, but where they should be. These are great offendors, this idlenesse turnes their foode into poyson, many such sloathfull doe-naughts there are in the world. There be some servants sluggish, slow-backs, whose hand is no sooner from under the Governours eye, but that it is also off from the worke, and they leave all and sit downe to talke by the fire-side, or in a corner being men of tongue, and further then eye-service drives them to it, their chiefe imployment is twattle.

Now I pray you, if any be guilty to themselves of lazinesse, un­willingnesse to exercise themselves painefully in their callings, ei­ther with hand or head or both, that they take notice of it, sure they be of kinne to these miscreants the Sodomites; now begin to labour in this worthy worke of repenting for thine unprofitable li­ving. For sure, if men must give an account for every idle word, then other parts of idlenesse must likewise be brought unto the reckoning. I pray those that be of the richer sort, that doe not finde a necessity of labouring laide upon them for their bellies sake, to take heed that they passe not over their idlenesse as a small mat­ter. Most times riches make men turne Sodomites, they are proud, they give themselves to fullnesse of bread, and to abundance of idlenesse, they will not set themselves to any diligent following of any good worke, but delight in that which Salomon saith his ver­tuous woman would not doe,Prov. 31.21. to eate the bread of idlenesse. Surely the God that made them as well as other men with bodies and mindes fitted to doe service, will not brooke their doing of no­thing.

And secondly, I pray you shun, shun this Sodomitish sinne, take not liberty to be idle, but lay out your time so that you may com­fortably [Page 235] answer it to God the Maker of it and of you. Time is a thing most pretious, all the wealth under Heaven cannot redeeme one mispent minute, by how much it is more deare and irremediable, by so much ought it to be more carefully husbanded and warily be­stowed. Therefore, be you painefull in your callings, breake off sleepe seasonably in the morning; set close to some needfull actions in the day, give not the greater part of your time to sports, and sit­ting idle and discoursing of this and that, but follow the workes of your calling, and frame your selves to some calling, make your selves a vocation in some matter or other, that shall be worth your time. Painefullnesse in a calling will kill many vices, it will ex­ercise all vertues, it will prevent many temptations and sinnes: it will make ones life comfortable, and his heart in good measure hum­ble and discreete. It will be a content at death, to thinke one hath not wasted his life for nothing. Doe not dare to slip away from the workes of your calling but upon good ground, when you are able to alledge some better thing to be done insteed of it, or just occa­sion of intermitting it, for your better fitting and inabling to it. I doe not commend toylesomenesse to you, but due diligence in your places, that may cause you to differ much from the inhabitants of Sodome. Especially, give not your selves to excessive sleepe and sports; Salomon hath condemned the sluggard and the man that lo­veth pastime to the stockes of want, and one way or another the Lord will finde a time and meanes to cast them into those stockes.

Doe not all things invite you to diligence in a calling? see, what care the Sunne hath to runne his daily and yeerely course according to its proper nature, see how all the rest of the heavenly armie doe keepe themselves in their owne places, and swiftly performe their owne motions. See how the waters doe ebbe and flow, and that con­stantly, see how the fountaines make hast to the brookes and rivers, and the rivers to the Sea; see how all things almost are still in action. The earth that keepes in one place, yet is still doing something in that place, either nourishing the rootes or the branches of the trees, and other things that grow on it, or else gathering heart to it selfe to doe the same worke better for a little respite and intermission. And in Heaven, though these naturall actions cease, yet the spirituall imployment of living, rejoycing in honouring and praising of God doth never cease. Quicken up your selves therefore to this vir­tue of diligence, it is good for soule, good for body, good for state, profitable every way, and at last will proove easie and de­lightfull too, to him that doth it with moderation. The diligent man takes as much content in his moderate labour, as the slug­gard in somnolency and easefullnesse. So much for this fault also.4. They strengthened not the hands of the poore.

A fourth is a sinne of Omission, and that is, they strengthened not the hands of the poore. What is that? They did not releeve his neces­sities [Page 236] with convenient supplie, but gave him either nothing at all, or but so small a pittance, as would not suffice to give him any comfort.

It is you see a great fault to be pinching to the poore, and either to give them nothing, or a very small quantity almost as good as no­thing. Therefore he reckons it as a proofe of a good man that shall live, Ezek. 18.16. Hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath co­vered the naked with a garment; but when our Saviour came to sen­tence the goates on the left hand, he giveth this reason of their re­jection.Mat. 25. I was sicke and you did not visit, hungry and you gave mee no meate, in prison and you came not to mee: and when they alledged that they never saw him in such distressed cases, and withdrew them­selves from succouring him, his answer is, in that you did it not to these, you did it not to mee. When the rich man refused to sell all and give to the poore upon an extraordinary command from him, he lets him goe, and admits him not to follow him, nay by his words spoken immediately after,Mar. 10. it is as possible, he excludeth him from Heaven, for he must needs be understood of that rich man and such as he was. Now if not giving of all upon an extraordinary oc­casion, will shut a man out of the Kingdome, then the not giving of some convenient quantity upon an ordinary occasion, must needs procure the like punishment, because the disobedience is equall in both cases.

The reason is, first, this is a flat disobedience to most expresse plaine and frequent Commandements. There is scarce a duty of the second Table which God hath more plainely laid downe, more often repeated, more earnestly pressed then this of giving to the poore. He therefore that liveth in perpetuall negligence of this dutie, and either will not acknowledge it or will not practise it, lives in a wil­full and constant rebellion against God. Thinke not my Brethren, that it sufficeth to proove a man upright if hee doe not live in a sinne of commission, that is, in the continuance and allowed doing of something forbidden by God. Nay if he live in a sinne of omissi­on, i. e. in the continuall and allowed neglect of a duty commanded, this is not to obey God in all things, this shewes ones heart is not universally subject to God. This prooveth that some vice hath do­minion in him and that he loveth and respecteth something more then God, which cannot stand with uprightnesse, yea beloved this hypocrisie which is so much over-awed as it were by cleerenesse of knowledge, that it scarce dares discover it selfe by taking boldnesse to commit sinnes of commission, but knowes how to hold in with sinnes of omission and to give them allowance enough, is so much the more dangerous by how much it is lesse discernable. For hee seemeth to himselfe to have much to say for himselfe, why this duty should not at this and this time binde him, because no affirmative precept bindes to all times, and so hee will shift it from himselfe in such manner, as not to take notice that hee offendeth, whence groweth the greatest perill of all. Therefore know you that this unmercifullnesse to the poore, as prooving that obedience is [Page 237] but partiall, and so that the heart is not upright is sure a very great sinne.

But secondly, it declareth that a man beleeveth not the promises of God, and so that his faith is not unfained. It is sure, that as hee which obeyeth not all Gods Commandements obeyeth none, so he that beleeveth not all his promises beleeveth none. For if we submit to his truth because it is a perfect truth, wee must grant that hee can­not lie nor be deceived in any thing, and if wee build not our con­senting to his words upon his truth, that cannot be called faith at all. Now God hath made so many, so evident, so full promises to those that are mercifull to the poore, as no other duty almost can alledge for it selfe. A promise throughly beleeved, must needs pro­duce obedience to the Commandement whereto it is annexed, be­cause every man is so truly desirous of his owne welfare, that what hee doth stedfastly perswade himselfe will procure good unto him with the paines and cost, for that hee will surely put himselfe to the paines and to the cost. Hee theerefore that is not mercifull doth not beleeve these promises, because hee doth not obey the Commande­ments to which they be joyned. How then doth hee beleeve any other promise? So we have prooved him by this argument to be voide of faith, and is not that a great sinne which convinceth him to be void of faith in whom it is?

Further, no man hath true charity that hath not a heart to con­firme the hand of the poore; for S. Iohn makes the conclusion thus, Hee that loveth not his Brother whom hee hath seene, 1 Joh. 4.20. how doth hee love God whom he hath not seene? And hee doth but lie that saith hee loves a man, unlesse he be ready to releeve him, for S. Paul saith, that love is bountifull, wherefore, S. Iohn is peremptory in this conconclusion, saying, He that hath this worlds goods, 1 Joh. 3.17. and seeth his Bro­ther hath neede, and shutteth up his compassion against him, how dwel­leth the love God? That therefore is a great offence, which proo­veth that a man hath either none, or none but counterfeit cha­rity.

I have shewed you what a grievous offence this is of the Sodo­mites; afore I passe from it, let mee shew unto you a necessary di­stinction of poore men.Two sorts of poore men. 1. Gods poore. Some are Gods poore as I may terme them, some the Divels. Gods poore are they, whom his hand crossing them, or some naturall meere indiscretion of their owne, or abundance of charge, want of worke,2. The Divels poore. or the like hath brought into and doth keepe in poverty. The Divels poore are those whom idlenesse, wastfullnesse and unthriftinesse doth make poore, because either their hands refuse to labour, or else they consume it all up su­perfluously when they have gotten it. The former kinde of poore you ought to strengthen, and the not strengthening of them is a sinne. To strengthen the hands of the latter is to strengthen their sinne, and therefore their hands must not be strengthened, for S. Pauls Canon is against it, He that will not labour shall not eate. 2 Thess. 3.10.

[Page 238]Now consider every man of himselfe, may it not be justly said of you, that you doe not strengthen the hands of the poore. Are not a number of you in your owne consciences convinced? or if you would not winke, might bee convinced, that you doe not strengthen the poore mans hands. When have you with any wil­lingnesse given to any poore man any reasonable quantity? Yea, how backward are a number of you to give any thing at all. Here is such complaining amongst you of your being seised too much one, and too much another, that it is more then evident, you have little will to part with your money to his purpose, I know not what skill to use, for the fastening of a reproofe upon a niggard, I will not so much as strive to doe it therefore: But I call upon each of your consciences, to become a just and true Judge against you, and to finde one your guiltinesse and to give you no quiet, till it have made you confesse the fault and blame you for it. But I call upon conscience in vaine I feare, for the conscience of a nig­gard is alwaies a bad conscience, so inthralled to the love of money, that he will not want excuses to make himselfe thinke he need not do that duty by which he should lessen his heape. But these excuses shall one day aggravate the sinne, therefore whosoever is an offen­dor in neglecting this duty of strengthening the hands of the poore; I pray you give your consciences leave to passe a right sentence upon you, viz. that your faith, love, obedience are in that degree coun­terfeit and fained, that you take liberty to your selves to be slack in this service.

And now I must require you in Gods name, to take great care that this sinne of Sodome doe not shew it selfe in you which would be counted Christians, I suppose there is scarce a Congregation with­in many neere you, that hath beene more urged to this duty then I have urged you. Sodome had not the twentieth part of this helpe, If God take it ill of them that they did not establish the poore mans hand, how will he be offended at it in you? If ever you will have comfort at your end? If ever you will have a reward of your religion? If ever you will be called any thing but Hypocrites by your owne consciences? I call upon you to reforme this fault, strengthen the poore mans hands.

Those poore that be idle, that be wastfull, that make themselves poore by carrying the dirty yoke of vice, ale-house haunting, &c. I pray you chastize them, correct them, spare not for their crying. It is no more pitty to heare them complaine, then to heare a Woolfe howle when his foot is taken in a snare. But those that be honest, sober and good, and have not put them­selves into this misery, but are put into it by Gods hand. I pray you confirme their hands, helpe them to such a quantity of releefe as may make their lives comfortable, supply their needs, that God may supply all your needes according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. God giveth to some more, to some lesse, that there [Page 239] may be an equality through the bounty of the one, notwithstan­ding the inequality in gathering. So it should be concerning them of the houshold of faith, you of the wealthier sort that feare God, should lay all your heads, hands, and hearts together to take such or­der that the poorer sort of the same place which make care to live well should not be over-much scanted. O that you would doe soe? and some amongst you helpe to stirre up others, and to effect the matter, as I doe now stirre you up all, and would be glad to give you an example of bountie in this kinde. No one mans purce can supply the wants of all, but the superfluity of all united would doe it abundantly. Why should we not reforme a fault which God would not brooke no not in Sodome? We have done with foure of Sodomes sins.

The fift is committing abhomination, 5. They com­mitted abho­mination. hee meaneth that unnaturall uncleannesse whereof we spake before out of Gen. 19.9. and therefore will passe it over in silence now.

The last sinne is haughtinesse,6. They were haughty. hee chargeth them before with pride, and now here with haughty carriage. It may be concluded hence, that pride and haughtinesse be two distinct things, seldome separated in practise, but in their nature to be so distinguished, as the roote and the branch, the fountaine and the streame.How pride and haughtinesse differ. For pride is a vice more inward, the nature of which standeth in this, that it causeth a man to over-esteeme himselfe. Haughtinesse is a vice more out­ward, consisting in this, that it maketh a mans outward carriage lofty and high. This is that which S. Iohn calleth the pride of life, 1 Joh. 2.16. this is that which David denieth of himselfe, saying,Psal. 13 1.1. that his eyes were not lofty, and it is one of the things whereto he bindes himselfe, to be so great an enemy, that none of those which accustomed them­selves unto it, should have admittance into his favour and house,Psal. 101.5. him that hath a high looke and a proud heart will I not suffer. Hee names an high looke first, because it was impossible for him to discerne the proud heart, but by the looke or some external effect of it. And Salomon nameth it in the Proverb. 6.17. as one of the things and the first in order which God detesteth, viz. a proud looke. And David in Psal. 18.17. saith, that God will bring downe high lookes. You see, that this high and lofty carriage is a sinne, the cause is, it proceeds from pride of heart, it increaseth pride of heart in him that so decla­reth it; it infecteth others with the same pride, and it grieveth and offendeth them that are not infected, and in all these respects procu­reth Gods hand upon the offender.

Now looke everyone to himselfe. Art not thou, and thou, and thou of an haughty carriage? Doth not your behaviour give a strong relish of selfe-conceitednesse?Foure things discover pride in the outward carriage. There be foure principall things that discover pride in the outward carriage. The lookes and countenance, the gate and pace, the words and language, the garments and ornaments.

First the lookes, when they be big and disdainefull,1. The lookes. such as it is [Page 240] easier to observe where they be, then to describe them in wordes. The colour of red, blew, white may easily be discerned by the eye, the judge of colours: but what wordes should a man use to describe a red colour so to the fancy? as a man might know it without seeing it; so hauty lookes are most easy things to be knowne when one sees them, but hard to be described, and it is sure, that God would not have made so frequent mention of proude lookes, but that the coun­tenance is very apt to bewray the high heart, but because a man doth seldome see his owne face, therefore this is a fitter signe to shew pride to others, then to discover it to a mans selfe.

2. The gate.The next, a proud gate with an outstretched necke, and mincing with ones feete, or any other affected kind of going, is an act of haughtinesse, that is, a setting forth of ones selfe unduely, and a demonstration of pride, and this too may be better perceived then expressed, and because a man cannot easily observe the carriage of his owne head and body in his going, therefore it is fitter for the disco­very of another then of ones selfe.

3. Words. 1 Sam. 2, 3.There is a third act of haughtinesse, that is, high words, speaking on high, as Hannah hath it in her song, by way of prohibiting it. When a mans tongue is lofty his heart is so, wordes tending to vi­lifie and abase others, especially when he is angry with them, words of bragging and boasting, that have none other use but to set up a mans selfe, and to paint him with gay colours. Threatning wordes that are died with revengefulnesse, and the like to these, they are all proude wordes and haughty speeches, and all kinde of disdainefull and scornefull, and upbraiding wordes, tending unseasonably to cast a mans faults in his teeth, for no man is covetous to disgrace another, but he hath overvalued himselfe first.

4. Cloathes.Lastly, haughtinesse appeareth most apparently in cloathes and the like ornaments, when a man or woman will goe as costly and gaily as ever his place will beare, and a little more too; and when he must have trimme cloathes, though he goe in debt for them, when he must be fine though he spend all he can get on his backe, when he vieth with others, and must have as good things as such and such. When in these things hee doth not as S. Paul biddeth, equall himselfe with them of the lower sort but of the higher. Rom. 12.16. When though God have humbled his estate, yet he maust still keepe up his port, and by hooke or crooke, make a shift to be as gallant as ever. This prooves a proud heart, for noe man would bestow so much garnishing upon himselfe, if he did not count himselfe some body, and did not desire to be so accounted of others. Therefore Isaiah among other fruites of proude vanity,Isa. 3. 16, &c. speaketh of the many gewgawes of the women of his time, by which they sought immoderately to set out themselves. A number of you thinke your selves farre the bet­ter, when you have set up your selves with a deale of gaudinesse, such lace, such ruffes so in the fashion. If it be sutable to your place and meanes, it is no great discredit, but if above, surely it is as great [Page 241] a discredit as can be, for it is as if you should weare a paper upon your heads or backes, in which were written in great letters as in some other crimes hath beene done. Bee it knowne unto all men, that here goes a proud man and a proud woman, It is even a Proclamation of your pride and folly, and a telling tales against your selves, which I am sure you would not doe if you did well thinke of it, yea it is more then that, for it brings your names into question about your truth, and if you be females about your honesty; there is such a mans servant, she is exceedingly sleeked up, see what a wase-coate, what a gowne, what a ruffe, what a dresse shee hath, it might well beseeme a mans daughter that would give her a large portion, what hath this wench to maintaine it? Is her father able to doe much for her? no, well then I wish she get it by honest meanes, I wish that either a false finger or an over-curteous lip do not helpe her to it. I am afraid all is not well that she is so fine. This is all the good this haughtinesse doth you, and will you not leave it?

The Sodomites punishments. First, they were taken captives,The Sodomites punishments. 1. They were taken captive. 2. They were burned with fire here and in h [...]ll. Jude. 7. blesse God that you have not felt this misery. Secondly, God sent fire and brimstone and destroyed them all at once, Ezek. 16.49. They were set forth for an example, Iude. v. 7. Sodome was turned into ashes, 2 Pet. 2.6. The ground is now turned into a salt sea, called the Dead Sea, no fish will live in it, the bird that flee over fall downe dead. Thirdly, they were cast into the lake that burnes with fire and brimstone. Let us feare the sinnes of Sodome, God is able to punish us in the same manner. (*⁎*)

THE FIFTEENTH EXAMPLE.
OF ISAAC.

HItherto of Abraham and those that lived with him,Isaac. now we come to Isaac the sonne of A­braham, not of his body so much as of his Faith, for hee was the sonne of the promise, the sonne of the free woman, not of the bond­woman, which was borne as S Paul saith,Rom 9. not by the flesh, nor by a meere naturall pow­er, but by promise, by vertue of that gratious promise which God had made with him, for this was a word of promise at that time,Gal. 4.28. I will come and Sarah shall have a sonne, and in Isaac shall thy seede bee called, and wee bretheren (saith the Apostle) as Isaac are sonnes of promise. Now Isaac signifieth laughter, or, hee hath laughed, or, shall laugh, a name given to him by God himselfe, upon occasion of his Fathers laughter when he heard the promise, not out of unbeleefe as Sarah once laughed, but out of the joy which he conceived from the assured hope which hee had of the performance of the promise, and because God filled both Abraham and Sarah with gladnesse and laughter at his birth, when they were both olde, and in course of na­ture were now past all possibility of having children.

[Page 244] His Birth.Concerning Isaac, we must shew his birth, life and death. For his birth he was borne in the hundreth yeere of his Father, and the 90. of his mother. His Father was Abraham, his Mother Sarah, both as good as dead, but by faith they received strength to have a Sonne at that age. For Faith will make a barren body fruitfull, and also a barren heart. In in his life consider, First, his Virtues and goodnesse. Secondly, his faults and weakenesses. Thirdly, his prosperity and be­nefits. Lastly, his afflictions and crosses.

His Vertues towards God 1. His Faith.For his Virtues in generall, he was a true godly man, and was en­dued with Faith, without which no man can please God. This Faith the Author to the Hebrewes taketh notice of in him, saying, By Faith Isaac blessed Iacob and Esau as concerning things to come. Heb. 11.20. This vertue of Faith is that by which a man beleeveth God in all that he speaketh barely by vertue of his truth and indeceiveable authority. And as it apprehendeth the truth of all Gods word, so particularly the truth of his promises, and by name, that great promise of remission of sinnes, and salvation for the sake of Jesus Christ the true Messiah and promised seede, in whom all spirituall blessings are conferred upon the sonnes of men,Gal. 3.8. for it is said, in him shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.

Consider your selves therefore Bretheren, whether you also have this same vertue of Faith in your hearts, beleeving all that God spea­keth to you because he speaketh it, and specially all his promises, and by name, that principall promise of grace and salvation by Christ, for without this Faith you cannot be the children of God. If you have it not, you are strangers from God and from the covenant of grace. If you have it, you are his sonnes and daughters, justified before him, and accepted in his sight, through him the Beloved in whom the Father is well pleased. And therefore labour to get it, and to grow in it more and more, that it may exceedingly abound in you, as S. Paul saith it did in the Thessalonians. But beware you de­ceive not your selves in a bare conceite of Faith, saying you be­leeve, when indeed you doe not so, but let your Faith be a wor­king Faith, approoving it selfe by love and by obedience, that so you may indeed be the children of Abraham, and children of promise as Isaac was, and If you can thus approove your Faith, then rejoyce in it above all things, knowing that you are rich in Faith, though you want all outward things, for he that hath Faith hath God to bee his, and that is sufficient to make him happy in the absence of all other things.

More particularly Isaacs Faith shewed it selfe by many excellent effects in regard of God. For first, he submitted himselfe to God, to be offered on the Altar by his Father according to Gods com­mandement, not making any resistance, because his Father made it manifest unto him, that God had given him a commandement so to offer him. Hard it is to say, whether the obedience of A­braham in being willing to offer his soone, or of Isaac in yeelding up [Page 245] himselfe to be offered were greater, for a man doth likely love his life as well as he loveth his childe. Now Abraham subdued his love of his sonne unto God, and Isaac subdued the love of his life to God, both notable patternes of sincere obedience: This example you reade in Gen. 22.9. when Abraham and Isaac came to the place which God had appointed, Abraham built an Altar, laid on the woode, and stretched forth his hand and tooke the knife to slay his sonne. Isaac at that time was of such an age, that he might have resisted his Fa­ther being old, or have got himselfe free by flight from him, but he gave up himselfe into his Fathers hands, or rather into God hand, and yeelded his throate to the stroake of the sacrificing knife. Hereby it is apparent, that he began to feare God betime, in that he would not withhold himselfe from God, as his Father did not with­hold his sonne.

O that we could approve our Faith by the like effects of it, even by a willing yeelding of our lives to him when he doth call for them, and not refuse to die if he should call us unto it for his commande­ments sake. God is the author and Lord of our lives, and nothing is more agreeable to reason, then that we should be content to give up life and all into his hands, from whom we have received life and all things. And surely in this case it shall be proved true, which our Lord Jesus telleth in the Gospell,Mat. 10 39. whosoever will loose his life shall save it. As Isaac was partaker of that great blessing wherewith the Lord rewarded Abraham for his obedience in offering of his sonne, saying, in blessing I will blesse thee,Gen. 22.17.and in multiplying I will multiply thee. Neither Father nor sonne you see were loosers, by yeelding up the one his sonne, the other his life into the hands of God. But contrarily, hee that will save his life shall undoubtedly loose his life, for he must necessarily die at some other time as all other men, and then his soule shall be lost together with his life, because he loved not God better then his life, and he that hateth not his owne life in comparison of God, shall not be counted worthy of him.

Let us therefore see that our soules be so thoroughly subjected unto God, if ever we desire to be counted the seede of Abraham and the brothers of Isaac. But oh how farre short do very many of us come of this obedience? for how should any man beleeve that we would readily part without lives for God, which will not part with honour or goods, or pleasure, yea any of our sinnes at his commandement. You be not Isaacs, if you cannot be content to give up your lives to God, how much lesse if you stand with him for other matters farre lesse then life.

This is the first part of Isaacs goodnesse to God-ward, he became obedient to death.

Secondly, he was devoute and religious, given to all holy exercises,2. He was reli­gious. by name, to meditation and prayer, principall exercises of piety and religious services of God, for so it is noted, Gen. 26.25. Hee builded an altar there, and called on the name of the Lord. Loe here he wor­shipped [Page 246] God publikely by sacrifices and prayers, and though it be not mentioned, that he offered or prayed before an Altar at any other time as I remember, yet this once naming of his piety is set downe, to signifie his constant care in this duty: his Father brought him up in it, therefore he could say, Where is the lambe?

Indeed, the Lord hath abolished such kinde of Altars, and such kinde of sacrifices now since the comming of Jesus Christ into the world, and offering himselfe once for all as a propitiatory sacrifice to take away the sinnes of the world,Heb. 13.10. but yet now also we have an Altar, whereof they have no right to eate that partake of those sa­crifices. Christ Jesus is our Altar, who sacrifieth all those services which we offer up unto God by him, and our sacrifices are spirituall sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. The offering of a contrite and broken heart God doth much esteeme, the offering of praises and prayers, the calves of our lips done unto God in the name of Christ, are very pleasing unto him; the presenting of our selves, soules and bodies to him,Heb. 13.16. is exceeding delightfull, yea with doing of good and distributing as with sacrifices, God is greatly contented, as S.Phil. 4.18. Paul saith, these are an odour of sweete savour, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. If a man retire himselfe, and considering the death of Christ for sinne, doe humbly present himselfe before God, confessing his sinnes, and judging himselfe for them, and labour to lament them with hearty griefe before God, as causes of the death of his sonne, this is a gratefull sacrifice. If hee praise God in the Name of Christ as for all other benefits, so for the great blessing of redemption wrought by Christ, this also doth give a sweete odour unto God; if he even consecrate himselfe to God, resolving to walke before him in all upright obedience, praying for the Spirit of God to sanctify him, that in all things he may please God, no Bullocke or Ram can please the Lord so well: If he set apart some portion of his wealth to God, and give it to releeve the necessities of the Saints, this is very sweete incense, so that hee trust not in the merit of the worke, as if it could deserve any thing for the worthinesse of it, but trust alone in Christ for the acceptation of himselfe and it, and all his services. Would you confirme to your owne consciences that you be true Isaacs? Aske your selves then, doe you offer these burnt of­ferings, if not, you be not as Isaac, childeren of the promise, if yea, you may assure your soules that you be. O then study to abound in these services.

3. He prayed to God for all good things.Againe, it is noted that he called on the Name of God there, and so it is noted, Gen. 25.21. that Isaac intreated the Lord for Rebeccah his wife, because shee was barren. Hee prayed constantly to God for a childe, in this also testifying his religiousnesse and his Faith. So wee must be carefull to pray to God for all good things we neede, for chil­deren if we want them, for good successe in our callings, and whatso­ever else we neede or desire.Phil. 4.6. For God is the giver of all good things, and hath commanded us in all things to make our requests knowne unto [Page 247] him, and biddenus, to pray continually and in all things give thankes, Eph 6.18. so we are bound to pray as much as Isaac. Therefore those that are care­lesse of worshipping God in this duty according to that description of a wicked man written by David in the fourteenth Psalme, they call not on the name of God, are not surely the children of God as was Isaac, but the children of Satan rather, for the Spirit of God is a Spirit of prayer, and a man carelesse of praying to God doth not trust in God but in him­selfe, doth not acknowledge his providence nor live by faith in him. Let mee quicken you to this duty, follow Isaac, call on the name of God, intreate God for your selves, your wives, your children, the Church, the Common-weale, all Saints. I say, recommend all per­sons and all things to God by servent prayer, that he may give you his blessing and all things may be sanctified to you; doe this duty daily and constantly. We must attaine sprituall strength every day, from the workes of the day by daily prayer, as we attaine naturall strength daily by the foode of the day. Pray well and live well, pray ill and live ill. By this we have fellowship with God, by this we become acquainted with him, and make him as it were acquainted with us: by this we are made like unto him and draw grace from him, and are more and more translated into his image. O resolve to be constant in this service, and let no temptation of Satan drive you from it, or interrupt you in it, let no backwardnesse of the flesh cause you to omit it, but doe it so well as you be able, and whatsoever objections arise breake thorough the same, and tell your selves, I will doe it, heard or not heard, accepted or not accepted, whatsoever I be, what sins soever I shall have, I will conti­nue to call on the name of the Lord, I will doe my duty let me speede as pleaseth the Lord.

Againe, it is noted of Isaac, Gen. 24.63.4. He medita­ted. Gen. 24.63. that he went out into the field to meditate in the evening. This also is an excellent service of God, wee are commanded to meditate on Gods Law continually, and to meditate on all his wondrous workes. For the circumstances of time, place, man­ner, every man is left to his owne choice, but the substance of the duty must be done. We must meditate, we must exercise our selves in the seri­ous considerations of Gods Word and workes, that wee may raise our selves to a fuller knowledge of them, and cause our wills and affections to be more subject unto our knowledge. Meditation is that which ma­keth all truths profitable to us, without this our knowledge will be but speculative and talking, 'twill not be practicall and effectuall without this, we shall finde no more benefit by our knowledge then by meate undigested, that cannot yeeld good nourishment to the body. This must increase our knowledge and improove it, this must bring it downe from the head unto the heart, and so into the life. Consider what I say, 2 Tim. 2.7. saith S. Paul to Timothy, and in other places, hee that will a little with­draw himselfe from all other businesses, and give himselfe to muse of holy things, and take notice of the truth and certainety of them and so confirme his faith in them, and then labour with himselfe to be affected with them, and draw from them firme and stable resolutions for the well [Page 248] ordering of his life, shall finde more progresse in one moneth in the life of godlinesse, then he that without meditating doth barely reade and heare for many yeares together, you must cover the spiritual seede with earth, you must binde the Word to the tables of your hearts, you must hide the Word in your hearts. If you be slacke and carelesse of this duty, your growth in grace will proove exceeding slender; Imitate Isaac in this service, I know not how a man should come to any sted­fast knowledge of his sincerity, if he be not one that meditateth on Gods Law.

So many as are guilty of utter omitting this duty, let them bewaile and confesse this sinne of omission, and now learne all that would build up themselves in godlinesse, to be constant in it: Be not discouraged at your imperfections and manifold distractions, and great aversenesse, All things of this nature are most difficult at the first, who reades well at the first going to schoole? who writes well at the first setting of pen to paper. It is exercise that must perfect our abilities in all such things, be­gin and continue, and be not out of heart for failings, which the Lord will easily and gratiously passe by, and you shall finde the thing more and more easie and more and more comfortable.

5. He feared God.Another particular thing in Isaac was, that he was one which feared God, his heart stood in awe of God, he durst not offend nor crosse him, nor oppose himselfe unto his good pleasure. So it is noted, Gen. 27.33. that when he had unwittingly blessed Iacob, and Esau came in after him, he feared exceedingly, and would not reverse that blessing, but said, I have blessed him and he shall be blessed, and therefore, Gen. 31.53. Iacob sweareth by the feare of his Father Isaac, that is, that God whom his Fa­ther feared, as in his whole life, so especially at that time when he had newly blessed him; Isaac calling to minde that God had given the bles­sing to Iacob, saying, the elder shall serve the younger, and that he had care­lesly and fondly gone about to transferre the blessing to Esau, out of his carnall indulgence unto him because he was the elder, was much afraid to think what a sin he had committed against God, and so was restrained from being bold to persist in that carnall purpose, but submitting his will to Gods, he ratifies that blessing, which he had ignorantly pronounced, therefore it is said, Heb. 11.20. that by faith he blessed Esau and Jacob as concerning things to come. It was faith that wrought this feare in him, and made him resolute in the blessing given to Iacob: the story of this feare you see, Gen. 27.33. he trembled exceedingly.

So it is a good thing to have such an high and reverent esteeme of Gods greatnesse, as to make us even tremble very much, when we per­ceive wee have offended him in going about to doe things contrary to his will, as Isaac had in attempting to blesse Esau, which now hee bethought himselfe of, when God had unwittingly directed the bles­sing to Iacob which himselfe intended to misplace. This is a proofe of a soft and tender heart, and of an heart uprightly disposed to serve God. It is a fruit of a good conscience, to check us for sin and stirre up feare in us when we have done amisse, so as to stop us from proceeding in our sinnes.

[Page 249]Demand of your selves, have you this feare in your hearts, if you have not, where is any other grace, for it is the beginning of wisdome and without it no grace can grow, no corruption can be truly subdued. If you have it, be thankfull for it, and labour to grow in it, and to set it on worke more and more, particularly as just occasion is ministred. If you have sinned, if you be about to sinne, labour to feare, and so to ful­fill and worke out your salvation in feare and trembling. The Lord our God is a great God and a consuming fire, and if we finde our selves to have in any kinde offended him, our hearts should even quake to thinke of his displeasure, till it have made us fall downe before him, and renew our repentance and seek out for a pardon. But he that hath a bold audatious fearelesse heart, that when he hath done evill, feeleth no stir­ring of feare, no awe, no dread, sees no danger or perill in the sinne, perhaps abusing the promise to make himselfe bold, surely cannot say, that he sanctifieth God in his heart and maketh him his dread and his feare. Strive therefore to get and strive to nourish and exercise this feare in you.

The last thing to be noted in Isaac, 5. He obeyed the Comman­dement of God. was his obedience to the Com­mandement of God given him by vision, spoken of, Gen. 26.6 the story runneth thus, there was in his daies a great famine in Canaan, Abraham had gone downe to Egypt to sojourne therein a time of dearth, for it seemes to have beene a place of more constant plenty then Canaan, Isaac had in his minde some thoughts of imitating his Father, God saw it not fit for him to travell thither, and therefore God appeared to him in some vision and bad him not to descend into Egypt, but to dwell or sojourne in that land, and promiseth him a blessing; accordingly Isaac stoppeth his journey, continues in Gerar, and goeth not downe to Egypt. This was an act of true obedience, hee would not goe to the place which God forbad him to go too, though it might seeme to have beene fitter for his profit and advantage at that time.

We also Brethren, must learne to dwell where God would have us, and not to make worldly profit, pleasure, ease or the like, the choosers of our habitation; yea we must learne universall obedience, for if in point of habitation I must follow God then in all other things besides. See what God saith in his Word unto us (and that is now insteede of all visions, therein now he maketh himselfe to appeare unto us) doe such or such a thing, doe not such or such a thing, promising a blessing as alwaies he doth unto the obedient. We must not consult with flesh and bloud, nor aske counsell of profit and pleasure, but must resigne our selves to his Commandement, and instantly set about the one and relinquish the other. He that is so disposed, he is an Isaac, let him take comfort, he is a true beleever and a godly man, but he that in such case refuseth to obey, and will rather condescend to his carnall reason, argu­ing from losse or commodity, danger or safety or the like, how can hee call himselfe an obedient childe? He that refuseth the plaine directi­ons of Gods Word for earthly respects, is not one of the race of Isaac. He that causeth all such respect to stand bare unto Gods Commande­ment, [Page 250] and to give way unto it, his heart is upright with God, and he is a holy man as was Isaac. And so much for this good mans carriage to­ward God.

2. His vertuous carriage in re­gard of men and his estateLooke now in what sort he behaved himselfe in regard of men, and in regard of his estate and the things of this life. For men, he had Pa­rents, a Wife, Children, Neighbours. See his manner of living with them all.

He was obedi­ent to his Fa­ther. 1. In being ready to be killed.For his Father, he was to him a most dutifull sonne, as is manifest in two things. 1. He yeelded himselfe to him to be bound and killed, Indeed here was more obedience to God then to Abraham, and yet a great measure of obedience to Abraham also. He bare great respect to his Father Abraham, in that hee would be perswaded by him that God had commanded him so strange a thing, he shewed himselfe dutifull to God and his Father both, in being content to be killed by his Father at Gods appointment.

You see, how children should yeeld to their Parents in all things in the Lord. It was extraordinary, that Isaac must yeeld to be slaine when God would have it so, and had extraordinarily required it. And in this particular without the like warrant, (which will never be againe in all the world) no childe should yeeld to let his Father kill him, but should flie away and oppose himselfe so farre as he might, without hur­ting and striking his Father, yea or so much as rayling at him, for these being things forbidden, a man should rather choose to die even by the rage of his Father, then make bold to doe them. But if in an extraordi­nary Commandement, obedience must be given to Parents in such an extraordinary thing, then without doubt in every ordinary thing a Pa­rent must be obeyed in all things in the Lord, even though the comman­dement should be so heavie as death it selfe would not be heavier. The Apostle hath said,Ephes. 6.1. Obey your Parents in all things in the Lord, and this is well pleasing to God, and this is just.

Where are you rebellious children? Where are you stubborne and disobedient daughters? Come lay your selves in the ballance with Isaac; see how unlike him you be, he would yeeld to death, you will not yeeld to leave those things which are forbidden you onely, be­cause they will procure you death, undoing, destruction. O you re­bels and wretches, you are farre enough from being Isaacs. You set light by Father and Mother, and therefore against you ought all to take up a curse and ratifie the same with Amen. Woe, woe unto you, un­dutifull children, who deale with your Parents as Israel dealt with God, they have brought up and nourished children which have rebel­led against them. God shall cut you off from the land of the living, his hand shall be against you to destroy you,Pro. 30.7. and the Eagles of the val­ley shall picke out your beastly eyes, that are bold to despise, sleight and disobey your Parents, and wilfully refuse to obey their lawfull commandements.

But I beseech you repent of this sinne, and prevent this judgement, and now let all children be followers of Isaac, acknowledge your Pa­rents [Page 251] authority, submit to their lawfull commandements and crosse your selves rather to death then be found undutifull. Doe it I say, the great benefits you have received of them requireth it, you have your very being from them in your hild-hoods education, and the Law of God requireth the same of you, which requireth all reasonable things, and you cannot else be saved at last, for he that obeyes not that Parent whom he sees daily, how shall he obey him whom hee ne­ver saw?

And all you dutifull children, be encouraged, praise God that hath bound your hearts to respect your Parents, and intreate him to continue the same affection in you still, and know that the Lord will blesse you as he blessed Isaac, and will raise you good Iacobs to require your sub­missivenesse to your Abrahams.

But Isaac submitted himselfe to his Father in another thing,2. Was ruled by him in mar­riage. even when he was now growne to be about forty yeares of age, he gave himselfe over to his Father to be ruled by him in marriage, he did not set his affections upon any woman without his consent, nor draw away any womans affections, nor married any without the liking and privity of his Father, but took the right and due course, gave up himselfe to his Fathers authority and direction, and therefore God gave him a good Rebekah indeed, a comfortable wife and vertuous woman.

In this therefore all children are bound also to imitate him,Children should not marrie with­out their Pa­rents consent. Children must take their Parents counsell and direction in matter of marriage, and not bestow themselves without their good liking and consent, that they may have Gods blessing attending them in their marriage, when they honour at once both God and their Parents, in obeying Gods Com­mandement and shewing due respect unto their Parents. So did even Ishmael though otherwise a wilde man, for it is said of him,Gen. 21.21. that his Mother tooke him a wife So did Iacob afterwards, His Father blessed him and sent him to Padan Aram to take him a wife of the daughters of Laban his Mothers brother. Gen. 28.1, 2. And when Sampson saw a woman of Timnah that pleased him well,Judg. 14.2.he spake to his Father and Mother to take the Maide for him, who went downe thither and made the match for him. Indeed the Parents have more discretion and understanding then the children by reason of their age and experience, and therefore it is for the childes good to follow their advice. And to whom must the children goe for comfort and helpe in case that any crosse befall them in marriage but onely to their Parents? of which comfort and helpe they deprive themselves if they venture upon marriage without them: wee know that those God hath not joyned in marriage, whom he doth not unite in that estate. Now God hath made the Parents his Deputies in this behalfe, saying unto them, give your daughters in marriage and take sonnes for your daughters, and againe, you shall not give your daughters to them in marriage, nor take their sonnes to your daughters. Now how can it be said that God joyned them? if their Parents whom hee hath made rulers over them in his steed do not joyne them, seeing immediately hee doth joyne none in these our daies. Also the children are the [Page 252] goods of the Parents as a part of their possession, insomuch that they were also to be sold to pay their debts. Wherefore as no bargaine is firme in other kindes of goods without the consent of those that have right unto those goods, so neither can this covenant be good without the consent of Parents, which have as much right from God in their children as in any other of their goods.

Wherefore those sonnes and daughters are much to be blamed who have neglected this part of their duty to their Parents, and have suffe­red their blinde and strong passions so farre to transport them, that against their Parents consent and counsell they have bestowed them­selves in Matrimony, and so have transgressed against the plaine com­mandement of God. Such must heartily repent of their sinne and humble themselves before God with much sorrow for their great and wilfull disobedience. Parents would not have their children thus to slight and dishonour them, yea they take it grievously and are much perplexed with sorrow for their children, in this case therefore chil­dren should bee much grieved themselves, if they have given this occasion of griefe unto their Parents. To satisfie mens owne desires and affections without regard to Gods ordinances, is a noto­rious disobedience and bringeth the guilt of a great offence upon the soules of them that have so offended.

All you that have married in this disorderly manner, see that you doe unfaignedly repent of the sinne before God, and confessing the fault before him, seeke to prevent the curse that must else fall upon you and your children after you for so dishonouring your Pa­rents.

And you young men and women that be not yet married, see that you binde your consciences and resolve your wills to obey this com­mandement. Follow God in your Parents, and be not so rash and selfe-willed as to crosse them and follow your owne heads and passions. This duty will be easie, if you looke carefully to your passions at first and suffer them not to be undiscreetely fixed upon any person, untill you have acquainted your Parents with your desires, and crav'd their allowance and consent. But if a man or maide doe inthrall themselves and intangle others by a disorderly placing of their affections, then shall they make this otherwise easie duty hard and impossible to them­selves. Keepe your selves therefore Masters of your owne hearts and sell not away your liberty through an over-hasty yeelding of your selves to your unruly passions. Suffer not your mindes to be drawne away by any meanes, but pray God to keepe your hearts in order. It is a sinfull love as well as a sinfull passion in any other kinde, which troubles an house and makes the children contrary to their Parents, and to proove the greatest crosse that may be to them, to whom they ought to have beene the greatest comfort.

2. He buried his Father. Gen. 25.9.Lastly Isaac shewes his due respect unto his Father, by joyning with Ishmael his brother in burying his Father. for so it is said, his sonnes Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machphelah. This is the last [Page 253] office that childeren can performe, and they must shew their love and duty to them in the honourable performance of this last act, as to testifie their love to their Parents, so to declare their faithfull hope of the resurrection from the dead. For therefore are men with due solemnities committed to the bosome of the earth, because they expect their glorious rising againe, and they shall not utterly perish and fall as doe the bruite and unreasonable creatures.

Now see Isaacs carriage towards his mother.3. He loved his mother deare­ly. There was no love lost betwixt them, but as Sarah did tenderly love Isaac, so did he re­quite her love with love againe, as is manifested in his sorrowfull taking of her death, though she lived with him to a great age. For so it is written that after Rebekkah was brought unto him, and he was married unto her, Gen. 24 ult. Isaac was comforted after his mothers death, in­timating, that even untill then he was grieved for the losse of her. It is a fault therefore in childeren, oversoone to forget their dead mo­thers, and to let their remembrance quickly to slip out of their mindes, how much more to be weary of their over-long lives, and to be glad when the time comes that they must put them into the dust, in respect of some paultrey gaine of money, of land that they shall possesse when the Father and mother is dead. All that desire their pa­rents death for their goods sake, which they shall enjoy after them, and are glad when they shall change their parents for their goods, must needes be called wicked and ungratefull childeren. See there­fore that you children love even your mothers heartily, moderately lamenting their death, that you may make it appeare, their life was not a burden unto you.

And so have we seene Isaacs goodnesse towards his parents. Looke into his carriage towards his wife Rebeccah, and that also in two things mentioned in Scripture

First, it is said, that hee loved her, Gen. 24. ult. 4. He loved his wife tenderly. Ephes. 5.28, 29 This is a thing re­quired of all husbands, they must account themselves and their yoake-fellowes but one flesh, one body as S. Paul commands, yea they must love them not with an idle and meere verball love, but with such a love as they beare unto themselves, that causeth them to love and cherish themselves, so as above all things they must not be bitter against them, as S. Paul informeth the Collossians. Col. 3.19. Indeed because the Lord hath knit man and wife together in the neerest bond, causing them to be but one flesh, therefore should their loves be most fervent and abundant. A man must therefore love his wife above all other persons,Gen. 2.24. hee must forsake father and mother and cleave unto his wife, as Adam said at first, yea in respect of matrimoniall love, he must love her alone and none other but her.

You therefore that are husbands and have wives, come and answer before God, how doe you love your wives? how doe you cherish them with all comfortable maintenance and kindnesses? how are you carefull to shun all tartnesse and bitternesse? all froward peevish words and gestures, all discurteous quarrellings with them, and [Page 254] rating, revelling, and upbraiding tearmes. If your consciences ac­cuse you of unlovingnesse and bitternesse, you are great sinners be­fore God, and must apply to your selves that of S. Iohn, hee that loveth not his wise whom hee seeth daily, how shall he love God whom hee never saw. Lay not the blame of your want of love upon your wives, in respect of their ill qualities and carriage, men love their childrens persons above all other mens children, though they be neither so personable nor well conditioned, and should they not know how to doe the same also to their wives? No man is dispensed withall from doing his owne duty, because of another persons failing in his duty, for we must doe our duty every one out of conscience to Gods Commandements, not alone because of other inducements. It is therefore a great offence in an husband, not to beare a tender and con­stant love unto his wife.

And now all you husbands profit by Isaacs example, and humbly pray to God to frame your hearts to the unfaigned love of your wives. This is the way to make you like comfortably and chastly, a man shall be happy if he enjoy what he loveth, and love what he must enjoy. They live with great peace in themselves, that for con­science sake to God have their soules knit unto their wives, but hee, whose affections are disjoyned and divorced from his wife, doth live in perpetuall vexation, because he hath not subjected his affections to the commandement of God, and fixed his heart on her to whom God would have it united. And he that loveth not his wife honestly, is in perpetuall danger to bee caught with the unchast love of another woman, therfore Salomon bids one, wander in the love of his owne wife, Prov. 5. for why saith hee shouldst thou be taken with a strange woman.

This duty therefore is very requisite, and every good man must heartily crie to God to worke in his heart this vertuous affection to­wards his wife, that love may make him able to performe all other duties, without which he must needs be defective in all other matrimo­niall offices.

5. He conten­ted himselfe with Rebekah.Another thing very commendable in Isaac towards his wife was this, that hee contented himselfe with Rebekah alone, and did not take that unlawfull liberty which yet the common custome of those times did make to seeme lawfull to many otherwise godly men, of having more wives then one, as had Abraham the Father of Isaac, and Iacob his sonne. A man should keepe himselfe wholly to the wife of his youth, and not divide himselfe betwixt two, remembring, that God at first made them male and female, and created but one for one, as Malachie. 2.15. noteth, though hee had abundance of spirit because hee sought a godly seede, yea hee said, a man shall cleave to his wife (not wives) and they two, as our Saviour interprets it, shall bee one flesh. The custome of our times inforceth men to this duty, but it is a fault when they doe it not heartily, but rather for custome then for conscience, yea many that shame will not suffer to keepe more wives [Page 255] then one, yet secretly give themselves to other women, and so vi­olate their covenant of marriage, and defile themselves with great pollutions.

Lastly, Isaac was ready to hearken to his wife Rebekahs counsell,6. He hearke­ned to Rebe­kahs wise counsell. and when she complained of Esaus wives evill and froward behaviour, telling how bitter her life would prove if Iacob also should bring in such ill nurtured wives, he sends him away according to her desire, to take a wife in Padan-aram: So should every good man be ready to hearken to his wives advice and counsell, and to gratifie her in those things that are fit, not to crosse and contradict her. This is a part of due kindnesse to your wives, see that you neglect it not to the pro­curing of mutuall and continuall discord betwixt you.

So have we considered Isaacs good carriage towards God and his parents, Father and mother, and towards his wife; hee was a parent and had children, even two sonnes Esau and Iacob; Now he blessed both of them, and that out of Faith:7. Hee blessed his children out of faith. Heb. 11.20. for his blessing was not a bare wishing and praying for a blessing upon them, but a propheticall pre­diction of a blessing in Godsname, whereof if he had not received a promise from God, and also beleeved that promise, neither he nor his children would have made so great account of it. All of us cannot blesse our children in this manner, for the gift of prophecie is wan­ting unto us, but all of us must in Faith blesse our children, that is, pray for a blessing at Gods hand upon our seede as well as our selves. Yea wee must all apply our selves to the sincere obedience which hath an ample promise of blessing annexed, and cannot faile to pro­cure a blessing, since God will not faile to fulfill his word. Why is a propheticall blessing of some valew? surely, because it is a certaine thing, as having its originall in Gods fidelity, who having said it shall be so, must either accomplish it with his hand, or else falsifie his word, which is impossible. Now it is as impossible, that God should neglect to keepe his promise as to fulfill his predictions; wherefore seeing all blessings are plentifully promised to him that walketh before God uprightly and constantly, doe this O yee Fa­thers, this is to blesse your childeren in faith, but if you follow your owne hearts and leave the wayes of God, and goe forward in pathes of impiety and unrighteousnesse, then doe you curse your selves and your children, and worse then pronounce a curse, even pull downe a curse upon your selves and them.

Further,8. He confer­red the princi­pall blessing upon Iacob to whom God had given it. Isaac did conferre the principall blessing upon Iacob to whom God had given it, even that blessing which contayned in it, the causing of Christ the promised seede to come from his loynes, the Church to continue in his posterity, and spirituall benefits to belong to him and them. There was a time when Isaac out of heede­lessenesse or forgetfulnesse, or some other carnall consideration, was minded to have setled this speciall blessing upon Esau, but being made to perceive that he had offended therein and gone against the will of God, he returned to a right course, and calling Iacob whom [Page 256] he had unwittingly blessed before thinking him to be Esau, hee now againe wittingly and willingly blesseth under his owne name and in his owne person. Parents have not now the bestowing of this spi­rituall blessing upon children as then Isaac had it ministerially, but all parents should chiefely labour to interest their children in it. For what will it availe to have the fat of the earth and dew of Heaven, if wee goe without the favour of God in Christ? And when any Father perceives that God hath vouchsafed to any of their children this spirituall blessing, in that they be made carefull to serve, wor­ship and obey him as Iacob did, these must inherit their affections more plentifully then others of their children in whom such grace is wanting. The image of God must over-rule our affections, not carnall things, as at length it did Isaacs.

Thus we have shewed what was good in Isaac, in respect of those that were of his owne family, for wee reade not of any speciall point in his carriage to servants. See now what a one hee was to his neighbours farther of. First to Abimelech, then to the men of Gerar.

For Abimelech, hee had wronged him in affirming his wife to be his sister. Abimelech by seeing some familiar carriage betwixt them, was induced to be fully perswaded that she was his wife, and there­fore cals him, and begins to reprove him for it. Isaac maketh no defence at all for himselfe, but by his silence accepts the reproofe, con­fessing his fault.

He accepted Abimelechs re­proofe.It is a good thing when we have done amisse and are charged with it, at least to refraine our tongues from denying, defending, excusing and the like, and at least by not gaine-saying, to make it appeare that wee please not our selves still in the same offence. Indeede a plaine acknowledging is the best of all, but a not gaine-saying, not shifting, not winding out by words is at least necessary. It were a grace to a number, if they had a minde so willing to mend, that they might not have a tongue ready to speake against a re­proofe.

But further, Abimelech came to him after to make a covenant with him, bringing alone his chiefe officer and speciall favourite. Though Abimelech had beene somewhat discourteous to Abraham before, and had chased him away from him, yet Isaac is not so farre leavened with discontent as to reject Abimelechs motion, but having gently minded him of that unkindnesse, is yet ready to imbrace his offer of amity. Why be not wee all of a like mind in this matter? to passe by unkindnesses quickly, and be never a whit the lesse forward to any good office of love, because we have met with some very un­loving passages from the same men before. It is a fruite of wisedome and charity to cover wrongs as from others by forbearing to blaze them abroad, so from ones selfe, by forbearing to call them to minde, so as to be estranged from him that hath offered them, and made lesse forward to interchange amity with him afterwards. But [Page 257] hee hath little either love or humility or discretion, that knowes not how to keepe downe the thought of an injury, but that it makes him still averse from offering or accepting curtesies from the authors of it.

Againe, Isaac made Abimelech and his company a feast.10. He made Abimelech and his company a feast. It is fit to use good hospitality, and with liberall entertainement to re­ceive those that have occasion to come unto us according to their places, Abraham did this before. This degree of hospitality hath beene found in Heathens to their commendation; but the best hospitality is that, which entertaines the poore that are never likely to be able to make amends. God will become pay-master of that cost which the poore is not able to requite.

Againe, Isaac had something to doe with the men of Gerar, for they contended with him unjustly for divers Wells of water which his servants had digged, and hee patiently yeelds to them and will not make a brawle of it. It behooveth us to shew the like moderation, and not to be fierce in striving against them which will needs be unjust in striving against us.

Now for Isaacs estate, he was a good husband, dug Welles,11. He was a good husband sow­ed corne, and so increased his estate through Gods blessing upon his diligence.

Good husbandry is a thing commendable among all men as well as pleasing to God, it hath the promise of sufficiency of maintenance an­nexed to it for incouragement. We must every man with so much diligence and discretion order our estate, that wee may become ca­pable of abundance and may not deprive our selves of so comforta­ble a thing as plenty is. Onely in our labour, let us looke that wee be moderate, that excessive labouring about earthly businesses doe not induce a neglect of those things that concerne a better life, let your chiefe care be for Heavenly things, and yet neglect not these temporary in their places: but hee that through unthriftinesse un­does or hinders himselfe, how can we conceive that he shall be wise enough to seeke spirituall things, that hath no wit to get tem­porall?

Againe, when Isaac digged a Well,12. He made a spirituall use of earthly com­modities. for which at length the Phi­listines contended not with him, hee called the name of it Rehoboth, and said, now the Lord hath made roome for us and wee shall increase in the earth, Gen. 26.22. taking notice of Gods goodnesse, in the quiet enjoyment of that benefit, and by faith perswading himselfe of Gods blessing upon him, and so not carnally but spiritually re­joycing in the temporall benefit.

Ah that wee could make to our selves a spirituall use of earthly commodities as Isaac, to see God in them with thankefullnesse, and to learne to depend upon him for prosperity and not upon our owne indeavours; and in particular, that if God grant us quietnesse, and restraine men from contending and quarrelling with us, so that wee have peace in our houses, we could then give praise to him, and take [Page 258] comfort in him and repose our confidence in him. The sight of God in outward things is infinitely more comfortable, then the things themselves how great soever they be.

His faults.And thus much of Isaacs vertues; some faults he had too which wee must looke upon to reforme in our selves, not to imitate, for it is a childish folly to follow after those that goe before us, though they runne thorough puddles: Isaacs faults were some in respect of God, some in respect of man, viz. his sonnes and Abi­melech, and some in respect of himselfe.

1. He forgat the Word of God.As for God, he sinned surely, in forgetting himselfe so farre as to resolve in his minde to blesse his sonne Esau, whereas God had said, the elder shall serve the younger. He should have beene mindfull of that propheticall answer, which was given concerning those two sonnes, even when they strove in their Mothers wombes: unlesse wee shall say, that the whole passage was so carried as it was con­cealed from Isaac: but that is nothing probable, it can hardly be conceived that Rebekah would not acquaint her husband, both that shee felt so strange a striving in her wombe, (which made her seeke to God to know the matter) as also what answer shee recei­ved from God. Taking that for granted which is so probable, that there is no reason to doubt of it, I say wee may note a fault in good Isaac, yea good old Isaac, hee forgate the Word of God which had beene spoken some yeares before, and that so ut­terly, as hee determined to have crossed it and gone directly a­gainst it.

It is a fault from which the bed men alive are not exempted, even so to forget Gods Word, as to be ready out of forgetfullnesse to transgresse it. This forgetfullnesse ariseth many times from heede­lesnesse, and many times from continuance and length of time, and sometimes from very strength of passion and distemper, which doth cast out the remembrance of good things from the minde. David and all the Priests had forgotten that which at least some of them had read concerning the not carting of Gods Arke, but carrying it upon the Priests shoulders; Iacob after had little lesse then forgate the vow hee made unto God in his affliction. I pray you take heed of such forgetfullnesse, meditate often that you may remember seasonably, pray God to write his Lawes in your hearts, and to make his holy Spirit to become your remembrancer, that your knowledge be not made unprofitable through forgetfullnesse, for that which is not fitly called to minde is in a manner as if it were not. And if you meete with such a weakenesse as this in your selves, looke that you be duely abased in the sight of it, but be not out of heart as if you were destitute of all grace, because you are imperfect in it, but take comfort to seeke and hope for pardon upon your humble confession, when the Lord pleaseth to put you in remembrance againe. If Peter had remembred Christs words before, hee might perhaps have escaped his great sinne of [Page 259] denying his Master, but hee remembred it after to make him weepe bitterly. It were a comfortable thing to call to minde those things that should preserve us from sinne so timely, that we might be so preserved by them. But if wee have done otherwise, it be­hooveth us to put our selves in minde of them after to worke godly sorrow, and then turning to God wee must not suffer our selves to doubt, but that hee will vouchsafe to accept us.

Now Isaac offended something against men.2. Hee loved Esau better then Iacob, and that for carnall respects. In respect of his two sonnes, at first he loved Esau better then Iacob and that for car­nall respects, because Esau by his hunting supplied him with such kinde of meate as was contentfull to him. It was without doubt a weakenesse in him and deserveth taxing. Should Isaac beare fa­vour to a gracelesse sonne for venisons sake, rather then to a godly sonne for vertue sake? Should our passions, fancies, appetites car­rie us away and over-rule our affections. Surely as David wished those that feared God to come unto him, and he would choose them for his companions; so should every man make godlinesse the rule of his affections, so as when other things be even to give piety the preheminence, and cause godlinesse to cast the scale as it were. It is a fault in any man to love a worse childe above a better for any sinister respect, Abraham loved not Ishmael above Isaac, to pre­vent that it may be thought, that God commanded Ishmael to be cast out, that hee might not be thought a meete person at least to partake with Isaac in his inheritance. And as to be carried away in our affections to children (by affecting them most that deserve it least) in carnall respects is a sinne, so likewise towards other per­sons also, servants, neighbours or any other. Therefore hee that hath done so or findes himselfe so inclined, must be humbled in his folly and labour at last to rectifie his love, as wee shew'd you be­fore, that Isaac did when God discovered his weakenesse to him.

Now in respect of Abimelech, 3. He did lie out of feare. Isaac offended by lying out of feare, when the men of Gerar began to question with him about his wife, he began to suspect, that they meant no good in such inquirie, and fearing some ill usage from them if hee should have professed himselfe her husband, helped the matter with a sudden lie, and said shee was his Sister, Gen. 26.7. you see hee inheriteth here his Fathers carnall feare, and carnall shift, of lying to prevent the evill feared. Here wee have two plaine faults, his immoderate feare, and his lying to helpe himselfe at a pinch; to be afraid of death so that there appeare some likelihood that it will come up­on us suddenly and violently, we suffer our selves to be drawne into sinne for the escaping of it, is a sin and such a sin it is, as hath often discovered it selfe in good men. Wee noted it in Abraham twice upon the same occasion that is here mentioned; So it be­fell David, when hee came first to Achish King of Gath, so to Peter and others. The inordinatenesse of the feare of death ariseth [Page 260] from weakenesse of faith, both in that a man doth not so stedfastly rely upon God for defence and safeguard of life, as also for salva­tion of his soule after death, or because hee is not so well versed in the meditations of death and Heaven, as to become sufficiently heavenly-minded. For if wee did fully perswade our selves that God would stand by us in perill, that hee would be our shield and buckler, then it would befall us according to that of David, The Lord is on my side, Psal. 118.6. I will not feare what man can doe unto mee; but in the best this confidence is often weakened, and they are taken unprovided through the suddennesse of the danger, or the like oc­casion, or it is likely that the soule which so feareth death, as by sinne to shun the same, doth not so thoroughly assure it selfe of sal­vation, or hath not so clearely and fully apprehended the excel­lency of salvation; for doubtlesse death would be welcome to him rather then terrible, that did apprehend it as a darke entrie leading to the glorious palace of glory, and had well considered of the great­nesse of that glory.

I beseech you take paines to helpe your selves against the feare of death, and to worke in your hearts so truly couragious a temper, that though it should present it selfe to you naked and without dis­guise, and that suddenly, and that in shew unpreventably, yet you might be so constant and so setled as not to betake your selves unto any sinfull meanes of escape, but rather choose to die then to sinne against God, as knowing death to be no great matter, but sinne to be an hatefull thing and worse by farre then death. And how should this undaunted and spirituall fortitude be attained but by conversing with death often in your thoughts? so as to get some good assurance, that it shall not be able to carry you to the re­gion of darknesse to eternall death, but alone to let you out of this dungeon into a roome farre more lightsome and blisfull. He that thinkes much of death, so as to make himselfe carefull by frequent renewing of his repentance and amendment of his life, to get his salvation assured to himselfe, shall at last be happily armed against the feare of death, and shall be made so resolute as to choose ra­ther to die then sinne.

Againe, if you finde so much weakenesse in any of Gods Saints with whom you live, as you finde recorded in the story of Isaac, I pray you be no harsher so them then you be to him. Tell mee what thinke you of Isaac? was hee a godly man or not? if you say no, you contradict the Scripture, if you say yea, then you must learne not to deny to another the name of a good man, be­cause you meete with the like disorders in him that are here noted in Isaac, if hee feare too much, if hee hath used some sinfull meanes to escape death or other danger. Nay a man ought not to deny himselfe the name of a man truly sanctified, because hee findeth the same imperfections in himselfe. To call in question ones being sanctified in respect of the hanging on of such weake­nesses, [Page 261] is to nip and discourage the worke of grace, and to hin­der the growth of it no lesse then a cold frost doth hinder fruites from growing.

But Isaac telleth a manifest lie. Lying is a sinne, and the lying tongue will bring destruction; but to bee so transported with some present passion, as to be thrust into the mire of lying is such a thing as may befall a godly man. Come and take heede, that you doe not imbolden your selves to lie by abusing this and the like Exam­ples, but rather resolve and pray against it, as knowing in how much danger you stand of falling into it. For though to bee over-taken with this sinne in hast, doe not disproove the truth of sanctity; yet to be a lier (one that makes account that this is so small an offence, that hee will not be so precise as to forbeare to helpe himselfe by it if need be) this is a proofe of a man that hath not yet gotten any sanctity. Lying is a sinne so plaine, that scarce is it possible to be ignorant of it, but through wilfullnesse, because a man refuseth to be willing to know that fault which hee is not willing to leave. For no man can choose but blame it in another, and therefore his inward soule doth plainely tell him that it is also naught in himselfe. Now to live purposely in a knowne sinne, resolving that hee must and will doe it if occasion serve, this is to be a worker of iniquity. Remember therefore the word of S. Paul, Ephes. 4.25. Put away lying seeing you have put off the old man, intimating that hee hath not cast off any, part of the old man, that hath not throwne away this rag of it. Lying will breed boldnesse to sinne, hard-heartednesse in it, impu­dency after it. Therefore you must determinately conclude with your selves, to put away lying and speake the truth one to ano­ther. In these two things Isaac sinned against GOD and him­selfe.

But his sinne against Abimelech was,4. He scandalized Abimelech. in that hee was like to have drawne him occasionally into a great sinne, hee did that which might easily have hazarded him to thinke of making Rebekah his wife, that is, of committing adultery. It is a sinne to become a stumbling blocke to another by doing that which may make him bold to doe a thing that is sinfull, as Abimelech complained to Abraham and also to Isaac; take heede that you become not stum­bling blockes in a more palpable fashion, by inticing, perswading, exhorting, giving evill example or the like. Be carefull not to partake with other mens sinnes, and if you can call to minde any thing done by your selves in the like nature, viz. such an act as might have pulled another to wickednesse, though the ill effect have not followed, yet you must repent of your uncharitablenesse and rashnesse herein.

Another fault of Isaacs is this,5. He loved good fare too much. that he had too great respect to good fare, he loved his tooth and palate a little too much, he was an aged man and hee gave himselfe a little more then enough to savoury meate, and his love to good fare carried him so farre awry in his [Page 262] affections, that he loved Esau more then Iacob, Gen. 25.28. Surely, it was too great a love to Venison, that caused him to love a worse sonne above a better. This is a weakenesse against which it is neede­full to strive, our sensuality inclineth us unto it, wee are apt to thinke it no sinne, may not a man use Gods benefits and enjoy the comforts of this life in good measure? why should not hee fare well that hath much given him by God? But sure to be so over-ruled by ones palate, that any disorders be bred thence in ones life towards any person or thing, cannot but be a sinne for all these excuses. Doe not wee know that cockering of the body doth likely depresse the soule? and the feeding of the belly and pleasing of the taste doth breed an aptnesse to be lesse delighted with better things.

Thus you have Isaacs faults. First, Forgetfulnesse of Gods pro­mise. Secondly, Carnall feare of death. Thirdly, Lying to pre­vent danger. Fourthly, Scandalizing Abimelech. Fiftly, over-loving his worser sonne, and Sixtly, Over-loving good fare. We will goe on now to consider what blessings he enjoyed.

His Benefits. 1. Spirituall. God made his covenant with him.First Spirituall, God pleased to make his covenant in him, and to bestow the birth-right and blessing upon him, and therefore also did appeare to him and blessed him, Gen. 25.3, 4. and after, Vers. 24. It is a singular favour of God, to give a man spirituall blessings, to make him his childe, to appeare to him and comfort him, by giving him assurance that hee is his childe, and confirme his Faith in his gracious promises. This is the greatest favour, to blesse us with spirituall blessings, Ishmael had the terrene, but Isaac had the spirituall blessings, these were given also to Iacob as a singular prerogative. It is an admirable favour indeede to en­joy these, for they will not cease at the end of this life, but will continue till another life and will bee perfected in another life eternally.

I pray you consider whether God have vouchsafed these unto you, hath he caused you to feare his name? hath he made you to beleeve his promises? hath he appeared to you in his word and ordinances? and given you some happy apprehension of his goodnesse in Christ, making you know, that he will fulfill to you the blessing of Abraham. If he have, give hearty praises to him, take unspeakable comfort in him, account all your other crosses nothing. Rejoyce in him ever­more, that hath translated you from the power of darkenesse to his owne Kingdome. Happy is he that is made the childe of God, though he be in great calamity for outward things. Know the incomparable greatnesse of his favour, that you may rejoyce in it, in despight of all crosses. And labour to get more and more assurance of your interest unto God and happy estate this way, that you may be more and more comforted. But if you have not these spirituall good things, doe not account your selves happy, because of the outward, thinke not that you are in a good estate whatsoever you possesse, if you possesse [Page 263] not Gods Spirit to make you Gods childe, to seale you to the day of redemption, to comfort you in all times, with making himselfe more and more assuredly knowne unto you. What is it to enjoy a dreame of prosperity in this sleepe of naturall life? and then to spend ones eternall being in endlesse and irremediable and unsufferable misery. Rest not your selves satisfied in outward things, count not your selves happy in having them, never thinke you have any thing till you have grace, till you have Christ, till you have interest into Heaven, that eternall land of promise, and set your selves in feeling of the want of these things to seeke them in Gods ordinances. Prayer, the Word, Sacraments, and you shall have them, for you want them not that live in the Church, but for want of care duely to seeke them.

Againe, consider Isaacs temporall blessings,2. Temporall 1 Had a good Wife. he had a very good wife, Rebekah, that carried her selfe well towards him, and was carefull to keepe him from offending, in translating the blessing con­trary to Gods pleasure, wherein though shee used deceit, yet shee brought him into the right way, afore he knew of it, and caused him to doe well when her thought to doe evill.

Againe, he had one very gracious and godly childe, Iacob, 2. One godly childe, and a nother that re­spected him. and another though not so godly as we can assuredly say he feared God, yet one that respected him, that did thrive in the world, and was of commendable outward carriage among men, for so was Esau, he shewed regard to Isaac, grew great in worldly greatnesse, and had a name among men.

Thirdly, hee had a greate measure of wealth,3. Was very rich. and was a man of great state and esteeme, so that King Abimelech desired his friendship, and though some envied and wronged him, yet they could not hinder Gods blessing from attending him, especially one yeere God gave him a singular blessing, for he sowed and reaped,Gen. 26.12. and as by Faith he beleeved that God would, so God did make him roomth and he became fruitfull in the land.

And last of all,4. He lived long. he lived a long time in this world to enjoy all these things, and lived to continue with his wife Rebekah, shee lived as long or neere as long as he, which could not but be a great comfort to him. So you see hee had all abundance of outward contents for his children, wife, state, &c.

Now I b [...]eseech you reckon betwixt God and your selves! hath not God beene as favourable to some of you as to Isaac? so that you have good, vertuous, and dutifull and religious wives, which will helpe your errors, and cherish your bodies, and doe you all the good they can. Hath not hee given some of you good and godly children, at least some, or one, and the rest civill and thriving? Hath not he given you a wealthy estate? not so rich as Isaac but even rich enough, I meane so much as will inable you to enjoy your selves in the world, and to passe thorough the world with comfort. Hath not he prospered the worke of your hands? and given you roomth, and [Page 264] made you increase, yea hath hee not made you live a long time to enjoy all these things? If so, let these benefits become matter of praise, let them become arguments of obedience, labour to be tru­ly thankfull for them, that you may finde them truly beneficiall: make a spirituall use of temporall blessings.

And if any want these things, let him see how rich God is, and let him even trust in him for sufficiency in outward things, and count it enough that it pleaseth God to give him better things as I exhorted before. And if any of Gods people finde not these things so granted to himselfe, let him not take Gods dealing with him in the worst part, let him not ascribe it to want of love to him, but to his wisedome, that seeing him not so capable of these things, doth withdraw from him that thing which hee sees would be hurt­full unto him. Wee must not misconster Gods forbearing to give outward things. Yea now let all men encourage themselves to bee obedient to God, and to feare him as did Isaac, for you see in him that God is ready to reward his servants with great commodities and comforts in this life too. Hee will not alone save them, but so farre as is good, make their estate prosperous here below. That godlinesse which hath the promise shall also have the performance of good things for this present life and that which is to come. I know, that these bee common benefits, but when they come sweetened with Gods blessing, then they are truly comfortable, and so shall they be to him that interests himselfe to them by getting into Christ, and walking in him in holinesse and godly conversa­tion.

Isaacs crosses.So wee have done with Isaacs benefits, now his crosses; for nei­ther could hee, nor can any man in this life scape but that more or lesse hee shall meete with afflictions. First in respect of his bo­dy. 2. His state. 3. His children.

1. He was long blinde.For his body, hee was blinde many yeares, for hee was mar­ried at forty, at sixty hee had Esau and Iacob; Iacob was about seventy six yeares when he came to Laban, so then Isaac was a hun­dred thirty sixe yeares, and at that time hee could not discerne Esau and Iacob one from the other by sight, and he lived in all 180 yeares, from which if you subtract 136, then will remaine for­ty foure yeares, so long did Isaac live without the use of his eyes. Therefore learne you to bee thankefull that God hath given you your eye-sight even to your lives end, so that you want not this sence at all till death, or at least want it not so long a space of time. Sight is a great comfort, it is pleasant to see the Sunne and to bee able with our eyes to behold and discerne our friends and all other creatures of GOD. Let us praise God for the use of this and other sences.

Secondly, let us prepare to suffer the same crosse, who can tell how soone his eyes may grow dimme? let us use them well whilest wee have them, and withdraw them from looking after [Page 265] vanity, and all other abuses: for nothing will grieve us more when wee have lost them, then that wee have abused them, nor comfort us more, then to remember that wee have kept them in order and bestowed them holily. And indeed, they bee things apt to bee abused a 1000 waies; Prevent all these abuses and put on a contented minde, if God see it fit to be depri­ved of them, getting such a clearenesse of inward sight, that the comfort of that may supply the want of outward eyes. Hee that hath an understanding given him to see God and Christ, to see Heaven and things spirituall, may easily misse the sight of other things; but ah how comfortlesse is a blind body joyned with a blind minde? Take heed that this great darkenesse fall not upon you, for what can this bee but even a fore-runner of utter and ever­lasting darkenesse.

Further, Isaac in his state met with divers crosses,2. Met with di­vers troubles in his state. the Phili­stins envied him, chased him from them, wronged him by stop­ping his Fathers Well and by unjust striving with him for those he himselfe had digged, these bee crosses and such as trouble the nature of man, and seeme hard to beare, but this good man wrestled with them.

Prepare your selves therefore to be envied and wronged, and to have enemies that will contend and quarrell with you causelesly, and be carefull to get Gods favour, that the malice and injurious­nesse of men may not be able to hurt you, but that God may blesse you the more, by how much men doe more envie you, wrong you and contend against you, as it befell to Isaac. For God pro­spered him and comforted him the more, by how much the world did more grudge at him, and seeke to disquiet him. Labour there­fore to get Gods favour, that you may have a patient, a cheerefull minde the in middest of the greatest injuries. In the meane time, expect such evill usage and strive to be able to beare it without vexation and discontent, which are things more troublesome then the crosses themselves.

Further, learne to be thankfull to God, if hee have pleased to keepe you from spight, wrong and strife, that either you bee not envied, or else those that envie you have not had ability to wrong you and contend against you. It is a great goodnesse of God so to hedge about a mans estate, that no man hath beene able to breake in upon him to hurt him, and it is neither mens wit nor greatnesse that can procure unto them this safety, but it is God alone that ma­keth them to dwell in safety. Let our hearts be lifted up to praise him, that hath so incompassed us with his favour as with a shield.

But next, Isaac was crossed in his children. First,3. Was long without issue. in that hee continued long without issue, whereas God had promised him issue, and the hope of his salvation depended upon the performance of his promise; for out of his loynes was that seede to proceed in [Page 266] whom all Nations were to bee blessed, and yet hee was married twenty yeeres afore this promise was fulfilled. So long did God exercise his faith with delay.

Learne to beare with patience Gods deferring of his promi­ses and not to let your hopes slip, but still to trust on God and waite for him, who will come in due time though hee satisfie not our hastie and over-eager desires. Hold to the promise of God, it shall be fulfilled at length though wee bee made to tarry some­what long for it, that wee may bee better fitted to receive it with thankefullnesse. The longer a good thing is desired and de­ferred, the more abundant comfort it yeeldeth when it is come.

4. He was cros­sed in Esau.But secondly, Esau prooved a crosse to him in two things. First, that hee tooke into the house two such ill conditioned Maides, as were a griefe of heart to Isaac and Rebekah, Gen. 26. ult. This is a bitter crosse to bee pester'd with unquiet, froward, unruly and wicked daughters in Law, that shall make one weary of his life, and like evill and bitter sauce, take away the sweet­nesse of all other comforts. Learne to bee thankefull, if you have escaped this crosse, and if God have provided such yoake-fel­lowes for your children, as by their dutifull and loving carriage doe make the comfort of your lives more abundant, framing themselves to content you in all good and lawfull things, as if they were your owne sonnes or daughters: It is a great satisfacti­on to see ones children so happily matched; Let not this bene­fit bee sleighted and passed over without particular thankes. And now prepare for this crosse, or if you bee under it, labour to beare it, so as not to bee made weary of life, but enjoy the rest so thankefully, that the bitternesse of this may bee sweetened and allayed. And pray to God to direct your selves and your chil­dren so in their choice or yours for them, that they may not stum­ble upon a torment unawares, and learne in choosing to choose for grace rather then sinister respects, so may you hope to bee directed aright, and to get a true benefit.

Againe, Esau was a crosse to his Father in his malice against his Brother, whom hee purposed to kill, and would not keepe the thought to himselfe so, but that it uttered it selfe. If Isaac knew not of it, hee was not afflicted with it, but if hee did, hee could not but take it heavily. Thanke God if hee have not given over your children to such malice one against the other, and if you lie under this misery, make it as easie as may bee, by telling yourselves it was Isaacs crosse, and yet God kept it from ever com­ming to execution.

2. In Iacob.But Isaac was crossed in Iacob too, for hee lived a stranger from him twenty yeeres so that hee did not enjoy him. Is it not a griefe to have a good childe as it were banished and restrained from dwelling with his Father for so long a time, whose company his [Page 267] love makes him to desire every day? But Isaac lived to see much rudenesse in his Grand-children, for hee out-lived Iosephs selling into Egypt, and was afflicted in Iacobs uncomfortablenesse under that crosse. Blesse God if it have not happnend so to you, and if it have, mutter not, for what are you that you may not be put to as much hardnesse as Isaac?

And lastly, Isaac died at 180 yeeres,His death. a long life indeed for those times, but it ended in death and buriall, and so must each of yours even a great while sooner, O therefore stu­dy to bee prepared for it.

THE SIXTEENTH EXAMPLE.
OF REBEKKAH.

REbekkah was the wife of Isaac, Rebekkahs neither birth nor death is mentioned in Scripture. of her birth and death the Scripture is silent. We are therefore to look into her life, wherein observe the good shee had and did, the evill she did and suffered. The good she did,

First,Her vertues. 1. She was chaste while a Virgin. whilest she lived young in her Fathers house, She was a Virgin untouched by man, Gen. 24.16. No man knew her. It behooveth young women to behave them­selves so modestly, and shamefac'dly, that they may bring themselves unto their own husbands undefiled. Therefore the holy Ghost ap­pointed the Parents to be carefull of preserving the tokens of the maidens virginity, that they might be able to prove it against the slanders of her husbands evill tongue (if he should after report that he found her not a maide) but withall he appointed that if the wo­man could not prove her selfe to have been a Virgin, she should be brought out and publiquely stoned at her Fathers doore, Deut. 22, 13. You see that God would have the daughter put to death which should be bold to prostitute her selfe to any other men, and then de­ceive one that had not knowne her, and thrust her selfe upon him as if she had been a Virgin, as much as if he had ordered that such a defiled [Page 2] maiden should not marry any other but him that had defiled her, un­lesse first she had made the matter knowne unto that other. Now what care should be taken to preserve chastity, the heathens may teach us, who for meere credit sake, used diligence in this matter, and it should be a shame for Christians not to exceed Pagans in any point of goodnesse.

Let me therefore speake unto you young maidens, and require you to follow Rebekkah in this kinde, keep your selves pure, suffer not your selves to be won away with any solicitations for all occasions of sin. Be not haughty in conceit of your own strength to withstand a­ny allurement, but feare God, and beseech him to keep you by vertue of his feare, else many a boasting maiden hath been forced out of her own experience to confesse, that this offence cannot be prevented by braging. I say therefore, let the feare of God, and an humble heart, and a carefull shunning of evill opportunities be the preservers of your chastity. And if any of you have been corrupt, and vitiated, though it be knowne to none but God and your selves, see that you be greatly humbled, and truly penitent for it.

The custome of many is, if they can conceale themselves in this kinde, and that they prove not with childe, to the publique reproach­ing of themselves before men, not at all to grieve for the sin commit­ted, though it be neverthelesse abominable in Gods sight, because of such concealing it; yea, some there be that adde murder also to fil­thinesse, using meanes of abortion to themselves, or of hindering themselves from conceiving, by wicked reaches, and devises: But the all-seeing eyes of God do discover their lewdnesse, and will make their offences knowne to all the world, and that so much the more to their disgrace, and destruction, by how much they have declared themselves to be more wicked, in fearing men, and not God. Indeed if the matter come to open knowledge, they weep, and take on, shew­ing evidently, that ignominy goeth nearer to their hearts than sin, and that they care not how lewd they be, if their lewdnesse come not to light. But I say, be you carefull to prevent secret sins in this kinde, and tender the health of your soules more than the credit of your names, and undoe that sin by unfained repentance, which will else make you odious to God, though you hide it never so closly from men. And let Parents also cary a watchfull eye upon their daughters, not giving them liberty to range up and down at unfit times, to unfit places, lest it befall them as it did Dinah, Iacobs daughter, when shee gave her selfe leave to gaze abroad to see the fashions of the daugh­ters of the countrey. And I must also speake to young men, which goe a wooing to young maidens, that they suffer not themselves to be so far transported with unlawfull, and unruly desires, as to pollute those before marriage, or assay to solicite them whom they pretend to love so, as to make them their wives. If they love them, let them keep them so worthy to be beloved, and enter not into Gods Ordi­nance, [Page 3] through the devils Portall, as I may call it; O be not so wick­ed, so injurious to the maid, and the friends of the maid with whom you seek to make affinity, as to lay a snare and blot upon your selves, and the kindred and parents of your selves, and of the Virgin to whom you pretend love and good will, but enter purely into Matri­mony, that the blessing of God may accompany you in Matrimony. And so much for Rebekkahs chastity, she came an unspotted Virgin to the bed of marriage.

Now further, she was a painfull and a curteous maid,2. She was painfull and curteous. My Lord, said she: Sir, as you would say in Eng­lish. for she came out with her pitcher on her shoulder to draw water at a common Well, and did not think so much of her labour, but that she was ready to draw water, and fill the troughes till a number of Camels had drank their fill, and curteously let down her pitcher to give the man that was a stranger to her, to drink, and of her own accord offe­red her service to water his Camels too.

Learne you maidens to be painfull, learne to be curteous, by la­bour you should keep your bodies in good health, and your mindes also free from vices and evill desires, and by curtesie you shall shew your selves to be of a good nature, willing to be serviceable, and so shall win love, credit, and good esteeme: but an idle churlish per­son, that makes her selfe sick by her sloathfulnesse, and by her back­wardnesse to do service, (shewing that she is good for nothing but to trick up, and pride her selfe) becomes loathsome to God and man. Be not idle, be not nice and dainty, be not sowre and churlish, these things will cause you to inherite as much disgrace as Rebekkah did in­herite honour and good will. Let me commend unto you the vertu­ous example of good Rebekkah, dresse your selves as it were at her glasse, and adorn your selves with her vertues. This Story you may reade at large, Gen. 24.15. and so forward reade it, consider of it, and take it forth into your lives, and learn to live according to the worthy presidents which the word of God commendeth unto you. The custome of the world, and the corruption of nature will per­swade you rather to pride, nicenesse, sloathfulnesse, and discurtesie, but we must take heed of following our own naughty nature, in the sinfull fashions of the world; She is a Christian indeed that is wil­ing to live according to the Scriptures.

Now consider another vertue of Rebekkahs, 3. She was willing to be ruled by her friends in marriage. she was willing to bee ruled by her friends in marriage, and when they had given their con­sent to Abrahams servant for the marrying of her to Isaac, she also con­sented, and said, I will go with the man, Gen. 24.58. So should all mai­dens yeeld themselves to the government of their parents and friends in this matter, that they may with more assurance & comfort expect the blessing of God to make their lives comfortable in mariage, by gi­ving them love & favour in their husbands eyes, and bestowing upon them good husbands, at least if they meete with such as be not what they ought, they may with more contentednesse & patience undergo [Page 4] the crosse when it comes not with a sting upon their consciences, in that by their sinfulnesse they have even pulled misery upon them­selves. If you be well matched, the comfort will be doubled, when you shall perceive that it is a fruit of Gods goodnesse unto you, in blessing your care of observing his commandements, and directi­ons, and if a crosse come, it will be far more easily borne, when you have your parents and friends ready to comfort you, and helpe you, because you have followed their directions in bestowing your selves. Thus you shall provide best for your own perpetuall welfare: for that inordinate passion, which is called love, will soon be quenched like a fire of thornes, and then it is not the fulfilling of irregular desires, that will minister comfort unto you. It is evident by experience, that dis­cord and dissention do quickly fall out betwixt them that followed passion rather then duty, and discretion in placing themselves with a husband. Now you shall be well able thus to perform your duty both to God and your Parents, if you keep your selves owners of your own hearts, and suffer not your unruly passions to make you slaves unto themselves, and so to make your duty difficult and tedious. He that keeps his feet and legs free from shackles and chains, can easily go a­bout any businesses that are needfull for him to do. But whosoever will lade himself with irons and fetters, shall finde it grievous to stir when it is requisite for him to go any whither. Therefore shackle not you soules with the chaines of unruly affections, that you may chear­fully yeeld your selves to your parents disposall, as both nature and religion do require at your hands. Give not away your selves before hand, commit not that vile Idolatry of making some one man a false god unto you, and let not your hearts be inslaved to any one, before your Parents have given you, who have interest from God to dispose of you according to the rules of discretion for your own good. For Parents looke to the constant good of their children in bestowing them, but their own green heads do likely regard nothing else but the pleasing of their eye and fancies, which likely doth end in mise­ry and discontent. And so you have seen Rebekkahs good carriage while she was a maiden, living under the government of her Eather in his Family.

Her good car­riage when married. 1. She joyned with her hus­band in prayer for children.Now see how she carries her selfe afterwards.

1. To God. 2. To her husband. 3. To her children.

1. To God, She joyned with her husband in prayer for chil­dren, and therefore she had faith in God, and trusted in him for issue, not barely to the course of nature, for it is said Gen. 25.21. Isaac entreated the Lord for his wife, because shee was barren, shee was present with her husband, and joyned her owne supplications with his, for the obtaining of fruitfulnesse by him. A good wo­man ought to bee prayerfull, and both to unite her devotions to her husband, and also to call upon God by her selfe alone. See there­fore you wives that you be ready to shew piety in the same kinde; [Page 5] pray to God with your husbands, yea pray to him for your selves, husbands, and children, and for all good things. The blessings are doubled that are gotten not alone by naturall endeavours, but by fer­vent prayers unto God, for this is a proofe, that they be granted by God in favour, and so they become tokens of his love to men, and by that meanes are much more comfortable then of their own nature they could be. Those wives therefore are too blame, that scarce are willing to pray themselves, or to joyne with their husbands, but by their backwardnesse interrupt their praying together, a thing con­demned by S. Peter, when it is procured by discontents, falling out betwixt, and consequently also by any other meanes. Mend this fault O ye wives, and you that are husbands, if the fault have been in you, mend it, and see that you joyne together, calling upon God. If you have children, yet there be enough of other things for which you ought to visite the Throne of grace. The graces of Gods Spirit are much more desirable then the fruit of our bodies, and I am sure that our hearts are all barren of such fruit, and cannot be made fruitfull but by Gods Spirit working in our hearts, and prayer will cause him to make a barren heart fruitfull as well as a barren wombe, but with­out prayer the heart will never bring forth true grace. Naturall be­nefits, children, and the like, doe fall into the laps of men and wo­men though they doe not seeke them from God by this exercise of prayer; but spirituall blessings cannot be obtained by any other meanes, if this be not also joyned to the meanes to sanctifie them. You have therefore cause enough to pray together as well as Isaac and Rebekkah, even though you have not barren bodies, yea, and if you have children, yet it is requisite to crave Gods favourable blessing upon them, without which, they may prove afterwards the greatest crosses you have, instead of the greatest comforts; see therefore that you be not slack in this service of God.

Again, Rebekkahs duty is seen,2. She inqui­red of God when the children stri­ved in her wombe. in that she went to God to enquire when she found a more then ordinary striving in her wombe: wee must all learne of her to keep our peace with God, and to be alwaies ready to seeke to him, if any thing befall us that puts us to feare or trouble, as you see the people of God have done at all times. It be­comes the children of God still to enquire of him, and seeke to him in all occurrents. Indeed it pleaseth him to send such occasions un­to us, that by them we may be drawne nearer unto him, and visit him more often, and more cheerefully. They therefore that are strangers to God, and run any whether, rather then to him for help and directi­on, when troubles doe come unto them, are much too blame them­selves for profanenesse. They acknowledge God alone in word, but deny him in deed, that are thus estranged from him. Mend this fault now, and that you may with more assurance run to God when crosses and cumbers befall you, be sure to pray without ceasing, and to keep your hearts in with him, by calling upon him at all times. It is [Page 6] a most happy thing to have the Throne of grace alwaies open to ones prayers; and it is kept open by continuance, and daily exercising ones selfe in this service. If any say, how shall we enquire of God now, seeing we are now destitute of extraordinary Prophets, by whose meanes we may seek unto him? I answer, we have his Word, wee have his Name, we have his Ministers and faithfull people to go un­to, and by those we may as sufficiently seek unto him, as by any ex­traordinary Prophets. Wherefore as Rebekkah feeling that busling in her wombe, said, why am I thus? And went to enquire of God, Gen. 25.22. So must we in all occasions of disquietment, either of body, or of minde, thinke with our selves, why is it thus with me? and must come to prayer, and crave direction and help of him; We must run to his word, and seek to informe our selves from thence, what may be the cause of our present estate, and consult with his faithfull servants that have a larger measure of knowledge then our selves, that by their advice we may learne what is fit for us to doe, and upon what ground it is that matters be so with us, and God by these means will settle and quiet our mindes as surely, and firmly, as of old he ac­customed to doe by meanes of his holy Prophets. So you have Re­bekkahs piety to God, now see her carriage to her husband, and we finde in the Story of her life, testimonies of her being a dutifull wife unto him.

3. She was dutifull to her husband.For first, when she found him inclined to go against the will of God (in giving away that solemne blessing which she inherited from his Father Abraham, unto the Son to whom it was not due, because God had preferred the younger before the elder) she was carefull to prevent that sin, and to procure the blessing unto Iacob, to whom it was due, and how? Not by brawling and falling out with him, but by a gentle and a quiet meanes. I commend not the using of guile and falshood, but in that she fell not to it by violence of speech, but by a gentle and milde way, in that I cannot but commend her. Here­in she did the part of a loving, discreete, and dutifull wife, who reve­renced her husband, and desires to keep him from sin. She came not chaffing to Isaac, as once Sarah did to Abraham, but by a gentle course she caused him to escape the fault before he could commit it, and beyond his purpose. So must you good wives carry your selves, if your husbands be about to swerve out of the way, and you perceive it, you must endeavour by sweet and dutifull courses to prevent, or recall them from sin, not to use fierce passion, brawling, as sometimes women of a fierce spirit doe, who many times are punished for their indiscreet frowardnesse, by failing of their desires, and making things worse, rather then changing them for the better. The same disposi­tion to her husband she shewed in another passage too, for that she might procure the sending of Iacob into Padan Aram, she did not o­penly declare the matter to her husband, but came and related the trouble she had with Esaus wives, and told how bitter a thing it [Page 7] would prove unto her, if she were as bad yoked with another wife that Iacob should bring, and so won him to dispatch Iacob for a wife in­to Padan Aram.

A woman should alwaies deale by loving meanes with her hus­band, to get the good she would at his hands, and not by violence and clamour. You that would have the repute of good wives in your own hearts, see that you follow Rebekkah, prevaile by discreet, wise, and curteous courses, not by strong hand, and violence. But these eager, sharp, and passionate women, that will wrest the things the desire out of their husbands hands, (perhaps also inconvenient things) by chiding, and big, and loud words, as once I told you Sa­rah sought to do, or else by puling, and whining, and charging their husbands not to love them else, as the wife of Sampson did, are to be blamed as undiscreet, and disobedient wives, and if they repent not of their folly, and unrulinesse, the Lord will one day call them to ac­count for their misdemeanours; Gentlenesse, and dutifulnesse must adorn your conversation, and your husbands must see your conversa­tion coupled with feare to displease, so shall you make your selve and husbands happy, both at once, and have a kinde of lawfull power with them over whom you have not any authority.

But now of Rebekkahs carriage to her Sons, she was in the right,4. She loved her best son most. she loved the good son whom God loved most; Iacob was a plain man, but a good man, beloved of God, therefore she did love him too, and herein she did much excell her husband Isaac, and was more to be commended, and did better please God. Indeed herein she shewed her obedience to God, as well as her affection to Iacob, whom she de­sired to have attain the blessing, because she knew that God had ap­pointed it unto him. It is a necessary thing, that men should sub­mit themselves unto God in every thing, and become furtherers the best they can of fulfilling his good pleasure, when once he hath vouchsafed to manifest it unto them. O let us learn to submit our wills thus to Gods will, and to make it our care to have those things done by our selves and others which he would have done. And learne Parents, and all men, of Rebekkah, to love them best in whom the Lord hath printed his Image most clearely and abundantly. Let godlinesse be the loadstone of our affections rather then any other thing, yea let us all learn of her too, to strive to procure a blessing up­on our children, though not by such a course as she took, for herein she was manifestly blame worthy, yet by all good and honest courses that we can, even by our prayers for them, and good instructions to them; and the like. You have heard Rebekkahs goodnesse, so much as I remember that the Scriptures have left upon record, saving it is no­ted of her, that she made savoury meate for her husband,5. She pro­vided such food for her husband as he liked. such as he loved, she could not have done it so well then, if she had not taken notice of it, and done it often before. So it is the part of a good woman to cherish her husband in his diet, so far as her meanes and [Page 8] ability will permit, and having informed himself what is pleasing to him, accordingly to provide it for him. So shall she shew good will to her husband, which alwaies makes one carefull to please and gra­tifie the party beloved. Here is a patterne for you to live after, all you good women seek to give your husbands due content in their food, prepare things acceptable to them as you be able, especially, if they be weak, blinde, or otherwise afflicted; that your kinde u­sage this way, may even countervaile the want of other benefits, and cause their lives to be as comfortable to them, as in such crosses they may be: but without doubt she is a bad and unloving wife, who neg­lecteth to give her husband satisfaction in this point, who sets him short, and cares not to fit him with pleasing food; if they be not de­stitute of meanes, yea, who feeds her self deliciously in his absence, and must have some choice provision for her self when she pleaseth, that shall be hidden from his eye, and withdrawne from his mouth.

A great fault it is in a wife, to forget that her husband and she do make but one body, and to divide him from her in eating and drink­ing to whom she is so nearly linked in other society. Be no more of­fenders in this kinde, if you have been such, but now be good nurses to your husbands, and let them at least partake with your selves of a­ny good fare which you provide for your selves. These be the things commendable in Rebekkah. Now I come to her faults.

Her faults, She used fraud to conveigh the blessing to Iacob.First, she used deceit and fraud to conveigh the blessing unto Ia­cob, and sought rather to hooke it to him by a fleshly device, then to compasse it by a convenient and lawfull way. You shall reade the Story Gen. 27.1. and 17. She knew her husband was blinde, therefore she spake to Iacob to get the blessing by a cunning device, she sends for a Kid, makes such a dish as was pleasing to Isaacs palate, uses meanes to make his hands and neck seem rough, like unto Esaus, by covering them with the skins of the Kids as handsomely as shee could, and so sends him in to Isaac, having before emboldned him to say, though falsely, that he was Esau the eldest Son. This was a sin in her, the matter of it was fraud and fashood, the aggravations of it were, first, she drew Iacob into the sin of lying and shifting, even con­trary to his own temper, for the Scripture witnesseth of him, that He was a plain man.

Secondly, she was set upon it, that though Iacob objected he should get a curse rather then a blessing, by seeming to his Father a deceiver and a mocker, yet she found a meanes to encourage him in his lying, by a trick to beguile his Father well enough; that he should never finde him out, and so drew him to go thorough with the crafty de­vice: this was practised even against her husband also, to whom it least of all becommeth a wife to use deceit and lying. Only there was one mitigation and extenuation of her fault, she did aime at a good end, but a good intention cannot justifie unlawfull means that are used to accomplish it. We have in her then a fault of craftinesse, [Page 9] and deceit, and lying. There is a great difference betwixt wisdome and fraud, wisdome will alwaies hold it selfe to the side of justice, not alone in the thing it mainly seekes, but also in the path which it chooseth to walk in to that end; But fraud is as it were a rotten wis­dome, and cares not to follow equity and truth in the way it takes, and neither many times in the end. Abhorre fraud, that is, the carry­ing of a thing wilily with lying, and falshood, whether it be good or bad, but most of all if it be bad. It is a sin to do evill that good may come of it, as S. Paul teacheth, Rom. 3. It is a sin to lie, even for Gods cause, and to defend even his justice with false tales, and figments. As Iob ad­monisheth his frinds that did so, and that they might not seeme to impute unrighteousnesse to God in so sore punishing of Iob, they did impute hypocrisie to him that was punished. It is a sin to lie even for a purpose otherwise good, for we are commanded to put away lying. Wherefore, consider of your selves, if you have not lyed and begui­led, if you have not allured and encouraged others to joyne with you in lying, and beguiling, that else would not have done it. If you have done it against those that were neare to you, to whom you should have used more respect: And worst of all, if you have done it for a sinfull end too, that is, not to get what was due to you, as here Iacob, but what was not due, by over-reaching your neighbours in bargaining, and the like, not to keep a man from sin as here, but ra­ther to draw him to sin, as in case of unjust complaints to a superiour, to make him punish, when he should not punish; Not to do your selves good, as here Iacob, but to do another a mischief, as Davids false accusers to Saul, and if your consciences accuse you of such fraud, repent of it before God, blame your selves for it, seek pardon, resolve to put it away for hereafter, and intreate the Lord to fortifie you against all such wickednesse, that so you may be pardoned, else great is the danger of such wickednesse, The bread of deceit shall be gra­vell in the belly, and wealth gotten by lying shall prove but vanity tossed to and fro of them that seeke death. I pray you, consider how God cha­stised this guile in these two good persons, and that though they had a good end in it; For, this occasioned the rage of Esau, which made him threaten, yea, and after attempt to kill Iacob, and so drove Iacob from Isaacs family, and kept them from that comfortable enjoy­ment each of other, which else they might have had for twenty years together. And be you now lovers of plainnesse, abhorre shifting and falshood, trust God with the successe of all your affaires, and trust not to your own hearts, and heads, he that seekes to effect his desires by honest and just meanes, he puts confidence in God, and not in himselfe, he that useth lying and cousinage, he puts not his hope in God, but in his own wit and heart: Shew true and well grounded confidence in God, by keeping your selves within the paths of equi­ty and truth, lovely pathes, faire pathes, straight pathes, which shall surely lead you to more happinesse and comfort at last, than lying, [Page 10] and fraud, hatefull, dirty, and crooked paths can possibly do. Learn as David saith, Psal. 119. To hate lying, and to love Gods Law, love to be guided by God, who is the God of truth, and hate to follow lies, which are of the devill, the author of lying. Doe not object, that you cannot possibly escape such and such mischiefe, bring about such and such a good businesse, unlesse you turne a little aside; to a little lying. I answer first, trust God with successe, beleeve a­bove hope, let faith guide you, not naturall reason; Cannot he doe that which reason will call impossible? Hath not be said, Rowle thy self upon God, and thy waies, and he shall bring it to passe? Will you not rest upon him for the performance of so evident a promise? And se­condly I answer, that the greatest evill must be suffered rather than the smallest sin committed, and the attaining of the greatest benefit, cannot countervaile the committing of the least sin, and that man doth not truly know either God, or sin, or the world, or himselfe, that doth not yeeld to these truths.

2. She was too much trou­bled at her evill daugh­ters in law.So you have this fault of Rebekkahs, another is, that she was too much troubled at her evill daughters in law, and was weary of life because of them. This is a fault, to make crosses too too heavy our selves, to be so distempered with them, so, as to become weary of life because of them, yea, it is a fault found in those that were truly religious, and godly; Eliah would fain have parted with his soul, be­cause of the troubles which he met withall, he desired to die, saith the Story,2 King. 19.4. and said, It is enough, Now Lord take away my soule from me, for I am no better than my Fathers. Moses would fain have dyed too, when the people murmured against him, and he poures forth his griefe before God in these words, If thou wilt deale thus with me, kill me now, kil me if I have found favour in thine eyes, and let me not see mine evill. Some­times you finde good men desirous to escape death, and crying, Lord save me from the hands of mine enemies, and sometimes againe even covetous of it, and crying with vehemency again and again, kill me Lord, kill me, and if thou lovest me, kill me. Iob was exceeding desi­rous to die,To desire death because of misery, is a sin, and why? and said, He would seek for it as for gold, yea, and fine gold, So you perceive that mans nature is prone to waxe weary of living, be­cause of affliction, and that this is a fault, and a weaknesse, is evident. It is an act of ingratitude, because a man considers not as well the good he enjoyeth, as the evill, for if he would reckon well, he doth al­waies receive more good at Gods hand in this life, than evill, but as one bitter morsell causeth that the mouth tasteth nothing almost but bitternesse, though it have before received many dainty morsels, so it is with us in this case.

2 Againe, it is a fruit of hopelesnesse, and despaire, the soule doth not expect the favourable goodnesse of God to strengthen, and deliver in due time, but thinks it will never be better with mee till I die, and therefore wisheth it selfe out of the world. Hope would hold the heart up from these faintings, but it is a kinde of [Page 11] despaire that casts it into such swounes, as Iob said, As for mine hope, where is it?

Thirdly, pride is one great cause of this disposition, men consider not with themselves how unworthy they be of any good, how much they have deserved far greater evill, and therefore are immoderately vexed with those they feele, and therefore count their beeing a bur­den. But is it not a fruit of great pride in a man, that as if he were his own maker, preserver, disposer, will be no longer then he may have his own will? and may see things to go along with him after his owne wishes.

Further, a man wrongs himselfe exceedingly, by suffering himself to grow weary of life, for first, he makes the misery greater, by make­ing himselfe weaker to beare it. If a man be to beare a great burden, it doth him much hurt to scratch the skin of his shoulder, for that will adde much to the pain of bearing. A gauled place will smart of it selfe, how ill doth be provide for himselfe, that rubs off the skin from his shoulders, when he is put to carry a thing. So doth he that will needs give way to so much impatiency, as to be weary of life, yea, he exposeth himselfe to the danger of becomming a self-mur­therer, that yeeldeth to this wearinesse of life. For it will not be ve­ry hard to perswade any man to cast away that which is his burden. So it is evident, that this was an offence in Rebekkah.

And now come you men and women of all rankes, looke into your selves. Have not you also been weary of life, and that upon a very small occasion? A maide is crossed in her desires, by her parents for her good, and she sees no likelihood of having what shee would have, then she pules and takes on, and wisheth she were dead and buried, she would forgive him that would knock her on the head. A man hath met with somewhat a froward woman which vexeth him with her words, then he will be dead in a chafe, I would I were out of the world, never man was so pestered with a shrew as I, so it is with wives too. Come now, recount you owne passions, are you not ashamed of these drunken distempers? what is life, a thing so dog cheape with you, that upon every occasion you would cast it away? Are your selves things of so little value that so small a matter should make you weary of your selves? You wrong God exceedingly in such distem­pers, for you make it appeare that you think of him, as of an angry governour, that cares not how unreasonably he laies upon his servants in his anger: Either these corrections are sufferable, or not, (I meane such as by wisdome and discretion you might compose your selves to beare with gentlenesse,) or they be not, if they be, why do you chafe thus? If they be not, who hath sent them? Verily you provoke God to send unsufferable crosses, that will make easie crosses unsuffe­rable; What saith the Father to the froward childe, doe you cry for nothing, take you that then to make you cry for something, and so doubles and redoubles his blows with a strong arme, till the childe, [Page 12] feeling the smart of his Fathers anger, begins to compose himselfe to a little more sufferance. Brethren, let us repent of this folly, there scarce liveth a man that hath not overshot himselfe in this fashion: O let us repent of it, and let us diligently resist such disorderly passi­ons hereafter; Let nothing make us weary of life but sin, and not that so excessively, as to make us intemperately wish death. Of sin we should be weary, but of life for sins sake I know not whether we may allow our selves at all to be weary. But for crosses, be they what they will, we should not be so weak and impatient, as to grow weary of life. For God is able to deliver us out of all crosses, and will do it, and he will so sanctifie them to us, that it may be more for our profit than if it were removed, and can give, as in Iobs case he did, so blessed an issue, that our selves shall confesse it was but our folly, not to be willing to continue under them according to his will. Had not Iob cause to unwish his former wishes, when the Lord did make so large an addition of happy dayes unto him? Above all, we must consider of our worthinesse to be damned, that we may not thinke much of crosses, and labour so to rest upon God for the escape of damnation, that afflictions which are but for a short season, may not seeme unto us extreame. Looke upon our Lord Iesus Christ, what sufferings were comparable to his? Yet we never meet with any wearinesse of life, or wishing of death in him. Looke upon S. Paul too, Never man had feeling of greater tribulation, and he tels us, that hee tooke pleasure in necessities, afflictions, tribulations; but that he wished himselfe dead, that hee might be free from his crosses, wee never reade.

Let us follow the vertues of godly men, but let their weaknesses be our warnings. And that we may not distaste life for any crosses that befall us therein, let us often renew our faith in Gods gracious promises, to give us an happy issue out of all, and to bring us safely to his heavenly kingdome. Moreover, if sometimes these fainting fits doe gather upon us, and our mindes be overtaken with this tired­nesse of spirit, let us learne though to be humbled, yet not to be dis­couraged. We conclude not against Elias, Moses, Rebekkah, Iob, that they were not truly sanctified, because they were imperfect in pati­ence; Why should we make such untrue, and uncharitable, and in­discreet conclusions, either against our selves, or others with whom we live? As an extenuating of faults to make them seeme nothing, and make our hearts hard under them, is to be condemned, so an over-aggravating of them to make our selves seem no children, making our case worse then ever any mans before, is likewise to be condemned; Satan is author of both these follies, and the effect of the latter is to drive us from God, as well as of the former, and all things are ill used when they tend to keepe us from comming to God, and trusting in him. So much of Rebekkahs good and bad, now of the good and evill occurrents that befell her.

[Page 13]Her prosperity first was great,3. Her prospe­rity, She was effectually called. for God called her from her Fathers house, in which Idolatry did raigne, and false worship prevailed, to be a member of Abrahams house, and a mother of the Messiah, and a professor, and practiser of Gods true religion; and not alone so, but gave her grace to be a godly woman, an heire of the promise made to Abraham, together with her husband. This is the greatest of mercies here below, to be called from darknesse to light, from serving the de­vill and Idols, to serve the true and living God.

If God have granted to any this mercy, even to call them effectu­ally to himselfe out of the darknesse of a false worship and religion, to the light of a godly life. How much cause hath he to blesse God, and to rejoyce in this mercy above all mercies, and bee freequently and heartily thankfull? But if you have not yet attained it, for many live in the Church that be not of it; take notice of your wretched con­dition, and now cry earnestly to God to bring you to the effectuall and saving knowledge of his truth, that you also may be indeed, and [...]ot in bare profession, of the houshold of Abraham, the true Church.

But Rebekkah had other benefits, beauty, health, and strength,Gen. 24.16.20 2. She was beautifull, healthy, strong, had a rich and god­ly husband, and a good childe. for ought we reade, after marriage as before. A rich and godly husband in whom she was doubly happy for her soule and state, and one godly childe too, whom she dearely loved, and who shewed himselfe a man worthy to be loved. A good husband, a good state, a good childe, good health, bee they not benefits indebting us to God in many praises, and thankes, and much carefull obedience? Let not these mercies be strangers to your thoughts, but ponder upon them to stir up your selves to thanksgiving and obedience.

Now for her crosses,4. Her afflicti­ons. some shee suffered in her dayes as well as others.

First, her husband fell blinde and weake, and almost bedridden.1. Her hus­band was blinde and weake. No doubt but she did participate with him in this affliction, and it was a griefe to her to see him so imprisoned in darknesse, and some trouble it must needs be though her love made it easie to give atten­dance upon him in that estate.2. Her hus­bands affecti­ons were set too much on the worser sonne. 3. Esaus reso­lution to kill Iacob. Likewise she could not but grieve to see her husbands affections to be so much more than they should have been for a long time upon her elder, but worser son.

It was also a great griefe unto her to see the rudenesse and bloodi­nesse of her son Esau, who comforted himselfe against his brother, with an intention, so soon as his Fathers funerals were over, to dis­patch him, and rob him of the blessing, though he could not get it to himselfe. Would it not cut the heart of one of you Parents, to heare that one of your sons (you having but a couple in all the world) should resolve to become a murderer of the other, and so you stood in danger of being deprived of them both at once; would not both these things grieve you? Againe,4. Iacob was banished from her as it were. it was a griefe to her to have her good son as it were banished from her house, and compelled to fly away in secret for his life. For had he not been compelled to steale [Page 14] into Padan Aram in respect of Esau, as to steale thence again in respect of Laban, his Fathers estate was not so low, that he must needs have travailed over that Iordan with a staffe, and come to Labans house all alone, and there have served an hard service for a wife. Sure Isaac was not a prodigall, he had not consumed his estate so, that Abrahams grandchilde must be sent out so poorely appointed, whose steward when he fetched a wife for Isaac, had ten Camels well laden with rich things, and many servants to attend him, and so with speed returned home with his errand. But feare of Esau caused him to goe speedily and secretly, that no man might know it, lest so he might have fallen into mischiefe by his meanes, and to tarry so long till he might heare his brother was pacified.

Now did not this, think you, wound Rebekkahs heart? Did she not part with a great part of her comfort, when she parted with her be­loved son Iacob? so far, so long, and in such a manner.

5. She was ve­xed with the frowardnesse of her daugh­ters.But worst of all, so long as she lived with her daughters, shee was miserably vexed with their frowardnesse, and ill conditions. Indeed at length Esau tooke his journey to mount Seir, where her friends dwelled, and made this crosse more easie, by removing his habitati­on with his wives and all he had: but in the mean it was an anguish to her, and that (viz. losse of Esau too, when Iacob was gone) could not but minister matter of some affliction to her in minde.

Now let all of us be perswaded to looke for these and the like crosses, that by fortifying our selves against them, we may be made more patient, and so beare them with lesse discontent: for what are we, that God should handle us with more indulgence than this so good a woman? And those that lie under any such crosse in hus­band, sons, daughters, daughters in law, let them frame themselves to a more contented suffering, because they finde that they bee no other kind of evils, than those wherewith their Father hath exercised their betters in former times, as he doth also for the present; Hee must be an unruly childe that will roare, and take on, when he beareth no more than his other brethren and sisters beare before him; yea, and if we have escaped these particular crosses, let us be thankfull to God for our freedome even from them, and make the bearing of the rest more easie, because we have not (as we have deserved, and might have had) the same we have, and these also for an overplus of misery.

THE SEVENTENTH EXAMPLE.
OF ESAV.

WEE are now to handle the example of Esau: Hee was a twin, Iacob being the other twin: We must treate of his birth, life, and death.

First, for his birth,Esau his birth. we are informed that hee was the son of Isaac, and of Rebekkah the wife of Isaac, daughter of Bethuel, by his wife Milcah. Which Bethuel was son of Nachor, the brother of Abraham. He was borne in the yeare of the world 2108, as some thinke; and as others, in the yeare 2168. and after the flood, as some thinke 512. and as others, 562. for there is 60. yeares difference in chronologie, because of the doubt about Abrahams birth. Now the manner of his birth was this, as the Scriptures relate, Gen. 25.25. He came out first in colour red, and all over rough, as an hairy garment, for which cause his name was called Esau, which signe made as one that was stronger than ordinary children be, and all over covered with haire. In him the Lord shewed the freedome of his election, as the Apostle notes, Rom. 9. For, Before the children were borne, or, had done good or evill, it was said, The elder shall serve the younger. God chose not him but Iacob, though they were borne both of the same Parents, and at the same burden.

Now concerning his life, we must consider; 1. That which was [Page 16] good therein. 2. That which was evill. 3. His prosperity. 4. His crosses and miseries.

1 His good quality. 1. He shewed good respect unto Isaac his Father.For the first, some things he did that for matter were good and commendable, as even a bad man may have some good things found in him. The first good thing was, that he did shew good respect un­to Isaac his Father. For he was glad to gratifie him in his diet, bring­ing home the Venison that he caught, of which was made dainty meat, which the old man loved to feed upon, and when he came to him to present his Venison, according to his Fathers appointment, that he might receive the blessing from his Father, he spake reverent­ly unto him. For when he brought the meate ready prepared for his eating, he said thus to him, Let my Father arise and eat of his sons Venison, that thy soule may blesse mee. Chap. 27.31. and after ver. 34. Blesse me, even me also, ô my Father, and ver. 38. Hast thou but one blessing my Father, blesse me, even me also, ô my Father. Though his Father had gi­ven the blessing to Iacob his brother, yet he doth not rage and grow in­to passionate expostulations, but with gentle and reverent termes, and with teares, and with prayers seekes to get some blessing from him. This proveth evidently, that he carried a reverent esteeme of his Fa­ther in his heart, and honoured him duly. The same love and respect he shewed to Isaac after, for when his wrath was kindled against his brother Iacob, and that he minded to revenge himselfe by killing Ia­cob: Yet he resolved to forbeare till Isaac was dead, that he might not procure too much griefe and sorrow to him in his old age, and there­fore it is recorded, that he said, The dayes of mourning for my Father are at hand, then will I kill my brother Iacob, ver. 41. He would not have de­ferred the murder of his brother for Isaacs sake till after his death, but that he bare some respect and good will unto his Father. And hee shewed the same respect unto him after, Chap. 28.6. For when hee perceived his Father had blessed Iacob, and sent him to fetch a wife from Padan Aram, and not to take any Canaanitish woman, and that the daughters of Canaan which he had married displeased his Fa­ther, he went to his Vncle Ishmael, and tooke his daughter Mahalath to wife, seeking as well as his wit could serve, to please his Father in that latter match, although indeed he went not rightly to work in that marriage neither. Some care you see he shewed to give his Fa­ther content, though he had not wisdome enough to order himselfe rightly for that end.

Thus this Esau, though he wanted grace, and feared not God, yet he bare love and reverence in some degree as a carnall man could un­to his Father Isaac; who loved him dearely, and so he requited his love againe, with such a kinde of love as might be found in an un­sanctified person. Now all you sons and daughters that have Pa­rents living with you, or have had, come and lay your selves in the ballance with Esau, and consider if you have so much as equalled him in this kinde of imperfect dutifulnesse towards your Parents. [Page 17] He out of a kinde of naturall inclination, or out of hope of being still kindly used and blessed of his Father, shewed much respect unto him divers wayes. Hath nature, have carnall ends prevailed so much with you to encline your hearts to your parents, as they prevailed with Esau? If so, yet boast not of this, thinke not much the better of your selves, these kinde of shadows of vertues, cannot prove you to be god­ly children, nor afford you sound comfort, because themselves be not sound and perfect. You have no great reason to please your selves, because you are as good as Esau, an unsanctified man, and one of whom we can give little hope, but that he was a casta-way. I say there­fore, satisfie not your selves, be not good in your own eyes because of this painted and counterfeit goodnesse. But if otherwise it be, and that it is evident you come far short of Esau, and have not decla­red so much regard of your parents as he hath done, then how bad must you account your selves, that are much more sinfull even than an Esau might have been? And it is cleare, that divers children be far worse than this bad son of Isaac, for they shew no reverence, no submission to their aged Parents, but apparently sleight them in word and deed; grumble at them, chafe against them, carry them­selves cuttedly, and currishly towards them, if at any time they be crossed by them; will not be held from following their own evill desires, as Esau was from killing his Brother, by a desire not to grieve them, but wilfully run on in their wicked courses, even though they see and know that their wicked carriage doth greatly afflict and tor­ment their Parents; but purposely some do things to torment them. O, sin hath a greater sway and dominion in such childrens hearts than it had in Esaus, and they are far more wicked than he was. Yea, when they see their Parents displeased with their wayes, yet they have not so much desire to give them content as Esau had, nor do not so much as labour in any manner, though never so poorely, to give them any satisfaction at all. Woe, woe unto such children; what can he ex­pect from God, that is a viler son than Esau was? Let such shame themselves by his example, and now receive reproofe with meekness, and greatly repent of their undutifulnesse, if ever they purpose to at­tain pardon. And now, let all children that desire to enjoy in them­selves the comfort of being the children and chosen of God, strive to outstrip Esau in filiall obedience and duty. Let them for conscience sake to God, put on a largor measure of love, and a greater reverence to their Parents, labouring to please them in all things, in the Lord, & out of conscience, to submit themselves unto them, & honor them because God hath required it at their hands, and to labour to for­beare all sin, as in an holy regard to God, so in part also, out of a feare to vex and kill their godly Parents, whose tender affection to them cannot but cause that their wicked carriage shall prove a mighty cor­rasive unto their soules. Be as good as Esau, yea in this matter be you far better than he, content not thy selfe to be even with a miserable [Page 18] Esau in dutifulnesse to your Parents. Another thing in Esau we have recorded in Scripture, which is commendable, and that towards his brother Iacob, for though he went against him with foure hundred men, intending to take a sharp revenge by killing him at least, if not his wives and children too,2. He was mel­ted with his brothers lo­ving, kinde, humble carri­age. yet when he saw his brothers loving, and kinde, and humble carriage, in sending him a rich present, and in bowing down and saluting him with his face to the ground seaven times; his naturall affection prevailed against his former unruly passion, and he handled him very curteously, and ran to him, wept on his neck, kissed him, gave him kinde words, invited him to his coun­trey, and would have left off his servants with him to do him service, and so returned, and did him no hurt at all.

Every man sees that this was well done of Esau. Come and imi­tate him, and if you have been transported with rage against any, spe­cially against a brother for any true or imaginary iniquity; yet when submissivenesse and curtesie is shewed unto you, let it melt you, let it win you, pacifie, appease you, and cause your passion to depart, and though you have intended, attempted, and begun to use violence, yet cast out such thoughts, forbeare the execution of such evill pur­poses, and turn your violence into kindnesse and humanity. Be better than Esau, and do this to any man, as he to a brother, and without such gifts and submission, which be did by such inducements, and shew love and kindnesse for very conscience, as he did out of naturall passion striving in him: Yea, if any man have been imbittered against another for any cause, and hath so far yeelded to his own fury, as to begin to do naughtily in seeking revenge; O let him do as well as Esau did, go back in the middest of his enterprise, and not suffer him­selfe to be so confirmed in wickednesse, as to go through with sinfull designes. Let the feare of God, the checks of conscience, the ap­prehension of Gods displeasure against the doers of such things, even reclaime you in the middest, as naturall kindnesse did this sinfull man. Be not satisfied to do as well as Esau in this case, but exceed him, and doe far better than he, that you may shew your selves to have that grace of which Esau was destitute.

3. He was not greedy of giftsFarther Esau, for matter of goods, shewes himselfe not to be ex­treamly greedy and worldly minded, for when his brother bad sent unto him a great drove of cattle, even a gift of great value. Gen. 32. 14, 15. Two hundred shee Goates, and as many Ewes, with twenty hee Goates, and as many Rams, with thirty milch Camels and their Colts, and forty Kine, and ten Buls, and twenty shee Asses with ten Foales. I say a rich and gay booty, he did earnestly and heartily re­fuse the same, saying, Chap. 33.9. I have enough my brother, keep that which is thine owne, and would not take it but upon urgent pressing: First, it is said ver. 11. He urged him, and he took it. Now will you not shew your selves as good men as Esau in this case? Know when you have enough, be not greedy of gifts, and when your state is [Page 19] already rich and abundant, seek not to get into your hands though it be by receiving a gift, that which is anothers. O that Esau should be able to say, I have enough, keep that which is thine, and many that be Christians in shew, should not be able to discerne when they have enough, but should be as eager to get even by worse meanes, or as bad as this, even by taking gifts and bribes for doing but even justice or which is worse, for doing injustice, and should by oppression and harsh dealing even with poore and needy men, their Tenants and un­derlings, seek to get even more than enough.

If any man amongst you finde himselfe so earthly disposed, let him earnestly condemne himselfe, and say alas, what a slave am I to riches? that have not yet so far denyed the world, but that I am more covetous and unjust than Esau shewed himselfe.

If any say, yea, Esau did this towards a brother;

I answer, doth not Christianity teach us to love our neighbours as our selves?

If any say, but though Esau said he had enough, yet it may be, that he thought not so;

I answer, In saying so, he shews he thought he was so at that time, and knew he should be so, therefore should a good man that would be counted far better than Esau set himselfe to be so indeed, and at all times?

Come then, you that have estates large enough to afford you all due content, come I say, and learne of Esau to know when you have enough, and not strive to get more by any greedy, unjust and oppres­sive course.

Let others enjoy their owne, and be you content with your owne, yea goe yet farther, and be content to lose some of you owne to those that are poore, and in necessity, and far lower and meaner than your selves.

But last of all,4. He joyned with his bro­ther in bury­ing his Father Esau joyned with his brother Iacob in burying his Father Isaac, and so at once shewed his respect to his Father, in doing that last duty, and his perfect reconciliation to his brother, in joyn­ing with him to doe it. Learne you to shew honour to your Parents in the last act, and let not an old grudge stick so in your stomacks, as to hinder you from doing any good work because you cannot bring your hearts to be partners with those that have offended you. Esau, Esau shall rise in judgement against you, if you continue still to have such a coare against them from whom you have received injury, as that their presence will keep you from doing good workes with them in their company, and in their society.

And these be all the good things which I can call to minde that the Scripture tels of this evill man. Let us therefore passe on to the consideration of his faults, which are more, and greater.

And first in generall,His faults, 1. In generall, he was an hy­pocrite. though he lived more than forty yeares in his Fathers house a religious man, and a carefull worshipper of God, [Page 20] yet he lived there as an hypocrite, and got no true goodnesse, as ap­peares by that he was not kept from fratricide, or brother-murdering, by any conscience to God, but alone by a kinde of love and respect to his Father. Look to your selves I pray you, you that be children of godly Parents, and have been trained up by them as well as they knew how, look to your selves, that you continue not sinfull, and wicked, and hypocrites at the last, such I meane, as care not to get the true knowledge of God, but continue still lovers and servants of sin, though you have a little forme of godlinesse, to forbeare some sins, and doe some good things for your Parents sake. This is to be an Esau, even to enjoy the meanes of grace and salvation in a godly house, and there to conforme a little outwardly, and to abstaine from some sins out of respect to the Governours, though you have no true conscience to God. Search your hearts you wives, children, servants, that are educated, and live under the roofe of good men in the Church of God, under good meanes, and see your misery, if you be no better than this man was. And now labour to profit by the means of grace, to get the truth of grace causing you to stand in awe of God, and to depart from all wickednesse, out of due obedience to his Ma­jesty, that it may be said of you, these and these, and all sins you re­solve to leave, not for sinister respects of this or that person, or thing, of a Father, or the like, but out of love to God, and a true desire to honour him that hath taken you to be his people. Thinke not well of your selves because some self respect, or humane consideration keeps you from running into grosser sins, but drive to imprint such a filiall regard to the living God in your hearts, that may cause you to shun all wickednesse for the Lords sake, and then you may comfortably say in your selves, now I know I am a true member of the Church, and not as Esau was, at least then, a rotten, and a withering, and a fruitlesse branch, that bringeth forth leaves alone and no good fruit.

But let us more particularly search into Esau:

First, in respect of his carriage of himselfe in respect of outward things: then of his carriage for matters of religion, and the things of God. Thirdly, His behaviour to his Parents. Lastly, to his brother.

2. His parti­cular faults. 1. He gave himself whol­ly to hunting.For the first, his life was very faulty in the manner of his orders for the world, for in his younger time he gave himselfe wholly to hunt­ing, as it is said of him, Gen. 25.27. The boyes grew up, and Esau was a cunning Hunter, a man of the field; He meaneth a gallant fellow that gave himselfe to little else but the sport of hunting, and was still, in the field following that sport. He was a rich mans son, and his Father had great meanes, and allowed him enough, wherefore he cared not for any usefull kinde of living, but followed sports and jol­lity, and by name was a great hunter still in the fields, to please him­selfe in that humour. Is not this also the common sin of many richer persons? who as they had wealth given them to be fewell to idle­nesse and voluptuousnesse, give themselves over to sports, and some [Page 21] to this of hunting, and regard not to profit in any good study or pro­fitable trade of life. Esaus hunting may seeme not to have been ac­cording to our present custome, with kennels of bounds, but with bow and quiver, as it is noted, Chap. 25. But howsoever, he was set wholly upon sports, and sold himselfe to that kinde of delight, let­ing goe other things of better note and use. Surely then, it is a sin to live voluptuously, to have none other calling but pastimes and vaine sports, to make that ones occupation, that should be alone his recrea­tion, and to spend himselfe in such a trifling vaine thing that should be used as a triflle alone, to refresh our selves after matters of greater consequence. Nimrod was an hunter, Ishmael was an archer, Esau a field man; you reade no such thing of Sem, Abraham, Isaac, Iacob. Why should you follow the patterne of those men whom the Scrip­ture speaketh of with disgrace? and not theirs rather, who have an honourable name in the book of God. I pray you call your selves to an account for your expence of time, must we not answer to God how we have lived, how we have bestowed our dayes and houres, will this be a good answer? I spent the day in hunting, hawking, carding, di­cing, and so I did from time to time, one day at one sport or merry meeting, another, at another, but all in such toyes; Can you bee so fond as to imagine or beleeve, that God for this cause gave you wit, sences, lives, health, strength, wealth, and other like meanes of doing good?

See this fault now, so many as are guilty, and set your selves to a more profitable kinde of living, or else the day will come when you shall bootlesly wish that you had never been; O so lay out your life, that the world and your selves may be the better for it. Live as Abra­ham and Iacob did, not as Esau, follow some study, follow some good husbandry.

Live, as those that know there is another life after this, and that there be more weighty and honourable things to doe than playing and sporting: Take heed of bringing your selves into the number of those that are Lovers of pleasures, more than lovers of God. If you say, why? Then do you condemne all use of sports, as hunting, fowling, or the like?

I answer, no. I doe not, but I say, let not this in a manner be the totall summe of your employment. Have figures, as well as cyphers in the number of your dayes, let these kindes of exercises have some small quantity of time for your refreshment, but spend your selves in better things, or else you shall be censured with S. Iames his cen­sure, You have lived in pleasure upon earth, and then I am sure you shall live in torment when you must leave the earth.

But another fault we have in Esau, for the manner of his hunting,2. He follow­ed his hunting over-eagerly. ver. 29. He came from the field, and was faint, he followed his pastime over-eagerly and excessively, and knew not how to breake it off in due time, till very hunger and faintnesse brought him home. Sure [Page 22] reason will conclude that it must needs be folly and a sin to be so bound to some sport, that one knowes not a due season of leaving it off, but must run after it a long time together, till faintnesse or hun­ger follow. To be eager after pastimes, and stay so long at them as if they were great matters, even till extreame wearinesse and hunger take one off, and rather compell, than perswade him to leave, this is an inordinate using of sports. For these recreations are in the very wisdome of nature appointed alone to cheere up the minde, when it is wearied with great imployments, that it may be fitted the better for them afterwards: and they are not to be followed for their own sakes, as not being worthy to bee made any part of the end of a wise mans life. Now he that follows them with so immoderate eagernesse, and so long together, makes it appeare that he doth not use them as their nature requireth, and instead of fitting himselfe for better actions by them, doth altogether unfit himselfe for any good action. For what can he performe well, that hath toiled himselfe in a toy till hee bee quite spent?

Learne I pray you to see this fault in your selves, and amend it, even staying too long at your gawdes, following them such a space of time together, or with such great violence, that you be even tired and spent by them. Sports must be done sportingly, not with the like seriousnesse, and earnestnesse, as serious matters. A small deale of time should be allotted for matters of small value, for seeing time is precious, to give much of a precious thing for that which is a very meane and worthlesse thing, is surely to suffer ones selfe to be con­sumed by fancy and passions, and not to walke rationally, and dis­creetly.

Learne therefore not to suffer your selves to be brought under the bondage of any the most lawfull recreation, but to be able to breake off seasonably.

And when is the season, ye may ask?

I answer, when you have bestowed so much time in them, as to have attained the proper end of them. As in meate and drink, a man should forbear to take more, when he hath received so much as is re­quisite for the ends of food. So in sports.

And every mans discretion will tell him, unlesse he hath put out his eyes by making himselfe a bondman to pastimes, that the end is to fit him for better matters, by preserving the health, and maintain­ing the vigour and cheerefulnesse of his body and minde. He must not tarry at them as long as he can, or till he be weary; but when he hath been so long constant in them as is fit to stir and exercise his body, and prepare him for serious matters, then must he leave them off, and goe to serious matters. And I pray you, let me propound to your considerations a fit rule for the measuring of your time for sports. Will not sanctified reason tell you that you ought not to bestow more time in recreations, though never so honest, to refresh [Page 23] your bodies then in spirituall and holy duties to edifie your soules. Give not more houres usually to these basest of all things, playes and games than to those most usefull of all things, reading the Scrip­tures, Prayer, Meditations, and those things that are next to spiritu­all duties in value and usefulnesse, studying some worthy knowledge, or doing some profitable businesse in your callings. Let not the more worthy thing be set behinde the lesse worthy: let not the Vas­sall be set above his Soveraign, and have more honour than his Lord and King.

Another fault in Esau in regard of his conversation about earthly things is, that when he came now to be an ageder man,3. He made himself great by war. and saw it vain to follow pastime, he fell, as Isaac tels him, Gen. 27.40. By thy sword shalt thou live. He made himselfe great by war. The sword was not appointed to get lands and livings withall, but to defend and maintaine men against unjust violence, and to punish offenders and malefactors. But Esau followed the wars to make himselfe great, as it hath been used much formerly, and is now. Men would fight with others to take away their lands and goods from them, and to make themselves possessours and Lords of their countries, to get riches, command, and glory, and make themselves great in worldly respects, they would betake themselves to weapons and fighting. This is, so far as I can discern, a fault and sin, I say, to take occasion of warring, and making battailes, to win mens lands and goods from them.

If you say, how was this a part of Isaacs blessing to Esau, if it were a sinne?

I answer; Isaacs meaning is, to relate what outward prosperity Esau should have: so that he doth not justifie all the meanes he should use to make himselfe great, but alone shewes, that he should be great, and obtain a gallant countrey. It is a kinde of temporall blessing to overthrow in war, and to conquer, though one deale not justly in that matter of war. Indeed if men may live by their sword, where is the rule of equity, Doe you as you would bee done by; where is the following after peace? which all are commanded to follow with all. Where is that threat, or curse become? Which David pro­nounceth from God by way of just imprecation against such, Scatter the people that delight in war: Such kinde of war as is enterprized to make a living of, and to get away other mens possessions; for else to fight Gods battailes, as Iosuah and David did, in pursuing them with the sword which were Gods enemies, and whom he appointed to be so pursued, is a good thing and honourable; and such as those worthy men before named did much delight in. So then to make warres and stirres, by invading others, and picking and ready accepting any oc­casion of quarrell for the raising of a Monarchie or Principalitie to himselfe, is a sinne, and, so farre as I see it, was Esaus sinne, who by his sword made himselfe owner of such a Countrie, as within a little time his posteritie was raised to a great Kingdome; for he dispos­sessed [Page 24] the inhabitants of Mount Seir, and erected the beginning of the kingdome of Edom. Indeed, to live by ones sword, or by his wits, may well dispute for the precedency in sinfulnesse. The one cou­zens, the other kils, the one useth secret tricks, the other open force. The one armeth it selfe with fraud, the other with violence. The one hurts men in goods, the other in life too; the one will have it be­cause he can over-reach you in wit, the other because he can over-master you in strength; the one careth not so he can beguile you, whe­ther he have iust title or no, the other careth not so he can beate you, whether his title be good or not; the one breaketh the eighth and ninth Commandements, the other the eighth and sixth Comman­dements: never a better of them, but that the worse, which is joined with more crueltie and bloudinesse. And Esau had a kind of presage of his fierce and bloudie nature, when he looked so red at his very birth, and when he was affected with the red colour of the pottage, so red, so red, in respect whereof also his name began to be called Edom, which signifieth red.

Here you may see what an erring judgement man hath since his fall, for how have men honoured Conquerours and great fighters, and souldiers; whereas if the war was entred into, not out of compulsion to defend, or out of justice to punish publike injuries against Cities, or Common-wealths, or Countries, it was meere robbery and mur­der: they were but great Pyrates, and great Theeves, and great mur­derers; and yet the foolish blindnesse of men will needs give them honour and good esteeme.

But I need not disgrace war to you, only this you must note, that Esau which gave himselfe in his younger time to nothing else but sports afterwards gave himselfe to nothing else but war and spoiles.

Oft voluptuous youth many times ends in an injurious old age.

They set up themselves by bad meanes at last, which gave them­selves to vanity and toyes before. Thus much of Esaus conversation in respect of these earthly things: Now see his behaviour in respect of spirituall things.

4. He was a prophane man, which prophannesse shewed it selfe in 3. acts. 1. In selling his birth right 2 In despising it. 3. In leaving the land of Canaan.And herein he was so bad a liver, that the Apostle cals him a pro­phane fellow, and warnes all of us not to be prophane as he was.

His prophannesse shewed it selfe in two acts:

First, in selling his birth-right.

Secondly, in despising it, and that continually, and with great carelesnesse; so shall you reade in the Story of Gen. 25.31, 32. The matter was thus, Esau came hungry and faint from hunting, Iacob had made red pottage, Esaus hunger made his eye apt to be taken with the lively colour of the red broth; he was as hungry men be, very ea­ger after food, and prayes his brother to give him a messe of the red pottage. Iacob saith, Sell me thy birth-right then, that is, passe over to me all those priviledges that appertaine to thee as the elder brother, and on that condition I will give thee broth enough: Esau thinkes, [Page 25] perhaps also he said so too, I am going to die. I cannot conceive that he meanes, I am now ready for hunger to give up the ghost, and must needs die, if I have not instantly some of this food, for such faintnesse would scarce have given him leave to have entred into such a parle, & Isaacs house, or some in it would have afforded the yong master some­thing to have kept him frō starving. But I suppose he meaneth, I must shortly die, & the inheritance that is to follow of this birthright, is of this land for many years hence, & therfore this birth-right wil do me no good, and so he is content to sell it, & to confirm the bargain with an oath. Lo here is one act of prophannesse. He shews that he did not care for heaven & life eternal, wherof that land was a type and figure, or that he did not take notice of it as a type and figure of heaven, and therefore is content to sell it, as we use to speak, dogcheap, for a mor­sell of meat, or a messe of pottage. To part with the things that are signes & means of attaining eternall life, for the base & trifling mat­ters of this life, & if he cannot have both, to choose rather to have the earthly, & let the spirituall go, lo this is I say prophanness. A setting of earthly trifling good things, as it were a mess of good broth; before the signes and outward means of attaining life everlasting, even those things that should do us spiritual good, by helping us to grace & glo­ry, this I say is prophannesse, this is Esaus offence. The birthright car­ried with it divers things, 1. The soveraignty & chief government of the family. 2. The priesthood also, and right to be as the minister of the whole family. 3. Here and in this case, interest to the land of Ca­naan. as a type of heaven, & to the continuance of the visible Church, and the meanes of grace and salvation in his posterity & family, all which were translated to Iacob with the birthright. Now Esau an hun­ting fellow, that gave himself to his Cross-bow and sports, he either had not informed himself of these matters, or did not heed them not consider them, therefore he lets all goe for a good messe of pottage.

Brethren, prophannesse is a fearfull sin, I meane to have so little e­steem of the outward meanes of salvation, as to part with them for a song as we say. But yet an higher degree of prophannesse. He went his way and despised his birth-right, he never considered of his folly af­terwards to repent heartily of it, and so to seek pardon, and (though not the recovering of his birth-right, yet) to bee still admitted as a member of Isaacs family, and so to enjoy the priviledges that were promised to him and his seed, but even despiseth it, he cares not a pin for it, it never grieves nor troubles him that he had sold it, let it go, as if it had been scarce so much worth as he paid for it. So the sin is grievous, to despise and contemne as vain and uselesse those things that tend to bring unto us spirituall graces, and eternall life.

Now brethren, be not many of you such, that set light and despise the meanes of grace, you care not for the word of God, for the Sacra­ments, for praying, &c. The least outward benefit will make you part with these helps to life eternall, you think them not worth any thing, [Page 26] you can be perswaded to part with them for any little gaine, or the like. Nay, do not some of you despise them? count it a folly to make so much adoe about them, and would not care a rush, if you should never come at Word, or Sacrament more, never use prayer any more. If any bee so disposed, as the lives of many shew they be, let them consider that they shall in vain dreame of having the blessing, even the spirituall blessing of Gods favour, and life eternall: Esau could not prevaile by any teares and intreaties to have his Father give him a spirituall blessing, God by feare strengthened Isaacs heart a­gainst all his intreaties. It may seem he would fain have had the bles­sing of Abraham, which carries with it a spirituall blessing, some con­fused notion it is like he had of heaven, that must be given to Abra­hams children, and that must go along in the family of Abraham, and Isaac, and their seed, this he would fain have had, and in a fit weepes hard, and did much desire to make his Father repent of his being de­ceived, and blessing Iacob, but he could not prevaile. If himselfe had sought at Gods hand to give him repentance for his prophannesse and other sins, he should not have been rejected; but that was not the thing he sought alone, he would have had his Father to have changed his minde, and given him assurance of heaven. Such a confused desire of heaven may be found in the heart of a profane man, but when in this maner they would inherite the blssi