GOLDEN REMAINS of the ever Memorable Mr John Hales of Eton College & LONDON Printed for R. Pawlet at the Bible in Chancery Lane

CONTROVERSERS of the Times Like Spirits in the Mineralls with all their labor nothing is don Page: 34

Golden Remains, OF THE EVER MEMORABLE [...] Mr. John Hales, OF EATON-COLLEDGE, &c.

The Second Impression.

With Additions from the Authours own Copy, Viz. SERMONS & MISCELLANIES.

ALSO LETTERS and EXPRESSES Concerning the Synod of Dort, (not before Printed,) From an Authentick Hand.

LONDON, Printed by Tho. Newcomb, for Robert Pawlet, at the Sign of the Bible in Chancery-lane. 1673.

To the Reader.

IF that Reverend and Worthy Person, Mr. Farindon, had not died before the Impression of this Book, you had received from that excellent hand an exact account of the Authour's Life, which he had begun, and resolved to perfect, and prefix to this Edition. And as the loss of him is great in many particulars, so especi­ally in this; because there was none to whom Mr. Hales was so throughly known as unto him, nor was there any so able to declare his worth, partly by reason of his own abi­lities eminently known, principally because he learn'd his Authour from an intimate converse, who was a man ne­ver to be truly express'd but by himself.

I am therefore to intreat thee, Reader, being deprived of the proper Plutarch, not to expect any such thing as a Life from me, but to accept so much onely as is here in­tended. If Mr. Hales were unknown unto thee, be pleased to beleive what I know and affirm to be true of him; if he were known, then onely be satisfi'd, that what is published in his Name, did really proceed from him: and more then this needs not to be spoken in reference to the ad­vancement [Page] of this Work; because he which knew or be­leiveth what an excellent person Mr. Hales was, and shall be also perswaded that he was the Authour of this Book, can­not chuse but infinitely desire to see and read him in it.

In order to the first of these, I shall speak no more then my own long experience, intimate acquaintance, and high vene­ration grounded upon both, shall freely and sincerely prompt me to. Mr. John Hales, sometime Greek Professor of the Vniversity of Oxford, long Fellow of Eaton Colledge, and at last also Prebendary of Windsore, was a man, I think, of as great a sharpness, quickness, and subtilty of Wit, as ever this, or, perhaps, any Nation bred. His industry did strive, if it were possible, to equal the largeness of his capa­city, whereby he became as great a Master of Polite, Various, and Vniversal Learning, as ever yet convers'd with Books. Proportionate to his Reading was his Meditation, which furnished him with a Iudgment beyond the vulgar reach of man, built upon unordinary Notions, rais'd out of strange observations, and comprehensive thoughts within himself. So that he really was a most prodigious Example of an acute and peircing Wit, of a vast and illimited Knowledge, of a severe and profound Iudgment.

Although this may seem, as in it self it truly is, a grand Elogium; yet I cannot esteem him less in any thing which belongs to a good man, then in those Intellectual perfections: and had he never understood a Letter, he had other Orna­ments sufficient to indear him. For he was of a Nature (as we ordinarily speak) so kind, so sweet, so courting all mankind, of an affability so prompt, so ready to receive all conditions of men, that I conceive it near as easie a task for [Page] any one to become so Knowing, as so Obligeing.

As a Christian, none more ever acquainted with the na­ture of the Gospel, because none more studious of the knowledge of it, or more curious in the search, which being strengthened by those great advantages before mentioned, could not prove otherwise then highly effectual. He took in­deed to himself a liberty of judgeing, not of others, but for himself: and if ever any man might be allowed in these matters to judge, it was he who had so long, so much, so ad­vantagiously considered, and which is more, never could be said to have had the least worldly design in his determina­tions. He was not onely most truly and strictly Iust in his Secular Transactions, most exemplary Meek and Humble notwithstanding his perfections, but beyond all example Cha­ritable, giving unto all, preserving nothing but his Books, to continue his Learning and himself: which when he had before digested, he was forced at last to feed upon, at the same time the happiest and most unfortunate helluo of Books, the grand Example of Learning, and of the envy and contempt which followeth it.

This testimony may be truly given of his Person, and no­thing in it liable to the least exception, but this alone, that it comes far short of him. Which intimation I conceive more necessary for such as knew him not, then all which hath been said.

In reference to the second part of my Design, I confess, while he lived none was ever more sollicited and urged to write, and thereby truly to teach the world, then he; none ever so resolved (pardon the expression, so obstinate) against it. His facile and courteous Nature learnt onely to yeild [Page] to that sollicitation. And therefore the World must be con­tent to suffer the loss of all his learning with the depriva­tion of himself: and yet he cannot be accused for hiding of his Talent, being so communicative, that his Chamber was a Church, and his Chain a Pulpit.

Onely that there might be some taste continue of him, Here are some of his Remains recollected; such as he could not but write, and such as when written were out of his power to destroy. These consist of Sermons, Miscellanies, and Letters, and each of them proceeded from him upon respe­ctive obligations: This Impression is further augmented with the Addition of some Authentick Letters, relating to the same Transaction. His Letters, though written by himself, yet were wholly in the power of that Honourable Person to whom they were sent, and by that means they were pre­serv'd. The Sermons preached on several eminent occa­sions were snatch'd from him by his freinds, and in their hands the Copies were continued, or by transcription dispers'd. Of all which now published for His, there is need to say no more then this, That you may be confident they are His.

This, Reader, is all the trouble thought fit to be gi­ven thee,

By JOHN PEARSON.

If any Person hath any more of the Writings of this Authour, he is desired that he would be pleased to communicate them to the Book-seller, Robert Pawlet, for whom this Book is Printed, upon Promise, or other Engagement, that he will take care to Print them by themselves.

Mr. Garthwait,

I Am very glad you chose so judicious an Overseer of those SERMONS of Mr. HALES, as Mr. Gunning, whom I always have had in high esteem, both for his Learning and Piety; and I am of his Opinion, that they may pass for extraordinary. That Ser­mon of, Wresting hard places of Scripture, may well be­gin your Collection. The other on Rom. xiv. 1. Him that is weak in the faith, receive, &c. was preach'd at St. Paul's Cross, and I moved him to Print it. That of, My Kingdom is not of this world, I once saw, and returned to Mr. Hales, with four more, which I saw him put into Mr. Chillingworth's hands: That of Dixi Custodiam, I have heard him often speak of it with a kind of complacency. That of, He spake a Parable, that men ought always to pray, I believe is his, by the passage of the Spunge and the Knife, which I have heard from his mouth. The Sermon which you had from D. Hammond upon, Son, remember, &c. was preach'd at Eaton Colledge. The other of Duels was either one or two, and preach'd at the Hague to Sir D. Carlton and his company. That you call a Letter on, I can do all things, is a Sermon. The Ser­mon of, Peter went out and wept, &c.— is under his own hand.

One caution I should put in, that you print nothing which is not written with his own hand, or be very care­ful in compareing them; for not long since one shewed me a Sermon, which he said was his, which I am confi­dent could not be; for I saw nothing in it which was not Vulgaris mone tae, of a vulgar stamp, common, and flat, [Page] and low. There be some Sermons, that I much doubt of, for there is little of his spirit and Genius in them, and some that are imperfect: That of Genes. xvii. 1. Walk be­fore me, &c. is most imperfect, as appears by the Autog [...]a­phum which I saw at Eaton a fortnight since.

For his LETTERS, he had much trouble in that kind from several freinds, and I heard him speak of that friends Letter you mention, pleasantly, Mr.— He sets up Tops, and I must whip them for him. But I am very glad to hear you have gained those Letters into your hands, written from the Synod of Dort. You may please to take notice, that in his younger days he was a Calvinist, and even then when he was employed at that Synod, and at the well pressing S Ioh. iij. 16. by EpiscopiusThere, I bid Iohn Calvin good-night, as he has often told me. I beleive they will be as acceptable, or, in your phrase, as saleable, as his Sermons. I would not have you to ven­ture those Papers out of your hands to me, for they may miscarry, and I fear it would be very difficult to find an­other Copy. Peradventure I may shortly see you, at the Term I hope I shall; and then I shall advise you fur­ther the best I can about those other Sermons you have.

I see you will be troubled yet a while to put things in a right way. I have drawn in my mind the Model of his Life, but I am like Mr. HALES in this, which was one of his defects, not to pen any thing, till I must needs.

God prosper you in your work, and business you have in hand, that neither the Church, nor the Authour suffer.

Your assured Freind to his power, Anthony Farindon.
2 Pet. III. 16.‘Which the Vnlearned and Vnstable Wrest, as they do the other Scriptures, unto their own Destruction.’

THE love and favour which it pleased God to bear our Fathers before the Law, so far prevail'd with him, as that without any Books and Wri­tings, by familiar and friendly conversing with them, and communicating himself unto them, he made them receive and understand his Laws: their inward conceits and Intelle­ctuals being after a wonderful manner, as it were, Figured and Character'd, In Psal. 28. (as St. Basil expresses it) by his Spirit, so that they could not but see and consent unto, and confess the truth of them. Which way of manifesting his will, unto many other gracious priviledges which it had, above that which in after ages came in place of it, had this added, that it brought with it unto the man, to whom it was made, a preservation against all doubt and hesitancy, a full assurance both who the Authour was, and how far his intent and meaning reacht. We that are their offspring ought, as St. Chrysostom tell us,Hom. 1. in Mat. so to have demeaned our selves, that it might have been with us as it was with them, that we might have had no need of writing, no other teacher but the Spirit, no other books but our hearts, no other means to have been taught the things of God. Nisi inspirationis divinae internam suavio­remque doctrinam, ubi sine sonis sermonum &c fiue elementis literarum, to dulcius quo secretius veritas loquitur;L. 3 Epist. 106. as saith Fulgen­tius. [...], saith Isidorus Pelusiot [...]: for it is a greater argument of our shame and imperfecti­on, that the holy things are written in books. For as God in anger [Page 2] tells the Jews, that he himself would not go before them as hither­to he had done, to conduct them into the promised land, but would leave his Angel with them as his deputy: so hath he dealt with us, the unhappy posterity, degenerated from the antient purity of our forefathers. When himself refused to speak unto our hearts, because of the hardness of them, he then began to put his Laws in writing. Which thing for a long time amongst his own people seems not to have brought with it any sensible inconvenience. For amongst all those acts of the Jews, which God in his book hath re­gistred for our instruction, there is not one concerning any pretend­ed ambiguity or obscurity of the Text [...] and Letter of their Law, which might draw them into faction and schism; the Devil belike having other sufficient advantages on which he wrought. But ever since the Gospel was committed to writing, what age, what monu­ment of the Churches Acts is not full of debate and strife, concerning the force and meaning of those writings, which the holy Ghost hath left us to be the law and rule of faith? St. Paul, one of the first Pen­men of the holy Ghost, who in Paradise heard words which it was not lawful for man to utter, hath left us words in writing, which it is not safe for any man to be too busie to interpret. No sooner had he laid down his pen, almost ere the ink was dry, were there found Sylla­barum aucupes, such as St. Ambrose spake of, qui nescire aliquid erubes­cunt, & per occasionem obscuritatis tendunt laqueos deceptionis, who thought there could be no greater disparagement unto them, then to seem to be ignorant of any thing, and under pretence of interpreting obscure places, laid gins to entrap the uncautelous: who taking ad­vantage of the obscurity of St. Pauls text, made the Letter of the Gospel of life and peace, the most forcible instrument of mortal quar­rel and contention. The growth of which, the holy Ghost, by the ministery of St. Peter, hath endeavoured to cut up in the bud, and to strangle in the womb, in this short admonition which but now hath sounded in your ears, Which the unlearned, &c. In which words, for our more orderly proceeding, we will consider, First, the sin it self that is here reprehended, Wresting of Scripture: where we will briefly consider what it is, and what causes and motioners it finds in our corrupt understandings. Secondly, the persons guilty of this offence, discipher'd unto us in two Epithets, unlearned, unstable. Last of all, the danger, in the last words, unto their own damnation. And first, of the sin it self, together with some of the special causes of it.

[Page 3] [...], They wrest. They deal with Scripture as Chimicks deal with natural bodies, torturing them to extract that out of them, which God and Nature never put in them. Scripture is a rule which will not fit it self to the obliquity of our conceits, but our perverse and crooked discourse, must fit it self to the straightness of that rule. A learned Writer in the age of our fathers, com­menting upon Scripture, spake most truly, when he said,Fa [...]er. That his Comments gave no light unto the Text, the Text gave light unto his Comments. Other Expositions may give rules and directions for un­derstanding their Authors, but Scripture gives rules to Exposition it self, and interprets the Interpreter. Wherefore when we made in Scripture, non pro sententia divinarum Scripturarum, as St. Austine speaks, sed pro nostra itae dimicantes ut tam velimus Scripturarum esse quae nostra est: When we strive to give unto it, and not to receive from it the sense: when we factiously contend to fasten our conceits upon God; and, like the Harlot in the Book of Kings, take our dead and putrified fancies, and lay them in the bosome of Scripture, as of a mother; then are we guilty of this great sin of wresting of Scri­pture. The nature of which will the better appear, if we consider a little, some of those motioners which drive us upon it. One ve­ry potent and strong mean, is the exceeding affection and love unto our own opinions and conceits. For grown we are unto extremi­ties on both hands: we cannot with patience either admit of other mens opinions, or endure that our own should be withstood. As it was in the Lacedaemonian army, almost all were Ca­ptains: so in these disputes, all will be leaders:Schol. in Thucyd. and we take our selves to be much discountenanced, if others think not as we do. So that the complaint which one makes, concerning the dissention of Physicians about the diseases of our bodies, is true like­wise in these disputes which concern the cure of our souls, Hinc illae circa aegros miserae sententiarum concertationes, nullo idem censente, ne videatur accessio alterius. Plin. From hence have sprung those miserable contentions about the distemper of our souls, singu­larity alone, and that we will not seem to stand as cyphers to make up the sum of other mens opinions, being cause enough to make us disagree. A fault antiently amongst the Christians so apparent, that it needed not an Apostolical spirit to discover it, the very heathen themselves, to our shame and confusion, have justly, judiciously, and sharply taxt us for it. Ammianus Marcellinus passing his censure upon Constantius the Emperour: Christianam religionem absolutam & sim­plicem [Page 4] (saith he: and they are words very well worth your marking) Christianam religionem absolutam & simplicem anili superstitione confu­dit. In qua scrutanda perplexius quam componenda gratius, excitavit dissidia plurima, quae progressa fusius aluit concertatione verborum, dum ritum omnem ad suum trahere conatur arbitrium. The Christian Reli­gion, a Religion of great simplicity and perfection, he troubled with dotage and superstition. For going about rather perplexedly to search the controversies, then gravely to compose them, he raised great stirs, and by disputing spread them far and wide, whilst he went about to make himselfsole Lord and Commander of the whole Profession. Now (that it may appear wherefore I have noted this) it is no hard thing for a man that hath wit, and is strongly possest of an opinion, and resolute to maintain it, to find some places of Scri­pture, which by good handling will be woed to cast a favourable countenance upon it. Pythagoras's Scholars having been bred up in the doctrine of Numbers, when afterward they diverted upon the studies of Nature, fancied unto themselves somewhat in natural bo­dies like unto Numbers, and thereupon fell into a conceit, that Num­bers were the principles of them. So fares it with him, that to the reading of Scripture comes fore-possest with some opinion. As Antipheron Orietes in Aristotle thought, that every where he saw his own shape and picture going afore him: so in divers parts of Scri­pture where these men walk, they will easily perswade themselves, that they see the image of their own conceits. It was, and is to this day, a fashion in the hotter Countreys, at noon, when the Sun is in his strength, to retire themselves to their closets or beds if they were at home, to cool and shady places if they were abroad, to avoid the inconvenience of the heat of it. To this the Spouse in the Canticles alluding, calls after her Beloved as after a shepherd, Shew me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest thy flock where thou dost rest at noon. The Donatists conceiting unto themselves, that the Church was shut up in them alone, being urged by the Fathers to shew how the Church, being universal, came on a suddain thus to be confin'd to Africk: they had presently their Scripture for it, for so they found it written in the Canticles, Indica, quem diligit anima mea, ubi pascas, ubi cubes in meridie. In which Text, meridies doubtless, as they thought, was their Southern Countrey of Africk, where the Shep­herd of Israel was, and no where else, to feed his flocks. I may not trouble you with instances in this kind: little observation is able to furnish the man of slenderest reading with abundance. The Texts of [Page 5] Scripture which are especially subject to this abuse, are those that are of ambiguous and doubtful meaning. For as Thucydides observes of the fat and fertile places of Greece, that they were evermore the occasions of stirs and seditions [...] the neighbouring Nations every one striving to make it self Lord of them: so is it with these places that are so fertile, as it were, of interpretation, and yeild a multiplicity of sense: they are the Palaestra for good wits to prove masteries in, where every one desires to be Lord and Absolute.

A second thing occasioning us to transgress against Scripture, and the discreet and sober handling of it, is our too quick and speedy entrance upon the practise of interpreting it, in our young and green years, before that time and experience have ripened us, and setled our conceits. For that which in all other business, and here like­wise doth most especially commend us, is our caute [...]ous and wary handling it. But this is a flower seldome seen in youths garden. Aristotle differencing age and youth, makes it a property of youth, [...], to suppose they know all things, and to be bold in affirming: and the Heathen Rhetorician could tell us, that by this so speedy entring upon action, and so timely venting our crude and unconcocted studies, quod est ubique perniciosissimum, praevenit vires fiducia, a thing which in all cases is most pernicious. Presumption is greater then strength, after the manner of those, who are lately recovered out of some great sickness, in whom appetite is stronger then digestion. These are they who take the greatest myste­ries of Christian Religion, to be the fittest arguments to spend them­selves upon. So E [...]kins in his Chry [...]opassus, a work of his so termed, wherein he discusses the question of predestination, in the very en­trance of his work tells us, That he therefore enterpris'd to handle this argument, because forsooth he thought it to be the fittest que­stion in which he might Iuveniles calores exercere. The antient Ma­sters of Fence amongst the Romans, were wont to set up a Post, and cause their young Schollars to practise upon it, and to foin and fight with it, as with an adversary. Instead of a Post, this young Fencer hath set himself up one of the deepest Mysteries of our profession, to practise his freshmanship upon. Which quality, when once it finds Scripture for its object, how great inconvenience it brings with it, needs no large discourse to prove. St. Ierome, a man not too easily brought on to acknowledge the errours of his writings, among those few things which he doth retract, censures nothing so sharply as the mistake of his youth in this kind: In adolescentia provocatus ardore & [Page 6] studio Scripturarum, allegorice interpretatus sum Abdiam Prophetam, cujus historiam nesciebam. He thought it one of the greatest sins of his youth, that being carried away through an inconsiderate heat in his studies of Scripture, he adventured to interpret Abdias the Prophet allegorically, when as yet he knew not the Historical mean­ing. Old men, saith our best natural Master, by reason of the expe­rience of their often mistakes, are hardly brought constantly to af­firm any thing, [...], they will al­ways cautelously interline their speeches with it may bees, and per­adventures, and other such particles of wariness and circumspection. This old mens modesty, of all other things, best fits us in perusing those hard and obscure Texts of holy Scripture. Out of which con­ceit it is, that we see St. Austine in his books, de Genesi ad literam, to have written onely by way of questions and interrogations, after the manner of Aristotle in his Problemes, That he might not (for so he gives his reason) by being ever positive prejudice others, and peradven­ture truer interpretations: that every one might choose according to his liking, & ubi quid intelligere non potest, Scripturae Dei det honorem, sibi timorem: and where his understanding cannot attain unto the sense of it, let him give that honour and reverence which is due unto the Scripture, and carry himself with that aw and respect which be­fits him. Wherefore not without especial providence it is, that the holy Ghost by St. Paul, giving precepts to Timothy, concerning the quality of those who were to be admitted to the distributing of Gods holy word, expresly prescribes against a young Schollar, lest, saith he, he be puft up. For as it hath been noted of men, who are lately grown rich, that they differ from other rich men onely in this,Arist. Rhet. 2. [...], that commonly they have all the faults that rich men have, and ma­ny more: so is it as true in those who have lately attained to some de­gree and mediocrity of knowledge. Look what infirmities learned men have, the same have they in greater degree, and many more besides. Wherefore if Hippocrates in his Physician required these two things, [...], great industry, and long expe­rience; the one as tillage to sow the seed, the other as time and sea­son of the year to bring it to maturity: then certainly by so much the more are these two required in the spiritual Physician, by how much he is the Physician to a more excellent part.

I will adde yet one third motioner to this abuse of Scriptures and that is, The too great presumption upon the strength and subtilty of [Page 7] our own wits. That which the Roman Priest sometimes told an over-pleasant and witty Vestal Virgin, Coli Deos sancte magis quam scite, hath in this great work of exposition of Scripture an especial place. The holy things of God must be handled sancta, magis quam scite; with fear and reverence, not with wit and dalliance. The dangerous effects of this have appeared, not in the green tree onely, in young heads, but in men of constant age, and great place in the Church. For this was that which undid Origen, a man of as great learning and industry, as ever the Church had any; whilst in sublimity of his wit, in his Comments on Scripture, conceiving Meteors and airy speculations, he brought forth those dangerous errors, which drew upon his person the Churches heaviest censure, and upon posterity the loss of his works. Subtle witted men in nothing so much miscarry as in the too much pleasing themselves in the goodness of their own conceits; where the like sometimes befalls them which befell Zeuxi [...] the Painter, who having to the life pictured an old woman so pleas'd himself with the conceit of his work, that he died with laughing at it. Heliodor Bishop of Tricca in Thessaly, the Author of the Ethiopick Story, a polite and elegant, I confess,Nicephorus. but a loose and wanton work, being summon'd by a Provincial Synod, was told, that which was true, That his work did rather endanger the manners, then profit the wits of his Reader, as nourishing loose and wanton conceits in the heads of youth: and having his choice given him, either to abolish his work, or to leave his Bishoprick; not willing to lose the reputation of wit, chose rather to resign his place in the Church, and as I verily think, his part in heaven. And not in private persons alone, but even in whole Nations, shall we find remarkable examples of miscarriage in this kind. The Grecians, till barbarism began to steal in upon them, were men of wonderous subtlety of wit, and naturally over indulgent unto themselves in this quality. Those deep and subtle Heresies concerning the Tri­nity, the Divinity of Christ, and of the holy Ghost, the Union and Division of the Divine Substance and Persons, were all of them be­gotten in the heat of their wits; yea, by the strength of them were they conceived, and born, and brought to that growth, that if it had been possible for the gates of hell to prevail against the Church, they would have prevailed this way. Wherefore as God dealt with his own land, which being sometimes the mirrour of the world for fertility and abundance of all things, now lies subject to many curses, and especially to that of barrenness: so at this day is it with Greece, [Page 8] where sometimes was the flow and luxury of wit, now is there no­thing but extream barbarism and stupidity. It is in this respect so de­generated, that it scarcely for some hundred of years hath brought forth a child that carries any shew of his fathers countenance: God as it were purposely plaguing their miserable posterity with ex­treme want of that, the abundance of which their fathers did so wantonly abuse. The reason of all, that hitherto I have in this point delivered, is this, Sharpness of wit hath commonly with it two ill companions, Pride, and Levity. By the first it comes to pass, that men know not how to yeild to another mans reasonable positions; by the second, they know not how to keep themselves constant to their own. It was an excellent observation of the wise Gre­cian,Thucyd. [...], &c. Sad and dull spirited men usually manage matters of State, better then quick and nimble wits. For such for the most part have not learnt that Lesson, the meaning of that voice that came to the Pythagorean, that was desirous to remove the ashes of his dead friend out of his grave, [...], Things lawfully setled and composed must not be moved. [...], saith Iulian, Men over busie are by nature unfit to govern: for they move all things, and leave no­thing without question and innovation: [...], as Nazianzen speaks, Out of desire to amend what is already well. And therefore we see that for the most part such, if they be in place of Authority, by unseasonable and unnecessary tampering, put all things into tumult and combustion. Not the Common-wealth alone, but the Church likewise hath received the like blow from these kind of men. Nazianzen in his six and twentieth Oration, discoursing concerning the disorders committed in the handling of Controver­sies, speaks it plainly, [...], &c. Great wits, hot and fiery dispositions have raised these tumults. From these it is (saith he) that Christians are so divided. We are no longer a Tribe and a Tribe, Israel and Iudah, two parts of a small Nation: but we are divided kindred against kindred, family against family, yea, a man against himself. But I must hasten to my second general part, The per­sons here accounted guilty of abuse of Scripture.

The persons are noted unto us in two Ephitets, Vnlearned, Vnstable. First, Vnlearned. It was St. Ierom's complaint, that practitioners of other Arts could contain themselves within the bounds of their own Profession, Sola Scripturarum ars est, quam sibi omnes passim vendicant; Hanc garrula anus, hanc delirus senex, hanc sophista verbosus, hanc uni­versi [Page 9] praesumunt, lacerant, docent antequam discant: every one pre­sumes much upon his skill, and therefore to be a teacher of Scri­pture: [...] (so Na­zianzen speaks) as if this great mystery of Christianity were but some one of the common, base, inferiour, and contemptible trades. I speak not this as if I envied, that all, even the meanest of the Lords people should prophesie: but onely that all kind of men may know their bounds, that no unlearned beast touch the hill, lest he be thrust through with a dart. It is true which we have heard, Surgunt indocti & rapiunt Regnum coelorum: they arise indeed, but it is as St. Paul speaks of the resurrection, every man in his own order. Scri­pture is given to all, to learn: but to teach, and to interpret, onely to a few. This bold intrusion therefore of the unlearned into the chair of the Teacher, is that which here with our blessed Apostle I am to reprehend. Learning in general is nothing else, but the com­petent skill of any man in whatsoever he professes. Usually we call by this name onely our polite and Academical Studies; but indeed it is common to every one, that is well skill'd, well practised in his own mystery. The unlearned therefore, whom here our Apostle rebukes, is not he that hath not read a multiplicity of Authors, or that is not as Moses was, skilful in all the learning of the Egyptians: but he that taking upon him to divide the word of God, is yet but raw and un­experienced; or if he have had experience, wants judgment to make use of it. Scripture is never so unhappy, as when it falls into these mens fingers. That which old Cato said of the Grecian Physicians, Quandocunque ista gens literas suos dabit, omnia corrumpet, is most true of these men; whensoever they shall begin to tamper with Scrip­ture, and vent in writing their raw conceits, they will corrupt and defile all they touch Quid enim molestiae tri­stitiaeque temerarii isti praesumptores, &c.De Genesi ad literam. as S. Austin complaineth: for what trouble and anguish these rash presumers (saith he) bring unto the discreeter sort of the brethren, cannot sufficiently be exprest, when being convinced of their rotten and ungrounded opinions; for the maintaining of that which with great levity and open falshood they have averred, they pretend the authority of these sacred Books, and repeat much of them even by heart, as bearing witness to what they hold: where­as indeed they do but pronounce the words; but understand not either what they speak, or of what things they do affirm. Belike as he that bought Orpheus Harp, thought it would of it self make admirable melody, how unskilfully soever he touch'd it: so these men suppose, that [Page 10] Scripture will sound wonderful musically, if they do but strike it, with how great infelicity or incongruity soever it be. The reason of these mens offence against Scripture, is the same with the cause of their miscarriage in civil actions: [...], saith Thucydides, [...]. Rude men, men of little experience, are commonly most peremptory: but men experienced, and such as have waded in Busi­ness, are slow of determination. Quintilian making a question, why unlearned men seem many times to be more copious then the learned (for commonly such men never want matter of discourse) answers, That it is, because whatsoever conceit comes into their heads, with­out care or choice they broach it, cum doctis sit electio & modus: whereas learned men are choice in their invention, and lay by much of that which offers it self. Wise hearted men, in whom the Lord hath put wisdom and understanding, to know how to work all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, like Bezaleel and Aholiab, refuse much of the stuff which is presented them. But this kind of men whom here our Apostle notes, are naturally men of bold and daring spirits, Quicquid dixerint hoc legem Dei putant, as St. Ierome speaks; what­soever conceit is begotten in their heads, the Spirit of God is pre­sently the father of it: Nec scire dignantur quid Prophet [...], quid Apostoli senserint, sed ad suum sensum incongrua aptant testimonia. But to leave these men, and to speak a little more home unto mine own Audi­tory: Let us a little consider, not the weakness of these men, but the greatness of the business, the manage of which they under­take. So great a thing as the skill of Exposition of the Word and Gospel is, so fraught with multiplicity of Authors, so full of varie­ty of opinion, must needs be confest to be a matter of great learning, and that it cannot, especially in our days, in short time, with a medi­ocrity of industry be attained. For if in the Apostles times, when as yet much of Scripture was scarcely written, when God wrought with men miraculously, to inform their understanding, and supplied by revelation what mans industry could not yield; if, I say, in these times St. Paul required diligent reading, and expresly forbad green­ness of Scholarship: much more then are these conditions required in our times, wherein God doth not supply by miracle our natural defects, and yet the burden of our profession is infinitely increast. All that was necessary in the Apostles times, is now necessary, and much more. For if we adde unto the growth of Christian learning, as it was in the Apostles times, but this one circumstance (to say no­thing of all the rest) which naturally befalls our times, and could [Page 11] not be required at the hands of those who guided the first ages of the Church: that is, the knowledge of the state and succession of doctrine in the Church from time to time; a thing very necessary for the determining the controversies of these our days: how great a portion of our labour and industry would this alone require? Wherefore if Quintilian thought it necessary to admonish young men, that they should not presume themselves satis instructos, si quent ex iis, qui breves circumferuntur, artis libellum edidicerint, & velut decretis technicorum tutos putent: if he thought fit thus to do in an Art of so inferiour and narrow a sphere, much more is it behoveful, that young Students in so high, so spacious, so large a profession, be ad­vised not to think themselves sufficiently provided, upon their ac­quaintance with some Notitia, or Systeme of some technical divine. Looke upon those sons of Anak, those Giant-like, voluminous Wri­ters of Rome, in regard of whom, our little Tractates, and pocket Volumes in this kind, what are they but as Grashoppers? I speak not this like some seditious or factious spie, to bring weakness of hands, or melting of heart upon any of Gods people: but [...], to stir up and kindle in you the spirit of industry, to in­large your conceits, and not to suffer your labours to be copst and mued up within the poverty of some pretended method. I will speak as Ioshua did to his people, Let us not fear the people of that land, they are as meat unto us, their shadow is departed from them: the Lord is with us, fear them not. Onely let us not think, sedendo & votis debella­ri posse, that the conquest will be gotten by sitting still and wishing all were well:Livie. or that the walls of these strong Ci­ties will fall down, if we onely walk about them, and blow rams horns. But as the voice of Gods people sometime was, by the sword of God and of Gideon, so that which here gives the victory must be the grace of God and our industry. For by this circumcised, narrow, and pe­nurious form of study, we shall be no more able to keep pace with them, then a child can with Hercules. But I forbear, and pass away unto the second Epithet, by which these rackers of Scriptures are by St. Peter stiled Vnstable.

IN the learning which the world teaches, it were almost a mira­cle to find a man constant to his own tenets. For not to doubt in things in which we are conversant, is either by reason of exellen­cy and serenity of understanding, throughly apprehending the main principles on which all things are grounded, together with the des­crying [Page 12] of the several passages from them unto particular conclusi­ons, and the diverticles and blind by-paths which Sophistry and de­ceit are wont to tread; and such a man can nature never yeild: or else it is through a sensless stupidity, like unto that in the common sort of men, who conversing among the creatures, and beholding the course of heaven, and the heavenly host, yet never attend them, neither ever sinks it into their heads to marvel, or question these things so full of doubt and difficulty. Even such a one is he, that learns Theology in the School of Nature, if he seem to participate of any setledness or composedness of conscience. Either it never comes into his head to doubt of any of those things, with which the world hath inured him: or if it doth, it is to no great purpose, he may smother and strangle, he can never resolve his doubt. The reason of which is this, It lies not in the worlds power to give in this case a text of sufficient authority to compose and fix the thoughts of a soul, that is dispos'd to doubt. But this great inconvenience, which held the world in uncertainty, by the providence of God is prevented in the Church. For unto it is left a certain, undoubted, and sufficient authority, able to exalt every valley, and lay low eve­ry hill, to smooth all rubs, and make our way so open and passable, that little enquiry serves. So that as it were a wonder in the School of Nature, to find one setled and resolved; so might it seem a mar­vel that in the Church any man is unstable, unresolved. Yet not­withstanding, even here is the unstable man found too, and to his charge the Apostle lays this sin of Wresting of Scripture. For since that it is confest at all hands, that the sense and meaning of Scri­pture is the rule and ground of our Christian tenets, whensoever we alter them, we must needs give a new sense unto the word of God. So that the man that is unstable in his Religion, can never be free from violating of Scripture. The especial cause of this levity and flitting disposition in the common and ordinary sort of men, is their disability to discern of the strength of such reasons, as may be fra­med against them. For which cause they usually start, and many times fall away, upon every objection that is made. In which too sudden entertainment of objections, they resemble the state of those,Seneca. who are lately recovered out of some long sickness, qui & si reliquias e [...]ugerint, suspicionibus tamen inqui [...]tantur, & omnem calorem corporis sui calumniantur: Who never more wrong them­selves, then by suspecting every alteration of their temper, and being affrighted at every little passion of heat, as if it were an ague-fit. [Page 13] To bring these men therefore unto an [...], and to purchase them a setledness of mind; that temper that St. Austine doth require in him that reads his Book, tales meorum Scriptorum velim judices, qui responsionem non semper des [...]derent, quum his quae le guntur audierint ali­quid contradici: The same temper must be found in every Reader of Scripture, he must not be at a stand, and require an answer to every objection that is made against them. For as the Philosopher tells us, that mad and fantastical men, are very apprehensive of all out­ward accidents, because their soul is inwardly empty and unfurnish­ed of any thing of worth which might hold the inward attention of their minds: so when we are so easily dor'd and amated with every Sophism, it is a certain argument of great defect of inward fur­niture and worth, which should as it were ballance the mind, and keep it upright against all outward occurrents whatsoever. And be it that many times, the means to open such doubts be not at hand, yet, as St. Austin sometime spake unto his Scholar Licentius, concerning such advice and counsel as he had given him, Nolo te can­sas rationesque rimari, quae etiamsi reddi possint, fidei tamen, qua mihi cre­dis non cas debeo: so much more must we thus resolve of those les­sons which God teacheth us; the reasons and grounds of them, though they might be given, yet it fits not that credit and trust which we owe him, once to search into, or call in question. And so I come to the third general part, the Danger of Wresting of Scripture, in the last words, unto their own Damnation.

The reward of every sin is Death. As the worm eats out the heart of the plant that bred it, so whatsoever is done amiss natu­rally, works no other end but destruction of him that doth it. As this is true in general, so is it as true, that when the Scripture doth precisely note out unto us some sin, and threatens Death unto it, it is commonly an argument, that there is more then ordinary, that there is some especial sin, which shall draw with it some especial punishment. This sin of Wresting of Scripture in the eye of some of the Antients, seemed so ugly, that they have ranged it in the same rank with the sin against the holy Ghost. And therefore have they pronounced it a sin, [...], greater then can be pardoned.Isidorus Pelusiota. For the most part of others sins, are sins of infirmity or simplicity, but this is a sin of wit and strength: the man that doth it, doth it with a high hand; he knows, and sees, and resolves upon it. Again, Scripture is the voice of God: and it is confest by all, that the sense is Scripture, [Page 14] rather then the words. It cannot therefore be avoided, but he that wilfully strives to fasten some sense of his own upon it, other then the very nature of the place will bear, must needs take upon him the Person of God, and become a new inditer of Scripture: and all that applaud and give consent unto any such, in effect cry the same that the people did to Herod, The voice of God, and not of man. If he then that abases the Princes Coin deserves to die, what is his de­sert, that instead of the tried silver of Gods word, stamps the Name and Character of God upon Nehushtan, 2 Pet 1. 20. upon base brasen stuff of his own? Thirdly, No Scripture is of private inter­pretation, saith the Apostle. There can therefore be but two certain and infallible interpreters of Scripture; either it self, or the ho­ly Ghost the Author of it. It self doth then expound it self, when the words and circumstances do sound unto us the prime, and natural, and principal sense. But when the place is obscure, involved, and intricate; or when there is contained some secret and hidden mystery, beyond the prime sense; infallibly to shew us this, there can be no Interpreter but the holy Ghost that gave it. Besides these two, all other Interpretation is private. Wherefore as the Lords of the Philistines sometimes said of the kine that drew the Ark unto Bethshemesh, If they go of themselves then is this from God; but if they go another way, then is it not from God, it is some chance that hath happened unto us: so may it be said of all pretended sense of Scripture. If Scripture come unto it of it self, then is it of God: but if it go another way, or if it be violently urged and goaded on, then is it but a matter of chance, of mans wit and invention. As for those marvellous discourses of some, framed upon presumption of the Spirits help in private, in judging or interpreting of difficult places of Scripture, I must needs confess, I have often wondred at the boldness of them. The Spirit is a thing of dark and secret operation, the manner of it none can descry. As underminers are never seen till they have wrought their purpose so the Spirit is never perceived but by its effects. The effects of the Spirit (as far as they concern knowledge and instruction) are not particular information for reso­lution in any doubtful case (for this were plainly revelation) but, as the Angel which was sent unto Cornelius informs him not, but sends him to Peter to school: so the Spirit teaches not, but stirs up in us a desire to learn; desire to learn makes us thirst after the means: and pious sedulity and carefulness makes us watchful in the choice, and diligent in the use of our means. The promise to the [Page 15] Apostles of the Spirit which should lead them into all truth, was made good unto them by private and secret informing their under­standings, with the knowledge of high and heavenly mysteries, which as yet had never entred into the conceit of any man. The same promise is made to us, but fulfilled after another manner. For what was written by revelation in their hearts, for our instruction have they written in their books. To us for information, otherwise then out of these books, the Spirit speaks not. When the Spirit rege­nerates a man, it infuses no knowledge of any point of faith, but sends him to the Church, and to the Scriptures. When it stirs him up to newness of life, it exhibits not unto him an inventory of his sins, as hitherto unknown; but either supposes them known in the Law of Nature, of which no man can be ignorant; or sends him to learn them from the mouth of his teachers. More then this in the ordinary proceeding of the holy Spirit, in matter of instruction, I yet could never descry. So that to speak of the help of the Spirit in private, either in dijudicating, or in interpreting of Scripture, is to speak they know not what. Which I do the rather note, first, because by experience we have learnt, how apt men are to call their private con­ceits the Spirit: and again, because it is the especial errour, with which S. Austine long ago charged this kind of men: Tanto sunt ad se­ditionem faciliores, quanto sibi videntur spiritu excellere: by so much the more prone are they to kindle Schism and contention in the Church, by how much they seem to themselves to be endued with a more eminent measure of Spirit then their brethren; whilst [...], (as St. Basil speaks) under pre­tence of interpretation they violently broach their own conceits. Great then is the danger in which they wade, which take upon them this business of interpretation. Temevitas asserendae incertae dubiaeque opinio­nis, saith St. Austine, difficile sacrilegii crimen evitat: the rashness of those that aver uncertain and doubtful interpretations, for Catho­lick and Absolute, can hardly escape the sin of sacrilege.

But whereas our Apostle saith, their own destruction, is the destru­ction onely their own? this were well if it stretched no farther. The antients much complain of this offence, as an hinderer of the salvation of others. There were in the days of Isidorus Pelusiota some that gave out, that all in the Old Testament was spoken of Christ: belike out of extreme opposition to the Manichees, who on the other side taught, that no Text in the Old Testament did foretel of Christ. That Father therefore dealing with some of that opinion, [Page 16] tells them how great the danger of their tenet is: [...]; for if, saith he, we strive with violence to draw and ap­ply those Texts to Christ, which apparently pertain not to him, we shall gain nothing but this, to make all the places that are spoken of him suspected; and so discredit the strength of other testimonies, which the Church usually urges for the refutation of the Iews. For in these cases, a wrested proof is like unto a suborn'd witness; it never doth help so much whilest it is presumed to be strong, as it doth hurt when it is discover'd to be weak. St. Austin in his Books, de Genesi ad literam, sharply re­proves some Christians, who out of some places of Scripture mis­understood, fram'd unto themselves a kind of knowledge in A­stronomy and Physiology, quite contrary unto some part of hea­then Learning in this kind, which were true and evident unto sense. A man would think that this were but a small errour, and yet he doubts not to call it, turpe nimis, & perniciosum & maxime cavendum. His reason warrants the roundness of his reproof; for he charges such to have been a scandal unto the Word, and hinderers of the con­version of some heathen men that were Scholars: For how, saith he, shall they believe our books of Scripture, perswading the resurrection of the dead, the kingdome of heaven, and the rest of the mysteries of our pro­fession, if they find them faulty in these things, of which themselves have undeniable demonstration? Yea, though the cause we maintain be ne­ver so good, yet the issue of diseas'd and crazie proofs brought to maintain it, must needs be the same. For unto all causes, be they never so good, weakness of proof, when it is discovered, brings great prejudice, but unto the cause of Religion most of all. St. Au­stine observ'd, that there were some, qui cum de aliquibus, qui sanctum nomen profitentur aliquid criminis vel falsi sonuerit, vel veri patuerit, instant, satagunt, ambiunt ut de omnibus hoc credatur. It fares no other­wise with Religion it self, then it doth with the professors of it. Divers malignants there are, who lie in wait to espie where our reasons on which we build are weak, and having deprehended it in some, will earnestly solicit the world to believe that all are so, if means were made to bring it to light: [...], as Nazianzen speaks: using for advantage against us no strength of their own, but the vice and imbecility of our defence. The book of the revelation is a book full of wonder and mystery: the Anci­ents seem to have made a Religion to meddle with it, and thought [Page 17] it much better to admire with silence, then to adventure to ex­pound it: and therefore amongst their labours in exposition of Scripture, scarcely is there any one found that hath touch'd it. But our Age hath taken better heart. And scarcely any one is there, who hath entertained a good conceit of his own abilities, but he hath ta­ken that Book as a fit argument to spend his pains on. That the Church of Rome hath great cause to suspect her self, to fear lest she have a great part in the Prophesies in that book, I think the most par­tial will not deny. Yet unto the Expositours of it, I will give this advice, that they look that that befall not them, which Thuoidides observes to befall the common sort of men: who though they have good means to acquit themselves like men, yet when they think their best hopes fail them, and begin to despair of their strength, comfort themselves with interpretations of certain dark and obscure prophesies. Many plain texts of Scripture are very pregnant, and of sufficient strength to overthrow the points maintained by that Church againts us. If we leave these, and ground our selves upon our private expositions of this Book, we shall justly seem in the pover­ty of better proofs, to rest our selves upon those prophesies; which, though in themselves they are most certain, yet our expo­sitions of them must (except God give yet further light unto his Church) necessarily be mixt with much incertainty, as being at the best but unprobable conjectures of our own. Scarcely can there be found a thing more harmful to Religion, then to vent thus our own conceits, and obtrude them upon the world for necessary and abso­lute. The Physicians skill, as I conceive of it, stands as much in o­pinion, as any that I know whatsoever; yet their greatest Master Hippocrates tells them directly, [...], &c. Then the Physicians presumption upon opinion, there is not one thing that brings either more blame to himself, or danger to his patient. If it be thus in an art, which opinion taken away, must needs fall; how little room then must opinion have in that knowledge, where nothing can have place but what is of eternal truth, where if once ad­mit of opinion, all is overthrown? But I conclude this point, add­ing onely this general admonition, That we be not too peremptory in our positions, where express text of Scripture fails us; that we lay not our own collections and conclusions with too much precipi­tancy. For experience hath shewed us, that the errour and weak­ness of them being afterwards discovered, brings great disadvantage to Christianity, and trouble to the Church. The Eastern Church [Page 18] before St. Basils time, had entertained generally a conceit, that those Greek particles, [...], and the rest, were so divided among the Trinity, that each of the Persons had his Particle, which was no way appliable to the rest. St. Basil having discovered this to be but a niceness and needless curiosity, beginning to teach so, raised in the Church such a tumult, that he brought upon himself a great labour of writing many tracts in apology for himself, with much ado, ere matters could again be setled. The fault of this was not in Basil, who religiously fearing what by way of consequence might ensue upon an errour, taught a truth; but in the Church, who formerly had with too much facility admitted a conclusion so justly subject to exception. And let this suffice for our third part.

Now because it is apparent, that the end of this our Apostles ad­monition is to give the Church a Caveat how she behave her self in handling of Scripture, give me leave a little, in stead of the use of such doctrines as I have formerly laid down, to shew you, as far as my conceit can stretch, what course any man may take to save him­self from offering violence unto Scripture, and reasonably settle himself, any pretended obscurity of the text whatsoever notwith­standing. For which purpose, the diligent observing of two rules shall be throughly available: First, The litteral, plain, and uncontro­versable meaning of Scripture, without any addition or supply by way of in­terpretation, is that alone which for ground of faith we are necessarily bound to accept, except it be there where the holy Ghost himself treads us out another way. I take not this to be any peculiar conceit of mine, but that unto which our Church stands necessarily bound. When we receded from the Church of Rome, one motive was, because she added unto Scripture her glosses as Canonical, to supply what the plain text of Scripture could not yield. If in place of hers, we set up our own glosses, thus to do, were nothing else but to pull down Baal, and set up an ephod; to run round, and meet the Church of Rome again in the same point, in which at first we left her. But the plain, evident, and demonstrative ground of this rule, is this: That authority which doth warrant our faith unto us, must every way be free from all possibility of errour. For let us but once admit of this, that there is any possibility that any one point of faith should not be true; if it be once granted that I may be deceived in what I have believed, how can I be assured that in the end I shall not be deceived? If the Author of faith may alter, or if the evidence and assurance that he hath left us be not pregnant, [Page 19] and impossible to be defeated, there is necessarily opened an inlet to doubtfulness and wavering, which the nature of faith excludes. That faith therefore may stand unshaken, two things are of neces­sity to concur. First, That the Author of it be such a one, as can by no means be deceived, and this can be none but God. Secondly, That the words and text of this Author upon whom we ground, must admit of no ambiguity, no uncertainty of interpretation. If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall provide himself to battel. If the words admit a double sense, and I follow one, who can assure me that that which I follow is the truth? For infallibility either in judgment, or interpretation, or whatsoever, is annext neither to the See of any Bishop, nor to the Fathers, nor to the Councels, nor to the Church, nor to any created power whatsoe­ver. This doctrine of the literal sense was never grievous or pre­judicial to any, but onely to those who were inwardly conscious, that their positions were not sufficiently grounded. When Cardi­nal Cajetan, in the days of our grandfathers, had forsaken that vein of postilling and allegorising on Scripture, which for a long time had prevailed in the Church, and betaken himself unto the lite­ral sense; it was a thing so distasteful unto the Church of Rome, that he was forc'd to find out many shifts, and make many apologies for himself. The truth is, (as it will appear to him that reads his writings) this sticking close to the literal sense was that alone, which made him to shake many of those tenets, upon which the Church of Rome and the Reformed Churches differ. But when the importunity of the Reformers, and the great credit of Calvin's writings in that kind, had forced the Divines of Rome to level their interpretations by the same line: when they saw that no pains, no subtlety of wit was strong enough to defeat the literal evidence of Scripture, it drave them on those desperate shelves, on which at this day they stick, to call in question, as far as they durst, the credit of the Hebrew text, and countenance against it a corrupt tran­slation; to adde Traditions unto Scripture, and to make the Churches interpretation, so pretended, to be above exception. As for that restriction which is usually added to this Rule, that the literal sense is to be taken, if no absurdity follow, though I acknowledge it to be sound and good, yet my advise is that we entertain it warily. St. Basil thought the precept of Christ to the rich man in the Go­spel, Go sell all that thou hast, and give unto the poor, to be spoken as a command universally and eternally binding all Christians [Page 20] without exception. And making this objection, how possibly such a life could be amongst Christians, since where all are sellers, none could be buyers: [...] (saith he) [...], &c. Ask not me the sense of my Lords commands. He that gave the Law, can provide to give it possibility of being kept, without any absurdity at all. Which speech howsoever we may sup­pose the occasion of it to be mistaken, yet it is of excellent use to repress our boldness, whereby many times, under pretence of some inconvenience, we hinder Scripture from that latitude of sense, of which it is naturally capable. You know the story of the Roman Captain in Gellius, and what he told the Ship-wright, that chose ra­ther to interpret, then to execute his Lords command; Corrumpi atque dissolvi omne imperantis officium, si quis ad id quod facere jussus est non obsequio debito, sed consilio non desiderato respondeat. It will certainly in the end prove safer for us to entertain Gods com­mandments, obsequio debito, then to interpret them acumine non de­siderato. Those other ways of interpretation, whether it be by al­legorising, or allusion, or whatsoever, the best that can be said of them, is that which S. Basil hath pronounced, [...]: We ac­ount of them as of trim elegant and witty speeches, but we refuse to accept of them, as of undoubted truths. And though of some part of these, that may be said which one said of his own work,Aus [...]nius in monosyl. Quod ad usum lusi, quod ad molestiam laboravi, in respect of any profit comes by them, they are but sport, but in respect of the pains taken in making of them, they are la­bour and travel: yet much of them is of excellent use in private, either to raise our affections, or to spend our meditations, or (so it be with modesty) to practise our gifts of wit to the honour of him that gave them. For if we absolutely condemn these interpreta­tions, then must we condemn a great part of antiquity, who are very much conversant in this kind of interpreting. For the most partial for antiquity cannot chuse but see and confess thus much, that for the literal sense the Interpreters of our own times, because of their skill in the Original Languages, their care of pressing the circumstances and coherence of the Text; of comparing like pla­ces of Scripture with like, have generally surpast the best of the Ancients. Which I speak not to discountenance Antiquity, but that all ages, all persons may have their due. And let this suffice for our first rule.

[Page 21]The Iewish Rabbins on their Comments on Scripture, so oft as they met with hard and intricate texts, out of which they could not wrest themselves, were wont to shut up their discourse with this, Elias cum venerit, solvet dubia, Elias shall answer this doubt when he comes. Not the Jews onely, but the learned Christians of all ages have found many things in Scripture, which yet expect Elias. For besides those texts of Scriptures, which by reason of the hidden treasures of wisdom, and depth of sense and mystery laid up in them, are not yet conceived, there are in Scripture of things that are [...] seemingly confus'd, [...], car­rying semblance of contrariety, Anachronisms, Metachronisms, and the like, which brings infinite obscurity to the text: there are, I say, in Scripture more of them, then in any writing that I know, Secular or Divine. If we mean not to settle our selves till all these things are answered, let us us take heed lest the like be said to us, which St. Austin said to some of the Gentiles, who refused to beleive till all objections were satisfied, sunt enim innumerabiles quae non sunt fini­endae ante sidem, ne vita finiatur sine fide. The Arcopagites in Athens, when they were troubled in a doubtful case, in which they durst not proceed to sentence, were wont causam in diem longissimam differre, to put it off till a day of hearing for some hundred years after, avoiding by this means the further being importun'd with the Suit. To quiet ourselves in these doubts, it will be our best way, in diem longissimam differre, to put them to some day of hearing afar off, even till that great day, till Christ our true Elias shall come, who at his coming shall answer all our doubts, and settle all our waverings. Mean while, till our Elias come, let us make use of this second rule, In places of ambiguous and doubtful, or dark and intricate meaning, it is sufficient if we religiously admire and acknowledge and confess: using that moderation of S. Austin, Neutram partem affirmantes sive destruen­tes, sed tantuminodo ab audaci affirmandi praesumptione revocantes. Qui credit, saith one, satis est illi quod Christus intelligat. To under­stand belongs to Christ, the Authour of our Faith to us is sufficient the glory of Beleiving. Wherefore we are to advise, not so much how to attain unto the understanding of the mysteries of Scripture, as how it best fits us to carry our selves, when either the difficulty of the text, or variety of opinions shall distract us. In the sixth General Council, Honorius Bishop of Rome is condemned for a Mo­nothelite. Two Epistles there are of his, which are produced to give evidence against him. For the first, I have nothing to say. For [Page 22] the second, (I speak with submission to better judgments) not­withstanding the sharp proceeding of the Councel against him, I verily suppose that he gives unto the Church the best counsel, that ever yet was given for the setling of doubts, and final decision of controversie. For that which he teaches in that Epistle, at least in those parts of it, which there are brought, sounds to no other pur­pose but this, That whereas there was lately raised in the Church a controversie concerning the Duality or unity of wills in Christ; since that hitherto nothing in the Church concerning either part hath been expresly taught, his counsel was, That men would rather cease to doubt, then to be curious to search for any solution of their doubtings; and so abstain from teaching doctrinally either part, and content themselves with that ex­press measure of faith, with which the Church hath hitherto rest satisfied. This, to my conceit is the drift of his Epistle. How this advise of the Bishops was appliable, or how it fitted the question then in con­troversie; or what reason moved the Council to think, that it was absolutely necessary for them, to give an express decision, and de­termine for the one part, belongs not to me to discuss. But I verily perswade my self, that if it had pleased those, who in all ages have been set to govern the Church of God, betimes to have made use of this advice, to have taught men rather not to have doubted, then to have expected still solution of their doubtings: to have stopt and damm'd up the originals and springs of contro­versies, rather then by determining for the one part, to give them as it were a pipe and conduit to conveigh them to posterity, I perswade my self, the Church had not suffered that inundation of opinions, with which at this day it is over-run. Is it not St. Paul's own pra­ctise, when having brought in a question concerning Gods justice in Predestination, he gives no other answer but this, O man, who art thou that disputest with God? Is it not his plain purpose to advise the dis­puter, rather not to make the question, then to require a determi­nation of it at his hands? How many of the questions even of our own times, even of those that are at home amongst us, might by this way long since have been determin'd? I have, I confess, the same disease that my first Parents in Paradise had, a desire to know more then I need. But I always thought it a very judicious com­mendation, which is given to Iulius Agricola, that he knew how to bridle his desire in pursuit of knowledge, retinuitque, quod est dif­ [...]icillimum, ex scientia modum. Mallem quidem (as St. Austine saith) [...]orum quae à me quaesivisti habere scientiam, quam ignorantiam; sed [Page 23] quia id nondum potui, magis eligo cautam ignorantiam confiteri, quam falsam scientiam profiteri. It shall well befit our Christian modesty to [...] till the [...] [...] and remainder of our knowledge go be supplied by Christ: In quem si [...]redinius, ut si aliqua nobis non aperiat [...]tia [...] puisan­tibus, nullo modo adversus eum murmurare debeamus. To conclude, St. Austine in his eightieth Epistle, discoursing of the speedy or slow coming of our Saviour to judgement, to shew that it is the safest way to teach neither, but to suspend our belief, and confess our ig­norance, ranging himself with men of this temper, Obsecro te (saith he to Hesychius, to whom he writes that Epistle) obsecro te ut me talem non spernas. So give me leave to commence the same suit to you: Obsecro vos ut me talem non spernatis. Let me request you bear with me, if I be such a one as I have St. Austine for example. For it is not depth of knowledge, nor knowledge of antiquity, or sharpness of wit, nor authority of Councels, nor the name of the Church, can settle the restless conceits, that possess the minds of many doubtful Christians: onely to ground for faith on the plain uncontroversable Text of Scripture, and for the rest, to expect and pray for the com­ing of our Elias, this shall compose our waverings, and give final rest unto our souls.

Thus instead of a discourse which was due unto this time, con­cerning the glorious Resurrection of our blessed Saviour, and the benefits that come unto us by it, I have diverted my self upon ano­ther Theam, more necessary, as I thought, for this Auditory, though less agreeable with this solemnity. Those who have gone afore me in that argument have made so copious a harvest, that the issue of my gatherings must needs have been but small, except I had with Ruth glean'd out of their sheaves, or strain'd my industry which is but small, and my wits which are none, to have held your atten­tiveness with new and quaint conceits. In the mean time, whether it be I or they, or whatsoever hath been delivered out of this place, God grant that it may be for his honour, and for the Churches good, to whom both it and we are dedicate. To God the Father, &c.

Rom. XIV. I.‘Him that is weak in the faith receive, but not to doubt­ful disputations.’

MIght it so have pleased God, that I had in my power the choice of my ways, and the free management of my own actions, I had not this day been seen, (for so I think I may better speak: seen may I be of many, but to be heard with any latitude and compass, my natural imperfection doth quite cut off:) I had not I say in St. Paul's Cross. this place this day been seen; Ambition of great and famous Auditories I leave to those whose better gifts and inward endowments are Admonitioners unto them of the great good they can do, or otherwise thirst after popular applause. Vnto my self have I evermore applied that of St. Hierom, Mihi sufficit cum au­ditore & Lectore pauperculo in Angulo Monasterii susurrare, A small, a private, a retired Auditory, better accords both with my will and my abilities. Those unto whose discretion the furniture of this place is committed, ought especially to be careful, since you come hither to hear, to provide you those who can be heard; for the neglect of this one circum­stance, how poor soever it may seem to be, is no less then to offend a­gainst that Faith which cometh by hearing; and to frustrate as much as in them is, that end for which alone these meetings were ordained. We that come to this place, as God came to Elias in the mount, in a soft and still voice, to those which are near us, are that which the grace of God doth make us, unto the rest we are but Statues: such therefore as my Imperfection in this kind shall offend, such as this day are my specta­tours onely, know, I trust whom they are to blame. At my hands is onely required truth in sincerely discharging a common care, at others, care of [Page 25] profitably delivering a common truth. As for me, the end of whose com­ing is to exhort you to a gracious intepreting of each others imperfecti­ons, having first premised this Apology for my self, it is now time to de­scend to the exposition of that Scripture, which I have propos'd, I [...]fir­mum in Fide recipite, &c. Him that is weak in the Faith re­ceive, &c.

GOodness, of all the attributes, by which a man may be styled, hath cheif place and sovereignty; Goodness, I say, not that Metaphysical conceit which we dispute of in our Schools, and is no­thing else but that perfection which is inwardly due unto the Being of every creature, and without which, either it is not at all, or but in part, that whose name it bears: but that which the common sort of men do usually understand, when they call a man Good; by which is meant nothing else, but [...], a soft, and sweet, and flexible disposition. For all other Excellencies and Eminent qualities which raise in the minds of men some opinion and conceit of us, may occasion peradventure some strong respect in another kind; but impression of love and true respect, nothing can give but this: Greatness of place and authority may make us fear'd, Depth of Learning admir'd, Aboundance of Wealth may make men outwardly obsequious unto us; but that which makes one man a God unto another, that which doth tie the Souls of men unto us, that which like the Eye of the Bridegroom, in the Book of Canticles, ravishes the heart of him that looks upon it, is Goodness: Without this, Mankind were but (as one speaks) Commissiones merae, & arena sine calce, stones heapt together without morter, or peices of boards without any cement to combine and tie them together: For this it hath singular in it, above all other properties, of which our nature is capable, that it is the most available to Humane So­ciety, incorporating, and as it were kneading us together by soft­ness of disposition, by being compassionate, by gladly communi­cating to the necessity of others, by transfusing our selves into others, and receiving from others into our selves. All other Qualities, how excellent soever they are, seem to be somewhat of a melancholick and solitary disposition; They shine then brightest, when they are in some one alone, or attain'd unto by few; once make them common, and they lose their lustre: But Goodness is more sociable; and rejoyceth in equalling others unto it self, and loses its nature, when it ceases to be communicable. The Heathen speaking of God, [Page 26] usually stile him by two Attributes, Optimus & Maximus, the one importing his Goodness, the other his Power. In the first place they call'd him Optimus a name signifying his Goodness, giving the prece­dency unto it; and in the second place Maximus, a name betokening his Power: yea, Goodness is that, wherein God himself doth most delight himself; and therefore all the Acts of our Saviour, while he conversed on earth among men, were purely the issues of his tenderness, without any aspersion of severity, two onely excepted: I mean his chasing the Prophaners out of the Temple, and the Curse laid upon the innocent Fig-tree: and yet in both these, mercy rejoyced against judgment, and his goodness had the preheminence. For the first brought some smart with it indeed, but no harm at all, as Fathers use to chastise their Children by means that fear them, more then hurt them. The second of it self was nothing, as being practis'd on a creature dull and senseless of all smart and punish­ment; but was meerly exemplary for us, sterilitas nostra in ficu va­pulat. Christ whips our fruitlesness in the innocent Fig-tree; like as the manner was among the Persians, when their great men had offended, to take their Garments and beat them. Now that gracious way of goodness, which it pleased our Saviour thus to tread himself before us, the same hath he left behind him to be gone by us, and hath ordained us a course of Religious and Christian service unto him, known by nothing more then goodness and compassion. The very Heathen themselves though utter enemies unto it, have can­didly afforded us this Testimony. Ammianus Marcellinus taxing Georgius, a factious and proud Bishop of Alexandria, for abusing the weakness of Constantius the Emperour, by base tale-bearing, and privy informations, notes precisely that he did it, Oblitus pro­fessionis suae, quae nil nisi justum suadet & lene; quite besides the mean­ing of his profession, whose especial notes were Gentleness and Equity. And Tertullian tells us, that antiently among the Heathen, the Professors of Christianity were called, not Christiani, but Chre­stiani, from a word signifying Benignity and sweetness of disposition. The Learned of our times, who for our instruction have written de Notis Ecclesiae, by what Notes and Signes we may know the Church of Christ, may seem to have but ill forgotten this, which the Heathen man had so clearly discovered. For what reason is there, why that should not be one of the chiefest notes of the Church of Christ, which did so especially Characterise a Christian man, except it were the decay of it at this day in the Church: of this thing [Page 27] therefore, so excellent in it self, so useful, so principally commended by the precept and example of our blessed Saviour, one especial part is, if not the whole, which here by our Apostle is commended unto us, when he speaks unto us of kindly intreating, and making much of such, who are, as he calls them, weak in faith.

Him that is weak in faith, &c. To know the natural ground and occasion of which words, it shall be very pertinent to note unto you, that with the Church of Christ, as it signifies a Company of men on earth, it fares no otherwise, then it doth with other Soci­eties, and Civil Corporations. One thing there is unavoidable, and natural to all Societies, which is the greatest occasioner, yea; the very ground of disunion and dissent; I mean, Inequality of Persons and Degrees. All are not of the same worth, and therefore all can­not carry the same esteem and countenance: yet all, even the mean­est, are alike impatient of discountenance and contempt, be the Persons never so great from whence it proceeds. Wherefore we find that in States governed by the People, nothing did more ex­asperate the common sort, then the conceit of being contemned by men of greater place. For the taking away therefore of tumult and combustion,, which through this Inequality might arise, it was an­ciently counted an excellent policy in the Roman State, that men of greater account and place, did, as it were, share the Inferiour sort amongst themselves, and every one according to his ability enter­tain'd some part of them as Clients, to whom they yielded all lawful favour and protection. Even thus it fares with the Church of God, it cannot be, that all in it should be of equal worth, it is likewise distinguished into Plebem and Optimates. Some there are, and those that either through abundance of Spiritual graces, or else of natural gifts, do far out-strip a great part of other Christi­ans; these are the Optimates, the Nobles of the Church, whom our Apostle somewhere calls Strong men in Christ. Others there are, and those most in number, who either because God hath not so li­berally blest them with gifts of understanding and capacity, or by reason of some other imperfections, are either not so deeply skill'd in the mysteries of Christ, and of Godliness, or otherwise weak in manners and behaviour; and these are the Plebs, the Many of the Church, whom our Apostle sometimes calls, Brethren of low degree, sometimes Babes in Christ, and here in my Text the weak and sick in faith. Men, by nature querulous, and apt to take exception, [...], saith Electra in the Tragedy; A sick [Page 28] man is a pettish and wayward creature, hard to be pleased; as therefore with the sick, so are we now to deal with a Neighbour, weak and sick of his spiritual constitution, and much we are to bear with his frowardness, where we cannot remedy it. For as Varro sometimes spake of the Laws of Wedlock, Vxoris vitium aut tollendum est, aut ferendum, Either a man must amend, or endure the faults of his wife; he that amends them makes his Wife the better, but he that patiently endures them makes himself the better: so is it much more true in dealing with our weak Brethren, if we can by our be­haviour remedy their imbecillities, we make them the better; if not, by enduring them we shall make our selves the better; for so shall we encrease the virtue of our patience, and purchase to our selves at Gods hand a more abundant reward. A great part of the lustre of a Christian mans vertue were utterly obscure, should it want this mean of shewing it self. For were all men strong, were all of sufficient discretion, to see and judge of Conveniency, where were the glory of our forbearance? As well therefore to increase the reward of the strong man in Christ, as to stop the whining and murmuring of the weaker sort, and to give content at all hands, our Apostle like a good Tribune in this Text gives a Rule of Chri­stian popularity, advising the man of worthier parts, to avoid all sleighting behaviour, to open the arms of tenderness and compassi­on, and to demerit by all courtesie the men of meaner rank, so to prevent all inconvenience, that might arise out of disdainful and respectless carriage; for God is not like unto mortal Princes, jea­lous of the man whom the people love. In the world, nothing is more dangerous for great men, then the extraordinary favour and applause of the people; many excellent men have miscarried by it. For Princes stand much in fear, when any of their Subjects hath the heart of the people. It is one of the commonest grounds upon which Treason is rais'd; Absalom had the Art of it, who by being plausible, by commiserating the peoples wrongs, and wishing the redress; O that I were a Iudge to do this people good! by putting out his hand, and embracing, and kissing every one that came nigh him; so stole away the hearts of the people, that he had well-nigh put his Father besides his Kingdom. But what alters and undoes the King­doms of this world, that strengthens and encreases the Kingdom of God; Absalom the popular Christian, that hath the Art of winning mens souls and making himself belov'd of the people, is the best sub­ject in the Kingdom of Grace, for this is that which our Apostle ex­presses in the phrase of Receiving the weak.

[Page 29]Now it falls out oftentimes, that men offend through intempe­stive compassion and tenderness, as much as by over much rigidness and severity; as much by familiarity, as by superciliousness and contempt: Wherefore even our love and courtesie must be managed by discretion. St. Paul saw this well, and therefore he prescribes limits to our affections; and having in the former part of my Text counselled us, as Christ did S. Peter, to let loose our nets to make a draught; to do as Ioseph did in Egypt, open our garners and store-houses, that all may come to buy, to admit of all, to exclude none, from our indulgence and courtesie: in this second part, But not to doubtful disputations; he sets the bounds how far our love must reach. As Moses in the 19. of Exodus, sets bounds about Mount Sinai, forbidding the people, that they go not up to the Hill, or come within the borders of it; so hath the Apostle appointed cer­tain limits to our love and favour, within which it shall not be law­ful for the people to come. Inlarge we the Phylacteries of our good­ness as broad as we list, give we all countenance unto the meaner sort, admit we them into all inwardness and familiarity; yet unto Disputations and Controversies, concerning profounder points of Faith and Religious Mysteries, the meaner sort may be by no means admitted. For give me leave now to take this for the meaning of the words; I know they are very capable of another sense: as if the Apostles counsel had been unto us, to entertain with all courtesie our weaker brethren, and not over-busily to enquire into, or censure their secret thoughts and doubtings, but here to leave them to themselves, and to God who is the Judge of thoughts: For many there are, otherwise right good men, yet weak in judg­ment, who have fallen upon sundry private conceits, such as are unnecessary Differencing of Meats and Drinks, distinction of Days, or (to exemplifie my self in some conceit of our Times) some singu­lar opinions concerning the state of Souls departed, private interpre­tations of obscure Texts of Scripture, and others of the same nature: Of these or the like thoughts, which have taken root in the hearts of men of shallow capacity, those who are more surely grounded, may not presume themselves to be judges; many of these things of themselves are harmless and indifferent, onely to him that hath some prejudicate opinion of them, they are not so; and of these things, they who are thus or thus conceited, shall be accomptable to God, and not to man, to him alone shall they stand or fall; Wherefore, bear (saith the Apostle) with these infirmities, and [Page 30] take not on you to be Lords of their thoughts, but gently tole­rate these their unnecessary conceits and scrupulosities. This though I take to be the more natural meaning of the words, (for indeed it is the main drift of our Apostles discourse in this Chapter) yet chuse I rather to follow the former interpretation. First, because of the Authority of sundry learned Interpreters, and because it is ve­ry requisite that our age should have something said unto it con­cerning this over-bold intrusion of all sorts of men into the discus­sing of doubtful Disputations. For Disputation, though it be an ex­cellent help to bring the truth to light, yet many times by too much troubling the waters, it suffers it to slip away unseen, especially with the meaner sort, who cannot so easily espy when it is mix'd with sophistry and deceit. Infirmum autem in fide recipite, but not to doubtful disputations.

This my Text therefore is a Spiritual Regimen and Diet for these who are of a weak and sickly constitution of mind, and it contains a Recipe for a man of crazie and diseased faith. In which by that which I have delivered, you may plainly see there are two general parts. First, An Admonition of courteous entertainment to be given to the weaker sort, in the first words, Him that is weak in the Faith, receive, &c. Secondly, The restraint and bound of this Admoni­tion, how far it is to extend, even unto all Christian Offices, ex­cepting onely the hearing of doubtful disputations. In the first part we will consider; First, who these weak ones are of whom the Apo­stle speaks, and how many kinds of them there be, and how each of them may be the subject of a Christian mans goodness and courte­sie. Secondly, Who these persons are, to whom this precept of en­tertaining is given, and they are two; either the Private man, or the Publick Magistrate. In the second general part we will see what reasons we may frame to our selves, why these weak ones should not be admitted to questions and doubtful disputations. Which points severally, and by themselves, we will not handle, but we will so order them, that still as we shall have in order discover'd some kind of weak man, whom our Apostle would have received, we will immediately seek how far forth he hath a right to be an hearer of Sacred Disputation, and this as far onely as it concerns a private man: And for an upshot in the end, we will briefly consi­der by it self, whether, and how far this precept of bearing with the weak pertains to the man of Publick place, whether in the Church, or in the Common-wealth. And first concerning the [Page 31] weak, as he may be a subject of Christian courtesie in private. And here, because that in comparison of him that is strong in Christ, every man of what estate soever, may be said to be weak, that strong man onely excepted, we will in the number of the weak contain all persons whatsoever. For I confess, because I wish well to all, I am willing that all should reap some benefit by my Text. As therefore the Woman in the Gospel, who in touching onely the Hem of Christs garment, did receive vertue to cure her disease; so all weak persons whatsoever, though they seem to come behind, and onely touch the hem of my Text, may peradventure receive some vertue from it to redress their weakness; nay, as the King in the Gospel, that made a Feast, and willed his servants to go out to the high-ways side, to the blind, and the lame, and force them in, that his house might be full: so what lame or weak person soever he be, if I find him not in my Text, I will go out and force him in, that the Doctrine of my Text may be full, and that the goodness of a Christian man may be like the Widows Oyl, in the Book of Kings, that never ceas'd running so long as there was a vessel to receive it. Wherefore to speak in general, there is no kind of man, of what life, of what profession, of what estate and calling soever, though he be an Heathen, and Idolater, unto whom the skirts of Christian compassion do not reach. St. Paul is my Authour, Now whilest you have time (saith he) do good unto all men, but especially to the hou­shold of faith. The houshold of faith indeed hath the prehemi­nence; it must be chiefly, but not alone respected. The distinction that is to be made, is not by excluding any, but not participating alike unto all. God did sometimes indeed tie his love to the Iewish Nation onely, and gave his Laws to them alone: but afterward he enlarged himself, and instituted an Order of serving him promis­cuously, capable of all the world. As therefore our Religion is, so must our compassion be, Catholick. To tie it either to Persons, or to Place, is but a kind of moral Iudaism. Did not St. Paul teach us thus much, common reason would. There must of necessity be some free entercourse with all men, otherwise the passages of publick Com­merce were quite cut off, and the Common Law of Nations must needs fall. In some things we agree, as we are men, and thus far the [...]y Heathen themselves are to be received. For the goodness of a man, which in Solomon's judgment, extendeth even to a beast, much more must stretch it self to a man of the same nature with him, be his condition what it will. St. Paul loved the Iews, because they [Page 32] were his brethren according to the flesh; We that are of the Heathe [...] by the same Analogy, ought to be as tenderly affected to the rest of our brethren, who though they be not as we are now, yet now are that which we sometimes were. Facile est atque proclive, saith S. Au­stin, malis odisse quia mali sunt; rarum autem & pium eosdem ipsos di­ligere, quia homines sunt: It is an easie thing to hate evil men, because they are evil; but to love them as they are men, this is a rare and a pious thing. The offices of common hospitality, of helping distres­sed persons, feeding the hungry, and the like, are due not onely be­twixt Christian and Christian, but between a Christian and all the world. Lot, when the Angels came to Sodom, and sate in the streets; Abraham, when he saw three men coming toward him, stood not to enquire who they were, but out of the sense of common humanity, ran forth and met them, and gladly entertained them, not knowing whom they should receive. St. Chrysostom considering the circum­stances of Abraham's fact, that he sate at his tent door, and that in the heat of the day, that he came to meet them, thinks, he therefore sate in publick, and endured the inconvenience of the heat, even for this purpose, that he might not let slip any occasion of being hospi­tal. The writings of the Fathers, run much in commendation of the ancient Moncks, and were they such as they report, well did they deserve to be commended; for their manner was to sit in the feilds, and by the high-way sides, for this end, that they might direct wandring passengers into the way, that they might releive all that were distressed by want, or bruising or breaking of any member, and carry them home into their Cells, and perform unto them all Duties of Humanity. This serves well to tax us, who af­fect a kind of intempestive prudence, and unseasonable discretion in performing that little good we do, from whom so hardly after long enquiry and entreaty drops some small benevolence, like the Sun in Winter, long ere it rise, and quickly gone. How many oc­casions of Christian charity do we let slip, when we refuse to give our alms, unless we first cast doubts, and examine the persons, their lives, their necessities, though it be onely to reach out some small thing, which is due unto him, whatsoever it be. It was anciently a complaint against the Church, that the liberality of the Christi­ans made many idle persons. Be it that it was so, yet no other thing befell them, then what befalls their Lord, who knows and sees that his Sun-shine and his Rain is every day abused, and yet the Sun becomes not like a Sack, nor the Heavens as Brass; unto him must [Page 33] we, by his own command, be like: and whom then can we ex­clude, that have a pattern of such courtesie proposed to us to fol­low? we read in our books of a nice Athenian being entertain'd in a place by one given to Hospitality, finding anon that another was receiv'd with the like courtesie, and then a third, growing very angry, I thought, said he, that I had found here [...] but I have found [...]; I look'd for a friends house, but I am fallen into an Inne to entertain all Comers, rather then a Lodg­ing for some private and especial friends. Let it not offend any that I have made Christianity rather an Inne to receive all, then a private house to receive some few. For so both the precepts and examples I have brought, teach us, Beneficia praestare non homini, sed humano generi, to extend our good, not to this or that man, but to mankind; like the Sun that ariseth not on this or that Na­tion, but on the whole world. Iulian observes of the Fig-tree, that above all Trees it is most capable of Grafts and Siens of other kinds, so far, as that all variety will be brought to take nourish­ment from one Stock: Beloved, a Christian must be like unto Iu­lian's Fig-tree, so universally compassionate, that so all sorts of Grafts, by a kind of Christian Inoculation, may be brought to draw life and nourishment from his root.

But I am all this while in a generality onely, and I must not forget, that I have many particular sick Patients, in my Text, of whom every one must have his Recipe, and I must visit them all ere I go. But withall, I must remember my Method, which was, still as I spake of Receiving the weak, to speak likewise of exclu­ding them from Disputation. So must I needs, ere I pass away, tax this our age, for giving so general permission unto all, to busie themselves in doubtful cases of Religion. For nothing is there that hath more prejudiced the cause of Religion, then this pro­miscuous and careless admission of all sorts to the hearing and han­dling of Controversies, whether we consider the private case of every man, or the publick state of the Church. I will touch but one inconvenience which much annoys the Church, by open­ing this gate so wide to all comers; for by the great preass of people that come, the work of the Lord is much hindred. Not to speak of those, who out of weakness of understanding fall into many errours, and by reason of liberty of bequeathing their errours to the world by writing, easily find heirs for them. There is a sort that do harm by being unnecessary, and though they sowe [Page 34] not Tares in the field, yet fill the Lords floor with chaff: For what need this great breed of Writers, with which in this Age the world doth swarm? how many of us might spare the pains in committing our Meditations to writing, contenting our selves to teach the people viva voce, and suffering our conceits quietly to die in their birth? The teaching the people by voice is per­petually necessary, should all of us every where speak but the same things. For all cannot use Books, and all that can, have not the leisure. To remedy therefore the want of skill in the one, and of time in the other, are we set in this Ministery of Preach­ing. Our voices are confin'd to a certain compass, and tied to the Individuating properties of Hic and Nunc: our Writings are unlimited. Necessity therefore requires a multitude of Speakers, a multitude of Writers, not so. G. Agricola writing de Ani­mantibus subterraneis, reports of a certain kind of Spirits that converse in Minerals, and much infest those that work in them; and the manner of them when they come, is, To seem to busie them­selves according to all the custom of workmen; they will dig, and cleanse, and melt, and sever Metalls; yet when they are gone, the workmen do not find that there is any thing done: So fares it with a great part of the multitude, who thrust themselves into the Con­troversies of the Times; they write Books, move Questions, frame Distinctions, give Solutions, and seem sedulously to do whatsoever the nature of the business requires; yet if any skilful workman in the Lords Mines shall come and examine their work, he shall find them to be but Spirits in Minerals, and that with all this labour and stir there is nothing done.’ I acknowledge it to be very true, which S. Austin spake in his first Book, de Trinitate; Vtile est plu­res libros a pluribus fieri diverso stilo, sed non diversa fide, etiam de quaestionibus iisdem, ut ad plurimos res ipsa perveniat ad alios sic, ad alios vero sic. It is a thing very profitable, that divers Tracts be written by divers men, after divers fashions, but according to the same Analogy of Faith, even of the same questions, that some might come into the hands of all, to some on this manner, to another after that. For this may we think to have been the counsel of the holy Ghost himself, who may seem even for this purpose, to have registred the self-same things of Christ by three of the Evangelists with little difference. Yet notwithstanding, if this speech of S. Austin admit of being qualified, then was there no time which more then this Age required, should be [Page 35] moderated, which I note, because of a noxious conceit spread in our Universities, to the great hindering of true proficiency in Study, springing out from this Root. For many of the Learn­ed themselves are fallen upon this preposterous conceit, That Learning consisteth rather in variety of turning and quoting of sundry Authours, then in soundly discovering and laying down the truth of things. Out of which arises a greater charge unto the poor Student, who now goes by number rather then weight, and the Books of the Learned themselves, by ambiti­ously heaping up the conceits and authorities of other men, in­crease much in the bulk, but do as much imbase in true value. Wherefore as Gedeon's Army of two and thirty thousand, by pre­script from God, was brought unto three hundred; so this huge Army of Disputes might, without any hazard of the Lords Battles, be well contracted into a smaller number. Iustinian the Empe­rour, when he found that the study of the Civil Law was sur­charged, and much confused, by reason of the great heaps of unne­cessary writings, he calls an Assembly of Learned men, caus'd them to search the Books, to cut off what was superfluous, to ga­ther into order and method the sum and substance of the whole Law: Were it possible that some Religious Iustinian might after the same manner employ the wits of some of the best Learned in Examining the Controversies, and selecting out of the best Writers what is necessary, defaulting unnecessary and partial Discourses, and so digest into order and method, and leave for the direction of Posterity, as it were, Theological Pandects, infinite store of our Books might well lie by, and peaceably be buried, and after Ages reap greater profit with smaller cost and pains. But that which was possible in the World, united under Iustinian, in this great division of Kingdoms, is peradventure impossi­ble. Wherefore having contented my self to shew what a great and irremediable inconvenience this free, and uncontroulable venturing upon Theological Disputes hath brought upon us, I will leave this Project as a Speculation, and pass from this general Do­ctrine unto some particulars. For this generality, and heap of sick persons, I must divide into their kinds, and give every one his proper Recipe.

The first in this order of weak persons, so to be received and cherish'd by us, is one of whom question may be made, whether he may be called weak or no; he may seem to be rather dead: for [Page 36] no pulse of infused grace beats in him. I mean, such a one who hath but small, or peradventure no knowledge at all in the mystery of Christ, yet is otherwise, a man of upright life and conversation, such a one as we usually name A moral man. Account you of such a one as dead, or how you please, yet me-thinks I find a Recipe for him in my Text. For this man is even to be woed by us; as sometimes one Heathen man wish'd of another, Talis cum sis uti­nam noster esses. This man may speak unto a Christian, as Ruth does unto Boaz, Spread the skirt of thy garment over me, for thou art a near kinsman. Two parts there are that do compleatly make up a Christian man, A true Faith, and an honest Conversation. The first, though it seem the worthier, and therefore gives unto us the name of Christians, yet the second in the end will prove the surer. For true profession without honest conversation, not onely saves not, but increases our weight of punishment: but a good life without true profession, though it brings us not to Heaven, yet it lessens the measure of our judgment: so that A moral man so called, is a Christian by the surer side. As our Savi­our saith of one in the Gospel, that had wisely and dis­creetly answered him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of hea­ven; so may we say of these men, Suppose that as yet they be not of, yet certainly far from the Kingdom of heaven they cannot be. Yea, this sincerity of life, though sever'd from true profes­sion, did seem such a jewel in the eyes of some of the Ancient Fathers, that their opinion was, and so have they in their Wri­tings (erroneously doubtless) testified it, That God hath in store for such men not onely this mitigating mercy, of which but now I spake, but even saving grace, so far forth as to make them possessors of his Kingdom. Let it not trouble you, that I intitle them to some part of our Christian Faith, and therefore without scruple to be received as weak, and not to be cast forth as dead. Salvianus disputing what Faith is, Quid est igitur cre­dulitas vel sides? saith he, opinor fideliter hominum Christo credere, id est, fidelem Deo esse, hoc est fideliter Dei mandata servare. What might this faith be? (saith he) I suppose it is nothing else, but faithfully to believe Christ, and this is to be faithful unto God, which is nothing else but faithfully to keep the commandments of God. Not therefore onely a bare belief, but the fidelity and tru­stiness of Gods servants, faithfully accomplishing the will of our Master, is required as a part of our Christian Faith. Now all [Page 37] those good things which moral men by the light of Nature do, are a part of Gods will written in their hearts; wherefore so far as they were conscientious in performing them (if Salvianus his reason be good) so far have they title and interest in our Faith. And therefore Regulus, that famous Roman, when he endured infinite torments, rather then he would break his Oath, may thus far be counted a Martyr, and witness for the truth. For the Crown of Martyrdom sits not onely on the heads of those who have lost their lives, rather then they would cease to profess the Name of Christ, but on the head of every one that suffers for the testimony of a good conscience, and for righteousness sake. And here I cannot pass by one very general gross mistaking of our Age. For in our discourses concerning the Notes of a Christian man, by what Signes we may know a man to be one of the vi­sible company of Christ, we have so tied our selves to this out­ward profession, that if we know no other vertue in a man, but that he hath Cond his Creed by heart, let his life be never so profane, we think it argument enough for us to account him within the Pale and Circuit of the Church: on the contrary side, let his life be never so upright, if either he be little seen in, or peradventure quite ignorant of the Mystery of Christ, we esteem of him but as dead; and those who conceive well of those moral good things, as of some tokens giving hope of life, we account but as a kind of Ma [...]ichecs, who thought the very Earth had life in it. I must confess that I have not yet made that pro­ficiency in the Schools of our Age, as that I could see, why the Second Table, and the Acts of it, are not as properly the parts of Religion and Christianity, as the Acts and Observations of the first. If I mistake, then it is St. Iames that hath abus'd me; for he describing Religion by its proper Acts, tells us, that True Re­ligion, and undefiled before God and the Father, is, To visit the fa­therless and the widow in their affliction, and to keep himself un­spotted of the world. So that the thing which in an especial refine Dialect of the new Christian Language signifies nothing but Mo­rality and Civility that in the Language of the Holy Ghost im­ports true Religion. Wherefore any difference that the holy Ghost makes notwithstanding, the man of vertuous dispositions, though ignorant of the Mystery of Christ, be it Fabricius, or Re­gulus, or any ancient Heathen man, famous for sincerity and up­rightness of carriage, hath as sure a claim and interest in the [Page 38] Church of Christ, as the man deepest skill'd in, most certainly believing, and openly professing all that is written in the holy Books of God, if he endeavour not to shew his faith by his works. The Antients therefore, where they found this kind of men, glad­ly received them, and converst familiarly with them, as appears by the friendly entercourse of Epistles of S. Basil with Libanius, of Nazianzen and Austin, with sundry others; and Antiquity hath either left us true, or forged us false Epistles betwixt S. Paul him­self and Seneca. Now as for the admitting of any of these men to the discussing of the doubts in our Religio [...]s Mysteries, who either know not, or peradventure contemn them, there needs not much be said: by a Canon of one of the Councels of Carthage it appears, it had sometimes been the erroneous practise of some Christians to Baptize the dead, and to put the Sacrament of Christs Body into their mouths. Since we have confest these men to be in a sort dead, as having no supernatural quickening grace from above, to put into their hands the handling of the word of life at all, much more of discussing of the doubtful things in it, were nothing else, but to Baptize a carcase, and put the Commu­nion bread into the mouth of the dead. Wherefore leaving this kind of weak person to your courteous acceptance,

Let us consider of another, one quite contrary to the former; a true Professor, but a man of prophane and wicked life, one more dangerously ill then the former: have we any Recipe for this man? May seem for him there is no Balm in Gilead, he seems like unto the Leper in the Law, unto whom no man might draw near. And by so much the more dangerous is his case, because the con­dition of conversing with Heathen men, be they never so wicked, is permitted unto Christians by our Apostle himself, whereas with this man, all commerce seems by the same Apostle to be quite cut off. For in the 1 Cor. 6. St. Paul having forbidden them formerly all manner of conversing with Fornicators, in­famous persons, and men subject to grievous crimes; and consi­dering at length how impossible this was, because of the Gen­tiles with whom they lived, and amongst whom necessarily they were to converse and trade, he distinguishes between the forni­cators of this world, and the fornicators which were Brethren. I meant not (saith the blessed Apostle) expounding himself, that ye should not admit of the fornicators of this world; that is, such as were Gentiles, for then must ye have sought a new [Page 39] world. So great and general a liberty at that time had the world assumed for the practise of that sin of Fornication, that strictly to have forbidden them the company of fornicatours, had almost been to have excluded them the society of mankind. But, saith he, If a brother be a fornicatour, or a thief, or a railer; with such a one partake not, no not so much as to eat. Wherefore the case of this person seems to be desperate; for he is not onely mortal­ly sick, but is bereft of all help of the Physician. Yet notwith­standing all this, we may not give him over for gone; for when we have well search'd our boxes, we shall find a Recipe even for him too. Think we that our Apostles meaning was, that we should acquaint our selves onely with the good, and not the bad; as Physicians in the time of Pestilence look onely to the sound, and shun the diseas'd? Our Saviour Christ familiarly converst, eat, and drank with Publicanes and sinners, and gives the reason of it, because he came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Is Christ contrary to Paul? This reason of our Saviour concerns every one on whom the duty of saving of Souls doth rest. It is the main drift of his message, and unavoidably he is to converse, yea, eat and drink with all sorts of sinners, even because he is to call, not the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Necessary it is that some means be left to reclaim notorious offenders, let their disease be never so dangerous. Nescio an in extremis aliquid ten­tare medicina sit, certe nihil tentare perditio est; Who can tell whether in this extremity, were it at the last cast, it may some way profit to receive him; but this we all know, that altogether to cast him out of the society of good men, is to cut him off from all outward means of health. The Leper in the Law, though he were excluded the multitude, yet had he access unto the Priest. Beloved, the Priest in the new Law hath much greater priviledge then the Ancient had; he was onely a Judge, and could not cure: But this is both a Judge and a Physician, and can both dis­cern and cure the Leprosie of our souls; wherefore he is not to be excluded from the most desperately sick person. Neither doth this duty concern the Priest alone; for, as Tertullian some­times spake in another case, In majestatis reos & publicos hostes omnis homo miles est, Against Traitors and publick enemies every man is a souldier; so is it true in this. Every one who is of strength to pull a Soul out of the fire, is for this business, by counsel, by advice, by rebuking a Priest, neither must he let him [Page 40] lie there to expect better help. Again, no man so ill, but hath some good thing in him, though it breaks not out, as being cloud­ed and darkened with much corruption. We must take heed, that we do not pro solis comprehendere frequentissima, mistake in thinking there is nothing else but evil, where we often see it. We must therefore entertain even near friendship with such a one to discover him. Nemo enim nisi per amicitiam cognoscitur, saith St. Austin; No man is perfectly discovered, but by his in­ward acquaintance. As therefore they who seek for treasure, give not over by reason of clay and mire, so long as there is any hope to speed; so may we not cast off our industry, though it labour in the most polluted Soul, ut ad quaedam sana in quorum delectatione acquiescamus per charitatis tolerantiam perducamur; that so at length, through charitable patience and long-suffering we may discover in him some good things which may content us for the present, and give hope of better things to come For as they that work in Gold and costly matter, diligently save every little piece that falls away; so goodness wheresoever it be, is a thing so precious, that every little spark of it deserves our care in cherishing. Many miscarry through the want of this patience in those who undertake them, whilst they despair of them too soon: Dum ita objurgant quasi oderint, Whilest they rebuke us, as if they hated, and upbraid rather then reprehend. Transit convitium & intemperantia culpatur, uterque qui periere arguuntur. As unskilful Physicians, who suffer their Patients to die under their hands, to hide their errour, blame their Patients intempe­rance: so let us take heed, lest it be not so much the strength of the disease, as the want of skill in us which we strive to cover, and vail over with the names of Contumacy, Intemperance, or the like. David received an express message from the Prophet, that the Child conceived in adultery should surely die; yet he ceast not his Prayers, and Tears, and Fasting, as long as there was life in it. We receive no such certain message concerning any mans miscarriage, and why then should we intermit any Office which Christian patience can afford. Wherefore, what Maecenas some­time spake loosely in another sense, Debilem facito manu, debilene pede, coxa: lubricos quate dentes: vita dum superest bene est; that we may apply more properly to our purpose, Let our weak person here be lame, hand and foot, hip and thigh, sick in head and heart; yet so long as there is life in him, there is no cause we [Page 41] should despair. How knowest thou how potent the Word of God may be through thy Ministry, out of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham? I cannot therefore perswade my self, that this prohibition of St. Paul, of which we but now spake, so far extended, as that it quite interdicted good men the company of the sinners, be they never so gross. For when he delivered men unto Satan, (the greatest thing that ever he did in this kind) it was ad interitum carnis, to the mortifying of the flesh, that so the spirit might be safe in the day of the Lord. But this is worse, for by this peremptory excluding the gross sinner from the good, a greater gap is opened to the liberty of the flesh, and a more immediate way could not be found to bring final destruction on him at that day. The extent therefore of St. Paul's precept, though given in shew to all, I take to reach no farther then the weak, and such as are in danger of Infection; for the weaker sort of men are always evermore the most, and a charge given unto the most, is commonly given under the style of all. Our Apo­stle therefore jealous of the tenderer sort, whom every unwhole­some blast doth easily taint, seems, what he intended for the most, to make general to all. The reason which the Apostle gives, does warrant this restraint; See ye not (saith he) that a little leven sowres the whole lump? If therefore there be any part of the lump, [...], out of shot and danger of sowring and contagion, on it this precept can have no extent: and surely some wrong it were to the Church of Christ, to suppose that all were necessarily subject to sowring and infection, upon supposal of some admission of leven. Evil indeed is infectious, but neither necessarily, nor yet so, that it need fright us from those who are diseased with it. Contagious diseases which seize on our bodies, infect by natural force and means, which we cannot prevent: but no man drinks down this poison, whose Will is not the Hand that takes the Cup: So that to converse with men of diseas'd minds, infects us not except we will. Again, Aristotle in his Problems makes a question, Why health doth not infect as well as sickness. For we grow sick many times by incautelously conversing with the diseas'd, but no man grows well by accom­panying the healthy. Thus indeed it is with the healthiness of the body; it hath no transient force on others. But the strength and healthiness of the mind carries with it a gracious kind of infection: and common experience tells us, That nothing profits [Page 42] evil men, more then the company of the good. So that strength of mind, accompanied with the preservative of the grace of God, may not onely without fear of contagion, safely converse with ungracious sinners, but by so doing, as it were infect them, and make them such as himself is. No cause therefore hitherto, why the true Professors, though notorious sinners, should not be par­takers of our Christian Courtesies. And therefore as of the for­mer, so of this my conclusion is, We must receive him. Onely let me adde St. Paul's words in another place, Ye that are strong, re­ceive such a one.

HAving thus far spoken of his Admission, let us now a little consider of his Restraint, and see whether he may have any part in hearing and handling Religious Controversies; where plainly to speak my mind, as his admission before was, so his exclusion here is much more necessary: the way to these Schools should be open to none, but to men of upright life and conversation: and that as well in regard of the profane and wicked men themselves, as of the Cause which they presume to handle: for as for themselves, this is but the Field, wherein they sowe and reap their own infamy and disgrace. Our own expe­rience tells us, how hard a thing it is for men of behaviour known to be spotless, to avoid the lash of those mens tongues; who make it their cheif fence to disgrace the persons, when they cannot touch the cause. For what else are the Writings of many men, but mutual Pasquils and Satyrs against each others lives, wherein digladiating like Eschines and Demosthenes, they recipro­cally lay open each others filthiness to the view and scorn of the world. The fear therefore of being stained, and publickly dis­graced, might be reason enough to keep them back from entring these contentions. And as for the cause it self, into which this kind of men do put themselves, needs must it go but ill with it: for is it possible that those respects, which sway and govern their ordinary actions, should have no influence upon their pens? It cannot be, that they who speak, and plot, and act wickedness, should ever write uprightly. Nam ut in vita, ita & in causis quoque spes improbas habent: Doubtless, as in their lives, so in the causes they undertake, they nourish hopes full of improbity. Besides all this, the opinion of the common sort is not to be contemned, whom no kind of reason so much abuses, and carries away, as [Page 43] when the discredit of the person is retorted on the cause; which thing our adversaries here at home amongst us know very well, a master-piece of whose policy it is, to put into the hands of the people such Pamphlets which hurt not our cause at all, but onely discredit our persons. St. Chrysostom observes out of the ancient Customes of the Olympick Games, that whensoever any man offered himself to contend in them, he was not to be ad­mitted till publick Proclamation had been made throughout the multitude to this purpose. Whether any man knew him to be either a Servant, or a Thief, or otherwise of infamous life. And if any imputation in this kind were proved against him, it was sufficient to keep him back. Had the Heathen this care, that their vanities should not be discredited? how great then must our care be, that they which enter into these Exercises, be of pure and upright condition? Let mens skill and judgment therefore be never so good, yet if their lives be notoriously subject to exception, let them know, that there is no place for them in these Olympicks. Men indeed in civil business have found out a distinction, between an Honest man, and a good Common-wealths-man: And therefore Fabricius in the Roman Story is much commended, for nominating to the Consulship, Ruffinus, a wicked man, and his utter enemy, because he knew him to be serviceable to the Common-wealth, for those Wars which were then depending. But in the business of the Lord, and Common-wealth of God, we can admit of no such distinction. For God himself in the Book of Psalms, staves them off with a, Quid tuae ut euarres mea? &c. What hast thou to do to take my words into thy mouth, since thou hatest to be reformed? The world for the man­aging of her matters, may employ such as her self hath fitted: But let every one who names the name of God, depart from iniquity. For these reasons therefore it is very expedient, that none but right good men should undertake the Lords quarrels, the ra­ther, because there is some truth in that which Quintilian spake, Cogitare optima simul & deterrima, non magis est unius animi, quam ejusdem hominis bonum esse ac malum. As impossible it is that good and bad thoughts should harbour in the same heart, as it is for the same man to be joyntly good and bad. And so from the con­sideration of this sick person, let us proceed to visit the next. The weak persons, I have hitherto treated of, are the fewest, as consisting in a kind of extreme. For the greatest sort of men are [Page 44] in a mediocrity of men, eminently Good, or extremely ill, the number is smallest; but this rank of sick persons, that now we are to view, is an whole army, and may be every one of us, if we do well examine our selves, shall find our selves in it: For the weak, whom we now are to speak of, is he that hath not that degree and perfection of faith, and strength of spiritual consti­tution that he ought to have. Wherefore our Recipe here must be like the Tree of Life in the Book of the Revelation, it must be Me­dicine to heal whole Nations. For who is he amongst men that can free himself from this weakness? Yea, we our selves that are set over others for their cure, may speak of our selves and our Charge, as Iolaus in Euripides doth of himself and Hercules chil­dren, [...], We take care of these, our selves standing in need of others care for us. Hippocrates counsels his Physician, to look especially, that himself be healthy to be [...], fair of colour, and full of flesh. For otherwise, saith he, how can he give comfort and hope of suc­cess to a sick patient, who by his ill colour and meagreness, be­wrays some imperfection of his own. But what Physician of Soul and Manners is capable of this counsel? or who is it, that, taking the cure of others, d [...]th not in most of his actions bewray his own disease? Even thus hath it pleased God to tie us together with a mutual sense of each others weakness; and as our selves receive and bear with others; so for our selves interchangeably must we request the same courtesie at others hands. Notwith­standing, as it is with the health of our bodies, no man at any time is perfectly well, onely he goes for an healthy man, who is least sick: so fares it with our souls. God hath included all under the name of Weak some perad venture are less weak then others, but no man is strong. Infaelicissimum Consolationis genus est de mi­seriis hominum peccatorum capere solatia. It is but a miserable com­fort to judge our own perfections onely by others defects, yet this is all the comfort we have. Let us leave therefore those, who by reason of being less crazie, pass for healthy, and consider of those whom some sensible and eminent imperfection above others hath rank'd in the number of the weak. And of those there are sundry kinds, especially two. One is Weak, because he is not yet fully informed, not so sufficiently Catechized in the Mysteries of Faith, whom farther Institution may bring to better Maturity: The other peradventure is sufficiently Grounded for [Page 45] Principles of Faith, yet is Weak, by reason either of some Pas­sion, or of some irritatory and troublesome Humour in his be­haviour. Nullum unquam ingenium placuit sine venia; There is no man so perfect, but hath somewhat in his behaviour that re­quireth pardon. As for the imperfection of the former of these, It is the weakness of infancy and childhood in Faith, rather then a disease: And with this weak man we are especially to bear above all others. For as for him that is Weak through gross and wilfull ignorance, or contumacy, or the like, it is pardon­able, if sometimes we yield him not that measure of courtesie, which were meet; but to be cruel against Infancy and Child­hood were inhumanity. The manner of our Recipe for these men, our Apostle somewhere expresses, where he tells us of some that must be fed with milk, and not strong meat: Unto these we must rather be as Nurses, then Physicians; Submittendo nos ad mensuram discentis, & manum dando & gradum nostrum minuendo; by gently submitting our selves to the capacity of the Learner, by lending our hand, by lessening our steps to keep them in equi­pace with us till they come up to their full growth. As Christ be­ing God emptied himself, and became Man like to us, so must we lay down our Gifts of Wit, in which we flatter our selves, and take our selves to be as Gods, and in shew and fashion become like one of them. Grave men have thought it no disparagement, to have been seen with their little sons, Lud [...]re par impar, equitare in arundi [...]e longa, toying and practising with them their childish sports: and if any take offence at it, they are such as know not what it is to be Fathers. Those therefore who bear the office of Fathers amongst other men, to bring up the Infancy of Babes in Christ, must not blush to practise this part of a Father, and out of St. Paul's lesson of Becoming all to all, learn to become a Child to Children; do it he may very well, without any impeach­ment to himself. He that helps one up that is fallen, non se pro­jicit, ut ambo jaceant; sed incurvat tantum, ut jacentem erigat, throws not himself down to lie by him, but gently stoops to lift him up again; but of this Weak person, I have little need, I trust, to speak. For no man in these days can be long Weak, but by his own default, so long and careful Teaching as hath been and eve­ry day is, must needs take from men all pretence of Weakness in this kind: Nam quid alnid agimus docendo vos, quam ne semper do­cendi sitis: For what is the end of all this labour and pains in [Page 46] Teaching, but that ye might at length not need a Teacher. Wherefore from this I come unto that other Weak person, strong in Faith, but Weak in Carriage and Behaviour.

Having before proved, that Christian Courtesie spreads it self to all sorts of men, to the Infidel, to the gross notorious sinner, then will it without any straining at all come home to all the infirmities of our weaker Brethren: For that which can endure so great a tempest, how can it be offended with some small drops. Is Christian Patience like unto St. Peter's resolution, that durst manfully encounter the High Preist's servant, yet was daunted at the voice of a silly Maiden; whatsoever it is that is irksome unto us in the common Behaviour of our Brethren, it were strange we should not be able to brook. Epictetus consi­dering with himself, the weakness which is usual in men, still to make the worst of what befalls us, wittily tells us, That every thing in the world hath two handles, one turn'd toward us, which we may easily take, the other turn'd from us, harder to be laid hold of; the first makes all things easie, the second not so; The instance that he brings is my very purpose; ‘Be it, saith he, thy Brother hath offended thee, here are two hand-fasts, one of the offence, the other of thy Brother. If thou take hold of that of the offence, it will be too hot for thee, thou wilt not easily endure the touch of it: but if thou lay hold of that of thy Brother, this will make all Behaviour tolerable. There is no part of our Brother's carriage towards Vs, but if we search it, we shall find, some hand-fast, some circumstance, that will make it easie to be born.’ If we can find no other, the circumstance of our Saviour Christ's example will never fail: An example which will not onely make us to endure the importunity of his ordinary Behaviour, but all his outragious dealing whatsoever. For, saith St. Chrysostom, Didst thou know that thy Brother intended particular mischeif against thee, that he would embrue his hand in thy bloud, [...], yet kiss that hand; for thy Lord did not refuse to kiss that mouth that made the bargain for his bloud. It is storied of Protagoras, that being a poor youth, and carrying a burthen of sticks, he so piled them, and laid them together, with such art and order, that he made them much more light and easie to be borne. Beloved, there is an Art among Christians, like unto that of Protagoras, of so making up and ordering our burthens, that they may lie with much less weight upon our shoulders; this [Page 47] Art, if we could learn it, would make us take all in good part at our Brother's hand, were he as bad as Nabal was, of whom his own servant complain'd, that he was such a man of Belial, that no man could speak unto him.

Wherefore leaving you to the study, and learning of this most Christian Art, I will a little consider for what reasons we may not admit of these two sorts of Weak men to Controversie. For as for the Unlearned, in private, nothing more usual with them then to take offence at our dissentions, and to become more un­certain and unjoynted upon the hearing of any question discust: It is their usual voice and question to us, Is it possible that we should be at one in these points in which your selves do disagree? thus cast they off on our backs the burthen of their back-sliding and neutrality; wherefore to acquaint them with Disputation in Religion, were as it were to blast them in their infancy, and bring upon them some improsperous Disease to hinder their growth in Christ. Secondly, What one said of other contenti­ons, In bellis civilibus a [...]dacia etiam valet singulorum, In civil wars no man is too weak to do a mischeif, we have found too true in these our Sacra Bella; no man is too weak (I say not) to do mis­cheif, but to be a principal Agent and Captain in them. Simple and unlearned souls, train'd up by men of contentious spirits, have had strength enough to be Authours of dangerous Heresies; Priscilla and Maximilla, silly women laden with iniquity, were the cheif Ring-leaders in the errours of the Monna [...]ists; and as it is commonly said, Bellum inchoant inertes, fortes finiunt, Weak­lings are able to begin a quarrel, but the prosecution and finish­ing is a work for stronger men; so hath it fared here. For that quarrel which these poor souls had raised, Tertullian, a man of great Wit and Learning, is drawn to undertake: so that for a Barnabas to be drawn away to errour, there needs not always the example and authority of a Peter. A third reason is the mar­vellous violence of the weaker sort in maintaining their conceits, if once they begin to be Opinionative. For one thing there is that wonderfully prevails against the reclaiming of them, and that is, The natural jealousie they have of all that is said unto them by men of better wits, stand it with reason never so good, if it sound not as they would have it. A jealousie founded in the sense of their weakness, arising out of this, that they suspect all to be done for no other end, but to circumvent and abuse them. And [Page 48] therefore when they see themselves to be too weak in reasoning, they easily turn them to violence. The Monks of Egypt, other­wise devout and religious men anciently, were for the most part unlearned, and generally given over to the errour of the Anthro­pomorphitae, who held, that God had hands and feet, and all the parts that a man hath, and was in outward shape and proportion like to one of us. Theophilus, a learned Bishop of Alexandria, having fallen into their hands, was so roughly used by them, that ere he could get out of their fingers, he was fain to use his wits, and to crave aid of his Equivocating Sophistry, and soothly to tell them, I have seen your face as the face of God. Now when Christian and Religious doubts, must thus be managed with wilfulness and violence, what mischeif may come of it is already so plain, that it needs not my finger to point it out. Where­fore let every such Weak person say unto himself, as St. Austin doth, Tu ratiocinare, ego mirer; disputa tu, ego credam: Let others reason, I will marvel; let others dispute, I will beleive.

As for the man strong in passion, or rather weak, for the strength of passion is the weakness of the passionate; great reason hath the Church to except against him. For first of all, from him it comes, that our Books are so stuft with contumelious meladicti­on, no Heathen Writers having left the like example of chol­ler and gross impatience. An hard thing I know it is, to write without affection and passion in those things which we love, and therefore it is free so to do, to those who are Lords over them­selves. It seems our Saviour gave some way to it himself. For somewhat certainly his Kinsmen saw in his behaviour [...] when as St. Mark reports, they went forth to lay hold upon him, thinking he was beside himself. But for those who have not the command of themselves, better it were they laid it by; St. Chrysostom ex­cellently observeth, that the Prophets of God, and Satan, were by this notoriously differenced, that they which gave Oracles by motion from the Devil, did it with much impatience and confu­sion, with a kind of fury and madness; but they which gave Oracles from God by Divine Inspiration, gave them with all mild­ness and temper; If it be the cause of God which we handle in our writings, then let us handle it like the Prophets of God, with quietness and moderation, and not in the violence of passion, as if we were possess'd, rather then inspir'd. Again, what equity or indifferencey can we look for in the carriage of that cause, that [Page 49] falls into the handling of these men: Quis conferre duces meminit qui pendere causas? Qua stetit inde [...]avet, What man overtaken with passion remembers impartially to compare cause with cause, and right with right; Qua stetit inde [...]avet— on what cause he happens, that is he resolute to maintain; ut gladi­ator in arenam; as a Fencer to the Stage, so comes he to write, not upon conscience of quarrel, but because he proposes to con­tend, yea, so potently hath this humour prevail'd with men that have undertaken to maintain a faction, that it hath broken o [...]t to the tempting of God, and the dishonour of Martyrdom. Two Friers in Florence, in the action of Savonoralla, voluntarily in the open view of the City, offer'd to enter the fire: so to put an end to the controversie, that he might be judged to have the right, who, like one of the three children in Babylon, should pass untouch'd through the fire. But I hasten to visit one weak person more, and so an end.

He whom we now are to visit, is a man Weak through Here­tical and erring Faith; now whether or no we have any Receit for him, it may be doubtful: For St. Paul advises us to avoid the man, that is a maker of Sects, knowing him to be Damned. Yet, if as we spake of not admitting to us the notorious sinner, no not to eat, so we teach of this, that it is delivered respectively to the weaker sort; as justly for the same reasons we may do: we shall have a Recipe here for the man that errs in Faith, and re­joyceth in making of Sects: which we shall the better do, if we can but gently draw him on to a moderation to think of his con­ceits onely as of opinions; for it is not the variety of opinions, but our own perverse wills, who think it meet, that all should be conceited as our selves are, which hath so inconvenienced the Church, were we not so ready to Anathematize each other, where we concur not in opinion, we might in hearts be united, though in our tongues we were divided, and that with singular profit to all sides. It is the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, and not Identity of conceit, which the Holy Ghost requires at the hands of Christians. I will give you one instance, in which at this day our Churches are at variance; The will of God, and his manner of proceeding in Predestination is undiscernable, and shall so remain until that day, wherein all knowledge shall be made perfect; yet some there are, who with probability of Scripture teach, that the true cause of the final miscarriage of them that [Page 50] perish, is that original corruption that befell them at the begin­ning, increased through the neglect or refusal of grace offered. Others with no less favourable countenance of Scripture, make the cause of Reprobation onely the will of God, determining freely of his own work, as himself pleases, without respect to any second cause whatsoever. Were we not ambitiously minded, familiam ducere, every one to be Lord of a Sect, each of these Tenets might be profitably taught and heard, and matter of sin­gular exhortation drawn from either; for on the one part, doubtless it is a pious and religious intent, to endeavour to free God from all imputation of unnecessary rigour, and his Justice from seeming Injustice and Incongruity: and on the other side, it is a noble resolution, so to humble our selves under the hand of Almighty God, as that we can with patience hear, yea, think it an honour, that so base creatures as our selves should become the instruments of the glory of so great a Majesty, whether it be by eternal life, or by eternal death, though for no other reason, but for Gods good will and pleasures sake. The Authours of these conceits might both freely (if peaceably) speak their minds, and both singularly profit the Church: for since it is im­possible, where Scripture is ambiguous, that all conceits should run alike, it remains, that we seek out a way, not so much to establish an unity of opinion in the minds of all, which I take to be a thing likewise impossible, as to provide, that multiplicity of conceit, trouble not the Churches peace. A better way my con­ceit cannot reach unto, then that we would be willing to think, that these things, which with some shew of probability we de­duce from Scripture, are at the best but our Opinions: for this peremptory manner of setting down our own conclusions, under this high commanding form of necessary truths, is generally one of the greatest causes, which keeps the Churches this day so far asun­der; when as a gracious receiving of each other, by mutual for­bearance in this kind, might peradventure in time bring them nearer together.

This peradventure, may some man say, may content us in case of opinion indifferent, out of which no great inconvenience by necessary and evident proof is concluded: but what Recipe have we for him that is fallen into some known and desperate He­resie? Even the same with the former. And therefore anciently, Heretical and Orthodox Christians, many times even in publick [Page 51] holy exercise converst together without offence. It's noted in the Ecclesiastick stories, that the Arrians and Right Beleivers so communicated together in holy Prayers, that you could not di­stinguish them till they came to the [...], the Gloria Patri, which the Arrians used with some difference from other Christi­ans. But those were times quorum lectionem habemus, virtutem non habemus; we read of them in our books, but we have lost the practise of their patience. Some prejudice was done unto the Church by those, who first began to intermingle with publick Ecclesiastical duties, things respective unto private conceits. For those Christian offices in the Church ought as much as possibly they may be common unto all, and not to descend to the diffe­rences of particular opinions. Severity against, and separation from Heretical companies, took its beginning from the Hereticks themselves: and if we search the stories, we shall find, that the Church did not at their first arising thrust them from her, them­selves went out: and as for severity, that which the Donatists sometimes spake in their own defence, Illam esse veram Ecclesiam quae persecutionem patitur, non quae facit; She was the true Church, not which raised, but which suffered persecution, was de facto true for a great space. For when Heresies and Schisms first arose in the Church, all kinds of violence were used by the erring Fa­ctions; but the Church seem'd not for a long time to have known any use of a Sword, but onely of a Buckler, and when she began to use the Sword, some of her best and cheifest Captains much misliked it. The first Law in this kind that ever was made, was Enacted by Theodosius against the Donatists, but with this re­straint, that it should extend against none, but onely such as were tumultuous, and till that time they were not so much as touch'd with any mulct, though but pecuniary, till that shameful outrage committed against Bishop Maximian, whom they beat down with bats and clubs, even as he stood at the Altar: So that not so much the errour of the Donatists, as their Riots and Mutinies were by Imperial Laws restrained. That the Church had afterward good reason to think, that she ought to be salubrior quam dulcior, that sometimes there was more mercy in punishing, then forbear­ing, there can no doubt be made. St. Austin (a man of as mild and gentle spirit as ever bare rule in the Church) having, according to his natural sweetness of disposition, earnestly written against vio­lent and sharp dealing with Hereticks, being taught by experience, [Page 52] did afterward retract, and confess an excellent use of wholesome severity in the Church. Yet could I wish that it might be said of the Church, which was sometimes observed of Augustus, In nulli­us unquam suorum nccem duravit: He had been angry with, and severely punish'd many of his kin, but he could never endure to cut any of them off by death. But this I must request you to take onely as my private wish, and not as a censure, if any thing have been done to the contrary. When Absolom was up in arms against his Father, it was necessary for David to take order to curb him, and pull him on his knees; yet we see how careful he was he should not die, and how lamentably he bewail'd him in his death: what cause was it that drove David into this extreme passion? Was it doubt of Heir to the Kingdom? that could not be; for Solomon was now born, to whom the promise of the Kingdom was made: Was it the strength of natural affection? I some­what doubt of it; three years together was Absolom in banish­ment, and David did not very eagerly desire to see him: The Scripture indeed notes, that the King long'd for him; yet in this longing was there not any such fierceness of passion, for Absolom saw not the Kings face for two years more after his return from banishment to Hierusalem: What then might be the cause of his strength of passion, and commiseration in the King? I perswade my self it was the fear of his sons final miscarriage, and reproba­tion, which made the King (secure of the mercies of God unto himself) to wish he had died in his stead, that so he might have gain'd for his ungracious child some time of repentance. The Church who is the common Mother of us all, when her Absoloms, her unnatural sons, do lift up their hands and pens against her, must so use means to repress them, that she forget not that they are the sons of her womb, and be compassionate over them as David was over Absolom, loth to unsheath either sword, but most of all the Temporal; for this were to send them quick dispatch to Hell.

And here I may not pass by that singular moderation of this Church of ours, which she hath most Christianly exprest towards her adversaries of Rome, here at home in her bosom above all the reformed Churches I have read of. For out of desire to make the breach seem no greater, then indeed it is, and to hold eommunion and Christian fellowship with her, so far as we pos­sibly can; we have done nothing to cut off the Favourers of that [Page 53] Church. The reasons of their love and respect to the Church of Rome we wish, but we do not command them to lay down: their Lay-brethren have all means of instruction offered them. Our Edicts and Statutes made for their restraint, are such as serve onely to awaken them, and cause them to consider the inno­cency of that cause for refusal of communion, in which they en­dure (as they suppose) so great losses. Those who are sent over by them, either for the retaining of the already perverted, or perverting others, are either return'd by us back again to them, who dispatch'd them to us, without any wrong unto their per­sons, or danger to their lives, suffer an easie restraint, which onely hinders them from dispersing the poison they brought. And had they not been stickling in our state business, and med­ling with our Princes Crown, there had not a drop of their bloud fallen to the ground; unto our Sermons, in which the swarvings of that Church are necessarily to be taxt by us, we do not bind their presence, onely our desire is, they would joyn with us in those Prayers and holy Ceremonies, which are common to them and us. And so accordingly, by singular discretion was our Service-book compiled by our fore-fathers, as containing nothing that might offend them, as being almost meerly a Compendium of their own Breviary and Missal; so that they shall see nothing in our Meetings, but that they shall see done in their own, though ma­ny things which are in theirs, here I grant they shall not find. And here indeed is the great and main difference betwixt us. As it is in the controversie concerning the Canonical Books of Scripture: whatsoever we hold for Scripture, that even by that Church is maintained, onely she takes upon her to add much, which we cannot think safe to admit: so fares it in other points of Faith and Ceremony; whatsoever it is we hold for Faith, she holds it as far forth as we: our Ceremonies are taken from her; onely she over and above urges some things for Faith, which we take to be Errour, or at the best opinion; and for Ceremony which we think to be Superstition: So that to participate with us, is, though not throughout, yet in some good measure to par­ticipate with that Church; and certainly were that spirit of charity stirring in them, which ought to be, they would love and honour us, even for the resemblance of that Church, the beauty of which themselves so much admire. The glory of these our proceedings, even our adversaries themselves do much envy; [Page 54] So that from hence it is, that in their writings they traduce our Judiciary proceedings against them, for sanguinary and violent, striving to perswade other Nations, that such as have suffered by course of publick Justice for Religion onely, and not for Trea­son have died, and pretend we what we list, our actions are as bloudy and cruel as their own: wherefore if a perfect pattern of dealing with Erring Christians were to be sought, there were not any like unto this of ours, In qua nec saeviendi, nec errandi pereun­dique licentia permittitur, which as it takes not to it self liberty of cruelty, so it leaves not unto any the liberty of destroying their own souls in the errour of their lives. And now that we may at once conclude this point concerning Hereticks, for pro­hibiting these men access to Religious Disputations, it is now too late to dispute of that; for from this, that they have already un­advisedly entred into these battels, are they become that which they are: Let us leave them therefore as a sufficient example and instance of the danger of intempestive and immodest medling in Sacred Disputes.

I see it may be well expected, that I should according to my promise adde instruction for the publick Magistrate, and show how far this precept in receiving the weak concerns him.

I must confess I intended, and promised so to do, but I cannot conceive of it, as a thing befitting me to step out of my Study, and give Rules for Government to Common-wealths, a thing befitting men of greater experience to do. Wherefore I hope you will pardon me if I keep not that promise, which I shall with less offence break then observe: And this I rather do, because I suppose this precept to concern us especially, if not onely as pri­vate men, and that in case of publick proceeding, there is scarce room for it. Private men may pass over offences at their plea­sure, and may be, in not doing it, they do worse: but thus to do, lies not in the power of the Magistrate, who goes by Laws, pre­scribing him what he is to do. Princes and men in Authority do many times much abuse themselves, by affecting a reputation of Clemency, in pardoning wrongs done to other men, and giv­ing protection to sundry offenders, against those who have just cause to proceed against them. It is mercy to pardon wrong done against our selves, but to deny the course of Justice to him that calls for it, and to protect offenders, may peradventure be some inconsiderare pity, but mercy it cannot be. All therefore [Page 55] that I will presume to advise the Magistrate, is, A general incline­ableness to merciful proceedings.

And so I conclude, wishing unto them who plentifully sowe mercy, plentifully to reap it at the hand of God, with an hun­dred fold encrease, and that blessing from God the Father of mercies, may be upon them all, as on the sons of mercy, as ma­ny as are the sands on the Sea-shore in multitude. The same God grant, that the words which we have this day, &c.

A Sermon Preached on Easter day at Eaton Colledge.

Luke XVI. 25.‘Son, remember that thou in thy life-time receivedst thy good things.’

I Have heard a Proverb to this sound, He that hath a debt to pay at Easter, thinks the Lent but short: How short this Lent hath seemed to me, who stand indebted to you for the remainder of my Meditations upon these words, is no matter of consequence; to you peradventure it may have seemed so long, that what you lately heard at Shrovetide, now at Easter you may with pardon have forgotten. I will there­fore recall into your memories so much of my former Medita­tions, as may serve to open unto me a convenient way to pur­sue the rest of those Lessons, which then, when I last spake unto you, the time and your patience would not permit me to finish. But ere I do this, I will take leave a little to fit my Text unto this time of Solemnity.

This time, you know, calls for a Discourse concerning the Re­surrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; of this you hear no sound in the words which I have read, and therefore you conclude it a Text unbefitting the day. Indeed, if you take the Resurrection for that glorious Act of his Omnipotency, by which, through the power of his eternal Spirit, he redeems himself from the hand of the grave, and triumphs over death and hell, you shall in [Page 57] these words find nothing pertinent: But if you take this Resur­rection for that act, by which, through the power of saving grace, Christ the Sun of righteousness rises in our hearts, and raises us from the death of sin, unto the life of righteousness, here in these words you may perchance find a notable branch of it. For to raise our thoughts from this earth, and clay, and from things be­neath (and such are those which here Abraham calls, The good things of our life) and to set them above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God, this is that practick Resurrection, which above all concerns us; that other of Christ in Person, in regard of us, is but a Resurrection in speculation; for to him that is dead in sin and trespasses, and who places his good in the things of this life, Christ is, as it were, not risen at all, to such a one he is still in the grave, and under the bands of death: But to him that is risen with Christ and seeks that good things that are above, to him alone is Christ risen: To know and beleive perfectly the whole story of Christ's Resurrection, what were it, if we did not practise this Re­surrection of our own? Cogita non exacturum à te Deum, quantum cognov [...]ris, sed quantum vixeris; God will not reckon with thee, how much thou knowest, but how well thou hast lived. Epictetus, that great Philosopher, makes this pretty Parable, Should a Shepherd, saith he, call his sheep to account how they had profited, would he like of that sheep, which brought before him his hay, his grass, and fodder; or rather that sheep, which having well digested all these, exprest himself in fat, in flesh, and wooll? Beloved, you are the flock of Christ, and the sheep of his hands; should the great Shepherd of the flock call you before him, to see how you have profited, would he content himself with this, that you had well Con'd your Catechism, that you had diligently read the Gospel, and exactly knew the whole story of the Resurrection? would it not give him better satisfaction to find Christ's Resurrection ex­prest in yours, and as it were digested into flesh and wooll? [...]. To have read Chrysippus his Book, this is not virtue: To have read the Gospel, to have ga­thered all the circumstances of the Resurrection of Christ, this is not Christianity: to have risen, as Christ hath done, so to have digested the Resurrection of Christ, as that we have made it our own, this is rightly to understand the Doctrine of the Resurrecti­on of Christ. For this cause have I refused to treat this day of that Resurrection, in the Doctrine of which I know you are per­fect, [Page 58] and have reflected on that, in the knowledge of which I fear you are imperfect: which that I might the better do, I have made choice to prosecute my former Meditations, begun when I last spake unto you in this place; For so doing, I shall open unto you one of the hardest points of your Spiritual Resurrection, even to raise your thoughts from the things of this life, and seat them with Christ above.

To make my way more fair to this, I will take leave to put you in mind, in short, how I proceeded in the opening of these words, when I last spake unto you out of this place: You may be pleased to remember, that after some instruction drawn from the first word, Son, I proceeded to consider the ensuing words, wherein having by an Alchimy, which then I used, changed the word [Recordare] Remember, into [Cave] Beware, and so read my Text thus, Beware thou receive not thy good things in this life, I shewed you, that we had never greater cause to consult our best wits, what we are to do, and how we are to carry our selves, then when the world, and outward blessings come upon us; Upon this I moved this Question, Whether or no, if the things of this world should by some providence of God knock and offer themselves to us, we are bound to exclude them and refuse them? or, we might open and admit of them? I divided my answer according to the divers abilities and strengths of men: First, Qui potest capere, capiat; he that hath strength and spiritual wisdom to manage them, let him receive them: But in the second place, he that is weak, let him let strong diet alone, and feed on herbs, let him not intangle him­self with more then he can manage; Let him try, Quid ferre re­cusent, Quid valeant humeri— To the first the sum of what I spake was this, Receive them we may, and that without danger of a Re­cepisti; first, if we so received them, as if we received them not; secondly, if we esteemed them not good; thirdly, if we did not esteem them ours: And here the time cut me off, and suffered me not to descend unto the second part, upon which now I am about to fall, Cave ne recipias, Take heed thou receive not thy good things.

In this matter of Receiving and entertaining these outward and foreign good things, there have been two ways commended to you, the one the more glorious, to receive them; of this we have spoken. The other the more safe, not to receive them; of this we are now to speak. These ways are trodden by two kinds of per­sons; [Page 59] the one is the strong man, and more virtuous; the other is weaker, but more cautelous; the one encounters temptation, the other avoids it: We may compare them to the two great Ca­ptains, Hannibal and Fabius, the one ever calling for the battel, the other evermore declining it. In one of these two ranks must every good man be found; if we compare them together, we shall find, that the one is far more excellent, the other far more in number: For to be able to meet and check our enemy, to en­counter occasions, to act our parts in common life upon the com­mon stage, and yet to keep our uprightness; this indeed is truly to live, truly to serve God, and men, and therefore God the more, because men. On the contrary to avoid occasions, to follow that other vincendi genus, non pugnare, to overcome the world by contemning and avoiding it, this argues a wise, indeed but a weak and fainting spirit: I have often wondred at Antiquity, which doting extremely upon a sequestred, a solitary, retired, and Monkish life, sticks not to give out, that all perfection is in it, whereas indeed there is no greater argument of imperfection in good men, quam non posse pati solem, non multitudinem; not to be able without offence to walk the publick ways, to entertain the common occasions, but to live onely to God and to themselves: Vtilis ipse sibi fortassis, inutilis orbi; Men of no great publick use, but excellent for themselves; Saints indeed in private, but be­ing called forth into common life, are like Batts in the Sun, ut­terly ignorant of publick practise; like Scheubelius a great Ma­thematician, but by book onely, and not by practise, who being required sometime in an Army to make use of his Quadrant, knew not the difference between umbra recta, and umbra versa: Yet, Beloved, because this kind of good men is by far the greatest in number; and secondly, because it is both an usual and a dangerous errour of many men, to pretend to strength, when they are but weak, and so forgetting their place, range themselves among the first, whereas they ought to have kept station among the second sort, I will take leave both to advise my self, and all that hear me to like better of the safer, though the weaker side, and to avoid the exprobration of a Recepisti here in my Text, simply non recipiendo, by not receiving, not admitting at all of the outward, lower, and tem­poral good things, rather then by an improvident fool-hardiness to thrust our selves upon occasions which we are unable to manage without offence. This I am the more willing to do, because there [Page 60] is not among men a greater errour committed, and more fre­quent, then in this kind; for in most things in the world, men that have no skill in them, will be content to acknowledge their ignorance, and to give place to better experience: should we put the discussion of some point of Scholarship to the Plough-hind, or a Case in Law to the Physician, or a point in Physick to the Lawyer, none of these will offer to interpose, but will advise to consult with every one in his proper mystery; but let offer be made of moneys, lands, places of honour, and preferment, and who will excuse himself, who will acknowledge his ignorance, or weakness to manage them? Whereas in all the Arts and Sci­ences there are not so many errours committed, as in the unskilful use of these things, cum tamen nusquam periculosius erretur, and yet our errours are no where so dangerous: It is therefore a thing most necessary, that in this behalf we advise men, either to know their weakness, or to suspect their strength. Malo cautior esse quam fortior; fortis saepe captus est, cautus rarissime; better to be cautelous and wary, then strong and hardy; the strong man hath been of­ten captivated, but the wary man very seldom. We read in many places of Moses and Samuel of a race of men, greater in bulk and stature, then the ordinary men, unto whom men of common inches seemed but as Grashoppers; such were the Anakims, the Enims, the Horims, the Zamzummims, the Rephaims, and the like: but if you read the Scriptures, you shall find it observed unto your hand, that the men of lesser bodies always drove them out; if you demand the reason, experience will answer you, that the one went upon the opinion of strength and hardiness, the other of wary wit and policy: It fares no otherwise with these two or­ders of men, of which I have spoken, there is the Anakim, the man that goes forth in the conceit of his strength and valour; there is the man of mean stature, whose strength is his wariness; were there a survey taken of both these, it would be found, that more by far have perished by unadvised adventuring upon the things of this world, then by discreet and sober retiring.

Wherefore, dost thou find that thou comest on, and thri­vest in the world? that the good things of this world wooe thee, and cast themselves into thy lap? that wealth, that honours, that abundance waits upon thee? take heed how thou presume of thy strength to manage them, look well upon them, and see if there be not written in the fore-head of every one of them, Re­cepisti. [Page 61] But, Beloved, I perceive I deceive my self, for these gay things of the world carry not their Recepisti in their fore-heads, as they come towards us, they are smooth and fair: you can prognosticate nothing by their countenance, but serene and Sum­mer weather: Our great master Aristotle hath told us, That if our pleasures did look upon us when they come to us, as they do when they turn their back and leave us, we would never entertain them; these goodly things have their Recepisti written in their back, it is never discovered, till it be too late to mend it, when death summons us, when the world, the flesh, the glory and pomp of life turns its back and leaves us, then shall you read Re­cepisti. Cave therefore, presume not, but be wary, and that thou mayest avoid a Recepisti, cave nerecipias, be sure that thou receive not: How many of those, think you, who out of their opinion of skill and strength, have given free entertainment to the world, have made large use of the world, lived abundantly, fared costly, dwelt sumptuously, clothed themselves richly, when their time and hour came, would rather have gone out of some poor cottage, then out of a Princely Palace, and lived with no noise in the world, that so they might have died in some peace? See you not, what some great Persons in the Church of Rome have often done? Charles 5, the Prince of Parma, sundry others, though they lived in all pomp and state, yet at their death they desired to be buried in a poor Capuchin's hood; miserable men! If to die in a state of perfect sequestration from the world were so precious, so avail­able a thing; how much more precious, more available had it been to live in it? For thus to die, not having thus lived, is no­thing else, but to give sentence against their own life; for we shall not appear before God as we died, but as we lived. To profess hate and dissertion of the world at our death, as most do; to put on humiliation at our death, that live at ease and in state all our life; this is but to be buried in a Capuchin's hood: What is it, beloved, that thus reforms our judgment, and clears our sight at that hour? Nothing but this, all our pleasures, all our ho­nours, all the May-games of our life, they now shall shew them­selves unto us, and every one cry out unto us, Recepistt, Thou hast received thy good things.

Now, Beloved, that I may a little the better strengthen with good reason this my advice, de non recipiendo, of retiring from, and rejecting the goodly things of the world, give me leave a little [Page 62] to consult with my Topicks, and to try out of what place I may draw some arguments, to bring you on the easier.

And first of all, were there no other reason to perswade you, yet the very reading of this story, where I have taken my Text, would afford arguments enough; for what meant Abraham, I beseech you, when he told the rich man, he had received his good things? Did he use some obscure and unknown phrase, which no circumstance of the story could open? It stands not with the goodness of the Holy Ghost, to tell us of our danger in unknown Language; something therefore certainly we shall find, to open the meaning: cast back your eye upon the description of the per­son, whom Abraham charges with this errour, and see if you find not a paraphrase there; the man to whom this phrase is applied, is described by the properties, of which I understand not that any one is a virtue; first, it is said, he was Rich; secondly, he ware scarlet, and soft linen; thirdly, he was [...], he was jovial, and feasted liberally every day: doth not this accu­rate description of the person shew his errour? For to what other purpose else could this description serve? Either here is his er­rour, or this character is in vain; it seems therefore we must conclude, that to be rich, to cloath our selves costly, to fare de­liciously, thus to do, is to receive the good things in our life, ex­cept some favourable interpretation do help us out; but we must take heed how we do de scripturis interpretationibus ludere, dally with, and elude Scripture by interpretations, [...]. When St. Iohn describes the world, which he forbids us to follow, he makes three parts of it, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life: Do not all these three appear here in the character of our man? Where is the lust of the eye, if it be not in gaudy apparel? Where is the lust of the flesh, at least one great branch of it, if it be not in the use of dainty diet? Where is the pride of life, if not in riches? And what reason have you now to doubt, what should be the meaning of Recepisti, thou hast Re­ceived thy good things? He then that fears to hear a Recepisti, if he be rich, let him not forget to distribute, and empty those bags which lie up by him; if he be costly clad, let him turn his scarlet into sackcloth; if he feed deliciously, let him turn his costly dishes into temperance and fasting: otherwise, what can we plead for our selves, that we should not, as well as this man in my Text, when our time comes, hear our Recepisti?

[Page 63]But I see what it is, peradventure, that troubles you, you will ask me, Whether I will avouch it to be a sin to be Rich? I must walk warily, lest I lay my self open to exception: Pelagius grounding himself upon that of our Saviour, [It is impossible for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven] taught that lesson indeed, as the words do lie, and would by no means grant, that a rich man could be saved; but for this the Church noted him for an Heretick, for among his Heresies this is scored up for one, to­gether with that, that it is not lawful to swear; but if Pelagius had never otherwise erred, the Church might very well have par­doned him that Heresie. Many times it falls out, by the reason of the hardness of our hearts, that there is more danger in pres­sing some truths, then in maintaining some errours: that it is law­ful sometime to sport our selves, that it is lawful to feast at Christ­mas, that it is lawful to swear, and many other things of the like nature, are all truths; yet there is no necessity we should press them in our Sermons to the people, for there is no fear the peo­ple will ever forget these, Cavendum est ne nimium meminerint, bet­ter to labour that they do not too much remember them; he that will labour in repressing the abuses, which people ground upon these truths, must remember the old rule, Iniquum petendum est, ut aeqnum feras, he must go very near to teach for truth the con­trary falshood. To return then from this digression to our rich man; Pelagius, I grant, was deceived, when he shut all rich men out of the Kingdom of Heaven: but suppose we that he had prevailed in this doctrine, that he had wrought all the world to this bent, that the Church had received it for Catholick do­ctrine, shew me, he that can, what inconvenience would have at­tended this errour? If every rich man should suddenly become liberal, and disburse his moneys where his charity directed him; if every painted Gallant did turn his Peacocks feathers into sack­cloth; if every glutton left his full dishes, and betook himself to temperance and fasting, yea, and thought himself in conscience bound so to do, out of fear, lest he might hear of Recepisti, I perswade my self the state of Greece would never suffer the more for this but the state of Christianity would have thrived the more. Well had it been for our rich man here, if he had been a Pelagian; for this point of Pelagianism is the surest remedy, that I know, against a Recepisti; whereas on the contrary side, by reason of the truth, many rich and covetous persons flatter them­selves [Page 64] in their sin, whereof they die well conceited, from which they had been freed, had it been their good fortune to have been thus far deceived, and been Pelagians. Let men therefore either quite refuse riches, if they offer themselves, which is the ad­vice I give, or if they will give them acceptance, let them be­leive, that if they be rich, they may be saved; but let them so live, as if they could not; for the one shall keep them from er­rour in their Faith, the other from sin in their Actions.

A second reason, perswading us to the neglect of these so much admired things of the world, is the consideration of certain abuses, which they put upon us, certain fallacies, and false glosses, by which they delude us; for I know not how, the world hath cried them up, and hath given them goodly titles, Vt vel lactis gallinacei sperare possis hanstum, as Pliny speaks; men call them blessings, and favours, and rewards, and think those men most blest of God, who enjoy most of them; these goodly titles serve for nothing, but to set men on longing after them, and so fill those that have them with false perswasions, and those that have them not with despair and discontents. Were they indeed bles­sings, were they rewards, then were our case very ill, and we our selves in greater danger of a Recepisti then before: for as Abraham here tells the man of recepisti bona, thou hast received thy good things, so our Saviour tells more then once of some qui ha­bent mercedem, have their reward; if then we shall beg, and re­ceive these things at the hands of God, as a reward of our ser­vice, we shall be no more able, when we come to appear be­fore our God, to shelter our selves from an habetis mercedem, you have your reward, then the rich man here could defend him­self from a Recepisti. They may indeed pass for rewards, and blessings, and that truly too, but to a sad and disconsolate end; for there is no man, though never so wicked, but that some way or other doth some good, some cup of cold water hath been given, some small service enterprized even by the worst of men: now God who leaves no service unrewarded, no good office unrespected, therefore preserves these sublunary blessings of pur­pose, ut paria faciat, to clear accounts with men here, who other­wise might seem to claim something at his hand at that great day. It is the question Ahasuerus makes, What honour and dignity hath been done to Mordecai for this? God is more careful of his honour then Ahasuerus was; none more careful then he to re­ward [Page 65] every service with some honour: Nebuchadnezzar was no Saint, I trow, yet because of his long-service in the subduing of Tyre, God gives him Egypt for his reward, they are the Pro­phet Ezechiel's words: when therefore thou seest God willing to bring the world upon thee, to enrich thee, to raise thee to ho­nours, suspectam habe hanc Domini indulgentiam, as Tertullian saith, be jealous of this courtesie of God; or rather cry out with St. Bernard, Misericordiam hanc nolo Domine, O Lord, I will none of this kind of mercy: for how knowest thou whether he reward not thee, as he did Nebuchadnezzar, onely to even accounts with thee, and shew thee that he is not in thy debt, that thou mayest hear at the last either a Recepisti, or an habes mercedem, thou hast thy reward? O quanta apud Deum merces, si in praesenti praemium non sperarent, saith St. Hierom, O how great a reward might many men receive at the hand of God, if they did not anticipate their reward, and desire it in this life? Why do we capitulate with him for our services? Why not rather out of pious ambition desire to have God in our debt? He that doth God the greatest service, and receives here from him the least reward, is the happiest man in the world. There goes a story of Aquinas, that praying once before the Crucifix, the Crucifix miraculously speaks thus unto him, Eene de me scri­psisti Thoma, quam ergo mercedem accipies? Thou hast written well of me, Thomas, what reward dost thou desire? To whom Aquinas is made to answer, Nullam, Domine, praeter Teipsum; No reward, Lord, but thy self: 'Tis great pity this Tale is not true, it doth so excellently teach, what to ask of God for our reward in his ser­vice. Let God but assure thee of this reward, caetera omnia vota Deo remittas, thou mayest very well pardon him all the rest. Let us therefore amend our language, and leave off these solecisms, and misapplied denominations of blessings, and favours, and re­wards, names too high for any thing under the Moon, and at our leisure find out other names to express them; as for this great esteem which we make of the things below, it comes but from this, that we know not the value of things above; did we be­leive our selves to be the heirs, and the sons of God, and knew the price of our inheritance in heaven, it could not be, that we should harbour so high and honourable conceits of earthly things. It is a famous speech of Martin Luther, Homo perfecte credens se esse haeredem & filium Dei, non diu superstes maneret, sed statim immodico gaudio absorbere [...]r: Did a man indeed beleive that [Page 66] he is a son and heir unto God, it could not be, that such a man should long live, but forthwith he would be swallowed up, and die of immoderate joy. And certainly either our not beleiving, or not rightly valu­ing the things of God, or howsoever, not knowing them, is the cause of this our languishing, and impatient longing after earth­ly things. It is but a plain comparison which I shall use, yet be­cause it fits the person to whom I will apply it, and because it is Theophylact's in his Comments on St. Luke's Gospel, I will not be ashamed to make use of it; Swine, saith he, have their eyes so fram'd, that they cannot look up to Heaven; their Keepers therefore when they find themselves troubled with their crying, are wont to cast them upon their backs, [...], and so make them cease their crying; for that Beast being amazed to see the frame and beauty of Heaven, which before he had never seen, [...], being stricken with admiration, forgets his crying: The eyes of many men seem to be framed like those of Swine; they are not able to cast them up to Heaven; for would they but cast them­selves upon their backs, turn their face from earth, and veiw the beauty of things above, it could not be, but all this claim, or ra­ther clamour after earthly things should utterly cease.

Again, (yet the more to quicken one to the neglect of these things below) among many other fallacies, by which they de­lude us, I have made choice of one more: They present them­selves unto us, sometimes as Necessaries, sometimes as Ornaments unto us in our course of virtue and happiness; whereas they are but meer impertinences, neither is it any way material whether we have them yea or no: Virtus censum non requirit, nudo homine contenta est; Virtue and happiness require nothing else but a man: Thus says the Ethnicks, and Christianity much more: For it were a strange thing that we should think, that Christ came to make Virtue more chargeable: In regard of Virtue and Piety, all estates, all conditions, high and low, are alike. It is noted by Petronius for the vanity of rich men, Qui solas divitias extruere curant, nihil voluntinter homines melius credi, quam quod ipsi tenent; Those men whose minds are set upon wealth and riches, would have all men beleive that it is best so to do. But riches and poverty make no dif­ference, for we beleive him that hath told us, there is no diffe­rence, Iew and Gentile, high and low, rich and poor, all are one in Christ Iesus. Non naturae paupertas, sed opinionis est, saith S. Ambrose, Poverty, as men call it, is but a phansie, there is no such thing indeed, [Page 67] it is but a figment, an Idol, men first framed, and set it up, and afterward feared it; Oculi nostri tota haec lunuria est, as some Na­turalists tell us, that the Rain-bow is oculi opus, a thing framed onely by the eye; so this difference betwixt rich and poor is but the creature of the eye, Smyndyrides the Sybarite was grown so ex­tremely dainty, that he would grow weary with the sight of an­other mans labour, and therefore when sometime he saw a poor man digging, and painfully labouring, he began to faint, and pant, and requires to be removed: Beloved, when we are thus offend­ed to see another man meanly clad, meanly housed, meanly tra­ded, all this is but out of a Sybaritish ridiculous daintiness, for all this is but to grow weary at the sight of another man's labour: Would we follow our Saviour's precept, and put out this eye of ours, the greatest part of all this vanity were quite extinguish'd; for what were all outward state and pomp imaginable, were no eye to see or regard it?

Now, Beloved, yet to see this more plainly, what is the main end of our life? what is it, at which with so much pain and la­bour we strive to arrive? It is, or should be nothing else but Vir­tue and Happiness: now these are alike purchasable in all estates; Poverty, disease, distress, contumely, contempt; these are as well the object of Virtue as Wealth, liberty, honour, reputation, and the rest of that forespoken rank: Happiness therefore may as well dwell with the poor, miserable, and distressed persons, as with persons of better fortune, since it is confest by all, that happiness is nothing else but actio secundum virtutem, a leading of our life ac­cording to virtue. As great art may be exprest in the cutting of a Flint, as in the cutting of a Diamond, and so the work-man do well express his skill, no man will blame him for the baseness of the matter, or think the worse of his work: Beloved, some man hath a Diamond, a fair and glittering fortune; some man hath a Flint, a hard, harsh, and despicable fortune; let him bestow the same skill and care in polishing and cutting of the latter, as he would or could have done on the former, and be confident it will be as highly valued (if not more highly rewarded) by God, who is no accepter of persons, but accepteth every man according to that he hath, and not according to that he hath not; To him let us commit our selves: To him be all honour and praise, now and for ever.

Amen.

Numb. XXXV. Verse 33.‘And the Land cannot be cleansed of bloud that is shed in it; but by the bloud of him that shed it.’

THese words are like unto a Scorpion: for as in that, so in these, the self-same thing is both Poison and Remedy: Bloud is the poison, Bloud is the remedy; he that is stricken with the Scorpion, must take the oyl of the Scorpion to cure him. He that hath poison'd a Land with the sin of Bloud, must yeild his own Bloud for Antidote to cure it. It might seem strange, that I should amongst Christians thus come and de­liver a speech of Bloud. For when I read the notes and characters of a Christian in holy Scriptures, me-thinks it should be almost a sin for such a one to name it. Possess your souls in patience. By this shall men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another. Peace I leave with you. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace in the Holy Ghost. Let your softness be known to all men. The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easie to be entreated, full of mercy. It is reported by Avenzoar a great Physician, that he was so tender-hearted, that he could not endure to see a man let-bloud: He that should read these passages of Scripture, might think that Christians were like Avenzoar, that the sight of bloud should be enough to affright them. But is the common Christian so soft, so tender-hearted? is he so peaceable, so tame and tra­ctable a creature? You shall not find two things of more diffe­rent countenance and complexion, then that Christianity which [Page 69] is commended unto us in the writings of the Apostles, and Evan­gelists, and that which is current in use and practise of the times. He that shall behold the true face of a Christian, as it is deci­phered and painted out unto us in the Books of the New Testa­ment, and unpartially compare it with that copy or counterfeit of it, which is exprest in the life and demeanour of common Christians, would think them no more like, then those sheilds of gold which Solomon made, were unto those of brass which Reh [...] ­boam made in their stead: and might suppose that the Writers of those Books had brought vota magis, quam praecepta, had rather fancied to themselves some admirable pattern of a Christian, such as they could wish, then delivered Rules and Laws, which seri­ously and indeed ought or could be practised in common life and conversation. St. Iames observes, that he which beholds his natu­ral face in a glass, goes his way, and immediately forgets what man­ner of man he was. Beloved, how careful we are to look upon the Glass, the Books of holy Scriptures, I cannot easily pro­nounce; But this I am sure of, we go our ways, and quickly forget what manner of shape we saw there. As Iacob and Esau had both one father, Isaac; both one mother, Rebecca; yet the one was smooth and plain, the other rough and hairy, of harsh and hard countenance and condition: so these two kinds of Christi­ans, of which but now I spake, though both lay claim to one Fa­ther and Mother, both call themselves the sons of God, and the sons of the Church, yet are they almost as unlike as Iacob and Esau; the one smooth, gentle, and peacable, the other rough and harsh. The notes and characters of Christians, as they are de­scribed in holy Scriptures, are patience, easily putting up and di­gesting of wrongs; humility, preferring all before our selves: And St. Iames tells us, that the wisdom that is from above, is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easie to be entreated. St. Iames indeed hath given the first place unto purity, and it were almost a sin to compare Christian virtues together, and make them strive for precedency and place. For what Solomon saith upon another occasion, is here much more true, Say not, Why is this thing better then that? for every thing in its time is seasonable. Yet he that shall mark how every where the Scriptures commend unto us gentleness and meekness, and that peace is it, quam nobis Apostoli to­tis viribus Spiritus sancti commendant, as Tertullian speaks, which the Apostles endeavour with all the strength and force of the [Page 70] holy Ghost to plant amongst us, might a little invert the words of St. Iames, and read them thus, The wisdom that is from above, is first peaceable, then pure. The Son of God, who is the Wisdom of the Father, and who for us men came down from Heaven, first, and before all other virtues commended this unto the world: For when he was born, the song of the Angels was, Peace upon earth, and good will towards men. All his doctrine was peace, his whole life was peaceable, and no man heard his voice in the streets; His last legacy and bequest left unto his disciples was the same; Peace, saith he, I leave unto you, my peace I give unto you: As Christ, so Christians. In the building of Solomon's Temple, there was no noise of any hammer, of any instrument of Iron, so in the spiritual building and frame of a Christian, there is no sound of Iron, no noise of any weapons, nothing but peace and gentleness. Ex praecepto fidei non minus rea ira est sine ratione suscepta, quam in operibus legis homicidium, saith St. Austin, Unadvised anger by the Law of Faith is as great a sin, as murther was by the Law of Moses. As some Physicians have thought, that in man's body, the Spleen hath very little use, and might well be spared; and therefore in dealing with [...]undry diseased persons, they endeavour by Physick to abate, and take away that part in them, as much as may be; so if we look into a Christian man, as he is proposed to us in the Gospel, we may justly marvel to what purpose God hath plan­ted in him this faculty and passion of anger; since he hath so lit­tle use of it; and the Gospel in a manner doth spiritually, diet and physick him for it, and endeavours much to abate, if not quite to purge out that quality. Beloved, we have hitherto seen who Iacob is, and what manner of man the Christian is, that is described unto us in holy Scripture. Let us a little consider his brother Esau, the Christian in passage, and who commonly in the account of the world goes for one. Is he so gentle and tra­ctable a creature? Is his countenance so smooth, his body so free from gall and spleen? To try this, as the Devil sometimes spake unto Iob, Touch him in his goods, touch him in his body, and see if he will not curse thee to thy face: so touch this man a little in his goods, touch him in his reputation and honour; touch him in any thing that he loves, (for this is the onely way to try how far these commands of peace, and forbearance, and long suf­fering prevail with us) and see if he will not forget and loose all his patience. Which of us is there that understands the [Page 71] words and precepts of our Saviour in their litteral sense, and as they lie? The precepts of suffering wrong, rather then to go to Law; of yeilding the coat to him that would take the cloak, of readiness to receive more wrongs, then to revenge one: these and all the Evangelical commands of the like nature Interpreta­mento detorquemus, we have found out favourable interpretati­ons and glosses, restrictions and evasions, to wind our selves out of them, to shift them all off, and put them by, and yet pass for sound and currant Christians: We think we may be justly angry, continue long Suits in Law, call to the Magistrate for revenge, yea, sometimes take it into our own hands: all this and much more we think we may lawfully, and with good reason do, any precept of Christ to the contrary notwithstanding. And as it usually comes to pass, the permitting and tolerating lesser sins, opens way to greater, so by giving passage and inlet to those lesser impatiences an discontents, we lay open a gap to those fouler crimes, even of murther and bloudshed. For as men com­monly suppose, that all the former breaches of our patience, which but now I mentioned, may well enough stand with the duties of Christians: so there are who stay not here, but think, that in some cases it may be lawful, yea, peradventure necessary, at least very pardonable for Christians, privately to seek each others bloud, and put their lives upon their swords, without any wrong to their vocation; out of this have sprung many great in­conveniences, both private and publick. First, Laws made too favourable in case of bloudshed. Secondly, a too much facility and easiness in Princes and Magistrates, sometimes to give par­don and release for that crime. Thirdly and cheifly, (for it is the special cause indeed that moved me to speak in this Argu­ment) an over promptness in many young men, who desire to be counted men of valour and resolution, upon every sleight occa­sion to raise a quarrel, and admit of no other means of compo­sing and ending it, but by sword and single Combat. Partly there­fore to shew the grievousness and greatness of this sin of Bloud­shed, and partly to give the best counsel I can for the restraint of those conceits and errours which give way unto it, I have made choice of these few words out of the Old Testament which but now I read. In the New Testament there is no precept given concerning Bloudshed. The Apostles seem not to have thought, that Christians ever should have had need of such a pro­hibition; [Page 72] For what needed to forbid those to seek each others Bloud, who are not permitted to speak over hastily one to an­other. When therefore I had resolved with my self to speak some­thing concerning the sin of Bloud-shed, I was in a manner constrain'd to reflect upon the Old Testament, and make choise of these words; And the Land cannot be purged of Bloud that is shed in it, but by the Bloud of him that shed it.

In which words, for my more orderly proceeding, I will ob­serve these two general parts: First, the greatness of the sin. Se­condly, the means to cleanse and satisfie for the guilt of it. The first, that is, the greatness of the sin, is expressed by two circum­stances. First, by the generality, extent, and largeness of the guilt of it: and secondly, by the difficulty of cleansing it. The large­ness and compass of the guilt of this sin, is noted unto us in the word Land, and the Land cannot be purged. It is true in some sense of all sins, Nemo sibi uni errat, no man sins in private, and to him­self alone; For as the Scripture notes of that action of Iepthe, when he vowed his daughter unto God, That it became a Custom in Israel, so is it in all sins: The errour is onely in one person, but the example spreads far and wide, and thus every man that sins, sins against the whole Land, yea, against the whole world. For who can tell how far the example and infection of an evil action doth spread? In other sins the infection is no larger then the disease, but this sin like a plague; one brings the infection, [...], but thousands die for it; yet this sin of Bloud dif­fuses and spreads it self above all other sins; for in other sins, noxa sequitur caput, the guilt of them is confined to the person that committed them; God himself hath pronounced of them, The son shall not bear the sins of the father, the soul that sinneth shall die the death: But the sin of Bloud seems to claim an exception from this Law; if by time it be not purged, like the frogs of Egypt the whole land stank of them; it leaves a guilt upon the whole land in which it is committed. Other sins come in like Rivers, and break their banks to the prejudice and wrong of private per­sons; but this comes in like a Sea, raging and threatning to over­whelm whole Countreys. If Bloud in any land do lie unrevenged, every particular soul hath cause to fear, lest part of the penalty fall on him. We read in the Books of Kings, that long after Saul's death, God plagued the Land of Iewry with three years famine; because Saul in his life-time without any just cause shed the [Page 73] Bloud of some of the Gibeonites: neither the famine ceased, till seven of Saul's nephews had died for it. In this story there are many things rare, and worth our observation. First, the genera­lity and extent of the guilt of Bloud-shed, (which is the cause for which I urged it) it drew a general famine on the whole Land. Secondly, the continuance and length of the punishment; it last­ed full three years and better. Thirdly the time of the plague; it fell long after the person offending was dead. Fourthly, where­as it is said in my Text, That Bloud is cleansed by the Bloud of him that shed it: here the Bloud of him that did this sin, sufficed not to purge the Land from it; that desperate and woful end, that befell both Saul and his sons in that last and fatal Battel upon Mount-Gilboa, a man may think had freed the Land from danger of Bloud: yet we see that the Bloud of the Gibeonites had left so deep a stain, that it could not be sponged out without the Bloud of seven more of Saul's off-spring. So that in some cases it seems we must alter the words of my Text, The Land cannot be purged of Bloud, but by the Bloud of him and his Posterity that shed it. St. Pe­ter tells us, that some mens sins go before them unto judgment, and some mens sins follow after. Beloved, here is a sin that exceeds the members of this division for howsoever it goes before or after us unto judgment, yet it hath a kind of Vbiquity, and so runs afore, so follows us at the heels, that it stays behind us too, and calls for vengeance long after that we are gone. Bloud unrevenged passes from Father to Son like an Heirlome or Legacy: and he that dies with Bloud hanging on his fingers, leaves his off-spring and his Family as pledges to answer it in his stead. As an En­gineer that works in a Mine lays a train, or kindles a Match, and leaves it behind him, which shall take hold of the powder long after he is gone; so he that sheds Bloud, if it be not be­times purged, as it were kindles a Match, able to blow up not onely a Parliament, but even a whole Land, where Bloud lies un­revenged.

Secondly, another circumstance serving to express unto us the greatness of this sin, I told you, was the difficulty of cleansing it, intimated in those words, cannot be cleansed but by the Bloud of him that shed it. Most of other sins have sundry ways to wash the guilt away; As in the Levitical Law, the woman that was unclean by reason of Child-bearing, might offer a pair of Turtle-doves, or two young Pigeons: so he that travels with other sins, hath either [Page 74] a Turtle or a Pigeon, he hath more ways then one to purifie him: prayer unto God, or true repentance, or satisfaction to the party wronged, or bodily affliction, or temporary mulct. But, he that travels with the sin of Bloud, for him there remains no sacrifice for sin, but a fearful expectation of vengeance, he hath but one way of cleansing, onely his Bloud, the Bloud of him that shed it.

The second general part which we considered in these words, was, that one mean which is left to cleanse Bloud, exprest in the last words, the bloud of him that shed it. The Apostle to the He­brews speaking of the sacrifices of the Old Testament, notes, that without Bloud there was no cleansing, no forgiveness. He spake it onely of the Bloud of beasts, of Bulls and Goats, who therefore have their Bloud, that they might shed it in mans service, and for mans use. But among all the Levitical Sacrifices, there was not one to cleanse the manslayer: For the Bloud of the cattle upon a thousand hills was not sufficient for this, yet was that sin to be purged with Bloud too, and that by a more constant and perpe­tual Law then that of Sacrifices. For the cleansing of other sins by Bloud is done away, the date of it is out; but to cleanse Bloud by bloud remains as a Law to our times, and so shall unto the worlds end: Sanguine quaerendi reditus, out of Bloud no way to get but by Bloud. [...], saith St. Basil, hast thou shed Bloud? wouldst thou be free from the guilt of it? Thy best way is to be a Martyr, and shed thy Bloud for Christ's sake. Now that what I have to say may the better be conceived and lodged up in your memories, I will comprehend and order all that I will speak under three heads. First, I will in general yet a little further, breifly shew how great a sin the sin of Bloud is. Secondly, I will speak of the redress of some misorders ve­ry frequent in our age, which give way to this sin, especially private revenge and single combat. Thirdly, I will touch at the means of taking the guilt of Bloud away, which here the holy Ghost commends to those which are set in Authority to that purpose. And first of the greatness of the crime and sin of Bloud.

Of sins in holy Scripture there be two sorts recorded. One sort is a silent, dumb, and quiet sin; God doth as it were seek after it to find it, as the people did after Saul, when he was hidden a­mongst the stuff: Of this nature are the ordinary sins of our [Page 75] life, which do more easily find pardon at the hands of God; but there is a second sort of sin, which is a vocal and a crying sin, a sin like that importunate widow in the Gospel, that will not suffer the Judge to be quiet, till he hath done justice; and those are the more heavy and grievouser sins of our lives: Of this se­cond sort, there are two sins, to which the Scripture doth attri­bute this crying faculty. First, the sin of Sodom; for so God tells Abraham, The cry of Sodom and Gomorrha is come up before me. The second is the sin of which I am now to speak, the sin of Bloud­shed; for so God tells Cain, The voice of thy brothers bloud cries unto me from the earth. The sin of Adam in Paradise doubtless was a great and heinous sin, which hath thus made us all the children of death; yet it seems to be but of the rank of mute sins, and to have had no voice to betray it; God comes unto Adam, convents him, examins him, as if he had not known it, and seems not to beleive any such thing was done, till himself had confessed it. But bloud is an unmannerly, importunate, and clamorous sin, God shall not need to come and enquire after it, it will come up unto him, and cry as the souls do under the Altar in the Reve­lation, How long, Lord, how long? Nec patimur iracunda Deum ponere fulmina, suffers not God to forget judgment, or enter­tain a thought of mercy, To satisfie therefore the cry of this importunate sin, and to shew men the grievousness of it, the Laws of God and men have wonderfully conspired in the aveng­ing of bloud, by what means, or by what creature soever it were shed. Beasts, unreasonable creatures, though whatsoe­ver they do, they cannot be said to sin: for whatsoever they do, they do by force of that natural instinct, by which they are guid­ed, and led as by their proper Law: yet man's bloud if they shed it, is revenged upon them: God himself is the Authour of this Law, (Gen. ix.) where he tells Noah, The bloud of your lives I will require, at the hands of every beast will I require it: And accord­ingly in the xxi. of Exodus, he precisely enacts a Law, De Bove petulco, If an Ox gore a man that he die, the Ox shall be slain, and the flesh cast away as an abomination. The Laws of natural men, who had no knowledge of God, come little behind this; yea, they may seem to have gone before it in severe revenging of bloud: For amongst the Laws by which Athens, that famous City of Greece was governed, there was one, that if a Wall by chance had fallen down, and slain a man as the tower of Siloam did of [Page 76] which we read in the Gospel; that then the Judges should sit, and formally arraign that Wall, condemn it, and throw the stones of it out of the Countrey. This so formal proceeding against unreasonable, against dull and senseless creatures, hath been thus joyntly both by God and man practised onely for our example, to teach us how precious the life of man ought to be in our eyes: and it resembles that action of Christ in the Gospel, where for our instruction he curses the barren fig-tree: Sterilitas nostra in ficu vapulat, &c.

Now as exemplary justice is severely done on these creatures for mans instruction; so much more if man himself kept not his hands clean from bloud, did the Laws of God proceed with much strictness and severity: for to say nothing of gross, malicious, and wilful murther; if a man onely in his haste strook another with a weapon, or with a stone, so that he died, though the stri­ker intended but to hurt, yet he was to die for it. That he did it in anger, that he did it in his drink, that de did it provok't, that he did it in defence of his honour and reputation, none of all these pretenses might excuse him. Nay, which is yet more, God himself propounds the case; If, saith he, a man cleaving wood, his ax head flie off, and hit his neighbour, so that he kills him, except he could recover one of the Cities of Refuge, he was to die, and having recovered a City of Refuge, if before the death of the High Priest he were taken without the walls of the City, he was to die. So strict was God in the case of chance-medly, (as they call it) in a case which he takes unto himself, and makes himself the Authour of. For in the xxi. of Exodus, speak­ing of the man that thus sheds bloud by chance and unwittingly, his words are these, If a man lie not in wait, sed Deus objecerit manni ejus, but God put him into his hands, I will appoint him a City of Refuge to flie unto. In which words God acknowledges, that he who thus dies by chance, dies by his providence, and not by the sin of him that slew him. If God (saith he) shall put him into his hands; yet you see what a penalty he lays upon the innocent instrument of such Bloudshed. The bloud that is shed in Battel, and in times of lawful War, you all suppose as law­fully shed; yet notwithstanding, Moses in the xvi. of Numbers, gives charge, that the souldiers returning from battel, should stay a while without the camp, even seven days, until they were cleansed: Again, when David advised with himself about the building of [Page 77] an house unto God, he sends him word to lay by all thought of that, he was no fit person to do it; and he gives the reason of it, Quia vir bellorum & sanguinum es tu, For thou art a man hast shed much bloud, and fought many battels. Beloved, the Battels which David fought were called the Lord's Battels, and there­fore whatsoever he did in that kind, he had doubtless very good warrant to do; and yet you see, that it is an imputation to him, that he shed bloud, though lawfully, ut fundi sanguis ne juste quidem, sine aliqua injustitia possit; so that it seems bloud can­not be justly shed, but that it brings with it some stain and spot of injustice.

All this I have said to raise up in you as much as possibly I can, a right conceit of the height and heinousness of this sin, and further, yet to effect this in you, as in the beginning and entrance into my discourse, I briefly toucht at two reasons, shewing the greatness of this sin, occasion'd thereunto by the words of my Text: so will I as briefly touch at the two more tending to the same purpose; one drawn from the respect of the Wrong, which by this sin is done unto God; another from the Wrong done to our selves.

And first, what wrong is done unto God: God himself shews us in the ix. of Genesis; where giving this for an everlasting Law, [He that sheddeth mans bloud, by man let his bloud be shed;] he presently adds the reason of it, [For in the image of God made he man] We shall the better understand the force of this reason, if we look a little into civil actions. It is the usual manner of subjects, when they rebel against the Prince, to think they cannot more effectually express their hate, then by disgracing, breaking, throwing down the Statues and Images erected to his honour: The Citizens of Antioch, in a sedition against Theodosius the Em­perour, in one night disgracefully threw down all his Statues; which fact of theirs caus'd St. Chrysostom, at that time Preacher to that City, to make those famous Sermons, which from that action to this day are called his [...], his Statues. This by so much the more is counted a great offence, because next unto wronging and disgracing the very person of the Prince, a great­er insolence cannot be offered: For it expresseth with what welcome they would entertain him, if they had him in their power. Beloved, Man is the Image of his Maker, erected by him as a Statue of his honour: He then that shall despitefully handle, [Page 78] batter, and deface it, how can he be counted otherwise then guil­ty of the highest Treason against his Maker. Rebellion, saith Sa­muel to Saul, is like the sin of superstition and idolatry; The sin of Bloud therefore equals the sin of Idolatry, since there cannot be a greater sin of Rebellion against God, then to deface his Image. Idolatry, through ignorance, sets up a false image of God, but this sin, through malice, defaces, pulls down the true. Amongst the Heathen, sometimes the Statues of the Emperours were had in such respect, that they were accounted Sanctuaries, and such as fo [...] [...]ffence fled unto them, it was not lawful to touch. Be­loved, such honour ought we to give unto a man, that if he have offended us, yet the Image of God which shines in him ought to be as a Sanctuary unto him, to save him from our violence, an admonitioner unto us, that we ought not to touch him.

A second reason, yet further shewing the hainousness of this sin, is drawn from the Wrong which is done to our selves. All other wrongs whatsoever they be, admit of some recompence; Honours, Wealth, Preferments, if they be taken from us, they may return as they did unto Iob in far greater measure, and the party wronged may receive full and ample satisfaction; but, What recompence may be made to a man for his life? When that is gone, all the Kingdoms which our Saviour saw in the Mount, and the glory of them [...] are nothing worth, neither is all the world, all the power of Men and Angels, able to give the least breath to him that hath lost it. Nothing under God is able to make satisfaction for such a wrong: the revenge that is taken afterward upon the party that hath done the wrong, cannot be counted a recompence; That is done In terrorem viventium, non in subsidium mortuorum, It serves to deter the living from com­mitting the like outrage, but it can no way help him that is dead: David at the same time committed two sins, great sins, Murther and Adultery; the reward of either of which by Gods Law, is nothing else but death; yet for his Adultery he seems to make some satisfaction to the party wronged; for the Text notes, that David took her to his Wife, made her his Queen, and that he went in unto her, and comforted her: all which may well be counted at least a part of recompence. But for dead Vrias, what means could David make to recompence, to comfort him? For this cause I verily suppose it is, that in his Penitential Psalm, where­in he bewails his sin, he makes no particular confession, no men­tion [Page 79] of his Adultery; but of the other, of Bloud, he is very sensible, and expresly prays against it: Deliver me from Bloud-guiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation; as if Adultery in comparison of Murder were no crime at all.

I am sorry I should have any just occasion amongst Christian men, so long to insist upon a thing so plain; and shew that the sin of Bloud is a great and hainous sin: But, he that shall look in­to the necessities of these times, shall quickly see that there is a great cause, why this doctrine should be very effectually prest: For many things are even publickly done, which in part argue that men esteem of this sin much more sleightly then they ought. Aristotle observed it of Phaleas, (one that took upon him to prescribe Laws, by which a Common-wealth might, as he thought, be well governed) that he had taken order for the preventing of smaller faults, but he left way enough open to greater crimes. Beloved the errour of our Laws is not so great as that of Phaleas was, yet we offend too, though on the contrary, and the less dangerous side; for great and grievous sins are by them provi­dently curbed, but many inferiour crimes find many times too free passage. Murther, though all be abominable, yet there are degrees in it, some is more hainous then other. Gross, malicious, premeditated, and wilful Murther, are by our Laws, so far as hu­mane wisdom can provide, sufficiently prevented: but Murders done in haste, or besides the intent of him that did it, or in point of honour, and reputation, these find a little too much favour; or Laws in this respect are somewhat defective, both in preventing that it be not done, and punishing it when it is done; men have thought themselves wiser then God, presuming to moderate the unnecessary severity (as they seem to think) of his Laws. And hence it comes to pass, that in Military Companies, and in all great Cities and places of Mart and concourse, few moneths, yea, few weeks pass without some instance and example of Bloudshed, either by sudden quarrel, or by challenge to Duel and single Combat. How many examples in a short space have we seen of young men, men of hot and fiery disposition, mutually provoking and disgracing each other, and then taking themselves bound in high terms of valour, and honour, to end their quarrels by their swords? That therefore we may the better discover the unlaw­fulness of Challenge and private Combat, let us a little enquire and examine in what cases Bloud may lawfully, and without offence [Page 80] be shed; that so we may see where, amongst these, single Combat may find its place.

The Manichees were of opinion, that it was not lawful to vio­late any thing in which there was life, and therefore they would not pull a branch from a tree, because forsooth there was life in it. To think that mans life may in no case be taken from him, is but a branch of Manichism: and the words of my Text do directly cross it, where it is laid down, that for the cleansing of bloud, bloud may and must be shed. For the avoiding therefore of the extreme, we are to note, that the lawful causes of Bloudshed are either Publick or Private; Publick cases are two: First, in case of Iustice, when a malefactour dies for his sin by the hand of the Magistrate. Secondly, in case of publick War and defence of our Countrey; for the Doctrine of Christ is not (as some have sup­posed) an enemy to Souldiership, and Military Discipline. When Iohn the Baptist began to preach Repentance, and amend­ment of life; amongst those that came forth to understand and learn their duty, the Text saith, that the Souldiers came and ask'd him. Master, what shall we do? And Iohn wills them not to lay down their weapons, or to take another course of life (which he ought and would have done, if that course had been unlawful) but he instructs them rather in their calling; for, he gives them these two Lessons, Do no man wrong; and, Be content with your pay, your wages; then which there could not have been better, or more pertinent counsel given to Souldiers, these being the two principal vices of Souldiers, to wrong places where they live, by forage aud pillage, and to mutiny in dislike of their pay. When St. Peter came to preach to the Centurion in the Acts, we find not a syllable in all that Sermon prejudicial to a Souldier's profession. And therefore accordingly in the times of the Primitive Church, Christians served even under Heathen Emperours, and that with the approbation of God himself.

For in the Ecclesiastick story we read of the Legio fulminatrix, of a Band of Souldiers called the Thundring Band, because that at what time Marcus the Emperour lying with his Army in Ger­many, was afflicted with a great drought, and in great danger of the Enemy, when they were now about to joyn battel, the Chri­stian Souldiers (that Band) fell flat on their faces, and by their in­stant prayers obtained of God a great Tempest, which to the Emperour and his Army brought store of cold refreshing water; [Page 81] but upon the Enemy nothing else but fire and whirl-wind. The Emperour's Epistle in which this story is related, is this day ex­tant, recovered by Iustin Martyr, who lived about the time the thing was done: Wherefore we may not doubt of the lawfulness of that profession, which it hath pleased God thus to grace, and honour with such a miracle. Besides these two, there are no other publick causes of Bloudshed. As for the causes in private, I know but one, and that is, when a man is set upon, and forced to it, in his own defence. If a theif be robbing in the night, and be slain, the Law of God acquits him that did it: and by the Roman Laws, Nocturnum furem quomodo libet, diurnum si se telo defenderet, It was lawful to kill a theif by night at any hand, and by day if he used his weapon. Of private Bloudshed there is no cause but this, and this we must needs allow of. For in all other private necessities into which we may be driven, the Law and Magistrate have place to whom we must repair for remedy: but in case of defence of life against sudden on-set, no Law can be made, except we would make a Law to yeild our throats to him that would cut them, or our Laws were like the Prophet that came to Ieroboam at Bethel, and could dry up mens arms that offered violence. Wherefore all cause of death, one onely excepted, is publick, and that for great reason. For to die is not a private action to be undertaken at our own, or at any other private mans pleasure and discretion: For, as we are not born unto our selves alone, but for the service of God, and the Common-wealth in which we live; so no man dies to himself alone, but with the damage and loss of that Church or Common-wealth of which he is a member: Wherefore it is not left to any private man's power to dispose of any man's life, no not to our own, onely God and the Magistrate may dispose of this. As Souldiers in the Camp must keep their standing, neither may they move or alter, but by direction from the Captain; so is it with us all: Our life is a war­fare, and every man in the world hath his station and place, from whence he may not move at his own, or at another man's plea­sure, but onely at the direction and appointment of God, his General, or of the Magistrates, which are as Captains and Leiutenants under him. Then our lawful times of death are either when our day is come, or to fall in battel, or for misde­meanour to be cut off by the publick hand of Justice, Vt qui vivi prodesse noluerunt, corum more respub. utatur: He which other­wise [Page 82] wise dies, comes by surreption and stealth, and not warrantably unto his end.

And though we have spoken something in Apology and de­fence of War, yet you may not think, that in time of War your hands are loose, and that you may at your pleasure shed the bloud of your Enemy: Misericorditer etiam bella gerantur, saith St. Austin, even in War and Battel there is room for thoughts of peace and mercy; and therefore many of the ancient Heroes, re­nowned Souldiers and Captains, were very conscientious of shed­ding the bloud of their Enemies, except it were in Battel, and when there was no remedy to avoid it. In that mortal Battel, Sam. 2. between the servants of David, and the servants of Is­bosheth, the Scripture reports that Abner fled, and Azahel, Ioab's brother, following him hard at heels to kill him, Abner advises him twice, Turn aside, saith he, why should I smite thee to the ground; but when Azahel would not hearken, but followed him still for his bloud, then he stroke him with his spear that he died: In the time of War, when he might lawfully have done it, in the fury of the Battel Abner would not shed bloud, but by constraint. Xenophon would make us beleive, that the Souldiers in Cyrus his Army were so well disciplin'd, that one of them in time of the Battel, having lift up his arm to strike his enemy, hearing the Trumpet to begin to sound the Retreat, let fall his arm, and wil­lingly lost his blow, because he thought the time of striking was now past: So far were these men from thinking it lawful to shed the bloud of a Subject in time of peace, that they would not shed the bloud of an Enemy in time of War, except it were in the Feild. Iulius Cesar was one of the greatest and stoutest Captains that ever was in the world, he stood the shock of fifty set Battels, be­sides all Seiges and Out-rodes; he took a thousand Cities and walled Towns; he over-run three hundred several Countreys, and in his Wars were slain well near twelve hundred thousand men, besides all those that died in the Civil Wars, which were great numbers; yet this man protested of himself, and that most truly, that he never drew bloud but in the Feild, nunquam nis [...] in acie stantem, never slew any man, but in a set battel: I have been a little the bolder, in bringing these instances of Heathen men; First, because the doctrine of Christ, through errour, is counted an enemy to policy of War and Martial Discipline; Secondly, because we have found out many distinctions and evasions to [Page 83] elude the precepts of our blessed Saviour and his Apostles: For as it hath been observed of the God-makers, I mean the Painters and Statuaries among the Heathen, they were wont many times to paint their Goddesses like their Mistresses, and then think them most fair, when they were most like what they best loved: so is it with many Professours of Christian Religion, they can temper the precepts of it to their liking, and lay upon them glosses and interpretations as it were colours, and make it look like what they love: Thirdly, because it is likely that the examples of these men will most prevail with those to whom I speak, as being such to whom above all they affect to be most like; Except therefore it be their purpose to hear no other Judgment, but one­ly their own unruly and misorderly affections, it cannot but move them to see the examples of men, guided onely by the light of reason, of men, I say, the most famous in all the world for valour and resolution, to run so mainly against them.

To come then unto the question of Duels; both by the light of reason, and by the practise of men it doth appear, that there is no case, wherein subjects may privately seek each others lives: There are extant the Laws of the Iews, framed by God himself; The Laws of the Roman Empire, made partly by the Ethnick, partly by Christian Princes; A great part of the Laws of Sparta and Athens (two warlike Common-wealths, especially the form­er) lie dispersed in our Books: yet amongst them all is there not a Law or Custom, that permits this liberty to Subjects: The reason of it, I conceive, is very plain; The principal thing, next under God, by which a Common-wealth doth stand, is the Au­thority of the Magistrate, whose proper end is to compose, and end quarrels between man and man, upon what occasion soever they grow; For were men peaceable, were men not injurious one to another, there were no use of Government: Wherefore to permit men in private to try their own rights, or to avenge their own wrongs, and so to decline the sentence of the Magi­strate, is quite to cut off all use of Authority. Indeed it hath been sometimes seen, that the event of a Battel, by consent of both Armies, hath been put upon single Combat, to avoid further ef­fusion of bloud: but Combats betwixt Subjects for private causes, till these latter Ages of the world was never allowed: yet, I must confess, the practise of it is very ancient: For Cain, the second man in the world, was the first Duelist, the first that [Page 84] ever challenged the Feild (in the fourth of Genesis) the Text saith, That Cain spake unto his Brother, and when they were in the Feild, he arose and slew him. The Septuagint, to make the sense more plain, do add another clause, and tell us what it was he said unto his brother, [...], Let us go out into the feild; and when they were in the feild, he arose and slew him: Let us go out into the feild, it is the very form and proper language of a Challenge. Many times indeed our Gallants can for­malize other words, but evermore the substance, and usually the very words are no other but these of Cain, Let us go out into the Feild. Abel I perswade my self understood them not as a chal­lenge; for had he so done, he would have made so much use of his discretion, as to have refused it; yet can we not chuse but acknowledge a secret judgment of God in this, that the words of Cain should still be so Religiously kept till this day, as a Proem and Introduction to that action, which doubtless is no other, then what Cain's was. When therefore our Gallants are so ready to challange the Feild, and to go into the Feild, let them but re­member whose words they use, and so accordingly think of their action. Again, notwithstanding Duels are of so antient and worshipful a Parentage, yet could they never gain so good acceptance as to be permitted, much less to be counted lawful in the civil part of the world, till Barbarism had over-ran it. About five or six hundred years after Christ, at the fall of the Roman Empire, aboundance of rude and barbarous people brake in and possest the civiller part of the world; who abolishing the an­cient Laws of the Empire, set up many strange Customs in their rooms. Amongst the rest, for the determining of quarrels that might arise in case of doubtful title, or of false accusation, or the like, they put themselves upon many unusual forms of Trial; as, to handle red hot Iron, to walk bare-foot on burning coals, to put their hands and feet in scalding water, and many other of the like nature, which are reckoned up by Hottoman a French Lawyer: For they presumed so far on Gods providence, that if the party accused were innocent, he might do any of these without any smart or harm. In the same cases, when by reason of unsuffici­ent and doubtful evidence, the Judges could not proceed to Sen­tence, as sometimes it falls out, and the parties contending would admit of no reasonable composition, their manner was to permit them to try it out by their swords; that so the Conquerour might [Page 85] be thought to be in the right. They permitted, I say, thus to do; for at the best 'twas but a permission to prevent farther mischeif; for to this end sometimes some known abuses are tolerated: So God permitted the Jews upon sleight occasions to put their wives away, because he saw, that otherwise their exorbitant lusts would not be bounded within these limits, which he is Paradise in the beginning had set.

And it is observed of the wise men which had the managing and bringing up of Nero the Emperour, that they suffered him to practise his lusts upon Acte, one of his Mothers Chamber-maids, Ne in stupra foeminarum illustrium perrumperet, si illa libidine prohi­beretur, Lest if he were forbidden that, he should turn his lust upon some of the Noble-women. Permission and toleration warrants not the goodness of any action. But, as Caiaphas said, Better one man die, then all the people perish; so they that first per­mitted Duels seem to have thought, better one or two mutinous persons, and disorderly, die in their folly, then the whole Com­mon-wealth to be put into tumult and combustion: yet even by these men it was never so promiscuously tolerated, that every hasty couple, upon the venting of a little choler, should presently draw their swords, but it was a publick or solemn action, done by order, with inspection, either of the Prince himself, or of some other Magistrate, appointed to order it. Now certainly there can be no very great reason for that action, which was thus begun by Cain, and continued onely by Goths and Vandals, and meer Barbarism.

Yet that we may a little better acquaint our selves with the quality of it, let us a little examine the causes and pretences which are brought by them who call for trial by single Combat. The causes are usually two; First, disdain to seem to do or suf­fer any thing for fear of death: Secondly, point of honour, and not to suffer any contumely and indignity, especially if it bring with it dis-reputation, and note of cowardise. For the first, Disdain to fear death; I must confess I have often wondred with my self, how men durst die so ventrously, except they were sure they died well: In aliis rebus siquid erratum est, potest post modum corrigi, in other things which are learnt by practising, if we mistake, we may amend it: for the errour of a former action may be corrected in the next: we learn then by erring, and men come at length not to err, by having often erred: but no man learns to die by pra­ctising [Page 86] it; we die but once, and a fault committed then, can ne­ver afterward be amended, quia poena statim sequitur errorem, be­cause the punishment immediately follows upon the errour. To die is an action of that moment, that we ought to be very well advised, when we come to it: Ab hoc momento pendet aeternitas, you may not look back upon the opinion of honour and repu­tation which remains behind you: but rather look forward up­on that infinite space of Eternity, either of bliss or bale, which befalls us immediately after our last breath. To be loath to die upon every sleight occasion, is not a necessary sign of fear and cowardise: He that knew what life is, and the true use of it, had he many lives to spare, yet would he be loth to part with one of them upon better terms, then those our Books tell us, that Aristippus a Philosopher being at Sea in a dangerous Tempest, and bewraying some fear, when the weather was cleared up, a desperate Ruffian came and upbraided him with it, and tells him, That it was a shame that he professing wisdom should be afraid of his life, whereas himself having had no such educa­tion, exprest no agony or dread at all. To whom the Philo­sopher replied, there was some difference between them two: I know, saith he, my life may be profitable many ways, and therefore am I loth to lose it; but because of your life you know little profit, little good can be made, you care not how easily you part with it. Beloved it may be justly suspected, that they who esteem thus lightly of their lives, are but worthless and unprofitable men: our own experience tells us, that men who are prodigal of their money in Taverns and Ordinaries, are close-handed enough, when either pious uses, or necessary and publick expence re­quires their liberality; I have not heard that Prodigals ever built Churches. So these men that are so prodigal of their lives in base quarrels, peradventure would be cowardly enough, if either publick service, or Religion did call for their help; I scarcely be­leive any of them would die Martyrs, if the times so required it. Beloved, I do not go about to perswade any man to fear death, but not to contemn life; life is the greatest blessing God gives in this world, and did men know the worth of it, they would ne­ver so rashly venture the loss of it: But now lightly prizing both their own and others Bloud, they are easily moved to shed it; as fools are easily won to part with jewels, because they know not how to value them. We must deal with our lives, as we do with [Page 87] our money, we must not be covetous of it, desire life for no other use but to live, as covetous persons desire money, onely to have it: neither must we be prodigal of life, and trifle it away upon every occasion; but we must be liberal of our lives, know upon what occasion to spare, upon what occasion to spend them. To know where, and when, and in what cases to offer our selves to die, is a thing of greater skill, then a great part of them suppose; who pretend themselves most forward to do it; Nam impetu quo­dam & instinctu currere ad mortem cum multis commune est; For brutishly to run upon and hasten unto death, is a thing that many men can do; and we see that bruit beasts many times will run upon the spears of such as pursue them: Sed deliberare & causas expendere utque suaserit ratio vitae mortisque consilium suscipere, vel ponere ingentis animi est; but wisely to look into, and weigh every occasion, and as judgment and true discretion shall direct; so to entertain a resolution either of life or death, this were true fortitude and magnanimity. And indeed; this prodigality and contempt of life, is the greatest ground of this quarrellous and fighting humour; Qui suam vitam contempsit, dominus est alienae; There is a kind of men, who because they contemn their own lives, make themselves Lords and Commanders of other mens; easily provoking others to venture their Bloud, because they care not how they lose their own. Few places of great resort are without these men, and they are the greatest occasioners of Bloudshed, you may quickly know them; there are few quarrels wherein they are not either principals, or seconds, or some way or another will have a part in them. Might there be publick or­der taken for the restraint of such men, that make a practise of quarrelling, and because they contemn their own lives, carry themselves so insolently and imperiously towards others: It will prevent much mischief, and free the Land of much danger of Bloud-guiltiness.

The second cause which is much alledged in defence of Duels, I told you was point of Honour, a conceit that it is dishonourable for men of place and fashion quietly to digest and put up contu­mely and disgrace; and this they take to be a reason of that authority and strength, as that it must admit of no dispensation: For answer, First, the true fountain and original of quarrel are of another kind, and Honour is abused as a pretence: The first occasioners of a great part of them are indeed very dishonou­rable, [Page 88] let there an Inventory be taken of all the Challenges that have been made for some time past, and you shall find that the greatest part by far were raised either in Taverns, or Dicing-houses, or in the Stews: Pardon me, if in a case of this nature I deal a little plainly; Drinking, Gaming, and Whores, these are those rotten bones that lie hid under this painted Sepulchre and title of Honour.

Lastly, to conclude, It is a part of our profession, as we are Christians to suffer wrong and disgrace. Therefore to set up another doctrine, and teach that Honour may plead prescripti­on against Christ's precepts, and exempt you from patient endu­ring of contumely and disgrace, you withstand Christ, and deny your vocation; and therefore are unavoidably Apostates. But we lose our labour, who give young men and unsetled persons good advice and counsel; the civil Magistrate must lay to his hand and pity them, who want discretion to pity themselves: For as Bees, though they fight very fiercely, yet if you cast a lit­tle dust amongst them, are presently parted; so the Enacting and Executing some few good Laws, would quickly allay this great­ness of stomach and fighting humour. How many have been cen­sured for Schismaticks and Hereticks, onely because by probable consequence, and afar off they seemed to overthrow some Chri­stian principle? but here are men, who walk in our streets, and come to our Churches, who [...], openly oppose that great point of Christianity, which concerns our patience, and yet for their restraint, no Synod is called, no Magistrate stirs, no Church-censure is pronounced. The Church of Rome hath long ago, to the disgrace of the Reformed Churches, shut them out of the number of Christians, and pronounced them all Excommunicated persons, who upon what pretence soever durst enter the Feild for Duel and single Combat.

Theodosius the Emperour enacted it for a Law, and it is extant at this day in the Code, a Book of Laws, that if any man spake dis­gracefully of the Emperour, Si ex levitate contemnendum, si ex in­famia miseratione dignum, si ex injuria remittendum.

Lactantius, Summa virtus habenda patientia est quam ut caperet homo justus voluit illum Deus pro inerte contemni.

So great a virtue is patience, that for the attaining of it, it is Gods will we should suffer our selves to be contemned as Cowards.

[Page 89] Christ is an Example to us of suffering disgrace; let us as the Israelites look up to this Serpent, and all the stinging of fiery Serpents shall do us no harm.

We must forsake all and follow Christ: therefore Honour and Reputation too; If we be ashamed of this pattern of patience, Christ will be ashamed of us.

Now that God may give a blessing to what hath been deliver­ed, let us, &c.

Matth. XXVI. Verse 75.‘And he went forth, and wept bitterly.’

THus to commit to writing, as here our Evangelist hath done, and so to lay open to all posterity the many slips and errours which have much blemish'd and disgrac'd the lives and actions of the best, and most excellent men, may seem in the judg­ment of a reasonable man to participate of much envy and uncharitableness: so that their good life had remained upon record for our example, we might very well have suffer'd their errours to have slept and been buried with their bodies in their graves. St. Paul makes it the property of charity to hide the multitude of sins; whose property then is it thus to blazon them at mid-day, and to fill the ears of the world with the report of them? Constan­tine, the first-born among Christian Emperours, so far mislik'd this course, that he professed openly, if he found any of his Bi­shops and Clergy, whom it especially concerned to have a re­putation pure and spotless, committing any greivous sin, to hide it from the eye of the world, he would cover it with his own garment; he knew well that which experience had long ago observ'd, Non tam juvare quae bene dicta sunt, quam nocere quae pessime; things well said, well done, do nothing so much profit and further us, as the examples of ill speeches, ill actions do [Page 91] mischeif and inconvenience us: and men are universally more apt from the errours and scapes of good men to draw apologies for their own, then to propose their good deeds for examples and patterns for themselves to follow. Neither is this my own speculation, St. Austin observed it long since, who discoursing upon the fall of David, complains, that from his example, ma­ny framed unto themselves this apology, Si David, cur non & ego? If David did thus, then why not I? Preparas te ad peccan­dum, saith he, disponis peccare; Librum Dei ut pecces inspicis; Scri­pturas Dei ad hoc audis, ut facias quod displicet Deo: Thou dost prepare thy heart to sin; thou providest thy self of purpose; thou dost look into the Book of God, even therefore that thou mightest sin; the Scriptures of God thou dost therefore hear, that by the example of those that fell, thou mayest learn to do that which is displeasing unto God. Yea, the greater is the per­son offending, the more dangerous is the example; For Great­ness is able of it self, as it were, to legitimate foul acts, to add authority and credit unto ill doings: Facilius efficiet quisquis objecerit, crimen honestum, quam turpem Catonem, saith Seneca of Cato; Whosoever he be, saith he, that objects drunkenness to Cato, shall more easily prove drunkenness to be a virtue, then that Cato, who used it, was to blame. When St. Peter (Galath. ij.) had halted in his behaviour betwixt the Gentiles and those of the Circumcision, St. Paul notes, that many of the Iews, yea, Barnabas himself, was carried away with their dissimulation: and to speak truth, whom would not the authority and credit of St. Peter have drawn into an errour? So easily the faults of great men, adolescunt in exempla, grow up and become exem­plary, and so full of hazard is it, to leave unto the world a me­morial of the errours and scapes of worthy persons. Yet not­withstanding all this, the holy Spirit of God, who bringeth light out of darkness, and worketh above and against all means, hath made the Fall of his Saints an especial means to raise his Church: and therefore hath it pleased him by the Pen-men of the lives of his Saints in holy Scripture, to lay open in the veiw of the world many gross faults and imperfections, even of the most excellent instruments of his glory. That which he tells the woman in the Gospel, who anointed him before his passion, that wheresoever the Gospel shall be preached, this fact of hers should be recorded in memorial of her: the same, as it [Page 92] seems was his intent concerning his Saints; that wheresoever the word of life should be taught, there likewise should be re­lated the grievous sins of his servants. And therefore accord­ingly, scarcely is there any one Saint in the whole Book of God, who is not recorded in one thing or other to have notably over­shot himself. Sometimes he hath made the Saints themselves the proclaimers of their own shame: So he makes Moses to register his own infidelity; so David in his one and fiftieth Psalm, by the instinct of God's Spirit, leaves unto the Church under his own hand, an evidence against himself for his Adultery and Murther: Sometimes he makes their dearest freinds the most exact chro­niclers of their faults; for so St. Chrysostom observes of St. Mark, the companion and Scholar of St. Peter, who hath more parti­cularly registred the Fall of his Master, then any of the other Evangelists, [...], &c. Who would not marvel, saith he, that St. Mark not onely concealed not the gross escape of his Ma­ster; but, hath more accurately then any of the rest recorded the par­ticulars of it, [...], even because he was his Di­sciple; as if he could have done his Master no better service, then to deliver a most exact relation of his fault. There are yet two things further to be noted in this dispensation of Almighty God; the first, in regard of us; the second, in regard of the Saints, whose errours are recorded: For the first, who can but marvel, that since all things that are written, are written for our instru­ction, that if they be good, they may serve for our imitation; if otherwise, for warning to us: yet, many sinister actions of the Saints of God are so exprest in Scripture, without censure, with­out note, that it were almost some danger to pronounce of them? Abraham's equivocating with Abimelech, Iacob's deluding his blind Father, Rachel abusing Laban with a lie, Iephthe his sa­crificing his daughter, Sampson killing himself with the Phili­stines; these and many other besides are so set down, that they may seem to have been done rather by divine instinct, then out of humane infirmity. Wherein the holy Ghost seems to me tan­quam adoriri nos ex insidiis, to set upon us out of ambush, to use a kind of guile, to see whether we have [...], spiritual discretion, to try whether we will attribute more to mens examples, then to his precepts. Secondly, in regard of the Saints themselves: It is worth our noting, that God seems to have had more care to discredit them, then to honour them, in [Page 93] that their faults are many times particularly registred, but their repentance is wrapt up in silence: so the story of Noah is con­cluded with his drunkenness; after the report of Lot's Incest, there is not a word of him throughout the Scriptures; as soon as the story of Solomon's Idolatry is related, it immediately follows in the Text, And Solomon died. We should very much wrong these men, if we should think that they past out of this life without repentance, because their repentance is con­ceal'd. Doubtless if we were worthy to search the mysteries of the Spirit, we should find that the holy Ghost hath left some­thing for our instruction even in this particular; for nothing in Scripture is done by chance: But, as St. Chrysostom is wont sometime to tell his Auditory, that he will not resolve all doubts, but leave some to meditate on by themselves; so will I now deal with you, I will leave this to your private conside­rations, to practise your wits in the depths of Christianity, and so to frame reasons unto your selves of this proceeding of the holy Spirit.

In the New Testament, the holy Ghost constantly holds the same course of relating the Fall of the Saints: and so according­ly by all four Evangelists sets down at large, the fearful sin of St. Peter in denying and forswearing his Master. But as it pleased him in mercy to give him repentance, so in these words which I have read unto you, hath it pleased him to leave unto the Church a memorial of it. Our first note therefore, before we come to the words, shall be a note of that exceeding use and profit, which hath redounded to the Church by the registring of St. Peter's repentance; for this is done by the holy Ghost, to signifie unto us the necessity and force of repentance, and sorrow for sin. The concealing of Solomon's reclaim, hath occasioned some, upon acknowledgment of the necessity of repentance, to suppose, that Solomon past away without it, and so received the final reward of the impenitent. But he that should have read this story of St. Peter, and observed what authority he had after­wards, what especial favour our Saviour did him after his Resur­rection, notwithstanding his Fall, if the manner of his Recovery had not been recorded, might easily have entertained a conceit very prejudicial to Repentance, Quid non speremus? Who might not hope to regain the favour of God without shedding a tear, if St. Peter, notwithstanding so grievous a crime, without repen­tance [Page 94] should again be reconciled? We might therefore with ex­cuse have presumed upon a non-necessity of repentance, as if it had been enough in case of sin to practise that which common morality teaches, barely to relinquish it without any more ado. That therefore which we learn by this Registring of St. Peter's repentance, is this, That for the clearing of a Christian man's ac­count unto God, it is not sufficient barely to cease from doing ill, to satisfie the Law which we broke, either with our life, or with our goods; To make recompence to our neighbour for wrong done him; all this and much more washes not away the guilt of sin before God. These are things which the very light of nature teaches us to do. It was not to be thought that David to his former Adulteries and Murther, would have added new: he that hath been forc'd to restore four-fold that which he had taken away by stealth, will peradventure take warning to steal no more: But, this doth not suffice him; there is a further duty, a duty of repentance required of every Christian man, a duty proper to him alone. For this doctrine of Repentance Nature never taught in her Schole, neither was it ever found in the Books of the Learned; it is particular to the Book of God, and to the doctrine that came down from Heaven. In the sins against the first Table we offend immediately and onely against God; but in the sins against the second Table, there is a double guilt con­tracted, one against God, another against our Neighbour; in these sins, as there is a double fault, so there is a double satis­faction to be made, one unto God, another to our Neighbour: for this second satisfaction between man and man, many Hea­then Common-wealths have been very sufficiently furnished with store of excellent Laws; but, of an atonement over and above to be made to God, they scarce seem to have had any thought: and indeed to speak truth, to what purpose had it been to trouble their heads about it? it is impossible that it should ever fall within the conceit of any reasonable creature, to pronounce what satisfaction was to be made for offence com­mitted against God: He is of infinite Majesty, holding no pro­portion, no correspondence with any created being; what re­compence then can he receive from the hands of dust and ashes? Ten thousand worlds, were we able to give them all, could not make satisfaction for any part of the smallest offence we have committed against him: when therefore the inventions of men [Page 95] were thus at a stand, when all discourse, all reason were posed, it pleased God in mercy to open his pleasure in his word, and to accept of true and unfeigned repentance, as the onely means to wash away the guilt of sin against his Majesty: A thing in the eye of flesh and bloud altogether ridiculous. And there­fore Iulian, that accursed Apostate, scorning Constantine the Em­perour for betaking himself to the Christian Religion, in con­tempt and derision of Baptism and Repentance, thus speaks: [...], &c. Hoe, whosoever is a corrupter and a defiler of women, whosoever is a man-slayer, whosoever is an impure and unclean person, let him from henceforth be secure, and care for nothing; I will shew him a little water, in which, if he do but dip himself, he shall be forthwith clean: yea, though he desperately run again into the same crimes; I will give him this gift, if he but knock his breast and strike his forehead (which are the gestures of the penitent) he shall without any more ado become as pure as glass. `Tis true in­deed, in spight of unbeleiving miscreants, it hath pleased God through the foolishness of Baptism and Repentance to save those that are his. The water of Baptism and the tears of true Repen­tance, creatures of themselves weak and contemptible, yet through the wonderful operation of the Grace of God annext unto them, are able, were our sins as red as twice-died scarlet, to make them as white as snow. The sentence of God denounced unto Adam, What day thou eatest of the Tree, thou shalt die, certain­ly was absolute and irrevocable, neither could any repentance of Adam's totally have reverst it: yet Abulensis cries out, O quam foelix humanum genus, &c. O how happy should mankind have been, if Adam after his Fall had used the benefit of Repentance, and in time acknowledged his sin unto God: Yea, he goes fur­ther, and seems to intimate, that it had been of force almost to restore us unto our primitive purity; for this way his words seem to look, when he saith, Quod si seipsum accusasset, nos omnes ab accusatione & judicio liberasset: If he had accused himself, doubtless he had freed us all from accusation and a curse: Whatso­ever his meaning was, thus much without danger we may think, that if our first Parents had not so strangely shuffled their fault from the one to the other, the Man to the Woman, the Woman to the Serpent; but, had freely acknowledged it, and humbly begged pardon for it, God, whose mercies were then as many, [Page 96] and as ready as now they are, would, if not altogether have revok'd, yet doubtless much have qualified and mitigated the sentence of the curse; If Adam had used more ingenuity in confessing, God would have used less rigour in punishing. Out of all this I draw this one lesson for your instruction; Who­soever he be that thinks himself quit of some sins into which either through weakness or carelesness he hath fallen, let him not presently flatter himself, as if for this his book of debt unto God were cancell'd, as if he were in a state of grace and new birth; but let him examine his own conscience, and impartially sift all the manner of his reclaim: He may perad­venture sind, that upon some moral respect he hath broken off the practise of his sin; he may find that he hath satisfied his neighbour, contented the Law, done many acts, by which he hath purchas'd reconciliation with the world: But, if he find not this passage of Repentance and hearty sorrow `twixt God and his own soul, let him know, that God is yet unsatisfied, that he is yet in his sin; his sin yet unrepented of, and therefore still remains.

THus from the necessity of Registring St. Peter's Repentance, I come to the words wherein it is Registred, And he went out, &c, In these words we will consider four things: First, the person, He] He went forth; or, and going forth he wept. Secondly, the preparative to the Repentance, He went forth. Thirdly, the Repentance it self, comprised in the word Wept. Fourthly, the extent, and measure, and compass of this Repentance, in the last word, bitterly. 1. He. The way of man's life is a slippery way, no man whilst he is in it hath the priviledge of not sliding; just and unjust, thus far, are of like condition; both fall: But here they differ, the just man riseth again. Not the eminency of St. Pe­ter's person, nor his great understanding in the mystery of Christ, nor his resolution in our Saviour's quarrel, not the love and re­spect his Master bare him, kept him from falling: But St. Peter being fallen, provides himself to rise, and therefore in the second place, he went forth, saith my Text: St. Peter was now in the High-priest's Court, a place very unfit for one in St. Peter's case. Princes Courts are no place for Repentance: To wear soft rai­ment, to fare deliciously every day, this is courtiers guise; but [...], the shirt of hair, [Page 97] the tears of Repentance; this is the habit of the penitent. But wherefore went St. Peter out? Did he as our Saviour observes of the Scribes and Pharisees, go out into the wilderness to see, to gaze and look about him? No, his eyes now must do him other service; He went out as Ioseph did from the face of his brethren, to seek a place to weep. Maldonat the Jesuit thinks it would have been a more goodly thing, and far more beseeming St. Peter's resolution, if in the place he had offended, in the same he had repented: if before those he had made a constant confes­sion of Christ, before whom he had denied him. But be the rea­sons what they will which moved St. Peter to go forth, we will not prescribe unto the Saints a form of Repentance; we will cease therefore to dispute what St. Peter should have done, and rather gather lessons for our selves out of what he did. Fourth­ly, and last of all, as St. Peter's fault was great, so he contends that his Repentance may be as serious. The tears therefore he sheds are not sleight, and perfunctory, shed onely for fashions sake, such as Quintilian spake of, Nihil facilius lachrymis marescit, Nothing sooner grows dry then tears: but, as the Text saith, He wept bitterly: to summon up that Sicc-oculum genus Christianorum, a sort of Christians, who never had tear dropt from their eye to witness their Repentance: to teach us to enlarge the measure of our sorrow for our sins, and in case of greivous relapse, not mince out our Repentance, but to let loose the reins unto greif. And thus I come to handle the parts in order more particularly: and first of the person, He.

Amongst all the Saints of God whose errours are set down in holy Scriptures, there is none whose person was more eminent, or Fall more dangerous then St. Peter's. That which wise men have observed in great and eminent Wits, that they evermore exceed; either they are exceeding good, or else they are ex­ceeding bad, in St. Peter was true both ways. His gifts of Faith, of understanding in the mystery of Godliness, of resolution to die in our Saviour's cause, were wonderful: but yet his errours were as many and as strange; yea, so much the more strange, be­cause in that thing he most offended, in which he was most emi­nent. It was a great argument of his Faith, when in the Tempest meeting our Saviour on the waters, he calls out unto him, If it be thou, command me to come unto thee on the waters; but no sooner was he come-out of the ship, but through Infidelity he began to [Page 98] sink. Again, of his great understanding in the mystery of Christ he gave a notable instance, when being questioned by our Savi­our whom men took him to be? he gave the first evident, plain, and open testimony that ever was given him by man, Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God. St. Iohn indeed gave testimony, and so did St. Simeon, and so did many more; but it was more involv'd, done in more covert terms, more dark: Whence we may, and that not without some probability argue, that the un­derstanding of these men was not so evidently, so fully, so per­spicuously enlightned as was St. Peter's. Signum est intelligentis posse docere: It is a great argument that a man doth passing well understand himself, when he is able perspicuously and plainly to speak to the understanding of another: This confession there­fore of St. Peter, that carries with it greater light and perspi­cuity then any yet that ever was given, doth not obscurely inti­mate, that he had a greater measure of illumination, then any of his Predecessours. Yet to see the wonderful dispensation of the holy Ghost, scarce was this confession out of his mouth, but in the very next bout where our Saviour begins further to enform him in the particulars of his Passion, and Death, and despiteful handling by the Iews, the edge of his conceit was quite turned, quite blunted and dull: Poor man, as if he had been quite igno­rant of the end of Christ's coming, out of a humane conceit and pity, he takes upon him to counsel and advise our Saviour; Sir, favour your self, these things shall not come unto you: and for this pains he is rewarded with no less reproachful a name then that of Satan, of a seducer, of a Devil: He that shall peruse the story of the Gospel, and here stay himself, might think that that which we read, St. Iohn vj. ver. 70. spoken of Iudas, Have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is a Devil, were here fulfilled in St. Peter. Last of all, his love to Christ, and resolution in his quarrel, he gave an evident testimony, when he protested him­self ready to lay down his life for him; Greater love then this, in the Apostles judgment, no man hath, then to lay down his life for his freind: This St. Peter had, if we may beleive himself; yea, he began to express some acts of it, when in defence of his Ma­ster, he manfully drew his sword, and wounded the servant of the high Preist. But see how soon the scene is changed; This good Champion of our Saviour, as a Lion that is reported to be daunted with the crowing of a Cock, is stricken out of counte­nance, [Page 99] and quite amazed with the voice of a silly Damsel; yea, so far is he possess'd with a spirit of fear, that he not onely de­nies, but abjures his Master, and perjures himself, committing a sin not far behind the sin of Iudas; yea, treading it hard upon the heels. But the mercy of God, that leaves not the honour of his servant in the dust of death, but is evermore careful to raise us up from the death of sin, unto the life of righteousness, suffers not this Rock, this great Pillar of his Church to be overthrown. He first admonishes him by the crowing of a Cock; when that would not serve, himself (full of careful love and goodness) though in the midst of his enemies, forgets his own danger, and remembers the danger of his servant; Himself was now as a sheep before the shearer, dumb, and not opening his mouth; yet forgets he not, that he is that great Shepherd of the flock, but, David like, rescues one of his fold from the mouth of the Lion, and from the paw of the Bear; He turns about, and looks upon him, saith the Text, he cries louder unto him with his look, then the Cock could with his voice: Of all the members in the body, the Eye is the most moving part; that oft-times is spoken in a look, which by no force of speech could have been uttered; this look of Christ did so warm St. Peter, almost frozen-dead with fear, that it made him well-near melt into tears: As if he had cried out with the Spouse, Cant. vi. O turn away thine eyes, for they have overcome me; he grows impatient of his looks, and seeks for a place to weep; what a look was this think you? St. Ierom dis­coursing with himself what might be the cause that many of the Disciples, when they were called by our Saviour, presently without further consultation arose and followed him, thinks it not improbable, that there did appear some Glory and Majesty in his Countenance, which made them beleive he was more then a man that thus bespake them: whatsoever then appear'd in his looks, doubtless in this look of his was seen some Sovereign power of his Deity, that could so speedily recover a man thus almost desperately gone: A man that had one foot in hell, whom one step more had irrecoverably cast away: It was this look of Christ that restored St. Peter: Quos respicit Iesus, plo­rant delictum, saith St. Ambrose, They weep for their sins, whom Iesus looks upon: Negavit primo Petrus, & non flevit; quia non re­spexerat Dominus: Negavit secundo; non flevit, quia adhuc non re­spexerat Dominus: Negavit tertio, & respexit Iesus, & ille ama­rissime [Page 100] flevit. St. Peter denies him once, and repents not, for Iesus look'd not back upon him: he denies him the second time, and yet he weeps not, for yet the Lord look'd not back: He denies him the third time, and Iesus looks upon him, and then he weeps bit­terly. Before I come to make use of this, it shall not be altoge­ther impertinent to say something unto some Queries that here arise concerning the condition of St. Peter, and in him of all the Elect of God, whilst they are in a state of sin unrepented of; for, as for St. Peter's faith, which some make doubt of, there can, as I conceive, no question be made. It is not to be thought that St. Peter had revers'd with himself the confession that he had formerly made of Christ, or that he thought, doubtless I have err'd, this is not the person whom I took him to be: Indeed, through fear and cowardize he durst not confess that with his mouth unto salvation, which in his heart he beleived unto righ­teousness: Any thing further then this, that speech of our Sa­viour takes away, wherein he tells him before-hand, I have pray'd that thy faith might not fail. But since, our Age hath had expe­rience of some, who because the Election of God standeth sure, and Christ's sheep none can take out of his hands, conclude there­fore, that for the Elect of God, there is no falling from grace, that to David and Peter no ill could happen, no though (for so they have given it out) that they had died in the very act of their sin: To meet with such disputants, I will breifly lay down what I conceive is to be thought in the point. Wherefore, parate fauces pani, as St. Bernard speaks; Hitherto I have given you milk, provide your stomacks now for harder meat, and such as befits strong men in Christ. Peter and Iudas (for I will couple them both together in my discourse, whilst they are both joyned toge­ther in sin) Peter, I say, and Iudas, in regard of their own persons, were both, more or less, in the same case, both fallen from grace, both in a state of sin and damnation, till the Repentance of St. Peter altered the case on his part. But the Grace of God sig­nified two things: either the purpose of God's Election, the Grace and Favour Inherent in the Person of God, which he still casts upon those that are his, notwithstanding their manifold backslidings: or else it signifies the habit of sanctifying qualities, Inherent in the Regenerate man; those good Graces of God, by which he walks holy and unblameable. Again, the state of Dam­nation signifies likewise two things: either the purpose of Gods Re­probation, [Page 101] or else the habit of damnable qualities in the sinful man. From the state of Grace, as it signifies the purpose of God to save, the Elect can never fall: In the state of Damnation, as it signifies something inherent in us, every man by nature is, and the Elect of God, even after their Calling many times fall into it: that is, they may and do many times fall into those sins; yea, for a time continue in them too, (David did so for a whole years space) which except they be done away by repentance, inevita­bly bring forth eternal death, for the state of mortal sin unre­pented of, is truly and indeed the state of death; yea, the whole and sole reason of the condemnation of every one that perishes, for Christ hath said it, Except ye repent, ye shall all perish. So then you see, that into the state of Damnation, as it signifieth something inherent in us, a man may fall, and yet not fall from the state of grace, as it signifies God's purpose of Election: for both these are compa­tible for a time. If then we look upon the persons of Peter and Iudas, both of them are in the state of mortal sin unrepented of, and therefore both in state of damnation: but if we look back unto God, we shall see a hand reach'd out unto St. Peter, pulling him back as he is now running down the hill, which hand we do not see reach'd out unto Iudas. Christ had a look in store for St. Peter, which if it had pleased him to have lent unto Iudas, Iudas would have done that which St. Peter did. When then we pronounce St. Peter, and in him any of the Elect of God, as they are in St. Peter's case, to be fallen from grace, we speak not with re­lation to any purpose of God; but we mean onely, that they have not that measure of Sanctification, which ought to be in eve­ry child which shall be an heir to life; and what hinders to pro­nounce that man fallen from grace, whom we must needs acknow­ledge to be in that state, in which if he continue, there is no way open but to death? What then may some men say, had St. Peter lost the Spirit of Adoption? had he not those sanctifying qua­lities of Faith, Hope, and Charity, which are proper to the Saints, and are given them by divine inspiration in the moment of their conversion? was that immortal seed of the Word quite kill'd? No verily; How then? Having all these, may he not yet be called the child of death? I answer, he may, and is indeed so; for these do not make him, that at no time he can be so; but, that finally he shall not be so, for they are not armour of proof to keep out all darts, neither do they make our souls invulne­rable, [Page 102] as the Poets fain the body of Cyenus or Achilles to have been: but they are precious balms ever more ready at hand to cure the wound when it is given: They are not of force to hin­der mortal sin, (for then every soul in whom they are, were pure, undefiled, neither were it possible, that the Elect of God after their conversion should fall) but they are of force to work repentance, which makes all our wounds remediable. He that is mortally sick and dies, and he that is likewise mortally sick, and through help of restoring physick recovers, in this both agree, that they are mortally sick, notwithstanding the recovery of one party. The wound of St. Peter and of Judas was mortal, and in both festred unto death; but there was balm in Gilead for St. Peter, for Iudas there was none. The sting of the fiery Scorpion in the Wilderness was deadly, and all that looked not on the Bra­zen Serpent died: the Brazen Serpent altered not the quality of the Scorpion's sting, it onely hindred the working of the poison. The sting of sin in St. Peter and in Iudas was deadly, but he that was lift up on mount Calvary, as the Brazen Serpent was in the Wilderness, at him did St. Peter look and live; Iudas did not look, and therefore died. How comes it about, Beloved, that God every where in Scripture threatens death, without exce­ption, to all that repent not, if the state of sin unrepented of, in whomsoever it is, be not indeed the state of death? When Da­vid was intending to stay in Keilah, and suspecting the inhabi­tants of that City, asks of God, whether the men of Keilah would deliver him over into the hand of Saul? God tells him, they would: and therefore certainly had he stayed there, he had been be­trayed unto Saul. To urge that St. Peter, because of God's pur­pose to save him, could not have finally miscarried, though he had died without repentance, (as some have not stuck to give out) is nothing else in effect, but to maintain against God, that David had he stayed in Keilah had not fallen into Saul's hands, because we know it was God's purpose to preserve David from the violence of Saul: All the determinations of God are of equal certainty: It was no more possible for Saul to seize on David, then it is for the Devil to pull one of God's Elect out of his hand; as therefore the determinate purpose of God to free David from the malice of Saul took not away that supposition, If David go to Keilah, he shall fall into the hands of Saul; So neither doth the Decree of God to save his Elect, destroy the supposition, If they [Page 103] repent not, they die eternally; for the purposes of God, though impossible to be defeated, yet lay not upon things any violent necessity, they exempt not from the use of ordinary means, they infringe not our liberty, they stand very well with common ca­sualty; yea, these things are the very means by which his De­crees are brought about. I may not stand longer upon this, I will draw but one short admonition, and so to an end: Let no man presume to look into the Third Heaven, to open the Books of Life and Death, to pronounce over peremptorily of God's purpose concerning himself, or any other man. Let every man look into himself, and try, whether he be in the faith or no? The surest means to try this, is to take an unpartial veiw of all our actions. Many deceive themselves, whilst they argue from their Faith to their Works, whereas they ought out of their Works to conclude their Faith; whilst presuming they have Faith, and the gifts of sanctification, they think all their actions warran­table: whereas we ought first throughly to sift all our actions, to examine them at the Touch of God's Commandments, and if indeed we find them currant, then to conclude that they come from the sanctifying Graces of the holy Spirit. It is Faith in­deed that gives the tincture, the die, the relish unto our actions; yet, the onely means to examine our Faith, is by our Works. It is the nature of the Tree that gives the goodness, the savour, and pleasantness to the Fruit; yet, the Fruit is the onely means to us, to know whether the Tree be good; By their fruit ye shall know them, saith Christ: It is not a rule not onely to know others, but our selves too. To reason thus, I am of the Elect, I there­fore have saving Faith, and the rest of the sanctifying qualities, therefore that which I do is good; thus I say to reason is very preposterous: We must go a quite contrary course, and thus reason; My life is good, and through the mercies of God in Iesus Christ, shall stand with God's Justice: I therefore have the gifts of Sanctification, and therefore am of God's Elect: For St. Peter to have said with himself, I am of the Elect, this sin therefore cannot endanger me, had been great presumption; but, thus to have reasoned, My sin is deadly, therefore except I repent, I am not of the number of God's Elect, this reasoning had well befitted St. Peter; and becomes every Christian man, whom common frailty drives into the like distress.

[Page 104]I made my entrance into my Sermon with the consideration of the wisdom of God, in permitting his cheifest servants to fall dangerously: I have largely exemplified it in the person of St. Peter: give me leave to make this further beneficial unto you by drawing some uses from it; for great profit hath redounded to the Church through the Fall of these men; Felicius ille cecidit quam caeteri steterunt, saith St. Ambrose of this fall of St. Peter; His sin hath more avail'd us, then the righteousness of many others; for wheresoever it pleases the holy Spirit of God to work effectually (I speak cautelously, because I would give no place to presumption) in him he makes excellent use oft-times, even of sin and evil. First of all, it is a tried case, that many times through negligence and carelesness, we suffer our selves to lie open to many advantages: In such a case as this, a blow given us, serves us for a remembrance to call our wits about us, [...], to stir up the grace of God that is in us, which many times is in interlunio, lies covered like fire under ashes; for as a skilful Wrestler, having suffered his adversary to take advantage upon some oversight, recollects himself, and comes forward with greater strength and wariness; & pudor incendit vires & con­scia virtus: shame of the fall, and impatience of disgrace, adds strength unto him, and kindles him: so oft-times is it with the Saints of God; the shame of having fallen, makes them summon up their forces, to look better about them, to fulfil their duty in larger sort, then if they had not slipt at all. Hence it is, that we see that of the bitterest enemies of the Church, have been made the best converts; of this we have a notable example in St. Paul; how eager was he in the quarrel of the Iews against Christ? None a more mischeivous enemy of the Christians then he; yet, when it pleased God to shew him his errour; he pro­ved one of the most excellent instruments of Christ's glory, that ever was on earth; and so accordingly he gives himself a most true testimony, I have laboured more abundantly, not then one or two of them, but, then they all: his writings being as much in quantity, as of them all: and St. Luke's story being nothing else almost but a Register of the acts of St. Paul: The sense and con­science, I doubt not, of that infinite wrong done to the Church, provoked him to measure back to the utmost of his power, his pains and labour in making up the breach he had formerly [Page 105] made. Here then is a notable lesson for us, teaching us to make our former sins and impieties admonitioners unto us, to know our own strength, and by Christian care and watchfulness to pre­vent all advantages; which the Divil may take by our rechles­ness and negligence: for, Beloved, it is not so much our impo­tency and weakness, as our sloth and carelesness, against which the common enemy doth prevail; for through the grace of him that doth enable us, we are stronger then he: and the policy of Christian war-fare hath as many means to beat back and defend, as the deepest reach of Satan hath to give the onset. The en­vious man in the Gospel rush'd not into the Feild in despite of the husbandman, and the servants, but came and sowed his tares, whil'st men slept, saith the Text; our neglect and careles­ness is the sleep that he takes advantage of: When David was so strangely overtaken, the Scripture tells us he rose from his bed, to walk on the top of his Palace; from his bed indeed he arose, but not from his sleep; for mark, I beseech you, David had spent much of his time about the Court, he had been abroad, and seen and ransak'd many Cities, and doubtless he had seen many wo­men as fair as the wife of Vriah, and that in his younger days, when he was more apt to kindle; why then now commits he so great an over-sight? Look on him a while as now he is; He is now at rest in his Palace, at ease on his bed, and to solace himself, he must rise and walk at the top of his house, and idlely gaze upon a naked Dame; of this his idleness the Divil takes advantage; this is the sleep in which he comes and sows Tares in David's heart, even all manner of lust: So that David fell as Adam did in Paradise, not as a man that falls before an enemy stronger then himself. The greatest part of the sins which we commit, are in this rank with David's sin: He is faithful, saith the Apostle, and suffers no man to be tempted above his strength. Many creatures, if they knew their strength, would never suffer themselves to be aw'd by man as they are. Beloved, we are become like Horse and Mule, without understanding, we know not our strength, we are more blind then the servant of Elizaeus, and see not that they that are with us are more, and more mighty, then they that are against us: The Angels are ministring spirits, sent out of purpose to guard us, and doubtless do many and great services for us, though we perceive not; We have the [Page 106] Army of God, ubi mille clypei & omnis armatura fortium; where are a thousand bucklers, and all the weapons of the mighty; The Helmet of Salvation, the Sword of the Spirit, the Sheild of Faith, to quench all the fiery darts of sin: onely let us not ne­glect to buckle it on, and make use of it. We have to strive with an enemy, such a one as Anibal reported Marcellus to be, Qui nec bonam, nec malam ferre fortunam potest; seu vicit, ferociter in­stat victis; seu victus est, instaurat cum victoribus certamen; a restless enemy that is never quiet, howsoever the world goes; if he con­quer us, he insolently insults upon us; if we foil him, he still be­thinks himself how to set upon us afresh. Let us not therefore suppose sedendo & votis debellari posse, that the conquest will be gotten by sitting still, and wishing all were well. We oft main­tain against the Church of Rome, that our natural abilities, whilest we live, serve us not to fulfil the Law of God. What boots it thus to dispute? shall the confession of our unableness to do what we ought, excuse us at all, if we do not that which we are able? St. Austin was of opinion, how justly, I will not dispute, but of that opinion he was, and it was the occasion of his Book, De spiritu & litera, ad Marcellinum; that it was possible for us, even in this natural life, seconded by the grace of God, perfectly to accomplish what the Law requires at our hands. Let the truth of this be as it may be; certainly that is most true which the same Father adds; That let our strength be what it will; yet, if we know not our duty, we shall do it no more, then the traveller, sound of body or limb, can go that way aright, of which he is utterly ignorant: Yea, let our ability be perfect, and let our knowledge be also absolute, yet if we have no mind, if we want a love unto our duty, if we suffer our selves to be over-swayed by affection to other things, yet shall we not do our du­ty: For which of us being at liberty will do that which he hath no love unto? Beloved, as for our knowledge, God hath left unto us Scripture, the perfect Register of all our duty, the absolute Itinerary and Map of all the course which in this life we are to run; and as for love, he plentifully sheds it in the hearts of all those that by faithful prayer beg it of him: If we shall search the Scripture to improve our knowledge, if we shall ear­nestly beg at his hands to inflame our love; Let our natural possi­bilities be what they will; he that now doth little amongst us [Page 107] shall do much, and he that doth much shall do much more: and the promises made unto the Iews concerning their carnal ene­mies, shall be made good on us concerning our spiritual and ghostly enemies; one of us shall chace a thousand, and if they come out against us one way, they shall flee before us seven ways. And thus much for the first use.

There is a second benefit of great weight and moment, which we reap out of the consideration of the errours of these excel­lent Ministers of God; namely, a lesson teaching us to beware of spiritual pride. Of all the vices which our nature is subject unto, this is the most dangerous, and of which we had need be most cautelous: For whereas all other vices proceed from some ill in us, from some sinful imbecillity of our nature, this alone arises out of our good parts: Other sins draw their being from that original corruption which we drew from our Parents, but this may seem to be the mother of that; as by which even na­tures unstained and in their primitive purity, may most easily fall. And therefore not without some probability is it con­cluded in the Schools, That no other crime could throw the An­gels down from heaven but this. That which one leaves for a memorial to great men; that in dangerous times, Non minus periculum ex magna fama quam ex mala, it was a matter of like danger to have a great name, as an ill; that may I pronounce of a Christian man, the danger of his innocency is not much less then of his faults. For this Divil, when he cannot drive us to despair by reason of our sin, takes another course to see if he can make us presume upon conceit of our righteousness: For when by the preventing grace of God, we keep our selves from greater offences, if we find our selves to have a love unto the Word of God, and the true Professours of it, to be rich in alms-deeds, to have a part in other acts of righteousness, he makes us first take notice of these good things in us; notice ta­ken, draws us to love and admire them in us [...] self-love draws us on to compare our selves with others, then to prefer our selves before others, and thirdly to disdain others in respect of our selves. Here now is a gap laid open to a thousand incon­veniences: And hence it is that we see divers times men other­wise of life and reputation pure and unblameable, upon conceit and inconsiderateness by a secret judgment of God to fall upon [Page 108] extremes no less fearful, then are the issues of open profane­ness and impiety. To cut off therefore all way that may be opened to let in spiritual pride, it hath pleased God to make use of this as of a sovereign remedy, namely, to permit even in his most chosen vessels, evermore secret and hidden infirmities, and sometimes gross and open scapes, which may serve when they look into themselves to abate all over-weening conceit of their own righteousness, and when they shall look into the er­rours of others, may be secret admonitioners unto them, not rashly to condemn them, considering their own weakness. I will therefore shut up this place with the saying of St. Ambrose, Etiam Iapsus sanctorum utilis est; Nihil mihi obfuit quod negavit Petrus, etiam profuit quod emendavit: The fall of the Saints is a very profitable thing; It hurts not me that St. Peter denied Christ, and the example of his amendment is very beneficial unto me. And so I come unto the preparative unto St. Peter's Repentance, in these words, and he went forth.

THE wisdom of God hath taught the Church sometime by express message delivered by words of mouth, sometime by dumb signes and actions. When Ieremy walk'd up and down the City with a yoke of wood about his neck, when Ezekiel lay upon his side, beseiged a Slate with the draught of Ierusalem upon it; and like a banish'd man carried his stuff upon his shoul­ders from place to place: they did no less prophesie the capti­vity, desolation, famine, and wo, which was to fall upon Ie­rusalem, then when they denounced it by direct word and speech: yea, many of the ordinary actions of the Patriarks, which seem to participate of chance, and to be in the same rank with those of other men, themselves (as a learned Divine of our Age, Mercerus, observes) not intending or understanding any such thing, contained by the dispensation of the holy Ghost, especial lessons and instructions for us. That speech of Sarah, Cast out the bond-woman and her son, &c. seemed to Abraham onely a speech of a curst heart, and she her self perceives not her self to speak by direction from God, but moved with impatience of Ismael's pe­tulant behaviour toward her son: Yet, the holy Ghost himself hath taught us, that this act of her prefigured a great mystery. [Page 109] Many disputations there are concerning the cause of this action of St. Peter's going forth: whether it were out of the common infirmity that is in most men, namely, a greater shame to repent then to offend? or whether it were out of modesty and good nature, that he could not endure the sight of Christ, whom he had so greivously offended? Howsoever it were, we shall do this Scripture no wrong, if we think it to contain an act in outward shew casual, and like unto the actions of other men, but in­wardly indeed an especial action of a person great in the sight of God; and therefore comprehending some especial instructi­on. And to speak plainly, this abandoning the place wherein he fell, the company for fear of whom he fell, and those things that were occasioners of his sin, doth not obscurely point out unto us an especial duty of speedy relinquishing and leaving of all, either Freinds, or Place, or Means, or whatsoever else, though dearer unto us then our right hand, then our right eye; if once they become unto us inducements to sin. In former days before the Fulness of time came, the Calling of the Elect of God was not by any one-act more often prefigured, then by this action of going forth; When the purpose of God was to select unto himself a Church, and to begin it in Abraham, Come forth, saith he unto him, out of thy countrey, and from thy kindred, and from thy fathers house: When Israel being in Egypt, it pleased God to appoint them a set Form and manner of serving him; before this could be done, they and all theirs must Come forth of Egypt; they must not leave a hoof behind them. When the time of the Gospel was come, our Saviour holds the same course; none must be of his company, but such as come forth, leave all and follow him: And therefore the Apostle putting the Hebrews in mind of their duty, expresses it in this very term, Let us go forth therefore unto him, saith he, without the camp, bearing his reproach. And in the original Language of the New Testament; the Church hath her name from this thing, from being called forth; so that without a going forth there is no Church, no Chri­stianity, no Service to God: the reason of all which is this; We are all by nature in the High Preists Court, as St. Peter was, where we all deny and forswear our Master, as St. Peter did; nei­ther is there any place for repentance, till, with St. Peter we go forth and weep.

[Page 110]For our further light, we are to distinguish the practise of this our going forth, according to the diversity of the times of the Church. In the first Ages, when Christianity was like unto Christ, and had no place to hide its head, no entertainment but what persecution, and oppression, and fire, and sword could yeild it; there was then required at the hands of Christians, an actual going forth, a real leaving of riches, and freinds, and lands, and life, for the profession of the Gospel. Afterward, when the Tempests of persecutions were somewhat allay'd, and the skie began to clear up, the necessity of actual relinquishing of all things ceas'd, Christians might then securely hold life and lands, and whatsoever was their own; yet, that it might appear unto the world, that the resolution of Christian men was the same as in times of distress and want, so likewise in time of peace and security, it pleased God to raise up many excellent men, as well of the Laity as of the Clergy, who without constraint, volunta­rily, and of themselves, made liberal distribution of all they had; left their means and their freinds, and betook themselves to deserts and solitary places, wholly giving themselves over to Meditation, to Prayer, to Fasting, to all severity and rigidness of life: what opinion our times hath of these, I cannot easily pronounce; thus much I know safely may be said, that when this custom was in its primitive purity, there was no one thing more behoovful to the Church; It was the Seminary and Nurse­ry of the Fathers, and of all the famous Ornaments of the Church: Those two things which afterwards in the decay and ruine of this discipline, the Church sought to establish by Decrees and Con­stitutions, namely, to estrange her Preists from the world, and bind them to a single life, were the necessary effects of this manner of living; for when from their childhood they had utterly seque­stred themselves from the world, and long practised the contempt of it; when by chastising their body, and keeping it under with long fasting, they had killed the heat of youth, it was not ambition, nor desire of wealth, nor beauty of women that could withdraw them, or sway their affections.

That which afterwards was crept into the Church, and bare the name of Monkery, had indeed nothing of it but the name, un­der pretence of poverty they seized into their possession the wealth and riches of the world, they removed themselves from [Page 111] barren soils into the fattest places of the land, from solitary desarts into the most frequented cities; they turned their poor Cottages into stately Palaces, their true Fasting into Formalizing and partial abstinence: So that instead of going forth, they took the next course to come into the world; they left not the world for Christ, but under pretence of Christ they gain'd the world: [...], as Nazianzen speaks; One of their own, St. Ierom by name, long ago com­plain'd of it, Nonnulli sunt ditiores Monachi, quam fuerant se­culares; & clerici qui possideant opes sub paupere Christo, quas sub fallaci & locuplete diabolo non habuerant; ut suspiret eos ecclesia divites, quos tenuit mundos ante mendicos. But I for­bear, and come to commend unto you another kind of going forth, necessary for all persons, and for all times: There is a going forth in act and execution, requisite onely at some times, and upon some occasions; there is a going forth in will and affections: this let the persons be of what calling soever, and let the times be never so favourable, God requires at the hands of every one of us. We usually indeed distinguish the times of the Church into times of Peace, and times of Persecution; the truth is, to a true Christian man the times are always the same: Habet etiam pax suos martyres; saith one; there is a martyrdom even in time of peace; for the practise of a Christian man in the calmest times, in readiness and re­solution must nothing differ from times of rage and fire. Iosephus writing of the military Exercises practised amongst the Romans, reports, that for seriousness they differed from a true Battel onely in this, The Battel was a bloudy Exercise, their Exercise a bloudless Battel; Like unto this must be the Christi­an exercise in times of peace, neither must there be any dif­ference betwixt those days of persecution, and these of ours, but onely this, Those yeilded Martyrs with bloud, ours without. Let therefore every man throughly examine his own heart, whether upon supposal of times of trial and persecution, he can say with David, My heart is ready: whether he can say of his dearest pledges, All these have I counted dung for Christ's sake? whether he find in himself that he can, if need be even lay down his life for his profession? He that cannot do [Page 112] thus, what differs his Faith from a temporary faith, or from hy­pocrisie? Mark, I beseech you what I say, I will not affirm, I will onely leave it to your Christian discretion: A temporary faith, that is, a faith resembled to the seed in the Gospel, which being sown on the stony ground, withered as soon as the sun arose, a faith that fails as soon as it feels the heat of persecu­tion, can save no man. May we not with some reason think, that the Faith of many a one, who in time of peace seems to us, yea, and to himself too peradventure, to die possess'd of it, is yet notwithstanding no better then a temporary faith, and there­fore comes not so far, as to save him that hath it? Rufus a cer­tain Philosopher, whensoever any Scholars were brought unto him to receive education under him, was wont to use all possi­ble force of argument to disswade them from it; if nothing could prevail with them, but needs they will be his hearers, this their pertinacy he took for a sure token of a mind throughly settled, and led as it were by instinct to their studies. If God should use this method, to try who are his, and bring on us those temptations, which would make the man of a temporary faith to shrink; think we that all those who in these times of peace have born the name of Christ unto their graves, would have born unto the rack, unto the sword, unto the fire? Indeed to man who knows not the thoughts of his freind, some trials some­times are very necessary; But, he that knew and foretold Da­vid what the resolution of the men of Keilah would be, if Saul came to them, knows likewise what the resolution of every one of us would be, if a fiery trial should appear. Who knows therefore whether God hath numbred out the Crowns of life, according to the number of their souls, who he foreknew would in the midst of all temptations and trials continue unto the end? For what difference is there betwixt the Faith that fails upon occasion, or that would fail if occasion were offered? for the actual failing of Faith is not that that makes it temporary, it is onely that which detects it, which bewrays it unto us to be so. The Faith therefore of that man which would have sunk as fast as St. Peter did, if tempests had arisen, notwithstanding that through the peace of the Church he dies possess'd of, is no better then a temporary, and cometh short of a saving Faith. Durus sermo, it is a hard speech, some man may say; but let him that thinks thus [Page 113] recount with himself, that Dura via, it is a hard way that leads to life. Beloved, deceive not your selves; heaven never was, nor will be gotten without Martyrdom: In a word, my Brethren, try therefore your selves, whether you have in you true resolu­tion: summon up your thoughts, survey every path in which your affections are wont to tread; see whether you are prepared to leave all for Christ: If you find in your selves but one affection looking back to Sodom, to the things of this life, remember Lot's wife, her case is yours; you are not yet sufficiently provided for the day of Battel.

CHRISTIAN OMNIPOTENCY.

Philip. IV. 13.‘I can do all things through Christ, [that enableth, or] that strengtheneth me’

FRom henceforth let all complaint concern­ing the frailty and weakness of Man's na­ture for ever cease: For behold our weakness swallow'd up of strength, and Man is become Omnipotent; I can do all things, saith my Apostle. The strongest reason, which the subtilest above all the beasts of the Feild could invent, to draw our first Parents from their allegeance, was this, Ye shall be like gods: Our Saviour, who is infinitely wiser to recall us, then our adversary was to seduce us, takes the same way to restore, as he did to destroy, and uses that for Physick, which the Devil gave for poison: Is this it, saith he unto us, that hath drawn ye from me, that ye would be like unto gods? why, then return again, and ye shall be like gods, by a kind of Communicatio idiomatum, by imparting unto you such excellencies, as are proper unto my self: As I my self do all things, so shall you likewise be enabled to do all things through me. Falso queritur de Natura sua Genus humanum, quod imbecillis sit; It was the observation of the Heathen Hi­storian, [Page 115] That it is an errour in men, thus to complain of the in­firmities and weakness of their nature; For man indeed is a crea­ture of great strength, and if at any time he find himself weak, it is through his fault, not through his nature: But, he that shall take into consideration these words of my Text, shall far better then any natural man be able to perceive, that man hath no cause to complain of his weakness. [...], saith Aristophanes. It was a tale that passed among some of the Heathen, that Vulcan offended with the men of Athens, told them that they should be but fools; but Pallas that favoured them, told them they should be fools indeed, but folly should never hurt them. Beloved, our case is like to that of the men of Athens; Vulcan the Devil hath made us fools and weak, and so we are indeed of our selves: but the Son of God, the true Pallas, the Wisdom of the Father hath given us this gift, that our weakness shall never hurt us: For, look what strength we lost in Adam, that with infinite advantage is sup­pli'd in Christ. It was the Parable of Iphicrates, that an Army of Harts, with a Lion to their Captain, would be able to vanquish an Army of Lions, if their Captain were but an Hart. Beloved, were Mankind indeed but an Army of Harts, were we Hinnuleo semiles, like unto the fearful Hinde upon the Mountains, that starts at every leaf that shakes; yet through Christ that strength­eneth us, having the Lion of the Tribe of Iudah for our Captain and Leader, we shall be able to vanquish all that force, which the Lion that goeth up and down, seeking whom he may devour, is able to bring against us. Indeed we do many times sadly be­moan our case, and much rue the loss, which through the rech­lesness of our first Parents hath befallen us; Yet let us chear up our selves, our fear is greater then our hurt. As Elkanah speaks unto Hannah, in the first of Samuel, Why weepest thou? am not I better unto thee then ten sons? So will we comfort our selves in the like manner; Let us sorrow no more for our lofs in Adam; for is not Christ ten-fold better unto us, then all the good of Paradise? The Mulberry-tree indeed is broken down, but it is built up again with Cedar. The loss of that portion of strength, where­with our Nature was originally endued, is made up with fulness of power in Christ; it is past that conclusion of Zeba and Zal­mana [Page 116] unto Gideon, in the Book of Iudges, As the man is, so is his strength; for now, Beloved, as is God, so is our strength. Where­fore, as St. Ambrose spake of St. Peter's fall, Non mihi obfuit quod negavit Petrus, immo profuit, quod emendavit. So may we speak of the Fall of our first Parents, it hurts not us that Adam fell; nay, our strength and glory is much improved, that by Christ we are redeemed. Our natural weakness be it never so great, with this supply from Christ, is far above all strength, of which our Na­ture in its greatest perfection was capable. If we survey the par­ticulars of that weakness, which we drew from the loins of our first Parents, we shall find the cheifest part of it to be in the loss of Immortality. For as for the loss of that pleasant place, the blindness of understanding, and perverseness of will, being sup­pos'd to betide us immediately upon the Fall, these seem weak­nesses far inferiour to our mortality. For, God forbidding us the fruit of the Tree of knowledge, and setting down the penalty that should ensue, making choice (as it is most likely) of the fearfullest judgment, and what he saw in his wisdom was most likely to awe us, threatens neither blindness of understanding, nor crookedness of nature, but tells us, What day ye eat of it, ye shall die. Yet see, Beloved, with how great strength this mor­tal weakness is repair'd: For thus to be able to encounter with death, the fearfullest of all God's curses, and through Christ to overcome it, as all true Christians do, to turn the greatest curse in­to the greatest blessing, is more then Immortality.

Si non errasset, fecerat ille minus: Had not man been thus weak, he had never been thus strong. Again, on the contrary, let us conceive unto the utmost, what our strength might be in our first estate, let us raise our conceit unto the highest note we can reach, yet shall we never find it to be greater, then what here is exprest in my Text. For greater ability, then power to do all things, is not imaginable, I can do all things. Beloved, these words are Anakims, they beseem not the mouth of a man of ordinary strength; he that hath right unto them, must be one of the race of the Giants at least; for he saith not simply, [...], I can, though peradventure with some difficulty, hardly with much labour and pains; but he saith, [...], I can with ease, I have valour and strength to do them. I ask then first, as the Eunuch doth in the Acts, of whom speaks our Apo­stle [Page 117] this, of himself, or of some other man? I answer, both of him­self, and all other Christians; for every Christian man, by read­ing it as he ought, makes it his own, for in reading it as he ought, he reads it with the same spirit, with which St. Paul wrote it. Wherefore as St. Paul somewhere records of himself, that he was not found inferiour to the cheif Apostles, so is it true, that the meanest Christian that hears me this day, in all that is contained in my Text, is parallel'd, is nothing inferiour unto St. Paul, unto the cheif Apostles. What a comfort then is this unto the brother of low degree, when he considers with himself, that how mean soever he may seem to be, either in the Church or Common-weal, yet notwithstanding in so great a priviledge, as is this omnipotent power of doing all things; he is equal unto St. Peter, unto St. Paul, the greatest Peers of the Church? If then the weakness of Christians be so strong, as to deserve the name of Almightiness, what name, what title doth the strength of a Christi­an deserve to bear?

Secondly, I ask what meaning hath this word [...], this can do in my Text? I answer, very large: first, though it be rendred by this word doing, yet it comprehends sufferings too: for pos­sum: valeo, I can, is as well to suffer as to do; and that our bles­sed Apostle amongst other things so meant it, is apparent by the words foregoing my Text. And here is the first part of a Chri­stians omnipotency: his patience is infinite, it suffers all things. Never any contumely, never any loss, never any smart so great, as could weary out Christian patience. Talia (saith Tertullian) tantaque documenta, quorum magnitudo penes nationes detractatio fidei est, penes nos vero, ratio, & structio. Such examples, such pre­cepts, have we of Christian patience, as that with infidels they seem incredible, and call in question the truth of our profession; but with us they are the ground and foundation of faith. God himself did never yet try the utmost of a Christian's patience; neither hath he created any object that is able to equal it: yet, he seems for our instruction to have gone about to try, what might have been done: He commanded Abraham to sacrifice his dear and onely Son, Tam grave praeceptum, quod nec Deo perfici placebat, patienter & audivit, & si Deus voluisset, implesset, saith Tertullian; So heavy was the command, that God himself lik'd not it should be acted; yet Abraham heard it patiently, and had [Page 118] fulfilled it, if God would have given him leave. What should I speak of poverty, of disease, of the sword, of sire, of death it self. [...], saith Gorduis the Martyr in St. Basil, [...]: Oh! at what a loss I am, saith he, that I can die but once for my Saviour? Take the greatest instance of God's fury and wrath, even the pains laid up in hell for the sinner, and we shall find that there have been Christians, who for the glory of God, would gladly have en­dured them; St. Paul is the man amongst all the Saints of God; the greatest and worthiest example of this wonderful strength, of this omnipotency of a Christian man; What evil is imaginable, which he did not either indeed, or at least in will and affection undergo? Omnem patientiae speciem adversus omnem dia [...]oli vim expunxit, [...], I am on fire, saith St. Chrysostom, when I speak of St. Paul: and indeed, whom would it not inflame, to read that admirable Synopsis and Breif of his sufferings, regi­stred in the second of the Corinthians, at the eleventh Chapter? In labours more aboundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft; and could he do more? Yes, he could; Sed ubi historiam praestare non potuit, votum attulit: Hitherto he reports Historically what was done, and as if that were not enough, he tells us what he would have done, and that his pa­tience was able even gladly to have encountred Hell it self, [...], saith he in the ninth of the Romans, I have pray'd unto God, I have begg'd it at his hands, as a favour, that for the increase of his glory through the salvation of Israel my kinsmen, according to the flesh, I might become a cast-away, and endure the pains of eternal fire. Tertullian considering the wonderful patience of our Saviour upon his cross, thinks, that if there had been no other argument to prove him to be God, yet this alone had been suf­ficient; Hanc vel maxime, Pharisaei Dominum agnoscere debuistis; patientiam hujusmodi nemo hominum perpetraret. In like manner may we truly say, were there no other argument to prove that Christ doth dwell in us, doth mightily strengthen and inable us, yet this wonderful measure of patience in so finite a creature, could never subsist, if God were not in us of a truth.

Again, [...], this word of doing here in my Text, signifies not onely sufferings and patience, this were to make a Christian but a kind of stone: A Christian hath not onely a Buckler to resist, [Page 119] but he must have a Sword to strike. Wherefore this word of doing must signifie yet further some action and life, and so indeed it doth; for it notes unto us the most glorious and eminent kind of Christian action, Victory and Conquest; and when my Apostle here saith, I can Doe all things, his meaning is, I can Overcome and Conquer all things. And here is the second and most glorious part of Christian Omnipotency; never was any true Christian over­come, or can he; For look how much he yeilds unto his enemy, so much he fails of his profession and title. David complains of Ioab and his Brethren, These sons of Zerviah are too strong for me: But, Be­loved, a Christian man finds none of these sons of Zerviah, whom he needs to fear, or of whom he needs to complain. For as Aristotle tells us, that a magnanimous man is he, [...], who thinks nothing great, but conceits all things as inferiour to himself: so may we define a true Christian to be such a one, as to whom nothing is dreadful, in whose eye nothing under God carries any shew of Greatness. St. Paul hath left us a Catalogue in the end of the eighth to the Romans, of all the forces, outward and inward, bodily and ghostly, that can be mustered against us; Life, Death, Angels, Principalities, Powers, things present, things to come, heighth, depth, any creature imaginable, and pronounces of them, that in all these we are Conquerours; Conquerours is too mean a word, [...], we are more then Conquerours: [...], saith St. Chrysostom, we conquer them with ease, without any pains or sweat? Pancas Vi­ctoria dextras—exigit, we shall not need to bring forth against them all our forces, a small part of them will be sufficient to gain the day; and not onely overcome them, but turn them to our benefit and behoof. For sin is like unto Sampson's Lion, it comes upon us with open mouth to devour us, but when we have slain it, we shall find honey in the belly of it: Wonderful therefore is the power of a Christian, who not onely overcomes, and Conquers, and kills the Viper, but like the skilful Apothe­cary, makes Antidote and Treacle of him. Indeed our Adver­saries seem to be very great; St. Paul calls them by wonderful names, as if he meant to affright us: Powers, Principalities, [...], Depths; the prince that ruleth in the air, the god of this world, and what not? Yet notwithstanding, as one speaks in Livy of the Macedonian War, as I remember, Non quam magni nominis bellum [Page 120] est, tam difficilem existi maveritis victoriam; we must not think there will be any doubt of the Victory, because it is a War of great name and noise; For me-thinks I discover in our Apostle, when he uses these strange astonishing words, a spiritual strata­gem, by which to stir us up, and make us stand upon our guard, he makes the largest report of our enemies forces. We read that one of the Roman Captains perceiving his souldiers unneces­sarily to faint, draws out letters before them, and reads the news of that which never was, of I know not what Kings with Armies and multitude coming forthwith against them; which Art of his did much avail him to gain the victory, because it made the Soul­diers to recollect themselves, and fight with all their might. Beloved, I may not think, that the Apostle in making this re­port of our enemies forces, relates that which is not; but this, I think, I may safely say, that he makes the most of that which is: For it can never hurt us to take our enemy, to be as strong as he is, or peradventure stronger, for this is a very profitable errour, it makes us more wary, and provide our selves the better. But to sleight and contemn our enemy, to err on the contrary side, and think him to be weaker then he is, this hath caused many an over­throw. It is a rule which Vigetius gives us, Difficilime vincitur, qui vere potest de suis, & de adversarii copiis judicare; It is an hard matter to overcome him that truly knoweth his own strength, and the strength of his adversary. And here, beloved, is the errour of most Christians, we do not know of what strength we are; We look upon this body of ours, and suppose that in so weak and faint a subject there cannot subsist so great strength, as we speak of; as if a man should prize the liquour by the baseness of the vessel in which it is. As divers Land-lords have treasures hid­den in their feilds, which they know not of, so many of us have this treasure of omntpotency in us, but we care not to discover it, and to know it; did we but perfectly know our own strength, and would we but compare it with the strength of our enemies, we should plainly discover, that we have such infinite advantage above them, that our conquest may seem not to be so great, as is pretended: For the greater the advantages are, the glory of the victory is the less; and that which makes a conquest great, is not so much the greatness of him that conquers, as the strength and greatness of him that is overthrown. Now that proportion is [Page 121] there betwixt the strength of God himself dwelling in us, and all the strength of Heaven, Earth, and Hell besides? how then can we count this spiritual War so fearful, which is waged upon so unequal terms; In quo si modo congressus cum hoste sis, viceris; in which if we but give the on-set, we are sure to gain the victo­ry? restitisse vicisse est; To resist is to conquer, for so saith the Apostle, Resist the Divil, and he shall flee from you. There was ne­ver yet any Christian conquer'd, that could not: and in this war not to yeild the victory, is to get it. As therefore one spake of Alexander's expedition into India, Bene ausus est vana contem­nere; the matter was not much which he did, the greatest thing in it was, that he durst do it: so considering our strength, and the weakness of our adversaries, we may without preju­dice speak even of the worthiest Souldiers, that ever fought these spiritual Battels, Bene ausi sunt vana contemnere; The greatest thing that we can admire in them, is, that they durst do it. Would we but a little examine the forces of our adversaries, we should quickly find it to be as I have said: When Alcibiades, a young Gentleman of Athens, was afraid to speak before the multitude: Socrates, to put him in heart, asks him, Fear you, saith he, such a one? and names one of the multitude to him; No, saith Alcibia­des, he is but a Tradesman: Fear you such a one, saith he, and names a second? No, sor he is but a Pesant: or such a one? and names a third: No, for he is but an ordinary Gentleman: Now, saith he, of such as these doth the whole multitude consist: and by this device he encouraged Alcibiades to speak. He that shall fear to encounter the multitude, and army of spiritual adversa­ries which are ready to set themselves against him, let him do by himself as Socrates did by Alcibiades; Let him sit down and con­sider with himself his enemies one by one, and he shall quickly discover their weakness. Primi in praeliis vincantur oculi; Its a saying, that the first thing that is overcome in a Souldier, is his eye, while he judges of his enemy by his multitude and provision, rather then by his strength. Beloved, if we judge not of our adversary in gross, and as it were by the eye, we shall easily see, that we shall not need to do as the King in the Gospel doth, send to his enemy with conditions of peace; for there is no treaty of peace to be had with these. Had Zimri peace that slew his master, saith the Scripture: and, There is no peace unto the wicked, saith my [Page 122] God. Not onely Zimri, and the wicked, but no Christian hath, or can have peace, he must be always as fighting, and always con­quering. Let us single out some one of this Army, and let us examine his strength. Is it Sin doth so much affright us? I make choice of it, because it is the dreadfullest enemy that a Christian hath: Let us a little consider its strength, and we shall quickly see, there is no such need to fear it: Sins are of two sorts, either great and capital, or small and ordinary sins: I know it were a pa­radox in nature to tell you, that the greatest and mightiest things are of least force; yet this is true in the case we speak of, the greatest things are the weakest. Your own experience tells you, that rapes and murthers, parricide, poisoning, treason, and the rest of that rabble of arch sins, are the sins of the fewest, and that they have no strength at all but upon the weakest men; for doubtless if they were the strongest, they would reign with great­est latitude, they would be the commonest, they would be the sins of the most: But wandring thoughts, idle words, petty lusts, inconsiderate wrath, immoderate love to the things of the world, and the rest of that swarm of ordinary sins, these are they that have largest extent and dominion, and some of these, or all of these, more or less, prevail with every man. As the Magici­ans in Exodus, when they saw not the power of God in the Ser­pents, in the Bloud, in the Frogs; at the coming of the plague of the Lice presently cried, Digitus Dei hic est; this is the finger of God: so I know not how it comes to pass, though we see and confess that in those great and heinous crimes, the Devil hath least power; yet at the coming of Lice, of the rout of smaller and ordinary sins, we presently yeild our selves captives, and cry out, Digitus Diaboli, the strength of the Devil is in these: as if we were like unto that fabulous Rack in Plinie, which if a man thrust at with his whole body, he could not move it, yet a man might shake it with one of his fingers. Now what an errour is it in us Christians, when we see the principal and captain sins so easily vanquish'd, to think the common souldier or lesser sort in­vincible? For certainly, if the greatest sins be the weakest, the lesser cannot be very strong. Secondly, is it Original corruption that doth so much affright us? Let us consider this a little, and see what great cause we have to fear it. And first, Beloved, let us take heed that we seem not [...], to fight with our [Page 123] own fansie, and not so much to find, as to feign an enemy: Mi­stake me not, I beseech you, I speak not this as doubting that we drew any natural infection from the loins of our parents: but granting this, I take it to be impossible to judge of what strength it is, and deny that it is any such cause why we should take it to be so strong, as that we should stand in fear to encounter it, and overcome it; for we can never come to discover, how far our nature is necessarily weak: for whil'st we are in our infancy, and as yet not altered, à puris naturaelibus, from that which God and nature made us, none of us understand our selves; and e'r we can come to be of years to be able to discover it, or define any thing concerning the nature of it, custom or education, either good, hath much abated, or evil hath much improved the force of it; so that for any thing we know, the strength of it may be much less then we suppose, and that it is but a fear that makes it seem so great, [...], saith S. Chrysostom, It is the nature of timerous and fearful men evermore to be framing to themselves causeless fears. I con­fess, it is a strange thing, and it hath many times much amazed me, to see how ripe to sin many children are, in their young and tender years: and e'r they understand what the name of Sin and evil means, they are unexpectedly, and no man knows by what means, wonderfully prompt and witty to villany and wick­edness, as if they had gone to schole to it in their mothers womb. I know not to what cause to impute this thing, but I verily sup­pose I might quit Original sin from the guilt of it: For it is a ruled case, and concluded by the general consent of the Schools, that Original sin is alike in all: and St. Paul seems to me to speak to that purpose, when he saith, that God hath alike con­cluded all under sin; and, that all are alike deprived of the glory of God. Were therefore Original sin the cause of this strange exor­bitancy in some young children, they should all be so: a thing which our own experience teaches us to be false; for we see many times even in young children many good and gracious things, which being followed with good education, must needs come to excellent effect: In pueris elucet spes plurimorum, saith Quintilian, quae ubi emoritur aetate, manifestum est, non defecisse naturam sed curam; In children many times an hope of excellent things ap­pears, which in riper age for want of cherishing fades and wi­thers [Page 124] away; a certain sign that Nature is not so weak, as Parents and Tutors are negligent: whence then comes this difference? certainly not from our Nature, which is one in all, but from some other cause. As for Original sin, of what strength it is I will not discuss: onely thus much I will say, there is none of us all but is much more wicked, then the strength of any primitive corru­ption can constrain. Again, let us take heed that we abuse not our selves, that we use not the names of Original weakness as a stale or stalking-horse, as a pretence to choke and cover some­what else: For oftentimes when evil education, wicked examples, long custom, and continuance in sin hath bred in us an habit, and necessity of sinning, presently Original sin, and the weakness of mans nature bear the blame: Vbi per secordiam, vires, tempus, ingenium, defluxere, naturae infirmitas accusatur; When through sloth and idleness, luxury and distemper, our time is lost, our bodies decay'd, our wits dull'd, we cast all the fault on the weakness of our nature; That Law of sin in our members, of which St. Paul spake, and which some take to be Original corru­ption; St. Austin once pronounced of it (whether he meant to stand to it I know not, but so he once pronounced of it) Lex pec­cati est violentia consuetudinis; That Law of sin, that carries us against our wills to sin, is nothing else but the force and violence of long custom and continuance in sin: I know that by the errour of our first Parents the Devil hath blinded and bound us more then ever the Philistines did Samson: Yet this needs not to make us thus stand in fear of Original weakness; for blind and bound as we are, let the Devil build never so strong, yet if our hair be grown, if Christ do strengthen us, we shall be able, Samson-like to bear his strongest pillars, and pull down his house about his ears.

Thirdly, Is it the Devil that we think so strong an adversary? Let us a little consider his strength: he may be considered either as an inward enemy, suggesting unto us sinful thoughts; or as an outward enemy, lying in wait to afflict us in body, in goods, or the like. First, against us inwardly, he hath no force of his own; from our selves it is that he borrows this strength to overthrow us. In Paradise he borrowed the Serpent to abuse us, but now every man is that Serpent, by which himself is abused. For as Hannibal having overthrown the Romans, took their armour and [Page 125] fought against them with their own weapons; so the Devil arms himself against us with our own strength, our senses, our will, our appetite; with these weapons he fights against us, and uses us against our selves; let us but recover our own again, and the Devil will be disarm'd: Think you that the Devil is an imme­diate stickler in every sin that is committed? I know ye do: But take heed, lest this be but an excuse to unlode your faults upon the Devil, and to build them upon his back; for St. Chrysostom thought otherwise, [...]: The Devils hand, says he, is not in every fault, many are done meerly by our own carelesness: [...]. A negligent careless person sins, though the Devil never tempt him. Let the truth of this lie where it will, I think I may safely speak thus much, that if we would but shut up our wills, and use that grace of God which is offered; I doubt not, but a great part of this suggesting power of his would fall to nothing. As for that other force of his, by which he lies in wait to annoy us outward­ly, why should we so dread that? Are there not more with us both in multitude and strength to preserve us? The Angel of the Lord (saith the Psalmist) pitches his tents round about those that fear him, to deliver them; and the Apostle assures us that the Angels are ministring spirits, sent forth for those that shall be heirs of salvation: Shall we think, that the strength of those to preserve, is less then that of the evil Angels to destroy? One Garcaeus writing upon the Meteors, told me long since, that whereas many times before great tempests, there is wont to be heard in the air above us great noise, and rushing, the cause of this was, the banding of good and evil Angels, the one striving to annoy us with tem­pests, the other striving to preserve us from the danger of it. And I doubt not, but as about Moses body, so about every faith­ful person, these do contend, the one to hazard, the other to de­liver. Yea, but the Devil inspires into us evil thoughts: well, and cannot good Angels inspire good? they are all for any thing appears, by the Law of their Creation equal, and shall we think that God did give unto the Devil an inspiring faculty to entangle; which he denied to his good Angels to free us from? Though good Angels could not inspire good thoughts, yet God both can and doth: So that for any thing yet appears, we have no such [Page 126] cause to stand in fear of the strength of the Devil, either inward­ly or outwardly. Thus have I examined the force of three of our principal enemies; I could proceed to examine other parti­culars of this army of our adversaries, the World, the Flesh, Perse­cutions, and the rest, and make the like question of them, as I have done of these, and so conclude as Socrates did to Alcibiades. If you have just cause to fear none of these, why should you fear them all, since that of such as these the whole knot of them con­sists? But I must proceed to search out yet another meaning of this word of doing in my Text; and that breifly.

Thirdly, therefore we may take this word of doing in its lar­gest sense: as if the Apostle had meant literally, that indeed a Christian can do all things, that he had such a power and com­mand over the creature, as that he could do with it what he list. In which sense it is likewise true, though with some li­mitation; and here is the third degree of our Christian Omni­potency. In the former parts the omnipotence of a Christian suf­fered no restraint, it was illimited, unconfin'd. He is absolutely omnipotent in his patience, and can suffer all things: he is like­wise absolutely omnipotent in Battel, and can conquer all his enemies. But in this third signification, his power seems to be streightned: for how many things are there which no Chri­stian man can do? yet is he so streightned, as that his Omni­potency suffers not. We are taught in the Schools, though God be Omnipotent, yet many things may be named which he cannot do: He cannot deny Himself, He cannot lie, He cannot sin, He cannot die. Yet may we not conclude, that therefore God is not Omnipotent; for therefore is he the more Omnipo­tent, because he cannot do these things: for ability to do these things, is imperfection and weakness; but in God we must con­ceive nothing but what argues perfection and strength. In some degree we may apply this unto our selves, in things that tend to Christian perfection, every Christian is Omnipotent, he cannot raise the dead, turn water into wine, speak with tongues: True, but if he could, had he for this any further degree of perfection above other Christians? our Saviour seems to deny it. For many (saith he) at that day shall come and say, Have we not cast out devils, and wrought miracles in thy name? And he will answer them, Away, I know you not. Beloved, our Saviour loves [Page 127] not to sleight any part of Christian perfection: yet my mean­ing is not to deny unto a Christian the power of doing mira­cles, for every Christian man doth every day greater miracles, then yet I have spoken of. But, Beloved, in this matter of mi­racles, we do much abuse our selves; for why? seems it unto us a greater miracle, that our Saviour once turn'd a little water into wine, then every year in so many Vine-trees to turn that into wine in the branches, which being received at the root was mere water? Or why was it more wonderful for him once to feed five thousand with five loaves, then every year to feed the whole world, by the strange multiplication of a few seeds cast into the ground? After the same manner do we by the daily actions of Christian men. For why is it a greater miracle to raise the dead, then for every man to raise himself from the death of sin, to the life of righteousness? Why seems it more miraculous to open the eyes of him that was born blind, then for every one of us to open the eyes of his understanding, which by reason of Original corruption was born blind? For by the same finger, by the same power of God, by which the Apostles wrought these miracles, doth every Christian man do this: and without this finger, it is as impossible for us to do this, as for the Apostles to do the miracles they did, without the assistance of the extraordinary power of Christ. So that hitherto in no­thing are we found inferiour unto the cheif Apostles: what if there be some things we cannot do? shall this prejudice our power? It is a saying in Quintilian, Oportet Grammaticum quaedam ignorare; It must not impeach the learning of a good Grammarian to be ignorant of some things: for there are many unnecessary quillets and quirks in Grammar, of which to purchase the knowledge, were but loss of labour and time. Beloved, in the like manner may we speak of our selves, Oportet Christianum quaedam non posse, it must not disparage the power of a Christian, that he cannot do some things. For in regard of the height and excellency of his profession, these inferiour things which he can­not do, they are nought else but Grammar quirks, and to be am­bitious to do them, were but a nice, minute, and over-supersti­tious diligence. And yet a Christian if he list, may challenge this power, that he can do all things; yea, even such things as he cannot do. St. Austin answering a question made unto him, [Page 128] why the gift of Tongues was ceased in the Church, and no man spake with that variety of Languages, which divers had in the Primitive times, wittily tells us, That every one may justly claim unto himself that miraculous gift of Tongues. For since the Church, which is the body of Christ, of which we are but members, is far and wide disperst over the earth, and is in sundry Nations, which use sundry Languages, every one of us, may well be said to speak with divers Tongues; because in that which is done by the whole, or by any part of it, every part may claim his share. Beloved, how much more, by this reason, may every one of us lay a far directer claim to an absolute power of doing all things, even in its largest extent, since I say not some inferiour member, but Christ, who is our Head, hath this power truly rc­sident in him. Howsoever therefore in each member, it seems to be but partial, yet in our Head it is at full; and every one of us may assume to our selves this power of doing all things, because we are subordinate members unto that Head, which can do all things. But I must leave this, and go on to the remainder of my Text.

Hitherto I have spoken, first of the person, I. Secondly, of his power, can do: I should by order of the words proceed in the third place, unto the subject or object of this power pointed out unto us in this word [...], all things. But the subject of this Christian power hath been so necessarily wrapped up, and tied together with the power, that for the opening of it, I have been constrain'd to exemplifie at large, both what this [...], this all things is, and how far it doth extend: so that to enter upon it anew, were but to trouble you with repetition of what is already sufficiently opened. I will go on therefore unto the second General of my Text. For here me thinks that question might be asked, which Dalilah asked of Sampson, Tell me, I pray thee, wherein this great strength lieth? Behold, Beloved, it is expressed in the last words, through Christ that strengtheneth.

This is, as I told you, that hair, wherein that admirable strength of a Christian doth reside. I confess, I have hitherto spoken of wonderful things, and hardly to be credited; wherefore [...], lest the strangeness of the argument call my credit into question, Loe here I present un­to [Page 129] you the ground of all this: A small matter sometimes seems wonderful, till the cause of it be discovered, but as soon as we know the cause, we cease to marvel: how strange soever my discourse of Christian omnipotency doth seem, yet look but upon this cause, and now nothing shall seem incredible. For to doubt of the Omnipotency of a Christian, is to question the power of Christ himself. As the Queen of Sheba told King So­lomon, that she had heard great things of him in her own coun­trey, but now she saw truth did go beyond report: so, Be­loved, he that travels in the first part of my Text, and wonders at the strange report of a Christian mans power, let him come to the second part, to our Solomon, to him that is greater then Solomon, to Christ, and he shall find that the truth is greater then the fame of it; for if he that was posses'd of the evil spirit in the Gospel, was so strong, that being bound with chains and fetters, he brake them all: of what strength must he be then, whom it pleaseth Christ to enable? or what chains or fetters shall be put upon him, which he will not break? From this doctrine therefore that Christ is he, that doth thus enable us, we learn two lessons, which are as it were two props to keep us upright, that we lean not either to the right hand, or to the left?

First, Not to be dejected or dismay'd, by reason of this outward weakness and baseness, in which we seem to be. Secondly, not to be puft up upon opinion and conceit of that strength and glory which is within us and unseen. For the first, for our own outward weakness, be it what it will, we cannot be more weak, more frail then Gideon's pitchers: now as in them their frailty was their strength, and by being broken, they put to flight the Army of the Midianites: so where it plea­ses Christ to work, that which seems weakness shall become strength, and turn to flight the strongest adversary: Satis sibi copiarum cum Publio Decio, & nunquam nimium Hostium sore, said one in Livie; we may apply this unto our selves: be we never so weak, yet Christ alone is army and forces enough, and with him we can never have too many enemies. The flesh indeed is weak, for so our Saviour tells us, yet this weakness of the flesh is no prejudice at all to the strength of a Christian; for though the flesh be weak, yet the spirit is strong, and so much our Sa­viour tells us too: and why then do we not follow the stronger part? Si spiritus carne fortior, quia generosior, nostra culpa infir­miora [Page 130] sectamur, saith Tertullian; If the spirit be stronger then the flesh, what madness is it in us to make choice of, and follow the weaker side?

Nulla fides unquam miseros elegit amicos.

Which of you is so improvident, as, in a faction, to make choice of that side, which he sees to be the weakest, and which he knows must fall. Again, this weakness of a Christian is onely outward, within what he is, the words of my Text do suffici­ently shew. Socrates outwardly was a man of deformed shape, but he was one of an excellent spirit: and therefore Alcibiades in Plato compares him to an Apothecary's box, which without had painted upon it an Ape, or a Satyre, or some deformed thing; but within was full of sweet and precious oyntment. Thus, Be­loved, it is with a Christian, whatsoever outward deformity he seems to have, howsoever he seems to be nothing but rags with­out, yet he is totus purpureus, all scarlet and glorious within: I have said, Ye are gods, saith the Scripture, the Magistrate is wont to ingross, and impropriate this Scripture to himself; because sitting in place of Authority, for execution of Justice, he carries some resemblance of God: but to whom can this Scripture better belong then to the Christian man? For the ma­gistrate indeed carries some shew of God without, but many times within is full of corruption and weakness; the Christian carries a shew of weakness without, but within is full of God and Christ. The second thing which I told you we learn't, was a Lesson teaching us, not to be puft up with opinion and conceit of our own outward strength and glory: for if any man, because of this, shall begin to think of himself above what he ought, let him know that he may say of his exceeding strength, no other­wise then the man in the Book of Kings spake, when his ax was fallen into the water, Alas, Master, it was but lent! Those that build houses make Anticks, which seem to hold up the beams, whereas indeed, as St. Paul tells the Olive-branch, Thou bearest not the root, but the root thee: So is it true in them, they hear not up the house, the house bears up them. Beloved, seem we never so strong, yet we are but Anticks, the strength by which the house of Christ doth stand, it is not ours, it is Christ's, who by that power, by which he is able to subdue all things to him­self, doth sustain both himself and us.

Luke XVIII. 1.‘And he spake a Parable unto them, to this end that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.’

MY Text is like the Temple at Hierusalem, it is the House of Prayer, wherein we may learn many special points of the skill and practise of it. Now as that Temple had two parts; First, the Fore-front the Porch, the walk before it; and secondly the Temple it self: So have these words likewise two parts; First, there are words which stand before like a Porch or Walk, and they are these, And he spake a parable unto them: Secondly, here are words like unto the Temple it self, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint. If you please, before we enter into the Temple, or speak of these words, That men ought always to pray, let us stay and entertain our selves a little in the Porch, and see what matter of meditation it will yeild; And he spake a Parable unto them, &c. to instruct and teach the ignorant, no method, no way so speedy and effectual, as by Parables and Fables; Strabo gives the reason of it, [...]; For man is a creature naturally desirous to know; but it is according to the Proverb, as the Cat desires fish, loath to touch the water, loath to take the [Page 132] pains to learn: knowledge is indeed a thing very pleasant, but to learn is a thing harsh and tedious above all the things in the world. The Book which St. Iohn eats in the tenth of the Apoca­lyps, was in his mouth sweet as honey, but bitter in his belly: Beloved, those Librorum helluones, students that like St. Iohn eat up whole Volumes, these find the contrary; for in the mouth, in the perusal [...] their Books are harsh and unpleasant; but in the stomach, when they are understood and digested, then are they delightful and pleasurable. Yet one thing by the pro­vidence of God our nature hath, which makes this rough way to learn, more plain and easie: it is [...], common experi­ence shews, we are all very desirous to hear narrations and re­ports, either pleasant or strange; wise men therefore, and God himself which is wiser then men, being to train up mankind, Genus indocile, a subject dull of hearing, and hardly drawn to learn, have from time to time wrought upon this humour, upon this part of our disposition, and mitigated, sugred, as it were, the unpleasantness of a difficult and hard lesson, with the sweetness of some delightful Parable or Fable: And S. Chrysostom tells us of a Physician, who finding his Patient to abhor Physick, but infinite­ly long for Wine, heating an earthen cup in the fire, and quench­ing it in Wine, put his potion therein, that so the sick person be­ing deceived with the smell of Wine, might unawares drink of the Physick: or, that I may better draw my comparison from Scripture, as when Iacob meant to be welcome to his father Isaac, he put on his brother Esau's apparel, and so got access: So, beloved, wise men, when they meant either to instruct the ignorant, or to reprove offenders, to procure their welcom, and make their way more passable, have been wont for the most part, as it were, to clothe their lesson or reproof in a Parable, or to serve it in a dish savouring of wine, that so Iacob might be ad­mitted under Esau's coat, that the smell of the pleasantness of Wine might draw down the wholesomeness of Physick. Great and singular have been those effects, which this kind of teaching by parables hath wrought in men; by informing their ignorance, reproving their errour, working patience of reproof; open­ing the understanding, moving the affections, and other sovereign commodities, [...]. And for this [Page 133] cause not onely our Poets and prophane Authours, but whole Cities, and men which gave Laws to Common-wealths, have made especial choice of this course: Yea, our Saviour Christ himself hath filled the Gospels with Parables, made them like a Divine and Christian AEsop's Fables, because he found it to be ex­ceeding profitable. For, first of all, it is the plainest and most fa­miliar way, and above all other stoops to the capacity of the learner, as being drawn either from Trees, or Beasts, or from some ordinary common and known actions of men; as from a shepherd attending his flock, from an husbandman sowing corn in his feild, from a fisher casting his net into the Sea, from a wo­man putting leven into her dough, or the like. So that in this respect a Parable is like Moses's Tabernacle, which outwardly was nothing but Goats skins, or some ordinary stuff, but within it was silk, and purple, and gold. And indeed, since those we teach are either children, or ignorant persons who are but children, ( [...], for every man in what he is ignorant, is no better then a child) that man­ner of information fits best, which is most easie and familiar. Again, a Parable is a kind of pattern and example, expressing unto us what we hear; now nothing doth more illustrate and ex­plain, then instance and example, [...], in a Parable as it were upon a Stage, the thing that we are taught is in a man­ner acted, and set forth before our eyes. Secondly, Parables do not onely by their plainness open the understanding, but they work upon the affections, and breed delight of hearing, by rea­son of that faceteness and wittiness which is many times found in them, by reason of which they insinuate themselves, and creep into us, and ere we are aware, work that end for which they were delivered. Who is not much moved with that Pa­rable of Iotham in the Book of Iudges, that the Trees went forth to chuse a King; or that of Menenius Agrippa in Livie, that the parts of the body conspired against the belly, by which the one shewed the wickedness of the men of Sechem against the sons of Gideon; the other the folly of the common people, in conspiring against the Senatours and Noble-men? And no marvel, Belo­ved, if this faceteness of Parables doth thus work with men, since it seems to have had wonderful force with God himself: For when the Canaanitish woman in the Gospel had long importun'd [Page 134] our Saviour in the behalf of her daughter, and our Saviour had answer'd her with that short cutting and reproachful parable, It is not meet to take the childrens bread, and cast it unto dogs; she facetely and wittily retorts and turns upon our Saviour his own parable; Truth Lord, saith she, yet dogs do eat the crums that fall from their master's table: be it that I am but a dog, I require no more then is due to a dog, even the crums that fall from your table: With which speech our Saviour was so far taken, as that he seems to have been stricken into a wonderment; for he pre­sently cries out, O woman, great is thy faith. Thirdly, there is one thing that this way of instruction by Parable hath above all other kinds of teaching: it serves excellently for reproof; for man is a proud creature, impatient of plain and open check and reprehension; [...]: many times no way of dealing with him, when he hath offended, but by deceiving him with wiliness and craft; [...], he that comes rudely and plainly to reprehend, doth many times more hurt then good. I speak not this onely in regard of Ministerial reprehension, used by the Preacher of the word, but of all other: for to reprove offenders is a common duty, and belongs to every private man as well as to the Minister. St. Austin in his Book de Civitate D [...]i, handling the question, Why in common calamities the good do bear a part, as well as the evil, amongst many other reasons gives this as a special one, That good men are not careful enough in reproving the errours of their offending brethren, but by connivency and silence in a manner partake in their sins, and as it were by con­sent, make them their own. It shall not be amiss therefore, even for you of the Laity, to hear something concerning this art of repre­hension, as a duty concerning you as well as the Preacher. For the wisdom and gentleness of a Christian is never better seen, then in reproving: Now one common errour of reprehenders, is their over-blunt and plain manner of rebuking; dum sic objurgent, qua­si oderint, whilest they reprove the vice, as if they hated the person, and upbraid rather then reprehend: by this our impor­tunity, we destroy more sinners then we save. It is an excel­lent observation in St. Chrysostom, [...], unseasonable and importu­nate reprehenders make offending persons, depudere to steal their [Page 135] forehead, and to set a good face upon their fact, as the phrase of the world is, and to seek out excuses and apologies for their sin. Tully tells us, that Antony the Oratour being to defend a per­son, who was accused of faction and sedition, bend his wits to maintain sedition was good, and not to be objected as a fault. That we force not our offending Brethren unto this degree of impudency, let us consult with our charity, and know the qua­lity and nature of the offender. Husbandmen tell us, that the young and tender branches of a Vine are not to be prun'd away with a knife, but gently pull'd away by hand. Beloved, before we reprove, let us know the condition of our brother, whether he be not like the young Vine, soft and tender, and so to be cured rather with the hand, then with the knife: and if he be grown so hard, that he shall need the knife, we must not rashly adventure of it, but know there is a skill likewise in using the knife: As Ehud in the Book of Iudges, when he went to kill Eg­lon, carries not his Dagger in his hand, but comes unto him with a present, and had his Dagger girt privily under his garment; or as a skilful Physician of whom we read, being to heal an impo­stume, and finding the sick person to be afraid of Lancing, privily wrap'd up his knife in a spunge, with which whil'st he gently smoothed the place, he lanced it: so, Beloved, when we encoun­ter our offending Brother, we must not openly carry the Dag­ger in our hand, for this were to defie our brother; but we must wrap our knife in our spunge, and lance him whil'st we smooth him, and with all sweetness and gentleness of behaviour cure him; as Esay the Prophet cured Hezekias, by laying a plaister of Figs upon the sore. Men when they have offended are like un­to fire, we must take heed how we come too near them; and therefore as the Cherubims in the Book of Esay's Prophesie takes a cole from the Altar with the tongs: so when the Prophets dealt with them, they did not rudely handle them with their hands; but they came upon them warily under Parables, as it were with the Cherubim tongs. How could Nathan have come so near unto King David, and drawn from him an acknowledgment of his sin, had he not come with the Cherubims tongs, and de­ceived him with a Parable? or how should the Prophet made King Ahab see his errour in letting go King Benhadad, if he had not as it were put a trick upon the King, and disguised both him­self [Page 136] and his speech, and mask'd his errand with the Parable of him, who let go the prisoner that was committed to his charge? So that in this respect, if we would define a Parable, we must pro­nounce it to be piam fraudem, a civil or spiritual Stratagem, by which persons who need instruction are honestly and piously be­guiled for their own profit. No marvel therefore, if our Savi­our Christ in his preaching doth every where drive upon Para­bles. For being to deliver to us so many Lessons, so strange, so uncouth, so hard to learn, it was meet he should make choice of that method of teaching, which hath most likelihood to prevail and commend them unto us. The doctrine which our Saviour in my Text labours to beat into us, is the continuing and perpetu­ating of our Prayer and Religious meditation: A Lesson hard to be attained, and therefore thrice he commends it unto us; once by Example, twice by Parable, both of them very effectual means to teach: by Example of that importunate Canaanitish woman, in the xv. of St. Matthew: by Parable, first in the xj. of St. Luke, of him that lying warm in his bed, and loth to rise, yet at his freinds im­portunity gets up, and lends him bread; and secondly, by the Pa­rable of the unjust Iudge here in my Text.

But all this while I must not forget, that I am but in the [...], in the Porch, and entrance into the Temple, where to walk too long, were, if not to lose, yet to abuse my time. Let us now therefore enter into the Temple it self, and consider the main words of my Text: That men ought always to pray, and not to faint: which words have a double meaning. First, there is Sen­sus quem faciunt; there is a sense which the words themselves yeild as they lie: Secondly, Sensus quo fiunt, the sense and mean­ing in which the holy Ghost intended and spake them, If we look upon the sense which the words themselves do give, it seems we are advised by them to be like Anna the Prophetess in the ij. of S. Luke, who departed not from the temple, but served God with fasting and prayer night and day. In all places, at all times, in sea­son, out of season, upon occasion, upon no occasion, perpetu­ally without intermission to pray: for thus the words do run, that we ought always to pray, and not to faint. But if we look upon the sense in which the holy Ghost spake these words, & con­sider what was his intent when he wrote them, we shall find that the Lesson which we are hence to learn, is, That we be like unto [Page 137] Iacob in the Book of Genesis, wrestle with God, and tell him to his face, That he will not let him go till he hath given us his blessing: That we become like bold-fac'd Suitours, or impudent Beggers, that will not be put by with a denial: but when we have poured out our supplications unto God, and find his ear lock'd up against us, yet to commence them again and again, and the third time; yea, without any fainting, or giving over, till by a kind of importunate and unmannerly devotion we have con­strain'd God to let a blessing fall: and that this was the intent of the holy Ghost in this place, it appears upon the very reading of the Parable.

I will breifly speak unto you of both these senses in their or­der, and first of the sense which the words do give, That we always ought without intermission to pray.

Devotion in ordinary persons is a thing easily raised, and easily alay'd: Every strange event, every fear, every little calamity or distress is enough to put us into a strain of Religious meditation; but on the contrary side, a small matter doth again as quickly kill it. It seems to be like a quotidian Ague, it comes by fits, every day it takes us, and every day it leaves us: or like flax, or straw, or such light and dry stuff, which easily kindles, and as soon goes out. Indeed it is a good thing when we find our hearts thus tender, and upon every occasion ready to melt into devotion: for as to be quick of sense is a sign of life, and the purest and best complexions are quickest of sense: so it is a great argument of spiritual life in us, and of purity of soul, when we are [...], so easily apt to fall upon devout meditation. But our Saviour requires yet another quality in our devotion, it must be as last­ing as it is quick. Quintilian advises his Oratour to beware, how he stand too long upon a place of passion, because that pas­sion is not lasting, & nihil facilius lachrymis marescit; and men cannot long weep. But, Beloved, our Saviour gives other pre­cepts of Christian Oratory; he wills, if we will prevail with God, to insist and dwell long upon a place of Religious passion, and provide that our tears may be perpetual and never dry: an hard thing you will take it to be, yet certainly it is very possi­ble. There is a question raised among the great Masters of Na­tural learning, Whether or no there may be a Lamp so pro­vided, that it may burn for ever? And they think it may be [Page 138] done: Beloved, our Saviour here teaches to practise that in Spirituals, which hath been but a matter of speculation in Natu­rals, even so to kindle and drefs our lamps, as that they shall ne­ver go out; but be like unto the good House-wifes candle in the Proverbs, that goes not out by night, or rather like the Sun which shines for evermore. Daniel is said to have kindled this Lamp; and to have made his prayer thrice a day, David seven times a day, but this is not enough; for in that the one is noted to have prayed seven times a day, the other thrice: It is likely at other times they did not pray, but God is not contented with this in­termittent prayer; for if we look upon my Text, we shall see that there must be no instant free from prayer: we must not measure our prayers by number. Number is a discreet quantity, as we call it, the parts of it are not connext, are not tied together, there is a separation, a distance betwixt them. That that measures out our prayer must be line and length, some continued quantity, whose parts have no separation, no intermission: for so saith my Text, men ought always to pray. Always, the whole life of a man ought to be but one continual prayer. But let us a little consider how possi­ble this is, and see if there be any thing, that doth necessarily en­force intermission of prayer. And first, that wonderful Lamp of which I but now told you great Scholars had spoken, is not yet made, because they are not agreed of what matter to make it. And indeed in the world, things either are not at all, or being; do at length cease to be, either because there is no fit matter whence they may be framed, or else the matter of which they are made, vanishes and dies. But, Beloved, prayer is a strange thing, it can never want matter: It will be made [...]! è quolibet, out of any matter, upon any occasion whatsoever; whatsoever you do, wheresoever you are, doth minister occasion of some kind of prayer; either of thanksgiving unto God for his goodness; or of praising and admiring his greatness; or of petitioning to him in case of want or distress; or bewailing some sin, or neglect committed. Is it the consideration of God's be­nefits, that will move us to thankfulness? Then certainly our thankfulness ought to be perpetual, there is no person so mean, no soul so poor, and distressed and miserable, but if he search narrowly, he shall find some blessing, for which he ows thank­fulness unto God: If nothing else, yet his very misery and di­stress is a singular blessing, if he use it to that end for which it [Page 139] was sent. Is it the consideration of distress and affliction, and some degree of the curse of God upon us, that will stir our devo­tion? Indeed this is it with most men that kindles the fire of prayer in our hearts: Men for the most part are like unto the unslak'd Lime, which never heats till you throw water upon it; so they never grow warm in devotion, till somewhat contrary to their wishes and disposition begins to afflict them: then certain­ly our petitions to God ought never to cease: For never was there man in any moment of his life entirely happy, either in body, goods, or good name, every man hath some part of af­fliction? Blessing and cursing, though they seem to be enemies, and contrary one to another, yet are never severed, but go hand in hand together. Some men have more of one, some of ano­ther, but there is no man but hath some part of both; where­fore as it seems not onely prayer in general, but all kind, all sort of prayer ought to be continual. Prayer must not be, as it were, of one threed, we must blend and temper together all kind of prayer, our praise or thanks, our sorrow, and make our prayer like Ioseph's party-coloured coat, like a beautiful garment of sundry colours. So then, as fire goes not out so long as it hath matter to feed on, so what shall be able to interrupt our devotion, which hath so great and everlasting store of matter to continue it?

Secondly, many things in the world are necessarily intermitted, because they are tied to place or times; all places, all times are not convenient for them: but in case of prayer it is otherwise, it seeks no place, it attends no time; it is not necessary we should come to the Church, or expect a Sabbath, or an Holy-day; for prayer indeed especially was the Sabbath ordained, yet prayer it self is Sabbath­less, and admits no rest, no intermission at all: If our hands be clean, we must, as our Apostle commands us, lift them up every where, at all times, and make every place a Church, every day a Sabbath, every hour Canonical, [...]. As you go to the market, as you stand in the streets, as you walk in the feilds, in all these places ye may pray as well, and with as good acceptance as in the Church; for you your selves are temples of the holy Ghost, if the grace of God be in you, more precious then any of those which are made with hands. The Church of Rome hath made a part of her Bre­viary, or Common-prayer-book, which she calls Itinerarium Cleri­corum, and it is a set form of prayer, which Clergy-men ought [Page 140] to use when they set out in a journey, and are upon their way; why she calls it Itinerarium Clericorum, and impropriates it un­to the Clergy, I know not; she might, for ought I see, have cal­led it Itinerarium Laicorum, The Itinerary of the Laity; since it is a duty belonging unto them as well as to the Minister: Yet thus much the example of that Church teaches, that no place, no oc­casion excludes Prayer. We read in our Books, that one of the Ethnick Emperours was much taken, when he saw a woman go­ing in the streets with a vessel of water on her head, her child at her girdle, her spindle in her hand twisting her threed as she went; he thought it a wonderful portion of diligence thus to employ all paces and times indifferently. Beloved, if it be thus with bodily labour, how much more should it be so with the labour of the soul, which is far more easie, and needs not the help of any bodily instrument to act it? And how welcome a spectacle will it be, think you, unto the great King of Heaven and Earth, when he shall see that no time, no occasion, is able to inter­rupt the labour of our devotion? Is it the time of Feasting and Jollity, which seems to prescribe against prayer? Indeed prayer is a grave and sober action, and seems not to stand with sport and merriment; yet notwithstanding it is of so pliable a nature, that it will accommodate and fit it self even to feasts and sport­ings. We read in the Book of Daniel, that when Belshazzar made his great and last Feast to his Princes and Lords, that they were merry, and drank wine in bowls, and praised the gods of gold and silver, of brass, and of iron, of wood, and of stone: Beloved, shall Ethnick feasts find room for their idolatrous worship, and praise of their golden, brazen, wooden gods, and shall not our Christian Feasts yeild some place for the praise of the true God of Heaven and Earth? Last of all, is it time of sleep that seems to give a vacation, and otium to prayer? Beloved, sleep is no part of our life, we are not accountable for things done or not done then; Tertullian tells us, that an unclean dream shall no more condemn us, then a dream of Martyrdom shall crown us; and the Casuists do teach, that loose dreams in the night shall ne­ver be laid to our charge, if they be not occasioned by lewd thoughts in the day: for they are Cogitationes injectae, non aenatae, they are not thoughts springing out, but cast into our hearts by the Devil, upon his score shall they go, and we shall not reckon [Page 141] for them: So then, though sleep partake not of our devotion, yet this hinders not the continualness of it. Aristotle tells us, that men who sleep perceive not any part of time to have passed, because they tie the last moment of their watching with the first moment of their awaking, as having no sense of what past be­twixt, and so account of it as one continued time. Beloved, if we do with our devotion as we do with our time, if we shut up the last instant of our watching with a prayer, and resume that prayer at the first instant of our waking, we have made it one con­tinued prayer without interruption.

Thirdly, and last of all, the greatest reason why many busi­nesses of the world cannot be acted perpetually, is, because they must give room to others; Vnicum arbustum non alit duos Eritha­cos; The actions of the world are many times like unto quarrel­some Birds, two of them cannot peaceably dwell in one bush. But prayer hath that property which Aristotle gives unto sub­stance, nulli esse contrarium, it is at peace, and holds good terms with all our cares of the world. No business so great, or that so much takes up the time and mind of a man, as that it needs ex­clude prayer: it is of a soft and sociable nature, and it can incor­porate and sink into our business like water into ashes, and never increase the bulk of them: it can mix and interweave it self with all our cares, without any hinderance unto them; nay, it is a great strength and improvement unto them, [...], &c. For, saith St. Chrysostom, as they that build houses of clay, must every where place studs and peices of timber and wood so to strengthen the building, [...], so all our cares of this life, which are no better then buildings of dirt and clay, we must strengthen and compact together with fre­quent and often prayer, as with bonds and props of timber. Let no man therefore think it, [...], that it is too much to require at the hands of men at one and the self-same instant both to attend their vocation and their prayer: For the mind of a man is a very agile and nimble substance, and it is a wonderful thing to see how many things it will at one moment apply it self unto without any confusion or lett. Look but upon the Musician while he is in his practise, he tunes his voice, [Page 142] fingers his instrument, reads his ditty, marks the note, observes the time, all these things simul & semel, at one and the same in­stant, without any distraction or impediment: Thus should men do in case of devotion, and in the common acts of our vocation, let prayer bear a part; for prayer added unto diligent labour is like a sweet voice to a well-tuned instrument, and makes a pleasing harmony in the ears of God, [...], The good House-wife, saith St. Chrysostom, as she sits at her distaff; and reaches out her hand to the flax, may even then lift up, if not her eyes, yet her mind unto Heaven, and consecrate and hallow her work with earnest prayer unto God. Arator stivam tenens, Hallelujah secantat, sudans messor Psalmis sese evocat & curva attondens falce vites vinitor aliquid Davidicum canit: The Hus­bandman (saith St. Hierom) at the Plough-tail may sing an Hal­lelujah, the sweating Harvest man may refresh himself with a Psalm, the Gardiner whilst he prunes his Vines and Arbours, may record some one of David's sonnets. The reason of this pliable nature of prayer is, because it is a thing of another con­dition then the acts of the world are: It requires no outward labour of the body, no outward fashion and manner of doing, but is internally acted in the soul it self, and leaves the outward members of our bodies free to perform those offices which re­quire their help. Our legal business in the world must be done in certain forms of breves and writs and I know not what vari­ety of outward ceremony, or else it is not warrantable: But prayer, Beloved, is not like an Obligation or Indenture, it re­quires no outward solemnity of words and ceremony. Quaint, witty, and set forms of prayer proceed many times from osten­tation more then devotion; for any thing I know, it requires not so much as the moving of the lips or tongue: Nay, one thing I know more, that the most forcible prayer transcends and far exceeds all power of words. For St. Paul speaking unto us concerning the most effectual kind of prayer, calls it [...], sighs and groans that cannot be expressed. No­thing does cry so loud in the ears of God, as the sighing of a contrite and earnest heart. We read in the xiv. of Exodus, that God speaks unto Moses, Why criest thou unto me? command the [Page 143] children of Israel that they go forward; yet there appears not in the Text any prayer that Moses made, or word that he spake. It was the earnestness of Moses's heart that was so [...], that did so sound in the ears of the Lord. Wherefore true prayer hath no commerce with the outward members of the body, [...], for it requires not the voice, but the mind, not the stretching of the hands, but the intention of the soul; not any outward shape or carriage of body, but the inward behaviour of the understanding. How then can it slacken your worldly business and occasions, to mix with them sighs and groans, which are the most effectual kinds of prayer?

And let this suffice concerning the first meaning of the words; I will breifly speak concerning the second meaning, which I told you was the sense intended by the holy Ghost when he wrote, and it is an exhortation to a Religious importunity in our prayers; not to let our suits fall, because they are not presently granted, but never to leave solliciting till we have prevailed, and so take the blessings of God by violence: Gratissima vis, this force, this violence is a thing most welcome unto God; for if the importunity of Esau's false, feigned, and malicious tears drew a blessing from his father Isaac, who yet had no greater store of blessings, as it seems; how much more shall the true Religious importunity of zealous prayer pull a blessing out of the hands of God, who is rich in blessings above the sands of the sea in multi­tude? It is the Courtiers rule, That over modest suitours seldom speed: Beloved, we must follow the same rule in the Court of Heaven; intempestive bashfulness gets nothing there. Qui timide rogat, docet negare, Faint asking does invite a denial: Will you know the true name of the behaviour which prevails with God? St. Luke in his xi. Chapter calls it [...], and St. Chrysostom speaking of the behaviour of the Canaanitish woman in the xxv. of St. Matthew, tells us, [...], improbity, importunity, impudency, these be the names of that person and behaviour which you must put on, if you mean to prevail in your suits with God. And indeed, if we consider that habit and manner that God is wont to put on, when his children do become suitours unto him, how he puts on a ri­gid, [Page 144] rough, and untractable carriage, even towards his dearest children, even then when he means them most good, we shall plainly see, we must use such kind of behaviour, if we will pre­vail with him: for the more effectually to express this demeanor of God towards his children, and to assure us it is so, and to teach us importunity, our Saviour Christ, that great Master of requests, may seem to have done himself some wrong; first, by drawing in a manner odious comparisons, and likening the behaviour of God in these cases to a slothful freind, that is loth to leave his warm bed to do his freind a pleasure; and here in my Text to an unjust Iudge, that fears neither God nor man: and secondly, by his own behaviour toward the Canaanitish woman. It is strange to observe, how though he were the meekest person that ever was upon earth, yet here he strives, as it were, to unnaturalize him­self, and lay by his natural sweetness of disposition, almost to forget common humanity, and puts on a kind of sullen and surly person of purpose to deterr her: you shall not find our Saviour in all the New Testament in such a mood, so bent to contemn and vilifie a poor suitour. St. Austin comparing together St. Mat­thew and St. Mark, who both of them record the same story, and gathering together the circumstances out of them both, tells us, that first she follows our Saviour in the street, and that our Savi­our takes house, as it were, to shelter himself from her; but she comes after, and throws her self at his feet; and he, as offended with her importunity, again quits the house to be rid of her, and all this while deigns her not a word. If any behavour could have dash'd a suit, and broken the heart of a poor suitour, this had been enough; but here's not all, we have a civil precept, that if we be not disposed to pleasure a suitour, yet to give him good words, and shape him a gentle answer, it is hard if we can­not afford a suitour a gentle word; We read of Tiberius the Em­perour, (as I remember) that he would never suffer any man to go sad and discontented from him; yet our Saviour seems to have forgot this part of civility, being importun'd to answer her, gives her an answer worse then silence, and speaks words like the peircing of a sword, as Solomon speaks, I may not take the childrens bread, and cast it unto dogs: And yet after all this strange copy of countenance, he fully subscribes to her request. Beloved, God hath not onely express'd thus much in Parables, and practised [Page 145] these strange delays upon Canaanitish women, but he hath acted it indeed, and that upon his dearest Saints. David, one of the worthiest of his Saints, yet how passionately doth he cry out, How long, Lord, wilt thou forget me? how long shall I seek counsel in my soul, and be so vexed in my heart? Not onely the Saints on earth, but even those in heaven do seem to partake in this de­meanour of God: We read in the Book of the Revelation, that when the souls of the Martyrs under the Altar cried out, How long, Lord, just and holy, dost thou not avenge our bloud from off the earth? they received this answer, Have patience yet a little while. It is storied of Diogenes, that he was wont to supplicate to the Sta­tues, and to hold out his hands and beg of them, that so he might learn to brook and devour denial, and tediousness of suit. Be­loved, let us but meditate upon these examples, which I have re­lated, and we shall not need to practise any of the [...]ynick's art. For if the Saints and blessed Martyrs have their suits so long depending in the Courts of Heaven, then good reason that we should learn to brook delays, and arm our selves with patience and expecta­tion, when we find the ears of God not so open to our requests. When Ioseph's brethren came down to buy corn, he gave them but a course welcome, he spake roughly unto them, he laid them in prison; yet the Text tells us, that his bowels melted upon them, and at length he opened himself, and gave them courte­ous entertainment. Beloved, when we come unto God, as it were, to buy corn, to beg at his hands such blessings as we need, though he speak roughly, though he deal more roughly with us, yet let us know he hath still Ioseph's bowels, that his heart melts towards us, and at length he will open himself, and entertain us lovingly: And be it peradventure that we gain not what we look for, yet our labour of prayer is not lost. The blessed souls un­der the Altar, of which I spake but now, though their petition was not granted, yet had they long white garments given them. Even so, Beloved, if the wisdom of God shall not think it fit to perform our requests, yet he will give us the long white garment, some­thing which shall be in leiu of a suit; though nothing else, yet patience and contentment, which are the greatest blessings upon earth.

John xviij. 36.‘Iesus answered, My Kingdom is not of this world: If my Kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Iews, &c.’

AS in the Kingdoms of the world, there is an art of Courtship, a skill and mystery teach­ing to manage them: so in the Spiritual Kingdom of God and of Christ, there is an holy policy; there is an art of Spiritual Courtship, which teaches every subject there, how to demean and bear himself. But, as betwixt their Kingdoms, so be­twixt their Arts and Courtship, betwixt the Courtier of the one, and the Courtier of the other; there is, as Abraham tells the rich man in St. Luke, [...], a great distance, a great difference, and not onely one, but many. Sundry of them I shall have occa­sion to touch in the process of my discourse; mean while I will single out one, which I will use as a prologue and way unto my Text. In the Kingdoms of earthly Princes, every subject is not fit to make a Courtier; yea, were all fit, this were an honour to be communicated onely unto some: Sic opus est mundo. There is a necessity of disproportion and inequality between men and men; and were all persons equal the world could not consist: [Page 147] Of men of ordinary fashion and parts, some must to the Plough, some to their Merchandize, some to their Books, some to one Trade, some to another: onely [...], as Aristotle calls them, men of more then common wit and ability, active, choice, pick'd out of a thousand, such must they be that bear Ho­nours, attend on Princes persons, and serve in their Courts. The Scripture tells us, that when King Solomon saw that Ieroboam was an active, able, and industrious young man, he took him and made him ruler over all the charge of the house of Ioseph. Again, when David invited old Barzillai to the Court, the good old man excuses himself: I am, saith he, fourscore years of age, and can thy servant taste what I eat, or what I drink? can I hear any more the voice of singing men and singing women? Lo here my son Chim­ham, he shall go with my Lord the King, and do with him as shall seem good in thine eyes. Ieroboam and Chimham, strong, and able, and active persons, such are they that dwell in Kings houses: of the rest, some are too old, some too young, some too dull, some too rude, or by some means or other unfit for such an end. Thus fares it with the Honours of the world, they seem to participate of envy, or melancholly, and are of a solitary disposition; they are brightest when they are alone, or but in few; make them com­mon, and they lose their grace, like Lamps they may give light unto few, or to some one room, but no farther. But the Ho­nours in the Court of the great King of Heaven, are of another nature, they rejoyce in being communicated, and their glory is in the multitude of those that do partake in them. They are like unto the Sun that rises, non homini, sed humano generi: not to this or that man, but to all the world: In the Court of God, no difference between Ieroboam and Barzillai, none too old, none too young; no indisposition, no imperfection makes you unca­pable of Honours there; Be but of his Kingdom, and you are necessarily of his Court: Every man who is a subject there, is a Courtier, yea, more then a Courtier, he is a Peer, he is a King, and hath an army of Angels at his service to pitch their tents about him, to deliver him: a guard of ministring Spirits sent out to attend him for his safety. It shall not therefore be un­seasonable for the meanest person that hears me this day, to hear as it were a Lecture of spiritual policy and courtship: for no Auditory can be unfit for such a Lesson. Aristotle was wont to [Page 148] divide his Lectures and Readings into Acroamatical, and Exo­terical: some of them contained onely choice matter, and they were read privately to a Select Auditory; others contain'd but ordinary stuff, and were promiscuously and in publick exposed to the hearing of all that would: Beloved, we read no Acroa­matick Lectures, the secrets of the Court of Heaven (as far as it hath pleased the King of Heaven to reveal them) lie open alike to all. Every man is alike of his Court, alike of his Councel; and the meanest among Christians must not take it to be a thing without his sphere, above his reach, but must make account of himself as a fit hearer of a Lesson in spiritual and saving policy; since if he be a subject in the Kingdom of Christ, he can be no less then a Courtier.

Now the first and main Lesson to be learned by a Courtier, is, how to discover and know the disposition and nature of the Lord, whom he is to serve, and the quality of that Common-wealth in which he bears a place, ad consilium de republica dandum caput est. That therefore our heavenly Courtier may not mistake him­self, but be able to fit himself to the place he bears, I have made choice of these few words, which but now I read; words spoken by the King of that Common-wealth, of which I am to treat, unto such as mean to be his Liege-men there: words which suf­ficiently open unto the Christian Polititian the state and quality of that Court in which he is to serve: My kingdom is not of this world, for if it were, then would my servants fight; which words seem like the Parthian Horsemen, whose manner was to ride one way, but to shoot another way, they seem to go apace towards Pilate, but they aim and shoot at another mark; or rather like unto the speaker of them, unto our Saviour himself, when he was in one of the Villages of Samaria, St. Luke the ix. where the text notes, that though he were in Samaria, yet his face was set towards Hierusalem: so, beloved, though these words be spoken to a Sa­maritane, to an infidel, to Pilate, yet their face is toward Hierusa­lem; they are a Lesson directed to the subjects of his Spiritual Kingdom, of that Hierusalem which is from above, and is the Mo­ther of us all.

In them we may consider two general parts. First, a Denuntia­tion and message unto us; and secondly, a Sign to confirm the truth of it. For it is the manner and method, as it were, which [Page 149] God doth use, when he dispatches a message, to annex a Signe unto it, by which it may be known: When he sent Moses to the Israelites in Egypt, and Moses required a sign, he gave him a sign in his hand, in his Rod; when he sent Gideon against Madean, he gave him a sign in the fleece of Wool which was upon the floor; when he sent the Prophet to Hieroboam, to prophesie against the Altar in Bethel, he gave him a sign, that the Altar should rend, and the ashes fall out; when he sent Esay with a message to King Ahaz, he gave him a sign, Behold, a Virgin shall conceive. So, Beloved, in these words, There is a Message, there is a Sign: The first words are the Message My kingdom is not of this world, &c. The next words, For if it were, then would my servants fight, &c. These are Moses's Rod, and Gideon's Fleece; they are the Sign which confirm the Message.

The first part is a general Proposition or Maxim: the se­cond is an Example, and particular instance of it: For in the first, our Saviour distinguishes his Kingdom from the Kingdoms of the world, and from all the fashions of them; In the second, amongst many other he chuses one instance, wherein particularly he notes, that his Kingdom is unlike to earthly Kingdoms; for the Kingdoms of the world are purchased and maintain'd by violence and bloud, but so is not his. The reason why our Sa­viour fastens upon this reason of dissimilitude and unlikeness, is, because in gaining and upholding temporal Kingdoms, nothing so usual as the sword and war: No Kingdom of the world, but by the sword is either gotten, or held, or both. The sword in a secular Common-wealth is like the rod in a Schole; remove that away, and men will take their liberty. It is the plea which the Tarquins used to King Porsenna in Livie, Satis libertatem ipsam habere dulcedinis, nisi quanta vi civitates eam expetant tanta regna reges defendant, aequare summa infimis adesse finem regnis rei inter Deos hominesque pulcherrimae. The taste of liberty is so sweet, that except Kings maintain their authority with as great violence, as the people affect their liberty, all things will run to confusion; and Kingdoms, which are the goodliest things in the world, will quickly go to wrack: when God gave a temporal Kingdom unto his own people, he sent Moses and Ioshua before them to purchase it with their sword; when they were possess'd of this Kingdom, he sends then Gideon, and Samp­son, and David, and many Worthies more to maintain it by the [Page 150] sword: But now being to open unto the world another kind of Kingdom, of Rule and Government, then hitherto it had been acquainted with: he tells us, that he is a King of a Kingdom, which is erected and maintained, not by Ioshua and David, but by St. Peter and St. Paul; not by the sword, but by the Spirit; not by violence, but by love; not by striving, but by yeilding; not by fighting, but by dying. Pilate had heard that he was a King: it was the accusation which was fram'd against him, that he bear himself as King of the Iews; but because he saw no pomp, no train, no guard about him, he took it but as an idle re­port: To put him therefore out of doubt, our Saviour assures him, that he is a King, but of such a Kingdom as he could not skill of: My Kingdom is not of this world, &c. For the better un­folding of which words; first, we will consider what the mean­ing of this word Kingdom is, for there lies an ambiguity in it. Secondly, we will consider what Lessons for our instruction the next words will yeild, Not of this world. First, of this word Kingdom.

Our Saviour is a King three manner of ways, and so corre­latively hath three distinct several Kingdoms. He is first King in the largest extent and meaning which can possibly be imagined, and that is, as he is Creatour and absolute Lord of all creatures. Of this Kingdom, Heaven, Earth, and Hell are three large Pro­vinces: Angels, Men, and Devils, his very enemies, every creature visible and invisible are subjects of this Kingdom. The glory and strength of this Kingdom consists least of all in men, and man is the weakest part of it: for there is scarcely a creature in the world, by whom he hath not been conquer'd. When Alexander the Great had travell'd through India, and over-ran many large Provinces, and conquer'd many popular Cities; when tidings came, that his Soldiers in Grece had taken some small Towns there, he scorn'd the news, and in contempt, Me-thinks (said he) I hear of the Battel of Frogs and Mice. Be­loved, if we look upon these huge Armies of Creatures, and con­sider of what wonderful strength they are, when the Lord sum­mons them to Battel: all the Armies of men, and famous Battels, of which we have so large Histories, in the comparison of these, what are they, but a [...], but Homer's tale, a Battel of Frogs and Mice? Infinite Legions of Angels attend [Page 151] him in Heaven, and every Angel is an Army: One Angel in the Book of Kings is sent out against the Army of the Assyrians, and in one night fourscore thousand persons die for it. Base and con­temptible creatures, when God calls for them, are of strength to conquer whole Countreys: He over-runs Egypt with his Ar­mies of Frogs, and Flies, and Lice; and before his own people with an Army of Hornets chases the Canaanites out of the Land. Nay, the dull and senseless Elements are up in Arms when God summons them: He shoots his Hail-shot; with his Hail-stones from Heaven he destroys more of the Canaanites, then the Is­raelites can with their swords. As for his Armies of Fire and Water, what power is able to withstand them? Every creature, when God calls, is a soldier. How great then is the glory of this Kingdom, of which the meanest parts are invincible!

Secondly, again our Saviour is a King in a more restrain'd and confin'd sense, as he is in Heaven attended on by Angels, and Arch­angels, Powers, Principalities, and all the heavenly Hosts. For though he be Omni-present, and fills every place both in Heaven and Earth; yet Heaven is the Palace & Throne of this Kingdom; there is he better seen and known, there with more state and honour served, and therefore more properly is his Kingdom said to be there: And this is called his Kingdom of glory: The Rules, and Laws, and admirable Orders of which Kingdom, could we come to see and discover, it would be with us as it was with the Queen of Saba, when she came to visit Solomon, of whom the Scripture notes; that when she heard his wisdom, and had seen the order of his servants, the attendance that was given him, and the manner of his table, There was no more spirit left in her. Be­loved, Dum Spiritus hos regit artus, whilst this Spirit is in us, we cannot possibly come to discern the Laws and Orders of this King­dom, and therefore I am constrain'd to be silent.

Thirdly, our Saviour is a King in a sense yet more impropriated. For as he took our nature upon him, as he came into the world to redeem mankind, and to conquer Hell and Death, so is there a Kingdom annext unto him; A Kingdom, the purchase whereof cost him much sweat and Bloud, of which neither Angels nor any other creature are a part, onely that remnant of mankind, that Ereptus titio, that number of blessed Souls; which like a brand out of the fire, by his death and passion he hath recovered [Page 152] out of the power of sin; and all these alone are the subjects of that Kingdom. And this is that which is called his Kingdom of Grace, and which himself in Scripture every where calls his Church, his Spouse, his Body, his Flock: and this is that Kingdom, which in this place is spoken of, and of which our Saviour tells Pilate, That it is not of this world; —My Kingdom is not of this world.

Which words at the first reading, may seem to savour of a little imperfection; for they are nothing else but a Negation or denial. Now our Books teach us, that a Negative makes nothing known; for we know things by discovering, not what they are not, but what they are: yet when we have well examin'd them, we shall find that there could not have been a speech delivered more effectual for the opening the nature of the Church, and the discovery of mens errours in that respect. For I know no errour so common, so frequent, so hardly to be rooted out, so much hindring the knowledge of the true nature of the Church, as this, that men do take the Church to be like unto the World. Tully tells us of a Musician, that being ask'd what the Soul was, answered, that it was Harmony, & is (saith he) à principiis artis suae non recescit: He knew not how to leave the principles of his own Art. Again, Plato's Scholars had been altogether bred up in Arithmetick, and the knowledge of Numbers, and hence it came, that when afterward they diverted their studies to the know­ledge of Nature, or Moral Philosophy; wheresoever they walk­ed, they still feigned to themselves somewhat like unto Num­bers; the World they supposed was framed out of Numbers; Ci­ties, and Kingdoms, and Common-wealths they thought stood by Numbers; Number with them was sole Principle and Creatour of every thing. Beloved, when we come to learn the quality and state of Christ's Kingdom, it fares much with us as it does with Tullie's Musician, or Plato's Scholars, difficulter à principiis artis nostrae recedimus; Hardly can we forsake those principles, in which we have been brought up. In the world we are born, in it we are bred, the world is the greatest part of our study, to the true knowledge of God and of Christ still we fancy unto us something of the world. It may seem but a light thing that I shall say, yet because it seems fitly to open my meaning, I will not re­frain to speak it: Lucian, when Priam's young son was taken up [Page 153] into heaven, brings him in calling for milk and cheese, and such countrey eates as he was wont to eat on earth. Beloved, when we first come to the Table of God, to heavenly Manna and An­gels food, it is much with us as it was with Priam's young son, when he came first into Heaven, we cannot forget the milk and cheese, and the gross diet of the world. Our Saviour and his blessed Apostles had great and often experience of this errour in men: When our Saviour preach'd to Nicodemus the doctrine of Regene­ration, and new birth, how doth he still harp upon a gross con­ceit of a re-entry to be made into his mother's womb? When he preach'd unto the Samaritan woman concerning the water of life, how hardly is she driven from thinking of a material Elementary water, such as was in Iacob's well? When Simon Magus in the Acts saw, that by laying on of hands the Apostles gave the Holy Ghost, he offers them money to purchase himself the like power: He had been trafficking and merhandizing in the world, and saw what authority, what a Kingdom money had amongst men; he therefore presently conceited, coelum venale Deumque; that God, and Heaven, and All would be had for money. To teach therefore the young Courtier in the Court of Heaven, that he commit no such Solecisms, that hereafter he speak the true language and dialect of God, our Saviour sets down this as a principal rule in our Spiritual Grammar, That his Court is not of this world. Nay, Beloved, not onely the young Courtier, but many of the old servants in the Court of Christ are stain'd with this errour: It is storied of Leonides, which was Schole-master to Alexander the great, that he infected his non-age with some vices, quae robustum quoque & jam maximum Regem ab illa institutione pue­rili sunt prosecuta, which followed him then when he was at man's estate: Beloved, the world hath been a long time a Schole-master unto us, and hath stain'd our non-age with some of these spots which appear in us, even then when we are strong men in Christ. When our Saviour in the Acts after his Resurrection was dis­coursing to his Disciples concerning the Kingdom of God, they presently brake forth into this question, Wilt thou now restore the Kingdom unto Israel? Certainly this question betrays their igno­rance, their thoughts still ran upon a Kingdom like unto the Kingdoms of the world, notwithstanding they had so long, and so often heard our Saviour to the contrary: Our Saviour there­fore [Page 154] shortly takes them up; Non est vestrum, your question is no­thing to the purpose; the Kingdom that I have spoken of is an­other manner of Kingdom then you conceive. Sixteen hundred years, Et quod excurrit, hath the Gospel been preached unto the world, and is this stain spunged out yet? I doubt it: Whence arise those novel and late disputes, de notis Ecclesia, of the notes and visibility of the Church. Is it not from hence they of Rome take the world and the Church to be like Mercury and Sofia in Plautus his Comedies, so like one another, that one of them must wear a toy in his cap, that so the spectators may distinguish them; whence comes it that they stand so much upon State and Cere­mony in the Church? Is it not from hence, that they think the Church must come in like Agrippa and Bernice in the Acts, [...], as St. Luke speaks, with a great deal of pomp, and train, and shew, and vanity; and that the service of God doth necessarily require this noise and tumult of outward State and Ceremony? Whence comes it, that we are at our wits ends; when we see persecution, and sword, and fire to rage against the true professours of the Gospel? Is it not because, as these bring ruine and desolation upon the Kingdoms of the world; so we suppose they work no other effect in the Kingdom of Christ? All these conceits, and many more of the like nature, spring out of no other fountain, then that old inveterate errour, which is so hardly wiped out of our hearts; That the State of the Church, and King­dom of Christ doth hold some proportion, some likeness with the state and managing of temporal Kingdoms: Wherefore to pluck out of our hearts, Opinionem tam insitam, tam vetustam, a conceit so ancient, so deeply rooted in us, our Saviour spake most excellent­ly, most pertinently, and most fully, when he tells us, that his Church, that his Kingdom is not of this world.

In which words of his, there is contained the true art of disco­vering and knowing the true nature and essence of the Church. For as they which make Statues, cut and pare away all superflui­ties of the matter upon which they work; so our Saviour, to shew us the true proportion and feature of the Church, prunes away the world and all superfluous excrescencies, and sends her to be seen as he did our first Parents in Paradise, stark naked: As those Elders in the Apocryphal story of Susanna, when they would see her beauty, commanded to take off her mask: so he that longs to see [Page 155] the beauty of the Church, must pull off that mask of the world and outward shew. For as Iuda in the Book of Genesis, when Thamar sate veil'd by the way-side, knew not his daughter from an whore: so whilst the Church, the Daughter and Spouse of Christ, sits veil'd with the world, and pomp, and shew, it will be an hard matter to discern her from an harlot. But yet further, to make the diffe­rence betwixt these Kingdoms the more plainly to appear, and the better to fix it in your memories, I will breifly touch some of these heads in which they are most notoriously differenced.

The first head wherein the difference is seen, are the persons and subjects of this Kingdom; For as the Kingdom of Christ is not of this world, so the subjects of this Kingdom are men of another world, and not of this. Every one of us bears a double person, and accordingly is the subject of a double Kingdom: The holy Ghost by the Psalmist divides heaven and earth betwixt God and man, and tells us, as for God, He is in heaven, but the earth hath he given to the children of men: So hath the same Spirit by the Apostle St. Paul, divided every one of our persons into heaven and earth, into an outward and earthly man, and into an inward and heavenly man: This earth, that is, this body of clay hath he given to the sons of men, to the Princes under whose government we live; but heaven, that is, the inward and spiritual man, hath he reserved unto himself; They can restrain the outward man, and moderate our outward actions, by Edicts and Laws they can tie our hands and our tongues; —Illa se jactet in aula AEolus: Thus far they can go, and when they are gone thus far, they can go no farther: But to rule the inward man in our hearts and souls, to set up an Imperial throne in our understandings and wills, this part of our government belongs to God and to Christ: These are the subjects, this the government of his Kingdom; men may be Kings of Earth and Bodies, but Christ alone is the King of Spirits and Souls. Yet this inward government hath influence upon our out­ward actions; For the Authority of Kings over our outward man is not so absolute, but that it suffers a great restraint; it must stretch no farther then the Prince of our inward man pleases: for if Secular Princes stretch out the skirts of their Authority to com­mand ought by which our souls are prejudiced, the King of Souls hath in this case given us a greater command, That we rather obey God then men.

[Page 156]The second head wherein the difference betwixt these King­doms is seen, is in their Laws; for as the Kingdoms and the Law­givers, so are their Laws very different: First, in their Authours. The Laws by which the Common-wealth of Rome was anciently govern'd, were the works of many hands, some of them were Plebiscita, the acts of the people; others were Senatus consulta, the Decrees of the Senate; others Edicta Praetorum, the Verdict of their Iudges; others Responsa Prudentum, the opinions of Wise-men in cases of doubt; others Rescripta Imperatorum, the Rescripts and Answers of their Emperours, when they were consulted with: But in the Kingdom of Christ there are no Plebiscita, or Senatus-consulta, no People, no Senate, nor Wise-men, nor Judges, had any hand in the Laws by which it is governed; Onely Rescripta Imperatoris, the Rescripts and Writs of our King run here, these alone are the Laws to which the Subjects of this Kingdom owe obedience. Again, the Laws of both these Kingdoms differ in regard of their quality and nature; For the Laws of the Kingdom of Christ are Eternal, Substantial, Indispensible; but Laws made by humane Au­thority are but light, superficial, and temporary; For all the hu­mane Authority in the world can never Enact one eternal and fundamental Law. Let all the Laws which men have made be laid together, and you shall see that they were made but upon oc­casion, and circumstance either of time, or place, or persons in matters of themselves indifferent, and therefore either by discon­tinuance they either fell or ceased of themselves, or by reason of alteration of occasion and circumstance were necessarily revoked: Those main fundamental Laws upon which all the Kingdoms of the world do stand, against theft, against murther, against adul­tery, dishonouring of Parents, or the like; they were never brought forth by man, neither were they the effects of any Par­liamentary Sessions; they were written in our souls from the be­ginning, long before there was any Authority Regal extant among men: The intent of him who first Enacted them was not to found a temporal, but to bring men to an eternal Kingdom; and so far forth as they are used for the maintaining of outward state they are usurp'd, or at the best but borrowed: So that in this work of setling even the Kingdoms of this world, if we com­pare the Laws of God with the Laws of men, we shall find, that God hath, as it were, founded the Palaces and Castles, and strength [Page 157] of them; but men have, like little children built houses of clay and dirt, which every blast of wind over-turns.

The third head by which they may be seen, is in the notes and marks by which they may be known: For the Kingdoms of the world are confin'd, their place is known, their subjects are discern­able, they have badges, and tokens, and Arms by which they are discovered: But the Church hath no such notes and marks, no Herald hath as yet been found that could blazon the Arms of that Kingdom. AEsculus the Poet in his [...], describing the Captains that came either for the seige or defence of the City of Thebes in Beotia, brings them in, in their order every one with their sheild, and upon his sheild some device, and over that device a Motto or word, according to the usual fancies of men in that kind; but when he comes to Amphiarus, he notes of him, that he had no device in his sheild, no impress or word; and he gives the reason of it, Because he affected not shew, but to be that which others profest. But to carry marks, and notes, and de­vices, may well beseem the world which is led by fancy and shew; but the Church is like Amphiarus, she hath no device, no word in her sheild, mark and essence with her are all one, and she hath no other note but to Be: And, but that learned men must have something to busie their wits withall, these large discourses de notis Ecclesiae, of the notes and marks by which we may know the Church, might very well lie by, as containing nothing else but doctas ineptias, laborious vanities, and learned impertinences. For the Church is not a thing that can be pointed out: The De­vil could shew our Saviour Christ all the kingdoms of the earth, and the glory of them, I hope the Church was none of these; It is the glory of it not to be seen, and the note of it to be invisible; when we call any visible company of professours a Church, it is but a word of courtesie: out of charity we hope men to be that which they do profess, and therefore we so speak as if they were indeed that whose name they bear; where, and who they are that make up this Kingdom, is a question unfit for any man to move: for the Lord onely knoweth who are his. It is but Popish madness to send men up and down the world to find the Church; it is like unto the children of the Prophets, in the second of Kings, that would needs seek Elias, or like the Nobles in Hierusalem, that would needs go seek Ieremie the Prophet, but could not find him, because the [Page 159] Lord had hid him. For in regard of the profession, the Church (as our Saviour speaks) is like a City set upon an hill, you may quickly see, and know, what true Christianity is; but in regard of the persons the Kingdom of Heaven is, as our Saviour again tells us, like a treasure hidden in a feild: except the place of their abode and their persons were discernable, who can tell? we go thus to seek them, whether we do not like false hounds hunt Counter (as the Hunters phrase is) and so go from the game. When Saul went to seek his father's Asses, he found a Kingdom; let us take heed lest the contrary befall us, lest while we seek our Father's King­dom thus, we find but Asses. Will you know where to find the Kingdom of Christ? our Saviour directs you in the Gospel, The kingdom of heaven, saith he, cometh not by observation, neither shall ye say, Lo here, or, Lo there; but the kingdom of heaven is with­in you: Let every man therefore retire into himself, and see if he can find this Kingdom in his heart; for if he find it not there, in vain shall he find it in all the world besides.

The fourth head wherein the difference of these Kingdoms is seen, is outward state and ceremony; for outward pomp and shew is one of the greatest stays of the Kingdom of this world: Some thing there must be to amaze the people, and strike them into wonderment, or else Majesty would quickly be contemned. The Scripture recounting unto us King Solomon's Royalty, tells us of his magnificent Buildings, of his Royal Throne, of his servants, and his attendants, of his cup-bearers, of his meats, and these were the things which purchased unto him the reputation of Majesty, above all the Kings of the earth. Beloved, the Kingdom of Christ is not like unto Solomon in his Royalty, it is like unto David when he had put off all his Royalty, and in a linen Ephod, danced be­fore the Ark: and this plain and natural simplicity of it, is like unto the Lilies of the field, more glorious then Solomon in all his royalty. The Idolatrous superstitions of Paganism stood in great need of such pompous Solemnities, Vt opinionem suspendio cogni­tionis aedificent, atque ita tantam majestatem exhibere videantur, quantam praestruxerunt cupiditatem, as Tertullian tells us; For be­ing nothing of themselves, they were to gain reputation of being something by concealment, and by outward state make shew of something answerable to the expectation they had raised: The case of the Kingdoms of the world is the same; For all this [Page 158] State and Magnificence used in the managing of them is no­thing else but Secular Idolatry, used to gain veneration and reverence unto that, which in comparison of the Kingdom we speak of is mere vanity. But the Sceptre of the Kingdom of Christ is a right Sceptre, and to add unto it outward state, and riches, and pomp, is nothing else but to make a Centaure, marry and joyn the Kingdom of Christ with the Kingdom of the world, which Christ expresly here in my Text hath divorced and put asunder. A thing which I do the rather note, because that the long continuance of some Ceremonies in the Church, have occasioned many, especially of the Church of Rome, to think that there is no Religion, no Ser­vice without these Ceremonies. Our Books tell us of a poor Spar­tan, that travelling in another Countrey, and seeing the beams and posts of houses squared and carved, ask'd, If the Trees grew so in those Countreys? Beloved, many men that have been long ac­quainted with a form of worship, squared and carved, trick'd, and set out with shew and ceremony, fall upon this Spartan's conceit, think the Trees grow so, and think that there is no natural shape and face of God's service but that. I confess the service of God hath evermore some Ceremony attending it, and to our Fathers, before Christ, may seem to have been necessary, because God commanded it: But let us not deceive our selves, for neither is Ceremony now, neither was Sacrifice then esteemed necessary, neither was the command of God concerning it, by those to whom it was given, ever taken to be peremptory: I will begin the warrant of what I have said out of St. Chrysostom; for in his comments upon the x. to the Hebrews, he denies that ever God from the beginning requir'd, or that it was his will to ordain such an outward form of Worship; and asking therefore of him­self, [...]; how then seems he to have commanded it? he answers, [...], by condescending onely, and submit­ting himself unto humane infirmity; now this [...], this condescending of God, wherein it consisted, Oecumenius opens; For because that men had a conceit, that it was convenient to of­fer up some part of their substance unto God, and so strongly were they possess'd with this conceit, that if they offered it not up to him, they would offer it up to Idols: God, saith he, rather then they should offer unto Idols, required them to offer unto him. And thus was God understood by the holy men themselves, [Page 160] who lived under the shadow of those Ceremonies: for David when he had made his peace with God, after that great sin of his, opens this mystery; For thou requirest not sacrifice, saith he, else would I have given it thee; but thou delightest not in burnt-offerings: The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit, a troubled and a contrite heart, O God, dost thou not despise. After the revolt of Ieroboam and the ten Tribes from the House of David, there were many devout and religious persons in Israel, and yet we find not that they used the outward form of Worship which was commanded. Elias and Elizaeus, two great Prophets in Israel, did they ever go up to Hierusalem to worship? Obadiah, a great Courtier in King Ahab's Court, and one that feared the Lord exceedingly; the seven thousands which bowed not their knees to Baal, when came they up to the Temple to offer? a thing which doubtless they would have done, if they had understood the commandment of God in that behalf, to have been absolute indeed. If we live in places where true religious persons do resort, and assemble for the ser­vice of God, it were a sin to neglect it. But otherwise it is suffi­cient, if we keep us from the pollutions of that place to which we are restrain'd. Quid juvat hoc nostros templis admittere mores? Why measure we God by our selves, and because we are led with gay shews, and goodly things, think it is so with God? Seneca reports, that a Panto-mimus, a Poppet-player and Dancer in Rome, because he pleased the People well, was wont to go up every day into the Capitol, and practised his Art, and dance before Iupiter, and thought he did the god a great pleasure. Beloved, in many things we are like unto this Poppet-player, and do much measure God by the People, by the World.

A SERMON On 1 SAM. xxiv. 5.

‘And it came to pass afterward, that David's heart smote him because he had cut off Saul's skirt.’

TEmptation is the greatest occasioner of a Christian's honour: indeed like an Ene­my it threatens and endeavours his ruine; but in the conquest of it consist his Crown and Triumph. Were it possible for us to be at league and truce with this Enemy, or to be [...], without dan­ger of Gun-shot, out of its reach; like the Candle in the Gospel, that is put under a bushel, the brightest part of our glory were quite obscured. As Maximus Tyrius spake of Hercules, if you take from him [...], the savage beasts that he slew, and the Tyrants whom he supprest, his journeys and labours, [...], you lop and cut off the manifest Arms and Limbs of Hercules's renown: So, take from a Christian his Temptations, his Persecutions, his [Page 162] Contentions, remove him from the Devil, from the World, [...], you deprive him of the chief mat­ter and subject of his glory. Take Iob from the Dunghil; David from Saul; Daniel from the Lions; the blessed Martyrs from the Rack, from the Fire, from the Sword; and what are they more then other men? As Sampson tells Dalilah in the Book of the Iudges, If my hair be cut, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and like unto another man; so, Beloved, these things are, as it were, the hair wherein their strength lay, shave that away, and they shall presently become weak, and like unto other men. But Temptations are of two sorts, some are like profess'd and open Enemies, which proclaim open War against us, like Goliath, they publickly come forth and challenge us; And such are the out­ward Evils that befall us, Loss of Goods, Sickness, Disease, Dis­honour, Infamy, Persecutions, and the like: Others there are of a more secret, close, and retired nature, like unto Traitours, that bear the behaviour and countenance of freinds; that espie out their advantage, and set privily upon us; the most troublesome kind of Enemies, per quos nec licet esse tanquam in bello paratos, nec tan­quam in pace securos; with whom we can have neither peace nor war, and against whom we can neither be provided, nor secure; these are our own corrupt Thoughts and Imaginations, which se­cretly lie in our hearts, and watch their times to set on us, as the Philistines did in Dalilah's chamber to surprize Sampson. For let a man but descend into himself, examine his own soul, take as it were an inventory of the passions, affections, thoughts of his own heart, Iook but what the number of them is, and let him make account of so many enemies; Tot venena, quot ingenia; tot per­nicies quod & species, tot dolores, quot colores; as Tertullian rimes it. A sort of enemies by so much the more dangerous, because that all those outward enemies, of which I but now spake, can­not come so near as to rase our skin, or endanger one hair of our head, if these give them not way: from these, ut aspis a vipera venenum, as the Asp borrows poison from the Vipet, do those other Temptations borrow all their power strength to hurt us. For let us take a survey of all the outward afflictions, mise­ries and calamities, which have befallen all the Saints of God in holy Scripture, and let us suppose them to be all set and bent against some one alone [...] yet notwithstanding, as the three children [Page 163] in Daniel walk'd in the midst of the fire untouch'd, or as our Sa­viour Christ pass'd away through the midst of the people, that were gathered together to mischeif him, and throw him down the hill; so shall he be able to pass from them all without any hurt or harm, if some discontented, or distrustful, or despairing, or proud, or angry, or impure and lustful thought do not betray him unto them, and as it were open a door, and let them in. David who is here the subject of my Text, had very much ado with both sorts of enemies, and by his own experience found, that this latter rank of secret and privie enemies, in strength far sur­passed the former. For whom neither the Lion, nor the Bear, nor Goliath, nor Saul, nor the Philistines could ever fasten upon, or drive to any inconvenience, one lustful thought forced to Adulte­ry and Murder, one proud conceit stirred up to number the people, and drew from God great inconveniences and plagues both upon himself and his Kingdom. How careful then ought we to be, and to stand on our guard, and keep a perpetual watch over our hearts, diligently to try and examine our thoughts? Nunquam se­curo triumphaniur otio, sed tantum sollicito premuntur imperio. St. August. Nor while we live shall we be able perfectly to ma­ster, or securely to triumph over them: the onely way to suppress and keep them down, is, to have a perpetual and careful jealou­sie of them. Now of this Religious care and watchfulness over our own thoughts, hath the holy Ghost recorded for our use a notable example in these words, which but now I read, And it came to pass, &c.

To relate unto you at large the occasion of these words, and the story from whence they depend, were but to wrong you; for I cannot think so meanly of your knowledge in Scripture, as that any of you can be ignorant of so famous a passage. Yet thus much for the better opening of my way unto such Doctrines, as I shall draw from this Text, I will call back unto your memories, that Saul hunting after David to kill him, unwittingly slept into a Cave where David was; David having now his enemy in his hand, and opportunity to revenge himself, lets slip all thought of revenging, and onely cuts off privily the lap of his garment. For this deed, so harmless, so innocent, the Scripture tells us that his heart smote him, that he suffered great anguish and remorse in conscience for it. That which I will require you to note, is [Page 164] the tenderness of conscience, and strange scrupulousness in David for so small an action; for it will yeild us a great Lesson. I say it appeareth not by Scripture, that David intended any mis­cheif or treason to Saul, or that he harbour'd in heart any disloyal thought against him. This purpose of cutting off the lap of Saul's garment, was no other then to purchase to himself a harmless and honourable testimony of his innocency, and to prove unto Saul, that there was no likelihood that he sought his bloud, whom he spared, having him at so great an advantage. Yet not­withstanding, as if the rending of Saul's garment, had been the wounding of Saul's body, or the shedding of his bloud, David stands amazed, and is affrighted at so honourable, so innocent a thought. His heart smote him, saith the Scripture. As men that have been at Sea, and indanger'd through the raging of winds, and tempests, and flouds, when afterward the weather is cleared up, the winds allayed, the sea smoothed, and all calm, yet scarce­ly dare they set sail again, and trust to so uncertain, so fickle an Element: so seems it to have fared with David in this place; he was a man subject to the same passions with other men, and doubt­less, through the raging of unruly and misorderly affections, he had many times been in danger of spiritual shipwrack; where­fore, licet in morem stagni fusum aequor arrideat, and though now he could discover no tempest in his heart, though the face of his thoughts were as smooth as glass; yet when he looks upon such fair and calm affections, his heart misgives him, and he dares not trust them magnos hic campus montes habet, tranquillitas ista tem­pestas est; The care he hath over his own heart fills him with suspicions, and still he thinks, something he knows not what, may be amiss. But I must come unto the words. And it came to pass afterward, &c.

In these words we will consider these three things.

  • 1. The Person, David, And David's heart smote him.
  • 2. David's Sollicitousness, his care and jealousie, very signifi­cantly expressed in the next words, his heart smote him.
  • 3. The cause of this his care and anxiety of mind, in the last words, because he had cut off Saul's skirt.

In the first point, that is, in the Person, we may consider his greatness, he was a King in expectation, and already Anointed. A circumstance by so much the more considerable, because that [Page 165] greatness is commonly taken to be a privilege to sin: to be over careful and conscientious of our courses and actions, are accoun­ted virtues for private persons, Kings have greater businesses then to examine every thought that comes into their hearts. Pater meus obliviscitur se esse Caesarem; ego vero memini me Caesaris filiam; It is the answer of Iulia, Augustus the Emperour's daughter, when she was taxed for her too wanton and licentious living, and coun­sel'd to conform her self to the sobriety and gravity of her fa­ther; My father, saith she, forgets himself to be Caesar the Emperour: but I remember my self to be Caesar's daughter. It was the speech of Ennius the Poet, Plebs in hoc Regi ante-stat loco; licet lachrimari plebi, Regi honeste non licet: Private men in this have a privilege above Princes; but thus to do becomes not Princes: and if at any time these sad and heavy-hearted thoughts do surprize them, they shall never want comforters to dispel them. When Ahab was for sullenness fallen down upon his bed, because Naboth would not yeild him his Vineyard, Iezabel is presently at hand and asks him, Art thou this day King of Israel? When Ammon pined away in the incestuous love of his sister Thamar, Ionadab his compa­nion comes unto him, and asks, Why is the King's son sad every day? so that, as it seems, great Persons can never be much or long sad. Yet David forgets his greatness, forgets his many oc­casions, gives no ear to his companions about him, but gives him­self over to a scrupulous and serious consideration of an Action in shew and countenance but light.

Secondly, As the Person is great, so is the care and remorse conceived upon the consideration of his action exceeding great, which is our Second part: And therefore the holy Ghost expresses it in very significant terms: His heart smote him; a phrase in Scri­pture used by the holy Ghost, when men begin to be sensible, and repent them of some sin. When David had committed that great sin of numbring the people, and began to be apprehensive of it, the Scripture tells us, that David's heart smote him, when he had commanded Ioab to number the people. Wherefore by this smiting we may not here understand some light touch of conscience, like a grain of powder, presently kindled, and presently gone; for the most hard and flinty hearts many times yeilds such sparks as these. He that is most flesh'd in sin, commits it not without some remorse; for sin evermore leaves some scruple, some sting, some [Page 166] loathsomeness in the hearts of those that are most inamour'd of it. But as Simeon tells the Blessed Virgin in St. Luke's Gospel, Gla­dius pertransibit animam tuam, A sword shall peirce through thine heart; so it seems to have been with David. It was not some light touch to rase onely the surface and skin of the heart, but like a sword it peirced deep into him: To teach us one lesson, That actions spotted, though but with the least suspicion of sin, ought not carelesly to be pass'd by, or sleightly glanced at, but we ought to be deeply apprehensive of them, and bestow greatest care and consideration upon them.

The third part of our Text containeth the cause of David's remorse, in the last words, because he cut off Saul's skirt: In the two former parts we had to do with greatness: : there was 1. a great Person, and 2. great Remorse; can we in this third part find out any great cause or reason of this, so to make all parts propor­tionable? Certainly he that shall attentively read and weigh these first words of my Text, and know the story, might think that David had committed some notable errour, as some great op­pression, or some cruel slaughter, or some such Royal sin, which none but Kings and great men can commit. But, Beloved, this my Text seems to be like the Windows in Solomon's Temple, broad within, but narrow without: or like a Pyramide, large and spa­tious at the Basis and ground of it, but small and sharp at the top. The Person and Remorse, which are the ground and subject of my Text, both are great and large; but the Cause, which is the very crown and top of all, that is very small, yea peradventure none at all. For whether it be that my self, accustomed to greater sins, and now grown old in them, have lost all sense of small and petty errours, or whether indeed there be no errour at all in this action of David, but onely some fancy, some jealousie arising out of that godly and careful watch he kept over all his ways; or what­soever else it was that caused this scruple or remorse in David, it is a very hard matter to discover, and yet notwithstanding, that we may make more open pass unto such Doctrines as I shall raise out of these words, let us a little scan and consider what it was in this action that made David thus strangely scrupulous.

And first of all, was it for that he had touch'd and taken that which was none of his own, and therefore might seem to fall within compass of the Law against injury and purloining? This [Page 167] seems not probable: for when afterward in the like case he came upon Saul as he was sleeping in the Camp, and took from him the Spear and the pot of water which stood at his head, we do not read that his head, that his heart smote him, and yet he took what was none of his.

Or 2ly. was it that he did wrong and dishonour Saul in man­gling his garment? Indeed the Iews have a Tradition, that this was the sin of which David was here so sensible. And therefore say they, whereas we read in the first of Kings, that when David grew old, they covered him with clothes, but he gat no heat, this was the punishment of his sin committed against Saul: God so providing, that garments should not be serviceable to him, who had offended in wronging Saul's garments. But this I must let go as a fable.

Or 3ly. was it that he had unadvisedly given way to some dis­loyal thought, and at first resolved to revenge himself on Saul, having him at the advantage, though afterward he repented? In­deed St. Chrysostom thinks so; and therefore on those words at the latter end of the verse next before my Text, And David arose, he notes; [...] See you not, saith he, what a tempest of rage and anger begins to rise in him; for he supposeth him to arise in heat and fury, with a resolution for bloud: but it pleased God in the way to make him relent, and change the purpose of revenge into the action of cutting off his skirt: and that this smiting of David's heart was nothing else, but his repenting himself for giving over-hasty entertainment to such a rebellious thought. But, Beloved, who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? David's thoughts were onely known to God and himself. Since therefore God gives not this as a reason of Da­vid's remorse, but another thing; far be it from me, that I should wrong David so far, as to burden him with that, with which none but God can charge him. I rather chuse to follow St. Basil's rule, [...], let the Scriptures be understood as they lie. The Scripture tells us, David's heart smote him, because he cut off the skirt of Saul's garment, and not because he had conceiv'd against Saul any thought of bloud. But what cause then shall we give of David's remorse, none other, Beloved, but that religious and careful jealousie which still he had over his own thoughts, which made him pietatis affectu etiam quae tuta sunt formidare, Hier. [Page 168] To suspect all things be they never so safe, and never to think himself secure from the contagion of sin. It was with David, as it was wont to be with men that are often troubled with sick­nesses and diseases, Suspicionibus inquietantur, medicisque jam san [...] manum porrigunt, & omnem calorem corporis sui calumniantur. Senec. Disquiet themselves with every little alteration in their bodies, repair to the Physician when they are well, and think every heat to be an Ague-fit: Horum corpus non est parum sanum, sed sanitati parum assuevit: these men are not sick; but they do not know what it is to be in health. In the same state is David, he had been often infected with spiritual weakness and disease, and there­fore he suspects every motion of his heart, and takes every thought to be a temptation: Hujus animus non erat parum sanus, sed sanitati parum assuevit; His soul was not sick of any sin, but he did not know what it was to be in spiritual health.

For us and for our use hath the holy Ghost registred this example of scruple and tenderness of conscience. Let us return to ourselves and see what lessons we may learn hence for our behoof. Men usually are either grown old in sin, and therefore their eye-sight is decayed, they cannot easily see and discern smaller sins: or else as Hagar in the Book of Genesis, laid Ismael afar off from her, that she might not be greiv'd with the sight of him: so we la­bour to lay our sins far out of kenn, that the memory and sight of them might not exasperate and trouble us. For the cure of both these infirmities, I have borrowed out of the Lord's treasury a Spectacle of Optick Glass, which if we use it, will restore our de­cayed eye-sight, and quicken and make us read our sins in the smallest print; and let them lie never so far from us, yet will it present them unto us in their true quantity and greatness. To­wards the better use of which spiritual Glass, one lesson would I especially commend unto you; To be perpetually jealous and sus­picious of your thoughts, and to be quick-scented, easily to trace the footing of sin, to be easily sensible of it, when we think our selves to have done amiss: a lesson naturally arising, as I take it, out of David's example, commended unto us in this place. Now how absolutely behoo [...]eful it is for us to hold a perpetual Watch over our hearts, and be jealous of such thoughts as spring out of them, it will appear by these reasons.

First, because that sin is of such a slie insinuating nature, that it [Page 169] will privily creep in, and closely cleave to our thoughts and in [...] ­tents, though we perceive it not. For as waters, though of them­selves most pure, will relish and savour of the earth and soi­through which they pass: so thoughts in themselves good, pas [...] sing through the corrupt and evil ground of our hearts, canno but receive some tincture, some dye, some relish from them. When David had an intent to build God an house, he doubtless conceived no otherwise of this his intent, then of a religious and honourable purpose, and in outward appearance there was no cause, why he should doubt of God's acceptance; yet we see this purpose of his misliked by God, and rejected, and the reason given, quia vir sanguinum es tu, because thou art a man of bloud. How shall we then secure our selves of any thought, if such an intent as this, so savouring of zeal, of sanctification, of love unto the glory of God, have such a flaw in it as makes it unprofitable? and how ne­cessary is it, that we bring all our imaginations and intents to the fire and to the refining pot, so throughly to try them, and bring them to their highest point of purity and perfection? Be it per­adventure, that the action be in it self good; if it be liable to any suspicion of evil, it is enough to blast it. It is the holy Ghost's rule given by the blessed Apostle, that we abstain from all shew and ap­pearance of evil, that we refrain as much as possible from all such actions, as are capable of misconstruction. What is more lawful, then for the labourer to have his hire? then for those that labour in the Gospel, to live by the Gospel? Yet we see St. Paul refused this liberty, and chose rather to work with his own hands; onely for this reason, because he would not give occasion to any, that would misinterpret his action, to live at others cost, and feed on the sweat of others brows. What befalls Princes many times, and great Persons that have abused their Authority, the people rise and suppress them, deface their Statues, forbid their Coin, put away all things that bear any memory of them: So seems our blessed Apostle to deal here: look what actions they be which bear any inscription, any image and title, any shew or spot of sin, these hath he thought good even to banish and quite prohibit. Our prophane Stories tell us, that when Iulius Caesar had divorc'd his wife; being ask'd why he did so, since nothing was brought against her to prove his dishonest, his answer was, that she that will be wife of Caesar, must not onely be free from dishonesty, but from all suspicion of it: [Page 170] Beloved, St. Paul tells the Corinthians, that he had espoused them unto one husband, that he might deliver them as a chaste Virgin unto Christ; and God every where in Scripture compares his Church unto an espoused Wife, and himself unto an Husband, a Husband far more jealous then ever Caesar was: How careful then must that Soul be, that intends to marry it self to such a jealous Husband, to abstain not onely from all pollution of sin, but from all suspici­on of it? Last of all, it is Tertullian's speech, Quanto facilius illici­ta timebit, qui etiam licita verebitur; It is wisdom sometimes to sus­pect and shun things that are lawful: For there are many actions in themselves good, which yet to many men become occasions of sin and scandal: For it is with our actions, as it is with our meats and drinks; As divers meats fit not to divers constitutions of bo­dy, so all actions accord not well with all tempers of mind: As therefore what dish it is we easily surfeit of, though it be other­wise good, it is wisdom totally to abstain from; so look what actions they be in which we find our selves prone to sin, it is good spiritual Physick to use abstinence, and quite to leave them. For if our Saviour commands us to pluck out our eyes, and pare off ours hands, if once they become unto us cause of sin, how much more then must weprune away all inward thoughts, all outward circum­stances, which become occasion of offence unto us?

A second reason, why I would perswade you to entertain a jea­lousie of all your thoughts and actions, is a natural over-charitable affection, which I see to be in most men unto their own ways; and which is strange, the worse they are, the more are we naturally in­clined to favour them: The reason is, because the worse they are, the more they are our own. When question was sometime made, Why good herbs grow so sparingly, and with great labour and pains, whereas weeds grow apace without any culture and tilling? it was an­swered, That the earth was a natural Mother to the one, to the other she was a Step-mother; the one she brought forth of her self, to the other she was constrain'd. Beloved it is with our hearts as it is with the Earth, the natural fruit of them is weeds and evil thoughts, unto them our hearts are as mothers, injusta virescunt, they spring up in us of themselves, without any care or manuring: but as for good thoughts, if they be found in our hearts, they are not natural, they are set there by a high hand, they are there by a kind of spiritual in-oculation and graffing, as men graff Apples [Page 171] and kind fruits upon Thorns and Crabs: No marvel then, if like choice herbs and fruits they grow so tenderly, and need so much care and cherishing. As therefore Parents, though their own children be very deformed, yet love them more then others, though more beautiful: so corrupt and evil thoughts are natural­ly dearer unto us then good, because we are as Mothers unto them, to the rest we are but Step-dames. Two notable fruits there are of this over-charitableness to our own actions. First, a willingness that we have to flatter, to deceive and abuse our own selves by pretences and excuses. There is a plain, a downright, and as it were a Countrey reprobate, one that sees his sin, and cares not much to excuse it, and is content to go on, and as it were in simplicity to cast himself away: There is a more witty, more refined, and as it were a Gentleman-like reprobate, one that strives to smooth and gild over his sin, to deceive others and himself with excuses and apologies; [...], as St. Basil speaks, to take great pains, and with the ex­pense of a great deal of wit and art to damn himself. When Saul, being sent against Amalek, had spared Agag and the best and fattest of the prey, at Samuel's coming to visit him, how doth he wipe his mouth, as if all had been well, and trimly composes himself to en­tertain him, Blessed art thou of the Lord, I have performed the com­mandment of the Lord? And when Samuel had shewed him his er­rour, how quickly hath he his excuse at his fingers ends, We have spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen to sacrifice unto the Lord? Et Deo adulatur & sibi lenocinatur, as Tertullian speaks, he thinks to gull Almighty God with fair and flattering pretences, and be­comes a baud to his own vice; nimium idem omnes fallimur it is the common errour of us all, and in most of our actions we do as Saul did, endeavour to put tricks upon our selves: Beloved, were we not partial, but rigid censurers of our own thoughts, this corrupt fruit would quickly rot and fall away. Again, there is a second fruit springing out of this favour and dotage in our own actions, an errour as common, though not so dangerous, for we are content many times to acknowledge that something is amiss in our actions, we will confess them to be sins, but we account of them as little sins, sins of a lesser fize, not so fearful, easily pardon­able. There is a sinner, who by committing some great and hei­nous crime (crimen devoratorium salutis, as Tertullian calls it, such [Page 172] a sin as with open mouth devours salvation) doth as it were with one step leap into hell, and of this kind of sinners the number is fewer: But abundance there are, who avoiding great and hei­nous sins, by committing lesser sins, as they think, can be content to go by degrees, and as it were step by step into hell. Beloved, let us a little put on the spectacle I but now spake of, that we may see whither any sin be so small, as we take it: I know there is dif­ference of sins; our Saviour tells us, that there is a beam, and there is a mote: but withall this I know, that the best way to keep us from sin, is minima pro maximis cavere, to loath even the least, as if it were the greatest; if we look through this glass, it will make us think every mote a beam. Sins in themselves are unequal, but in regard of us, and of our endeavour to avoid them, they are all equal. Fly from evil, saith the Psalmist; he tells us not, that there is one greater evil from which we must fly, and another less, from which 'tis enough if we do but go: but he bids us fly, and to make haste alike from all. To think that a sin is less then it is, may be dangerous, for it makes us the less careful to avoid it: but to mistake on the other hand, and think a sin greater then it is, this is a very profitable errour. Vtinam sic semper erraremus; would God we did always thus erre; for besides that there is no danger in it, it makes us more fearful to commit sin. Our Sa­viour reprehends the Pha [...]isees in the Gospel, because they could strain at gnats, but swallow camels; but yet it is true, that men learn at length to swallow camels, by swallowing gnats at first: Nemo repente fuit turpissimus, no sinner so hardy, as to set upon the greatest sins at first. The way by which men train up them­selves to the committing gross and heinous sins, is by not being at first consciencious of lesser sins, Et sane nescio, saith Paulinus in St. Hierom, an possimus leve aliquod peccatum dicere quod in Dei con­temptum admittitur: who dares call any sin little, that is commit­ted against God? Small contempts against great Princes are ac­counted great oversights; for what is wanting in the thing, is made up in the worth of the person. How great a sin then is the smallest contempt that is done against God? Prudentissimus ille est, qui non tam considerat quid jussum sit, quam illum, qui jusserit; nec quantitatem imperii, sed imperantis cogitat dignitatem. It is the best wisdom for us, not so much to consider, what is command­ed, as who it is that commandeth it, to consider, I say, not the [Page 173] smallness of the Law, but the greatness of the Law-giver. Sins comparatively may be counted greater or lesser, but absolutely none can be counted small. To conclude then this point, Charity suspecteth no harm, saith St. Paul: true, but we must note, that some virtues in us concern our selves, as Faith, Hope, Temperance, and the like: some virtues concern not our selves, but others; but such an one is Charity. Charity that wills Christians to think well of all others, can have little room upon our selves: Let us then make use of this Charity towards our Neighbours; hope the best of all their actions; but let us take heed how we be over-charitably minded to our selves. Caesar profess'd, that he would rather die, then suspect his friends; and he sped accordingly, for he died by the treachery of those freinds whom he suspected not. Let us take heed how we be over-kind unto our own thoughts, how we think it an errour to be too suspicious of them: [...]; peradventure those sons of our own hearts, whom we least suspect, will in the end prove those who shall betray us. But I come to a third reason. A third reason why I shall advise you to this jealousie over your own thoughts, is the difficulty of disco­vering them betime, and discerning of what spirit they are. For our heart is like that feild in the Gospel, in which the Husband­man sows good corn, and the enemy sows tares. God infuseth good thoughts, and the Devil ill. Now as weeds many times at their first budding are hardly known from good herbs; so at the first springing and budding of our thoughts, a hard matter it is to know the weed from the good herb, the corn from the tare. As Iudah in the Book of Genesis, knew not Tamar, till the fruit of his sin committed with her began to shew it self: so till the fruits of our thoughts and purposes begin to appear, except we search ve­ry narrowly, we can scarcely discover of what rank they are. Tunc ferrum quod latebat infundo supernatabat aquae, & inter palma­rum arbores myrrhae amaritudo reperta est; Then the iron that lay in the bottom, will swim at the top of the water, and among the pleasant Palm-trees, will be found the bitterness of Myrrh. We read in the second of Samuel, that when the Ark was brought from Kirjath-jearim, the oxen that drew the cart shook it, and Vzzah reaching out his hand to save it from falling, for his good service was laid dead in the place. Doubtless Vzzah his accom­panying the Ark was a sign of his love unto it; his love unto it [Page 174] begat in him a fear to see it in danger; his fear to see it in dan­ger, bred in him a desire to keep it from danger. See, Beloved, what a number of golden thoughts are here; yet as we read in the Book of Iob, when the servants of God came and stood before him, Satan also came and stood amongst them; So in this chorus and quire of these Angelical thoughts, the devil finds a place to rest himself in: For this desire of Vzzah to save the Ark from danger, made him forget what was written, that none should touch the Ark, save onely the Preists: the breach of which precept brought that fear­ful judgment upon him. You see, Beloved, that though the course of our thoughts be like Iacob's Ladder, and God himself be at one end of them, yet Satan, if he can, will be at the other. Let us learn by this example of Vzzah, betimes to discover our thoughts, and not to suffer them to grow till their fruit betray them. Indeed our Saviour hath given us a rule, You shall know them by their fruits; but we must take heed that we extend not this rule too far: Vzzah felt the fruit of his thoughts to his own cost. It is never good trying conclusions there, Vbi poenastatim sequitur errorem. Let us learn to decipher our thoughts then, when we may do it without danger, whilst they are in semine, whilst they are yet but budding and peeping above ground, Donec Sar­culo tantum opus est, non Securi; whil'st yet there is onely need of the Weed hook, and not of the Hatchet.

A fourth reason yet there is, for which I would counsel you to hold a strict hand over your thoughts, and it is, Because that from outward sins we can better preserve our selves, then from our sins in thought. Beloved, there is a transient sin, and there is an imminent sin; there is a sin that is outwardly acted by the ser­vice of the body, there is a sin that requires not the help of the body, but is committed inwardly in the very thought and soul, a speculative or an intellectual sin. Outward sins are many ways pass'd by, means may be wanting, company may hinder, time and place may be inconvenient; but for speculative sins, or sins in thought, all times, all occasions, all places are alike: [...], saith St. Basil: A man, saith he, of great gravity and countenance sits in the midst of the market­place, with many hundreds about him, and looking upon him, yet notwithstanding this man, [...], even this [Page 175] man in the mid'st of all the company fancies to himself what he desires, and in his imaginations goes unto the place of sin, or ra­ther retires into his own heart, and there he finds place and means to commit [...], a sin that hath no witness but God. If we retire to our private chambers, these sins will fol­low us thither, and as Baanah and Richab did by Isboseth Saul's son, they will find us out upon our beds, and slay us there. If we go to the Church, they will find us out there, and as Adramelech and Sharezer slew Sennacherib, whil'st he was worshipping his god; they will set upon us even in the midst of our holiest medita­tions and prayers: neither Chamber nor Church, no place so private, none so holy, that can give us Sanctuary, or shelter us from them. St. Hierom confesses thus much of himself, that when he had forsaken the world, all outward occasions of sin, and gone into the Desert, and shut himself up in a poor Cell, and mace­rated his body, [...], with watchings, with fastings, and perpetual prayers and religious exercise, yet could he not be secure from them: Pallebant ora jejuniis, & mens de­sideriis aestuabat in frigido corpore; his body was now grown pale, and meagre, and cold, but yet his heart burnt with unlawful de­sires. Again, they are sins of quick and easie dispatch, they are done [...], as St. Basil notes; in a moment of time, without labour of body, without care of mind: One wanton look makes us guilty of Adultery, one angry con­ceit guilty of Murder, one covetous conceit guilty of Robbery. Whatsoever is outwardly committed, either with difficulty of circumstance, or labour of body, or danger of Law, that is in­wardly committed in the soul without any trouble at all. Third­ly, consider but the strength of your thoughts, and you will see there is great reason to keep them low; for there was no man yet that ever was foil'd but by them, and not by the outward acting of sin. For the outward action is but the Cortex, the bark of the sin; but the very body and substance of sin is the wicked thought. Beware of men, saith our Saviour, when he gave his Apostles counsel how to provide for their safety in times of outward dan­ger: but if you will provide against inward dangers, we shall not need to beware of men, or of any outward force whatsoever. Let every man beware of himself, for in this case, every man is his own greatest enemy. To draw then to a conclusion: That sins of [Page 176] thoughts prevail not against us, our way is by a jealous care first to prevent them; and to this hath the greatest part of my dis­course hitherto tended. Secondly, if we have suffered them to gain a little ground upon us, let us betimes take the reins into our own hands and pull them back again, and cast out our Ad­versary whil'st he is yet weak. [...], saith St. Chrysostom, such are the souls of holy men: their recovery is so quick, that they may seem to have risen before they fell. It is a great sign of spiritual life in us, to be quickly sensible of the first track and footing of sin. For as bo­dies of the best and purest complexion have their senses quickest, so that soul which soonest perceives the first scent of sin, is of the divinest temper. Our Books tell us, that Dionysius the Tyrant was grown so gross and fat, that though men thrust bodkins into him, he could not feel it. Beloved, there is a sinner like unto this Dionysius; David tells us of him, when he describes un­to us a sinner whose heart is fat as brawn. That we fall not there­fore into that like [...], stupidity and senselesness, our way is to catch those young Foxes, and strangle them in the nest: Nolo sinas cogitationem crescere, saith St. Hierom, suffer not your thoughts to increase and gather strength upon you. For as the man that touches onely at hot iron, and stays not on it, burns not his hand, so the first glances of evil thoughts harm us not; the harm is, if by consent, though never so little, you stay upon them. To be free from all on-set of evil thoughts is a matter impossible, whil'st we have these hearts of flesh: Ille laudatur qui ut coeperit cogitare sordida, statim interficit cogitata, & allidit ad petram, petra autem est Christus. That man is praise-worthy, who assoon as any un­clean thought, any child of Babylon is born in his heart, straight-way strangles it in the birth, and dashes it against the rock, which Rock is Christ. Thus, &c.

A SERMON On JOHN xiv. 27.

‘Peace I leave unto you: My peace I give unto you.

THis portion of Scripture (Beloved) contains a Legacy, which our Saviour gave to his Apostles, and in them to all that are his, when he was about to take his leave of the world. The less shall I need seriously to commend it to your considerations, or to take much pains in wooing your atten­tion. The words of dying men, though neither the speeches or the persons concern us at all, yet they usually move us much, we hear them with a kind of Religion, and we suffer them to take impression in us. With what affection then would this speech deserve to be heard, delivered by a Per­son, the worthiest among the sons of women, and concerning you near, yea, very near, as near as your own souls concern ye, as being the Saviour of them, and now breathing his last, and spend­ing the little remainder of his breath in gracious promises and [Page 178] comforts, concerning the whole state and weal of your souls? And yet to raise your attention a little higher: Such things as we are made present possessours of, though they be of meaner va­lue, we prize higher then things of better worth, if we live onely in expectation, if we have onely a promise of them. Now this last most excellent and comfortable Sermon of our Saviour, though in it are many special arguments of his Love, many Gifts and Le­gacies bestowed on his Church; yet were they almost all assured unto his Disciples, but by way of Promise: onely this everlasting gift of Peace, of which alone they are made the present possessours, that as at his coming into the world, he brought Peace with him; for at his Birth there was peace throughout the whole world: so now at his departure he might leave peace again unto the world, though after another manner.

And this order of disposition seems to be observed, not with­out peculiar reason. It seems that all other blessings the Apostles might be without; yea, that Grand and Mother blessing, the mi­raculous coming of the Comforter, they did for a time expect; but this blessing of peace, they might not, they could not want. It is transcendent to all other blessings, and reciprocal with a Chri­stian man; it flowes essentially from the very substantial Prin­ciples of our profession. Seneca, that saw something, as it were, in a dream concerning a wise man, could tell us, Securitas pro­prium bonum sapientis; Inward and solid peace is a good appro­priated to a wise man: We that know Christianity alone to be truly wisdom, know likewise, that once a true Christian, then truly peaceful, and no true peace but in the true Christian. Yea, it hath pleased God to characterize himself, his Kingdom, and his Servants, by this term of peace, as by a stamp and seal to be known by. He styles himself the King and Father of peace; his Kingdom, the Kingdom of peace; his Servants, the Sons of peace; the fruits of his Kingdom, love and peace, and joy in the holy Ghost. The Church therefore anciently, that by this, as by a badge, she might be known whom she served, every where throughout the publick Form of Divine Service, interlaced this comfortable manner of salutation, Peace be with you all. [...], saith St. Chrysostom, When the Bishop came into the Church or Temple, he came like Noah's Dove into the Ark, with an Olive branch of peace in his mouth, and his first words were, Peace be with [Page 179] you all; [...], when he began his Sermon, his Proem was, Peace be with you all; [...] when he bless'd the people, his blessing was the blessing of peace, Peace be with you all; [...], &c. When the greatest Sacrifice of Christ was represented at the Lord's Altar, he went to celebrate the memory of it with the self same Insense, with which our Saviour himself here goes about to per­form it, Peace be with all, [...] and ever and anon is inserted, Grace be with you, and peace. Neither was the voice of the Church onely the voice of Iacob, a soft and still voice, and her actions like unto the hands of Esau, rough, implacable, and indisposed to peace; but in all her oppositions she shewed a sweet and peaceable behaviour. Misericorditer si fieri posset, etiam bella gererentur à bonis, saith St. Austin, Good men, as far as it is possible, even wage war mercifully. And St. Hierom observes, that the children of Israel went to fight with peaceable hearts; Inter ipsos quoque gladios & effusiones sanguinis, & cadavera prostratorum, non suam sed pacis victoriam cogitantes, amidst the swords, and bloudshed, and slaughtered carkases, not minding their own, but the victory of peace.

Oft-times we prove unthankful to the giver, because we skill not of the worth of the gift. Lest therefore we wrong our Sa­viour, by undervaluing his inestimable gift of Peace, it is necessa­ry we look into the words of the Will, and see what they pur­port, and know the worth of that, which by them he hath be­stowed upon his Church, Peace I leave unto you, my peace I give unto you.

Again, whatsoever was made by God, and no good is there but of God, Every good and perfect gift comes down from above, from the Father of lights, saith St. Iames; yet notwithstanding, some things there are, which it pleaseth him peculiarIy to style His, It is a grant and favour that few things have merited to be cal­led the things of God. Having therefore said, Peace, Iest he might be thought to have bestowed, facile aliquod & parabile, that which at another hand might have been obtained, as well as his, he adds my peace, My peace: The Latin expresses it more emphatically thus, Pacem illam meam, That peace of mine, that you know of, and the world skills not of; so though all good things, and peace in its amplest latitude, be of God, yet it is a peculiar grace, that of peace here given to be called His. We are [Page 180] therefore to note, that it is one thing to have pacem Dei, another thing to have pacem Deum: the peace of God, or God which is peace. For Christ himself, as he is to us Righteousness, and Sancti­fication, and Redemption, so is he our Peace. He therefore that knows Christ, knows what the peace is that is here given.

Thirdly, as all good gifts are of God, so is he the Giver of them all; yet somewhat there is, the Donation whereof he so ap­propriates to himself, that he takes to himself a title to be the Giver of them. Silver and gold is mine, saith the Lord by the Pro­phet Haggee; yet Abraham would by no means accept of the spoil at the hands of the King of Sodom: Why? Lest, saith he, he should say, I have enriched Abraham. Some things are so given by God, that men will claim unto themselves a part in the Act of giving: Abraham was very jealous of this, he suffers none to part stakes with God. As was Abraham there, so is Christ here: Lest some Emperour, or great Potentate, upon conceit of the Churches quietness, under his Government, or of Largesses, and great Immu­nities, or rich Endowments bestowed upon the Church, should boast and say, I have given peace unto the Church; Christ tells us, that the peace that rests upon his Disciples He leaves, He gives: Peace I leave, my peace I give.

Fourthly, I told you what hitherto Christ had given to his Church, was but by way of promise: Lest therefore he might seem to lessen his credit by large promises, he tells them, this gift of peace they stood already possess'd of, he now left it with them; And yet further, lest they might imagine, that they were rather made keepers of what was another man's, then possessours of what was their own, he adds, My peace I give unto you, he makes them Lords of it, he gives them an absolute propriety and interest in it.

Last of all, he hath scattered and given to the poor, saith the Psalmist, [...] he hath with a Royal kind of negligence, and heedlesness, thrown about, catch who can; like Princes, who on some solemnities cast money among the people, without care who take it up; he makes his Sun to rise upon the good & bad, and rains upon the just and unjust; Quam multi sunt indigni luce, saith Se­neca, & tamen dies oritur? How many men are there, that deserve not so much as the benefit of common light, and yet the day dawns on them? Thus indeed it fares in these outward and more general benefits of God; Deo parum curae de his tribuendis, quae etiam ho­stibus [Page 181] tribuit, saith Martin Luther; God seems to have but little care in bestowing those benefits, of which his enemies are par­takers, as well as his freinds. But here it is not so, that great Floud of Liberality here receiveth an Ebb, and is bounded with certain banks. In bestowing of this great gift of Peace he hath given his arm a check, and seems to be very scrupulous and care­ful where it lights: He singles out his Disciples out of all the world, with them he makes his everlasting covenant of peace. Peace, saith he, I leave unto you, my peace I give unto you. So then, out of this Paraphrase which I have made on these words, it appears there are three points principally considerable in them.

  • First, the Gift, Peace, My peace.
  • Secondly, the Giver, I leave, I give.
  • Thirdly, the Subject on whom the gift is bestowed, To you.

To speak of these three, of Peace, of Christ, of the Church, in their latitude, were a matter infinite, we must therefore think of them with a mutual relation of each to other; and so conceive of Christ as the Giver of peace, and so of the Church as of the sub­ject of peace, and so of Peace, as of the Gift of Christ, and an Attri­bute of the Church. To these three points arising directly out of the words, there may be added certain other very worthy your consideration, arising out of the manner of delivery of them.

First, the Certainty of this promise; doubtless, though Heaven and Earth shake, though men and devils rage, and the mountains be cast into the sea; yet to the Church and every member there­of, wheresoever abiding, there is given, left, and remains peace. And this I gather out of the doubling of the words, Peace I leave, my peace I give. For as Ioseph tells Pharaoh, Gen. xli. And for that the dream is doubled unto Pharaoh twice, it is because the thing is established by God, and God will surely bring it to pass: So may we say of these words, they are doubled to his Disciples, because the thing is established by God, and certainly with his Church is peace for evermore.

Secondly, the incommunicability of this peace, with many out of his Church; I told you, this was a Legacy: of it therefore none partake, but such as are specified in the Will. Here are none menti­oned by the Testatour, but such as were sealed by him for his own: Iudas saith the story, was gone from them. To that part of the Church therefore, not which we see, but which we beleive, is this [Page 182] blessing of peace, by right of inheritance, pertaining.

But are these things so as we have said? is it a matter of so incontroleable certainty, that Christ hath left peace unto his Church; that it were almost infidelity to doubt of it? Surely, if we look not narrowly into it, we shall rather think peace, which we make the Churches peculiar, to have been an utter stranger unto her. The Religious Rites of Gentilism, how had they their beginnings? their progress? without opposition? no disputes? no conten­tions? Scarce any thing of worth, for so many thousand years the world lived under it, done for, or in pretence of Religion! But no sooner was Christian Religion come to the birth, but streight it was attended by that great Dragon in the wilderness, spewing out whole seas of dissentions to overwhelm it. The Apostles themselves, as with one hand they sowed the seed of the Word, so were they constrained with the other to pluck up and weed out Heresies arising with it. So venterous was the envious man, not onely whilst men slept (for the Apostles were no sleepers) but whil'st they were in act, and sweat, to intersperse his Tares with God's good Seed. The Iewish Ceremonies, a plant of God's own planting, seems scarcely to have been acquainted with it: God throughout that story, of which himself was the Pen­man, registring no one act of any contention concerning the in­terpretation of the Law; yea afterward, when some dissentions had crept in, they seem to have been of an inferiour order, and never to have broken out to any remarkable inconvenience. But in the Churches story, what leafe, what line almost gives not in large evidence against the Church's peace? it being almost no­thing else but an Index of controversies, which when they were at least, occasioned great Schism and rents in the Church, and after­wards receiving strength, brake forth to further inconvenience, one Christian persecuting another with that heat, that Christia­nity scarce ever felt under the hand of Paganism: now in our Age they have enforced the rending asunder of great Provinces, and mighty Kingdoms, without any hope, as far as humane rea­son reacheth it, of ever being re-united. Again, if we look into Peace, as the world esteems it, that is, to the outward prosperity, to the good and civil correspondence which is betwixt man and man: if we consider what part the Church hath had in this her [Page 183] estate, for some hundred of years, was truly represented in her great Champion St. Athanasius, of whom it was said, St. Athana­sius against all the world, and all the world against St. Athanasius. She was sent forth into the world with no other hope, but of the world's hatred; with no other lot, then poverty and persecu­tion: so little claim seems she to have to secular ease, and outward state, which by most is termed the Church's peace, much less to Riches, and Glory, and Provinces, and whole Kingdoms, which by some are counted the Church's Patrimony.

To clear these things, and first, to remove the scandal of Ec­clesiastical dissentions, give me leave to commend unto you two facile notes, which of your selves you might easily have observed. First, it hath ever been the practise of the divil, to bend his ma­nifest strength and cheif forces against that, which God hath with most strictness and severity commanded to be kept: Whence it comes to pass, that what we are especially commanded to ob­serve, in that we usually shew our selves most frequent and no­torious transgressours. When the Lord was to chuse himself a people out of the whole world, habituated in Idolatry, his great­est care was to wean them from the Idols of the Nations: His com­mandments therefore to the Iews, and almost all the messages of the Prophets, beat on nothing so much as on this point, to be­ware of the gods of the Heathen, whence they were taken. Yet such a strange bewitching madness possess'd them, that even almost in the sight of the Sea, that had given way unto them; when the cry of the drown'd Egyptians was scarce out of their ears, they fell to Idols. Afterward what breathing time had they from plagues and calamities, into which, for this crime, if not altogether, yet cheifly they fell, wherein they did not strangely relapse? Which of their Kings had his heart right before God? Solomon himself, who had he not known God, yet by that light he had of Moral and Natural Wisdom, could not chuse but see the folly of it, must needs to his other exorbitant lusts add this, Adultery with stocks and stones! But when long experience had taught the world its errour, and the absurd Legends of their gods their lying miracles, and their halting Oracles became, so palpable; that the learned writ in scorn of them, and the unlearned sufficiently de­scried them. Christ by his Apostles being to lay the ground of Christianity, seems to have thought it a matter superfluous to [Page 184] spend many precepts in beating down Idolatry, a thing of it self now ready to fall. Neither was there in the Church's increase ever feared a voluntary relapse unto Paganism: few men being so simple, but though they had not the grace to imbrace Christ, they had the wit to see, as good do so, as follow Idols: And among all the Christian Emperours, there is but one alone hath fallen in­to the crime of Apostacy, and is known by that name. Christ gives therefore a new and a great commandment of Love, of Peace and Vnity: This he makes the character of his, By this, saith he, shall men know that ye are my disciples: This he and his Apostles every where beat on, and therefore by his Apostle St. Paul, he calls the message which he sent by him, The Gospel of Peace, as being the cheifest argument of his Embassage, yea, the whole sum of the Law: Love which is so much spoken of, and an indivi­dual companion of Faith, being either peace it self, or the emi­nency and perfection of peace. No marvel then, if that ancient ene­my of the Church's peace hath pull'd every cable, used all occasi­ons, set all his engines and instruments awork, to infringe the quietness and union of the Church, especially in the Ministry, who as they are the Church of the Church, so is their peace the very bond and seal of all union in the Church. Much might I say, partly reproving, partly bewailing Ecclesiastical dissentions: but neither were it fitting to my Auditory, nor profitable for the times, they being so, as an Ancient spake of his own, In quibus nec vitia nostra pati possumus, nec remedia; in which we can endure neither our vices, nor their remedies. Onely thus much shall be added by way of advise unto the Laity, It shall little avail them to urge these things against us: The light of the truth shines too clear, the way of life is too plain for them to claim any privilege, or plead any excuse from our dissentions: The voice which came to St. Austin, Tolle, lege, comes likewise to every one of them, Take up and read; Open your books, and look on that which is before your eyes, and there needs no more ado. It was never the intent of the holy Ghost, to make it a matter of wit and subtilty, to know how to be saved. Bring me a soul, not one deeply learn'd, sharp and subtil, Sed simplicem, rudem, & impolitam, & qualem habet, qui [...]m [...] l [...]m habet, as Tertullian speaks, a dull, a silly, an unlet­ter [...] [...] and such an one as that man hath, that hath nothing [...] to witness him to be a man, and even this shall [Page 185] with ease apprehend what is necessary to save him.

The second thing I would wish you to observe, is this, That there is a great errour in many men, who guiding their eye by what they see of the Church, if they descry a deluge, or darkness, or confusion in her, streight imagine the powers of Christ's pro­mise to be shaken: Whereas every Christian man is bound, even in the midst of winds, and storms, and tempests, to recount with himself, that notwithstanding this, still the Promise of peace is made good unto his Church. We must observe therefore, that we have two manner of eyes to look upon the Church of God; one of Charity, by which we suppose every one, which professes the name of Christ, to be of his fold; another of Faith, by which we believe that God doubtless hath, and shall have to the worlds end, a select and chosen company, sealed up for the day of Re­demption, such as never shall finally miscarry, or be taken out of his hands. The first extends it self to the whole company of Professors,Here Charity may be sometimes, and many times is mistaken. to Heretical and Er­ring Churches, yea, even to Reprobates; and this is it we term the Visible Church. The se­cond comprehends onely the number of his Elect. Now all those glorious speeches, and gracious promises, made unto the holy Church in Scripture, are belonging to none but this, on this alone, and on every member thereof, wheresoever living under the roof of heaven, truly resides that gracious pro­mise of peace, even on the Coelestial Ierusalem, and the Israel that is of God. It is a fruitless labour for any man, to think to make good to the eye of experience, those glorious words in Scri­pture spoken of this Church. God hath not acquainted any man so far with her, as to descry thus much; neither could this be, unless the persons were definitely known. And this is an Attribute of God, reserv'd to him alone, to know who are his. Though no man therefore know any thing at all concerning this Church, it matters not: The foundation of God still stands sure, notwith­standing this. That of the Church of Rome, so much urged in disgrace of the Reformed Churches, Where was your Church before Luther rose? to this purpose is clean impertinent; the Labours of men, who have gone about to make it good, and prove a suc­cession of true Christians, save onely to stop the mouths of idle Questionists, might well have been spared. For all that is [Page 186] necessary to be proved in this case, is nothing else but this, That there hath been from the Apostles times a perpetual succession of the Ministry, to Preach and to Baptize: Of this, by the providence of God, there remains very good evidence unto the world, and shall remain. But this makes nothing to the true succession of the Elct: for it were not prejudicial to the Church of Christ, or any promise concerning it, though none of the Ministery, ever since the Apostles times, had been of the number of the Elect, according to that of St. Chrysostom, in his Comments on the Acts, where consider­ing the weight of the Minister's Calling, and their slackness in ex­ecuting it, he cries out, [...], &c. I much marvel, whether ever any Minister were saved or no. As therefore no man ought to be discouraged in these uncertainties and contentions, so let no man flatter himself in his outward conformity and plausible correspon­dence with the Church's constitutions; as if he might upon con­science of this, securely pronounce himself possess'd of the peace here given to the Church. When all this outward shew of state shall be gone off the Stage, it may peradventure prove for the good onely of some few unrespected, unthought of Souls, who had least part in all this mask. For that falls out oft-times be­twixt God's intent, and Man's comments, which the wise Histo­rian sometimes observed to have been the conceit of his times, concerning Claudius the Emperour, Quippe fama, Spe, venera­tione, potius omnes destinabantur imperio, quam quem futurum prin­cipem fortuna in occulto tenebat: by the common voice, hope, obsequious carriage of most, every one was destin'd to the Em­pire before him, unto whom in secret the providence of God had assigned it. ‘I intend not by this to animate any man to disdain order, it is a Divine thing, and without it, Angels, and the Com­mon-wealth of God cannot consist. Onely I would wish men to beware, lest whilst they doat on the outward consent and union of the Church, that befall them, which in our age hath befallen our Schools, where men for a long time were so studious of Order and Method, that Arts and Sciences were almost forgotten. We must not so much gaze on the outward quietness of the Church, as that we forget to reflect into our selves, and examine our own inward peace.

From this part of the Church's peace, consisting in outward consent and harmony, necessary in its kind, I pass to another of an [Page 187] inferiour order, namely, Peace from persecution, joyned with out­ward glory, and temporal felicity. The first days of the Church, those heroick and exemplary times, never tasted of this: and when afterwards under Christian Emperours it was partaker of it, the censure of St. Hierom was most true, Potentia & Divitiis major virtutibus minor fact a est; In Wealth and Authority she grew greater, but in her Virtues she much impaired. But that which in the first times, fuisset ejus impudens votum, as Seneca speaks in another case, it had been also most impudence in the Church so much as to have wish'd. She is now provided of Proctors for the purpose, that have entitl'd her, as it were, by right of inhe­ritance to all kind of secular honour and state, as if she had so sure a claim unto it, as the Iews had to the Land of Promise. Yea, it is generally thought a matter of congruity, that the world go well with every good Christian man. Against those I will lay down this one conclusion, That if we look into the tenour of the New Te­stament, we shall find, that neither the Church, nor any Christian man by title of his profession, hath any certain claim to any se­cular blessing. Indeed if we look into the Iews Common-wealth, and consider the letter of Moses Law, they may seem not onely to have a direct promise of Temporal felicity, but of no other save that. For in the Law God gives to Moses the dispensation of no other but temporal Blessings and Cursings in the xxvj. of Le­viticus, and the xxviij. of Deuteronomy; where God seems to strive with all possible efficacy, to express himself in both kinds, there is not a line conteining that which should betide them at their ends: all their weal, all their woe, seem'd to expire with their lives. What sense they had of future rewards, or with what conceit they passed away to immortality, I list not to dispute. This suffices to shew, that there is a main difference in the hopes of the Church before and since Christ, concerning outward pro­sperity, as for Christians, to them [...], saith St. Chrysostom, they have greater and harder races to run, greater prizes to take in hand, then our Fathers before Christ. The Church was then in her youth, she was to be led by sense as a child: we are come to the age of perfect men in Christ. That the Church therefore might not deceive her self with this outward peace, which is but a peace of ornament, he strips her, as it were, of her borrowed beauty, and washes off her Fucus, gives [Page 188] her no interest in the world, sends her forth into a strange Land as he did Abraham, not having possession of a foot; and which is yet more, not having so much as a promise of any, which yet Abraham had. If Christ and his Apostles teach, as sometimes they do, Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven, and the righteousness thereof, and these things shall be cast in upon you. That Godliness hath the promise both of this life, and of the life to come; It is not presently to be conceived, that every true Christian man shall doubtless come on, and thrive in the world. That which they teach is no more but this, That we ought not to despair of the Providence of God; for look what is the reward and portion of vertue and industry in other men, the same and much more shall it have in Christians, their goodness shall have the like approbation, their moral virtues shall have the like esteem, their honest labours shall thrive alike: If sometimes it hath fallen out otherwise, it is but the same lot which hath befallen virtue and honesty, even in the Pagan as well as the Christian. In the fifth of St. Matthew, where Christ teacheth us, That the meek spirited shall possess the earth, think we that it was the intent of the holy Ghost to make men Lords of the earth, to endow them with Territories and large Dominions? That which he teaches us, is but a moral lesson, such as common reason and experience confirms, That meek and mild spirited men are usually the quietest possessours of what they hold. But that these speeches, and such as these in the New Testament, be not wrong'd by us, by being drawn to our avaritious conceits, and thought to halt, if sometime the meek-spirited become a spoil to the extortioner, and be stript of all he hath, give me leave to commend unto you one rule for the in­terpretation of them, which will give much ease to unstable minds. The holy Ghost delivering general propositions in things, sub­ject to variety and humane casualties, is to be understood for the truth of them, as far as the things themselves are capable of truth, and according to the certainty of them. There are many propositions fram'd even in Natural things, of Eternal truth, no instance neither of time nor person can be brought to disprove them, our daily experience evermore finds them so. There is a second order of things created by God himself, subject to mutability, which some­times are not at all, and being produced owe their being some­times to one cause, sometimes to another, the efficacy of the cause [Page 189] no way being determined to this effect, but of it self indifferent to produce it or not. The managing of affairs, whether in publick of Common-weals, or in private of any man's particular state or calling; Moral rules of behaviour and carriage, yea, all the things that are spoken concerning the temporal weal or woe of actions good or bad, they are all ranged in this second order. Now in all these things it is impossible there should be propositions made of unavoidable certainty. If the rules and observations drawn for our direction, ut plurimum, usually and in the ordina­ry course of events, hold currant, it is enough to make them Maxims of Truth; it matters not though at some time, upon some occasions, in some person, they fail. Now from the condi­tion of these things, the propositions made by the holy Ghost himself, are by their Authour not exempted. In the Book of the Proverbs, the holy Ghost hath registred such store of Moral wis­dom, and Precepts of carriage in temporal matters, that all the wisdom of the Heathen, most renowned for Morality, come far short of it. These Precepts, though with us they have, as in­deed they ought to have, much more credibility, as delivered unto us by an Authour of surer observation, and exempted from all possibility of errour; yet notwithstanding, in regard of the things themselves, they are of the like certainty, of the same degree of truth, when we find them in the Writings of these fa­mous Ethnicks, whom it pleased the holy Spirit to endue with Natural wisdom, and Moral discretion, which they have, when we read them registred in the Oracles of God, and thesame un­certainty have they in regard of some particulars, when they be spoken by Solomon, which they have, when they are uttered by Plato, or Euripides. Solomon much inveigheth against the folly of Suretiship; was it therefore never heard of, that a wise man was surety for his neighbour, with good success? I. Caesar, when he thought to have upheld his estate through mercy and cle­mency, lost his life; is it therefore false which Solomon teacheth, that Mercy upholdeth the throne of the King? He knew well, and his son had dear experience of it, that the peoples hearts are won and kept by mild and merciful dealing, rather then by rough and tyrannous proceedings: yet he could not be igno­rant, that even Kings sometimes reap mischeif, and death there, where they have plentifully sowed love and mercy. Thus then, [Page 190] and no otherwise, are we to understand the holy Ghost preach­ing unto us the reward of the meek-spirited, and the promises of this life to the godly. For we are not to suppose, that God in his ordinary proceedings concerning his Elect, exempts things from that mutability and change, to which he made them subject in the day of their Creation. All things come alike to all, (saith the Wise-man) There is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked, to the clean and unclean, to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sa­crificeth not. As is the good, so is the sinner, and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath. Which speech is true, in regard of those humane casualties, from which the good Christian is no more exempted, then the honest Pagan. But it is a maxim of eternal truth. and the joynt conspiracy of Heaven and Hell shall never be able to infringe it, That all things work for the good of them that sear God. Though sometime the meek-spirited men be turned out of house and home, and the godly man have not a place whereon to rest his head. By this then it appears, that the title of Christian men unto temporal blessings, is not out of any Divine Right, giving undoubted assurance, but onely of com­mon equity and congruity, by which it pleaseth God usually to crown honest counsels with good success. As then this claim is uncertain, so hath not the desire of Christians to intermeddle with secular business been scandalous to our profession. Iulian the Emperour, in an Epistle of his to the Bostrenses, taxing certain seditious Christians, tells them directly, that their tumult sprang not out of any probable reason, but meerly, [...]. But onely because he had made it unlawful for them to sit as Judges between man and man, to interpose themselves in matters of Wills, to interpret other mens possessions to their own uses, to make division of all things unto themselves: That much of this might be probable, I will not easily deny. He that shall look into the Acts of Christians, as they are recorded by more indifferent Writers, shall easily per­ceive, that all that were Christians were not Saints. But this is the testimony of an Enemy. Yea, but have not our Freinds ta­ken up the same complaint? Doubtless if it had been the voice and approbation of the Bridegroom, that Secular State and Au­thority had belonged to the Church, either of due or of necessity, [Page 191] the freinds of the Bridegroom hearing it, would have rejoyced at it; but it is found they have much sorrowed at it. St. Hilary much offended with the opinion, that even Orthodox Bishops of his time had taken up, that it was a thing very necessary for the Church to lay hold on the temporal sword, in a Tract of his against Auxentius the Arrian Bishop of Millain, thus plainly bespeaks them, Ac primum miserari libet nostrae aetatis laborem. And first of all, I must needs pity the labour of our Age, and bewail the fond opinions of the present times, by which men suppose the arm of flesh can much advantage God, and strive to defend, by secular ambition, the Church of Christ. I beseech you, Bishops, you that take your selves so to be, whose authority in preaching of the Gospel did the Apostles use? By the help of what powers preach'd they Christ, and turn'd al­most all Nations from Idols to God? Took they unto themselves any honour out of Princes Palaces, who after their stripes, amidst their chains in prison, sung praises unto God? Did St. Paul, when he was made a spectacle in the Theatre, summon together the Churches of Christ by the Edicts and Writs of Kings? 'Tis likely he had the safe conduct of Nero, or Vespasian, or Decius, through whose hate unto us, the confession of the faith grew more famous. Those men who maintain'd themselves with their own hands and industry, whose solemn Meetings were in Parlours and secret Closets; who travelled through Villages and Towns, and whose Countreys by Sea and Land, in spite of the prohibition of Kings and Councils. 'Tis to be thought that these had the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Did not the power of God sufficiently manifest it self above man's hate, when by so much the more Christ was preach'd, [...]y how much he was forbidden to be taught. But now, which is a greif to think, dust and earths appro­bation gives countenance to the Sacred Faith: whil'st means are made to joyn ambitious Titles to the Name of Christ, Christ hath lost the reputation of self-sufficiency. The Church now terrifies with Exile, and Prisons, and constrains men to beleive her, who was wont to find no place but in Prisons and Banishment. She depends upon the good acceptation of her favourites, who was wont to be hallowed in the fear of her Persecutours; she now puts Preists to flight, who was formerly propagated by fugitive Preists. She glories that she is be­loved of the world, who could never have been Christ's, except the world had hated her. What shall we answer to this complaint? Our enemies are apt to traduce the good things in us, our freinds [Page 192] to flatter our vice and imbecillity: But when our freinds and enemies do both joyntly consent to lay open our shame, to whose judgment shall we appeal, or whether shall we flie? Whe­ther? Even to thee, O Lord Christ, but not as to a Judge; too well we know thy sentence. Thou hast sent us messengers of peace, but we, like Hierusalem, thy ancient Love, have not un­derstood the things belonging to our peace. O Lord, let us know them in this our day, & let them no longer be hidden from our eyes. Look down, O Lord, upon thy poor dismembred Church, rent and torn with discords, and even ready to sink. Why should the Neutral or Atheist any longer confirm himself in his Irreligion by reasons drawn from our dissentions? Or why should any greedy minded worldling prophecie unto himself, the ruines of thy Sanctuary, or hope one day to dip his foot in the bloud of thy Church? We will hope, O Lord, (for what hin­ders?) that notwithstanding all supposed impossibilities, thou wilt one day in mercy look down upon thy Sion, and grant a gracious enterveiw of freinds so long divided. Thou that wroughtest that Great Reconciliation between God and Man, is thine arm waxen shorter? Was it possible to reconcile God to Man? To reconcile Man to Man is it impossible? Be with those, we beseech thee, to whom the presecution of Church Contro­versies is committed, and like a good Lazarus drop one cooling drop into their Tongues, and Pens, too too much exasperated each against other. And if it be thy determinate will and counsel, that this abomination of desolation standing where it ought not, con­tinue unto the end, accomplish thou with speed the number of thine Elect, and hasten the coming of thy Son our Saviour, that he may himself in person sit, and judge, and give an end to our con­troversies, since it stands not with any humane possibility. Direct thy Church, O Lord, in all her petitions for peace, teach her wherein her peace consists, and warn her from the world, and bring her home to thee; that all those that love thy peace, may at last have the reward of the Sons of peace, and reign with thee in thy Kingdom of peace for ever. Grant this, O God, for thy Son's sake, Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with thee, and the holy Ghost, be ascribed all Praise, Might, Majesty, and Do­minion, now and for ever.

The profit of GODLINESS. The First SERMON On 1 TIM. iv. 8.

‘But Godliness is profitable unto all things.’

THat which Zeba and Zalmannah tell Gideon, in the Book of Iudges, As is the man, so is his strength, is true not onely as we are men, but as we are Christians too. As is the Christian, so is his strength for the performance of the Acts of Christianity. Some Christians are as Iether was, young, and unfit to draw the sword; others as Gideon, strong, and fit for manlike employments. Some Christians there are, to whom there can no better Argument be used, then the love of Christ, and the commemoration of their duties: such as St. Paul was, who to gain Christ, esteemed all other things as dung. Others there are that cannot think so meanly of the world at first, but as Naaman vowed to serve God, and yet would [Page 194] bow himself in the house of Rimmon; so they can be content to give their names unto Christ, but with some respect, and bowing to the world: and such are the greatest part of Professors. The Spouse in the fortieth Psalm could be content to forget her own people, and her Fathers house; but scarcely is there a soul so wedded to Christ, as that it can forget the world, that hath nurs'd and breed it up; that hath had so long, so inward, so sweet acquaintance and familiarity with it. This is a second and weaker sort of Christians: The holy Ghost being to deal with such, is content to condescend unto their weakness, and in this little piece of Scripture which I have read, seems as it were to shew a willingness to endure the world, to enjoy some part of our love: by an argument drawn from our love to gain and pro­fit, he labours to win our love to him: and as Rebecca did with old Isaac, provide us such meat as our soul loves. In the words therefore, we will first by way of Introduction and Preface consi­der, what cause the holy Ghost might have to use this Argument, drawn from Profit and Commodity. Secondly, we will consider the words themselves. And first, of the reason of this Motive.

Profit and Commodity is a Lure, that calls the greatest part of the world after it. Most of the bargains which the world makes, are copied out according to that pattern, which Iudas gave at the betraying of Christ, What will ye give me, and I will betray, deliver him into your hands? This question, What will ye give me? what commodity, what profit will accrue unto me? is the preface and way into all our actions. Good or evil men will do neither, except it be by way of bargain and sale. This com­mon disease of the world, hath likewise seised upon the Profes­sors of godliness: except this also bring us in some Revenue, [...]t hath no savour. It was the divils question unto God concerning Iob. Doth Iob serve God for nought? hast thou not hedged him on every side, and laid thine hand upon him? Indeed he mistook Iob's mind for Iob served not God for this, but for another cause: yet (beleive me) he had great cause to ask the question; for who is it that can content himself to serve God for nothing? As David said to old Barzillai, in the Book of Kings, Let Chimham go with me, and I will do him good: so must God deal with us, if he will have us to serve him. God, like the Husbandman in the Gospel, may go forth at the first hour, and at the ninth hour, and at the [Page 195] eleventh hour, early and late, at every hour of the day, and find idle persons, (for whosoever labours not with God is idle, how busie soever he seems to be in the world) but except he bring his penny with him, he shall find none to work in his Vineyard. Aristotle discoursing concerning the qualities and conditions of man's age, tells us, that Young men, for the most part, consider not so much profit and conveniency, as equity and duty; as being led by their natural temper, and simplicity, which teaches them to do rather what is good, then what is profitable. But Old men, that have ends of their actions, their minds run more on commo­dity and gain, as being led by advise and consultation, whose pro­perty it is to have an eye to profit and conveniency, and not onely to bare and naked goodness. I will not deny, but there may be found some such men, that are but young in the world, men that are children in evil, who know not how pleasant a savour gain hath, yet certainly the most men, even in their youngest days, are old and expert enough in the world. For we bring with us into the world the old man, whose wisdom and policy is to have an ear [...], not to enterprize any thing, but for some further end then the thing it selfe; either the more free enjoying of our pleasures, or the filling of our purses, or the increase of our preferments. These are the gods of the world. These, like God, sit at the top of Iacob's Ladder, and all our actions are but steps and rounds to go up to them. God and goodness is not reward enough to draw men on. When God gave Laws to his own peo­ple the Iews, to bring them on the better, how is he fain to make many promises of possession of the Land; of freedom from bondage, of abundance of all things, which might work upon their affecti­ons? And hence it is, that themselves, when by their manifold back-slidings they had shut up the passages of God's good and gracious promises, complain in the Scriptures, What profit hath come to us by serving of the Lord? or, Which way hath it availed us to have kept his Law?

Again, as it is on the one side with goodness, in regard of gain, so is it on the other side with evil. Evil, though many love it very well, yet very few there are that are grown to that heighth of wickedness, as meerly to do mischief, without any other respect of reward. When the Patriarchs, moved with envy, had resolved to murder their brother Ioseph, as soon as ever the Ismaelitish [Page 196] Merchants did appear, as soon as any air of gain did shew it self, streight their thrist of bloud began to allay, What profit, say they, is there in our brother's bloud? Let us sell him rather to the Ishmae­lites. Hope of gain, as if they had look'd upon the Brasen Ser­pent, presently asswaged their hot and fiery disease. All this that I have said doth plainly shew unto you, how potent profit and gain are to sway with out weak natures: that God himself, though he come with all spiritual graces possible, yet if he come empty-handed, if he bring not something which may work upon our weak and sensible nature, he may come and knock at our hearts, as himself speaks in the Revelation, but he shall find none that will open to him, none that will give him any entertainment at all. Now God who is [...], as Clemens speaks, who even studies ways how to save us, and is witty in inventing of means to brings us to him; amongst many other ways which he hath used, hath added this, and hath made this weakness of ours to draw us home. The love of gain, which is the root of all evil, and which occasioned the greatest sin that ever was committed in the world, is here made to bring forth fruit unto godliness, and becomes the occasion of the greatest good that can betide us. For as Iudas for love of gain sold Christ, so here by the love of gain, we are taught to redeem Christ again. So be the very blemish and imperfection of our nature may be a mean to save us, God is sometimes content to give us leave to enjoy it. When God saw the Iews exorbitant lusts would not be bounded within these limits, which himself in Paradise at the beginning did ordain, he gave them leave, when they were wea­ry of their wives, even upon sleight occasions, to put them away. Again, when he saw the desire of gain would not suffer them to live within the compass of charity, but that the custom of the world would draw them on to the practice of Vsury; forbidding them the use of it to their brethren, gave them leave to practise it on strangers and Cananites. These Tolerations are no warrant to us, that the actions were good: But as it was observed of the wise men [...] that had the managing and bringing up of Nero, the Emperour, they permitted him to practise his lusts upon Acte a servant, ne in supra illustrinm foeminarum prorumperet. s [...] illa li­bidine prohiberetur: lest if he were forbidden that, he should turn his lust upon some of the Noblewomen; no otherwise did God [Page 197] deal with his people. Lest too strict charge and prohibition might peradventure the more kindle them, he permitted them some vent. And therefore if at any time they did travel, as it were, with the sin of Vsury, to keep them from the practice of it upon their Brethren, he left the Stranger and Cananites as it were mid­wives to ease them of it. No otherwise deals he with us in this matter of gain and profit, then he did with his own people in the cases of Divorce and Vsury. Thus to part our love between God and our own gain, is but a toleration: for to love God for any other respect, then of God himself, whether it be health or wealth, or honour; be it for the fear of Hell, or the hope of Heaven it self, is at the least a weakness and imperfection in us: the reason of it is evident. That for which any thing is beloved, is of it self more beloved. When David dealt kindly and lovingly with Mephibosheth for Ionathan his father's sake, it is a certain ar­gument that he loved Ionathan more then Mephibosheth. He that loves a man for Money, or for Meat, loves money and meat more then the man: For these are the causes and ends why he loves the man. Wherefore he that loves God for any other end then God, certainly loves that more then God. But we all know, that God is principally and solely to be loved, all things else in him, and for him, but he onely for himself. That which St. Paul saith, that perfect love casteth out fear, is true in a far more ge­neral sense. For perfect love lays by all other respects whatsoever. God must be loved by us, as David loved Ionathan, but the crea­ture, as Mephibosheth, in the second place, for Ionathan's sake. Wherefore when God by promising us these outward blessings, draws us on to love him, it is a certain argument that we love these things more then God, which is no less then a degree of Idolatry, to take the honour due to the Creatour, and give it to the creature: yet, as the Husbandman in the Gospel would not have the Tares pull'd up, for fear least the Wheat should come up with them; so it pleases God to tolerate these Tares in us, lest the rooting out of our affections to the things of this life, might draw a little too near the quick, and wrong our love to God. Out of the love therefore and desire he hath to our good, he doth apply himself to this our infirmity, and contents himself (for a time) to have a second room in our thoughts, if yet by this mean he may win us to himself; as a skilful Artist, that [Page 198] works upon an evil matter, if he cannot make what he would, yet makes that which the matter gives him leave.

And hence it is, that as in many places of Scripture he draws reasons from outward blessings, making our love unto them, a motive to bring us unto him: so especially in this little portion of Scripture, which I have read unto you, he makes our love unto commodity and gain the [...], as it were the Spokesman unto us for him, and to gain our love unto him. Am I not (saith he un­to us) sufficiently fair of my self to procure your love? What is it then that I shall bring with me to win your affections? Is it gain? Lo, here it is, for Godliness indeed is gainful: Or is it not onely so, but some great and extraordinary gain? Why here it is, a gain of infinite extent and latitude, even good success in all the things you take in hand; Godliness is profitable unto all things. Is it yet more? would you have this assured to you for your lives? Why here it is. It is a Gain that hath a promise, yea, an infallible promise of this life. Is it yet more? would you have it accompany you not onely in your lives, but even lie down with you in your graves? Here it is. Such an assurance as no device in Law can make void; not of this life onely, but even of the life to come.

Thus having considered the causes, which we might suppose to have moved the holy Ghost to make choice of this motive, drawn from gain; we come now to consider the words themselves. In them I will especially observe two notes. First, that Godliness is profitable; and what manner of profit it is that Godliness brings. Secondly, we will shew the latitude, compass, and extent of that profit, in the later words, to all things. Godliness is profitable unto all things.

Every thing that is called profitable, is so styled in regard of the end, for the effecting of which it is ordained. All things there­fore are not profitable to all ends. The knowledge of the Mer­chants Trade is profitable to him that practices Merchandize; but to Shamgar, to him that walks with his goad, or him that labours at the Plough-tail, it is nothing available. That Godliness is a thing profitable, no Christian man denies: but this many think is onely for certain private ends and purposes, which the world doth not much hearken after. He that shall provide for another world, he that shall forget his body, and care onely for the state of [Page 199] his soul, such a man at the last shall find the profit of godliness. But the man that thinks it meet to divide himself betwixt God and the world, that thinks it not fit his Virgin should pass its time, (as the Apostle speaks) but bethinks himself of matching into the world: to such an one the studies of piety may rather seem a rub and hinderance, then a profit and commodity. For what carnal man is there that can perswade himself, that piety will either im­prove his Wealth, or increase his Honours, or make him thrive in his Trade, or any way better his Estate? Is it not rather thought to be an hinderance to all these? by curbing our ambition, by moderating our over having desires, by bounding us within certain limits of contentment, of conscience, of moderation, and the like, which cut the very nerves and sinews of all endeavour to grow extraordinarily great? Nay, doth not piety rather come unto us, as the Angel of the Lord did unto Balaam, forbidding us to do many things, which if we did, they would be highly for our honour and preferment? yea, if riches do offer them­selves, and by God's providence, without our care, come on abundantly, doth it not teach us to lay them out for Christ's sake, and not to lay them up for our own? So that if a man would define and tell what Godliness is, we might define it, To be an Art teaching men not to be Rich, not to be Great, not to thrive in proportion to the rest of the world. Yet notwithstanding all this, it is most true, that godliness is truly profitable many ways. I will breifly acquiant you with some of them.

First of all, in that gross and ordinary sense, in which the world takes profit and commodity: for it blesses our store, it gives good success to our preferments, it prospers all things that we take in hand. For what is more usual in the Old Testament, then pro­mises unto the keeper of the Law, of length of days, of possession of the land, of victory against their enemies, of all those things which by the world it self are so much desired? Neither were these promises made onely for fashions sake, to draw them on; but they were plainly and evidently made good unto the people, to whom they were made. For God promises his blessings in that style, in which old Isaac speaks to Esau concerning Iacob, I have blessed him, yea, and be shall be blessed. For what is there of which the world doth make such store, in which God's own people had not their greatest share? Was there any people so victorious [Page 200] a gainst their enemies, so long as they kept themselves unto their God? Was there ever any Nation which had such store of all things made for the use of man? It is almost an incredible thing to think, that so little a span of Land as they inhabited, should so abundantly bring forth all things requisite for the use of so mighty and populous a Nation. For matchless strength of body and fears of Arms, whom can the world oppose to Sampson, to David and to his Worthies? For wisdom and learning did not Moses and Solomon out-goe all the wisdom of the East? yea, all the wise men of the world besides? Their Kingdom indeed was but little; and herein onely, that is, in largeness of Dominion, the Great Monarch of the World may seem to have gone beyond them. But the reason of this we shall examine by and by, when we shall come to consider what causes there are, why many times the children of this world outgoe the children of the Kingdom in abundance of earthly good, notwithstanding piety onely hath the promise of them, and impiety nothing else but a curse. Neither is this harvest of profit onely in the Old Testament, as if the New were waxen barren. The New Testament indeed is not so frequent in mentioning of earthly blessings; and good reason why: For many things in the New Testament are not so fully taught, because they are supposed to be learn'd and known, as being sufficiently stood upon in the Old. In the Old Testament, scarce any page is there, which does not entitle good men to the possession of some tem­poral good: and for this reason, may seem the holy Ghost spares to be over-frequent and abundant in mentioning them in the New. So then, howsoever in our discourses unto you, we many times commend unto you simplicity and lowliness, and preach unto you poverty and patience, and continual persecution for the Truth's sake; yet piety doth not require at our hands, that we should be either short-witted or beggerly, but hath its part in all the blessings of this world, whether it be of soul or body, or of goods. That therefore which anciently the son of Syrach spake of these excellent men, who liv'd before his time, the same hath been true in Christian Common-wealths, and our own eyes in part have seen it; The noble famous men reigned in their Kingdoms, they bare excellent rule in their wisdom; wise sentences were found in their in­structions. They were rich also, and could comfort, they lived quietly at home. Be it therefore Power, Riches, or Wisdom, or Peace, or [Page 201] any other of these Apples of Paradise, which seem to the world so goodly, and so much to be desired, God hath not so rained them down upon the cities of men, as that he left his own dry and unfurnished with them. I will not dispute unto whom of right these blessings do belong, whether unto the Reprobate, or unto the Iust? This is a question which none but God can determine; yet hath the world been acquainted with some, who taking upon them to examine the Title, have given sentence for the Godly, and pronounced that the right unto the world belongs unto the Iust: which to do, in my conceit, is to do nothing else, but as the old Romans did, who when two Cities, contending for a piece of ground, had taken them for their Iudges, wisely gave sentence on their own behalf, and taking it from both the other Cities, ad­judged it unto themselves. Let the Title to these things rest where it will, thus much we may safely presume of, That God, in whom originally all the Right to these things is, doth so bestow them, as that they that are his, cannot doubt of that portion of them, which shall be sufficient for their use.

Onely, my Brethren, let us not mistake our selves in the means by which godliness becomes thus exceeding profitable unto us; for it is not with us in regard of these things, as it is with other men. It is not our great care for them, our early rising, or late sitting up, that brings them to us: The best and surest way to provide our selves of these things, is not to care for them, not to ask them. For when our Saviour tells us, we must seek the Kingdom of Heaven, and all these things shall be cast in upon us, he chalks out unto us the true way to posses our selves of the world sufficiently; for what doth he else but tell us, that if we ask as Solomon did, we shall doubtless be rewarded as Solomon was. When God, in the Book of Kings, had given Solomon a pro­mise to have whatsoever he would ask, and Solomon had onely asked an understanding heart, to discern betwixt good and bad: Because, saith God, thou hast asked this thing, and hast not ask­ed unto thy self long life, or the life of thine enemies: Lo, I have done according to thy words, yea, I have given that which thou askedst not, even riches. So that among Kings there shall be none like unto thee all thy days. Here is the true method of pre­vailing with God for temporal things and blessings. If we do ear­nestly beg at his hands those things onely, which are principally [Page 202] good for us, it is a thing so welcome to God, that even because we have done this, all other things which we ask not, shall aboundantly be cast upon us. As Laban, when Iacob asked him Leah and Rachel to wife, gave them unto him, and not onely so, but gave him Zilpah and Billah as handmaids to wait on them, (a gift which Iacob never requested) So hath God some blessings like unto Leah and Rachel, he will give us the latter, Zilpah and Billah, though we never ask them.

I know it is a very hard matter to perswade the world of the truth of this, which hitherto I have taught. For as St. Peter tells us, that there shall come mockers, who shall ask, Where are the promises of his coming? do not all things continue alike since the creation? So are there many mockers in the world, who ask us, Where are these goodly promises made unto the godly? where is the promise of the possession of the earth, made unto the meek spirited? where is the promise of gain and commodity made unto the godly? Is it not with them as it is with other men? are there any men whose case is more miserable then theirs? have they not their shares in all the plagues that usually befall the world? We have heard that piety still carries a blessing with it; but the world takes it to be like unto that Equus Seianus, a certain Horse, which past for a By-word, a Proverb amongst our fore-fathers, No man could ever thrive that kept it. Beloved, he that shall look into the state and condition of good men, shall see that there is some cause of these querulous questions. For the setling therefore of the minds of Christians scandalized, we will, before we come to consider in what other sense godliness is profitable, first, remove certain errours which are like motes in the eyes of common Christians, and hinder them that they can­not see so clearly in what sense these promises of earthly blessings are made: and secondly, we will search the reasons, why not­withstanding these promises, good men have commonly the least part of the worlds good? and both these breifly.

The Errours to be removed are especially two.

The first, we usually mistake the nature and quality of God's pro­mises. Men, when they hear of God's promises, to preserve those that are his, presently think, that God by these promises is bound to exempt them from common casualties, and as it were to alter the common course of the world in their behalf. And there­fore [Page 203] whensoever any common calamities, and inundation of evil, overflow the world, they presently expect a Noah's Ark to Ferry them over, and preserve them harmless. Beloved, these promises of God give us no ground thus far to presume. There is no way of avoiding these common casualties, but by providing our selves to bear our parts. Many are the troubles of the righte­ous, but the Lord shall deliver them out of all. God hath not pro­mised that good men shall have no trouble; but he hath made a certain promise to deliver them. This comfort therefore we have above all the world besides, that in all these general deluges of Famine, of Captivity, of Pestilence, it is no hard matter to de­scry, that God hath extraordinarily taken care of those that are his, and that in such sort as the world uses not to do. When his own people were led into captivity, the Psalmist tells us, that he gat them favour and grace in the eyes of their enemies, and made all those that had led them away captive, to pity them. When Alaricus the Goth had taken Rome, by publick proclamation he gave se­curity to all those that fled into the Temples of the blessed Apo­stles, and made it death for any man to molest them. In which example St. Austin doth justly triumph, and challenges all the Ethnick Antiquity of the world besides, to shew where ever it was heard, that in open War the Temples of the gods gave security to those that fled into them: and doth very strongly prove, that all the distress and felicity that befell the City of Rome at the time of the saeking of it, was but of the common casualties and custome of War. But all the graces and mercies by which men found refuge and security, came onely for God's sake, and through the power of the Name of Christ. In these common miseries therefore which befall Cities and Common-wealths, we may easily read not so much the Edict of Alaricus, as the Proclamation of God himself in the Psalmist, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm. And sometimes openly, sometimes secretly, evermore certainly God doth deliver.

Secondly, an other errour there is, wherein we much abuse our selves, and mistake the promises of God. They are many times made good unto us, when we beleive it not. For as the Iews ancient­ly would not beleive that Christ was come into the world, be­cause he came not in that manner as they expected he should; so fares it with many Christians in regard of these promises of gain [...] of [Page 204] good success and deliverance. Except God come home unto us in all our desires, except he do all that we think good he should, we are easily apt to except, and think, there is no truth in his pro­mises. If we thrive not to our mind, if the success be not that which we expected, we think this is reason enough to charge God with breach of promise; whereas indeed we ought to know, that be it little or much that comes unto us, it is sufficient to make God as good as his word. For that a good man thrives at all, is meerly from God. For if the Divil and the World could do with all, no part of the worlds good should fall on the righteous; be it therefore but little that they have, since they have it, so much against the World's will, it is a great argument of God's extra­ordinary providence over them, that they have that little. Since it is apparent, that the world opposes against it, and that by rea­son of their calling, they debar themselves of many the thriving Arts of the world; it must needs be, that if riches do come up­on them, that God himself doth extraordinarily pour them on. Wherefore good men must not consider how much, or how little it is they have, but the means by which it comes unto them. All the Prophets and Apostles which were hungry, had not that offer which St. Peter had, all kind of flesh let down from heaven, and free choice to eat of what they listed. When Daniel was in Babylon in the Lions Den, God sends his Angel into Iewry, takes a Prophet by the hair of the head, carries him into Babylon, and all to carry but a mess of pottage for Daniel's dinner. Daniel's fare is meaner then St. Peter's, but the miracle is as great, and the care of God is the same. The righteous man that hath much is as St. Peter, he that hath least is as Daniel, the word and promise of God is alike made good unto them both. And thus much of these two Er­rours, of which the due avoiding, shall keep us from mistaking of those promises, and charging God foolishly.

Now because much of that, which we have formerly spoken, was spent in proving, that God doth force the world many times, even in a very eminent sort, to serve the necessities and purposes of those that are his: yet since ordinarily the case of good men in the things of this world, is meaner then that of the world's children, their riches are many times small, if they be any at all, and promotion looks little after them: That we may a little the better content our selves, and know in what case we stand, give me leave to [Page 205] shew you, how it comes about, that the wicked, though they have no promise, yet have a larger portion in the world's blessings, then the godly: Where it shall appear, that it cannot otherwise be, except it should please God to alter the ordinary course of the world.

The first cause therefore that the sons of this world thus usu­ally climb aloft above the sons of God, and nest themselves in the tallest Cedars, is their infinite and importunate Ambition. From this root hath sprung forth both that infinite mass of wealth, which private men, and that boundless compass of Government, which great princes have attain'd unto. Nothing was ever more unjust, then the raising of these great Kingdoms; and if the Laws of equity and moderation might have taken place, they had never been. St. Austin saw no difference between the Roman Empire, and Spartacus his conspiracy, onely the one lasted a lit­tle longer, and this makes no difference in the thing it self. And hence it is, that God gave limits and bounds unto the Kingdom which his people had: and having poured out the vials of his wrath upon the usurping people that held the Land of promise from them, to whom it was due, he permitted not the Iews to grate too much upon the bordering Nations. And this is the reason why the Iews, that in all other respects went side by side, or rather before the rest of the world, onely in latitude of Kingdom yeilded to the Monarchs of the earth. For the one made the will of God, the other their own ambition, the measure of their desires. The most moderate, and wisest kind of men are many times slowest, in giving entertainment to these great thoughts of heart. In Io­tham's parable in the Book of Iudges, where the Trees go forth to chuse a King, the Olive would not leave his fatness, nor the Vine his fruit, nor the Fig-tree his sweetness, no not for a Kingdom: Onely the Brier, the basest of all shrubs, no sooner had the Trees made the motion to him, but he is very apprehensive of it, and thinks himself a goodly creature, fit to make a King of. Sober men; who best understand the nature of business, know well how great a charge extraordinary wealth [...] and places of Au­thority bring with them. There is none so poor, but hath his time to make an account of; were there nothing but this, what a sum would this amount unto? Add unto these, our Words; unto Words, Actions; unto all these, Wealth and Ability, and last of all, Honour and Authority: how do each of these successively, like [Page 206] places in Arithmetick, infinitely increase the sum of our accounts? No marvel then, if wise and considerate men are slow in tasking themselves so heavily, and rather content themselves quietly at home. Let the world go well or ill, so it be not long of them.

The second thing that makes them come on in the world, is their spacious, wide, and unlimited conscience, which can enlarge it self to the swallowing of any means, that bring gain and pre­ferment with them; he that once hath cauterized and seared his conscience, and put on a resolution to gain by all occasions, must needs quickly grow rich. But good men are evermore shie and scrupulous what they do, though there be no apparent occasion. Evil is of a slie insinuating nature, it will creep in at every little passage, all the care and wariness we can possibly use to prevent it, is too little. When David had cut off the lap of Saul's gar­ment, the Scripture tells us, that his heart smote him because he had done this thing. I have often wondred with my self what it was that (in an action so innocent and harmless, done with so ho­hourable intent, onely to bring a testimony of his innocency and righteousness) might thus importunately trouble his con­science: He intended no wrong unto Saul, not so much as in his thought; yet had he but a little advised himself, through scruple and tenderness of conscience, he would not have used so harmless a witness of his innocency. Common reason told St. Paul, that the labourer is worthy of his hire, and by instinct of the holy Ghost, himself learn'd, and taught, that it was but justice and equity, that men that labour in the Gospel, should live by the Gospel. Who feeds a flock, eats not the milk, and clothes not himself with the wooll of it? yet notwithstanding, that he might take away all occasion of evil, that lazie and idle drones, who suck the sweet of other men's labours, might not take example by him to live at other mens cost: that he might make the Gospel [...], free, without any charge, that men that have no silver might come, and buy, and eat; might come, I say, and buy the wine and milk of the Word without money, that the Gospel might not be slan­dered, as a means of gain, he would not use that liberty that God and men gave him, neither would he eat the milk, or wear the wooll of his own flock, but with his own hands and labours pur­chas'd himself his necessary maintenance. What hope of these mens [Page 207] extraordinary thriving, who are so nice and scrupulous of what they finger? What then must we think of those that abuse god­liness unto gain, that refuse to do deeds of charity, except they bring them in some revenue? that read Scripture for no other purpose, but to cull out certain thrifty Texts to pretend unto their covetousness and distrust, as that Charity begins from it self, that he is worse then an infidel that provides not for his family? But as for those other Scriptures that perswade us to be open-handed, to lend, looking for nothing again; having two coats, to part with him that hath none: these we can gently pass by as Meteors, and aiery speculations, and think we have done God and men good service, when we have invented some shifting interpreta­tion, to put them, and remove them out of the way. When Aza­hel, wounded by Abner, lay in the way wallowing in his own bloud, the people which followed after Abner, stood still as they came to Azahel, till he was removed out of the way. Men are willing to be Christians, and yet unwilling to leave the thriving courses which the world takes, when in their pursuit of gain, they meet with these or the like places of holy Scripture, cannot chuse but be much amused, and stand still, as it were, at Azahel's body: Now those that have been the Authours of certain mollifying Pa­raphrases and distinctions, and the like, have removed these harsh­er places of Scripture, as it were Azahel's body, and made the way open and clear to our covetous desires. How scrupulous our fore-fathers were in expounding of these, or the like Texts of Scripture, themselves have left us notable Monuments. St. Basil makes a strange Supposition, and to it gives as strange an An­swer: Wert thou brought, saith he, unto those streights, that thou hadst but one loaf of bread left, and that thou knew'st no means to provide other when that is spent, if there should come some poor and needy man, and ask thee food, what thinkest thou is thy duty to do? Even to take that one loaf, and put it into the hands of him that requires it, and looking up unto heaven, say, Lord, thou seest this one loaf, thou knowest the streights in which I am, and that there is no other means but thy providence: yet have I preferr'd the keeping of thy commands, before mine own ne­cessities. Beloved, this is a point of piety, cujus non andeo dicere nomen, I should scarcely durst to have taught it, had I not had the warrant of so grave a man. For in this Age we are taught, [Page 208] that we must begin from our selves, that we must not tempt God by making our selves destitute of means, and other such thri­ving doctrines, which strongly savour of love unto the world, and distrust in God's promises. There may be many reasons of mollifying some texts of Scripture, and restraining them; but amongst those let that be the last which is drawn from our com­modity: and, so there be no other cause to hinder, let not respect to our persons, or to our purses, restrain any Scripture from that latitude and compass of sense, of which it is naturally capable.

I will yet draw a third reason, why the wicked should thrive in the world above the rate of be [...]ter men: and that is the nego­tiating of the Divil in these cases, who doubtless busies himself exceedingly, that those who do him service, may have their hire: and therefore whatsoever he can do in disposing of the things of the world, he will effect, and with all his might strive, that their ambitious, and partial, and covetous desires may have good success. Doubtless it was an overlashing speech which the Divil used unto our Saviour, when he offered him all the King­doms of the world, upon condition he would fall down and wor­ship him. For whatsoever the issue of the temptation had been, he could not have made his promise good. Yet certainly there are many cases unknown to us, wherein the Divil, by God's per­mission, does dispose of the world. Iob in his losses and afflictions takes notice of no such thing, yet we all know that the divil had an especial hand in them. Wherefore wicked men, if God do not hinder, doubtless have all the service that the world and the divil possibly can do them: and on the contrary side, could the divil and the world hinder, good men should have nothing at all. Needs therefore must they thrive, that have the divil and the world to farther them, and to do them all the good offices they can. Many other reasons may you frame to your selves, why the wicked should thus flourish in the world, which I must leave to your private Meditations. For I must not forget that there is yet a good part of my Text behind.

Now as Homer is wont to tell us, when he speaks of Rivers and Mountains, that men indeed call them thus and thus, but the gods have other names for them: so you must know, that hi­therto we have spoken of profit and gain, as men are wont to like of it; we will now speak of it in a sense that God and holy [Page 209] Saints are wont to use. For, besides this first, there is a second profit of Godliness, by which it doth reflect upon the former. Care and industry without godliness, brings in the things of the world upon us but in this case we cannot call them profits. What profit is it for a man to gain the whole world, and to lose his own soul? Godliness it is therefore, that makes even profit it self profitable. For the true profit is the enjoying, using, and bestowing of them; and this alone doth piety teach. So that piety serves not onely as a Bayly to bring them in, but as an Instructor, to teach us how to lay them out. For it is a greater part of wisdom wisely to dispend them when we have them, then to get them at the first. As one told Hannibal, that he knew how to conquer better, then how to use the Victory: so many there are in the world, who know how to gather, but few that know how to use. How many do our eyes see every day, who make no end of heaping up wealth, but never bethink themselves how to employ it? By lying thus idly by us, it gathers a rust, as St. Iames tells us, which rust eats out our soul: but piety, Abdita terris inimica lamnae, washes off the rust of it, and makes it bright by using it. One onely true use there is of these outward blessings, and that is it which our Saviour teaches in the Gospel, Make ye friends, saith he, of the unrighteous Mammon. The world, I know, makes it profit enough to have it; but this other profit that comes by expence, and laying it out, it can hardly be brought to learn. Many there are that can be content to hear, that Godliness is pro­fitable to them, but that Godliness should make them profitable to others, it should cost them any thing, that they cannot en­dure to hear. It was St. Basil's observation of old, [...]: ‘I know many, saith he, that can with some ease be brought to fast, to pray, to lament and mourn for sin, to perform all parts of [...], of piety that cost them nothing: but hardly shall ye draw them on to any part of piety, that doth require but the cost of an half-peny.’ Beloved, we that have the oversight of ye in Christ, are witnesses of your labour, of fre­quenting of prayers, of hearing, of thirsting after Sermons: all this is but [...], you are very free of it, because it costs you nothing; but we would be very glad, and should give [Page 210] up our account with much more joy, might we but understand a little more of that part of piety, which consists in bestowing of these good blessings, which godliness, I doubt not, hath gained you. Seldome speaks the Scripture of laying up, for this is a thing which of our selves we can fast enough practise, there needs no great pains to teach, where Scholars are so willing to learn. But Scripture oftentimes, and earnestly, deals with us concerning the laying them out, as being an hard lesson, and long we are a learning it. To use them that they may steed us in our last and greatest extremities; with them to purchase us freinds, that shall receive us into their eternal Tabernacles, this indeed is to make true profit of them, and this is performed by godliness alone. In the first profit of piety, namely, of bringing in unto us the things of this world, godliness hath others that partake with her. For honest labour and industry is a thing so pleasing unto God, that he gives it a blessing in the meer Moral and Heathen man: Impossible it is that a diligent man should not thrive, be the man what he will. But this second profit of laying them out, to make them eternally profitable unto us, by charitable dispending them, this we owe alone to godliness. Beloved, of a Christian man's labour and industry, there is a double profit, one from men, and an­other from God alone. In the first, the world, with godliness, may have a great share; but in the second it hath no part at all: Godliness in the first can bear a great stroke, but it wholly and solely effects the second.

Thirdly, there is yet a further profit of godliness, which doth accrue unto us: For it makes to men not onely their wealth and riches profitable unto them, but likewise all those inward endow­ments of body and soul, which God bestows upon men. For whereas there are in us, as we are meer natural men, and stran­gers unto the covenant of grace, many excellent things; with­out godliness they are all nothing worth. In the fall of our first Parents, some things we did utterly lose, and some excellent things did still remain; but the profit of them was quite lost. They are unto natural men now, as the Rain-bow was unto the world before the Floud, the same still, but of no use. It is a won­derful thing to see, what gifts of wisdom, of temperance, of mo­ral and natural conscience, of justice, of moral uprightness, do re­main, not onely in the Books and Writings, but even in the Lives [Page 211] and conversations of many Heathen men, utterly devoid of the true knowledge of God; yet what profit reap'd they of these things, since all the good that doth remain in the natural man, can ne­ver further him one foot for the purchasing his eternal good. Suppose ye unto your selves some such man as Epictetus was, let him have all graces that are, piety onely excepted, let him wear out himself with studies, pine himself with temperance, keep his hands clean from corruption, his heart from unchaste desires. Nay yet more, let us add unto these the patient enduring of all disgrace, of loss of goods, of banishment, yea, of torment of body for Goodness sake. (For so we find, that not onely Christianity, but even Moral goodness amongst Heathen men, sometimes en­dured a persecution.) Our Books are full of the commendation of Regulus, a famous Roman, who did undergo a kind of Moral Martyrdom for his conscience sake, and with great patience for a long time all the unspeakable torments of body, which a most cruel, perfidious, and bloudy people could lay upon him, onely because he would not break his Oath. Let us, I say, suppose some one man, in whom all these things concurre; and what shall these profit him, when having put off this body of flesh, he shall find one and the same place provided for him, and the wickedest wretch that ever lived? Indeed I cannot think, that in this one place, there is the same degree of punishment inflicted upon Epictetus and Regulus, and upon Nero and Iulian. The Gospel di­stinguishes and tells us, that there is a servant that shall be beaten with many stripes, and a servant that shall be beaten with few stripes. All these great graces in Heathen men, may serve to lighten their weight of punishment, to diminish their number of stripes, they may procure them less inconvenience, but they bring them no positive profit at all. Add but onely godliness to these things, and forthwith they shall become exceeding profi­table. This alone is that which gives them [...], a loveli­ness and beauty, which is of force to attract and draw the favour of God unto them. Those natural graces, they are at the most one­ly as it were the matter and body of a Christian man, a thing of it self dead, without life; but the soul and life that quickens this body, is godliness. They are of the same kindred and brother­hood with godliness, and God is the common Father unto them all, yet without godliness, they find no entertainment at God's [Page 212] hands. As Ioseph said unto his brethren, Ye shall not see my face, unless your younger brother be with you; The same is the countenance of God towards these, they shall never come to have any part of that blessed Vision of God, wherein all happi­ness doth consist, except this Brother be with them. And as the same Ioseph, when his brethren came to him accompanied with their brother Benjamin, gave portions to every one of them, but Benjamin's part was five times more then theirs; so when these shall come to appear before God, accompanied with this Brother, they shall every one of them receive worthy portions from him, for Godliness sake, but the portion of Godliness shall be five times more then any of the rest.

Fourthly, and last of all, there is yet one further profit of God­liness. For whereas hitherto we have shewed, that godliness makes that which we do possess profitable unto us, it shall now appear that godliness makes even the want of them advantagious unto us. That which makes all things profitable unto us, that makes even Nothing it self profitable, so that in respect of godliness it is alike gainful unto us, either to enjoy the things of the world, or not to have them. For I verily perswade my self, that it is as meri­torious (if I may use the word) as great a part of Religious Wor­ship, to know how to want these things for God's sake, as to know how to abound, and use them to his service. Epaminondas a Theban Nobleman, when the people in scorn had put him in a base Office, told them, that he would so manage it, as that he would make it a place of as great Honour and Credit, as any was in the State. Godliness is like this Theban Nobleman, and is able to make the basest and most penurious estate, equivalent unto the most Ho­nourable Calling in the world. God, who made us out of No­thing, is able, and doth make Nothing as beneficial unto us, as if he had made us Lords of all his creatures. Neither to enjoy, nor to want, is a thing with God of any worth; but to know how to use, or to know how to want, this becomes beneficial to us. But the man that hath nothing in this world, if he have not this Art of enjoying nothing, Perdidit in foelix totum nihil, hath utterly lost the benefit of this Nothing. When Iob from so great an estate had fallen to nothing, by patience, by humble submission under the hand of God, by receiving calamities and giving of thanks, had purchas'd to himself a greater measure of glory, then if he had [Page 213] never tasted of misery. Many do want, and make their want a greater increase of evil unto them; for they do it either with repining at God's providence, or secret indignation and envy against them that abound, (both which, as they make the present evils worse, so they heap up wrath against the day of wrath) or if they can quiet their minds, and make a shew of calmness and content­edness, it is rather out of a senselesness and stupidity, then Religi­ous discretion. As little children that laugh at their parents Fu­nerals, because they do not understand their calamities. But to resign our selves up into the hand of God, to be throughly con­tented, that he should dispose of his creatures as he pleases, to want without repining, this is a part of piety as great as giving our bodies to the fire, or entertainment of Christ and his Prophets, of founding of Churches, of Almsdeeds, or whatsoever part of godli­ness is so much in Scripture commended unto us. What a com­fort then is this to a brother of low degree, when he shall con­sider with himself, that his want is as rich as the greatest wealth? That between rich and poor, in regard of our last Landing, as it were, and entrance into our Haven, it is but as it was in St. Paul's broken Ship, some by swimming, some by broken parts of the Ship, some one way, some another, but all came safe to Land.

The End of the First Sermon.

The profit of GODLINESS. The Second SERMON On 1 TIM. iv. 8.

‘But Godliness is profitable unto all things.’

WHen I made my first entrance upon these words, you may be pleased to call to mind, that I considered in them two things: First, the profit that comes by Godliness, in the first words, Godliness is profitable. Secondly, the Latitude, com­pass, and extent of this profit, in the next words, Vnto all things. [Godliness is pro­fitable unto all things.]

In the first part, concerning the profit that comes by Godliness, I shew'd you, first, that Godliness was profitable in that plain and gross sense, in which the world in her language commonly takes the name of profit. For so I taught, and by example I proved it, that Godliness blesses our store, gives good success to all our drifts and [Page 215] counsels, prospers our preferments, and makes all things successful which we take in hand.

Secondly, I shewed you, that Godliness is profitable in a sense, unto which the world is an utter stranger, for this is that which makes even profit it self profitable. For wealth, and riches, and the like, which the world commonly means, when it speaks of profit, in and of themselves are not profit: but the true profit of them is in the enjoying, using, and bestowing of them, and this alone doth Piety teach us. For this alone it was, that taught us to make them eternally profitable unto us, by charitably dispending them. Aristotle discoursing to us concerning Moral Virtues, and man's happiness, could tell us, that Virtue, though it were an excellent thing, yet our happiness did not consist in having it, but in the use of it, and living according unto it [...] As it was Aristotle's opi­nion betwixt Virtue and Happiness, so is it betwixt Riches and Pro­fit: Profit consists not in the possession of riches, but in the using them, and bestowing them.

Thirdly, I shewed you yet a farther profit of Godliness, in ma­king not our riches and wealth, but our inward faculties, and powers, and endowwents of our souls and minds, profitable unto us. For all these excellent faculties of wit and apprehension, of learn­ing and industry, yea, of honesty and civil behaviour, if they were not joyn'd with Godliness, were utterly unprofitable. For all these might be, and were in very many Heathen men, who were utter strangers to the Covenant of Grace.

Fourthly, I taught yet a further profit. For Godliness makes not onely that which we do possess, but it makes even the want of them advantagious. For I shew'd it is a great part of Religious worship, to know how patiently to want these things for God's sake, as to know how to abound and use them to his service: so that in respect of Godliness, it is alike gainful to us either to enjoy the things of this world, or not to have them. Iob by pa­tiently wanting the things of this life, purchased to himself as great a Crown, as ever he did by enjoying them at full. Thus far at that time, and so I went away indebted unto you for my second part, which debt I now come to discharge.

The second part therefore which we are now to consider, is the Latitude, Extent, and Largeness of this profit of Godliness. Godliness is profitable unto all things. Of which, I shall be the less [Page 216] occasioned to speak, because that in speaking of the former point, I have here been necessarily drawn to touch at it. For in that I have spoken concerning rich and poor, concerning plenty and want, that Godliness is profitable unto both, is part of this second point, namely, of the Latitude and extent of that advantage which comes of piety. Though therefore the more breifly, yet must we adde somewhat more concerning the wonderful compass of it, and shew, that as the leven in the Gospel transfus'd its force into the whole lump of dough; so godliness does mix it self with every part of our life. They that have written in praise of Musick, have much admired it, for that great sympathy and correspondence which it holds with man's nature: that it so applies it self to all occa­sions, that whether a man be alone or in company, whether sad or merry, whether at his devotion or at his sports, in what estate soever he be, Musick is still seemly and sitting. Certainly then is Godliness wonderfully Harmonical, wonderfully Musical, that doth so easily accommodate and fit it self to all persons, all estates, all degrees, all sexes, all ages, all actions whatsoever.

The Arts of this world are by God's providence so divided, that they must of necessity belong onely to some; all the world cannot be practitioners in any one of them. If all were Husband-men, what would become of the Merchant's Trade? If all were Merchants, where were the Scholar? The profit of every one of these may peradventure redound to many, the skill necessarily resides in few: And let us suppose all to be professors of any one, the profit of that must needs perish. But this wonderful Art of Godliness is of an higher nature, and hath a kind of Metaphysical community: it must descend unto all particulars; we must, if we will have any profit by it, be all professors of it.

Secondly, few or no Arts are there in the world, that are be­fitting both sexes, some are well befitting men, but are utterly unfit for women. To go abroad, to handle the sword, to manage foreign matters, this belongs unto the man; but to keep home, han­dle the distaff, to manage the business of the family, these belong unto the woman. But for the profession and practise of Piety, [...], saith St. Basil, Womenkind are as far forth capable of it as men are. And Gregory Nyssen tells us, that in prayer, and fasting, and other exercises of Godliness there have been women found, who have far surpassed men.

[Page 217]Thirdly, in the world Arts and Professions are to be distributed amongst men according to their several complexions, as it were, and constitutions of mens wits. Ex quo libet ligno non fit Mercurius. Every temper of nature fits not every profession, as every soil will not bring forth all kind of seeds. And hence it is, that those who have delivered unto us their opinions, concerning the in­stitution of youth, have advised men warily to observe, towards what Profession or Trade their nature leans, and to build upon this as upon a foundation. All this labour of examining and trying mens capacities and constitutions in the business of piety is at an end. For there is no constitution, no temper of nature unapt to receive impression from it. There is no Nature so stubborn, no wit so weak and silly, but can make a perfect Christian, and quickly by the help of the grace of God, inwardly working with it, beleive and understand the darkest mysteries of Godliness. The reason of this difference is evident. For Man's Art cannot alter the nature of the Subject on which he works: and therefore if he cannot do what he would, he must content himself to do that which the matter upon which he works will give him leave. As the Sun which warms the earth gives nothing unto it, onely stirs up the nature and faculty it finds in it, and so makes it bring forth fruit; so good educa­tion in any Art, if it find a Nature fit to receive and entertain it, it will cause it, as it were, to bud, and blossom, and bring forth fruit; but give, or infuse, or make a nature, it cannot. But the holy Spirit of God, where it pleases him to sow the seed of Grace, doth alter the very complexion and nature of the foil, and were our hearts as hard as flint, or as barren as the sand, he can make them as soft as wax, and as fertile as Canaan, or the Paradise of God. Create a new heart within me, saith the Psalmist. The con­version of a sinner, is a kind of degree of Creation. But I must proceed.

Fourthly, Aristotle discoursing concerning the fit hearer and learner of Moral and Civil Virtues, quite excludes Youth, as utterly unfit for any such drift and end; And why? He is yet forsooth impatient of admonition, hot in passion; when these things are calm'd and allai'd, then is he fit wax to receive the impression of natural instruction. But he whom the Schole of Nature hath thus excluded, the Schole of Grace and Piety hath especially made choice of. From a child to have known the Scriptures. Suffer young [Page 218] children to come unto me. He that receives not the kingdom of heaven like a young child. Wherewith shall a young man cleanse his way? Many more testimonies of holy Scripture, which plainly declare unto us, that Youth is the fittest subject to receive the influence and operation of the holy Spirit of God. Let the passions of Youth rage never so violently, let him as much contemn and set at nought the good and grave advise of his Ancients, as ever Reho­boam did; yet God, that sits upon the flouds, and gives them Laws, and tames them, can bridle the unruliest passion of the most disorderly young man, and make him like unto young Ioseph or Daniel.

Fifthly, Old men are very unfit learners of the lessons which the world teacheth, and almost impossible it is for a man to be­gin to study in his age. Therefore Opsimathie, which is too late be­ginning to learn, was counted a great vice, and very unseemly amongst Moral and Natural men. For the longer we defer, the more unapt still we grow, our senses wax duller, our memory frailer, yea, our understanding too will sensibly decay. But in the Schole of Christ, none is too old to learn, no memory too short to remember his duty; no disgrace, no unseemliness, even for old men to come to Schole. For the Spirit of God strengthens the memory, softens the brain, supplies all defects that Age brings with it, and makes it, were it as dry as Aaron's Rod, to bud and blossom, and bring forth ripe fruit unto righteousness. When David, in the Book of Kings, had invited old Barzillai to the Court; Barzillai, who had so kindly entertained him, when he fled from his ungracious son, he excuses himself unto the King, by reason of his age, his taste fails him, his hearing is gone, he hath lost all sense of Court delights and pleasures; and therefore he requests that favour for his young son Chimham, as a fitter per­son to make a Courtier. ‘I am this day, saith Barzillai, fourscore years old, and can I discern between good and evil? Can thy servant taste what I eat, or what I drink? Can I hear any more the voice of singing men, and singing-women? Wherefore then should thy servant be yet a burthen to my Lord the King? Let thy servant, I pray thee, turn back again, that I may die in my own city, and be buried in the grave of my father and of my mother. But behold, thy servant Chimham, let him go over with my Lord the King, and do to him what shall seem [Page 219] good unto thee.’ Thus indeed it is in the Courts of earthly Princes, men by age do grow unserviceable, and combersome, and therefore there is a time for them to retire. The counsel which Quintilian gives his Oratour, Desinere cum desidereretur, to resign and give over whil'st as yet he is serviceable, belongs espe­cially unto Courtiers: Best for them to resign their places with honour, whil'st yet they are able to do service, lest if they stay till age hath made them unserviceable, they may peradventure be forced unto it with disgrace. But in the Court of Christ, none is too old to do service, there is no difference betwixt Bar­zillai and Chimham, their strength and senses are alike. Four­score years could impair Barzillai's taste and hearing, but the spiritual taste and hearing, no age or length of days can make de­cay. It were to be wish'd, that in our youngest days, we would de­dicate ourselves unto God's service, that we would think of that counsel which Seneca gives his freind Lucilius, Perge mi Lucili, & propera, ne tibi accidat quod mihi, ut senex discas. On betimes, and make haste, lest that befall you which hath befallen me, To learn in your age. But if the grace of God shine not on us, till the last hour of our day, yet as the Husbandman in the Gospel, gives unto the last as unto the first, so will God give unto the eldest as unto the youngest; their strength and ability, as far as Christ's service requires it, shall return unto them again: as the flesh of Naaman after his Leprosie became unto him again as the flesh of a little child.

Sixthly, the Arts of the world seem to be somewhat of an un­sociable disposition, they hinder one another: and a very hard thing it is to learn, and practise perfectly more then one. The mind of a man distracted amongst many things, must needs entertain them brokenly and unperfectly. But Piety is of a more pliable nature: no Art, no Profession, no Trade whatsoever, unto which the learning and continual practise of piety can be any hinderance. He that studieth piety alone all his days, shall find in it more then all the time he hath can bring to perfection. And yet the most troublesome Arts that are, which take up and exact of us most part of our time, leave time enough for the learning of this sacred Art. As it was with those who gathered Manna, He that gathered little, had no want; and he that gathered much, had nothing over: every man gathered his Gomer full according to his [Page 220] eating: so is it in the gathering of this spiritual Manna, he that spends all his time in it, and seems to gather much, gathers onely his Gomer full, as much onely as is sufficient for his spending; and he that is necessarily detain'd with other cares of this life by some Trade, or some other Vocation whatsoever, and seems to gather less, gathers notwithstanding his Gomer full too, even that which is sufficient for his use. No Arts there are that do so whol­ly take up the mind of man, as that they leave no room for any other thought. The experience of Tradesmen themselves doth wit­ness thus much unto us, who in the midst of their most serious business and labour, can talk, and sing, and make themselves mer­ry, and by this means deceive the time, and ease themselves some­thing of the burthen of their labours. Even here is space enough for the practice of Godliness. For why cannot as well a Prayer, and holy Meditations, take up the rooms of these idle thoughts and talk? Certainly it is an hallowing of our actions to distinguish them, and intersperse amongst them good and pious meditations. So that for the practise of piety, it is not alway necessary for you to lay down your work, to come to Church and solemn Service, or still to use some such form as suffers you to do nothing else; but you may very well do it as you walk in the streets, as you stand at the stalls, as you sit at your shop-boards, and make every place a Church where you are. Arator stivam tenens Halelujah decantat; sudans mes [...]or psalmis sese evocat & curva attendens falce vites vinitor aliquid Davidicum canit. It is St. Hierom's in his xvij. Epistle: The Husbandman as he holds the Plough may sing an Hallelujah: the sweating harvest-man may cool and refresh himself with a Psalm: The Gardiner whil'st he prunes his Vines and Arbours, may record some one of David's sonnets. So that as the Jews re­port of Manna, that it had not one kind of savour with all men, but was in taste unto every man like unto that which he best liked: so Piety fits it self, as it were, unto every man's palate; and look what it is which he hath been bred up in, or best likes, piety will become like unto it, and taste as he would have it.

Seventhly, and last of all, as one said wittily in another case, Nullius agricolae cultae stirps tam diuturna quam poetae versu seminari potest. No tree grows so well, as that which is planted by a Poet's verse; so in this matter of piety, it is far more true, that no Trade thrives so well, as that no Tree grows so well, no Corn so fruitful, as [Page 221] that which is set or sown by the hand of a Religious Husbandman. Now further, to prove that piety is exceedingly beneficial to every one of these, there is no better means then for you to be­leive it. The labours of Christian men are many times not suc­cessful, because themselves are distrustful. That which our Sa­viour so usually said to those who sought for remedy at his hands, According to your faith, be it unto ye, is said unto every Christian man, that looks for a blessing of his industry, it is unto him according as his faith is. But I need not strive to express my self, the holy Ghost himself hath sav'd me that labour, who in two several places of Scripture, the xxvj. of Leviticus, the xxviij. of Deuteronomy, hath most effectually shewn, how the profit of Godliness doth descend unto our most particular necessities. ‘Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed in the feild; blessed shalt thou be in the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy cattel, and the increase of thy kine [...] and in thy flocks of sheep. Blessed shalt thou be in thy basket, and in thy dough. Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed when thou goest out. I will send you rain in due season, and the land shall yeild her increase, and the trees in the feild shall yeild their fruit. And your threshing shall reach un­to the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time; and you shall eat your bread unto the full, and dwell in your land safely; and I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid. And I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land, &c.’ Therefore as the Scripture tells us of Ioseph, that wheresoever, or with whomsoever he convers'd he brought a blessing with him; when he was in Potiphar's house, he brought a blessing upon Potiphar's house; when he went into the prison, he brought a blessing with him to the prison; when he went into Pharaoh's house, he brought a blessing upon it, and upon all the land of Egypt. So. piety doubt­less, wheresoever it walketh, leaves a blessing behind it, as the Hare leaves the scent of her footing. Did piety afford us nothing else but its company, brought it no improvement to our estate, but onely taught us to be content with it, whatsoever it be, yet this were profit enough if men could see it. But because profit and gain is that which the world so much doats on, and hard, if not impossible it is to wean men from the love of it; it hath pleased God to annex unto piety such a force, that it shall increase and en­hance [Page 222] what estate soever it shall apply it self unto. When Cyrus the King was gathering his Army, he made a proclamation to this effect, That whosoever would put himself into his service, should doubtless find great advancement of his estate; were he possessor of a little Mannor, he would make him Governour of a City; were he the Governour of a City, he would make him Lord of a Province; were he Lord of a Province, he would make him a King of many Nations. This which here our Apostle tells us, that Godli­ness is profitable, that Godliness is profitable to all things, is indeed the very drift of his proclamation. For it gives us to understand, that look what estate it is, to which piety adjoyns it self, it shall receive not onely security, but even great increase and improve­ment from it. Thus hath appeared unto you, both the profit that comes by Godliness, and likewise the exceeding largeness and compass of the profit.

But for our further instruction, something yet is there, by oc­casion of this Text, farther to be learn'd. For lest any man of upright life and conversation, should, upon the reading of this, or the like Texts of Scripture, forthwith expect, that the world should come in upon him, that he should receive Grace, and Ho­nours, and Preferments; and finding himself to fail in his ex­pectation, and instead of all these, to meet with disgrace and re­proach, should begin to call in question the truth of these pro­mises, and charge God foolishly, let us a little consider the na­ture of God's promises in this kind. Wherefore we are to note, that God, although he be a most free and liberal Giver, yet not­withstanding, most of his promises are conditional. The gift of God is eternal life, saith St. Paul. Salvation is a meer and free gift: yet nevertheless, God gives it to none, but to those that live either uprightly, or penitently. As it is with the things of the life to come, so is it much more with the things of this life; they are a meer Donative, a Gift, an Alms; and wheresoever God bestows them, he bestows them freely. For do we all we can do, yet is not God a debter to us for the least and meanest temporal bles­sing. And it is not to be thought, that he that out of his meer grace and liberality gives us Heaven, a thing of that inestimable value, would set a price upon the things of this life, and so sell them unto us, which are indeed things of no worth at all. Yet notwithstanding he gives them not, no not to those that are his, [Page 223] without conditon. It's worth noting which St. Basil hath, [...], &c. As Farmers, and Tenants, that Rent lands of other men, till the ground according to the will of him that lets it them: [...]. So the care and manage of this flesh of ours is committed unto us, [...], upon Obligation, upon Indenture or Lease, that so husbanding this flesh of ours according to the conditions upon which it is let us, we may make it fruitful unto him that let it. Not our flesh onely, but all things that pass between God and us upon conditions, they are let unto us by Indenture. Let us therefore, like careful Tenants, look into our Lease, and see what Conditions they are, which God requires at the hand of those, who look to take of God the things of this world, who claim a promise of him of the things of this life. These shall not find in other places of Scripture, where the same Doctrine is taught, but with some restraint, which here the holy Ghost seems to de­liver absolutely. For this is the best way of interpreting of Scri­ptures, when as what is in one place breifly and concisely deli­vered, is expounded by another place, where it is more largely taught. Our Saviour therefore in the sixth of St. Matthew, treat­ing of the things of this life, and our care for them, bids us first seek the kingdom of God, and the righteousness of him, and all these things shall be added unto us. That which here in my Text our Apostle calls Godliness, is by our Saviour exprest by the terms of seeking the kingdom of God, and the righteousness of him: that which our Apostle calls profit, our Saviour calls these things. Where our Saviour seems to me to speak with some kind of scorn and indignation, that our infirmity should force him to name the things of this life (as we commonly say) the same day with the things of the life to come. Wherefore having expresly named the Kingdom of God, and the righteousness of him, he passes over the rest, as disdaining to name them otherwise, then by the gene­ral name of These things. As Ezekiah pulling the brazen Serpent, calls it no otherwise but by the scornfull name of Nehushtan, bra­zen Stuff: so Christ willing to pull down in us the things of this life, (after which we run a whoring, more then ever the Iews did after the brazen Serpent) telling us of Divine matters, wills us first to seek the Kingdom of God, and then shall these things, this Trash, this Nehushtan, this Leaden, P [...]wter, or at the best Brazen [Page 224] stuff of the world, be cast in upon us. Here then is the prime and principal condition to be kept by us, if we will claim a pro­mise of the things of this life at the hands of God. Where we are to note, that not quomodolibet simply unto Godliness is there made a certain promise of profit, and the things of this life, but unto Godliness upon condition, if it be first of all studied, and sought out by us. If the first stone of our building be Godliness, the King­dom of God, and the righteousness of him: then will the things of this life come in, otherwise no: or if they do, they come not in because of God's promise, but for some other cause. As it is with those who build, some things they provide for main walls and foundation, some things onely for ornament and furniture: that Building must needs prove weak, where that is laid for a founda­tion, which was provided onely for garnishing. These outward things are but a seeming kind of furniture for this life, but the main wall is Godliness. Her foundations, saith the Psalmist, are in the holy Hills. St. Paul telling us of some builders, who having laid a good foundation, built upon it hay, and stubble, shews what great dammage they shall sustain by so doing: If this be the case of those builders, whose foundation is supposed to be good, what think we shall be the loss of those builders, whose very foundation is hay and stubble? as is theirs, who have laid the things of this life as their prime and corner-stone. First, seek ye the Kingdom of God. First, is a word of order, and order is [...], saith Theon in his Comments upon Ptolomy, it is a Divine thing, a thing of wonderful force and efficacy. For cost may be laid out, matter may be pro­vided, labour may be bestowed, and all to no purpose, if there be not a set course, an order observed in the business. The experience of the meanest Tradesman amongst you, is able to tell you thus much. For whosoever he be amongst you that goes to practise his Trade, he cannot begin where he list; something there is that must be done in the first place, without which, he cannot go unto the second; something in the second place, which will not be done, except something be done afore it. Some order there is which prescribes a law and manner to his action, which being not ob­served, nothing can be done. As in all other business, so in this great business of Christianity, we may not think that we may hand over head, huddle up matters as we list; but we must [...], we must keep a method and order, a set course in our pro­ceedings. [Page 225] Not, First, these things, and then the kingdom of God, and the righteousness of him: but, First, the kingdom of God, and Then, these things. We have amongst our Books an Authour, who commending unto us the great use of Method and Order in our studies, tells us, that if a man could assure himself thirty years of study, it would be far more profitable for him to spend twenty of them in finding out some course and order of Study, and the other ten in studying according to this order, then to spend the whole, though it be in very diligent study, if it be with misor­der and confusion. Howsoever it be with Method and Order in these Academical studies, certainly in our studies which concern the practise of Christianity, it cannot chuse, but be with great loss of labour and industry, if we do not observe that Method and Order which here our Saviour prescribes. Simplicius in his Com­ments upon Aristotle, makes a question, Whether Youths in their reading of Aristotle's books, should begin with his Logicks, where he teaches them to dispute and reason; or with his Moral books, where he teaches them to live civilly and honestly. If, saith he, they begin from his Logick without Morals, they were in danger to prove wrangling Sophisters: if from his Morals without Logick, they would prove confused. Thus indeed it fares in the know­ledge of Nature, where all things are uncertain; thus it is with Students in the Vniversity, who have Aristole for their God. Scarcely will all their Logick do them so much service, as to shew them where they would begin, or where end. But in the studies of Christianity,, it is nothing so. Christ is our Aristotle, he hath written us a Spiritual Logick, he hath shewed us a Method and Order, what first to do, what next, and how to range every thing in its proper place. He that shall follow this, may be secure of his end, it is impossible he should lose his pains. But if we fol­low our own conceits, if we like best of our own courses, God deals with us no otherwise then parents do with their children: For so long as children follow the direction and advice of their parents, so long it is fit that their parents should provide for them: but if once children like best of their own courses; then it is but meet they should take the event and fortune of them. Yea, so much the more dangerous is our errour of not observing the order and method that Christ hath given us, because it cannot af­terward be remedied, we have for ever lost the claim to God's [Page 226] promises in this kind. As Cato said of errours committed in Bat­tel, In aliis rebus si quid erratum est, potest postmodum corrigi, prae­liorum delicta emendationem non recipiunt quia poena statim sequitur errorem: Errours in other things may be again amended, but the errour of a Battel cannot possibly be remedied, because the incon­venience immediately follows upon the mistake. For if we have not observed this Method of our Saviour, if any thing have pos­sess'd our thoughts, before or above the thought, study, and care of Godliness, we have mist of our Method, we have broken out condition, and therefore now for ever can we claim no promise of God in this kind. Here therefore is a most certain touch, by which we may come to examine our claim unto these promises; for if at any time we shall perceive our selves overtaken with passion and discontent, upon consideration that we be disgraced and impoverished. When as men, who, as we suppose, have no­thing so much care of God, and the things that are his, do flou­rish in grace and favour with the world. Let us presently exa­mine our selves, whether or no we have kept the conditions; viz. sought first the kingdom of God, and the righteousness of him? or have given somewhat else the first room in our thoughts? Thus if we do, our own conscience will presently tell us, what part we have in these promises. For which of us can say, that, with Samuel, we have been dedicated to God from our first and tender infancy? What do I say? from our first? nay, how many of us are there, who can scarcely spare the latter end of our days for God? When the world hath crop'd the prime of our age, of our labour, of our industry; when it hath sifted and bolted out the flower, when our health and youth is spent in the world's service, with much ado can we be content to bestow our old, decrepit, sickly, and unprofitable part of our age upon God, and the study of Godliness? How then can we claim this promise at God's hands, that have thus grosly neglected our conditions? To conclude. When God, in the Book of Kings, made a covenant with Solomon, he tells him plainly what he and his people must trust to.

1 Kings ix. 4. If thou wilt walk before me, as David thy fa­ther walked, in integrity of heart, and uprightness, to do ac­cording to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and my judgments:

5 ‘Then will I establish the Throne of thy Kingdom upon Israel [Page 227] for ever, as I promised to David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the Throne of Israel.

6 ‘But if you shall at all turn from following me, you or your children, and will not keep my commandments, and my sta­tutes, which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them:’

7 ‘Then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house which I have hallowed for my Name, will I cast out of my sight, and Israel shall be a Proverb, and a By-word among all people.’ Here are threats as well as promi­ses, and those promises are conditional. It is but just, that they who claim the promises, look well and truly to the conditions.

IACOB's VOW. A SERMON On Gen. xxviij. 20.

‘And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I go, and give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, &c.’

ANd Iacob vowed a vow. [...]. The Interpreters of Homer observe unto us, that he gives unto God one kind of Dialect, to Men an­other. When he brings in God speaking, he makes him use fair, smooth, and clear run­ning words; but the speeches and discourse of men, he fits with words of harder and harsher sound and composition. [...] and [...], they are but two names of one and the same River; the one a word of pleasing sound taken up by the gods, the other a word of unplea­sing [Page 229] and rougher accent, used by men. Moses the great Interpre­ter of the Greatest God of Heaven and Earth, in those first words of my Text, seems to have borrow'd a peice of the same Art. For that which here in the language of the holy Ghost he calls a Vow (And Iacob vowed a vow) that [...], to speak according to the manner and phrase of men, is nothing else but a contract or bargain. Vow and Bargain in this place, are but [...], and [...]. Vow is a Religious and Sacred word, and therefore best fits to express our carriages and demeanour with God: Bargain is a degenerous and sordid word, and therefore best suits with Merchandizing and Trafficking betwixt man and man. All things pass by way of Contract and Bargain. Do ut des, facio ut facias: service requires hire, and one good turn demands an­other. It was the divil that ask'd the question, Doth Iob serve God for nought? But the Saints of God may above all other most truly answer, That indeed they do not. For God may go forth at all hours in the day, and find enough standing idle in the market­place, yet shall he get none to work in his Vineyard, except he bring his Peny with him. When Iacob, in the xxx. of Genesis, re­turned out of the feild, Leah meets him, and tells him, Thou must come in to me, for surely I have hired thee with my sons Man­drakes. Iacob, that great Saint of God deals no otherwise with God himself, then he did with Leah; if God will have Iacob, he must purchase him with his Mandrakes, he must buy him with food and raiment: If God will be with me, and give me bread to eat, and rai­ment to put on, then shall the Lord be my God.

In which words, the first thing very remarkable, is a singular disproportion which seems to be contained in them. Demetrius Phalereus, a grave and judicious Writer, much blames an ancient Authour, who describing a small Flie, that lives amongst the grass, and nests it self amongst the trees, extremely over-worded; and over-spake himself in his expression of it: [...], as if, saith he, he had spoken of the Nemean Lion, or the Caledonian Bore, or some such great and terrible beast. He that shall observe the Apparatus, the great preparation that is here made, might well conceive, that there were some great matter intended. For first, here is a Vow. Se­condly, here is the Person who conceives the Vow, Iacob. Third­ly here is the Person to whom the Vow is made. Fourthly, here is [Page 230] the End, for which it is made. He that shall rightly sum up the first three parts, and truly consider the greatness of them, might justly think, that the last, wherein, as it were, the Vpshot and to­tal of the rest is comprized, did certainly contain some extra or­dinary matter. First, here is a Vow. This may not be in any light of trivial thing. Wise men are seldom serious, much less will they make a Religion in small matters. Secondly, here is the Per­son, Iacob; a person of great note and worth: For who greater in the House of God then Iacob? one of those famous Triumviri, (Abraham, Isaac, Iacob) from whom God was pleased to denomi­nate and style himself. Could such an Eagle strike at a Flie? Could a person of such note, make a Vow, or commence a Suit for a tri­fle? So great a Courtier in the Court of Heaven had learn'd his Courtship a little better, then to spend favour in small matters. Quaedam beneficia accipiente minora sunt. Benefits and favours, such may be, as that they may be unworthy and too mean for him to whom they are tendred. When Caligula the Emperour had sent to Demetrius, a famous Philosopher, a round sum of money to tempt him, and try what was in him, he rejected it with scorn, and replied, Si tentare me voluerat, toto illi experiendus eram im­perio: If the Emperour (saith he) had a purpose to try me, he should have cast his whole Empire at my feet, and tried me with that. And how can it be that Iacob, a person so far above De­metrius, could think of asking, or receiving a small and common benefit? As it is fabled of Thomas Aquinas, that being ask'd of Christ in a Vision, what reward he would have, reply'd, Nullum, Domine, praeter teipsum; None, Lord, but thy self: So, Beloved, had God made proffer unto Iacob of all the benefits he had to give, I do not see what better choice he could have made, then that of Aquinas, Nullum, Domine, praeter teipsum; None, Lord, save thy self. For the whole kingdom of Heaven it self, might it be without God, would not be worth the taking. The circumstance therefore of the party suing, must needs put us in expectation of some great matter. But we have not yet done. For to raise our expectation yet a little higher, a third circumstance offers it self. The circum­stance of the Person, to whom the Vow or Suit is made, and that is God, the Great King of Heaven and Earth. So great a Donor, espe­cially at the request of so great a Suitor, cannot bestow but some great benefit. Quaedam beneficia minora sunt, quam ut exire à mag­nis [Page 231] viris debeant. Benefits and favours must carry some propor­tion with the greatness and worthiness of the Donor. When a freind of Alexander the Great had ask'd him ten talents, he tendred to his fifty; and when reply was made, that ten were sufficient, True, said he, Ten are sufficient for you to take, but not for me to give. Beloved, had Iacob been but some ordinary suitor, and content­ed himself with some small suit, yet is it not likely that so Royal a Donor as God is, would see his Honour and Magnificence to suffer, by parting with some ordinary or contemptible favour. Hither­to all things speak and promise nothing but Greatness. But see here the great disproportion I noted unto you. For what is the end of all this serious and Religious Vow, or what request is it that this great Suitour moves to so great a Lord? Nothing else but bread, and raiment to put on. If God will give me bread to eat, and rai­ment to put on, then shall the Lord be my God. A suit of the lowest and meanest rank imaginable. For which of us all would serve, I say not some great King, but even a mean Lord, at so cheap a hand? The wandring Levite in the Book of Iudges, which hires out himself to Micha, thinks it not enough to have apparel and victuals, but he will have ten shekels by the year for his wages. We have a common saying, No service to the service of a King. Iacob, it seems, finds it not so. The wandring Levite finds a better service with a Countrey Farmer, then Iacob doth with the great King of Heaven and Earth. Food and raiment, they are ra­ther Debita then Beneficia, they seem rather due debts then favours. Non homini dantur, sed humanitati. None so wicked, none so con­temptible, but thus much is due to him, if not to his person, yet to his very Nature and Beeing. Good Laws and Magistrates many times, and in many fashions, cut off offenders by death; but no Law did ever prescribe, nor no good Magistrate did ever practise to take away the life of any offender by starving him. Tiberius and Caligula, and some others, who are recorded to have practised this, are noted and pointed out for Tyrants and Monsters of their age. He who hath no right to his life, as having forfeited it to the Law for some offence, yet whil'st his breath remains in him, hath a right unto his bread, and this a right which nothing can forfeit. How then shall we esteem this as a favour, for which Iacob doth thus Religiously oblige himself unto God? In the first of Samuel, God leaves it as a curse upon the posterity of Eli, that they should [Page 232] come and crouch for a peice of silver, and a morsel of bread, and say, Put me, I pray thee, into one of the preists offices, that I may eat a peice of bread. When Iacob doth thus sell himself unto God for food and raiment, what is it else in outward shew, but a peice of that curse, which is laid upon the posterity of Elie?

Yet all this which we have said, and what else to the same pur­pose may be said notwithstanding, the parts of my Text do all hold one with another good symmetry and proportion, there is nothing amiss, nothing to be amended in them. As some curious Statues, if ye look upon them, not in their due light and distance, seem very ill-favour'd and disproportion'd; but veiw them at their light and distance, and nothing shall seem more beautiful, more propor­tionable. So, Beloved, fares it with this Text of Scripture, how deform'd and disproportion'd soever it may seem to sense, and in that which sense doth yeild; yet if we look into it in the right spiritual light, with which God endows those which are spiritu­ally minded, we shall not find any thing fuller of true art and beauty. That I may therefore help you a little, and place you in the true light, I will consider this Vow of Iacob's, first, comparative­ly, in regard of himself; and secondly, absolutely, in its own na­ture; and out of both draw lessons for your instruction.

And first, of the Vow comparatively, in regard of the person vow­ing. Where

First of all I will speak a little by way of concession and grant. For let it be supposed, that it had been some small and contem­ptible thing that Iacob had ask'd, such a thing, that a great heart would scarcely have deign'd to stoop to; yet Iacob had done no­thing unbefitting himself. Timanthes was a famous Painter among the Antients, and it was observed of his peices, that there was always in them somewhat more then was express'd: He pictur'd Hercules sleeping, in a small Table, but that it might be known to be the draught of a man of extraordinary bulk and stature; he drew two Pigmies by him, taking the compass and measure of his Thumb. This act of Iacob's like to one of Timanthes peices, there is more to be understood in it then is exprest; for though it seem but small, and nothing proportionable to so great a person, yet if we compass and fathom it well, we shall understand a greater lesson contain'd in it. Iacob dedicating himself unto God, upon such easie terms, and accepting a thing so small, shewed [Page 233] most apparently what esteem he had of his God, and that he va­lu'd him in his person, not in his benefits, and hath left unto us an absolute example in what manner we ought to love our God. To love God for himself, this is to be a freind of God; to love him for his benefits, this is to be a Merchant. Could Iacob have passed by food and raiment, as well as he did all other good benefits of God, he would not have given himself thus unto God upon composition, but absolutely, and without condition. Now he is constrain'd to fall upon the condition of food and raiment; for without this he could not love his God, because without this he could not subsist, or have his being. By this he evidently wit­nesses, that he therefore, and for no other end desired to be, but onely to love and serve his God. It was God alone, and his good acceptance, which Iacob doth here compound for, under the terms of food and raiment. It was an excellent speech of Crispus Passienus, a witty Gentleman of Rome, Quorundam se judicium malle quam beneficium, quorundam beneficium, malle quam judicium: Some man's love is better then some man's money; some man's re­spect and good opinion is more to be esteem'd, then another man's benefit. Malo Divi Augusti judicium, malo Claudii beneficium. I had rather have Augustus's good opinion, then reap any benefit or commodity by him; for he was a wise understanding Prince: but I had rather reap some benefit by Claudius, then have his good opinion; for he was a Prince of shallow and weak under­standing. Doth not Iacob here express the same conceit? It seems he doth: For when he came to compound with men, he made his bargain in another manner. When he came to Laban, he would not serve him for bread and raiment onely, but fourteen years he serves him for his wives, and six years for his flock: By these means he rais'd unto himself a great and numerous family, and became rich and wealthy. Why did he thus? could he not have covenanted with God, as he did with Laban, and so have grown rich at an easier hand? He could; but in dealing with God and with Laban, his end was not the same. Maluit Dei judicium, ma­luit Labanis beneficium: with God he sought acceptance and good opinion; with Laban he sought his own commodity, for what could the good opinion of a fool profit him? for spell Laban a little but the other way, and Nabal is his name, and folly [Page 234] is with him. Let us reflect a little upon our selves, [...], saith St. Chrysostom; See here the express image and character of an Apostle, that which we can hardly digest in St. Paul, to be content with food and raiment, that we see to be the practise of the antient Patriarchs, who were in so great a place of esteem with God. But as for us, which of us all doth so live, as if he could content himself with Iacob's portion, and serve God for food and raiment? Malamus Dei beneficium quam judicium: We serve God more for commodity, then to gain his good acceptance. And yet we see not that this doth give a dead­ly wound to our love to God, or rather indeed quite pluck off our mask, and shews that we have no love to God at all. Doth not our own experience shew us this? Such as are rich­ly rewarded by us, if they bear us respect, and love, either we suspect it, or think it not a thing thank-worthy, because they are well hired unto it, but such who unprovok'd and of themselves affect and respect us, of such mens love we have no cause to be suspicious. Let us therefore look upon God, not on his benefits: Neither let us be too busie, too importunate to call for them. Whil'st they lie in the hand of God, they are like moneys put to the Bankers, the longer they lie there, they shall return with greater profit. It is an excellent thing to have God our debter. Happy is that man, who having lived uprightly, hath had the least part of God's temporal blessings. For when God is so free of his secular benefits, Suspectam habe hanc Domini indulgentiam; It shall not be much amiss, to be somewhat jealous of this his kindness: May be, it is to give us that answer which is in the Gospel, Accepistis mercedem, You have your reward. Let us not therefore over-hastily pull them out of the hands of God, lest peradventure we much diminish, or quite lose the reward which we expect at that day, [...], saith St. Chrysostom, Let us not ask of God these temporal blessings further then he himself hath given us leave. When he taught us to pray, Give us this day our daily bread, that Father calls these words, [...]; He calls them bounds and limits, shewing how far we are permitted to go in requiring these temporal blessings at the hand of God. All this have I spoken by way of concession and grant, (as I told you) by way of supposal, that the thing here covenanted for by Iacob, [Page 235] is a small and contemptible matter. But if we speak uprightly, it is a great, a very great thing; [...], as St. Chrysostom speaks, full of Philosophical resolution. The Ethnick Philosophers, who in contempt of the world and worldly things, went well near as far as Christians, have out of their own reason found out, and acknowledged thus much. The Stoicks, who were accounted a wise Sect of men, and great contemners of the world, have gone so far, as that they have plainly told us that; and the Books of Seneca the Philosopher are full of it, That a wise and honest man, if he have his necessary food and raiment, for true hap­piness is comparable even to God himself. This was somewhat a large Hyperbole, and over-reaching speech; yet out of it, thus much is apparent, that Iacob when he made this covenant, did not descend a whit beneath himself, neither did he ought, which did not well beseem so great a person.

The Doctrines which are here considerable for your instructi­ons I will raise from these two heads. First, from the Person that makes the covenant. Secondly, from the thing and covenant it self.

And first, from the Person, this excellent lesson may be drawn, That it is no enemy to true state and greatness, to have but a small portion of the world's benefit. Iacob's portion, food and raiment, is an heritage well befitting great persons, men in greatest place and authority. Iacob, who was a great person indeed, and knew, doubtless, what would best maintain his greatness, would not have stuck to make demand of more, had he thought it had concerned his place and person. The world had a long time stood, ere poverty was counted an enemy, or disgrace to Greatness; and certainly he was an utter adversary to true and real worth, who first begat that conceit, and put any difference betwixt rich and poor. Iupiter, in Lucian, calling the gods together to a con­sultation, gives order that they should sit [...], according to the matter out of which they were made, not according to the Art by which they were framed: First, the gods of Gold and Silver, though but roughly and grosly made, without art; and next to them the Grecian gods of Ivory, Marble, and Brass, though wrought with much more art and skill. It was Iu­piter, that is, the Divil, whom the Scripture calls the god of this world, that first set this order, that men should be ranged [...], according to their wealth, not according to [Page 236] their worth. For God, who best knows how the world ought to be managed, in the seventeenth of Deuteronomy, setting down the quality and manner of a King, expresly forbids him to multiply horses, or greatly to multiply gold and silver; but instead of these he commends unto him pity, humility, and the frequent study of the Law, for the true means and ways by which his Kingdom should be upheld. If it be thus with Supreme Authority, much more ought it to be so with inferiour Power. It was the speech of Iu­lian the Apostata to his souldiers, Nec pudebit Imperatorem cuncta bona in animi cultum ponentemprofiteri, panpertatem honestam. Ho­nest poverty can never be a disgrace to that King or Emperour, who places his greatest happiness in the culture of his own heart. He was an Apostate that spake this, but in this he was a Christian: and that Christian that thinks otherwise, in that he is an Apostata. Never went it better with Kingdoms and Common-weals, then when Authority and Magistracy were thus minded. Itaque tunc illi pauperes magistratus opulentam Rempublicam habebant: nunc autem dives potestas pauperem facit esse Rempublicam, saith Salvia­nus. Poor Magistrates make a rich Common-wealth, but a rich Magistracy makes the Common-wealth but poor. It may seem a Paradox, as the world goes, but if you look near, ye shall find it most true, that none are so fit to be raised to places of Eminency and Power, as those who can best content themselves with Ia­cob's portion. The practise of the world in another kind can shew it you. Men who seek out fit instruments for Villany, make choice of such as have no dependances, no families, no means, that are sine re, sine spe, that neither have any thing, nor hope of any thing to bias them. For men that stand alone, that are free from incombrances, that are onely themselves, and evermore most resolute in undertaking dangers. Now, Beloved, there is nothing more dangerous, then the true and unpartial managing of place of Authority: so full is the world of those, quorum in­terest, whom it doth nearly concern, that justice and equity take no place. Now who so likely to walk uprightly here, as they who have no respects to sway them. And who so free from respects, as they who content themselves with least? What is it that can sway them from their integrity? whose person need they to re­spect? what losses need they fear? But he that hath his ambiti­on, his hopes, his ends, his freinds, his fears; how is it possible he [Page 237] should ever drive right? The Mariners tell us, That their Compass can never be set right near unto Iron; for Iron hath an attractive force, and perpetually makes the Needle to swerve. Men in place of Authority are like the Compass in a Ship; and by these the whole State does direct it self. Ambition, Hope, Fear, and the like, these are so many Irons, every one of force to sway the Needle, and who sees not then in what danger we go? From hence come all those mischeifs under which we groan, corruption in place of Iudicature; in our Elections, Bribery and Perjury, and preferring persons worthless, or at least not so worthy, upon the Letters of great Persons, whom we dare not displease. For when our own ambition hath made us obnoxious to great persons, needs must we lay ourselves, our offices, our consciences, at the feet of those on whom our hopes are built. All these inconveni­ences were at an end, if great men could but think favourably of Iacob's portion, or learn of Iacob, That honest poverty is no dis­grace to Greatness: But Greatness flies to these helps of Wealth, and worldly Pomp onely, as the Lame doth unto his staff, because, for the most part, it wants that true and natural strength, by which it ought to be upheld. For when we have well search'd the point, we shall see, that store of wealth, and outward glory, are nothing else but the miserable supplies of other things more necessary, more substantial, which are wanting. For were it not for these supporters, Greatness without Integrity and uprightness must needs fall to the ground. Nihil enim turpius est quam excel­lentem esse quemlibet culmine, & despicabilem-vilitate, Quid est enim aliud principatus sine meritorum sublimitate, nisi honoris titulus sine homine? aut quid est dignitas in indigno, nisi ornamentum in luto? There is nothing more odious then to be great in place, and con­temptible in life and carriage. For what is honour without desert, but a bare inscription upon a rotten carcase? or what is dignity in a worthless person, but a jewel thrown into the dirt? To supply therefore the lameness of it, and to keep it from falling, that which is wanting in inward worth, must be made good with out­ward pomp and shew, which are but as nails to fasten Idols to the wall, who cannot stand of themselves for want of life. For let no great person deceive himself, if he have not the true life of greatness, he is but an Idol, and the publick reverence which men yeild him, is but a kind of Idolatry. Seneca having considered [Page 238] with himself the vanity of idol-worship used in his times, tells us, that wise men did such things, tanquam legibus jussa, non tanquam diis placentia; not out of true zeal to please the gods, but because the Laws prescribed this form of service. Beloved, all this ce­remony and outward honour which is given to these civil Idols, to worthless persons, seated in place of greatness, it is but a kind of Idol-worship, proceeding, not out of any true zeal to their per­sons, but onely the Laws and Customs under which we live, command us to yeild reverence unto persons in Authority, let their lives be what they will. When Shishak King of Egypt had taken away those golden sheilds, which Solomon had dedicated in the Temple, Rehoboam his son (that wise man) supplied them with brazen sheilds. Beloved, piety, integrity, invictus adversus grattam animus, unswayed constancy, these and the like are these golden sheilds which should hang up in our Temples of honour: But if any man, having lost these, supply them with outward pomp and glory, he doth but as Rehoboam did, instead of sheilds of gold, he brings in nothing but Nehushtan, base and brazen stuff. So then it appears, that Iacob's portion, honest poverty, is no impediment to Iacob's greatness, nay, it's rather a way to encrease it.

Yea, but ye will say, That wealth and outward means may serve to adorn and set forth virtue and integrity, and commend it to the world; and in this respect Iacob might have done well to have had some thought of it in his covenant with God. No, Be­loved, it did not deserve to be thought of. It is but an errour to think, that integrity and uprightness of life receives any beauty or lustre from any thing without it. It is reported of the Rhodians, that having a Statue of excellent work, to adde grace unto it, they would gild it; and when they had so done, they saw they had much obscured the workmanship, and therefore were fain to wash off the gilt again. Shall I apply it thus, that true piety is a thing of such excellent workmanship, that riches and outward lustre added to it, are but like the Rhodian gold, which must be washed off again? No, Beloved; but this I will say, That as it re­ceives beauty and ornament from no estate of life, so it gives it unto all. Be it a poor and low estate, or be it in a rich and ample estate, it is the same in both; it makes both poverty and riches like ac­ceptable unto God, and it gives unto all estates that beauty, that art and life, of which they are capable. Eadem virtute & mala [Page 239] vincitur fortuna, & ordinatur bona. Indeed Aristotle, our great Ma­ster in the Schole of Nature, would needs perswade us, that to make up a complete happy man, besides the inward virtues of the soul, there is required a measure of the outward benefits, both of Person, and of Fortune. But, Beloved, these Peripatetical discourses, that thus compound an happy man of so many ingredients, they are like unto the Bills of some deceitful Physicians, who to make the greater ostentation and shew of Art, are wont to put in many Ingredients, which do neither good nor harm.

Hitherto I have spoken of Iacob's Covenant relatively, with re­spect unto Iacob's Person. The rest of the time I will take up in considering the Precept simply and alone by it self, and shewing you in breif what reasons they are which moved Iacob, and so ought to move us, thus to covenant with God for food and raiment onely.

And first of all, we shall not need to seek far, here lies a reason hard at hand, which though it concerns not Iacob, yet nearly con­cerns us: Would you know what it is? It is Iacob, the person of whom all this while I have spoken. One and the same Iacob is to us both a Precept, and a Reason, and an Example thus to do. For which of you all, Beloved, who seriously and religiously reading this passage, is not prompted by his own heart thus, Si Iacob, cur non & ego? If Iacob, so great a person, so powerful with God and man, if he thought it fit thus to do, then how much more should I? And so much the more powerful is this reason, because it brings an Example with it: For in precepts of difficulty, no reason so effectual as an Example, especially of some great and worthy personage; such a reason is of force above all other reasons and precepts whatsoever.

For first of all, bare precepts and reasons are speculative; much may be said, and yet still room left for doubting, either of possibi­lity, or of conveniency and profit, or the like; and every such doubt and scruple abates much of desire to enter into action. But a rea­son accompanied with an example, and that of some memorable and great Person, this leaves in us no doubt at all, neither of possi­bility nor conveniency.

Again, of Reasons and Precepts, that may sometimes be said, which one speaks in Herodotus, This Shoe was made for Hestiaus, but Aristagoras wears it. For many times to give a precept, and to [Page 240] do it, is more then one man's work. A thing which doth exceed­ingly hinder the practise of many good lessons; for he that will perswade a good lesson, shall hardly do it, if he follow it not him­self. But here we have one that perswades us, by the strongest and most effectual manner of perswasion, namely, by example and action. And that you may see I have cause to please my self in this reason, I must confess, I do not see to what Logic place I can go, to draw thence a more forcible motive. For let all the pre­cepts, all the examples of Christians tending this way, be laid in the scale, and this one example shall weigh them all down. For many things, many circumstances are there, which should make this resolution familiar and easie to us, which to Iacob must be very hard, and therefore of the greater merit. For first, St. Paul hath given us the precept, Having food and raiment, we ought therewith to be content; and many Christians have left us their examples upon record. But who gave Iacob any precept, or left him an ex­ample? For ought appears, himself was to himself both precept and example. Again, he had not the like promises, (so far forth as we can conjecture by what is written) at least he had them not so fully, so evidently, so plainly laid down as we have; he saw them but obscurely, under Types and Figures; but with us, all the vail of Types and Figures is quite removed. Last of all, he had not the like abilities as we have. For (if what we teach in our Books be true) there is a larger measure of grace, enabling us to the fulfil­ing of this duty, shed in the hearts of us Christians, then was given the Fathers before the coming of our Saviour. All these laid together, serve to shew the strength of this our first reason. Si Iacob, cur non & ego? If Iacob, who was to meet with so many disadvantages to wrestle with so many difficulties, from all which we are free: If Iacob, I say, could make such a vow, then how much more ought we to do it. And let this suffice for a first reason.

Our second reason let be this, To us in this life there is nothing necessary but food and raiment, and therefore ought we, as Iacob here doth, covenant with God for nothing else. A reason of very good consequence: For, Beloved, while we are in this life, it doth much import us not to trouble our selves with superfluities. The Scripture every where tells us, that we are strangers and p [...]lgrims upon earth, that the world is not our countrey, and that we [Page 241] seek a city to come: Now (Beloved) our own experience tells us, how dangerous a thing it is for strangers, pilgrims, and wayfaring­men to be incumbred with unnecessary stuff, and baggage. First, it hinders us in the way, and makes us drive on but slowly. Second­ly, it exposes us to the danger of theives and robbers. How dange­rous it is to grow rich in a strange place, Iacob himself, of whom we speak, is a notable instance; for whil'st he sojourned with his Vncle Laban, and kept his estate but low, no man envied, no man troubled him: But no sooner was his flock increased, and he grown wealthy, but presently the countenance of Laban was changed, his sons give out harsh and angry words, and he is fain to flie for his life. Magno consilio jacturam sarcinarum impedimentorumque contempsit, saith one of Alexander the Great, It was a singular part of wisdom and of good advise, which Alexander used in the Bat­tel against Darius, that he contemned the loss of his stuff and car­riages: And when Parmenio complains of it, Go tell him, said Alexander, that if we gain the Battel, we shall not onely recover our own again, but possess our selves of what was our enemies. Beloved, this spiritual Battel that we fight against the world, is much like to that of Alexander against Darius, sine jactura sarci­narum, it will never be won without loss of our stuff and carri­ages. And let no man be dismayed for this; for behold, a greater then Alexander, even the Captain of the Lord of Host, our Lord and Saviour Iesus Christ, hath assured us, that if we gain the Battel, (and gain it we shall, if we be not too careful of our stuff) we shall not onely recover our own again, but possess our selves of what was our enemies, with a thousand-fold encrease. When Ioseph sent for his Father and Brethren into Egypt, he sent them bread, and meat, and provision for the journey, for the way; but withall, he sends them this message also, Regard not your stuff, for the good of the land of Egypt is yours. Beloved, our Saviour Iesus Christ, that true Ioseph, who is gone before to provide us a place, as himself told us, hath sent us bread, and meat, and provi­sion sufficient for our way: but for that superfluous stuff of the world, he wills us not to regard that, for the good of a better land then that of Egypt, is all ours.

But all this while I have not proved the main, That nothing else is necessary but food and raiment. Indeed, if nothing be necessary but food and raiment, then shall we do well to let all the rest fall [Page 242] away. But how appears it, that all things else are superfluous? Thus; Let your conversation be in heaven, saith the Apostle. If it must be in heaven, then must it be like to that of the Angels: Do the Angels care for silver and gold, for the treasures, and honours of the world? Or if thy self wert an Angel, wouldst thou do it? The Body we bear about us, lays upon us a necessity of food and raiment; from which necessity Angels are exempted, because they have no bodies. This onely excepted, what difference is there betwixt us and Angels. Having therefore food and raiment, the rest we need no more then the Angels do: And why then should we desire them any more then the Angels do? Look then for what reason they are not necessary for the Angels, for the same reason they are superfluous for us.

But here I see I may be question'd. What then shall become of all these goodly things of the world, which men so much admire? riches, pleasures, and delights, so many good creatures in the world, were they not made to be enjoyed? If Iacob's portion be nothing else but food and raiment, why did God provide more then that? Was it his pleasure, that all the rest should run waste? I answer, I would be loth to oppose that common principle of Nature, Deus & Natura nihil faciunt frustra, God and Nature are not wont to lose their labour. There is use for those things, but not that peradventure which we would make. There goes a fable, that when Prometheus had s [...]ol'n fire out of Heaven, a Satyre, as soon as he saw it, would needs go kiss it. There may be many good uses of Fire, yet kissing none of them. They who thus plead for the things of the world, they would do as the Satyre did by the Fire, they would kiss them, and hug them, and love them as their own soul. This is that use, or rather abuse, which, if I could, I would willingly remove; will you know then the cheif use for which they were made? It is somewhat a strange one, and one of which you will have no great joy to hear; They were made for Temptation. They are in the world as the Canaanites were in Ca­naan, to try and prove us whether we walk in the ways of God or no. For it was the purpose of God, that the way to life should be narrow, that man should be the subject of obedience, and vertue, and industry. For this purpose, by the very ordinance of God, are so many enticements, so many allurements, so many diffi­culties, ut fides habendo tentationem, haberet etiam probationem, as [Page 243] Tertullian speaks; that our obedience and love unto God, encoun­tring and overcoming so many temptations, so many difficulties, might at length approve it self unto him. Seems it so strange a thing unto you, that God should make a thing onely for Tentation? What think ye of the Tree of knowledge of good and evil? it was a fair fruit, it was beautiful to the eye, yet was it made for no other use that is known to us, but onely to be a trial of our obedience, and that yet it should be more difficult, God hath mingled these very temptations even with our necessities. For this very Vow of Iacob, how strict soever it may seem to be, yet it is full of danger. Food and raiment become temptations, dangerous above all others. For how easily do they degenerate into wantonness, the one into pride, the other into luxury? So that as it seems, we must cir­cumcise and pare even this our Vow, and covenant with God, not in large terms of food and raiment, but for no more of that also then is necessary. As for those other glorious superfluities of the world, he makes best use of them, that least uses them; and he sets the truest price of them, that least esteems them.

DIXI CUSTODIAM. A SERMON On PSAL. xxxvj. 1.

‘I said, (or resolv'd) I will take heed to my ways.’

BEfore of a Good desire— Beati qui esuriunt & sitint justitiam; now it will follow well, to make way for an Absolute Resolution, here in two words.

These two words must ever be link'd to­gether in this order:

  • 1. Dixi. Purpose and Resolution.
  • 2. Custodiam. Practise and Execution.

First, a setled purpose must usher the way. Then the Action must follow hard at heels.

—Mature facto opus est.

In these two our whole life is compris'd. For man is by na­ture an active creature, he cannot be long idle; either for good or bad he must take up his Dixi, and proceed to his Custodiam. For he was born for labour, as the sparks flie upward.

[Page 245]And well it is that he was so; otherwise, he would find as they do, (Qui transgrediuntur naturam in this point) That Idle­ness is but a preparative and introduction to do evil: and as fat grounds (if you sow them not with good seed) will quickly abound with weeds: so the soul of man left empty and void of good purposes, will soon [...], be over-spread and over-grown with evil intentions.

Neglectis urenda filix innascitur agris. Therefore (if Nature do not, yet) Christian wisdom at the least should move us quickly (with David) to take up our Dixi, resolve for action.

David in that case sets the words thus, [Dixi custodiam] he makes Resolution take the upper place, and go before practise; and Nature it self requires it should be so.

Yet it may be good Heraldry, first, to range them in this order, (Custodiam dixi) to take heed, to be well advised what we resolve; for resolution is the immediate cause of Action, the onely thing that sets us all on work: Reason (be it never so good) is yet of no force without a strong resolution.

A strong resolution is of great force, though the reasons be weak or none at all. There is great reason we should be very careful upon what we set our resolutions: For [...], dixi, (I am resolved) is with most men a word of great weight.

Quod dixi, dixi.

There were anciently a sect of Philosophers, who thought them­selves bound [...], to make good whatsoever they had resolved. We read of one of them in Epictetus, of his time, of his acquaintance, that for no reason resolved to die, by pining and abstaining from all necessary sustenance; when he had begun to put it in practise, being required a reason, cur sic? he answered, [...], I have said, I am resolved it shall be so: and scarcely could his freinds perswade him to break his resolution.

This Sect of Philosophers is not yet extinguished; more or less we are all of it: Many men in most things, all men in some things, have no other reason but their [...], dixi, they are re­solv'd upon't. In such a posture have they voluntarily put them­selves, and in that they purpose to pass on.

Now a resolution if it be taken up in

  • A Lightness and vanity, is a singular Folly,
  • A Sin and wickedness, is a singular Madness.

[Page 246] As being nothing else but pertinacy, a reprobate sense and indu­ration.

So (è contra) if it be taken up for the guiding of our actions to goodness, for sanctity, integrity, and uprightness of life; it is an ad­mirable virtue, and the very Crown of Christianity. For that ex­cellent virtue of perfect righteousness, which is so in commendati­on; that constancy and unswayedness in our lives and actions; that Rock which no tempest can move; that perpetual and habituated goodness, which no hard fortune can dant, no felicity can cor­rupt, that to which our Saviour hath promised Salvation, (he that continues to the end, shall be saved) All this is contained in this word, Dixi, I am resolv'd.

Again, from whence comes that main imperfection of our lives? Vnsettledness, and flitting from one thing to another? fre­quent relapsing into sins once forsaken? Whence are we so easily carried with every wind

  • of Fear.
  • of Hope.
  • of Commodity.

All is, because we have not yet learned our Dixi, are not yet resolv'd: we know not what to will, or nill, till present occasion take us; we have not advisedly decreed; set down before hand what we will follow in our lives, in our conclusions.

And without that [Dixi] a man is but like a Ship without a Ballast, easily overturn'd with every blast. [...], The double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. The kingdom of Iudah was full of such men: for amongst twenty two Kings who sate in the Throne, nine of them to­tally relaps'd and fell away to Idolatry, and all the Priests and People with them.

But we need not go to fetch Examples so far, so long since; our own Kingdoms and latter times are able sufficiently to store us. How easily were the branches of Popery lop'd under Hen. 8. and and the very stumps of it rooted up under Edw. 6.

How easily did it recover again under Queen Mary, both Top and Cut? and yet (with the same facility) was it again lop'd, rooted up under the Reign of Queen Elizabeth? Certainly were Religion a matter of conscience, and not of formality, undertaken first with Dixi custodiam, out of Love and Conscience; it could [Page 247] not be that so often, so easie, so general a change could be made, from one Religion to another.

The like we may see in all moral courses, interrupted by incon­stancy, mutability, and change: He that can comply, and peice in with all occasions, and make an easie forfeiture of his honesty, makes it a custom to relapse into sins formerly repented of, may well impute it to this, that he hath not taken up a resolution; that he hath not made his Dixi custodiam, like unto the Laws of Medes and Persians, which alter not; and without which a man is like the Sea, moved and troubled with every wind that blows upon it: For would he say the word, this Dixi custodiam would quit him from the greatest part of his follies and sins too. How said I? (would he but speak the word? Nay I fear me) most men think these two words, [Dixi custodiam] a greater difficulty then so, and more indeed then they have.

For (first for) Dixi: It is not a word of such strange and un­known sound, which we that are aliens (by nature) from the Co­venant of Grace, utter strangers to the language of God, can ne­ver learn rightly to pronounce? Are we able to sound it in our hearts throughly? to take up this resolution?

Resp. I see no reason, but that I may say, We are able:. For first, David did it, not by any spirit peculiar to himself, as that by which he Prophecied, and did those things which lay not within the rule of common persons. 2. David did it, who was by nature as great a stranger to the Covenant of Grace as we. 3. David did this for example to us, and it is here recorded, that we might learn to do the like. But all this were labour lost, if it were im­possible to do it.

2. Custodiam, this is enough to prove Dixi feasible.

But yet there is a greater doubt for [custodiam] Having learn'd this language, taken up this resolution, are we able to stand to it, to make it good? Was there ever man, who had so setled his re­solution, (custodire vias) but that he was sometimes constrained to leave his right way, and wander, in spite of all his (custodiam) careful watch he kept?

Resp. For answer to this question, I must confess I am in a streight. For me thinks 'tis no good argument to say, we know of none that have so kept their ways, Therefore it is impossible they should be kept.

[Page 248]Yet if I should say, it were possible, whether I should offend the truth, I cannot so easily pronounce; but (sure I am) I should offend the times. For many learned men can delight themselves in discoursing of the weakness of man's nature, of the difficulty, yet impossibility of keeping the Laws of God. 2. Again (on the con­trary side, should I say, that we are bound to take up this (Dixi custodiam) Resolution with David, but with reservation, that in this life we can never be able to make it good; I do not see what I could do more to dishearten, to deter men from enter­taining this lesson of Christian Resolution, which (above all lessons in the world) I would have commended unto them. For what wise man will attempt that, which he knows before-hand to be impossible?

To those who enquire whether it be possible to bring this Dixi into Fieri, make it good in practise, I answer (as the Angel doth, Revel. vj.) Veni, & vide, try and make experience an possi­bile? For many things have been thought impossible, till experi­ence hath proved them possible.

It is observed by those who writ the Acts of Alexander the Great, that he enterprized many things with good success, which no man else would ever have attempted, because they doubted of the possibility of the enterprise. Let us be like Alexander, and attempt impossibilities. It may be experience will discover that to be possible, which fear never could.

They are ill discoverers, that think there is no Land, where they can see nothing but Sea. How many (of late times) have ven­tured their persons, their purses by Sea and Land, in new Discove­ries, and new Plantations; of the good success whereof, they have had little or no assurance before hand? How much better and surer adventure were this whereof we now treat, which if we attain unto, the honour and profit is infinite? If we fail of it, the very missing of it cannot be without a great and rich return?

We read of a Father, who dying, commanded his sons to dig in his Vineyard, for there they should find much Gold: Accor­dingly they did so, and Gold they found none; yet the digging and moving of the earth about the roots of the Vine, caused it to bring forth so abundantly, that it yeilded them a rich revenue. What if God do so by us? Suppose he commands us to dig for Gold, to keep his Laws, which yet he knows we cannot; yet the [Page 249] labour it self (though it miss the end intended) cannot but infi­nitely benefit us; for our very endeavour (in this kind) is much set by. Est aliquid prodire tenus— He that by striving to keep all, hath kept most, hath done himself an happy turn.

And now lastly; by so much the more I will exhort you, to make through trial and experience of your selves in this point of Christian Resolution, because the want of experience it is, which makes the question of Possibility a matter so difficult to determine.

For to make this trial requires all our power, all our will: And which of us have served God so? Many men in some things per­chance have done their best, yet in some things they were utterly defective; in many things, wherein they did ill, they might have done much better then they did. Shew me the man who hath made experience of the uttermost of his strength in the service of God; and who can tell what the issue might be, if that were done, that was yet never done?

Could I therefore perswade my self or you to put this matter to trial, which might peradventure be able to satisfie that que­stion, wherein (otherwise) it is no great matter whether we are satisfied or no. If we cannot entreat this of our selves, yet at least let us (insecundis consistere) take up such resolutions as others have done before us, go as far in the execution as they have done; let us begin with David here, Dixi custodiam; let us say with Io­shua, ( [...]. 15.) As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord: Or with Matthias, Though all the nations under the Kings dominions fall every one from the Religion of their father, yet will I; and my sons and brethren walk in the covenant of our fathers [...] 1 Mach. ij. 29. Or with them in Hier. (51. 5.) Come, let us joyn our selves to the Lord with a perpetual covenant, that shall not be forgotten [...] Or with Iob, Though he slay me, yet will I put my trust in him.

We have all need thus to encourage our selves, to take up such resolutions as these; for the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? Ier. xvij. 1. Because the Lord searcheth the heart, to give every man according to his way, and the fruit of his doings.

Hitherto I have spoken of Dixi and Custodiam in their Generals [...] now I would come to look upon them in these circumstances, which may not be omitted: Wherein,

  • [Page 250]1. We may observe the tense, Dixi custodiam. David onely promises that he will do it, but shews not when; this may seem to countenance those, who promise God fairly every day, yet do no more but promise. A common errour, wherein many trifle and spin out their life to no purpose. As Antigonus, [...], always ready, but never doing; St. George always on horseback, but ne­ver rides: so we [...], that will but do not. This errour was far from David's thought. Nor is the word it self dilatory, it puts not off till the time to come; it binds him for the present.
    • 1. It is a rule of the Canonists, Sponsalia per verbum, &c. Per­sons contracted in words of the future, make the Contract good for the present.
    • 2. In the practise of Law and common Equity betwixt man and man, every Obligation by which we bind our selves for the time to [...]ome (if so be the particular time be not expresly specified) binds us for the present, if it be of money to be paid, or service to be performed. So here, he that contracts with God (as David) Dixi custodiam, binds himself for the present; and if he neglect any oc­casion, any time whatsoever, he hath offended against his Contract.
  • 2. It is the person, Dixi custodiam. David puts it not upon Abiathar (the High Preist) or any of his Prophets or Chaplains; but takes it as a duty, he will perform himself, not by a proxy: for in these cases, every man must look to himself, and amend his own ways. Kings and Preists, who have a general oversight over your ways, are bound to give you warning and direct you. When that is done, they are excused, you must (every one) lay to your hands, take heed to your own ways.

    In your Husbandry for the world, you are wont to say, The Ma­ster's foot doth soil the ground, The Master's eye doth sat the horse; nothing so well done, as that which the Master of the house looks to, posts not over to his servants. Were you as wise for God as you are for the world, careful of the spiritual husbandry of your souls, as that of your grounds and cattel, you would not so much call upon us, (your Ministers, i. e. servants in this case) as take your selves into your own hands, and then think your ways well husbanded, when your own eyes see them. There is good use to be made of others eyes, for the guidance of our ways; and they are wise men that will suffer their Seers to tell them plainly [Page 251] what they think; yet (when all is done) every man must take up custodiam in his own person.

    The happy success of careful taking heed to your ways, con­sists not in our Teaching, or reproving, but in your learning and amending.

  • 3. The object.
    • In general, My ways.
    • In particular, That I offend not in my tongue.

For therein the Prophet (it may be) had been overtaken; he had been over-lavish in his language, given some offence with his tongue; and now he resolved to redress all his ways, and that in special. And the naming of that alone had included all.

1. St. Iames tells us, If any offend not in word, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body: In the judgment therefore of St. Iames, when David purposeth not to offend in word, he taketh the immediate way to perfection, to bridle the whole body, to over­look all his ways, to offend in nothing.

2. No one sin will well be cured, except all go out, and there be a general reformation of all our ways. It was accounted a great cruelty in Haman, when Mordecai had offended him, to wreck himself not onely upon him, but upon the whole Nation of the Iews. That which was cruelty in Haman, may be Religious po­licy in us, if any one sin offend us, to let the whole Nation suffer for it.

It was a law amongst the Macedonians, if any one of the family had committed Treason against the King, he was not to die alone, but all of the lineage and kindred were to die with him, the better to secure the King; they thought fit to remove all out of the way that might harbour any resolution of revenge. Therefore well might David (having found treason against God) in the sin of his tongue, think best to proceed according to the Macedonian Law, and remove the whole family and lineage of sin: For sins are good-fellows, [...], go always in droves and companies; and (if we leave any untouch'd) they are likely to revoke, and call home their former sins again.

3. It is to no purpose to endeavour the removal of some one sin alone: For in regard of Heaven, the loss of it, one sin doth as much as a million. Therefore when we go out against sin, we go out with the same commission that Saul did against the Amale­kites, one of these whom Saul spared, lived to cut his throat, and [Page 252] executed that judgment upon Saul, which Saul neglected to do on him: So, if we let but one sin alone, there may come a time when that one sin may ruine us.

Therefore let Dixi custodiam be of the extent it is here:

  • 1. In the first person.
  • 2. To bind us for the present.
  • 3. Over all our ways.

These three Circumstances shew the meaning of the words.

And now since you know what they mean, what think you of taking them up for your own? Can you find in your hearts thus to resolve? Will you try whether it be possible to make it good or no? I shew'd (you last day) that the onely way to know whether it be possible, is to make trial your selves; and that you have this for your comfort, that in other cases, by making of trial, many things have been found possible, which till then many wise men thought impossible.

If other kind of trials have sped so well, why may not God give the like success to this, which certainly is more pleasing to God.

Do ye rightly apprehend what I mean? I do not say it is possi­ble for any man to keep the whole law, and never offend. It is too late for you and me to make trial of that; for we have all offen­ded deeply; and without the Merits and Mediation of Christ we are utterly lost. But this I say, When a man is in David's case here, when he is brought to the knowledge of God, and his own miserable estate, to the free pardon of great offences that he hath committed; may he not then resolve for the time to come, as David doth? May he not then keep that resolution, not so as never to slip; but not to fall, and leave his right way? Is he bound to think it impossible? shall he so discourage himself from the happiest experiment in the world? I know many men hold it impossible, and live accordingly; but I would have all under my charge to hold it possible, and to live as they meant to prove it. Or (if you will needs think it impossible) be perswaded to un­dertake it howsoever; for if you do your best, and cannot effect it that endeavour will be highly prized.

Shall I speak plain? I imagine it is impossible; for I fear we have brought our selves to that pass, that it comes not far short of impossibility for us to do it. Yet why should we not venture [Page 253] upon impossibilities in this so good a cause, as well as we do (of our own accord) in other cases? Is not the greatest part of our lives spent in attempting things meerly impossible? Petrarch. It a se res habet, ad impossibilia studium omne conversum est. We would want nothing, never be troubled, not be sick, not die, this all desire, this is impossible: Why do we not as much desire not to sin, which is the onely cause of all our want, trouble, sickness, and death too? If you would be exempted from them, little of­fended with them, take up this Dixi custodiam. If you will be affrighted with this impossibility, you shall have enough of all the other. Therefore among so many impossibilities, we undertake for our own fancy. Let us attempt this one of perfect Christian cautelousness; especially since God commands us, and David here undertakes the practise of it.

Certainly, either David saw some possibility in it, which we do not see; or else he thought some impossible attempts, were not misbecoming us. And would you but look a little to the Insti­tution and Discipline of the ancient Monks, or to the practise of our adversaries the Iesuites of our times, you would wonder what strange examples you might find of the obedience of inferiours to­ward their superiours, even in cases of apparent impossibilities.

If one of you which are fathers should bid your little children bring you that which you knew were beyond his strength, onely to try him; would you not commend, reward his endeavour? And do you think your heavenly Father hath not as much love and respect unto his own children?

By this time (I hope) you are in charity with these words; with the main word Custodiam, I will observe, I will take heed.

Now I will tell you what it is: It is a word of that singular weight and moment, that it contains in it all the Christian art and wisdom, by which, whatsoever the force and fraud of sin and hell can secretly suggest, or openly oppose, is frustrated and defeated altogether.

If we surveigh and sum up all the forces which the Divil, Flesh, World, are able to raise, those [...], Satan's deep unfathom'd policies, [...], spiritual juglings and cousenages, all devises and means whatsoever, by which he abuseth us, or we our selves; This one word, [Custodiam] I will take heed, contains that in it, which disannuls them all.

[Page 254] Galen observ'd it of the diseases of the body, [...], &c. To suppose there were some one cure of all maladies, were extreme folly. Among the world, the diseases that our frail bodies are subject unto, every one (if we will cure it) must have a proper remedy; if we will prevent it, must have a proper Antidote. Besides the difference from the temper, age, complexion, custom, trade, and diet of the patient. But (in the cure of souls) though our spiritual diseases be more and more dangerous; yet all these, if you would cure and remove them, prevent and shun them, have but one remedy, antidote, and pre­servative. Would you know what these are? The one is [...], Repentance; the other is Custodiam, cautelousness. These two Simples, cheap and easie, growing in every man's Garden, are universal medicines in all our spiritual diseases, the one curing, the other preventing; the one lifting up when we are fall'n, the other supporting us that we fall not. All Gilead will yeild no other balm but this. We have not (as some Physicians have) a Box and a Box; one receit for great persons, and another for meaner: the spiritual cure of our souls admits of no such partiality, but from the Scepter to the Spade, there is but one way to prevent sin, Cu­stodiam; cure sin committed, [...], Repent ye.

Now of these two, David here (like Mary in the Gospel) teach­eth you to make choice of the better part. For let it not offend you, if I compare these two great Christian virtues,

  • Cautelousness.
  • Repentance.

and not onely compare, but much prefer the one before the other.

I know the doctrine of Repentance is a worthy lesson, the joy and comfort of our souls, we drink it in with thirsty ears; yet (let me tell you) to be all for it, is some wrong and impeachment to this Christian cautelousness and wariness here commended. For as the ancient Romans were wont to use vomiting, to procure them an appetite for farther eating; so it seems many Christians use Repentance: When we have sur [...]eited and are sick of sin, by repen­tance we disgorge, cast it up again; bibit, & vomit; sin and re­pent, repent and sin again. Thus goes our life away. Polybius tells us, though man be generally accounted the wisest of all crea­tures, yet some have thought him the foolishest of all other: For the Fox will never return to the snare, which he hath once [Page 255] escaped; nor the Wolf to the pit, nor the Dog to the staff that hath beaten him; onely Man will never be taught to beware: sed peccat fere semper in iisdem, though he smart never so oft, yet will he return to the same offence and fault again. He that should well observe the follies of men, might more pardonably take them to be utterly more devoid of memory, then Aristotle holds it of Bees, so easily do we forget the danger of sin, (and being now driven of) return to it again.

Now a great part of this our folly we owe to the doctrine of Repentance, as it is commonly taught and understood. For as tru­sting to the help of the Physicians, hath overthrown the health of many, while they think they may use excess, take their pleasures the more securely, because they see the remedy: So it is to be feared, that relying upon the promises made to the repentant man, hath been the ruine and the overthrow of many a soul: For re­pentance is physick, and therefore to be used sparingly, and with good manners, lest too familiar use of it make it cease to be a duty, and a cause of presumption and wantonness.

There is not any Doctrine, in the delivery whereof we ought to walk more warily and wisely, then in the Doctrine of Repen­tance; so quickly may we make that an invitation to offend, which was ordained as a Farewel; turn the remedy of sin into an occasion of sinning. The discipline of the ancient Church was never to admit any to publick pennance more then once, and if (after such kind of pennance) he offended scandalously again, like the Leper in the Law, he was shut out of the camp, never to return unto the congregation.

Nay (in the Scriptures) we shall never find an example of Re­pentance upon relapse and falling, but into sins once repented of. Do not think this fell out by chance, but rather probably con­clude from thence, either our Fore-fathers durst not make trial of any such conclusion, and to make no practise of it; (or if they did) yet it pleased not the holy Ghost that any such example should stand upon record, lest peradventure it might prove a president to posterity; most men being quick scholars at such kind of lessons.

Will you know whether all this tends? This is my meaning, It is better for you to study health, [Custodiam] then physick, [Repentance.] Labour rather in prevention, not to commit it [Page 256] again, then in repenting, the same remedies afterward. Think of our Saviour's counsel to one that he had cured, Behold, thou art made whole, sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. And in­deed repentance ever goes with this condition, Sin no more, &c. He that repents and forsakes his sin, shall find mercy, (saith the Wise-man.)

Now therefore, since Repentance at best is but a Remedy, the be­nefit of it (except we manage it wisely) uncertain; the danger, if we use it too often, may be great: Let us not suffer the hope of frequent Repentance to abuse us; for this is but the cold comfort of a miserable man: But with our serious repentance, let us take up this resolution as David did; for it is folly to wound our selves, that we may need the Salve again. It is a good thing to seek what we have lost, and this repentance doth: but it is a thing of higher excellency not to be of the lacking hand, but to enjoy still what we have. And this the benefit of Cautelousness, [Dixi cu­stodiam.]

But leave we therefore this comparative discourse, and so come (in the second place) to treat of this Virtue in it self.

Custodiam is but care, wariness, and he that hath this one Art, needs no other. The good providence and mercies of God appear in this, that propounding a course of eternal life to men of all sorts, he hath laid it down in such terms, that nothing but negligence and uncautelousness can hazard it. Might he not have done this in a more high and reserved manner, with respect to some sorts and orders of men? If he had done so, the greatest part, I will not say of mankind, but of the professors of Christianity, had perished, finally perished. If he had required great knowledge, sharpness of wit, what had become of slower spirits, and shallower capaci­ties? But he saith, Not many wise, not many learned. And there is some reason for it, de facto, (as we may guess by other cases.) For men of low abilities are more jealous of their actions, and the jealousie makes them the more cautelous. And if they use the like caution with their craftiest enemy the Divil, it must needs be custodiam, safety.

2. If God had required great strength, extraordinary abilities, and stoutness of men, then the greatest part had perished, because of weaker temper: but he rather chuseth the weak things of the world to confound the strong.

Miscellanies.

Mr. HALES Confession of the TRINITY.

THe Sum of whatsoever either the Scriptures teach, or the Scholes conclude concerning the Doctrine of the TRINITY, is comprised in these few lines.

GOD is ONE; Numerically ONE; more ONE, then any single Man is One, if Vnity could suscipere magis & minus: Yet, GOD is so ONE, that he admits of Distin­ction; and so admits of Distinction, that he still retains Vnity.

As He is ONE, so we call Him GOD, the Deity, the Divine Nature, and other Names of the same signification: As He is Distinguished, so we call Him TRINITY; Persons, FATHER, SON, and HOLY GHOST.

In this TRINITY there is One Essence; Two Emanations; Three Persons, or Relations; Four Properties; Five Notions.

[A Notion is that by which any Person is Known or Signified.]

The One Essence is GOD, which with this Relation, that it doth Generate, or Beget, makes the Person of the FA­THER: the same Essence, with this Relation, that it is Be­gotten, maketh the Person of the SON: the same Essence, with this Relation, that it Proceedeth, maketh the Person of the HOLY GHOST.

The Two Emanations are, to be Begotten; and to Proceed, or to be Breathed out: The Three Persons are, FATHER, SON, and HOLY SPIRIT. The Three Relations are, to Be­get; to be Begotten; and, to Proceed, or to be Breathed out. The Four Properties are; the First, Innascibility, and Ine­manability; the Second, is to Generate; these belong to the FATHER: the Third, is to be Begotten; and this be­longs unto the SON: the Fourth, is to Proceed, or to be Breathed out; and this belongs unto the HOLY SPIRIT. The Five Notions are; First, Innascibility; the Second, is to Beget; the Third, to be Begotten; the Fourth, Spiratio Passiva, to be Breathed out; the Fifth, Spiratio Activa, or, to Breathe; and this Notion belongs to the FATHER and the SON alike; for, Pater & Filius spirant Spiritum San­ctum.

Hence it evidently follows, that he who acknowledgeth thus much, can never possibly scruple the Eternal Deity of the Son of God.

If any man think this Confession to be Defecti, (for I can con­ceive no more in this point necessary to be known) let him supply what he conceives be deficient, and I shall thank him for his fa­vour.

How we come to know the Scriptures to be the Word of God?

HOw come I to know that the Works which we call Livie's, are indeed his whose name they bear? Hath God left means to know the prophane Writings of men? hath he left no certain means to know his own Records?

The first and outward means that brings us to the knowledge of these Books, is the voice of the Church, notified to us by our Teachers and Instructors, who first unclasp'd and open'd them unto us, and that common duty which is exacted at the hand of every learner: Oportet discentem credere. And this remaining in us, per­adventure is all the outward means, that the ordinary and plainer sort of Christians know.

To those who are conversant among the Records of Antiquity, farther light appears: To find the ancient Copies of Books, bear­ing these Titles, to find in all Ages since their being written, the universal consent of all the Church, still resolving it self upon these writings, as sacred and uncontrolable; these cannot chuse but be strong Motioners unto us, to pass our consent unto them, and to conclude, that either these Writings are that which they are ta­ken for, or nothing left us from Antiquity is true. For whatsoever is that gives any strength or credit to any thing of Antiquity left to posterity, whether it be Writings and Records, or Tradition from hand to hand, or what things else soever, they all concur to the authorising of holy Scriptures, as amply as they do to any other thing left unto the world.

Yea, but will some man reply, this proves indeed strongly that Moses and the Prophets, that St. Matthew and St. Paul, &c. writ those Books, and about those times which they bear shew of, but this comes not home; for how proves this that they are of God? If I heard St. Paul himself preaching, what makes me beleive him that his Doctrine is from God, and his words, the words of the holy Ghost? For answer. There was no outward means to per­swade the world at the first rising of Christianity, that it is infallibly from God, Vide Basil, 313. B. C. but onely Miracles, such as impossibly were naturally to be done. Had I not done those things (saith [Page 260] our Saviour) which no man else could do, you had had no sin: Had not the world seen those Miracles, which did unavoidably prove the assistance and presence of a Divine power with those who first taught the will of Christ, it had not had sin, if it had rejected them: For though the world by the light of natural discretion, might easily have discover'd, that that was not the right way, wherein it usually walk'd; yet, that that was the true path, which the Apostles themselves began to tread, there was no means un­doubtedly to prove, but Miracles; and if the building were at this day to be raised, it could not be founded without Miracles. To our fore-fathers therefore, whose ears first entertain'd the word of life, Miracles were necessary; and so they are to us, but after another order: For as the sight of these Miracles did confirm the doctrine unto them, so unto us the infallible records of them: For whatsoever evidence there is, that the Word once began to be preach'd, the very same confirms unto us that it was accom­panied with Miracles and Wonders; so that as those Miracles by being seen, did prove unanswerably unto our fore-fathers the truth of the doctrine, for the confirmation of which they were intended; so do they unto us never a whit less effectually approve it, by be­ing left unto us upon these Records; which if they fail us, then by Antiquity there can be nothing left unto posterity which can have certain and undoubted oredit. The certain and uncontrolable Re­cords of Miracles, are the same to us the Miracles are.

The Church of Rome, when she commends unto us the Authority of the Church in dijudicating of Scriptures, seems onely to speak of her self, and that, of that part of her self which is at some time existent; whereas we, when we appeal to the Church's testi­mony, content not our selves with any part of the Church actually existent, but add unto it the perpetually successive testimony of the Church in all Ages since the Apostles time, viz. since its first beginning; and out of both these draw an argument in this question of that force, as that from it not the subtilest disputer can find an escape; for who is it that can think to gain acceptance and credit with reasonable men, by opposing not onely the present Church con­versing in earth, but to the uniform consent of the Church in all Ages.

So that in effect, to us of after-ages, the greatest, if not the sole outward mean of our consent to holy Scripture, is the voice of the [Page 261] Church, (excepting always the Copies of the Books themselves, bearing from their birth such or such names) of the Church, I say, and that not onely of that part of it, which is actually existent at any time, but successively of the Church ever since the time of our blessed Saviour: for all these testimonies which from time to time are left in the Writings of our fore-fathers (as almost every Age ever since the first birth of the Gospel, hath by God's pro­vidence left us store) are the continued voice of the Church, wit­nessing unto us the truth of these Books, and their Authority well: but this is onely fides humano judicio & testimonio ac [...]quaesita; what shall we think of fides infusa? of the inward working of the holy Ghost, in the consciences of every beleiver? How far it is a perswader unto us of the Authority of these Books, I have not much to say: Onely thus much in general, that doubtless the holy Ghost doth so work in the heart of every true Beleiver, that it leaves a farther assurance, strong and sufficient, to ground and stay it self upon: But this, because it is private to every one, and no way sub­ject to sense, is unfit to yeild argument by way of dispute, to stop the captious curiosities of wits disposed to wrangle; and by so much the more unfit it is, by how much by experience we have learn'd, that men are very apt to call their own private conceit, the Spirit. To oppose unto these men to reform them, our own private conceits under the name likewise of the Spirit, were mad­ness; so that to judge upon presumption of the Spirit in private, can be no way to bring either this or any other controversie to an end.

If it should please God at this day to adde any thing more unto the Canon of faith, it were necessary it should be confirmed by Miracles.

Concerning the Lawfulness of Marriages betwixt First Cousins, or Cousin-Germans.

Worthy Sir,

IT is too great an Honour which you have done me, to re­quire my judgment (if at least I have any judgment) in a matter in which your self, both by reason of your skill and degree, cannot chuse but over-weigh me: yet such as it is, since you are pleased to require it, lo, I present it to you, and wish it may be for your service.

IN Marriages, two things are most especially to be considered, Conveniency, and Affection: Conveniency, thereby to advance, or otherwise settle our Estates to our content: Affection, because of the singular content we take in the enjoying of what we love. Now because these Two are great parties, and sway much in the manage of our Temporal Actions, by common consent and practise of all men, they freely take their course, fave onely there where the Publick Laws of God or Men have given them some check and inhibition, for the propagation of Mutual Love and Acquain­tance among men. And for avoiding of Confusion in Bloud, God and Men have joyntly enacted, that it shall not not be lawful for us to make our commodity, or place our affection by way of Mar­riage within certain Degrees of Propinquity and Kindred: but this was with some restraint. For as St. Augustine tells us, Fuit autem antiquis Patribus religiosa cura num ipsa propinquitas se paulatim pro­paginum ordinibus dirimens longius abiret, & propinquitas esse de­sisteret; eam nondum longe positam rursus Matrimonii vinculo Col­ligare & quodammodo revocare fugientem. Now the question is, How far in the Degrees of Propinquity this restraint doth reach? and where we may begin to couple and lock again?

For the opening of which Quaery, let us a little consider in ge­neral of all kinds of Propinquity, so shall we the better find, where we may safely begin.

[Page 263] All Degrees of Propinquity amongst which Moses may be sup­posed to seek a Wife, are either of Mothers and Daughters; or Aunts and Nieces; or Sisters and Cousins. Now as in the Ascending Line of Mothers, I may not marry my Mother; so can I not marry my Grandmother, nor Great-grandmother, and so infinitely upward: Insomuch as if Eve were now alive, and a Widow, no man living could marry her, because all men are her sons. In the Descending Line of Daughters, as I may not marry my daughter, so neither my Grandchild, nor Great-grandchild, and so infinitely downwards. Again, in the Ascending Line of Aunts, I may not marry my next Aunt, so nor my Great-Aunt, nor her Aunt, nor hers, and so up­wards in infinitum. In the Descending Line of Neices, as I cannot marry my first Neice, so nor my second, nor third, nor fourth, unto the thousandth Generation, because I am properly Vncle to them All, how far soever distant in Descent. As for marriage with Sisters, notwithstanding that the immediate sons of Adam; because God created onely one Woman, were constrained to marry their Sisters; yet, ever since, by General consent of all Nations, it hath been count­ed Incestuous. So then, all Marriage with Mothers, Daughters, Neices, being expresly prohibited; if Moses will marry within his Kindred, he must seek his Wife amongst his Cousins.

Now here is the Question, Where he may first adventure to make his choice? If we look to ancient Laws of God and Men, we shall find, that in any Degree whatsoever marriage was permit­ted, beginning even from the First-Cousins, or Cousin-germans. For if we look into Moses, we shall find no restraint imposed upon Cousin-Germans; and how ever some have pleaded, that there is a Degree farthen off prohibited, and therefore by conse­quence this must be taken for prohibited: this (as hereafter I shall make plain in the sequel of my Discourse) is but a meer mi­stake. And not onely my self, whose insight into matters may peradventure not be great: but those whose sight is far quicker then mine, could see in the Law of God no prejudice to the mar­riage of Cousin-Germans. For not onely Zanchy, 18 Levit. Calvin, in Lib. de Repudiis. Beza, in Iudicum. cap. 1. & Matth. c. 4. Bucer, de Conjugio. Melancthon, in a word, all the Divines of the Reformed Churches, of whose judgment and learning we have any opinion, do grant, that First-Cousins may couple, any thing in God's Law notwithstanding, I must con­fess my ignorance.

[Page 264]I know not any of our Reformed Divines that have written, that have thought otherwise. Indeed Calvin having first acknow­ledged, that the Law of God doth not impeach it; yet gives advice in regard of the scandal the Churches might suffer, to abstain from Marriage in that Degree; and so accordingly the Churches of Geneva, of the Palatinate, Misnia, Thuringia, and Saxony, have se­verally by their several Constitutions prohibited it. But this touch­eth not the case; for I perceive the question is of Second Cousins, unto whom those Churches (which forbid the First Degree) ex­presly give leave; for I find it recorded, Zepper. de Lege Mosaic. l. 4. c. 9. In tertio aequalis lineae gradu permitti possunt conjugia: where that those words, in tertio gradu, deceive you not, and make you to think that not Second, but Third Cousins are permitted to marry, you must understand that Se­cond Cousins are in the Third degree of Kindred, and Third Cousins in the Fourth, and so forward, by the Account of all Lawyers; which that you may see, and because in my ensuing Discourse I shall have occasion to refer unto it, I will set down some part of the Stem, so much as shall concern our purpose.

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[Page 265]By this rude Draught you may see, that if you count the De­grees of Kindred betwixt Second Cousins, you shall find them six Degrees distant by the Civil Law, and in the third Degree of the Canon Law. For in the Civil Law the Rule is, Quot sunt personae tot sunt Gradus stipite dempto, [Stipitem] we call him that stands at the Top, and in whom the Cognation first unites, who here is my Grandfather. But, in respect of the Second Cousins, here is Great-grandfather: If then you begin with Second Cousins, and count about till you come to Second Cousins again, leaving out the Grandfather, you shall find them to be six persons, and so distant six Degrees in Kindred. Now two Degrees in the Civil Law, make but one Degree in the Canon Law, where the Rule is, that in Linea aequali quoto gradu distant à stipite, toto distant inter se: By which you see that Second Cousins, being in the Third Degree from the Grandfather, they are three Degrees distant from each other. I have stood a little upon this, for this cause, that if any one should per­chance put you off with the Authority of the Churches which I have mention'd, you might not be deceived through the equivo­cation which seems to lurk in those words, in Tertio Gradu.

But to return to our question of Cousin Germans, as there is no­thing in the Law of God which forbids marriage betwixt them, so accordingly was the practise of God's own people; for so we read that the daughters of Zelophehad were married to their Vncle's Sons; and Caleb gives his Daughter Achsah in marriage to his Brother's Son; and sundry instances more in this kind might be given. Now that those things should be done by dispensation and permission onely (which I see is pleaded by some men) I know no warrant nor reason for it: so that what may be done in this case by the Law of God, I think is out of question.

Let us see a little what the light of Nature taught the Gentiles. Amongst them the wisest and most potent were the Romans, whose Laws have long been esteemed for the soundest and best, by the general approbation of the most and greatest Kingdoms and Common-wealths in Europe.

Now amongst these, the Romans both by their Law and pra­ctise did warrant Marriages between First Cousins; their Law is plain, and thus we read it in their Pandects, about the beginning of the 23. 6. Si nepotem ex filio & nepta ex altero filio in potestate habeam nuptias inter cas me solo authore contrahi posse: Pomponius [Page 266] scribit, & verum est. This one Text is sufficient, though I could quote many other Testimonies out of their Law concerning this kind of Marriage.

What their practise was, these instances which ensue will be sufficient to shew: Anciently under the first Kings, Dionysius Ha­lycarnasseus tells us, that two daughters of Servius Tullius were mar­ried to Lucius and Arnus their Cousin-germans, Nephews to Tar­quinius Priscus. Livie in his 42. 6. brings in one Spurius Ligustinus reporting, that his father had given him for wife his Vncle's daughter; and thus he speaks to his own praise and commenda­tion, as it will appear, if you please to peruse the place. Tully in his Orat. pro Cluentio, tells us, that Cluentia was married to Melius her Cousin-german: & erant hae Nuptiae (saith he) plaenae dignita­tis plaenae concordiae: which I think he would never have said, had their lien upon such marriages any note of infamy. Augustus the Emperour gave his daughter Iulia in marriage to Marcellus, ne­phew to Augustus by his sister Octavia: And Quintilian tells us, that his son (whose immature death he doth bewail) was design­ed, when he came to age, to marry his Uncle's daughter; and Marcus Brutus was married to his Cousin-german, as Plutarch relates.

Out of this heap of instances it appeareth, that in the Roman Common-wealth throughout all Ages, and amongst all sorts of people, Marriages between First-Cousins ran uncontrolled: The first that gave restraint unto them was Theodosius the Great, which Law of his is yet to be seen in that Book of his Laws, called Codex Theodosianus. But this Law continued not long, for his own sons, Arcadius and Honorius quickly revers'd it; and in leiu of it made this Law, which is extant in the Book called Iustinian's Code, and stands for good Law amongst the Civilians at this day, Cele­brandis inter consobrinos matrimoniis licentia legis hujus salubritate indulta est, ut rovocata prisci juris authoritate, restrictisque calumnia­rum fomentis, matrimonium inter consobrinos habeatur legitimum, sive ex duobus fratribus, sive ex dual us sororibus, sive ex fratre & sorore nati sunt: & ex eo matrimonio editi legitimi & suis patribus successores ha­beantur. Thus stood the case concerning those Marriages, until the Bishops of Rome began to grow great, and took upon them to make Laws: For then, whether to make way for Dispensations, whereby to get money, or for what other By-respects, I know not; not only First and Second cousins, but all Cousins until the seventh Generation, [Page 267] were expresly prohibited to marry mutually: till at length the Bi­shop of Rome freed the three latter Degrees, and prohibited mar­riage onely to Cousins in four Descents: and so till this day among those that acknowledge the superiority of that See, all marrying within four Degrees, except it be by Dispensation, is utterly for­bidden.

And if it be lawful for me to speak what I think, I verily sup­pose, that not from any reason, but onely by reason of the long prevailing of the Common Law, Marriages betwixt near Cousins were generally forborn. And from hence arose a scruple in the minds of many men, concerning the lawfulness of such Marriages: But all cause of such scruple amongst us is long since taken away. For at what time we cast off the yoke of the Bishop of Rome in the 33 year of King Hen. 8. a Statute was Enacted in Parliament, which was again confirmed in the first of Queen Elizabeth, that no degrees of kindred should be forbidden Marriage, but onely such as were set down in the Levitical Law, and amongst the de­grees specified in that Act as lawful (if my memory fail me not) Cousin-germans are expresly mentioned.

To sum up all then what hitherto hath been said, What reason have we to doubt of the lawfulness of that, which the Law of God permits, the people of God practised, the best and learnedest Divines have acknowledged, the wisest amongst the Gentiles in their Laws and Practises have approved, and our own Municipal Laws, under which we live, expresly allow.

This had been enough to satisfie any gain-sayer whatsoever. And indeed I had ended here, but that when your letters came to my hands, there was delivered with them a Schedule, containing reasons perswading all such kind of Marriages to be utterly un­lawful. Concerning the authority of which Discourse, to profess what I think, I take him for a very pious and zealous man; and I earnestly desire of him, if ever he chance to be acquainted with what I write, to conceive of me as one who delights not in oppo­sition, except it be for the Truth, at least in opinion. My advise to him is to adde Knowledge to his Zeal, and to call again to account his reasons, and more diligently to examine them. The strength of his discourse is not so much his Reason, as his Passion, a thing very prevalent with the common sort, who as they are seldom capable of strength of reason, so are they easily carried away with passio­nate [Page 268] discourse. This thing ought to be a warning to us of the Clergy, to take heed how we deal with the people by way of pas­sion, except it be there where our proofs are sound. Passion is a good Dog, but an ill Shepherd. Tortum digna sequi potius quam du­cere funem; it may perchance follow well, but it can never lead well. I was much amazed to read his resolution of preaching in this case so earnestly, as to break her's, or his heart (who desire to marry) or his own, or all— He that suffered himself thus far to be transported with affection, ought to have furnish'd himself with stronger reasons then any I here can find: But I will let his passion go, for to contend with it were infinite; for Passion hath Tongue and clamour enough, but no Ears. The Reasons, so many as I think require answer, I will take up in order as they lie in the Paper. And first, I find one phrase of speech, which is very predominant, and runs almost through the veins of the Discourse; it is this,

That Christians loath, Christians abhor, men, women, and chil­dren cry out against such kind of Marriages. But who are those Christians of whom he speaks? If he means the better sort of Learned and Iudicious Divines, he is certainly deceived, for I have shewed already the contrary; and let him for any infor­mation, if he can, produce for himself some one Protestant Learned Divine. If he mean some of the ordinary sort: I answer, 'tis the fault of their Guides, who ought better to have informed them. And whereas toward the latter end of the Discourse, we are told of a dying woman, afflicted in conscience, because she had married her Cousin: First, I ask, of what weight the judgment of a silly woman is? Secondly, I answer, that this proves not the thing to be unlawful. Now let our Acts be what they will, good or bad, yet if we do them, supposing them to be unlawful, we sin. It is a Ruled Case amongst the Canonists, Conscientia erronea ligat habentem, He that doth a good action, taking it to be un­lawful, to him it is unlawful. If therefore against her conscience (though peradventure mis-informed) she married her Cousin, she deserved the torment of mind; and yet Marriage between Cousin-germans may be lawful enough. Wherefore I pray you advise those, concerning whom this question is proposed, that if they find in themselves any doubt concerning the lawfulness of the action, they forbear to attempt it, until all scruple be removed. But [Page 269] I see that the main foundation of this discourse is laid in these words of Moses —You shall not approach to any that is near of kin, to uncover her nakedness: where by near of kin, First, and Se­cond Cousins amongst the rest are thought to be meant. For an­swer to which, we say, That the enumeration of particulars (which Moses in that place maketh) is a sufficient comment upon those words, and those who are reckon'd up expresly together with all others, in whom the same reason is found, are to be esteemed for near of Kin, and besides them no other; I say those in whom the same reason is found. Because some Degrees there are, which are not mentioned by Moses, and yet are confessed to be prohibited. It is not forbidden a woman to marry her mother's si­ster's husband: yet it is not lawful; for the man is forbidden to marry his father's brother's widow. Now the samo reason is there be­twixt a man & his father's brother's widow, which is betwixt a woman and her mother's sister's husband, and therefore both are understood as alike forbidden, though both be not alike expressed. But for a full answer to these words, I refer the Authour of this Discourse to Francisc. Hottoman, a learned Civilian, and an earnest Protestant, who in his disputation, de jure Nuptiarum, cap. 6. hath these words, Qui vero propinquorum numero sint non cujusque hominis nati sed so­lius dei judicium est, qua de causa eadem lege illos ordine nomina­tim enumerat ut facile intelligatur, quos non enumerat, propinquorum numero habendos non esse, quoniam ut dici solet, quod le ge prohibitoria vetitum non est per missum intelligitur.

Now the better to work us to a conceit, that such marriages are unlawful, the examples of the Gentiles are called to help; and we are informed that Plutarch, a grave Writer, tells us of one who was greatly endangered by marrying his Cousin-german; cer­tainly it was great want of examples, which moved the Gentle­man to make choice of this: A worse for his purpose he could not easily have found. For indeed it is true, that Plutarch tells us, that some one (who, or when, he tells not) was publickly que­stion'd for it; but withall he tells us, that he was absolved, and a Law made, that for ever after no man should be question'd for so doing. More of these examples were not likely much to preju­dice our cause. For certainly they that absolved the party, and made a Law, that no man ever after should be molested on the like occasion, in likelihood could do it, upon no reason, but upon conceit, that the accusation was founded upon an errour.

[Page 270]But what the authority of Plutarch cannot do, that peradven­ture the judgment of St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, St. Gregory, and no less then Ten Councils, will effect; for all these are brought and urged to discountenance all marriage betwixt near Cousins. First, for St. Ambrose and St. Austine, no marvel if they speak suspiciously concerning this kind of Marriages, since they lived at the time when the Law made by Theodosius in prejudice of them was as yet unrepealed: Indeed St. Ambrose would make us believe, that such Marriages are against the Law of God; but in that point he was de­ceived. St. Austine speaks more cautelously concerning this kind of marriages, and acknowledging, that by the Law of God they were permitted, observes, that they had been but lately prohibi­ted by humane Authority. And as for St. Gregory, it is well known that the Bishops of Rome had already began to enlarge their Phyla­cteries, and taken upon them to make Laws fa [...] more then they needed: and now looking bigger then their Fellows, All Coun­cils, especially in the West, were made with some respect to what they had decreed. No marvel therefore if so many Councils are brought to cry down Marriages with First and Second Cousins, which the Popes had already discountenanced; we should rather much have marvelled if any Council had appeared in favour of them. All therefore that these Councils have said in this point, is in a sort to pass for nothing else but the will of the Bishop of Rome, to which how much we are to attribute, I leave to the Authour of the Dis­course to judge. And should we attribute any thing to St. Gre­gory, his greatest Authority makes nothing against our cause: For he in his Answer to Austin our English Prelate, forbids the Laws onely against First Cousins, against Second and Third he hath no quarrel; nay, his words sound quite contrary, Vnde necesse est, saith he, ut in tertia, which is the case vel in quarta generatione, Fideles sibi licite Conjungantur. So that this Authority of St. Gre­gory may well enough return to the place where it was taken, for any harm it is likely to do. The same may be said to St. Am­brose and St. Austine, that in the case they may be admitted with­out any danger. For what they say concerns onely First Cousins, which falls a Degree short of the case.

There is yet one reason of some consequence remains. For we are informed, that it must needs be that Marriage betwixt First Cousins is forbidden, because a Degree farther off is forbidden. For [Page 171] this purpose we are ask'd, Is not thy Father's Brother's Widow far­ther off, then thy Father's Brother's Daughter? I answer No; for my Father's Brother's Widow is my Aunt; but my Father's Brother's Daughter is my Cousin German; but my Aunt is nearer to me then my Cousin. Look but upon the Draught of Degrees which I have before drawn, and if you count from Me to my Father's Brother, (which is the place of my Aunt) you shall find but three Degrees; but from Me to my Cousin-german, or First-Cousin, you shall find four Degrees. And whereas we are told, that to make amends for this we must take notice, that my Vncle's Widow is tied to me onely by outward affinity, but my Cousin-German is near to me by bloud and consanguinity. I answer, that the difference betwixt Affinity and Consanguinity in this place helps not at all: It is confess'd, that look what degree of Consanguinity is forbidden, the same degree of Affinity likewise is forbidden, if any be contracted: For as I may not marry my Mother, so I may not marry my Father's Widow; my Daughter, and my Son's Wife; my Neice, and my Ne­phew's Wife, are all alike forbidden to me. And by the same Ana­logy, as I may not marry my Aunt, so I may not marry my Vn­cle's Widow. Yet to help the lameness of this reason we are told, (but not for news I trow, for who knew it not?) that in Con­sanguinity, some degrees further removed are excluded marriage; for instance, my Brother's Grandchildren to the Fourth and Fifth Generation: yet all this wind blows no corn; for it is already granted, that I am excluded the whole Line of my Neices, not onely to the Fourth and Fifth, but to all Generations possible. And here the Line of Neices suffers the same which the Line of Mothers, of Aunts, of Daughters doth, which are wholly excluded in the furthest degree imaginable; so that the total exclusion of Neices proves not the marriage of First and Second Cousins unlawful; much less doth the exclusion of them to the Fourth and Fifth Generation: So that any Law of God, or sound Reason notwithstanding, Marriage be­twixt First Cousins may very well pass for lawful. But whereas some of the Antients, and likewise some of the Modern Churches, out of scrupulosity, have excluded marriage betwixt First Cou­sins; yet neither any of the Antients, nor any Churches at this day that I know (the Church of Rome onely excepted) have prejudiced the marriage of Second Cousins: so that whosoever they be that marry in that degree, if themselves be perswaded of the lawful­ness [Page 272] of their Action, they have no cause to doubt of the Blessing of God upon them and their posterity.

That which remains of the Discourse yet untouched, is of no great weight, though of some heat; for indeed it is nothing else but Rhetorical and passionate amplification, and to return An­swer to it were but to lose my labour: If this which I have done give you content, I have my desire. Onely thus much I request of you for my pains, that you will cause your Amanuensis, to transcribe a copy of my Letters, and at your leisure send it me. For whereas I was long since desired to deliver my self in this point, in the behalf of a great Person of this Land, who is now with God, I kept no copy of my Meditations, by which errour I was now as far to seek as ever, which was the cause which made me slower in returning Answer to your Letters. This courtesie, if you shall be pleased to grant me, you shall for ever oblige un­to you,

Your true Freind and Servant, JOHN HALES.

The Method of Reading Profane History.

IN perusal of History, first, provide you some Writers in Chro­nology, and Cosmography. For if you be ignorant of the Times and Places, when and where the things you read were done, it cannot chuse but breed confusion in your reading, and make you many times grosly to slip and mistake in your dis­course. When therefore you set to your Book, have by you Helvicus his Chronology; and a Map of the Countrey in which you are conversant; and repair unto them to acquaint you with time and place, when, and where you are. If you be versing the Ancient Histories, then provide you Ptolomy's Maps, or Ortelius his Conatus Geographici: if the latter, then some of the Modern Cards.

As for Method of Reading History, note, that there are in Story two things especially considerable. First, the Order of the Story it self: and secondly, Moral, or Statical observations, for com­mon life and practise.

For the latter of these, there needs no method in reading; all the method is in digesting your reading, by bringing it into Heads or Common places, or Indices, or the like. For in this kind, read what Books, and in what order ye list, it matters not; so your Notes may be in some such order as may be useful for you. For the former, that is the course and order of the Story; The or­der of reading ought to be the same with the order of the things themselves; what was first done, that is to be read in the first place; what was next, in the next place, and so forward; the suc­cession and order of time and reading being the same. This if you mean to observe exactly (which I think it is not so necessary for you to do) you must range your Authours according to the times, wherein the things they writt were acted, and in the same order read them.

But before you come to read the acts of any people: as those that intend to go to Bowls, will first see and veiw the ground upon which they are to play; so it shall not be amiss for you, first, to take a general veiw of that ground, which you mean more [Page 272] particularly to traverse, by reading some short Epitome. So, ere you read the Roman Story, (for that way you mean your studies shall bend) first, read carefully L. Florus, who breifly continues the story from Romulus till Augustus, shut the Temple of Ianus: And if you would yet go lower, adde then unto Florus, Eutropius his Breviarium; who from the same point brings the Story unto Iovianus the Emperour. This will give you a general taste of your business, and add light unto particular Authours.

This done, then take Livie in hand. Now because Livie is very much broken and imperfect, and parts of him lost; it may be que­stion'd, whether were better to read Livie throughout, bawking his imperfections, before you meddle with any other? or when you come to any imperfection, to leave him, and supply his wants by intercalation of some other Authour, and so resume him into your hands again, toties quoties? For answer, Were it your purpose exactly to observe the course of the Story, it were not amiss where Livie fails you, before you go to his next Books, to supply the defect out of some other Authours: but since this is not that you principally intend, but some other thing; and again, because variety of Authours may trouble you, it will be better for you to read Livie throughout, without interruption. When you have gone him through, then, if you please, you may look back, and take a veiw of his imperfections, and supply them out of some other Authours, partly Latine, as Iustine, Salust, Caesar's Commentaries, Hirtius, Velleius Paterculus: partly Greek, as Polybius, Plutarch, Dionysius, Halycarnasseus, Appianus, Alexandrinus, Dion Cassius: out of which Authours you may reasonably supply whatsoever is want­ing in Livie.

Having thus brought the Story to the change of the Empire, you must now begin another course; and first you must take in hand Suetonius Tranquillus, who being carefully perused, your way lies open to the reading of our Politician's great Apostle Tacitus. Now the same infelicity hath befallen him, which before I noted in Livie: for as this, so that is very imperfect, and broken, a great part both of his Annals and Histories being lost. And as I coun­sel'd you for Livie, so do I for Tacitus, that you read him through­out, without intermingling any other Authour; and having gone him through, in what you shall see him imperfect, Dion Cassius, or his Epitomizer Xiphiline, will help you out: though by reason [Page 273] of your fore-reading of Suetonius, you shall find your self, for a good part of the Story, furnish'd before hand.

And thus are you come to the Reign of Nerva, where Sueto­nius and Tacitus. ended; hitherto to come is a reasonable task for you yet.

If you shall desire to know the State and Story afterward till Constantine's death, and the Division of the Empire, or farther, to the fall of the Western Empire; let me understand your mind, and I will satisfie you.

For the Editions of those Authours hitherto mentioned; your choice is best of those, whom either Lipsius, or Gruterus, or Causabon have set forth: though if you be careful to buy fair Books, you can scarcely chuse amiss; your Greek Authours, if you list not to trouble your self with the Language, you shall easily find in Latine sufficient for your use. Onely Plutarch, what ever the matter is, hath no luck to the Latine, and therefore I would advise you either to read him in French, or in English. But as for Tacitus, the cheif Cock in the Court-basket; it is but meet you take special good advise in reading of him: Lipsius, Savile, Pi­chena, and others, have taken great pains with him in emaculating the Text, in setling the Reading, opening the Customs, expounding the Story, &c. and therefore you must needs have recourse unto them; yet this in onely Critical, and not Courtly Learning: Ta­citus for your use requires other kind of Comments. For since he is a Concise, Dense, and by repute a very Oraculous Writer, al­most in every line pointing at some State-Maxim: it had been a good employment for some good Wit, to have expounded, proved, exemplified at large, what he doth for the most part onely but intimate. Something our Age hath attempted in this kind, though to little purpose. Gruterus hath collected cer­tain places here and there, collected out of him: and Scipio An [...] ­mirati hath glossed him in some places according to the shallowness of the new Italian Wits. But Annibal Scotus, Groom of the Chamber to Sixtus Quintus, hath desperately gone through him all, whom I would wish you to look upon, not for any great good you shall reap by him (for he is the worst that ever I read) onely you shall see by that which he hath with great infelicity attem­pted, what kind of Comment it is, which if it were well perform­ed, would be very acceptable to us.

[Page 274]From the order of Reading, we come to the Excerpta, and to such things as we observe and gather in our reading. Here are two things to be marked: First, the matters and things which we col­lect; Secondly, the manner of observing, gathering, registring them in our paper-books for our speedy use.

To omit all that which belongs to the style and language wherein your Authour writes, in which I suppose you mean not much to trouble your self; matters observable in History, may be all rank'd under three heads; First, there is the Story it self, which usually we gather by Epitomizing it. Secondly, there are Miscel­lanea, such as are the Names and Genealogies of Men; descriptions of Cities, Hills, Rivers, Woods, &c. Customs, Offices, Magistrates; Prodigies; certain quaint observations, as who was the first Di­ctator,? when the Romans first began to use Shipping? or to coin gold? what manner of Moneys the Ancients used? their manner of War and Military Instruments; and an infinite multitude of the like nature. Thirdly, there are Moralia.

For the first, you need not trouble your self about it, it is already done to your hand. For there is almost no story of note, whereof there is not some Epitome, as good as any you can frame of your own. Indeed, if you did intend any exact knowledge of History, it were good you did this your self, though it were Actum agere: Because what we do our selves, sticks best in our memories, and is most for our use. But since your aim is at something else, you may spare your own, and make use of others labours. The second Head is pleasant, but is meerly Critical and Scholastical, and so the less pertinent to you, and therefore I shall not need to speak any more of it. The Third, which I called Morals, is that Penelope which you must wooe; under this I comprehend all Moral Sen­tences and Common Places, all not able examples of Iustice, of Religion, &c. Apothegins, Vafre & s [...]mulanter dicta & facta; Civil stratagems and plots to bring ends about: censures upon mens persons and actions: considerations upon mens natures and dispositions: all things that may serve for proof or disproof, illustration or ampli­fication of any Moral place: considerations of the circumstances of actions, the reasons why they prove successful; or their errours, if they prove unfortunate: As in the second Punick War, why Annibal still prevailed by hastning his actions; Fabius, on the con­trary, by delay. And this indeed is one of the special profits that [Page 275] comes by History. And therefore I have always thought Polybius (might we have him perfect) one of the best that ever wrote Sto­ry. For whereas other Historians content themselves, to touch and point at the true reasons of Events in civil business; Polybius, when he hath Historically set down an action worthy considerati­on, leaves it not so, but reveiws it, insists, and, as it were, com­ments upon it, considers all the circumstances that were of any force in the manage of it; and contents not himself, as it were, to cast its water, but looks into its bowels, and shews where it is strong, and where diseased. Wherefore I would have you well acquaint your self with him, and especially with those passages I now spake of, that they may be patterns to you to do the like, which that you may with greater assurance and profit do, make special account of those who wrote the things of their own times, or in which themselves were Agents, especially if you find them to be such as durst tell the truth. For as it is with Painters, who many times draw Pictures of fair Women, and call them Helen, or Ve­nus; or of great Emperours, and call them Alexander, or Caesar; yet we know they carry no resemblance of the persons whose names they bear: So, when men write and decipher actions, long before their time, they may do it with great wit and elegancy, express much politick wisdom, frame very beautiful peices; but how far they express the true countenance and life of the actions them­selves, of this it were no impiety to doubt: unless we were assu­red they drew it from those, who knew and saw what they did.

One thing more, ere I leave this Head, I will admonish you of. It is a common Scholical errour to fill our papers and Note-books with observations of great and famous events, either of great Bat­tels, or Civil Broiles and contentions. The expedition of Hercules his off-spring for the recovery of Peloponnese, the building of Rome, the attempt of Regulus against the great Serpent of Bagradas; the Punick Wars, the ruine of Carthage, the death of Caesar, and the like. Mean while things of ordinary course and common life gain no room in our Paper-books. Petronius wittily and sharply com­plain'd against Scholemasters in his times, Adolescentulos in Scholis stultissimos fieri, quia nihil ex iis quae in usu habemus, aut audiunt aut vident, sed piratas cum catenis in littore stantes & tyrannicos edicta scribentes, quibus imperent filiis, ut patrum suorum capita prae­cidant, sed responsa in pestilentia data ut virgines tres aut plures im­molentur; [Page 276] in which he wisely reproves the errour of those, who training up of youth in the practise of Rhetorick, never suffered them to practise their wits in things of use, but in certain strange supralunary arguments, which never fell within the sphere of com­mon action. This complaint is good against divers of those, who travel in History. For one of the greatest reasons that so many of them thrive so little, and grow no wiser men, is, because they sleight things of ordinary course, and observe onely great matters of more note, but less use. How doth it benefit a man who lives in peace, to observe the Art how Caesar managed wars? or by what cunning he aspired to the Monarchy? or what ad­vantages they were that gave Scipio the day against Hannibal? These things may be known, not because the knowledge of these things is useful, but because it is an imputation to be ignorant of them; their greatest use for you being onely to furnish out your discourse. Let me therefore advise you in reading, to have a care of those discourses which express domestick and private acti­ons, especially if they be such, wherein your self purposes to ven­ture your fortunes. For if you rectifie a little your conceit, you shall see that it is the same wisdome, which manages private busi­ness, and State affairs, and that the one is acted with as much fol­ly and ease, as the other. If you will not beleive men, then look into our Colledges, where you shall see, that I say not the plotting for an Headship, (for that is now become a Court-business) but the contriving of a Bursership of twenty nobles a year, is many times done with as great a portion of suing, siding, supplanting, and of other Court-like Arts, as the gaining of the Secretary's place; onely the difference of the persons it is, which makes the one Comical, the other Tragical. To think that there is more wisdom placed in these specious matters, then in private carriages, is the same errour, as if you should think there were more Art required to paint a King, then a Countrey Gentleman: whereas our Dutch Pieces may serve to confute you, wherein you shall see a cup of Rhenish-wine, a dish of Radishes, a brass Pan, an Holland Cheese, the Fisher-men selling Fish at Scheveling, or the Kitchen-maid spitting a loin of Mutton, done with as great delicacy and choiceness of Art, as can be expressed in the Delineation of the greatest Monarch in the world.

From the order of Reading, and the matters in Reading to be ob­served, [Page 277] we come to the method of observation. What order we are for our best use to keep in entring our Notes into our Paper-Books.

The custom which hath most prevailed hitherto, was common placing a thing at the first Original very plain and simple; but by after-times much increased, some augmenting the number of the Heads, others inventing q [...]ter forms of disposing them: till at length Common-place-books became like unto the Roman Brevi­arie or Missal. It was a great part of Clerk-ship to know how to use them. The Vastness of the Volumes, the multitude of Heads, the intricacy of disposition, the pains of committing the Heads to memo­ry, and last, of the labour of so often turning the Books to enter the observations in their due places, are things so expensive of time and industry, that although at length the work comes to perfection, yet it is but like the Silver Mines in Wales, the profit will hardly quit the pains. I have often doubted with my self, whether or no there were any necessity of being so exactly Me­thodical. First, because there hath not yet been found a Method of that Latitude, but little reading would furnish you with some things, which would fall without the compass of it. Secondly, be­cause men of confused, dark and clowdy understandings, no beam or light of order and method can ever rectifie; whereas men of clear understanding, though but in a mediocrity, if they read good Books carefully, and note diligently, it is impossible but they should find incredible profit, though their Notes lie ne­ver so confusedly. The strength of our natural memory, especially if we help it, by revising our own Notes; the nature of things themselves, many times ordering themselves, and tantum non, tel­ling us how to range them; a mediocrity of care to see that mat­ters lie not too Chaos-like, will with very small damage save us this great labour of being over-superstitiously methodical. And what though peradventure something be lost, Exilis domus est &c. It is a sign of great poverty of Scholarship, where every thing that is lost, is miss'd; whereas rich and well accomplish'd learning is able to lose many things with little or no inconvenience. Howsoever it be, you that are now about the noon of your day, and therefore have no leisure to try and examine Methods; and are to bring up a young Gentleman, who in all likelihood will not be over-willing to take too much pains; may, as I think, with most ease and profit, follow this order.

[Page 288]In your reading excerpe, and note in your Books such things as you like: going on continually without any respect unto order; and for the avoiding of confusion, it shall be very profitable to al­lot some time to the reading again of your own Notes; which do as much and as oft as you can. For by this means your Notes shall be better fixt in your memory, and your memory will easily sup­ply you of things of the like nature [...] if by chance you have dis­persedly noted them; that so you may bring them together by marginal references. But because your Notes in time must needs arise to some bulk, that it may be too great a task, and too great loss of time to reveiw them, do thus, Cause a large Index to be fram'd according to Alphabetical order, and Register in it your Heads, as they shall offer themselves in the course of your read­ing, every Head under his proper Letter. For thus, though your Notes lie confused in your Papers, yet are they digested in your Index, and to draw them together when you are to make use of them, will be nothing so great pains as it would be, to have ranged them under their several Heads at their first gathering. A little experience of this course will shew you the great profit of it, especially if you did compare it with some others that are in use.

A Letter to an Honourable Person, concerning the WEAPON-SALVE.

Honourable Sir,

I Am very sorry that a Gentleman of your quality, so desirous of information in a point of obscure and subtile Learning; should find so slender means to satisfie your desire, as to be constrained to reflect on me, a man of no great capacity, and by reason of my privacy, unacquainted abroad, and of my small abilities, not able to make Experiments, and trie conclusions.

Yet, that I may not seem to neglect your love, and courtesie, of which, upon all occasions, you have not fail'd to make liberal expression, I will rather hazard my judgment with you, then my good manners, and try what I can deliver unto you concerning the late proposal you made unto me, in the matter of the new devised cure of wounds, by applying the Salve to the Weapon that did the mischeif.

Where first I must request you to consider, that my attempt is weightier in refuting the conceit, then theirs was, who have first broached it. For first, I am to prove the Negative, a thing in Nature and Art very difficile. For always the proving part lies upon the Affirmer: and he that means to acquaint me with a Novelty, must make account to prove it to me, and not look that I should under­take a refutation of it.

Again, he that undertakes to inform the world with a disco­very of Secrets, and vent Paradoxes, shall never want favourable hearers: For the mind of man much delighting in Novelty, ac­cepts easily and with delight, what shall be opened in that kind; and every shew of probability shall be taken as lawful proof: whereas the Refuter must be sure to look to the strength of his reasons, and be they never so weighty, yet any probable shew of escape from them, shall be accounted a sufficient defeat.

But to leave prefacing, the first thing I would require you to reform, is your opinion you have conceived concerning the An­tiquity of Weapon-Salve; for me thinks you speak of it, as of a [Page 282] thing of some Antiquity and years, whereas indeed it is a child of yesterday's birth.

There have of late appeared in the world a new kind of Stu­dents, who by trying conclusions, and making experiments, especi­ally by the Fire, have made discovery unto us of many strange and pleasant effects in Nature, which in former Ages have not been known. To put on these men, and commend them a little more unto us, there hath been not long since within the compass of these twenty years, a merry gullery put upon the world, concern­ing a Guild of men, who style themselves The Brethren of the Rosie Cross: a Fraternity who, what, or where they are? no man yet, no not they who beleive, admire, and devote themselves unto them, could ever discover. Otrebius (a Gentleman well acquaint­ed with your great St. Iohns-man, the Champion for the Weapon-Salve) in a Tract of his lately written, De vita, morte & Resurre­ctione, would perswade us, that doubtless they are in Paradise, which place he seateth near unto the Region of the Moon: Well may that be some Fools Paradise; for certainly that there is any earthly Paradise at all, no wise man will easily beleive. These men, whosoever they are, or their defenders, have taken up that new devised Learning delivered to us by Chymicks, and Paracelsians, and now hotly endeavour to possess the world with it. Where­in I must give them this commendation, that they have given us abundance of delightful Experiments, and that is the thing that gains them the reputation they have. But two things they have attempted with no felicity or good success.

First, they endeavour to make us beleive, that the ancient Principles of Philosophy, which hitherto great Clerks have Ca­nonized, are to be rejected, and new from them to be received in their rooms. And, secondly, that this may be the better effected, they have brought in a new Language, which they make by col­lecting of Epotick words and phrases out of Paracelsus, and add­ing unto them forms of speech borrowed from the holy Scriptures, and of these have framed us that style of Language, which you read not onely in the Authour you write of, but in Paracelsus himself, and others who follow him. But all this attempt, up­on examination, is proved fruitless. For neither have they shaken the truth of any Principle (I say not in the Trivials and Quadrivials, as old Clerks were wont to name them, but neither [Page 283] in Physical nor Metaphysical Learning, which is more subject to quarrel) of which the world hath hitherto been perswaded, no [...] added any new to increase the number of them: Onely they have said the same thing in other words, and, which is strange, all their new Experiments, which are the cheifest strength of their cause, are plainly and evidently demonstrable out of the ancient Aphorisms. The Authour whom you commend unto me, what a noise makes he with his Volatile and Essential Salt, Balsom of Nature, Vivifying Spirit, and other trim Phrases of the same cut? Now what is it, think you, that is contained under this abstruse Language? Certainly no more, but onely that Mass of Moisture and Heat in us, which follow upon the temperature of every mixt body, and wherein all Specification, all Vegetation and Animation doth reside, which in our ordinary Schools we call Humidum primogenium, and Calidum innatum. Anatomize other of their new and quaint phrases, and you evidently deprehend the same Sophistry. So that if you desire a definition of this new Learning, you cannot better express it, then by calling it, A Translation of Vulgar Conceits into a new Language.

Sir, from these men, amongst many other pleasant phanta­sies, hath sprung the conceit concerning your wonderful Wea­pon-Salve, which, that I may shew you upon what firm foun­dation it stands, lays claim to three great proofs, but indeed performs none of them: I see Reason promised, Phrases of Scripture used, and Experience pretended; But I cannot yet discover any thing demonstratively proved, by any of the three.

For the Reasons are nothing else but certain Generalities, which prove no more but this, that if any such thing as Curing by Weapon-Salve be existent, such or such Concentricks or Epicy­cles of Sympathies and Antipathies, of Eradiations or Emanati­ons of Spirits, may well be thought to be the causers of it: Whereas true and lively Demonstration doth not onely suppose the thing to be, which it endeavours to prove; but shews that necessarily it must be so, and possibly it cannot be otherwise. For this kind of proof arises out of such principles, as which being apprehended by the understanding, leave no room for con­tradiction, [Page 284] by reason of the light they bring with them.

Scripture is promised, but with worse success, for what proves it in the behalf of Weapon-Salve, to plead, that the Spirit of God moves in all things? that Sanative faculty is of God? that God's power and Spirit is not to be confined, but will pass à termino in ter­minum, according as is the will of him that sends it forth? For still it remaineth to be proved, that this All-doing Spirit of God hath left any such force in things, as is pretended. The dis­courses which by these kinds of men are made out of Scripture, many times are not far dwelling from danger, that I may not say from Blasphemy. For what means your Doctour to tell you in one part of his Book against Mr. Foster, that the virtue of Elisha his bones, by which he raised the dead to life; the voice of the Souls under the Altar in the Revelation; is the effect of that Volatile Balsam of Nature, of which he so much treateth? For so he must mean, or else his speech concerning them is impertinent. He must a little temper his language that way, or else as he threatens Mr. Foster with the Star-chamber, so perchance himself may hear from the High-Commission, who shall do well to take to task and censure speeches of such danger. I understand you are well ac­quainted with the Gentleman. I would you would advise him to beware of such uncantelous speeches, in which, whilst he seems to praise the work of God, in nature, he doth as much disadvantage his Supernatural and Miraculous Acts.

So then, Reason and Scripture being removed, the onely de­fender of Weapon-Salve must be Experience. A proof, I confess, of great weight, were there certainty of it. For if our senses do de­ceive us, which are the first admitters of all ground of Science and skill, what certainty can we have of any thing? Besides, that mine Aristotle hath told me, I confess, and I beleive him, that it is a true sign of weakness of understanding, to follow our Reason, against our Senses. Here Magnam mihi invidiam sentio esse subeun­dam. For first I see the Authorities of great and noble Personages used to gain credit to this conceit: for they are alledged not onely for the beleif, but for the practise of it. Secondly, the fre­quent experience made of it, must needs decry all those that stand up against it. To the first (saving all good respects to all persons in their places) I must crave pardon, if I think that Civil Great­ness [Page 285] ought to have no room in my Topicks. For in case of trial by Reason, I have done Greatness all the honour it can demand of me, if I recede from it with that reverence that I owe. My Rea­sons must be tried by Peers of the same rank, like to true Iury-men of the same Countrey; else at the Bar of Reason, I shall except against Civil Greatness as a stranger, or demand some Act of Par­liament, by which I may find it to be free denized.

But of this enough. To the Experience it self, I answer, That still I doubt, whether there ever were any such Trial as might cer­tainly plead for it. For it is not onely true that Hippocrates tells us, [...], Experience is dangerous; but, it is as true, that Experience is many times very fallacious. For it is hard so to make trial of any conclusion (at least of many) by reason of di­vers concurrences, of many particulars, which are seen in most Ex­periments, amongst which concurrents, it is a hard matter to dis­cover what it is that works the effect: And oftentimes that falls out in Nature, which befell the Poet,

Hos ego versiculos feci, tulit alter honores.

The effect is wrought by one thing, and another carries the glory of it. A better instance of this cannot be found, then this very case which is now in handling. A man is wounded; the Weapon taken, and a wound-working Salve laid to it: In the mean while the wounded person is commanded to use abstinence as much as may be, and to keep the wound clean; whilst he thus doth, he heals, and the Weapon-Salve bears the Bell away: whereas it is most certain, that wounds not mortal (for I hope their Salve cures not mortal wounds) will of themselves grow whole, if the party wounded abstain as much as possibly he can, and remove from the wound such things as may offend. For nothing hinders wounds from cicatrising, more then concourse of humour to the diseased part; and keeping things irritatory about the orifice of the wound; The first of these is performed by abstinence, which is naturally a drier: the other by keeping the wound clean: He that can do these two things, shall need no other Chyrurgery to cure an ordinary wound.

Now whereas it is pleaded, that for further experience sake, it hath been tried, the Salve being thus applied, the party greived [Page 286] hath been at ease; but immediately upon the removal of the Salve, the party hath fallen into torment and pain: who sees not that this onely remains to be said to make the tale good? For naturally a man would look for this part of the story, to hold up the cowples, as King Iames was wont to say. And therefore I must crave pardon for the present, if I advise my self well ere I pass any part of my beleife unto it.

Hitherto have I onely used my buckler, and put off the thrust; you perchance would gladly know, how I can use my weapons. Truly I must confess, I am not very good at it. I find in my self that imperfection, which I see most Scholars complain of, that they know better how to refell what is false, then to confirm what is true. Yet to give you as good satisfaction as I may, I will endeavour to draw such reasons, as may serve in some good mea­sure to shew the impossibility of it.

And first, I would willingly know, if any such thing be, how he that was the first Authour of the discovery of it, came first, like a second Columbus, to take knowledge of it. The ways that lead us to the knowledge of all conclusions, of which we have any knowledge, (for I speak not of things taken up Historically, and upon trust) are but two: firs [...] Experience; secondly, Ratiocina­tion; and the one of these is commonly the way to the other, by comparing one thing with another, and applying actives and passives, and thence producing sundry conclusions; and making one an occasion of another, as man is in these cases a witty creature. Now I would willingly know from which of these two, the knowledge of this Weapon-Salve was first derived? From Experience it could not be; for see you not what a multi­tude of particulars must concur, ere any such experience could be made? First, the Salve must be made: a Salve of strange ingre­dients: and who would make such a Salve, except he first knew it would work this cure? and such a knowledge before the making of the Salve, cannot possibly be imagined: For into whose head could it possibly sink, that such a Cure could be thus wrought, except he had formerly collected it by Reason or Experience? The first, it is impossible he should have; the second, it is granted he had not: so that the Salve must at first be made in likelihood for some other use, and being made for some other end; by [Page 287] what chance must it come, that it is found to cure after this strange manner? no man in his right wits could think of apply­ing it to the Weapon; some casualty must fall out to discover this force: as it fared with Bercholdus Swartzius, who first invented Gun-powder, who having made a mixture of Nitre and Sulphur, by chance it conceived Fire, and went off with incredible celerity and noise; and from that chance came he, and others after him, to make that use of it that now we see: Even some such chance must here be. First, the Salve made for some other end, must fall on the weapon, and that upon the place where the bloud was, and there rest, and then some man must observe it, and find that it wrought the cure. Now who would ever apply himself to expect such an event? So then, Experience could never open this myste­ry, and therefore Reason much less.

It remains therefore, if any such thing be, the first knowledge of it must come by a kind of Revelation, and that must be either from above, or from beneath: And I perswade my self, that this apparent difficulty of the first discovery of it, was the cause of the imputation of some Sorcery or Witchcraft, which of late hath stuck upon it. Certainly if any such thing be, it will be hard to exclude some either Supernatural or Vnnatural way, by which the first discovery of it must come in; I would be loath to wrong any man, by fowling him with any vile aspersion; and I am yet far enough from it, because I believe not the thing? Yet if any such thing be, I should think the Original knowledge of it pro­ceeded from some such principle I spake of, yet will I not charge any, that either believe or practise it, with stain of Witchcraft. For howsoever, he who first knew it, might receive it from some Spirit, (for Spirits, by reason of the subtilty of their nature, and long experience, know certainly more mysteries in nature then we do) and therefore might justly undergo a hard censure: yet those to whom afterwards the knowledge of the mystery de­scended, might be free from all blame. Upon occasion of a great Plague in Grece, recourse was had to Apollo's Oracle for remedy: where they received this answer, That they should double Apollo's Altar: Now Apollo's Altar was a Cube: and hence it came to pass, that so many famous Mathematicians, both amongst Ethnicks and Christians, both anciently, and [Page 288] even at this day, do labour to find out the demons [...]ration of doubling the Cube, a thing yet never was done. In this acti­on they which first consulted with Apollo were to blame, (for Apollo was the Devil) but they which by industry would have found it, if they could, were not guilty of the first consulters fault. So might it here well be, that he that first discovered the Weapon-Salve, might know it by the mini­stery of some Spirit; yet they who afterward practised it, might be guiltless.

But leave we this, and consider yet some other reason. I have often much mused, why this Salve is called the Weapon-Salve? For I ask, Cannot this Cure be done, but onely by means of the Weapon? It may seem, by your Doctours Apology, It may: for he tells us, It is done by the bloud upon the Wea­pon, and by reason of a seed of life lurking in it, which by the Salve is wakned: If this be so, then wheresoever the bloud falls, there apply your Salve, and you shall work the same Cure; any linen, or stool, or floor, or Wall, or whatsoever else receives the bloud, may receive the Salve, and work the Cure; a thing of which I never yet heard: neither do I think the practise of it stretcheth beyond the Weapon: else we shall give the Salve so many names, as chance shall allot it places to be applied unto? Whence it follows, that either it is not done by the Weapon; or done by a thousand things as well as it; or that there is some strange quality in the Wea­pon to work the Cure; which quality yet remains to be dis­covered.

That I kill you not with length of discourse, I will urge but one reason more, and that shall be drawn from the very cause it self, unto which your Doctour attributes this Curing faculty. He first supposeth some Eradiation and Emanation of Spirit, or secret quality, or whatsoever, to be directed from our bodies to the bloud dropped from it. Secondly, that in the bloud thus drop'd, there remains a Spirit of life, con­genious to that in the body; which stirred up by the Salve, conveys upon this Beam a healing quality from this bloud to the body. Thirdly, he grants, that not onely in the Bloud, but in the Vrine, after it is gone from us, remains the [Page 289] like Spirit, which by the like Beam from a party sick of the Iaundies, conveys a cure to him: for so he tells of a great Person, who usually works such Magnetical Cures of that disease, by a Paste made of the Ashes of a kind of Wood amongst us, (it is the Barbary: For that Wood, by our new Doctrine, De signaturis rerum, by reason of the deep Yellow by which it is dyed, is thought to have in it something Sovereign against the Iaundies) mix'd with the diseased Parties Vrine. Nay more, our Hair, our Nails, and Skin, pared from us, have the same Spirit of life; and from our bodies to them whil'st they are subsisting, proceeds the like radii: and by such device he thinks a starved member may be recovered, as you may see in his Books. Now I suppose if it be thus with the Vrine, with the Hair, and Nails, and Skin; why then should I not conceive it to be so with our Sweat, with our Tears, with every excrement that falls from us, as our Spittle, and Flegme, and the like? For, what reason can your Doctour give to confine these things to some part of our Excrements, and not enlarge them unto all? As for the amputated members of our bodies, it fares with them no otherwise, as it appears by the Neapolitan Gentleman's Nose, cut out of his servant's arme (one letter altered in that word would have made the story much pleasanter) and of others the like reported and believed by him.

The vanity of which conceit that you may discover, let me request you to observe this with me. Look what way we may be pleasur'd and convenienced, by the same way we may be harm'd and wrong'd. The beams then that pass from us to these things, which come from our bodies, as they may be the conveyers of good to us, so may they be the ministers of mischief: for if they encounter with things good, and simpathizing with them, they relieve and che­rish us; so if they meet with their enemies, with antipa­thizing materials, may they not distress and annoy us as much? Certainly to think otherwise, is meerly volunta­ry and unreasonable. See now, I pray you, into what in­finite hazard this Doctrine casts us; there is not a drop of [Page 290] Bloud, of Sweat, of Spittle, and Flegm; not any part of our Flesh, our Nails, our Hair, our Stool, but hath in it a Spirit of life, homogenious to that in our bodies; and beams that emanate perpetually from our bodies to them; but, as they may comfort us, being well encountred; so, if they meet with ill company, they may distress us: A thing so much the more to be feared, by how much the things that annoy us are in number more, then the things that pleasure us. Now what mean we then to be thus negligent of our droppings, as to let them fall at random into the earth, the fire, the water, and God knoweth where, since there is such danger depends from them? Were this doctrine true, it were not possible, that either Man or Beast (for it is the case of Beasts too, as appears by his discourse about an Horse) should enjoy one moment of health and safety.

Sir, were I at leisure, and free from other occasions, which at this time of the year especially attend me by rea­son of my place: as poor a Philosopher as I am, I think I might challenge any reasonable man, at this trial, and not think over-well of mine own undertakings. This which I now have commented is very subitany, and I fear confused. Mr. Bagley, who was by me all the time I wrote it, would not conceive, that the frequent discourses betwixt his lit­tle son and himself, could be an hinderance to me; and truly, to confess the truth, I found it not much to further me. And least I quite weary you out, I will onely adde this one thing concerning our admirers of Weapon-Salve.

I have read, that a Learned Iew undertook to perswade Albertus, one of the Dukes of Saxony, that by certain He­brew letters and words taken out of the Psalms, and written in Parchment, strange Cures might be done upon any wound: As he one day walked with the Duke, and la­bour'd him much to give credit to what he discoursed, in that argument: the Duke suddenly drew his sword, and wounding him much in divers places, tells him, he would now see the conclusion tried upon himself. But the poor Iew could find no help in his Semhamphoras, nor his He­brew characters, but was constrained to betake himself to [Page 291] more real Chirurzery. Sir, I wish no man any harm, and therefore I desire not the like fortune might befall them who stand for the use of Weapon-Salve: onely thus much I will say, that if they should meet with some Duke of Sax­ony, he would go near to cure them of their errours, howso­ever they would shift to cure their wounds. Thus have I freely imparted my judgment to you in this point, which having done, I leave it to your favourable construction, and rest as ever,

Your Servant, JOHN HALES.

Mr HALES LETTERS From the SYNOD of DORT TO THE Right Honourable Sr. DUDLEY CARLTON, Lord Embassador, &c.

Right Honourable, my very good Lord,

MAy it please your honour: We arrived at Dort this last night betwixt six and seven of the clock; our passage was without any impediment at all, and wheresoever we were to take boat still we found some ready to put off, as if they had waited our coming. Immediate­ly upon my arrival I went to My Lord Bishop, and assoon as I had done my message unto him, I fortwith went to Mon­sieur Bogermannus, who humbly thanks your Honour for your great courtesie towards him, and promises to acquaint your Lordship by me with whatsoever passes in the Synod: had he known of so con­venient meanes of writing to your Lordship, I suppose he would have written: but when I spake with him I knew not so much my self. Festus Hommius and Polyander I have not yet seen, and it will be the afternoon ere I shall speak with them, because this morning they have a sitting. Whatsoever hath past in the Synod formerly, your Lordship shall understand by a packet from my Lord Bishop; whatsoever speeches or other passages are to be copyed I shall this afternoon get of Mr. President, & I will not fail to send your Honour the transcripts of them, when Daniel returns. What shall be disputed [Page 2] of or decided in the next Sessions at the Synod, I will at large in form your Lordship by the next messenger, mean time I humbly take my leave.

Your Lordships Chaplain, and bounden in all Duty, Jo. Hales.
Right Honourable, my very good Lord,

YOur Honour shall here receive inclosed an index of all the acts of the Synod since the beginning, till the 16/2 [...] of this present. It is not that which I required, but is so much as Festus Hommius (whose writing it is) could spare your Lordship. My desire was to obtain not only the bare conclusions, but the whole manner of proceeding, with all particulars propounded and concluded in the Synod: but it seems this was thought nimis grande postulatum. If I can come so far to perfit my notes of all the former sessions, as that I shall be able to express them in form as I did the session, on Saturday last, and by Gods help will express the following sessions, I will in time acquaint your Lordship with it. Mean while I come to the session on Monday morning 16/ [...] of this present.

It had been in some of the Former sessions determined that there should be chosen six Divines for the Translation of the Bible, three for the Old Testament, and three for the New with the Apocrypha: and likewise Revisors one out of every Province, to whom the work being done should be brought to be revised and censur'd. In this present Session they proceed to the choice of them. The manner of election was by Scrutiny: the Deputies in every Province in Scripto exhibiting one. The Scrutators were two of the Seculars, D. Simon Schottus, Secretary of Middleburrough, and President this week , and Martinus Gregorii, these calculated the voices and pronounced the election. And first for the translation of the Old Testament were chosen these three, Ioh. Bogermannus, Guil. Baudaritus, and Gerson Bucerus: for the translation of the New, were chosen Iac. Rolandus, Hermannus Fauckelius, and Petrus Cornelii. From these they proceed to the nomination of the revi­sors. Here arose a doubt concerning the province of Utrecht. For because they are equally divided three Contra-Remonstrants, and and three Remonstrants, they could not agree upon the nomination of a Revisor for that Province, which thing bred a demurre in the [Page 3] Synod. The Praeses required the judgment of the Synod, what they thought fit to be done. Some thought they might be alto­gether past by. For there would be Revisors enough, though that Province chose none. Others thought fit it should be de­ferr'd till the end of the Synod, and then some one of that Pro­vince should be chosen communibus suffragiis totius Synodi. A third sort determined that it should be deferr'd till that Pro­vince were reconciled in it self, (which it was hoped would be at the end of the Synod) and then they should name some one of their Province to be approved by the rest of the Translators and Revisors; and this sentence past for currant. So that for the present there is no Revisor for the Province of Utrecht. Another doubt yet was moved, for one of the Provinces had named two paribus suffragiis: the question was who should stand. It pleased the Synod to put it to Lots. And so the Praeses wrote their names in two little Tickets of paper, each by it self, and rould them up, and delivered them to Martinius Gregorius; that which he took stood, that which he refused, was presently torn. The Revisors for the Old Testament were these, ex Gel­dria Ant. Tysius: ex Suyd-Hollandia Io. Polyander: ex North-Holl. P. Plancius: ex Zelandia Iod. Larenus: ex Frisia Sibrandus Lub­bertus: ex Transisulania Iac. Revius: ex Groning. D. Gomarus: ex Drentia Onias Boethus. The Revisors for the New Testament were these. Ex Geldria Seb. Dammannus: ex Suyd-Holl. Festus Hommius: ex North-Holl. Goswinus Geldorpius: ex Zelandia Ant. Walaeus: ex Frisia Bern. Fullenius: ex Transisulania Io. Langius: ex Groning. Vbbo Emmius: ex Drentia Io. Cuperus. It was farther enacted, that if any of the Translators should die, or by Sick­ness became unable for the Service, that then he that was next him in number of voices in the Scrutiny should succeed in his place: If any of the Revisors should die, or be sick, power was given to the Praeses, the two Assessors, and the two Scribes to depute another in his room: and so this Session concluded; ‘in which though little was done, yet was it long adoing by reason of the Scrutiny.’

Upon Tuesday the 17/1 [...] of this present, the Deputies met in the morning, where the first thing that was propofed was concern­ing those of Drent. For whereas the day before they had named two Revisors for the Translation, they now upon better advice [Page 4] require to be excused in that behalf, because in their Province the Belgick Tongue was not well known. Which Petition of theirs was accepted. In the second place it was thought good, that since all the business concerning the Translation was deter­mined of, there should be a repetition made in the Synod of all that had passed about it: to this purpose, that if any thing were either omitted or misrelated, it might be rectified: forth­with followed a Narration of all that had been done, where some small exceptions not worth relating were stood upon. In the third place was proposed the defect of the Afternoon Sermons and Catechizing, especially in the Countrey Villages; and the Synod was moved to deliver it self concerning Remedies of this Defect. What had been heretofore decreed in some of their Synods concerning this matter was publickly read. The Impe­diments were, First the negligence of the Pastors; Secondly Combinations, that is double Benefices, when men having two Cures could not sufficiently attend both: Thirdly the difficul­ty of reclaiming the Country people on the Sundayes either from the Sports or from their Work. The Synod beginning to con­sider of means to cut off these abuses, Festus Hommius amongst other things complained, that through the negligence of the Re­monstrants it came that Catechizing was so much decay'd; which words of his, it is thought, will be an occasion of some choler, though for the present they passed uncontroled. Many delivered their opinions how the forementioned hinderances of Afternoon Sermons and Catechizing might be removed. First by imploring the help of the States General, that it would please them by their Authority to prohibit that ordinary prophana­tion of the Sabbath by working or playing: Secondly by re­quiring the like help of the particular Magistrate in every Town and Village: Thirdly by taking away those Combinations: Fourthly by providing of sufficient Schole-Masters in every Vil­lage who should not only teach Grammar, but instruct Youths in the prnciples of Religion: Fifthly that the Pastors should not o­mit afternoon Sermons by reason of the negligence of their Au­ditors, but should perform them, though they brought to the Church none but their own Family: that the Pastors and Dea­cons and Seniors should deal with their Friends and acquain­tance and bring them to Church with them. Sixthly that if any [Page 5] Pastor neglected to perform this Duty, he should be subject to Ecclesiastical Censure. Seventhly that the Deputies of other Nations should be requested to make overture of their Customs in this behalf. Lastly that diligent inquiry should be made through­out all the Classes, whether Cathechizing and afternoon Ser­mons were observed. It was decreed that in every Parish there should be two Sermons every Sunday, of which that in the After­noon was to be Catechetical. That the ministers should give good example by bringing their own Family to Church; that the help of the Magistrate should be implored; that Combinati­ons should be taken away. When all was done, then was that re­quired which should have been done afore: the Deputies of o­ther Nations were desired to deliver their Customs in this behalf. Where first my Lord Bishop shewed that with us in England the Magistrate imposed a pecuniary Mulct upon such as did absent themselves from Divine duties; which pecuniary Mulct generally prevailed more with our people, than any pious admonitions could. Those of the Palsgrave's Countrey shewed that each Sunday they had two Sermons, and such as were absent, were first admonish'd by the Clergy, and if this sufficed not, they requi­red the help of the Civil Magistrate. Those of Geneva told us, that in the Churches in their Cities they had every Sunday four Sermons, &c. Those of Breme that they had three Sermons, of which one was Catechetical; and to avoid prophanation of the Sabbath, it was not lawful to celebrate any Marriage-feast, or such like upon the Sunday, till six a clock in the Evening. Ma­ny other things of this nature were related, of which a great deal I could not understand. When all had spoken, the Praeses told them that this proposal was not made because in the Bel­gick Churches there had not been order taken for Catechizing: and Sermons, but because the Laws formerly made in this be­half were neglected: and that now means was thought of to bring them in force again. And so they brake up.

I received your Honours Letters of the 16/1 [...] of this present, in which your Honour requires to be informed of such Proposals as E­piscopius lately made in behalf of the Arminian Party. The thing is this. Shortly after that the Letters of Citation were sent to the Ar­minians, Episcopius, with other of the Remonstrants came private­ly to the Deputies of the States, and exhibited a Remonstrance, in [Page 6] which they required especially these things. First that all of their Party throughout the Provinces might be allowed to make one Body, and out of it depute such as they thought good, whom they might send to the Synod to plead in their behalf. Se­condly that it might be lawful for them instead of some of those who are written unto, to substitute others. Thirdly that Vtenbo­gart and Grevinchovius might have safe Conduct and free access to the Synod. The Delegates immediatly sent for the Praeses, the two Assessors and the two Scribes, and required their opinion in this business. For the first point, the Clergy men thought it not to be granted, as being feared would be prejudicial to the Belgick Churches. The Deputies for the Seculars answered, that they had given Episcopius this answer. For the two latter, the Clergy thought that if it pleased the Seculars it might be done. Reply was made by the Seculars, that they were men infamous, tumultuous, on whom the Church censure, for Grevinchovius had extended, and therefore they would permit them no place in the Synod. So was Episcopius and his Company dismiss'd. ‘This was a thing done only in private: the Synod had no notice of it, neither is it recorded in any publick Register. What more passed between the Seculars and the Remonstrants at this meeting is not known, and the Clergy know no more than it pleased the Seculars to impart. Of this I heard nothing, till by reason of your Lordships Letters I enquired into it.

Whilst the Synod was sitting on Tuesday morning, there came in Newes of the death of one of their Company, Henricus ab Hell, Senior of the Church of Zutphaw, who died in the time of the Session. I am desirous to know whether my Letters up­on Mondy containing the Saturday Session came to your Lord­ships hands. I intended them by way of Roterdam, but Daniel t [...]l [...]s me he delivered them to a Gentleman that went immediately for the Hague, marie what he was he knew not, this hath made me a little jealous. I beseech your Honour, by the next that comes from you hither, by word of mouth to let me know. Mr. Praeses, Festus Hommius, Polyander, Tronchinus of Geneva required me to remember their Love and service to your Honour: and so for this time I humbly take my leave.

Your Honours Chaplain, and bounden in all Duty Jo. Hales.
Right Honourable, and my very good Lord,

UPon Saturday, the day after my coming to Dort, I went to Festus Hommius, & delivered him your Honours Letters, up­on perusal of which, he liberally promised me an Index of all what­soever had past in the Synod until my coming to Town. The time of making his promise good was Sunday morning. When I saw it came not at the time, after dinner I wrote a little note unto him, to put him in mind of his promise, but yet I heard nothing of him. I suppose this falls out by reason of his multipli­city of business, not that he would sleight your Lordship; though I remember in a speech that passed between him and me, he told me that there passed among the brethren of the Synod a con­sent de non eliminandis, &c. of not divulging of any passage till all was done, which I interpreted as spoken only upon the by, not with any intent of hindring any intelligence which should be given your Honour. I dealt with Mr. Praeses and with Festus for a Copy of Martinus Gregorii his Oration: the answer from them both was the same, that he would not at a­ny hand be intreated to deliver a Copy of it, no not so much as the summe of it: whether it was because of some mat­ter that was in it, as that he spake somewhat roundly in dis­grace of the Spanyard, or that the Politicks have some end in it, or that he himself is desirous to have it thought that he deli­vered it only ex tempore, or for what other reason I know not. As concerning what hath passed in the Synod, till I hear farther from Festus, I will acquint your Honour with what past there since my coming.

On Saturday the 14/24 of this present, in the Morning the Depu­ties met, and debated some things of no great moment, concerning their intended TRANSLATION of the BIBLE. The first thing proposed was, whether the name JEHOVAH should be retained untranslated, or rendred by the Dutch word Heere, as the Greeks [...], the English Lord. The Praeses thought fit it should be rendred Heere, because the Holy Ghost in the New Testament, citing some things out of the Old, renders the Hebrew Iehovah, by the Greek [...], according as the Septuagint had done. This past for currant, till it came to Martinius of Breme, who divided the sentence, aud thought that it might ordinarily so be rendred, if [Page 8] some places were excepted. And to this purpose he cited some places of Scripture, where the word Iehovah had a peculiar ener­gy and force, which the Belgick Heere could not attain unto. To the same effect did others speak: and great disputation would have arisen about this point, as whether the Name Ieho­vah had any points of its own, or borrowed his points from Elo­him and Adonai, and the like, but that the Praeses still cut them off. It was at length by the greater part concluded, that it should be rendred by the Belgick Heere, which was alwayes to be exprest in Capital Characters, & concerning this the Reader should be advertised farther in the Preface. And when there should be in any place some peculiar force in that word which the Belgick word did not express, of this the Reader should be admonished by a marginal gloss.

The second Proposal was, whether the Hebrew proper Names should be retained, or translated likewise into Dutch. It was concluded they should be retained, for avoiding of all unne­cessary novelty and alteration. The third proposal was, whe­ther the antient division of Chapters should remain, for many He­brew Copies differed from our Common in this point, and some­time the old division did seem somewhat inconvenient, as that somewhere it brake off in the midst of a matter, somewhere in the midst of a sentence. It was concluded that the old division should remain. For there would arise great confusion in quo­tations, if the number of Chapters and Verses should alter. As for the variety of other Copies, and inconvenient division, of this the Reader should be advertised in the margent. The fourth proposal was whether there might not be added some Appendices to the Bible, as Chorographical and Topographical Tables, Genealo­gies, and the like. It was thought fit they should, provided that in the Tables and Maps there were no pictures and babies, for avoiding superstition. The fifth proposal was concerning the appointing of persons fit for the work of the Translation. The Praeses willed that every Province should exhibit by Bill the Names of those, who they knew in their Provinces were of sufficiency for the Translation, which forthwith was done, and the Names that were exhibited were all pronounced in the Synod: but out of these who should be chosen for the work was differed, until the next Session appointed upon the Mon­day [Page 9] following: and so with prayer they brake up the meet­ing.

As I have done in this Session, so will I doe in all the rest, if I shall get convenient place where I may stand and note. For, for any thing I see, mine own notes must be my chiefest help. The matters are but small, but I suppose they will amend when the Arminian Party shall make their appearance. Here is your Honours old Friend come to Town, and passes under the name of a Doctor of Physick. He is to dine with my Lord Bishop this day, but I have discovered him unto his Lordship what he is. I have presumed to keep Daniel with me longer than I determined at my departure; the reason is, because I am unskilful of the streets, and I have not Dutch enough to en­quire my way; I will shortly send him home. What shall be done in the following Sessions, I will not fail to inform your Lordship by the next Messenger, in the mean while I humbly take my leave.

Your Honours Chaplain, and bounden in all Duty, Jo. Hales.

I have sent your Honour a Catalogue of the Synod Printed here with us.

Right Honourable, my very good Lord,

ON Wednesday the 1 [...]/2 [...] of November, those of the Synod me [...] in the morning. This Session was only deliberative, for they concluded nothing. The proposal was, what form of catechizing both for children and youths should be thought fittest to be put in practice in the Belgick Churches, The Praeses first spake ma­ny things learnedly of the necessity of Catechizing, that it was the basis and ground of Religion, and the sole way of trans­fusing the principles of Christianity into men: that it was very an­cient, practised by the Patriarchs, by the Apostles, by Origen, and approved by the consent of the Fathers: that from the Neg­lect of this came the ignorance of the common sort, and that [Page 10] multitude of sects amongst them, of Papists, Anabaptists, Liber­tines, &c. whereas if an uniform course of teaching them their first principles had been taken up, there would not have been so many differences: that there was now greater necessity than ever of reviving this custom, because of the Iesuits who mightily labour in this kind, as appeared by some of their acts lately in Fris [...]a, &c. Next were the Deputies for the strangers called upon to deliver what formes of Catechizing were in their Churches put in use: which they did, and gave them to the Praeses in writing. After these, the Professors, and the other De­puties spake their mindes, and almost all gave them up in writ­ing, which were immediately pronounced in publick by the Scribe; and such as spake memoriter, promised to set down their opinions in scripto, and deliver them to the Praeses after dinner. The principal heads on which they insisted, were these: that there might be three degrees of Catechizing, one Domestical, to be practised by Fathers and Masters in their Fa­milies: another Scholastical to be used by Scholemasters in pub­lick Scholes: and a third Ecclesiastical to be practised by the Minister in the Church, that so Fathers might fit their Children for the Scholes, the Scholes for the Church: That therefore Parents and Masters should be admonished to look to this duty in their Families: That Scholemasters should be chosen, such as were skilfull themselves to Catechize, and that they should be careful to bring their Scholars to Catechetical Ser­mons; that from Sermons they should presently call them to the Schole, and there examine them how they had profited: That the Minister of every Parish together with the Seniours and Deacons should monthly or quarterly visit the Scholes, and know the Scholars proficiency in this behalf: that the Ministers before the times of the Communion should repair unto private Families, and Catechize: that the Magistrates would be pleased to pro­vide stipends for Schole-Masters, so to make them the more chearful: that there should be variety of Catechizing accord­ing to the variety of the age, one for Children, which should contain The Lords Prayer, the Creed, the Commandments, the Doctrine of the Sacraments, &c. that for such as were elder, o­ther things should be added according to their capacity: that to take away confusion, one form of Catechism in each kind [Page 11] should be used; that the Iesuits Catechisms of Lessius, Canisius, Ledesma, &c. should be abolisht. All this and more by sundry men was exhibited in writing, and read in the audience of the Sy­nod.

That which hitherto hath been done concerns only the man­ner of Catechizing, as for the matter of the Catechism, that was not now thought fit to be spoken of, but was put off till the end of the Synod. When all had spoken their pleasures the Praeses signified, that he together with the Assessors and Scribes would compare all these Writings together, and out of them all gather one form of Catechizing as they thought best, and exhibit it unto the Synod to be approved of, or altered to their liking. And so the Session ended. Amongst the rest, there were some par­ticulars told. One of the Deputies of Geldria, to shew the force of Private Catechizing, related that amongst them there was a Minister, who when he first came to his Living, found his Church quite empty, because all his Parishioners were Papists; and therefore if he would preach, he was to preach to the bare Walls: but he takes so much pains as to go to every of his Parish private­ly unto their Houses, and there by familiar conversing with them, and expounding unto them the grounds of Religion, he so far prevailed with them, that in the compass of a year he gain'd them all to come to Church, and by this means hath scarce a Papist in his Parish. But doubtless the most effectual way of all the rest to bring young persons to learn their Catechisme, was that which was related by one of the Helvetian Deputies. For he told us that in his Country the manner was, that all young persons that meant to marry were to repair, both he and she, unto their Minister, a little before they meant to marry, and by him to be examined how well they had conned their Catechism: If they had not done it per­fectly to his mind, he had power to defer their Marriage till they had better learnt their Lessons. I was much affected to this course when I heard it; and I thought that doubtless it was a speedy way to make all young persons, excepting my self and two or three more that mean not overhastily to marry, to be skil­ful in their Catechism. The Synod shall be ill advised if they make no use of it.

Mr. Dean this day is to make a Latin Sermon in the Synod-house, and after that there are certain Supplications exhibi­ted [Page 12] to the Synod to be considered of. What they are, and what they contain I will inform your Honour by the next convenient Messenger. I have suffered Daniel to come home, and supply himself of some necessaries, but to return to me again upon Saturday, except your Honour shall otherwise ap­point. His lodging and diet are provided, and he will be serviceable to me this ill weather, to be sent in business, my self not being so well able in dirt and snow to trace the streets. But this I leave to your Lordships consideration, and for this pre­sent I humbly take my leave.

Your Lordships Chaplain, and bounden in all Duty, Jo. Hales.
Right Honourable, my very good Lord,

UPon Thursday, 19/29 of this present, the Synod being met together, Mr. Dean of Worcester made in the Synod-house a polite and pathetical Latin Sermon; the portion of Scripture he chose for his Theme was the 17th verse of the 6th of Ecclesi­astes, N [...]li esse justus nimium, neque esto sapiens nimis. After a witty coming upon his test, how it should come that Righteousness and Wisdom, which are every where com­mended unto us, should here seem to receive a check, he shewed how men might seem to be too just; First the Seculars, when sitting in place of Justice they stood too strictly in keep­ing the Letter of the Law, and then by inflicting too heavy punishments, when in equity lighter would serve: next in the second word sapiens nimis, he taxt the Divines for presuming too far in prying into the Judgements of God, and so came to reprove the curious Disputes which our age hath made concern­ing Predestination; that this Dispute for its endlesness was like the Mathematical line, divisibilis in semper divisibilia; that it was in Divinity, as the Rule of Cos is in Arithmetick. For the ending of these Disputes his advice unto the Synod was, that both parts contending should well consider of S. Pauls discourse in the ninth to the Romans, and for their final determination [Page 13] both should exhibit unto the Synod a plain perspicuous and fa­miliar paraphrase on that Chapter. For if the meaning of that Discourse were once perfectly opened, the question were at an end. From hence he came to exhort them to stand to the for­mer determinations, which had hitherto most generally past in the Reformed Churches, in these points: and told them that it was an especial part of his Majesties Commission to exhort them to keep unalter'd the former Confessions. How fit it was to o­pen so much of their Commission, and thus to express themselves for a party against the Remonstrants your Honour can best judge. After this he brought a very pathetical conclusion, consisting of a vehement exhortation to peace and union, and so he ended. The Praeses gave him thanks for his good pains, and then told us, whereas it was once purposed to lay open before the Synod cer­tain Libelli supplices (which I mentioned to your Honour in my last Letters) he might not now do it, for some reasons which he then concealed. And so he dismist the Synod without do­ing any thing farther. What these Libelli supplices contain, is unknown. Some imagine it to be from the Remonstrant party; others more probably think, that the subject of them were cer­tain Gravamina of the Countrey Ministers.

Mr. Deans Sermon was taken well, for any thing I can yet learn to the contrary; but your Lordship shall understand [...] there was a little doubt made concerning these Latin Sermons. Mr. Praeses, when the Letters were directed to the Arminian party, requested the Forreigners that they would be pleased to bestow in their Courses some Latin Sermons to entertain the Sy­nod till the Arminians made their appearance; ‘And first com­mended this unto the English. My Lord Bishop refused it be­cause of the suddain warning: but Mr. Dean would needs un­dertake it. But certain of the Exteri came to the Bishop, and shewed him how dangerous this might be. For it was as they thought, a very hard matter so to walk, as not to touch up­on some points that are in controversy, which could not be without the offence of one party.’ My Lord Bishop, and the other two, for this reason thought the motion very in­convenient: but Mr. Dean would by no means apprehend of it, but as of a business very fit to be done. It seems this was the general conceit of the Forreigners, which was the cause that there [Page 14] was in this kind nothing done till now, notwithstanding that the motion was made a pretty while before my coming to Dort. But how well this example is approved, it will appear, if others of the Forreigners do follow it. Here is a rumour of a certain Je­suitical book, lately set forth in disgrace of our Synod. I have not yet seen it, but I understand it is in the hands of the Praeses unto whom I had repaired to have looked into it, but that I conceive him to be exceeding full of business. As soon as I can learn what it is, I will acquaint your honour with it. We have much speech of a strange Comet of an unusual length seen this morning. I saw it not; and peradventure it is no Newes unto your Lord­ship, if it have appeared in the Horizon of the Hague. My Lord Bishop and his Company remember their Love and Ser­vice to your Honour, and thank you for your Letter of English newes, which they here return. I have sent according to your Lordships Will six Catalogues of the Synod, printed with us in Latin. And so for this time I humbly take my leave.

Your Honours Chaplain, and bounden in all Duty, Jo. Hales.
Right Honourable, my very good Lord,

UPon Friday the 20/ [...] of November, the Deputies met in the Morning: where first of all, there were recited the Judge­ments of some concerning the manner of Catechising which was yet depending, who had not delivered their minds in writing the day before. In this was there nothing extraordinary, save only the advice of the Remonstrants of Vtrecht. For the De­puties of that Province gave their Judgements severally, the Contra-Remonstrants by themselves, and the Remonstrants by themselves. These first blamed the common Catechism passant amonst them, as being too obscure for the Simple, and too long for the Memory. Secondly, they thought it not necessary that there should be a threefold Catechism, for one well learnt might serve for all the rest. Thirdly, they would have a Ca­techism [Page 15] so made, that the Answers might be nothing else but bare Texts of Holy Scriptures. For they thought, that if Scrip­ture alone were taught, and not any mens glosses, it would be a more immediate means to gain the Anabaptists and other Schis­maticks to accept of the Catechism. Fourthly, they thought fit that in the Preface to these Catechisms, there should be a note given to this purpose; that these kinds of writing by Catechisms &c. were to be esteemed only as the Apochryphal Scriptures. To the third point some little was answered to this purpose, that this was a mean utterly to extirpate all other Forms of Catechizings out of the Church, there never yet having been any form of Creed or Catechism so conceived. Yet their might be a time hereafter for the Synod to consider of it, when they pleased. After this followed the Form of Catechizing, which the Praeses and Assessors had agreed upon. My purpose was to have taken an extract of it and sent it to your Honour, and I dealt with Festus Hommius about it; but his answer was, that he was to communicate about this with the Praeses, and that it was in the hand of Sebast. Dammannus his fellow Scribe. To Dammannus I was not known, neither did I understand of any acquaintance he had with your Honour, and therefore I let it rest. The summe of it was this. That there should be observed a three­fold Catechizing. 1. At home by the Parents. 2. In the Schole by the Schole-Master; A third in the Church by Cate­chetical Sermons: then, that there should be a threefold Cate­chism, one for Incipientes, containing the Lords Prayer, the Creed, the Commandments, the Doctrine of the Sacraments, and the Church Discipline. A second for the Middle sort, which should be a brief of the Palatine Catechism: A third for Youths, the Pa­latine Catechism it self. That every one that was admitted Scholemaster should be bound to teach no other Catechism, and that all other Forms should be abolisht: that if either Schole­masters in the Scholes, or Ministers in the Church, should refuse or neglect to Catechize, they should be subject to censure &c. When this Form was read, the Provinces were in order askt what they would have altered or supplied. Those of Geldria thought it fit that the Minister before his Catechetical Sermon, should not only take the words of the Catechism (as the custom had in most places been) but likewise some Text of Scripture [Page 16] upon which the Doctrine of the Catechism was grounded. For, as it seems, the custom is in Catechistical Sermons, not to take a Text of Scripture, but a portion of the Catechism for their Text and Theme. It was answered that this custom had been a long time laid down, and could not now conveniently be recal­led: the same Deputies proposed, whether it were not fit, that whereas in the Decree there is mention made of a censure to pass on those who neglected it, there should be some particular form of Censure set down by the Synod. The thing being put to voices, it was decreed, that it should be left to the Judge­ment of the Classes how they should be censured. The South Hollanders thought it necessary there should be publick cate­chizing in the Church by way of Question and Answer. It was answered, that this could not be by reason of the frequency of Sermons. Those of Overyssell proposed somewhat concerning the form of Catechetical Sermons. It was answered that this should hereafter be thought of. ‘Which answer is a civil way which the Praeses uses, when he means to put by an impertinent question.’ Last of all, those of the Walon Churches required that this Decree should not prejudice them, who had already ac­cepted of Beza's Catechism in their Churches. Now whereas there were three Catechisms proposed, of which there was but one in being, namely the Palatine, they consulted of deputing some, who should make the other two. The matter being put to Scrutiny there were chosen these six, Polyander, Gomarus, Ty­sius, Lydius, Fauchelius, Vdemannus. Here the Praeses proposed to the Synod, that they would think of fit means for the Edu­cation and training up of those who should enter the Ministery: but those of North Holland proposed a doubt, wherein the Church of Amsterdam required the determination of the Synod. The matter is this. The Merchants of Amsterdam having Traf­fick into the East Indies, took into their Families many of the Youths and Infants of that Country, but doubted whether they were to be baptized or no. The question was thus proposed, ‘Whether the Children of Ethnick parents adopted into the Fami­lies of Christians were to be baptized, if so be they who did offer them to be baptized did undertake that they should be brought up in the Christian Faith.’ But both these questions were put o­ver to the nex Session, and so the Synod brake up. This after­noon [Page 17] the Dutchess of Tremullio came to Town. The English went to entertain her, where my Lord Bishop made a speech un­to her in Latin, which by her Chaplain was interpreted unto her, who likewise in her name returned answer. But of the particulars of this entertainment, I suppose my Lord Bishop in his Letters relates more fully to your Honour, that I can; for I was not there.

On Saturday the first of December, stylo novo, the Deputies be­ing met in the morning, the question concerning means of edu­cation of those who should be fitted for the Ministery was pro­posed; where, because they found it to be a greater matter than it seemed when at first it was proposed, the Provinces re­quested further respite, excepting the Zelanders and South-Hol­landers, who there delivered up their Judgements in scripto. The substance of what the Zelanders delivered was this: that it would please the States General to appoint that a certain num­ber of Youths might be bred up for the Ministery at the charge of the publick purse. That the wealthier sort would send such of their Children to the Scholes, as they thought fittest to make Scholars. That out of these should be chosen youths of in­genuous Parentage and Manners, of good wit, of strength and health of body, which should be sent unto the University. That in the University there might be distinct Colledges for every Province, and in these Colledges there might be Re­gents and Supervisors, which might prescribe unto Youths a Method of study, and not suffer them to wander in variety of Study, and not perfit themselves in some one kind. That there might some time be prefixt for their aboad in the University, as five or six years. And because many upon two years study seek for preferment in the Church, and others on the contrary stay in the University over long; for remedy of both these there might a time be fixt wherein the whole course of study should be absolved. That these Students every year should give an ac­count of their proficiency to their Parents and Benefactors, and such as bred them up: that after this they should go and visit forreign Churches and Universities to see and observe. That at their coming home they bring with them the Testimonies of the Pastors and Governours of the Churches and Universities wherein they have been, and exhibit them to the Classes where [Page 18] they are to live; and expect their calling to the Ministery. That they should publickly in the Church read the Scriptures before the people, for this would make them known to the Church, embolden them to speak to the multitude, and mend their voices and delivery. That by consent of the Classes they be permitted to be with the Pastors, to confer with them in Cases of Conscience, to go with them when they visit the sick, that thus they may learn how to deal in these cases, and how to conceive prayers upon occasion. That to fit them for the Church Regiment, which is a thing not learnt in Scholes, some months before their institution, they converse in the greater Cities, to be present in the Presbyteries and the meetings of the Deacons, to understand how Voices may be asked and gathered, how Church Disciple is to be exercised, and what in divers cases is to be done. That they be examined how fit they be to reform mens manners. That it were fit that even in Universi­ties Youths were trained up in Practick Divinity and Cases of Con­science. The substance of what the South-Hollanders delivered was this. First that Youths should stay at least two years in the University, and publickly read the Scriptures in the Church. Secondly, that after this they publickly dispute of some dif­ficult question in Religion. Thirdly, that they be examined of all the Articles in Religion, and if they give satisfaction, then they may be admitted ad propositiones, (what these are I know not) and after a years exercise in them, they may be examined by the Classes, who if they find them fit may give them leave to exercise themselves in Catechizing and Preaching. That to learn Church Government they be admitted to Consistories and Classes to see what there is done, so that what there they see they keep in silence. That they leave not the studies of Divinity to meddle with other things. That they may have leave to Bap­tize, if the necessity of Rural Churches require. Yet they must expect a year ere they be admitted, which is not to be done without sufficient Testimony that all hath been done which is re­quired. The rest of the Provinces required respite till Monday: and so they past to the question which was proposed in the name of the Churches of Amsterdam, concerning the Baptizing of the Children of Ethnick Parents. The English first exhibited their minds in Writing to this effect. That Infants, if they were [Page 19] justly taken, as, if they were given, or bought, or the like, (for it might not be lawful fraudulently or violently to take them from their Parents) ought to be baptized. For so it is recorded of Abraham, that he circumcised every one in his house, even those whom he had bought with his Mony: but if they were Adulti, they might not be Baptized till they made Profession of the Christian Faith. With these agreed the Bremenses and the Professors. On the contrary the Helvetians and South-Hollanders concluded, that the Infants of Ethnick Parents ought not to be Baptized, till they came to be of years to declare their Faith. Their chief reason was, because Baptism was a Sign of the Co­venant: but the Infants of Ethnick Parents are not born within the Covenant, and therefore they cannot be partakers of this Sign. ‘Here was a little indirect dealing betwixt the Helvetians & the Bremenses. The Helvetians Scribe had by some meanes or other suffered a Copy of the reasons for their opinion to be brought aforehand to those of Breme, who openly in the Sy­nod house, in scripto refuted them: which thing is feared will cause some choler.’ And this is all that this day was done con­cerning this question, and so both the questions yet depend. The Synod did the sooner end, because they were at eleven a clock to go to the Funeral of Henricus ab Hell, who died lately, as I think I told your Honour. The Solemnity was no more but this. Some of the chief of the Town together with the whole Synod went to the House where he died, accompanied him to the Church, laid him in his Grave, and went home again, almost in as little space as I have told it you. The Dutchess of Tremullio was at this Session, and as I hear, spake very well of the Synod, commending it both for Piety and good Or­der.

The Remonstrants are now every day expected. We under­stand that they are already met together at Leyden. ‘Mr. Praeses came this day to my Lord Bishop, and under Benedicite told him, that it was thought the Remonstrants would become Suiters to the Secular Deputies, for some greater respect in the Synod, than it is likely otherwise they should have: and that for this they would use the English as mediators. Then, that they would call in question the right of his presidentship, as being made only by the Provincials without any respect [Page 20] had unto the Forreigners. To this my Lord Bishop replyed, that for the first, since they were Members of the Synod, they would not do any thing clancularly without the consent and Privity of the whole Company. To the second he answered, that hitherto they had acknowledged him for their Praeses, & so they would continue to do notwithstanding any objection might be fancyed, so that of them he might secure himself.’ And this is all hath hapned since Friday Morning, at what time I addrest my last Letters unto your Honour: and for this time commending your Lordship to Gods good Protection, I humbly take my leave.

Your Honours Chaplain, and Bounden in all Duty, Jo. Hales.
Right Honourable, and my very good Lord,

MY Letters containing the acts of our Synod upon Friday and Saturday, I dispatched this morning unto your Honour by a Soldier whom I knew not, & he delivered them to a Skipper whom he knew not, and whether or no they came to your Lord­ships hands I am uncertain. There are come with them Letters from my Lord Bishop to your Honour. Upon Monday the 3d. of Decem. the Deputies being met, they prosecuted the two questions before left undecided; First of the Baptizing of children born of Ethnick parents: secondly, of means considerable how to breed up those who are to enter the Ministery. In the first, concerning the adulti the Synod agreed, that if they made profession of the Christian Faith they might be baptized, etiam invitis parentibus. Their reason was, because that after children came to be of years, in case of Religion they depended not from the power of their pa­rents, but might make their own market. All the difficulty was of infants, and children not yet of discretion to make their choice. The English, the Professors, those of Hassia, those of Breme, of Zeland, of Freesland thought it necessary they should be Baptized if they were rightfully adopted into Christian Families, and that their parents had altogether resigned them in­to the hands of the Christians. They grounded themselves upon [Page 21] the examples of Abraham circumcising all that were of his Fami­ly; of Paul Baptizing whole housholds; of the primitive Church recorded in Saint Austin, who shews that anciently children that were exposititii were wont to be taken up by the Christians and baptized. Now such were the children of Ethnick parents; for it was never esteemed lawful for Christians to expose their children. All the rest were peremptory that they were not to be baptized, till they came to be of years of Discretion, to make profession of the Faith. The North-Hollanders themselves, whose business it was, and who moved the Synod in it, were expresly against it; whether they were bought, given, taken in War, or howsoever. Their reasons were, because they are immundi; because they are extra foedus, of which Baptism is a sign; because Adoption could entitle them only to terrene, not to an Hea­venly inheritance, &c. So that if plurality of voices carry it, the negative part prevails. The Praeses required some time to compare the opinions together, & so for that time forbare to pro­nounce sentence. And because the examples of Abraham and Paul were much stood upon by those who held the affirmative, he proposed these two things to be considered of. First, whe­ther it were likely that in Abrahams Family, when he put cir­cumcision in act, there were any Infants, whose Parents died uncir­cumcised. Secondly, whether it were likely that in the Families baptized by Paul, there were any Infants, whose Parents died unbaptized: and so he past away to the second Question, con­cerning the manner of training up those who were to enter the Ministery. In my last Letters to your Honour I related at large the advice given in this point by the Zelanders and South-Hollan­ders. It was now proposed to the Synod, whether they did ap­prove their Counsel, or except against it. Some thought it was unlawful for men not in Orders to preach publickly, or baptize; (for the South-Hollanders in their advice, had determined they should) others thought it unmeet, that they should be present in the Consistories and meetings of Deacons, or that they should read the Scriptures publickly in the Church (which was the joynt advice of the Zelanders and South-Hollanders.) Last­ly, it was doubted whether the Synod could make any Decree in this Question; because of the several customs in several Provinces, which it lay not in the power of the Synod to [Page 22] prejudice. So that instead of deciding this one doubt the Prae­ses proposed five more to be considered of. 1. Whether men not in Orders might make publick Sermons. 2. Whether they might baptize. 3. Whether it were fit they should come into the Consistories. 4. Whether they should read the Scrip­tures publickly. 5. Whether the Synod could make a Decree in this business, for the reason above mentioned, or only give advice. The Synod had begun to speak to the two first, and it was the general opinion that they might not baptize. In the point of preaching they differed. Some thought absolutely it might be permitted them: others on the contrary thought no: some tooke a middle course thinking they might preach private­ly before a select Auditory, who were to be their Judges how sufficient they were for that end: some that they may do it open­ly, so that it were understood they did it not cum potestate solvendi & ligandi. But when part of the Synod had spoken their minds, because the time was much passed, they brake up, and put off the determination to the next Session.

Here is a rumor that some of the Remonstrants are come to Town, who they are I cannot yet learn. I shall to morrow make inquiry, and by the next Messenger acquaint your Lord­ship with it. In the mean time I humbly take my leave.

Your Honours Chaplain, and bounden in all Duty, Jo. Hales.
Right Honourable, my very good Lord,

UPon Tuesday the fourth of December, Stylo Novo, the Depu­ties being met in the morning they proceeded to deter­mine of those doubts, which were moved the Session be­fore. In the matter consulted concerning the training up of those who were to take upon them the Ministery, there were five questions moved. 1. Whether it were fit they should preach pub­lickly. 2. Whether they should baptize. 3. Whether they should come to the Consistories and meetings of the Classes. 4. Whether they should read the Scriptures publickly in the Church before the People. Lastly, whether they should make a [Page 23] Decree to bind all Provinces necessarily, or only to advise them. To the first two the Exteri had given their answer in the former Session. For the question of Baptism, no man stood upon it, but all accounted it unlawful, for men not in Or­ders to take upon them to baptize: the doubt was concerning Sermons. Io. Polyander thought it very fit that such as intend­ed the Ministery, before they were admitted should practise Preaching. First because it was the practise of some of the Bel­gick Churches. Secondly, because it took from them that [...], that subrustick shamefastness of many men, by which they fear­ed to speake unto the people. Thirdly, because it was conve­nient that they should be known for men fit for that duty, be­fore they should enter upon it. Fourthly, that they might ap­prove themselves to their Parents and Benefactors, who had been at the charge of their Education. Provided that it were with these conditions: first, that it were done with con­sent of the Classes: Secondly, that it were practised only when the Church was unsupplied, either by the death, or absence, or sickness of their Pastor, or in case of like necessity. With Polyander did Wallaeus of Middleburgh agree, and ground­ed himself upon the practise of the Jews, amongst whom not on­ly the Levites, but others also publickly taught the Law, as it appears by the story in the Acts, where Paul and Barnabas com­ing into the Synagogue, the Rulers called unto them, that if they had any word of exhortation, they should speak unto the people. Contrary unto both these was D. Gomarus, who held it utterly unlawful for any to preach before they were admited to the Mi­nistery. First, because they had no Mission; and who can preach except he be sent. Secondly, because they had not the Keyes of the Kingdom of Heaven. Thirdly, it was granted that they could not baptize: now Christ hath put Baptism and Preaching toge­ther, Go teach all Nations baptizing them: & quae Deus conjunxit homo ne separet. Last of all, though there had been a custom in some places to the contrary, yet fitter it was that custom should conform it self to Truth, than Truth to custom. With Gomarus agreed Thysius, and thought his argument drawn from Mission to be unanswerable; and for my own part I thought so to. D. Go­marus is a man of great note; but I never heard him speak with any strength of reason in the Synod till now. What Sibran­dus [Page 24] his opinion was concerning the point I know not; for he doth so favour his voice, that I can never tell what he saith: and I imagine I have no great loss of it. After the Professors was there little said, which was not said before, only Lydius of South-Holland thought certainly to confute Gomarus, and told us, that such men might preach, and that they had Vocation so to do. For first that inward Vocation which they had from the Spirit, and then their Examination and Admission by the Classes was warrant for them sufficient to preach, though they had no particular charge. For this good News did Mr. Dean of Worcester publickly applaud D. Lydius in the Synod. I marvail'd much with my self to see Mr. Dean and Lydius so wide of the mark. For there was no question of those who were admitted by the Classes, but only of such who fitted themselves to be admitted. The Examination and Admission by the Classes is the very form of their Ministery, and not their being placed over a particular Church. And thus much at length did the Praeses tell us. When all had spoken, Mr. Praeses pronounced that it was concluded by the Synod, that it should not be lawful for them to baptize: but for the mat­ter of Sermons, it was thought good by the Synod, that it should be left to the Judgement and Discretion of the particular Classes. In the third question concerning the Admission of the Proponentes, (as they call them) to the Consistories, little was said, and so in the fourth, concerning the publick reading of Scripture in the Church; Some thought fit that the ancient custom of Anagnostae in the Church should be revived: others thought it some disparagement to publick Reading, that it was committed to Tradesmen, and many times to men unskilful, that knew not well to read: In both these the Synod deter­mined nothing, but left them free to the discretion of the Classes, and the latter was to be left to the Liberty of the Proponentes, whether they would read or no; and that they were not to be inforced to it, if they would not. In the last question whether they should make any necessary Decree binding all, or only by way of Counsel, my Lord Bishop being asked what he thought fit, made answer, that they were to distinguish betwixt things necessary, and not necessary. Things absolutely necessary should be absolutely decreed: other things should be left arbi­trary. Which sentence passed by the major part of Voices, and [Page 25] was Synodically concluded. Here the Deputies for the Remon­strants of Vtrecht exhibited to the Synod in writing a Bill, con­taining some exceptions against what hitherto had passed in the matter of the Catechism. First they misliked that any such form should be forced upon them. Secondly, that all Schole-masters should be so strictly bound to that form, as that it should not be lawful to recede from it. For this did prejudice all other forms now currant, and might discontent the Luthe­rans and others, who had admitted of another form. Thirdly, they charged the Praeses with some indirect dealing. For where­as he had, whilst the business was in fieri, solemnly protested, that there was no intent concerning the matter, but only con­cerning the form of Catechizing, yet in the issue they had con­firmed the Palatine Catechism, which contained as well matter as form. Fourthly, they misliked the Decree concerning the not premising of a Text of Scripture before catechetical Sermons. Lastly, they required that this their dissent might be registred. To this the Praeses replyed, that the Synod had only exprest it self what it thought fittest to be done. As for the necessity of Execution, that was not in the power of the Synod, but of the States General, who when all was done, might either pass or recall what they thought good. Secondly to the point concerning himself, he answered, he had done so, and thought it fittest so to do (but the Synod thought otherwise) and since there was a matter of Catechism to be concluded, they thought they might confirm this as well as any other: and this was not so confirm'd, but that it was in the power of the Synod to alter what they please. To the point of premising a Text of Scripture before the Catechetical Sermon, he answered that the determination of the Synod was not to take that custom a­way there where it was in use, but only to prohibit the urging of it there where it had a long time been disused. To the last, concerning the Registring of this their dissent, he answered, he saw not how this could be granted them; since the States General had concluded, that what passed by a major part of voices, should alone be accounted the Act of the Synod: and by the same proportion every one that passes not his voice with the major part might require his dissent to be registred. After this the Praeses signified that concerning the question of the [Page 26] baptizing of Ethnick children put up by the Church of Amster­dam, he required yet farther respite, because of the opinion of some of the Synod, which was somewhat ambiguous and ob­scure. He was therefore to confer with the Authors of it, and therefore desired that the resolution might be put off till the next Session: and withall he commended to the Synod the con­sideration how the liberty of Printing so promiscuously all kind of scandalous and libellous Pamphlets might be represt, and so he dismist the Synod.

The Remonstrants are in Town, but because they keep themselves private, and have not presented themselves unto the States and Deputies, there is no notice taken of it. And so commending your Honour to Gods good Protection I humbly take my leave.

Your Honours Chaplain, and bounden in all Duty, Jo. Hales.
Right Honourable, my very good Lord,

UPon Wednesday the 5. of December, stylo novo, the Deputies being met in the morning, the first thing which was done, was the admission of a Senior or Elder for those of Gro­ninga, whose number as it seems was not yet full. The thing was transacted in Dutch, and yet the consent of the English was askt: at which I did not a little muse. Next followed the ad­vice of the Helvetians, what course was to be taken with those, who are to enter the Ministery; in which there was no great matter from what before was intimated. The Pala [...]ini promised the like, and therefore the Praeses required yet farther respite be­fore they did conceive any form of Decree in this behalf. ‘Then followed the Decree of the Synod concerning the questi­on moved by those of Amsterdam, about the Baptism of children born of Ethnick, Parents. The Decision consisted of two parts. The first concerned the Adulti, and it was this; That such as were of years and capacity should be diligently taught and catechized, and then, if they did [Page 27] desire it, they should be baptized. The second concerned In­fants, and it was, That till they came to years of Discretion, they should by no means be baptized. A strange decision, and such as, if my memory or reading fails me not, no Church either Ancient or Modern ever gave. When it was objected, what if they were in danger of death? their answer was, that the want of Baptism would not prejudice them with God, except we would determine as the Papists do, that Baptism is necessary to salvation. Which is as much to undervalue the necessity of Baptism as the Church of Rome doth over­value it.’ Here followed a recitation of all that had been done since the business of the Catechism had been set on foot: amongst the rest was registred the exceptions of the Remon­strants of Vtrecht, and it was added, atque iis est à Praeside satis­factum. Those of Vtrecht excepted against that word satis­factum: they had, said they, an answer given them, but no satisfaction. For they persisted in their former opinion: and forthwith that word was altered. Here was a doubt moved, whether it were not fit that some of the especial Reasons brought by the Synod in the Question of the Baptism of Infants should not be added to the Decree. It was answered, That Reasons were obnoxious to cavil and exceptions, and it was not for the Authority of the Synod to Reason, but to Decree. After this the Praeses signified to the Synod that the time prefixt for the ap­pearance of the Remonstrants was now expiring, and yet no­thing was signified concerning their appearance neither to the Se­cular President, nor Ecclesiastical. Wherefore naming them all, he thought good to cite them to appear. It was answer'd by those of Vtrecht, that they did provide and would shortly be forth coming. In the mean while to take up the time, Mr. Praeses thought good to commend to the Synod the consideration & re­dress of those abuses which were in Printing. Every man was suffered to print what he listed, whence came abundance of blasphemous, heretical, obscene and scandalous Pamphlets. Ma­ny here delivered their opinions, others required farther time to think of it. The English first thought fit that the States General should be requested to take the care of this into their hands. That there should be Censors to approve all such Books as should go to the Press. That no man should print, [Page 28] but such as were known to be of the Reformed Religion. Unto this advice divers things were added by others; as that there should be a set number of Printers: that they should be sworn: that there should be certain Laws prescribed unto them: that they should print no Heretical Books, especially the Books of David Georgius, H. Nicolaus Socinus: that no Li­bels, no unlawful Pictures, either obscene, or made to any mans disgrace, should be permitted: that no Book should be Prin­ted without the names of the Author, Printer, Place, except the Synod or the Magistrates did in some cases otherwise think good: that there should be care that the Correctors for the Press were good Scholars: and many other things of the like nature. Then were there read certain Canons made in some Synods before, concerning this business. Theodatus of Geneva told us, that in his travails, at Venice he had observed that there was a Colledge of sundry persons, secular and spiritual, to whose care was committed all the business of Printing. He thought it fit there should be such Colledges here erected. When all had spoken that would, the Praeses told them that Adri­an Smoutius had written a little Book in the Belgick Tongue un­to the Synod, and sent the Copies of it to him to be di­stributed. And so requesting them to take in good part the good will of the man, for want of more business the Synod brake up.

At length are we coming to the main battel. The Armies have been in sight one of another, and have had some parly. The manner was this. Upon Thursday the 6. of Decem. stylo novo, The Synod being set in the morning, the Praeses signified, that there had come unto him in the name of the Remonstrants, these four, H. Leo, Niellius, Matthisius, and Pinakerus, to give notice that the Remonstrants were ready according to their Citation; but because they had but lately come unto the Town, that yet convenient lodgings were not provided, their papers, books and stuff were confused, therefore they required respite either till Saturday, or at least Friday morning. The President of the Politicks replyed, that they should come, and personal­ly make appearance before the Synod, and there propose their mind, and if the Synod approved their causes, they might be deferred. Upon this were two of the Deputies [Page 29] of Vtrecht sent forth, to give them warning to provide for their present appearance. In the mean while, till they came, the Praeses thought fit, that such as in the former Session deliver­ed not themselves concerning the Reformation of abuses in Printing, should now doe it. Here was little delivered, be­sides what was said the day before, only some few particu­lars, as that order should be taken to repress this longing hu­mour in many men of coming to the Press: that there should be no impression of the Bible at any time without leave had: Forreign Books brought out of other Countries should not be distracted here without peculiar leave, after their being pe­rused by the Censurers: to ease the Censurers that they might not be troubled with reading too great a multitude of unprofitable Books, it was thought fit that the Books should first be brought to the Classes, and what they approved should be brought to the Censurers, &c. In the men while the Remonstrants came, all that were cited by Letters, and were admitted into the Sy­nod. ‘There is in the midst of the Synod-House a long Table, set, as it seems, for them; for it hath hitherto been void, no man sitting at it: here Chairs and Forms being set, they were willed to sit down.’ The Praeses told them, that he had com­mended to the Synod their suit of being a little respited: but it was the will of the Deputies for the States, that they should come before the Synod, and propose their cause themselves. Episcopius standing up, spake to this effect. ‘First he prayed God to give a blessing to this meeting and to pour into their minds such conceits, as best fitted men come together for such ends: then he signified, that according to their Citati­on they were now come ad collationem instituendam, concerning that cause, which hitherto with a good Conscience they had maintain'd. As for the point of delay, true it is they spake to the Praeses concerning a respite until Saturday or Friday, by reason of that great distraction of their Books and Papers, and want of convenient lodging, but not as a petition to be moved in that behalf unto the Synod; but only as a thing which out of common equity they might have presumed on without acquainting the Synod with it. For they were ready, even at that present to begin the business they came for, without any farther delay. But this they left to [Page 30] the Deputies Secular and Ecclesiastical to determine of.’ Then were they requested to withdraw a little into a chamber near the Synod House; and immediatly was it proposed unto the Synod, what time was to be set for to begin. The time prefixt was the morrow after. Io. Polyander took hold of those words, ad Collati­onem, and told the Synod, that it was fit the Remonstrants were told the end of their coming, and the manner of pro­ceeding which should be taken with them, that they might know what they were to look for, and so provide. They were to be informed, that they came not to conference, neither did the Synod profess themselves an adverse party against them. Conferences had been heretofore held to no purpose. They ought to have heeded the words of the Letters by which they were cited. They were called, not to conference, but to pro­pose their Opinions with their Reasons, and leave it to the Sy­nod to judge of them. The Synod would be a judge and not a party. Then were they call'd in again, and all this was told them. Episcopius answered, that for the word Collatio he stood not on it, and how they would carry themselves it should appear the day following. Mean while one thing they would request of the Synod: that is, that Grevinchovius and Goulartius should be sent for to the Synod as Patrons of this cause. That they had this last week exhibited a Supplication to the States General to this purpose, and received this answer, that they should put this matter to the Synod, and if the Sy­nod thought it fit to be granted, they would not be against it. Neither did they propose this to seek delayes. For they were ready, whilst these men should be sent for to proceed to the action. Only they thought fit, that to maintain their cause they should be sent for, who could best do it. Then were they again dismist: and one was sent to them, to call for their Sup­plication to the Lords, and the Lords Answer. To this they returned, that the Lords gave this answer, not in writ­ing, but by word of mouth: and for the copy of their Suppli­cation, they called not for it any more. Then was the thing proposed unto the Synod, and the Secular Deputies replyed, that they would return their answer on the morrow: & the same was the answer of the Synod. Mr Praeses thought that Grevin­chovius might be admitted salvis censuris Ecclesiasticis: yet not­withstanding [Page 31] he thought good to acquaint the Synod with the quality of this man, & thereupon he produced the Act of the Pro­vincial Synod, of South-Holland, wherein it was witnessed, that the Synod, because he did refuse to appear when they cited him, and because of many Blasphemies in his Book, and of many reproach­ful speeches against the Magistrates and against the Ministers, had suspended him ab omni munere Ecclesiastico. From this Gre­vinchovius had not appealed to the National Synod to do what they thought fit. Then were the Remonstrants again called in, and it was signified unto them, that on the morrow they should understand the will of the Synod concerning their motion made, and so were they again dismist; and the Session ended, the Praeses having first premised, that all other things yet depending, as the Decree concerning the Proponentes, together with the Re­medies concerning the abuses in Printing, and what else so­ever, must be deferred, and the business in hand alone at­tended.

My Lord Bishop was desirous that Mr. Carleton should stay this day, to see the coming of the Remonstrants. I would have had him stay to morrow likewise, that he might have seen the manner of proceeding with them; but he would not. Here is speech that Scultetus is to make the next Latin Ser­mon; but when we know not. There is a rumour that Vorstius is gone from Tergone, but of this I suppose your Honour may have better information than I can give; therefore ceasing to trouble your Honour any longer I humbly take my leave.

Your Lordships Chaplain, and bounden in all Duty, Jo. Hales.
Right Honourable, my very good Lord,

IN my last Letters to your Honour, I related a doubt concer­ing the Deputies for the Remonstrants of Vtrecht; whether they were to be a part of the Synod, or in the number of the Remonstrants, who were cited to appear before the Synod. [Page 32] The reasons of that doubt, which then I understood not, were these. First, because in their Credential Letters they were charged to defend the cause of the Remonstrants. Now it could not be that they should be both Defendants and Judges in the same cause. Secondly, it was objected that their case was the same per omnia with Episcopius, who was to have been of the Synod, if he would have brought his Credential Letters, as the rest of the professors were. But he refused it, because in the Remonstrants cause he was to be a party, except he would have laid by the defence of that cause. Thirdly, when the question was of citing the Remonstrants out of each Province, it was then concluded in the Synod, that out of the Province of Vtrecht none should be cited to appear, because of that Pro­vince there were some already, and therefore it was superfluous to oite any more. In the judgement of the Synod therefore they were in numero citatorum, as far as concerned that cause, and not in the number of the Members of the Synod. Unto these Reasons were they charged to give their answer upon Sa­turday, and then to resolve whether they would forsake the words of their Credential Letters, and so remain Judges, or else stand unto them, and become in the number of the citati. Wherefore upon Saturday, the 8. of December, stylo novo, The Synod being met in the morning, the Deputies for Remonstrants gave up their Answer in scripto to these Reasons. And to the first concerning the Clause in their Credential Let­ters, they answered, that they were not so limited, but that in their private instructions they had leave to do otherwise, if they thought good. To the second, concerning the Parity of their case with Episcopius they answered, that their case was quite another; for they were sent from their Provinces as Mem­bers of the Synod, which plea Episcopius could not make. To the third, concerning the intent of the Synod at the Citation they answer'd, that they never so understood the words of the Sy­nod, neither did they know but that they might shew themselves for the cause of the Remonstrants, and yet sit as Judges, since they were there to defend their opinion no otherwise than the Contra-Remonstrants were to defend theirs: and therefore they were purposed to take theoath, and to keep their places. The Praeses then required them to shew that clause in their pri­vate [Page 33] instructions, wherein that reservation was which they pre­tended. They stuck a little at first to bring forth their instructions-but at length seeing there was no other remedy they consentted to do it, provided that no more should be read than what they would suffer: which was granted them. In the mean time whilst they were providing to produce their instructions, there were read in the Synod the letters of the provincial Synod of South Holland, directed to the National, to this purpose: that whereas Theophilus Ryckwaerdius, one of those who was cited a­mong the Remonstrants, had lately been by them convented for certain misdemeanours, the Synod would be pleased to give him leave to return and make his answer to such objections as they had to charge him with. The thing was put to the de­termination of the Synod. The Deputies of the States thought fit it should be left to his own discretion to doe as he thought good. Others thought it not fit he should be sent from the greater Synod to a lesser. Others thought it was necessary he should imme­diatly be sent away to make his answer, since it was question of behaviour and manners only, and not of doctrine. In the end it was concluded it should be left to his own discretion, to do as he thought good. By this time were the Remonstrants of Vtrecht ready to shew their instructions, which they there openly pro­duced, but to no purpose at all. For all they could shew was this, that they had commission to defend their cause, or to la­bour at least for an accommodation or toleration of it: but that they had power to pronounce decisively de veritate aut falsitate sententiae, that did not as yet appear. The thing was acted with much altercation on both sides. At length it was agreed, with some reluctancy on the Remonstrants party, that it should be put to the determination of the Synod; whether they were to be accounted as Judges, or only as citati. Some favourably thought that their private instructions were not too narrowly to be sifted, but if they would suo periculo take the oath, it should be sufficient. Others thought that an Oath was a greater matter than should so easily be permitted, although men did offer to take it, there being so good cause of doubt, as now there was. Others examining there Credential letters, and the words of their private Commission, and finding no authority given them to define de falsitate sententiae if it should appear to [Page 34] be false; and that the lowest point they could descend unto, was a Toleration, concluded they could be no other than citati. As for their plea, that they came to defend their opinion no otherwise than the Contra-Remonstrants did for theirs, it was replyed, first that they did the Synod wrong to make this distinction of Contra-Remonstrants and Remonstrants: for in the Synod there was no Contra-Remonstrant, and no man was called thither under the name, whereas they in their letters came under the name of Remonstrants. Again, No man came with charge to defend any opinion, but were free to pronounce according to truth wheresoever it should be, which was not their case. In the end the judgement of the Synod was given up, that they could not be of the members of the Synod in this cause (for in any other they might) but only as citati. Yet notwithstanding that they might see the equity of the Synod toward them, it was permitted them to keep their places upon these conditions: first if they would quit their defence of the cause; Secondly if they would give no advice or counsel directly or indirectly to the citati, and by no means meddle with them in their cause: Thirdly, that they did not divulge any of the Acts and Secrets of the Sy­nod, (which Clause was a meer Formality. For who can expect that that should not be divulged, which is done in the sight of so many Spectators?) Fourthly, that they should not be trouble­some to the Synod, by any intempestive interpellations. This if, they would promise, they should take the Oath, and sit as Judges; otherwise, not. Unto this were they charged immedi­ately to give their answer. They again required respite. It was answered, that this request was needless, the case being so plain, and injurious to the Synod in detaining them from their business by frivolous delays. They persisting still in their Suit, the thing again was devolved unto the Synod, whether they should give their Answer presently, or have farther respite. It was concluded that they should repair to Mr. Praeses the same day at five a clock in the Evening, there without farther delay, roundly to deliver their resolution. Which thing yet they did not. They came indeed at the time appointed, but gave no Resolution, nei­ther yet have done, for any thing I can hear. And this was all was done that Session. I marvail much that the Province of V­trecht, being the strength of the Remonstrants, could find no [Page 35] wiser men to handle their Cause. For as they did very foolishly in bewraying their private instructions, so in this whole alterca­tion did they not speak one wise word. This Session the Remon­strants that were cited appeared not all.

Episcopius is reported to have put a trick upon the Seculars. For whereas in his speech he had said some things concerning them, in that Copy which was exhibited, sign'd with all their hands, there is no such thing appears. He had committed it only to his Memory, as forseeing the Copy might be called for.

Mr. Praeses remembers his love and service to your Lordship, and hath sent you a Copy of the Book which Adrian Smoutius de­dicated to the Synod. The greatest Newes, for ought I per­ceive, is, that it is dedicated to the Synod; for else there is little that concerns them. I have troubled your Lordship with very long repetition of a petit matter: but it was all the Argument of the Session. I trow, to morrow we shall have other manner of stuff. And so ceasing to trouble your Lordship, I humbly take my leave.

Your Honours Chaplain, and bounden in all Duty, Jo. Hales.
Right Honourable, my very good Lord,

ON Munday the 10. of December, stylo novo, the Deputies met in the morning, where the first thing determined, was the question as yet depending concerning the Remonstrants of Vtrecht. They had according to their appointment come to the Praeses and Assessors to give their Answer, which was meerly di­latory, containing their answers to such reasons as the Synod on the Saturday Session had brought to prove them in the number of the Citati. But having better bethought themselves, upon the Munday a little before the Morning Session, they delivered their Resolution to the Praeses, to this effect, That since nothing else would content the Synod, they had resolv'd to leave their place of Judges, and to adjoyn themselves to the other Remon­strants [Page 36] which were cited: and so they did. After this fell in some speech concerning a supplication lately exhibited by the Remon­strants unto the Exteri: and because it seemed to contein some aspersions against the Synod, there was question made whether or not it should be publickly read, and stand: but this motion died, and there was nothing done in it. A Copy of this Supplication; I think, my Lord Bissiop lately sent your Honour. Then Mr. Prae­ses signified unto the Synod, that without farther delay he thought it fit. The Remonstrants should put in mind of the end of their coming, and that they should put up their minds in writing, concerning the five points in question, and that forth­with. For he doubted it not, but they came very well provid­ed to do it: and more, that some years past, they had provided certain considerations to be at hand, whensoever they should be called for, with which the World was not yet acquainted. This thing he remembred Monsieur Barnevolt sometime told him in private conference, and the Remonstrants themselves have told the world as much in their pressior declaratio, which they joyned to their addition of the conference at the Hague. Then were the Remonstrants call'd in, and told, First of their indirect dealing, in pretending themselves to have but one Copy of their Oration, whereas it was known they had another, and in delivering up a broken Copy: then of the end of their being convented by the Synod. But by the way one thing was urged somewhat unne­cessarily. The Remonstrants had given up, (as I told your Ho­nour) their seech signed with all their hands. When those of Vtrecht had joyn'd themselves unto them, they were urged to put to their hands also: to which they replyed, they had not as yet read it. Here Episcopius took occasion to clear himself of that imputation lately fastened upon him, that he had abused the Delegates, in giving them a counterfeit Copy of his speech: protesting he was not so ill qualitied, as that in so great a mat­ter, and that before God and so grave a Congregation he would deal doubly, and dishonestly: that he never affirmed that he had one only Copy, but that he had none fairly written; for he confest he had another, and that the reason why he re­quested either the same Copy again, or at least a Transcript of it, was, because there was some difference betwixt the two Copies, and they had not yet perfectly compared them together. The [Page 37] Praeses answer'd, that what was laid to their Charge, was nothing else but that which the Synod verily understood to have been done, and he thinks, that if the Memories of those in the Synod were consulted with, they would all confirm it. About this was there likely to have been some altercation farther, but the Secular Praeses willed them to leave that and pass to their business. Here Episcopius besought the Synod that he might have leave to speak some things by way of Proeme ere they came to the Acti­on. It was at first denied him, but he did so earnestly intreat, that at length he had leave to speak his mind: and so forthwith there was recited è Scripto a long and tedious speech of two hours, at the least: consisting of two general heads; First of Ex­ceptions they had against the Synod Tanquam in judicem incom­petentem: Secondly of a conceit of their own, what manner of Synod they thought fit it should be, which was to compose these controversies in hand. Their reasons of Exceptions were many, and manifoldly amplified and confirmed: but amongst them all there were two especially insisted upon. First, it was against all e­quity and nature that the adverse party should be judge: the Sy­nod was here the adverse party, and therefore they could not be Judges. Secondly, those who had made an open Schism and Faction in the Church, & had separated themselves from their bre­thren, could not be their Judges: but of this Synod a great part were Authors of Schism, and the rest Favourers and Abetters of it: they could not therefore be their judges. In the Prosecution of which Reason they did not spare very liberally to bestow on the Synod the name of Schismatici & Novatores, and schismatum Fau­tores, and other goodly titles of the same nature. The second part of their Oration was a meer Chimaera saltans in vacuo; a strang phancy of such a Synod as never was, nor can be. I had thought to have taken an abstract of it, but the tediousness of it deterred me. I will give your Honour a taste or two of it. There were but two wayes of instituting a Synod for the ending of these quarrells. The first was, by seeking out every where certain select men, who all this time of contention had taken part with neither side; but kept themselves unpartial. Secondly, if a Synod of such could not be found (as I think it could scarcely be found in the Netherlands, though the Sun it self should seek it) then such a Synod should be framed, as in which should be an e­qual [Page 38] number of both parties, each with their several Praeses and Assessors; and they should debate the mater betwixt themselves: and if they could not agree, (as it is likely they would not) what then, thought I? shall they part as they came? No forsooth. The Civil Magistrate, tanquam Deus è machina, he must come in, and prescribe the Moderamen from which neither party must ap­peal. Provided alwayes, that he laboured only for Accommodati­on, and not to determine decisively for one part, [...]. And so I awoke. Of the same threed was the whole piece of their speech. When they had well and throughly wearied their Au­ditory, they did that which we much desired; they made an end. The Praeses made a brief Answer to this effect. For the point of Schism saith he, it is not yet fit time to discuss. But when it should in the Synod be made plain what had been the received Doctrine of the Church, then it would appear who they were that had made secession from it, and so were guilty of Schism. If you refuse us because we are your adversaries, whom would you have deputed as Judges? your selves, or the Papists, or the Anabaptists, or the Libertines, or some other faction in these Countries? Let us be Scismaticks, let us be Scribes and Pharisees, and worse; yet you may not deny this Synod to be a lawful Synod. For first it was done by the Civil Magistrate, who had Authority to doe it. Secondly, such as were there were deputed by the consent of the Provinces. Thirdly, they had all taken their Oaths to judge uprightly. This is enough to make us your Judges, and common Charity should make you to hope we would judge upright: at least it should make you re­solve thus far, if we should decide truly, you would subscribe unto it, if otherwise you would patiently bear it. If you were in our places, so Deputed, so sworn, and we were to be judged by you, we were to doe the like. Here followed some wrangling to no great purpose, and so the Session ended.

The same day after dinner the Deputies met again; where first the Praeses commended to the Synod the consideration of that reproachful Name of Schism, which the Remonstrants did so open­ly & so often brand them with. For it was Episcopius his palmarium argumentum, the Synod was all either Schismaticks or favourers of them, and therefore could not be their Judges. It was much that they should grow to that boldness, as that openly they should [Page 39] call the Synod, the Seculars, the chief Magistrates, yea the Prince of Orange himself, Schismaticks. For what had formerly been done in the matter of Secession and division of Churches was done by their consent and approbation. He requir'd therefore the Synod to deliver themselves what was to be done. Divers spake diversly. Lydius of South Holland relating the story of what had been done in the time of separation, cleared them of Schism; and shewed first, that the name of Schism was used craftily by them; as for a reproach, so likewise for a farther end they had for themselves. For a Schism is only a breach of Charity and peace of the Church, the Doctrine remaining intire. If there were a separation by reason of Doctrine Heretical (as here he thought there was) it was not to be called a Schism. Now the Remonstrants did therefore use the name of Schism, that they might perswade the world, that the difference was only in cer­tain points indifferent, in which it mattered not which end went forward, by this means to make their way open to a tole­ration. Again, the separation which was made, was made up­on good reason. For they were forced unto it by the Remon­strants violence, as in particular he did shew. At length he and the rest of the Synod concluded, that they should roundly be put in mind of their duty, and to speak more respectively to the Synod. Upon this the Remonstrants being called in, the Praeses signifyed what the Synod disliked in them, and what be­haviour it expected at their hands: and withall willed them to attend the Decree of the States. Episcopius would have answer­ed, but he was prohibited. Then immediately followed a de­cree of the States to this purpose; that whereas the Remon­strants had hitherto made many dilatory answers, to the injury both of the Ecclesiasticks and Seculars, it was decreed by them, that they should lay by all frivolous Exceptions, and dilato­ry answers, and forthwith proceed to set down their mind con­cerning the Five Articles, for which end they were come together. Then began Episcopius to purge himself, and declare, that in the imputation of Schism they included not the Seculars, they only charged the Ecclesiasticks: and if the Seculars had a hand in it, they meddled not with that. The Praeses urged them to give their answer, whether or no they would set down their minds concerning the points in controversy: they still excepted, that [Page 40] the Synod were not their competent Judges. The Praeses asked by whom they would be judged? they replyed, they would not answer this, it was sufficient that the Synod could not be their Judges. They were will'd to remember they were Citati: they replied, Citatorum est excipere de competentia judicis. The Praeses of the Seculars willed them to remember that they were Subjects; they replyed, the Magistrate could not command their Consci­ences: being again willed to give their answer, whether or no they would exhibit their minds concerning the five Articles, they required first to have their exceptions answered; when no other answer would be given, they dismist them, and appointed that of the Synod two should be chosen Delegates, who should immediatly go to them, and in the name of the Synod warn them to lay by all other answers, and at the next Session Catego­rically answer, whether they would exhibit their minds con­cerning the points in Controversy, or no: that so the Synod might know what they had to do: and so they brake up: this morning therefore we look what will be done. And so for this time I humbly take my leave, commending your Honour to Gods good Protection.

Your Honours Chaplain, and bounden in all Duty, Jo. Hales.

Of the Remonstrants of Vtrecht, two only have joyn'd them­selves to the Citati: the third which is an Elder, professes to submit himself to the judgement of the Synod, if they shall de­cide according to his Conscience; and that if it please the Sy­nod to give him his Oath, he is ready to judge neither as Re­monstrant nor Contra-Remonstrant, but accordingly as it shall please God to open him the truth in the Synod.

Right Honourable, and my very good Lord,

ON Thursday the 4/14. of Decemb. the Synod being sate, and re­petition made, according to the custom, of what had past in the former Session, the Remonstrants being called in were askt, [Page 41] whether or no they had set down in writing their opinion con­cerning the first Article. Forthwith they exhibited to the Synod their opinion subscribed with all their hands. The Copy of this your Lordship shall receive here with these letters. The paper be­ing read, the Praeses askt them all one by one whether this were their opinion, to which each man answered affirmatively. The Re­monstrants being dismist the Praeses proposed to the Synod, whether it were not fit that they should be sent for one by one and examin­ed singly as concerning their tenent. His reason was, because he un­derstood that they made themselves an Antisynod, and had a­mong themselves ordained a Praeses, two Assessours, and two Scribes according to the form of the Synod, and so they did all things communi consensu like a little Synod: to this some answer­ed that they thought it fit: some that those only should be singled out who were carried away with respect to their compa­ny, and if they were alone would think and do otherwise: o­thers thought it utterly unfit because it might seem olere artifici­um aliquod, to savour of a trick, whereas it best became the Synod to doe all things candide & syncere: others would have no man examined alone but when all the rest were by: others left it to the judgment of the Praeses to doe as he thought good when occasion served: which last sentence as it seemed stood good. After this was there a general exception against the man­ner in which they had proposed their sentence: that they had done it confuse, distracte, & obscure: that they had intermingled things impertinent and belonging to other questions: that the most of their proposals were negatives, what they did not hold, & not affirmatives what they did; whereas their appearance there was to shew what they did hold, not what they did not hold. And it was discovered that this their proceeding by negatives was, that they might take occasions to refute other opinions, and not to confirm their own; whereas by the decree of the States they were called thither ut sententium SVAM dilucidè, perspicuè &c. exponerent & defenderent, not that they should oppugne o­thers. That it had been their custom very liberally to examine other mens opinions and to be sparing in confirming their own. That if they did refuse to deal more plainly in expounding their mind, the Synod should take order that the state of the questi­on should be taken out of their Books, especially out of the [Page 42] Hague conference, and so they should be questioned whether they would stand to it or no: that they did maintain amongst them an implicite faith, and it was usual with some of them, when they were prest with any reason they could not put by, to an­swer that though themselves could say li