Blessed is the Man.



LONDON, Printed by Edward Griffin, for Anne Bowler, and are to be sold at the Marigold, in Pauls Church­yard. 1638.

TO THE Right Honorable THOMAS Lord COVENTRY Baron of Ailesborough, and Lord Keeper of the Great Seale of ENGLAND.

My Honoured Lord: He may truely be said, a happy man; Cui omnes bene volunt: But more true­ly hee, Cui omnes bene velle debent: and in both these Rights, [Page] I may justly pronounce your Lord­ship, happy: yet there is a better Title, for asserting Happinesse to you, than both these: That your Delight is in the Law of the Lord; and in his Law will exercise your selfe, both Day and Night: For now, it is not the World; it is not I; it is David himselfe, that pro­nounceth you happy: and give me leave, my Lord, to shew you the Picture of a happy man, drawne here by David; and let all the World judge, if it resemble not you: and that so neere, that not any in our Age; and I may say, nor yet in many Ages, hath beene more like it. And having shewed you this; my part remaines, onely to Pray; that you may long enjoy this happi­nesse [Page] as a fruite of your vertue here; and come at last, to bee like the Tree it selfe; which will yeeld you a fruit of happinesse, that shall never fade; nor so much as the leafes of it, ever wither: for how should they wither, when In memoria aeterna erit Iustus? Thus he prayeth that is

Your Lordships humble and devoted servant,


Recensui Tractatum hunc in Psalmum pri­mum, à Domino Bakero scriptum; eum (que) typis mandari permitto; modò intra 3. Menses proximè sequentes imprimatur.



IT may be thought, but an idle speculation to observe, that the first word of this Psalme, in the Hebrew, begins with Aleph, the first letter of the Alphabet; and the last word of it begins with Tau; the last letter of the Alphabet; as though this Psalme should containe whatsoever may be expressed by all the letters of the Alphabet. And it may bee little better to observe; that this first Psalme, hath a kind of correspondence, to our first parents: for the first word of it, is Blessed; and the last words, is perishing: and such was their condition; they began in blessednesse, but they ended in perishing: They began in blessednesse, being placed in Paradise, where they had the Tree of Life; but they ended in perishing, being cast out of Paradise, where they died the death. But although the Prophet perhaps had none of these conceits; yet he had [Page 2] great reason; for so placing his words: for bles­sednesse is the marke, we all aime at: if that be once named, there needs no other Rhetorick to make us attentive; most properly therefore it is placed the first word; seeing the first words are the proper place to peswade attention. And as fitly is perishing, placed the last words; that if the hope of blessednes, cannot allure us to godlines; yet the feare of perishing, may keepe us from wickednesse: seeing nothing so much deterres from evill doing, as the feare of evill suffering; and the word is justly placed the last, that it may last the longer in our memories; seeing the last words ever, are best remembred.

But to leave these generall aimes; and to come to particulars and certainties: we may perceive, that this whole Psalme, offers it self to be drawn, into these two opposite propositions: a godly man is blessed: a wicked man is miserable: which seeme to stand, as two challenges, made by the Prophet: One, that hee will maintaine a godly man, against all commers, to bee the onely Iason, for winning the golden Fleece of blessednesse: The other, that hee will make it good, upon the heads of all the wicked; that howsoever they make a shew in the world, of being happy; yet they of all men are most mi­serable. But lest there should grow litigious­nesse about the words; he will have it agreed upon first, what a godly man is; and what it is must qualifie this happy Iason. It seemes, the Prophet had heard, of an old description of a [Page 3] godly man; Declina a Malo, & fac bonum: Eschew evill, and doe good: but finding this too gene­rall, and too much foulded up; hee thinkes it necessary, to open the first part of it, into three Negative markes: and the last part of it, into two Affirmatives. But are not these strange markes, to begin withall? as though, we could know a godly man by Negatives? or that god­linesse consisted in Negation? as if vertue were onely Vitium fugere? Indeed the first godlinesse that ever was, that is the first Commandement of God, was delivered to our first parents, in a Negative: Of the Tree of Good and Evill, ye shall not eate: and if they had well observed this Negative; they should never have sinned in any Affirmative: as long as it could be said of Adam; there goes a man, that never eate of the forbidden Tree; so long it might as well bee said of him; There goes a perfect righteous man. And even the first written Law of Com­mandements, was delivered likewise in a man­ner all in Negatives; Thou shall not kill; Thou shalt not steale, and the rest; in which, so much godli­nes is contained, as might have brought usall to Heaven; as Christ told the young man; Sivis ad vitam Ingredi, serva Mandate. Iustly therefore the Prophet, begins his godlinesse here, with Nega­tives; seeing negatives at first, began all godlines.

But as the evill spirit in the Gospell, answe­red the Iewish Conjurers, who in their adjura­tion, used the names of Iesus and Paul: Iesus I know; and Paul I know; but who are you? so [Page 4] here, perhaps, some curious spirit, may object & say; the Negative Commandements of the first Table I know: and the Negatives of the second Table I know; but what are these? They are not indeed, the very marke we aime at; but they are the meanes, that guide us to the marke; and if by observing those, wee arrive at the ha­ven; by observing these, we avoid the rockes, that hinder us from the haven.

But why would the Prophet, use any Nega­tives at all; and not rather relie wholy upon Affirmatives? as to say; That hath walked, in the counsell of the godly; that hath stood in the way of the righteous; that hath sate in the chaire of the humble: and thus, he might have made his argument in Barbara; and never nee­ded to have troubled Negatives at all? But Ne­gatives in this case could not be denied: for if hee had left out Negatives; he had left out, a great part of the worth and praise of godli­nesse: For a godly man, cannot alwaies runne in smoothe ground; he shall sometime meete with rubs; he cannot alwaies breathe in sweet aires; he shall sometime meet with ill savours; he cannot alwaies saile in safe seas; he shal sometime meet with rocks; and then it is his praise; that he can passe over those rubs; can passe thorow these savors; can passe by those rockes; and yet, keepe himselfe upright and untainted; and untouched of them all. Besides, Negative precepts, are in some cases, more absolute and peremptory, than Affirmatives: for to say, that hath walked in [Page 5] the counsell of the godly, might not bee suffici­ent; for, he might walke in the counsell of the godly; and yet walke in the counsell of the un­godly too; not both indeed at once; but both at severall times; where now, this Negative cleares him at all times. And may it not also, be a cause of using Negatives: because it seemes an easier way, of shewing what a thing is; by shewing what it is not; than by using onely Affirmative markes; especially where a perfect induction may be made: and herein, David not unfitly may be thought to reflect upon himselfe; & the case not unlike, to Samuels seeking to finde out a King, amongst the sons of Iesse. For, when Eliab was brought forth; Samuel verily thought, that hee had beene the man; and afterwards; A­binadab, that it hadbeene he; and then that Sham­mai, without all doubt was he, for these were all goodly personages; likely men in show, to make Kings of: but when God refused these, and all the rest; and that there was none left, but one­ly David: then was Samuel forced at last, to fall upon him: so, in our case here; the world is ve­rily perswaded, that the likeliest men to bee blessed, are those that walke in the counsell of the ungodly; or those, that stand in the way of sinners: or such as sit in the chaire of scorners; for, these are all, great gallants, and make a goodly shew in the world: but when the Pro­phet hath rejected all these; and none is left but the godly man; then we are forced of ne­cessity at last, to fall upon him: and as David, [Page 6] was the unlikeliest of all his brothers to be a King; yet hee was the man: so a godly man seemes the unlikeliest of all others to be blessed; yet hee is the man. In the World, yee shall have trouble, saith Christ; this makes him unlikely; but be of good cheere; I have overcome the World; this makes him the man. And thus, as God di­rected Samuel, to elect by rejecting; so David directs us here, to choose by refusing; and this is a cause also, that makes Negatives, in many cases, so much in request.

But though some Negatives, in some cases, may be fitly used; yet it followes not, that these in this: and therefore it will be fit, to ex­amine these Negatives, and to see what they are: that hath not walked in the counsell of the ungodly; that hath not stood, in the way of sinners; that hath not sate in the chaire of scor­ners: and are not these, in this case, strange markes? as though wee should know a godly man, by the postures of his body? Or, as if a goodly man, should neither walke, nor stand, nor sit? And what remaines then, but that he should doe nothing else, but lie? and yet this he must not doe neither: For, lying is the po­sture of a wicked man; as it is said; Hee lieth in waite, to doe mischiefe. Indeed, walking hath been often branded with notes of miscarrying: Dyna went a walking in the flowry fields; and retur­ned home, deflowred: Coin went a walking with Abel, into the field, a brother; and returned home a murtherer: and it seemes to have beene [Page 7] an old exercise, of the Diveli himselfe; who answered God, that hee came from walking, and compassing the earth: and Christ warned his A­postles, not to walke into the way of the Gentiles; which seemes not much different, from this ca­veat here.

But, though walking may be a hinderance to godlinesse; yet standing, perhaps, may be a fur­therance; for Christ saith: When yee stand pray­ing; and so, it is the posture of Piety; and it is said of Moses; that he stood in the gap; and so, it was the posture of Charity; and the Angells are said, to stand before God; and so, it is the posture of Reverence; and yet for all this; if standing be not joyned with understanding; as if wee stand where wee should kneele; as when David saith, Let us fall downe, and kneele before the Lord our Maker: Or if we stand in places, where wee should not; as in the way of sinners; Or if wee stand, amongst persons that wee ought not; as in sinners way; in all such cases, stan­ding may be as great a hinderance to godlinesse, as ever walking was.

Yet surely, sitting is an Innocent posture; sit­ting never committed Adultetry; never stole; never did any murther; and not onely an Inno­cent, but a reverent posture; it is the posture of a Iudge; as it is said: Yee shall sit, and judge the twelve Tribes of Israel. It is the posture of a King; as it is said; to the King, that sitteth upon his Throne: It is the posture of Angells; as of the foure and twenty Elders in the Revela­tion: [Page 8] and yet as innocent and reverent as it is; it may be abused: for, if we sit in the way of la­sciviousnesse; as Thamar did: Or, if we sit, in the chaire of injustice, as Pilate did: or, if wee sit, in the seat of pestilence; as it is said here; sit­ting may prove as great a bane to godlinesse, as either standing, or walking was.

But they are not the postures, that are here blamed; but the Impostures; that we bee not drawne abroad a walking, as to take the fresh ayre; and then, be poysoned, with infectious savours; that we be not kept standing in a plea­sant way; and then, the enemy, who lieth in waite continually, come suddenly and surprise us: that we sit not idly, and take our ease; and in the meane time; the Bridegroome passe by; and we be shut out of doores. For, if there be nothing else in it, but walking; a godly man may walke, as much as hee will: seeing there is not onely a godly walking; as it is said of Noah; that he walked with God; which was a walking in godlinesse: but there is a blessed walking; as it is said of Enoch; that hee walked with God; that is, God tooke him from walking in this vale of misery, to walke with him eternally in Pa­radise.

The marke therefore to know a godly man, consists not, in the not walking; but wee must walke further to finde it; and the next word, wee come too, is counsell; and the Negative cannot consist in this word neither: for, counsell is one of the most excellent gifts, that is given [Page 9] to man; that it is even one of the Names of God himselfe, to be called Counsellour: the Negative therefore not found here neither; wee must yet goe further; and the next word we come to, is ungodly: and now certainly, we shall have a full Negative; for ungodlinesse is the herbe that marreth all the broth; it poisons all the company that it comes in; not onely walking, a thing in it selfe indifferent; but even counsell, a thing in its owne nature, most sove­raigne; they are both marred by this one ingre­dient of ungodlinesse. The like may be said, of the other two, that follow; for, neither stan­ding; nor standing in the way, doth any hurt, till wee come at sinners,; neither sitting; nor sitting in a Chaire, doth any hurt, till wee come at scorners; all the hurt, like the sting in the taile of a Serpent, comes in the last. Walking in counsell, had beene a safe proceeding; if the ungodly, had not given it; standing in the way had beene a lawfull calling; if sinners had not made it; sitting in a Chaire had beene an easie posture; if scorners had not framed it; but if the ungodly; or sinners, or scorners have any hand at all in our actions; have any thing to doe in our doings; both safety and lawfulnesse, and ease, and all are utterly overthrowne.

Or, may we not take a way, which crosseth the great high-way of the World: and conceive it thus: To walke in the counsell of the ungodly, is a pleasant walke; and if pleasure would make us blessed; were likely to doe it; to stand in [Page 10] the way of sinners, is a profitable way; and if profit will make us blessed; were the way to doe it; to sit in the Chaire of scorners, is an ho­nourable seate; and if honour would make us blessed; would serve to doe it; but all these courses, the Prophet rejecteth: they are so farre from making us blessed; that hee gives us warning of them, as the onely impediments, that hinder us from blessednesse. And there­fore, the voluptuous man is deceived, in placing blessednesse in pleasures: for howsoever hee fare deliciously every day in this life; yet he may heare, of a terrible after-reckoning, brought in, by Saint Iohn, How much thou receivest in pleasures here; so much shall be added to thy tor­ments hereafter. The covetous man is deceived, in placing blessednesse in riches; for howsoe­ver, they make him welcome in all companies, where hee comes, in this world; yet hee may heare of a grievous repulse, to be given him by Abraham; Sonne, thou hast received thy portion in this life; and therefore hast no right, of ever com­ming into my bosome. The ambitious man is de­ceived, in placing blessednesse in honour; for howsoever hee sit aloft in his Chaire, and play Rex here; yet hee may heare of a cruell downe­fall, foretold him by Esay; Thou hast said in thy heart, I will climbe up above the clouds, and will be equall to the Highest; but thou shalt be cast downe, to the pit of Hell, and to the nethermost Lake.

But have then ungodly men counsell? One [Page 11] would thinke, it were want of counsell, that makes them ungodly: for who would be un­godly, if hee had counsell to direct him? Cer­tainly, counsell they have; and wise counsell too; that is, wise in the eye of the world; and wise for the workes of the world; but wise in the sight of God; and wise for the workes of godlinesse, they have not: and in that kinde of wisedome, ungodly men are your greatest counsellours: Greatest, in the ability of coun­sell; and greatest in the busying themselves with counselling. For their wisdome in coun­sell; wee have a precident in Achitophel; who was in his time, a most wicked man; and yet for counsell, was the Oracle of his time. And for their forwardnesse in counselling; it is a quality they have, as it were Extraduce, from their Father, the Divell; who, no sooner crea­tures were made, that were capable of counsell, but he fell a counselling: and such indeed, are all the ungodly; as it is in the Psalme; The poy­son of Aspes is under their lips: it serves not their turnes, to doe wickedly in their owne persons; but they must be drawing others into wicked­nesse, by poisoning and infecting them with wicked counsell. So then, the not walking in the counsell of the ungodly; is, not to hear­ken to the hissing of the Serpent; not to make wicked men our counsellours; nor in the course and actions of our life, to be di­rected by them.

But, if this be all; what great matter is it? [Page 12] or what needed, so great a caveat, to be given of it? Certainely, both the danger, and the difficulty, deserve a principall caveat; and in the caveat it selfe, wee may see them both: for there are but three words in it; and every word is as a cord, to draw us into sin. If Pleasure will entice us, here is walking to doe it: If Reasons will perswade us; here is counsell to doe it: If number will overrule us; here is the plurall against the singular, to doe it: that the aire is not more pestilent, to be taken in; then hard to be kept out; the rocke, is not more dangerous, to be runne upon, then difficult to be avoyded.

Wee would now proceed, to the second marke; but that wee know not, how to set our feet; For wee begin to see, or seeme to see, a gradation before us; and as I may say; a paire of staires: but whether wee goe up or downe the staires, in this gradation; is made a question. But is it not strange, wee should not know the ground we goe upon; whether it rise or fall; whether it be ascending or descending? yet such is the Prophets contrivance here; that Doctors doubt it, and are divided. Many grave Authors there are on both sides; many great reasons on both sides, to maintaine their opinions. They which thinke it an ascent, conceive it thus; that hee which walketh in the counsell of the un­godly; is yet but wavering, as mis-led by opi­nion; and makes but an errour: he that stands in the way of sinners; stands out with obsti­nacy; and makes an Heresie: but hee that sits [Page 13] in the chaire of scorners: is at defiance with God; and makes an Apostacie. They who thinke it, a descent doe thus conceive it; hee which walkes in the counsell, of the ungodly; de­lights and takes a pleasure in his sinne: Hee which stands in the way of sinners; stands in doubt, and is unresolved in his sinne: but hee who sits, in the seate of the scornefull; sits downe, and sinnes but for his ease; as being unable to suffer persecution. They who thinke it, an ascent; conceive; that the ungodly, are but beginners in ill; that sinners, are Pro­ficients in ill: but that scorners, are Gradu­ates and Doctours of the Chaire in ill. They who thinke it, a descent; conceive that the un­godly are apposite to the godly, and offend ge­nerally; that sinners offend, though actually, yet but in particulers; that scorners might be sound at heart; if they did not set themselves to sale, and sinne for promotion. The ascent, may be briefely thus: that walking expresseth lesse resolution than standing; and standing, then sitting; but in sinne, the more resolute, the more dissolute; therefore sitting, is the worst. The descent thus: that walking expresseth more strength, than standing; and standing, than sit­ting: for a childe can sit, when he cannot stand; and stand, when hee cannot walke; but the stronger in sinne, the worse; therefore walking is the worst. Many such waies there are, of con­ceiving diversity, either in ascending, or descen­ding; but it needs be no question, which is the [Page 14] worse; because, without question, they are all starke naught; they are three rockes, whereof the least is enough to make a shipwracke; they are three pestilenciall aires, whereof the best is enough to poyson the heart. This onely may be observed, that howsoever the case alter, with walkers and sitters; yet standers in the way of sinners, keepe their standing still; and which soever is first or last; yet they are sure to be the second.

But is it not, that wee mistake the Prophet; and make his words a gradation; when, perhaps, he meant them for levell ground? and forsuch indeed, wee may take them; and doe as well; and then, there will not be, either ascent, or de­scent, in the sinnes themselves: but onely a di­versity, in their causes: as that the first is a sin, caused by ill counsell: the second, a sinne caused by ill example: the third, a sinne caused by the innate corruption of our owne hearts. And so, we shall have the three principall heads or springs, from which, all sinnes doe flow; and may probably be exemplified, by the three first first persons, that were in the world: the first, committed by Eve, in following the counsell, of that ungodly one, the Sepent: the second, com­mited by Adam, in following the example, of the sinfull Eve: the third, committed by Cain, who sinned not, either by any ill counsell, or by any ill example; but onely by the inbred cor­ruption of his owne heart. And in this, we may observe, the wonderfull pronenesse of our Na­ture [Page 15] to sinne; seeing the three first persons, in the world; had every one of them, a severall spring-head of sinne, of their owne opening; as if they thought, there were no honour, but in being the first founder of sinne: and if there had beene in Nature, a fourth spring-head of sinne to be found; the fourth man, most likely, would have found it out; but these, it seemes, were all; and so, the fourth man Abel, in his turne, found out a spring-head of another ma­king; the true fountaine of life: but the other spring-heads, have ever since beene so frequen­ted; that Abels fountaine hath beene wholly almost neglected: that the Prophet had great reason, to give us caveats, for drinking at those poysoned springs; and to have recourse, to the true fountaine of life, which is the Law of God.

Or, is it, that the Prophet alludes here, to the three principall ages of our life; which have every one of them, their proper vices, as it were, retainers to them: and therefore the vices of youth; which is the vigour of life, and delights most in motion and society; hee expresseth by walking in the counsell of the ungodly: the vices of the middle age, which is, stataaetas; he expresseth by standing in the way of sinner; the vices of old age, which being weake and feeble, is scarce able to goe; he expresseth by sitting, in the Chaire of scorners; and it is, as if hee had said; Blessed is the man that hath passed thorow all the ages of his life; and hath kept himselfe untainted, of the vices that are incident unto [Page 16] them: that hath passed the daies of his youth, as it were the morning of his life; and is not tainted with the stirring vices, of voluptu­ousnesse and prodigality: that hath passed his middle age, as it were, the noone of his life; and is not tainted with the more elevated vices, of ambition and vaine-glory: that hath passed his old age, as it were, the Evening of his life; and is not tainted, with the sluggish vices of co­verousnesse and avarice.

Or, is it, there being five degrees of sinne; concupiscence; consent; act; custome; and pride in sinning: the two first, as incident often-times to the godliest men; he forbeares to speake of; and intimates onely, the three last; for, to walke in the counsell of the ungodly; what is it, but the act of sin? and to stand in the way of sin­ners; what is it, but the custome of sin? and to sit in the Chaire of scorners; what is it, but to take a pride in sinne?

Or, is it finally, that by this distinction of postures; the Prophet intends an absolute re­straint, from all manner of conversation, with the wicked; so absolute, that it may be said, in a Proverbiall manner, we neither walke, nor stand, nor sit amongst them: For if, but the least liberty be taken, in conversing with them; It may well be said, the passing of a Camell thorow a needels eye: exceeding hard, if not altogether impossible, to escape untainted.

Wee may now consider the second marke, as it is in it selfe, without gradation: and is not [Page 17] this also a strange marke of a godly man, that he should not dare to stand in the way of sinners? For, what hurt can hee take, by standing in their way? Is it not a broad and a large way, that sinners may goe by, and no hurt to him at all? But a godly man is wiser than so; though he know that the way is large and broad; yet he knowes also, that the Prease is great; a man cannot stand here; but hee shall be shouldred and thrust forward in spight of his teeth: It is not here, as in the way of the righteous; where a man may stand long enough, before hee shall meete with company to thrust him forward; but here is crouding and thronging, that we can neither goe here, nor doe here, as we would; but must of necessity goe, as the croud drives us; must perforce doe, as the company will have us; that hee may justly be counted, a hap­py man, that can avoyd this rocke; which hath beene the cause of more shipwrackes, than ei­ther Scilla, or Charibdis.

If the way of sinners, were a blinde, obscure way; or a man were blinde, and could not see his way; there might be waies of excuse, for standing in it: but seeing, all mens eyes are open to this way; and this way lies open to all mens eyes; to stand in it now; is not to stand in the way of sinners, but to sinne in the way of understanding; and such sinne shall be punished with many stripes.

A man may be in the way of sinners, and be excused: but to stand in the way, is unexcu­sable: [Page 18] For, his being there, may be by accident; but his standing there must needes be volunta­ry: and seeing neerenesse to a place; and conti­nuance in a place, are great engrossers of the qualities of a place; how fully must he needes engrosse the way of sinners to himselfe, that stands in it, which containes them both? For, whilest neernesse workes by addition; and con­tinuance, by multiplication; the standing in the the way of sinners, as gathering heat by both; must needs breake forth at last, into violent flames of sinning.

It is therefore, no doubt, a good marke of a godly man, that he will not stand in the way of sinners: but why should he not sit, in the chaire of scorners? for he may sit there, and take his ease; and neither doe hurt to others; nor take hurt himselfe. He will doe both: He will take hurt, by brazening his owne face; and he will do hurt, by poisoning others hearts. For when a man comes once to sit in the Chaire of scorners; it hardens him in his sinne; it makes him to make a profession of it; he growes to take it in scorne, that any man should be wickeder, than himselfe; he sits, as it were, a brooding of sin; what at first, hee was ashamed of, that now he glories in; and what before, he was glad to doe, standing; hee is confident now, to doe sitting in his Chaire. And as hee takes this hurt, him­selfe; so doth he yet, more hurt to others. For, when a man in authority, gives ill examples; it spreads far, and prevailes much; it is a pestilent [Page 19] thing, to be wicked, ex Cathedra: their Chaire stands high; and is seene and heard of many: One Pharisee may doe more hurt, than a hun­dred Sadduces: and where the poison of un­godly counsell; and the poyson of sinfull com­pany, reacheth but to men neere hand, the poyson of this Cathedrall wickednesse, reacheth farre and neer; that he may justly be accounted, a happy man, that can avoid this rocke; which hath beene, the immediate ruine of many; and the cause of ruine, to many more.

There are divers sorts of chaires; and all, worth the sitting in, but onely this of scorners. There is a Chaire of Majesty; and this is made, by God himselfe; and makes them all as Gods, that sit in it: For, to this Chaire, there is a bles­sing annexed, which makes it sacred; Touch not mine annointed. There is a chaire of Doctrine; and this was first set up by Moses; and makes them all reverend, that sit in it: For, it hath a a priviledge belonging to it; Doe my Prophets no harme. Onely this chaire of scorners, hath none that will avow the making it; it seemes to have beene broken with the fall of Lucifer; and ever since, hath beene dangerous to sit in; yet it stands in opposition with both the other; for it scornes to obey the Chaire of Majesty; and makes a mocke of hearkening, to the chaire of Doctrine: and therefore this chaire, is so farre, from having any blessing belonging to it; that all the curses of Mount Ebal, are too little for it.

And as there are divers sorts of chaires; so [Page 20] there are divers sorts of scorners: some scorne their inferiours; and forget, that in scorning them, they reproach their maker: some scorne their betters; and seeme schollers of the Pha­risee; to thinke, none so good as themselves, though none so bad: some scorne to be repro­ved, as being wise in their owne conceit; of whom (saith Salomon) there is lesse hope than of a foole. Some scorne to heare it said, the world shall ever have end; and are herein, themselves a signe that it is drawing to an end: seeing, Such Mockers, saith St. Peter shall come in the last daies. Some scorne the Ministers of Gods Word; and if at any time they heare them; it is but as the Athenians would heare Paul; to heare what this babler would say. Some scorne God himselfe; and are ready to answere, as Pha­raoh answered Moses; What is God? and who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice: yet all these scorners, have their chaire to sit in; set in­deed on high: but set in slippery places: and giving them falls, as certaine as dangerous; or rather most certaine, and yet more dangerous; that hee may justly bee counted a happy man, that can avoide this chaire; which gives a worse fall, than Elies chaire did: in which, he fell downe backward, and brake his necke.

But why should the Prophet speake so scorn­fully of scorners; and give them so base a place amongst sinners; seeing not onely godly men; but (if with reverence we may say it) even God himselfe seemes to stand in the number, of [Page 21] being scorners? For, was not Mordec ai the good Jew, a scorner? who scorned so much, as to make a legge; or so much as to put off his hat to Haman? Himselfe a poore snake Jew, to Haman a Prince, and prime Favorite of great King Ahashuerosh? May not God himselfe bee said a scorner; of whom it is said; that he laughes the wicked to scorne; and hath them in derision? And how then can scorning be so great a sinne; being found in him, in whom is nothing but transcendent goodnesse? Or how at least, may we distinguish the vicious scorning, from that which is the vertue? It is not, that we may di­stinguish them by their chaire? For wicked scorners, are set alost in their chaire; they thinke, they cannot be noble, unlesse they bee proud: but the good scorners, sit not in a chaire when they scorne; they keepe state in­deed, but it is with humility. God may be said to scorne; as he is said to be Angry; but as he bids us to bee angry, and sinne not; so hee is angry, but sinnes not; because his anger, is ne­ver but for sinne; hee scornes but sinnes not; because hee scornes none but sinners: and as such anger, so such scorne, may possibly be and is: is and lawfully may be, in godly men; and to speake, [...]: in God himselfe.

But why would the Prophet say, Blessed is the man; as though blessednesse were entailed to heires males; or as though the Law of God, were like the law Salique of France, exclu­ding women, from the Kingdome of heaven? [Page 22] for else, he should rather have said; Blessed is every man or woman; and not say onely, Blessed is the man. But is it not, that David knew better the extent of his words, than to bee so superfluous: For ever since the time, of which Moses saith? God made man: Male and female crea­ted hee them: women have had as good right to the word, as men; though it passe in their name: and if we say more right, we shall say, perhaps, but right: for how else could Christ be called the sonne of Man; who we all know, was the sonne of but onely woman? and if we looke upon examples, of blessednesse; we shall finde as well women, as men, recorded for blessed: and if any advantage be, it seemes ra­ther on the womans side: seeing wee finde one woman, to have attained a greater de­gree of blessednesse, than ever any man did; except onely her onely sonne, the man Christ Iesus.

If a man have not walked in the counsell of the ungodly; it may probably be thought, he hath gone the fairer way; and then hee hath a title to blessednesse, by this rule: Blessed are they, that walke in the law of the Lord. If hee have not stood in the way of sinners: it may charitably be thought, he is sorry, that ever he came there: and then hee may lay claime to blessednesse, by this rule; Blessed are they that mourne, and are penitent for their sinnes. And if he have not sate in the chaire of scorners, it may with good reason bee thought, hee hath [Page 23] done it in humility: and then he hath a right to blessednesse by this rule; Blessed are the poore in spirit: for, God resisteth the proud; but giveth grace to the humble. But for all this, and never­thelesse it may bee said; that these are yet but Negative markes; and can make at most but a godlinesse by negation: which can no more properly bee said a godlinesse; than Indolentia may be said to be Voluptas: The true godlinesse is a positive thing; and cannot be affirmed out of Negatives; it is a habit, and cannot be conclu­ded from privations. The Prophet therefore staies not here; but proceeds and hastens to the Affirmative marks: for they indeed, are the pro­per characters, of a godly man; they are never found but in him; and in him, they are ever found. And of these there is but a paire; as they came into Noahs Arke: and yet enow, to make a breed: enow to bring godlinesse to its full propagation. And he seemes to frame his processe, in this manner; A man is knowne what hee is by his delight; for such as a mans delight is; such a man himselfe is: and there­fore a godly man, delights not to walke in the counsell of the ungodly; nor to stand in the way of sinners; nor to sit in the chaire of scor­ners: for, these are all lawlesse delights: at least, delights of that law; of which St. Paul saith: I finde another law in my members; they agree not with a godly mans nature; and though a de­light there must bee; there is not living with­out it; yet a godly man will rather want it, than [Page 24] take it up in such commodities: But his delight is in the law of the Lord: and now the Prophet begins to enter upon his Affirmative markes: and the godly man beginnes to appeare in his likenesse: for this delighting in the Law of God, is so essentiall to godlinesse, that it even constitutes a godly man; and gives him his being. For, what is godlinesse, but the love of God? and what is love, without delight? that we may see, what a soveraigne thing godlines is; which not only brings us to delight, when we come to blessednesse; but brings us to blessed­nesse by a way of delighting. For, the Prophet requires not a godlinesse, that barres us of de­light; hee requires onely a godlinesse, that rectifies our delight; for, as the wrong placing our delight, is the cause of all our miseries: so the right placing it, is the cause of all our hap­pinesse: and what righter placing it, than to place it, in the right; and what is the right, but onely the Law?

But is there delight then, in the Law of God? Is it not a thing rather that will make us melancholly? and doth it not mortifie in us, the life of all joy? It mortifies indeed the life of carnall delights; but it quickens in us, a­nother delight, as much better than those, as heaven is above the earth. For there is no true delight, which delights not as much to bee re­membred, as to be felt; which pleaseth not as well the memory, as the sense; and takes not as much joy to thinke of it being done, as when [Page 25] it was a doing. For, is it not a miserable de­light when it may be threatned with this: Oli [...] haec meminisse pigebit? You will one day remem­ber this. Is it not a dolefull delight, when Ex­trema gaudii l [...]ctus occupat; when sorrow fol­lowes it at the heeles? Is it not a fearefull de­light, when like a Magicians rodde, it is in­stantly turned into a Serpent? And such, are all worldly delights; either like that of Amnon, in loving Thamar: first enjoyed, and presently loathed; or like that of Cain in killing Abel; madde to doe it; and then starke madde for having done it; or like that of Esau, in eating Iaacobs pottage; give at first a blessing for it; and afterwards give it, a thousand curses: or like that of Gehezi, in taking gifts of Naaman; leape for joy, till we come to Elisha; and loathsome Lepers all our lives after. This delight which the Prophet here speakes of; is the onely de­light, that neither blushes, nor lookes pale; the onely delight, that gives a repast, without an after reckoning; the onely delight, that stands in construction with all Tenses: and like Aeneas Anchyses, carries his parents upon his backe. And why should not even worldly men, bee sensible of this delight? They delight in gold and silver; and behold, The Law is more precious than gold; yea, than much fine gold. They delight in beauty: and behold, How amiable the Taber­nacles of the Lord are. They delight in light: and behold, The Law is a lanthorne to our feete, and a light to our paths. They delight in knowledge: [Page 26] and behold: Through the Law, we have more under­standing, than our teachers. They delight in joy: and behold, The Law is right, and reioyceth the heart. They delight in long life: and behold, The Law of the Lord encreaseth the length of daies; and the yeares of life. And where are they now, that are afraid of melancholy, in the midst of such delights? Certainely if there be, as Phy­sicians affirme, an Ellebore or a Sena, to purge away the melancholy and sad humours of the body; this studie in the Law of God; is the true Ellebore, and Sena of the soule; or rather it is the juyce of the Grape, which David in another place speakes off, that exhilerates and maketh glad the heart of man.

And as in this study of the Law of God; there is no feare of melancholy; so in the de­light that is taken in it, there is no feare of fa­tiety: all other delights must have change, or else they cloy us: must have cossation, or else they tyre us: must have moderation, or else they waste us; this onely delight is that, of which we can never take enough; we can ne­ver be so full, but we shall leave with an appe­tite; or rather never leave, because ever in an appetite; it is but one, yet is still fresh: it is alwaies enioyed, yet alwaies desired; or rather the more it is enjoyed, the more it is desired: All other delights may be barred from us; may be hindred to us: this onely delight, is free in prison, is at ease, in terments; is alive, in death; and indeed there is no delight, that keepes us [Page 27] company in our death-beds, but onely this: All other delights, are then ashamed of us, and we of them; this onely sits by us in all extremities, and gives us a Cordiall, when Physicke and friends forsake us.

The Prophet hath taught us markes, how to know a godly man; but he hath not taught us, how to know these markes: and this is a speci­all matter; for wee may as well mis-take the markes, as mis-take the man; and therefore, though wee let passe the Negative markes, and leave them to be taken at all adventure; yet this Affirmative marke, of delighting in the Law of God; would by any meanes be better marked: For, this is an essenciall marke; and this mis­taken, might marre all; and leade us, perhaps, to Cain, instead of Abel. For, many delight in the Law; because, they which preach the Gos­pell, should live by the Gospell: But these are covetous men; and delight not in the Law; but in profit. Many delight in the Law, because they desire to sit in Moses chaire; but these are ambitious men; and delight not in the Law, but in honour. Many delight in the Law; be­cause it teacheth many hidden and secret myste­ries; but these are vaine men; and delight not in the Law, but in superfluous knowledge. Many delight in the Law, but onely to passe away the time: as thinking it better, otiosum esse, quàm nihil agere: but these are scandalous men; and delight not, in the Law; but in idle fancies. Many delight in the Law, as Neoptolemus in Phi­losophy; [Page 28] Philosophandum sed [...] a little serves their turne; and if the other sorts, were all of them, defective in substance; this sort surely is defective in quantity: those had not the right stuffe: this hath not the just measure; and so wee are little the neerer yet, for finding out any markes of true delighting in the Law of God. And how then, shall we come to know, the delighting which is true and perfect, from that which is counterfeit and defective? shall wee say, it must be a delighting, onely; or but only, chiefely? Not onely; for so, wee should de­light in nothing else; and, who doubts, but there are many other delights, which both Na­ture requires and God himselfe allowes: there­fore not onely; but chiefely; yet so chiefely, as in a manner onely; for chiefely, is properly where there may be comparison; but this is so chiefely, as admits of no comparison: In pre­sence of this, all other delights doe lose their light: In ballance with this, all other delights, are found to be light. And this is even intima­ted in the word it selfe, used by the Prophet here, which is Kephets: and signifies a delight, that takes up the whole will; and leaves no plus ultra in our desires: which, as it onely is, and onely can be; so it onely must, and onely ought to be true, of our delighting in the Law of God. Other delights may have their fits; but no Ke­phets but onely this. We may take delight, in a care of our estates; which is a provident, and therefore a commendable delight: For, he that [Page 29] provides not for his family, is worse than an In­fidell, yet it must not be our Kephets: for corpus aggravat animam multa cogitantem; much caring for the world, makes the soule, heavie; and pres­seth it downe, from ascending towards heaven. We may take delight in wife & children; which is a naturall, and therefore a commendable de­light; for no man ever hated his owne flesh: yet it must not be our Kephets: For hee that loves father, or mother, wife, or children, bet­ter than Christ, is not worthy or Christ. Wee may take delight in bodily exercises; which is a healthfull, and therefore a commendable de­light; for he that neglects the care of his health; is within compasse of being Felo dese: a murthe­rer of himselfe; yet it must not be our Kephets; for Nimia cura corporis est incuria animi: too much care taken of the body; shewes there is but little care taken of the minde. But why stand wee angling for markes, of true delighting in the Law of God; when the Prophet himselfe gives us a marke here, that may be Instar om­nium; a marke that never failes: that he, who delights in the Law of God, will be exercising himselfe in it, day and night. For, it seemes to be here, as betweene Faith and Workes; that as Saint Iames saith; Shew mee thy Faith, by thy workes; so we may say, shew me thy delighting, by thy exercising; For, as it is but a dead Faith, that brings not forth the finit of good workes: so it is but a fained delight, that brings not forth the worke of exercising: and as it is but an un­sound [Page 30] Faith, that workes but intermittingly, and by fits; so it is but an aguish delighting, that hath its heat but at turnes and seasons: but where wee see a constancy of good workes; as wee may be bold to say, there is a lively and sound faith; so where wee see, a continuall ex­ercising, we may be confident to say, there is a true delighting. The working shewes a life of Faith; the constancy of working, a true tem­per of that life: The exercising shewes a de­lighting; the continuance of exercising, a sin­cerity of that delighting.

But will not this continuall exercising in the Law of God; get men the name of common Barrettours; and make them accounted trou­blesome fellowes amongst their neighbours; as of whom it may be said; they are never well, but when they are going to Law? Indeed the Law of man where summum Ius is summa injurie; and where might oftentimes overcomes right; may be subjest, perhaps, to such obloquie: but not the Law of God: For this is not a Law; where the weakest goes to the wall; but this Law is a wall to the weakest; the delighting in this Law, is not a going to Law; but a Law to our going; as it is said; Thy Law is a light to our feete: a light, not onely to our eyes, to make us see the right way; but to our feet also, to make us walke the right way: and it is so farre, from making us to become enemies to our neighbours; that it makes us to become neighbours, to our ene­mies; for of this Law, it is said; it suffers all [Page 31] things; it endureth all things; it seeketh not her owne; but if any man will take our Coat from us; it makes us contented, to let him have our Cloake also.

The delighting in the Law of God; is that divine contemplation; by which, wee see God, as in a Glasse: and is the onely true way, to our only true felicity: though there be men, that thinke they can tell of better contemplati­ons, and better waies to happinesse, than David seemes to know; or will at least acknowledge: For, if they should but name the contemplati­on, which is contemplari nummos in arca: or the meditation, which is Meditari inauia; or the pleasure, of which it said: Trahit sua quem (que) vo­luptas; the worst of these; would be a better de­light; and a better way of happinesse, than this of Davids. But these mens blindnesse, must not leade us into the ditch: For, these delights they speake of, are the very blockes, that lie in our way, and hinder us from happinesse: they are the very weights, that hang heavie upon the soule; and keepe it from rising, to the true heighth, of divine contemplation; and if a man, whose minde were once raised up to this heighth; should afterward descend, and take a view of the world; hee would even be astoni­shed: to see men that pretend to reason, and would be thought wise; be so simple, as to take delight in their weights; and to take a pleasure in their clogs; and so sillily to leave the delight of heavenly meditation; to follow these vaine [Page 32] and foolish things, which the world admires. And indeede, what but this, made our Prophet here, in another place, breake out into his pas­sionate exclamation: O yee sonnes of men, how long will yee love vanity; and seeke after leasings? For, looke into the world; and to all things, that are in the world; and see if there be any thing in it, (as to the purpose, of making us happy) but onely lies and leasings? Pleasure beares thee in hand, it can make the happy; but it lies: For do not all pleasures hasten to their end; and that end, either in sorrow, or satiety? Honour vaunts; it can make thee happy; but it lies: For hath honour anybeing, but in others not being; where it is part of our happinesse, that others be happy. Riches make thee believe, they can make thee happy; but they lie: for they can­not so much as ease, the least paine of thy body; or the least anguish of thy mind. Learning per­swades thee, it can make thee happy; but it lies: for in much wisedome is much griefe; and hee that increaseth knowledge, increaseth sorrow. The flesh tells thee, it can make thee happy; but it lies; for the wormes stand waiting conti­nually for it; and are sure ore long, to have it to eate. O that men would consider this; and not put the Prophet, to his exclamation: O yee sons of men, how long will yee be in love with vanity, and seeke after leasings? For, this indeed, would be a good preparative; and but a preparative, to divine contemplation: It might serve to strow branches in the way; but not to cry Hosanna: [Page 33] For, to raise the soule up, to this heighth of con­templation: it is not enough, to put off these weights, that draw it downe; but there must be a pulley also, to draw it up: as Christ saith; No man can come unto mee, except the Father draw him; and therefore many heathen Philoso­phers, could cast off, these clogs; could put off, these weights: For, they despised riches; they scorned honours; they hated pleasures; they contemned the world; and yet, for all this, they could never but flutter a little in the low Region of the aire; they could never rise up to the Firmament of contemplation; and all, because they wanted this pulley; which, they that delight in the Law of God, shall never want: For, Honorantes me honorabo, saith God: They which honour me, I will honour them: and if they delight in my Law; I will delight in their study: and then, if by delighting in the Law of God, we can bring God to delight in us; oh! what joy; what excessive joy; what happinesse, what transcendent happinesse, will this be un­to us?

But why would the Prophet speake of de­lighting in the Law of God; and not speake rather, of delighting in God himselfe? For this no doubt, is a better delight; and this de­light, would bee a greater blessednesse. Is not the answer to this question, made by Christ himselfe? If you love not your brother, whom you see; how can you love God, whom you doe not see? If we delight not, in the Law of God, which we [Page 34] know; how can we delight in God, whom we do not know? Not know, but as the Law teacheth him unto us; and sheweth him unto us. This life, is but the meanes to a better life; & the chief de­light of this life, is but to delight in the means to a better life; we see God now, but as in a Glasse; and though there bee many Glasses to see God; yet the brightest of these Glasses is the Law: and how then, can we delight in the seeing of God; if we delight not in the Glasse, in which we may best see him? To see him, as he is, and in him­selfe; is reserved, till we shall have better eyes; these eyes wee have are carnall, and corrupti­ble; and cannot see God till they have put on incorruption: but when those eyes come, and that wee shall see God, face to face: then the meanes will give place to the substance; and then the delighting in the Law of God; will be turned into the delighting in God himselfe: till then, the Prophet, though with his Prophets eyes, he might see more himselfe; yet could not enform us, to make us see more; but he hath tru­ly told us, the height of our delight in this life: if the delight of our life, be in the Law of God.

But let the delight bee what it will; it is but onely contemplation: and contemplation sets but onely the eyes a worke; it leaves all the rest of the body idle; but godlines is an exercise for the whole man; both body and soule; and ther­fore; not only David saith My soule praise thou the Lord: but St. Paul saith; Make your bodies a living sacrifice: for our godlinesse must bee perfect; [Page 35] that our blessednesse, may bee perfect; and and even in heaven (if they could be separated) wee should not bee blessed, in beholding the blessed face of God; if we did not as well glo­rifie him in beholding him; as behold his glo­ry. Contemplation brings us, but to Video me­liora Probo (que): and if Deteriora sequor, doe follow; then godlinesse is stopped in her race, at the very Goale: the building is left unperfect, when it is come to the roofe: we cannot make a demonstration of true godlinesse, out of all the premises; unlesse that bee added, which followes; And in his Law, he will exercise himselfe, day and night: but if this bee added; then the roofe of the house is set on; and then, the Goale of godlinesse is wonne. And though it may seeme, a wearisome thing, summer and winter; day and night; all a mans life long; to doe nothing else, but alwaies one thing; yet this is the godly mans taske; hee must doe so; or he cannot be the man wee take him for. For to bee godly, but sometimes, is to bee un­godly alwaies: and no man is so wicked, but hee may sometimes have good thoughts; and doe good workes; but, this serves not our godly mans turne; his Sunne must never set; for if he ever be in darkenesse, hee shall ever be in darkenesse: at least, hee shall finde it more worke, to kindle his fire a new, than to have kept it, still burning. For, if a man should wa­ter his bed with teares all night; and goe next day to the house of laughter; that mans god­linesse, [Page 36] would be but as the morning dew; rise to a cloud, and so vanish. Or if he should bestow the whole day, in the exercise of godlinesse; and yet at night, returne to his vomit: that man would be but as a halfe Moone; bright, on one side; and horrid blacknesse, on the o­ther. For, godlinesse is a thing entire, it can­not be had in pieces; we must have it together, or not at all; and by this, a godly man, is made Totus terres at (que) rotundus; all the former, make but lines; this onely consummates godlinesse, and brings it to a circle.

It seemes here as if the Prophet went about, to make men think, that the readiest way to be a happy man, were to be a Lawyer: If wee may call him a Lawyer, that studieth and practiseth the Law. For, after his Negative markes of a godly man, he comes next to this; that his de­light is in the Law of the Lord; which is his study­ing of the Law; and because a Student in the Law, can make no benefit by it; till hee come to be a practiser: hee therefore, by these next wordes, And in his Law, he will exercise himselfe; seemes to call him to the Barre; and enables him to practise: that having learned the Law himselfe, he may now teach it to others; or at leastwise, practise it towards others. But is not this a Paradox in David: seeing it is a­gainst our owne experience; for, wee have knowne many, that by the Law, have growne rich; many, that by the Law, have gotten ho­nour; many, that by the Law, have growne [Page 37] famous; but wee never yet knew any, that by the Law, grew happy: for, not withstanding their honour, their riches, their fame; yet they ever had something, whereof to complaine. We must therefore remember, what Law this is: It is not our Common-law; nor our Ca­non-law: it is not the Civill-law; nor the Law of the twelve Tables; It is not the Law of the Medes and Persians; nor the Law of Nations: It is the Law of the Lord; a Law pure and unde­filed; a Law that was given by Angels, in the hand of a Mediatour; a Law, by which wee shall Iudge; and by which we shall be judged: It is Imperatorialex: Not the Emperours Law; but an Imperiall Law; Lex Architectonice; a Law, that gives rules to all other; and is it selfe ruled by none. And here now, there opens it selfe, as it were, a Novus Orbis; for if we should enter into the maine, to speake of Lawes: wee should never make an end; our best is there­fore, to keepe close to David; and to goe no further, than hee goes: and yet so, wee shall have Law enough to make us happy. Onely we may consider, what these exercises are, in which this godly Lawyer, is so diligent all day; and so vigilant all night, to exercise himselfe; and as the markes before, so the exercises here, may be distinguished into Negatives, and Af­firmatives; but seeing the godly man mingles them together in his course; wee may as well mingle them together in our discourse. A godly Lawyer will not boast himselfe to know [Page 38] that, of which he is ignorant; nor feigne him­selfe to be ignorant, of that he knowes. Hee will not discourage a man in a good cause; nor encourage him in a bad. He will not over-reach a man that is shorter than himselfe; nor under­mine a man that is shallower than himselfe; nor supplant a man, that is weaker than him­selfe. He will not rise, by other mens falls; nor make a gaine, of other mens losses. Hee will give counsell to a poore man, without a fee; as reckoning a poore mans cause his owne; and a good conscience the best fee; if hee have ta­ken any other fee, he hath morgaged his time; and will not sell it againe, till hee have first re­deemed it. Hee gives fees himselfe, to get him Clyents; and growes richer by giving, than o­thers doe by taking. He is ready to end suites, but not to begin them; and he had rather want worke, than make it. Hee is glad when he can use the Law; but would bee more glad there were no use of it. It is a booty to him when hee can finde opportunity to doe a good deede: If there want counsell, to set forward a good cause, hee gives it; If paines or care, he takes it. Hee keepes his termes duly, as prefer­ring the Sabboth day, before all other dayes; and yet as his Piety makes every day, to him a Sabboth; so his Practice, makes it Terme to him, all tha yeere long. Hee turnes over Books and searcheth Records; not so much to looke out dead Precedents; as to finde out the rea­sons, that gave life to the Precedents, for hee [Page 39] makes it not, a reason of his action, that others have done so; but he makes it his action, if he finde there was reason, for the doing so. He in­quires, and hearkens out, the poore, and re­lieves them; the naked, and cloathes them; captives and redeemes them; men oppressed, and succours them; men that mounre, and comforts them; men a dying, and revives them. The Law is both his study, and his recreation; and one cannot tell, whether it be more his worke; or more his pastime: For, as the Prophet saith here, It is his Exercise; so hee said before; It is his Delight; and it is well, it is so: For, without this delight, it were impos­sible he should ever goe thorow, with such in­cessant labours, as are imposed upon him; or rather hee imposeth upon himselfe, Day and Night. But delight makes burthens light; makes labours easie; which perhaps, made Christ say; that his burthen was light, and his yoake easie: and in this manner, indeed, if a man, be a student, and a practiser, in the Law; it will be no Para­doxe to say; it will be no violencc to the Text; to make David say; that the best and readiest way, to be a happy man, is to be a Lawyer.

When it is said, His delight is in the Law of the Lord; and in his Law, hee will exercise himselfe, Day and Night; is it not a kinde of solaecisme; to double the word, Law; without any lawfull oc­casion? It may, perhaps, be a solaecisme in Gram­mar; but it is none in affection: for therefore hee doubles the word (the Law) to expresse the [Page 40] wonderfull delight, hee takes in the Law; and this is more fully exprest in the 119. Psalme; where hee seemes so fond of the word, and so loth to leave it; that he cannot endure it should be out of his mouth; and therefore at every third or fourth word, is up with it againe. Or is it, that hee therefore doubles the word (the Law) because, indeed, there is a double Law; which, though as a man, hee could not see; yet as a Prophet he might fore-see: and the words, Day and Night, are here joyned, to the latter Law; because, although there were in the old Law a Iuge sacrificium, in representation; yet there never was any Iuge sacrificium in reality, and execution; but onely in this later Law: and therefore, where David speakes it, as a great matter to pray his seven times a day; wee in this Law, are put to our semper orate; and sine intermissione orate; continuall prayer is expected from us, day and night.

But why should the Prophet require day and night, to be spent in the doing of Gods Law? seeing, for the day; God himselfe allowes us sixe daies, to doe our owne worke; and for the night; this is no opus tenebrarum; no fit worke, to be done in darknesse? Yet a godly man will doe, as the Prophet requires him; Hee will doe it in the day; that men seeing his good workes, may glorifie his Father which is in Heaven; and hee will doe it in the night; that hee may not be seene of men; and that his left hand may not know what his right hand doth. Hee will [Page 41] doe it, in the day; to shew, he is none of those, Qui fugiunt lucem: and hee will doe it, in the night; to shew, he is one of those, Qui cum in tenebris mices. Hee will doe it in the day time, because the day is the time of doing; as Saint Peter saith, Worke whilest it is day; and hee will doe it in the night; lest his Master should come as a thiefe in the night, and find him idle. In­deede, this day and night of Davids; amounts but to Saint Pauls continually; Watch continually, Pray continually; for though the Sunne in the Firmament set; and make it night to our eyes; yet the Sunne of Righteousnesse must never set, to make it night in our hearts; but it must be here, as it was in the beginning; The Evening and the Morning must make but one Day.

The Prophet hath used much circumstance, to tell us of the man, that should be blessed: and when he hath said all he can; it is all but a god­ly man; and why could he not doe this at first; and have saved himselfe, and us, a labour? wee cannot, perhaps, tell, for what reason the Pro­phet did it; but wee may easily tell, for what reason, he might doe it; for many reasons may be given of it. If hee had onely said; A godly man is blessed; it would have made but a new businesse: for, we should presently have asked him: And what is a godly man? and then, hee must have come to this, which he delivers now; so the Prophet went the neerest way, though wee may thinke hee went about. And if he had [Page 42] said, A godly man is blessed; and had not told, what a godly man is; it would have bred a world of controversie; for then, every man would have come, and put in, his claime to blessednesse, under pretence of godlinesse; and there would never have beene quiet. Cain would have come, and pretended devotion; for making oblations, and offering sacrifices to God; Korah and Dathan would have come, and pretended zeale, for opposing Governours, as taking too much upon them. The Pharise would have come, and pretended purenesse; for onely fasting twice a weake; and giving tithes, of all he possest. Iudas himselfe, would have come, and pretended charity; for taking care of the poore; and finding fault, with the cost, bestowed upon Christ; and there would have beene so many pretenders to godlinesse; and thereupon such snatching and catching at blessednesse; that if this had been suffered, both godlinesse would have beene in danger, to be adulterated: and blessednesse it selfe, to suffer violence. To stop therefore the mouthes of these pretenders, and utterly to damne all such false claimes; the Prophet proclaimes here the true Title; and sets downe, as it were, In terminis terminantibus; how the man must be qualified, that will lay claime to blessednesse; for if any of the conditions here expressed, be wanting; it will be in vaine, to have a thought of blessednesse: For, this the Pro­phet delivers for Law; and of this we may [Page 43] be sure, there will not be any thing be abated.

But if the Prophet be so punctuall; & require such precise performance of such precise points; hee might as well have held his peace, and said nothing; for what is this, but to build castels in the aire; to tell us of a man, that should be bles­sed; when there never was in the world, nor ever shall bee, any such man: and so by the course he takes; blessednesse must either fall to the King, by escheate, for want of a right heire: or at least, Cedere primo occupanti, for want of a lawfull claimer. But the Prophet had more knowledge; than these men are aware of: hee had read the Chronicles; and found there, many such men, upon record: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abra­ham, Samuel; many others. And since his time, we our selves find many recorded for such men; Hezekiah and Iosias, Kings of Iuda; Zachary and Elisabeth of later time: It is therefore, but a meere scandall; bessednesse can never want an heire; for in all ages past, there have beene such men; and by Gods grace, are many such at this day; and shall be many such, in the ages to come, as long, as the world shall last: for the Divell must not have all; God will have his Congregation; and that must consist of such, as are here described; A Congregation of the Righteous.

And now wee may say, the Prophet hath plaid, as it were, his prize; he hath set a spell to all posterity, for a perfect description: For, though some may thinke, that Xenophon, in his [Page 44] instruction of Cyrus; and Cicero in his descripti­on of an Oratour, have beene his equalls; yet let the matter be examined fairely; and wee shall find, that the Prophet here, in a few plaine words, hath made a perfecter godly man; than either Xenophon a Prince, or Cicero an Oratour; with all their long elaborate discourses.

The Prophet set blessed, as it were, a signe, at the entrance of his Psalme: and where bles­sed, is hung out for a signe; wee might be sure, to finde a godly man within: and so, hee hath well quitted himselfe, of the first part of his Proposition, in shewing us, what a godly man is: and now, if hee can quit himselfe as well, of the second part, in shewing us, that he is blessed: wee shall then say, hee hath truely played his prize indeede; and worthily deserves to be cal­led, the godly mans champion: For, in so do­ing, hee shall set a more glorious crowne up­on a godly mans head; than that which Samuel set upon his. Hee is blessed; and hee shall be like a tree.

But here by the way, wee may observe a Grammaticall difference, which the Prophet in­timates, betweene blessednesse, and godlinesse. For, to blessednesse hee assignes but onely two Tenses or Times; a present Tense; Hee is bles­sed; and a future; hee shall be like a tree. Pre­terperfect Tense; hee assignes none: for in­deed, Fuisse faelicem miserrimum est: and to say, Fuimus Troes; is as much as to say, wee are not so now. That which is past; is dead in Time; [Page 45] and in the body of true happinesse; there must be; there can be, no dead flesh. But to godli­nesse, he assignes three Tenses or Times: A Praeterperfect tense; That hath walked, in the counsell of the ungodly: a Present tense; his de­light is in the Law of the Lord: and a Future; In his Law hee will exercise himselfe; for, godlinesse is a habit; and cannot be had, but by often re­petition and reiteration of actions; that if the time past, doe not prompt and give example to the present; and the present to the future; wee may have flashes of godlinesse; but a true habit of godlinesse, wee can never have.

And here now the Prophet begins to shew himselfe a Prophet; and to speake like a Pro­phet: all he had said before; he might have spoken, as a Doctour of the Law; for they were but caveats, and informations to godli­nesse: This hee speakes now, hee could not speake, but as a Prophet; for he comes to speake of things to come; and what shall become of the godly, and of the wicked, in the times hereafter. And this, neither Doctour of Law; nor yet Astrologer, nor any humane Artist could doe, but onely a Prophet of God. And wee may not the lesse believe him because hee speakes of future things, which to mans under­standing are alwaies uncertaine: seeing hee speakes it not, as of himselfe: or as having learned it of men; but he speakes it, as taught by God: with whom, all future things are pre­sent; [Page 46] all things to come, as come already. For, these Prophets of God, had as I may say, per­spective-glasses, given them by God: in which they could see things a farre off; and farre off, both in place and time: and wee may bee al­lowed, to call them Glasses; seeing themselves were called videntes, seers; as seeing the things they were to speake; and then Prophets, Fore­tellers; as communicating that to others, which in their Glasses, they saw themselves. And as themselves were called Videntes, seers; so their worke or faculty, was called, Visio, or seeing: and yet in this there was distinction: For, not every prediction of a Prophet, was called visio, a vision; but such onely, as came with joyfull tidings: for when they came with heavy newes, it was not properly called visio, a vision; but Onus, a burthen; and our Prophet here sings both tunes; he hath visionem, a vi­sion, for the godly; and Onus, a burthen pre­sently after; for the wicked: but he tels his vision: his good newes first; and this it is; A godly man shall be like a tree.

But is this such good newes for a godly man? must this bee the height of a godly mans ex­pectation, to be like a Tree? will the Prophet serve us thus; make us take such paines for god­linesse; and beare us all this while in hand; that by being godly, wee shall bee happy; and now bring us to no better, a happinesse, than to bee like a Tree? if hee would needs use a simili­tude, could hee by his glasse, make no better [Page 47] choice; or is a godly mans happinesse no better worth, than to liken him to a Tree? a Tree, which growes out of the earth; and creepes into the Earth? a Tree, that is exposed to wind and weather? a Tree, that is subiect to wormes and cankers? a Tree, that for all its being plan­ted by the water, is sure at last, to come to the fire? But we must not with our ignorance, lay aspertion upon the Prophets knowledge: (for, it is not the worthinesse of the subject in a si­militude, that dignifies the thing, that is com­pared to it; For, what honour was it to Nabu­chadonizer; that he was likened to Lucifer, the morning starre? Or, what more did Christ expresse of the Kingdome of heaven, by com­paring it to a pearle; then by comparing it, to a graine of Mustard seed?) but it is the good qualities, in which they simpathize: and of such good qualities, we shall finde so many in a Tree; that happinesse may thinke it selfe happy, to be compared to it. For, was it not a tree, that bore the Fruite of life, in the Garden of Eden? was it not a Tree, that bore the Lord of life, in the field of Golgotha? O happy Tree; well worthy to be made the similitude of our happinesse, which was the instrument to pro­cure our happinesse, But wee need not goe so farre, to shew the worth of the comparison; there are circumstances enow, in a Tree it selfe; that may sufficiently iustifie the Prophets choice. For, though a Tree, bee but dust in substance; and have the lower part fixed in [Page 48] the earth; yet it riseth above the earth; and hath boughes and branches aspiring towards heaven; transformed into a substance, as though they were no earth; expressing plaine­ly the condition of the godly; who though they bee of earthy mould, and dwell in hou­ses of clay; yet their aspiring is to heaven, and their confidence is, to bee transformed into the Image of Christ; and to have their bodies made like, to his glorious body.

But this is a common resemblance, that may be found in every Tree; the Prophet here, sets his similitude closer upon a godly man, than that Ex quovis ligno fiat Mercurius: every Tree will not serve to doe it; but as before, hee deli­vered certaine characters, to know what a god­ly man is; So here, he delivers certaine marks, to know what kinde of Tree it is, that must make his similitude. For, it is not a Tree, that growes up wildely of it selfe; as having no other education but nature; but it is planted by an artificiall hand; and as it were civilized by transplanting. And it is not planted, a­mongst rocky cliffes; where it may be choak'd with drouth; and where it must eate stones; or else be starved: but it is planted by the waters side; where it hath drinke to its meate; and where the soile is made supple, to give the roote readily, both passage and nourishment. And it is not a barren vaine-glorious Tree, that makes-onely a shew; and is nothing but words, as bearing nothing but leafes: but it is a iust [Page 49] performing tree; that followes his leafes with fruit; as a just mans deeds doe follow his words. Neither is it, an unseasonable tree, that brings forth abortive fruites; and sets our teeth on edge, with sourenesse; but it goes the full time out; and nourisheth the fruit up, till it hath gotten sweetnesse by maturity; and tastes most pleasantly: and that wee may know it, to be no ordinary tree; the very leafes continue still, and doe not wither.

But what matter is it, when the fruit is ga­thered; whether the leafes continue still, or no? For, the worke the leafes come about; is but to defend the buds; and to keepe the young fruits, from the violence of the Sunne and wind; and when they have seene them brought up; and come to a ripe age, that they can shift for themselves; the leafes then may take their leaves; as wee see them fall away, by one and one; as taking notice, that their worke is done. There are, perhaps, some barren trees, that beare no fruit; and these sometimes have leafes continuing still; and hanging on, both Summer and Winter; as if they staied waiting for im­ployment; and looking still, when fruits would bud forth; but with as idle an expectation, as the Jewes stand waiting for the comming of their Messias: but this is not the case of our leafes here, which therefore continue still, be­cause they are still in office: for our tree beares fruit continually; and therefore hath neede of leafes continually; when one fruit is ripe and [Page 50] gone; another is greene and comming on; and therefore the leaves, which are necessary atten­dants upon the fruits; as long as there are young fruits, that need attendants, cannot be dischar­ged, and therefore doe not wither. And yet, perhaps, the Prophet had a further reason, why hee would give the leafe, a place in the simili­tude of a godly mans happinesse; seeing a leafe was the first Angell of liberty, to the prisoners in the Arke; their day-breake of comfort came from the light of a leafe; and if it had not been for a leafe; the tyrannizing waters, would have more kept their mindes in the darke, than their bodies in the Arke; and have drowned them with despaire, when they could not, with their waves: and when the waters overcame all other creatures, both men and beasts; yet the leafe continued constant to the tree, and overcame the waters; and as it perished not, in the Inun­dation of the world; no more shall it wither, in the conflagration of the world.

But what happinesse can a godly man expect from this similitude of a tree? for, he can have no more, than the similitude will afford? he can looke for no more, than the tree hath it selfe; and where hath the tree, any resemblance of happinesse, in any thing, that is here exprest? It hath none, in being planted by the watersside: for, happinesse is Summum Bonum; and this at most, but Inferium Bonum; therefore only good, because it serves to doe the tree, good: it hath none, in bringing forch fruit; for, happinesse is [Page 51] Bonum proprium; and this, but Bonum alienum; for, what good is it to the tree, to bring forth fruit, for others to gather? For so, the tree shall be no happier than a Bee, that makes Honey in­deed; but for others to eate; a godly man shall be no happier than a Sheepe; that beares wooll indeed, but for others to sheare; and for any thing appeares yet, a godly man, by this simili­tude, is like to lose his happinesse. But the Pro­phet cannot be so much mis-taken; the simili­tude therefore, would be better look'd into: For, there is faelicitas medii; and faelicitas sinis; there is faelicitas viae; and faelicitas patriae; and this tree indeede, enjoyes them all: It hath in this life, faelicitatem medii; and faelicitatem viae; in being planted by the waters side: for, this moistens, cooles, cleanses; and gives an easie and a happy passage to the journies end. It shall have in the life hereafter, faelicitatem sinis; and felicitatem patriae; in bringing forth fruit; for this shall not be, as the Bee makes Hony, for others to eate; nor as the Sheepe beares wooll, for others to sheare; but this fruit shall be, for its owne use onely; and onely for it selfe to ga­ther. For this fruit is that, of which Christ saith: Your joy shall be full, and none shall be able to take it from you; Your joy shall be full; there is plena faelicitas; and none shall be able to take it from you; there is secura faelicitas: and now the Pro­phet, need not be ashamed of choosing his si­militude: the godly man, neede not be afraid, of losing his happinesse.

[Page 52] But is it not strange, to see how contrary the Prophet proceeds here, to our expecting? for when he propounded his similitude of a tree: wee looked, he should have begunne at the top boughes, which are the highest parts, and com­monly beare the ripest fruits, and hee beginnes cleane contrary, at the lowest part; at the very roote; for indeed, although the roote be not seene of men; and have no outward glory; yet it is the roote, that gives the praise to the tree: it is the roote, the tree may thanke, for all he is worth: For, though the branches bring the fruits, yet they are but messengers: it is the root that sends them: and indeed, if there be not a roote of Humility; and that roote planted by Grace; the aspiring boughes, are but sprigs of pride; and will never bring forth, the fruit of Glory.

Wee looked hee should have set our tree, if not in Torrida Zona, in the very fire; yet at least, in some sunny place, as it were by the fires side; and hee sets it, cleane contrary, by the waters side: For indeed, a tree feares nothing so much, as want of moisture: it can ill spare the radian­cie of the Sunne; but it can worse spare, the moistning of the water; for death hath a spight at nothing so much in any thing, as at the humi­dum radicale; the naturall moisture: Hee kills more with the drowth of too little moisture; than with the drowth of too much heat or cold: For, this is a dart, which death hath from nature; all his other darts are from vio­lence; [Page 53] and though the water bee externall to the Tree; yet when it enters and moystens the roote; it becomes radicall. And it may not be the least reason, why the Prophet sets the Tree, which is our symbole of eternall life, by the waters side; seeing the water, seemes the most productive element of life; as that, which produced the first living creatures, that were in the world; although we may raise our thoughts yet higher; and remember, there are waters as well above the Firmament; as under the earth; and there indeed, must the Tree be planted, that shall bring forth the fruite, of our expected happinesse.

We looked, he should have set our Tree, like the Trees of Eden; with present fruits, hanging upon them; and he talkes of tarrying the time, till the Tree bring them forth: for indeed our Eden is past; there was at first, no time there; & therefore the fruits there, were not children of time: but as soone borne, as their parents, the Tree: but we are in a world of time: our Tree will beare no fruit, but by the helpe of time; and no helpe of time neither, till the ful­nesse of time come; and that is onely in him, who came in the fulnesse of time: For, Christ is our time; and our fulnesse of time will bee, when wee shall meete Christ, full in the aire; and bee taken with him into the new Eden, where time shall bee no more; and where our Tree shall bring forth fruit in the Present tense, which shall never fade into Preterperfect tense.

[Page 54] But seeing the Prophet meant afterwards, to make chaffe a similitude of the wicked; why would he take a Tree, for his similitude of the godly; and not rather take wheate, as in a plainer opposition? and as Christ, it seemes upon better advise did take it afterwards? Christ indeed tooke wheate for a similitude of the godly, but to another purpose; the purpose of the Prophet here, is to shew; the great di­stance that shall bee of glory, betweene the godly, and the wicked: and in the points of glory, we shall finde the wheate, to come farre short, and to be farre inferiour to a Tree. For, the wheat, though it rise flourishing up; yet it riseth out of the ground, but the same it was cast into the ground; but the Tree, of a little small seed, riseth up to a substance, that one could never have expected, such an issue, for such a parent. The wheate, though it rise flourishing up; yet it riseth but to a small height as loath to leave the earth too much; and a­fraid to goe too farre from the roote; but the Tree riseth up to an eminent height, as scarce acknowledging the root, from which it springs: and farre surmounts all growing things upon the earth. The wheat, though it rise flourishing up, yet it riseth but to a slender small stalke; that quakes and trembles at the voice of the winde; but the Tree riseth up to a vaste and firme body, that scornes the threatnings of the winde; and is not once moved for all the wind can doe. The Wheate, though it rise flouri­shing [Page 55] up, it is quickly downe againe: if it be not reaped in summer, it dies in winter: but the Tree is a laster for many ages; and of all things, that grow out of earth, comes neerest to ever­lastingnesse.

And now; if we cannot choose but thinke it a blessed thing, to be such a Tree: we cannot as lit­tle choose but thinke it a blessed thing, to bee a godly man; for whatsoever is seene or said of this Tree; is true, and more true of a godly man. Hee is more fixt and immoveable than this Tree; for, where this Tree is rooted but in the earth; a godly man is founded upon a Rocke. He is planted by a better Gardner, than this Tree; for where this Tree is planted but by Adam, a naturall man; a godly man is plan­ted by Paul; or rather, as Christ saith, by God himselfe. He is moistned with better waters, than this tree; for where this Tree is watered, but by springs from the earth; a godly man is watered with the dew of heaven: he riseth to a greater height, than this Tree: for where this Tree is stinted in its rising, and staies in the aire; a godly man riseth up, and never staies till hee come at heaven. Hee beares more fruite, than this Tree; for, where this Tree hath ma­ny leaves besides fruites; the very leaves, of a godly man, are themselves, fruites. He is lon­ger in season than this Tree; for, where this Tree is in season, but some part of the yeere; Godlinesse is in season, all the yeere long: this Tree is in season but for a time: [Page 56] but godlinesse is in season, to all eternity.

The similitude of a Tree, is sufficiently justi­fied; but why would the Prophet expresse happinesse, by any similitude at all? and not deliver it rather in the very substance? why would he not, rather tell us, what it is; than what it is like? May wee not bee bold to say, because it was more, than hee could doe? For seeing the happinesse of a godly man is such, as neither eye hath seene; nor eare heard: cer­tainely it is such also, as neither words can ex­presse, nor tongue utter. And if wee should heape up words upon words: laying Pelion upon Ossa, and making mountaines of volumes; yet wee should never bee able to expresse the happinesse, ordained by God for godly men. If the happinesse consisted of finite parts, and were a stinted thing, either in number, or magnitude or continuance; we might by the helpe of Arithmeticke and Geometry, expresse it perhaps in some proportion; but seeing it consists of parts, in number, innumerable; in magnitude, infinite; in continuance, eternall; what man of art; what art of man, can now come neere it? Or if the happinesse were to continue, but so many thousand yeeres as there be sands in the sea; though this were a vast, incomprehensible extension of time, yet it were but a continuance, that would not con tinue; there would one day bee an end: but seeing it shall be for ever, everlasting, eternall; in Aeternum & ultra; what starres of heaven; [Page 57] what sands of the sea; can now be counters enow to summe it. And now tell me, if the Pro­phet were not well advised, to make use of a si­militude? but tell me rather, if godly men be not well advised, to make use of godlinesse? tell me if wicked men, be not ill advised, to make ac­count of vanities? Oh! tell me, if the Serpent be not a Divell: the flesh a traitour: the world, an Impostour: that for pleasures of sinne, not worth the speaking of; would make us to for­feit this unspeakeable happinesse.

But now to consider it in Allegory; what may wee thinke, is meant by this tree? Is it not the tree, figured by the tree of life, in the Garden of Eden? And what by this planting? our ingraffing into Christ. And what by this waters side? the water that was shed out of Christs side. And what by this fruit? our ever­lasting happinesse. And what by these leafes? the leafe of a good conscience; and the leafe of a good fame. For a good conscience never withers; but accompanies a godly man, to ano­ther world: and a good fame never withers; but in memoria aeterna erit justus. And what by the time? when time is no more. For time is but the measure of motion and mutation; but happinesse hath nothing to doe with these; and therefore nothing to doe with time; her time is eternity.

And indeed, is it not strange, that men who have out lived yesterday; should think there can be happinesse where there is time? For, let the [Page 58] day past, be spent in all the pleasures of the world; yet what is yesterday to us to day? and what will to day, be to us to morrow? and so, the daies of happinesse, should come at last, to be all lost; and be no more to us, than if they never had beene ours. Wherein true happinesse, to day is to us, as it was yesterday; and to morrow will be as it is to day; and what wee are now, wee shall be for ever. Time and happinesse are things incompatible: For, happinesse is permanent; time alwaies in muta­tion: for, what is time, but a very changeling; or rather, makes very changelings of us? It is long of time, that wee continue not long in one state; it is alwaies bringing some new thing; but ever carries away more of the old; it runnes over all things, but never tarries with any; wee cannot see it, till it be gone out of sight; and by this onely, we find it hath beene here, because we find not that here, which hath beene. The happinesse of this life, is like Io­sepht coat, party coloured, to expresse variable­nesse; a mixture of weale and woe; but turnes at last, all to a staine; and such happinesse, wic­ked men may have: the true happinesse, is in a long white roabe; long, for durablenesse; and white, for joyfulnesse; and this keepes the co­lour still; and is onely to be had in Heaven: For there this changeling time, shall not be suffered, to come; to set diversity of colours upon our roabe of happinesse.

And now, if any man aske for happinesse, here [Page 59] it is: it growes upon the tree of godlinesse: but though it have its beginning, and, as it were, its blooming, in this life: yet it comes not to its growth, till another life; this present world, is too cold a climate, to bring it to ripenesse; it must have the Sunne to shine more directly up­on it; wee have here Spem Rei; but shall not have Rem spei; till wee come to see the blessed face of God: For, this indeed, is the true Sun, that onely can bring the fruit of this tree, to its full maturity.

But is not this hard dealing in the Prophet; to make us promise, of a present possession of bles­sednesse; and now turne us off, with little more, than a bare reversion? Will he be so a Prophet, as that hee will be no more than a Prophet; tell us onely of things to come; and not keepe his word, in things present? It was his saying at the very first, that a godly man is blessed: and seeing hee thought good, to say it then; wee looke he should make it good, and shew it now: For, as yet, there appeares but little, to make it appeare, that the godly are in this life, any more blessed, than the wicked: and if any advantage be; it seemes to most men, to be of the wickeds side. But is not this rather, to deale hardly with the Prophet? to put him to his proofes, for every word hee speaks? as though the word of a Prophet, were not of it selfe, an authority suf­ficient, to command our assent? but since wee are so hard of beliefe; at least, Propter durtiiem cordis; let it be considered; that there is great [Page 60] difference, between having of blessings; and be­ing blessed. A wicked man may have many, per­haps, very many blessings; and yet, it shall never be truely said of him, that he is blessed: For who doubts, but that strength and beauty; riches and honors, are blessings and the good gifts of God: and all these, and many more than these, a man may have; and yet walke in the counsell of the ungodly; and stand in the way of sinners; and sit in the chaire of scorners; and hee that doth such things, the Prophet would have us know; though hee be as strong as Sampson; though as beautifull as Absalon; though as rich as Salomon; though as full of blessings, as the world can make him; yet he cannot be blessed. Such things may entitle men, Benedicti, perhaps; but not Beati; or if Beati; it is but falso clamore; the true bles­sednesse, is no where found growing; nor can any where be made to grow, but onely upon this tree of godlinesse. And therefore, you shall never heare any such word to come from David; as to say, blessed are the rich; or blessed are the honourable, and great men of the world; but all his blessednesse, is ever with some relation or other, unto godlinesse. Blessed are they whose sins are forgiven: here godlinesse is made legitimate. Blessed is he, whom the Lord chasteneth: here god­linesse, is set to Schoole. Blessed are they who walke in the Law of Lord: here godlinesse, is at its ex­ercise; Blessed is the man that considereth the poore: here godlinesse is making a purchase. Blessed is he, that putteth his trust in the Lord: here godlinesse, [Page 61] is taken sanctuary: and so godlines ever, in one kinde or other; or blessednes never, in any kinde whatsoever: Not all the smithes of Ae­gipt: not all the temporall blessings, of the world, will serve the turne: Godlinesse must turne the key; or the doore of blessednes; The gate, for the King of glory to enter, will never be opened.

And as a man may have many blessings; and yet not be blessed: so, he may want many bles­sings; and neverthelesse, bee perfectly blessed. Hee may want, the riches of worldly pompe; and yet bee blessed: For Blessed are the poore in spirit; and this was Davids case with Michol. He may want a quiet life; and yet bee blessed; for Blessed are they, that are persecuted for righteousnes sake: and this was Davids case, with Saul: Hee may want good report; and yet bee blessed; For blessed are ye, when men raile upon you, and re­vile you; and this was Davids case with Shimei. But is not this strange, that a man should want, & yet be perfect? should want blessings, and yet be perfectly blessed? Indeed, no more strange, than that Adam should loose one of his ribbes, and yet continue a perfect body still. For these temporall blessings, are to a godly man, as the ribbe was to Adam, of which Eve was made; not superfluous to him, when he had it; nor making him defective, when hee wanted it: and so are all temporall blessings; not superfluous to a godly man, to have them, because he can make good use of having them: Nor making him [Page 62] defective to want them; because he can make good use of wanting them. And this, perhaps, might make St. Paul to say, I can want; and I can abound; as much as to say, I can have a ribbe more, or a rib lesse; and yet in both estates con­tinue perfect still.

But is it not then, that we are all this while mistakenin blessednes? and that, David hath set a glosse upon it, to make us esteem more highly of it, than there is cause? seeing Christ who knew blessednes better than David; proclaimes it openly, that they are blessed, that mourne: and surely; mourning can make but an unto­ward blessednesse. For what is mourning, but a deploring of misery? That to say, they are blessed that mourne; is all one, as to say; They are blessed, that are miserable: and so, bles­sednesse, no such goodly thing, as David goes about to make us thinke it. But it is not, that wee mistake blessednesse; the mistaking is, in mistaking Christs speaking of blessednesse: For Christ saith not, They are blessed that mourne: because they mourne; but because they shall bee comforted. The blessednesse consists in the com­forting, not in the mourning: and not all nei­ther that mourne shall be comfortted; for then, the damned in hell; and even the divell him­selfe, then whom there is not a greater mour­ner; should come at last; (as some have erred to thinke) to have their shares in comfort. But their mourning, is in despaire, and upon wrong causes; They onely shall be comforted, that [Page 63] mourne upon just cause, and that in hope: and such are onely the Saints on earth; who mourne for the Bride-groomes departing from them; and cry with St. Paul: I desire to bee dissolved, and to be with Christ. Indeed com­forting, is to mourning, a plaine relative; and cannot be without it: for, where no mour­ning is; there can be no comforting: for what is comforting, but a wiping away of teares from the eyes: and how can teares bee wiped away, if there be no teares to wipe away? and seeing, the holy Ghost (the authour of all blessednesse) is the Comforter; and no comforting, where no mourning: It followes, that where no mour­ning, no holy Ghost; and where no holy Ghost, no blessednesse. Therefore, Blessed are they that mourne, for they shall bee comforted. And so, be­tweene Christ and David; there will be found, but this difference: that David seemes to con­sider godlinesse, as a Iubilee; and therefore expresseth it, by delighting in the Law of God; and exercising in it: but Christ seemes to con­sider it as a funerall; and therefore expresses it by mourning; as by which, a godly man, is crucified to the world; and the world to him. And indeed, this Iubilee, and this funerall; must both meete, in a godly man; or there will not bee a godlinesse, that can produce a blessednes: but where these two meete, and kisse each other; there the delighting in the Law of God; will cause a mourning for our sinnes; and the mourning for our sinnes, will [Page 64] cause a joy in the holy Ghost; that we may be confident to say, we have a comfortable bles­sednes; seeing wee have the blessing of the holy Ghost, the comforter. And now, if any man slight this joy, as not deserving the name of blessednes; Is it not, because hee feeles it not in himselfe? for without being felt; it is not possible, to bee understood: but hee that feeles it, and understands it; will finde, this joy, to be that Iewell, which the wise Mer­chant sold all that he had, to buy: For what a­vailes it a man, to enjoy the whole world, and to want this joy? For, this joy is not an influ­ence from the starres: which yet can doe great wonders, for breeding joy in the world: but it is an influence, from that spirit, which mo­ved upon the waters, before the starres were made; and is onely able still, to move up­on the waters, and to remove the waters of a weeping soule. It is a ioy, begotten in our hearts, by motion of the holy Ghost; which moving upon the waters, of a true repentance; workes in us the joy of this assurance; that wee have an Advocate and Intercessour for us, with God the father. Which joy, was thought so great, when time was; that no Messenger, was thought fit, to bring the newes of it; but an Angell from heaven. Behold I bring you tidings of great ioy: and great indeed it must needs be, which an Angell cals great: that scarcely would call the whole earth, great: and seeing St. Paul exhorts us, to Reioyce evermore: we may know the [Page 65] joy, to be exceeding great, that can make us able, to hold out rejoycing, so long together; in all tempests and calmes; in all actions and passions; joy enough to maintaine a feast of rejoycing, all our life long. And then, if this joy, can make a blessednesse: (as certainly a greater cannot be had on earth) and none partakers of it, but the godly; wee must needes confesse, the Prophet had great reason to make it his challenge; and that in the present Tense: A godly man is blessed.

And will not this blessednesse appeare yet plainer; if we consider the divers sorts of bles­sednesse? For, there is a blessednesse of the Law; and this was delivered by Moses: who delive­ring the Law, but in litera; delivers a blessed­nesse, but in cortice: Blessed shalt thou be in the field: and blessed in the City: blessed shall be the fruit of thy body; and the fruit of thy cat­tell &c. There is a blessednesse of Grace; and this was delivered by Aaron; who being the Minister of our atonement with God, delivers a blessed­nesse, in this atonement: The Lord blesse thee, and keepe thee; The Lord make his face to shine upon thee, and be mercifull unto thee: The Lord lift his coun­tenance upon thee, and give thee peace. And there is a blessednesse of Glory; and this was delivered by Christ; who being himselfe, the perfection of blessednesse; delivers a blessednesse in perfecti­on: Come yee blessed of my Father, inherite a King­dome prepared for you. And now, that wee have these divers sorts of blessednesse, laid out be­fore [Page 66] us; which of them, may wee thinke, was thought upon by David; in saying, Blessed is the man? Not Moses his blessednesse; for that is too imperfect: nor yet Christs blessednesse; for that is too consummate; Moses his blessednesse is imperfect: For, Gold (one of the best, of his blessings) hath commonly proved, but aurum Tolos [...]m; ominous to the owners; and apt to bring them, to utter ruine; at most to bles­sednesse it hath never beene but neutrall: onely as a cypher in Arithmeticke; no value. but from the placing it; for if it be placed in a godly hand; it serves in subsidium virtutis; and may prove a meanes, for augmentation of blessed­nesse: but if it fall to be the lot of the wicked; it is but incontivum vitiorum; and serves but in majorem d [...]nationem; for an augmentation of misery. And as Moses his blessednesse, is too im­perfect: so Christs blessednesse, is too consum­mate; for the blessed face of God, (in which, that blessednesse chiefely consists) is no fit ob­ject for corruptible eyes: God must make him­selfe capabilte, which now he is not; and us, ca­paces, which now wee are not; before wee can arrive at the haven of that blessednesse. And so, Moses his blessednesse being suspended; and Christs blessednes, not yet to be expected: what remains, but that we lay hold on Aarons blessed­nesse; and this, indeed, we shall find to sympa­thize, and suite well, with this of David: For, Aarons blessednesse, is a confidence in Gods mer­cy, for remission of sinnes; and a peace of con­science, [Page 67] in being at peace with God, in Christ. And it is no wrong to Aarons peace, to adde, in Christ; for though Aaron expresse it not, as speaking it, but in figure: yet wee may well thinke, he understands it, as meaning it in sub­stance, seeing no peace, without Christ, is safe unto us; all peace without him, is but dange­rous security: For, Christus est pax nostra: hee onely is our peace; and this peace, he hath ever used, as his proper good: It was the Present, he brought the Apostles, at his comming from Hell; Peace be unto you; and it was the legacy, he left the Apostles, at his going to Heaven: My peace I leave with you; this peace made Iob upon the dunghill, blessed; and the want of this peace, made Saul upon his throne, miserable: this peace the world cannot give; and the wicked cannot have here; for, there is no peace to the wic­ked, saith the Lord. And now, if any man sleight this peace; as not thinking it to deserve the title of blessednesse: Is it not, because he hath no feeling of it, in himselfe? For, not being felt, it can never be understood; but hee that feeles, and understands it; will finde this peace, to be that purchase, which Christ so deerely bought for us, with his precious blood; and is that in substance, which Aarons peace was but in figure; for, to this peace, it is not enough, to have a Nil conscire sibi, a cleere conscience in us: (seeing St. Paul knew nothing by himselfe; yet was not thereby justified) but we are justi­fied by faith in Christ: and thus justified, wee [Page 68] have peace with God; and being at peace with God; we have peace of conscience within our selves. And then, if this peace can make a bles­sednesse: (as certainly a greater cannot be in earthly Tabernacles) and none partakers of it, but the godly; we may speake it as well, from Paul, as from David or Aaron; and so Priest and Prophet; Apostle and all, agree in this, A god­ly man is blessed.

And if wee take another way to goe; will it not come to all one journies end? onely, as having now taken the Prophets words, in this manner: A godly man is blessed: And hee shall be like a tree. There have appeared, two distinct blessednesses: one, present; and another, future; so, if wee take the words in this manner: (as some will have it) A godly man is blessed; For, hee shall be like a tree; there will then appeare, but one maine blessednesse; the present being on­ly a hope of the future; and yet thus, it shall still be justly said, A godly man is blessed. For, this hope is not wavering, that may make asha­med; seeing it hath Faith to guard it; and Pati­ence, to wait upon it: but it is the ankor of the soule; that keepes it upright, in all tempests of temptations. And if we passe from the hope it selfe; to that which is hoped for; Oh then, how transcendent a blessednesse will be found in hope? For, is it not an armour of steele, against all blowes of Fortune, and wrackes of time that I have hope continually to stand promp­ting me with this? Durate, & vosmet rebus servate [Page 69] seeundis: Be constant to the end; and be assured, it will not be long, ere thou shalt raigne with Christ? Is it not a shield of Brasse against all the terrours of death and hell; that through hope, I can say with Iob, I know that my Redeemer li­veth; and though that wormes destroy this body; yet I shall one day see God in my flesh? but most of all, is it not a Rocke of defence, against all afflicti­ons, in body or goods; against all disgraces, in fame or fortunes; that with St. Paul, I can say in hope; There is a Crowne of Righteousnesse laid up for mee, which the iust Iudge will give mee at the last day? And now, if any man slight this hope, as thinking it not worthy the name of a blessednes; is it not, because hee hath no fee­ling of it in himselfe? for, not being felt, it cannot be understood: but he that feeles and understands it, shall finde that this hope is the true Cordiall of a fainting soule; as David saith I had fainted, if I had not hoped to see the goodnesse of the Lord, in the Land of the living. And then, if such a cordiall it be; as such a cordiall, most certainely it is; and none, partakers of it, but the godly; we may iustly conclude, the Pro­phet had iust cause to make it his conclusion: A godly man is blessed.

And yet more expresly to shew the dignity of a godly mans blessednes; we may observe, that as Ratione personaram; God is said to bee, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac. and the God of Iacob: so Ratione rerum: he is said by St. Paul; to bee the God of ioy, the God of peace, the God of [Page 70] hope: that wee cannot thinke much, to have a blessednes, made us up of those things, of which St. Paul thinkes not much, to make up, God himselfe a Title.

The joy, which Abraham tooke, when his sa­crificed sonne Isaac, was restored to him alive; was no doubt a wonderfull joy, yet but a type of ours; that Christ, the true Isaac; is restored to us alive, by his rising againe. The peace of minde, which Simeon felt, when hee bare the Babe Iesus, carnally in his armes; was, no doubt, a blessed peace; yet but an inchoation of ours, who beare the man Christ Iesus (our full re­concilement) spiritually in our hearts. The hope which Iacob had, to enioy the beautifull Rachel, was a comfortable hope; yet but a shaddow of ours; who hope to enioy the tran­scendent beauty, of the blessed face of God, in the Kingdome of heaven. And shall not the truth of ioy, make us more blessed, than the type made Abraham? shall not the consum­mation of peace, make us more blessed, than the inchoation made Simeon? shall not the sub­stance hoped for, make us more blessed than the shadow made Iacob! Oh then the happines of a godly man; in whom these blessings are all united: which singly enioyed, made such mirrours of blessednes! A ioy in the holy Ghost; which no temptation of satan can dis­may: A peace of conscience, which no worldly tumult can disturbe: A hope of heaven, which no delay of expectation can discourage: and [Page 71] now let Salomon tell us, if this be not a wreath of three, that farre exceeds his threefold cord, and can never be broken? And if againe; to this wreath of three, we adde a fourth; (as the Prophet is going about to doe) the blessednes of prosperity: will it not then, bee a blessednes with admiration; and a wreathe of foure, that wee can never say, O ter (que) quater (que) beatus; so iustly of any thing under heaven, as of a godly man! that not onely wee may proclaime it in Gath, and publish it in Ascalon, A godly man is blessed: but with the asseveration of I­saac, in blessing Iacob; even to Esaus face; redouble it, in the eares of all the wicked; A godly man is blessed; yea, and hee shall bee blessed.

And now, that we have found out a godly man, in Hypothesi: where may we looke to finde him out in Thesi? not amongst the heathen Philosophers: for their peace of conscience, was onely Nil conscire sibi: They knew nothing of any reconcilement with God, in Christ: not amongst the Turkish Musulmans; for they believe no holy Ghost; and therefore can have no ioy in the holy Ghost; not amongst the Iewish Sadduces; for they deny the resurrecti­on: and therefore can have no hope of hea­ven. And where then? onely amongst the Christian beleevers; for in them onely, is found this wreath of foure: which though sin­gly perhaps they may; yet ioyned together, they can never be broken: that if a Philosopher [Page 70] thought it cause enough, to cry out in exultati­on, [...]: for finding out the Quadrature of a circle in Geometry: wee much more justly: may thinke it cause enough, in exultation to cry out, [...]: for finding out this Quadrature of blessednesse in Christianity.

The Prophet might well rest now in his si­militude: as containing sufficiently, a godly mans happinesse: but he seemes to be afraide, it is not capacious enough; and therefore pie­ceth it out, with a blessednesse, of another ma­king: And what soever hee doth, it shall prosper. A blessednesse, much like the Manna in the wil­dernesse; that fits the rellish of all tastes: for who, but will easily admit, prosperity indeed, to be a blessednesse? and hee seemes, to have provided it, specially for the meaner capa­cities; such as are not well able to apprehend the former, as being too spirituall; but this is a blessednesse, so visible to be seene; so palpable to bee, felt; that even the veriest worldling that is, cannot choose but acknow­ledge it: Yet we may perceave, the Prophet brings it in; but as a fagge end of blessed­nes; as choosing rather to adde a course piece; then that it should be said, he had made it too little.

But doth not the Prophets adding of this piece; make the Prophet himselfe defective? Doth he not by shewing the blessednes to bee the more: shew his owne iudgement to bee the lesse? For if this were true; there should [Page 73] not be a godly man to be found, in the whole world. For, are not all men generally subject to crosses? some in body; some in goods: some by enemies; some by friends; some in all; but all in some? all this is true; and yet the Prophet neverthelesse saith true: for cros­ses, are our sufferings, not our doings: the ad­versity of a godly man, in that he suffers; is no contradiction of prosperity, in that hee doth: and yet even crosses and sufferings, and all; as St. Paul saith; shall bee made usefull and pro­sperous to the godly. For, though Martyrs, cannot well be said, to prosper in their suffe­ring; because it is grievous; yet they are truely said to prosper, by their suffering; because it is glorious; though Lazarus did not prosper in his suffering, because it brought him, but to Dives gate; yet he truely prospered, by his suf­fering, because it brought him, into Abrahams bosome.

But may not the Prophet preach this doctrine long enough, before he meet with an auditory, that wil believe him? Godlinesse to be a meanes of prospering? a stranger Paradoxe was never held. It is a greater miracle, for men to draw prospering out of godlinesse, than for Moses to draw water out of rockes. Probitas laudatur & alget: godlinesse may have the worlds good word; but he that useth it, shall die a begger. Thus the wicked, thorow the Prophets sides, stand goaring and galling the goodnesse of God; and never remember, or never regard the say­ing [Page 74] of St. Peter, that godlinesse hath the pro­mise, both of this life, and of the life to come. But most of all they insult upon the Prophet, as thinking they can take him tripping in his words; and can prove him manifestly in two tales: For, that which he saith here of the god­ly, hee affirmeth the very same, in another place, of the wicked; Their waies alwaies prosper: they are not in trouble like other men; they have more than their hearts can wish. And is it possible, the Prophet should ever be able, to answer this? Can these words of his, be ever possi­bly reconciled? Indeede, with a word: For it is but mistaking a word; (taking the pre­sent Tense, for the future) that makes all this difference, it is but breaking time, that makes this discord: keepe time with the Prophet, and all will goe well: for he saith not, of a godly man, all his waies doe prosper; but they shall prosper; he meddles not, with the present Tense; nor with the prosperity of the present Tense; hee leaves that for the wicked to make merry with: for it is a prosperity, not worth the envying: for, who would envie Ionas his Gourd, that is gone in a night? The present Tense of this life, cannot make a prosperity, that is worth the having: It is the future Tense, must doe it: for this is the lasting Tense; and though it shew not all his wares at first, as the present Tense doth; you cannot see yet, what it will prove; yet give it time; let things come to a ripenesse; and you shall find it [Page 75] true in the end; that Whatsoever a godly man doth; it shall prosper. And in this Tense, and in this sense it is, that the Prophet speakes of the pros­perity of the godly; but if he come to speake of the wicked in this Tense; he then alters his Key; he speakes in another tune; Thou shalt looke after his place, and it shall not be found.

Or may we not, perhaps, reconcile the Pro­phets words as well, if we onely say, that in spea­king of the prosperity of the wicked, loquitur ut vulgus; & as it is in appearance, because in the eye of the world, it seemes to be so: but when he speaks of the prosperity of the godly; loquitur ut veritas; because it is in truth, and really so. The Prophet, we may perceive, makes this account; that nothing can be truly said to prosper; which hath not a prosperous ending; but if it have a prosperous end, it may truely then bee said to prosper. And it is a very just account; for else we might say, that a cup of cold water, prospers in a Feavour; because it cooles and easeth for the present; though it infinitly encrease the burning afterward. And we could not say, that a sove­raigne medicine prospers in a sore; because it akes and paines us for a while; though after­ward it worke a perfect cure. And now bring the wicked, and the godly to the try all of this account; and you shall finde it true, that the wicked never prosper; and that the godly pros­per alwaies. Did Ahab prosper in seeking Na­boths vineyard? he got indeed the vineyard; but the dogges licked up his blood. Did Iudas pros­sper, [Page 76] in betraying his Master? hee got indeed the thirty pieces of silver; but his bowels would not tarry in his belly after he had done it. And so the most that can bee said, of the prosperity of the wicked, is but this; that they have a prosperity indeed; but it is a tra­gicall one; beginnes in jollity, and hath some mirth for a while; but ends at last, in blood and death. And such it seemes the Prophet meanes, is the prosperity of the wicked; if he meane not rather, that a prosperity it seemes, but is not: For, the wicked may have chil­dren, like Olive branches round about their Table; and in this may seeme to prosper; but yet they doe not; and Iob tels why; For their children are to the sword; and shall bee buried in death. They may heape up treasure, and flow in wealth; and in this may seeme to prosper: but yet they doe not; and Salomon gives the reason; For they know not who shall gather it; them­selves, they are sure, shall carry away nothing. They may rise in honours, and bee set aloft; and in this may seeme to prosper; but yet they doe not; and David shewes the cause; For they are set in slippery places; and their ending commonly fals out in falling: And this is not onely to bee obserued in single persons; but even in whole Families: a generation or two may flourish and hold their heads high; and in this may seeme to prosper; but yet they doe not; for of this, is growne a Proverbe; Non gau­det tertius baeres; The third generation paies for [Page 77] all. So it is true here, which Abner said to Ioab, There is bitternesse in the end. But with the godly, it is cleane otherwise: For many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers them out of all. So here is prosperity in the ending yet. They may sow in teares, but they shall reape in ioy; prosperity in the end still. They may go forth weeping, and carrying pre­cious seed with them; but they shall returne reioycing, and bring their sheaves with them: still prosperity in the end. Daniel may be cast into the Lyons denne; but hee shall come forth untouched; his danger shall be his glory. Ionas may be swal­lowed up of a Whale; but he shall be cast up safe on shoare; his destruction shall be his safe­ty. Iob may have his children slaine; his goods taken from him; and his body afflicted; but his children shall be restored, his goods dou­bled, and his life trebled. And to make short, the Prophet in another place, makes it a rule of infallibility: Marke the upright man; and behold the perfect man; for the end of that man, is peace. And so it is verified here, which is said by the Prophet; Sorrow may be over night, but ioy com meth in the morning. And this againe, is another advantage of the prosperity of the godly; that their sorrow comes but over night, when they may sleepe it out, and passe it over; but their ioy cometh in the morning; when they come fresh unto it; and have the whole day before them to enjoy it.

And now, if we aske the Prophet, what rea­son he can give, of this prospering of the god­ly; [Page 78] Doe not his words themselves answere for him; and carry in them, the very reason of it? For in saying, Whatsoever he doth; he seemes to intend a godly mans service: and in saying, shall prosper: hee seemes to intimate Gods wa­ges: and if this be so: then is the prospering as sure as checke: for as God is a Lord, that lookes his servants should doe their worke; so hee is a master, that never failes to pay his servants their wages. And then, if blessednesse be Gods wages; and godlinesse, the mans ser­vice; what is this, but [...]: the very thing the Prophet takes upon him to demon­strate; A godly man is blessed?

And here now, we may stand and admire the great bounty of God: and consider, how good a service, it is to serve him: and what great wages hee gives his servants; for the meanest of them all, may reckon upon this: that All he doth shall prosper: The wages is not stinted by the Master, but by the servant; that if hee have not prosperity enough, hee may thinke himselfe, that would bee idle; and doe no more, for All he doth shall prosper. But nothing, but what he doth; the Prophet pro­miseth no further: for if he doe nothing, hee must looke for no prospering. But what? have good thoughts then; and good words; no promise of prospering? If they followed by doing; then are they Praeviae actiones: and as part of the doing, shall have their reward: Otherwise, they are but abortives, and come [Page 79] not to life, to give them capacity: for the life of words, and thoughts, is actuated by the acting. And yet even thus; the service is so small; the wages so great; that if it were told us by any, but by a Prophet; or told us of any, but of God; we might justly doubt it; but hearing it, from such a Reporter; and of such a Master; if we should doubt it now; it might justly be said unto us; what doubt yee of; O yee of little faith? Yet it must be observed here, though we call it, wages; that yet it is not, so much earned, as given; being more of favour, than of Merit; and cannot be exacted, though it may be ex­pected: For, though the wages of sinne be death; yet we cannot properly say, the wages of godlinesse is life: the Antithesis hath not place; because our godlinesse hath not weight; but eternall life, is the gift of God, through Iesus Christ our Lord.

And now, if we should aske the world, what it saies to all this? whether it thinke not these blessings, to be farre more worth, than all their guilded vanities? what doe we thinke, would the world answer to such a question? We may be sure, the world would answer thus: it likes the blessinge well, and thinkes them all good; but one circumstance in them, it doth not like; that they are all in the future; none in the pre­sent: all birds in the bush, none in the hand: never a bird in the hand amongst them all: Bles­sed are they that mourne; for they (are not, but) shall be comforted. The tree is planted by the waters [Page 80] side; but beares no fruit yet; but will doe. A godly mans actions (doe not prosper; but they) shall prosper. This delay the world doth not like; it cannot away with these future Ten­ses; so much talking of what shall be; and no­thing of what is: and therefore they have a question to aske too; the same which the Dis­ciples asked Christ: But when shall these things be? For, if the blessednesse be long a comming; it can then come but to this; that it may be said; A godly man shall be blessed, but is miserable; and miserable too, for God knowes how long. Therefore give us the present, say they; and (as Christ also seemes to teach us) let Hereafter shift for it selfe. This indeed, is the Hinge, the world still turnes upon; and it is a hard matter, to take it off. But may wee not answer these men; as Christ answered his Disciples; Non est vestrum; nôsse tempora: It is not for you to know the times and seasons, which God hath kept in his owne hand? It may suffice you to know, that these things shall be; when they shall be; is more than the portion of your knowledge comes to. It is indeed an earthly question; and moved onely by such, of whom it is said, Earth thou art, and to earth thou shalt returne: For, when wee move such questions, we returne to earth: for if wee staid with God; we should know, that as the darknesse and the light, is all alike to him; so to him, the Future and the Present is all one; that we may marvell, what Saint Peter meant to say; A thousand yeeres, with God are as a day; as [Page 81] though there were a proportion between eter­nity and time: when Esay speakes it out plainly; All Nations are to God as nothing; and put in the ballance, are lesse than nothing; and wee may say as well; All time, is to him as nothing; and put in the ballance with Eternity, is lesse than nothing. And therefore, when we meete with these words (Will be, and Shall be) in relation to God; we may take them rather, as words of order, than of time: as in order of Nature, the tree must first be planted, before it can bring forth fruit: a deed must be done, before it can be rewarded; and yet even this order also, is in Gods disposing; either to divert it; or wholly to reverse it, at his owne pleasure. As in the Garden of Eden; there was bearing of fruit, as soon as planting of trees; this was a diverting of order. But when God said; Esau have I hated; and loved Iacob; before they had done either good or evill; here was a prospering before a doing; and we may say, a bearing of fruit, before a planting the tree; and this was an absolute reversing of or­der. The world therefore must take notice, that Will be, with God, is as much, as with men, it is: and when he saith, it Shall be; it is as good, as if it were already. We all know, there is to be dies retributionis; a day of account; and this day to be, God knowes how soone; sooner, per­haps, than the world thinkes; but certainely sooner, than the world would have it; and we are sure, that this Will be, and Shall be; shall not exceed that day: but how much it shall be [Page 82] sooner (as oftentimes much sooner; and alwaies to the godly; in whose spirits, there is an influ­ence of the future in the present; by the presence of that spirit, with whom the future is present) we must leave to God; in whoseonly hand it is, to dispose of all things, both for time and order.

But lest the godly should be sleighted, as men only of expectation; and wholly excluded from any part of blessednesse in present; let it be re­membred, what Gods promise to the godly, is; I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee; and if never leave us, then alwaies with us; and so indeede, doth Christ expound it; And lo, I am with you alwaies to the end of the world. And least his pre­sence should be thought, to serve for directing onely, and not as well for comforting; heare him in this also: And I will send you another Com­forter; but Christ could not send another com­forter, if hee were not himselfe a Comforter first. And may it not then be truely said of the godly; Nullum numen abest; there is not a per­son in the whole Deity, but is present with them: And can blessednesse be absent, where the whole Deity is present? and yet more me­diately, to shew Gods care over them; he gives his Angells charge over them, to keepe them in all their waies; where the wicked in the meane time, as things forlorne, have neither part nor portion, in any of these promises. It was not to the wic­ked, that God said, I will never leave thee, nor for­sake thee; it was not to the wicked that Christ said; And lo, I am with you alwaies to the worlds [Page 83] end; it was not to the wicked, that Christ pro­mised, to send another comforter: It was not to the wicked, that God promised a guard of An­gels; and may it not then be truely said of the wicked: Nullum numen adest; there is not a per­son in the whole Deity; there is not an Angell in the whole Quire of Heaven, that is present with them? And what is then the present pos­session, they so much stand upon; and so much boast of? Alas poore wretches! what is it, but as a dreame; as Esay saith; They dreame they are full; and when they awake, Behold, their soule is emp­ty; What is it, but as a myst upon their soules, that makes them, as Saint Iohn speakes, to thinke they are rich and faire, and strong; when yet they are poore, and naked, and miserable. For, what is their present possession, but possession of the present? and what is the present, but a transient thing; a thing next to nothing; no sooner be­gun, but ended; that before you can say, it is; it is not; the future hath taken its place, and put it from being. And say, we allow them, to take the whole extent of their present life, for the lati­tude of their present possession; yet what is all this latitude, but a breadth made up, of narrow minutes, which being impossible, they should be all, one like to another; makes it impossible, they should make a blessednesse, that can be cer­taine. Where the blessednesse of the godly is more certaine, than all the assurances of the world can make it. For what are the greatest assurances of all worldly things? Doe wee not [Page 84] count our selves sure, if we have a good mans word? and here we have the Word of God: so sure a word, that heaven and earth shall faile; but his word shall never faile. And if his Word will not be taken; have we not then, a sufficient mans bond, the bond of the man Christ Jesus; and that in the highest kinde of obligation, bound body for body? And if bond be thought too little; have we not then a good pawne besides? Arrham Spiritus Sancti; a pawne and pledge, of the holy Spirit? and lest there should be de­fect, for want of witnesses; have we not a whole army of Martyrs; and Confessours innume­rable? that unlesse the Apostles and Martyrs, should all prove false witnesses; unlesse the pawne of the Spirit, should prove a counter­feit; unlesse the Obligee Christ Jesus, should prove non solvent; unlesse God himselfe, should prove no man of his word: (all which are farre greater impossibilities, than that the skie should fall) it is impossible, that the hope of the godly should be frustrate: or, that these blessings should not be accomplished to them, in the fullest measure. And now, let the world it selfe judge; if the Prophet had not all the reason of the world, to make it his challenge against the world; that A godly man is blessed.

But now that the world may seeme to be sa­tisfied, for the security; Now comes in the flesh, with her objection: these blessings indeed, are sensible to the soule, but insensible to the body; and seeing a man is a compound thing, con­sisting [Page 85] of a body and a soule; how can these blessings, which reach but onely to the soule, make more to bee said, than this? A godly man, is blessed in soule, but is miserable in bo­dy? and why then, should the Prophet shuffle them together; and as if the body were no body, say Blessed is the man? But is it not, that Animus cuius (que) is est quis (que)? and when the Proge­ny of Iacob went downe into Aegypt; is it not said, that so many soules went downe, without ma­king reckoning of their bodies? and did not Christ say, to the Thiefe on the Crosse; This day, thou shalt be with mee in Paradise; which yet was meant, but onely of his soule? And why then, should not the Prophet, though but in respect of these blessings, say Blessed is the man? The body indeed in this life, is subject to cor­ruption; and as long as it is so, it is not in it selfe; nor can bee, of it selfe, capeable of bles­sednesse: all the blessednesse it hath, or can have; it must have from the participation, it hath with the soule; and from the influence, it receiveth from the soule: which influence is so strong; which participation, so powerfull; that it even confounds the distinction, of body and soule; and makes them considered but as one entire thing; that even heathen capaci­ties could apprehend, how the body being In equuleo; upon the racke; might yet by the strength of this participation, be made able to say, Quàm suave est hoc? and therefore, the Prophet can never be justly blamed, for say­ing; [Page 86] (as in this, and many other respects, he may and must say,) A godly man is blessed.

Though this Psalme be most properly un­derstood, of a godly man; yet there are some, will needs have it, primarily to be meant of the man Christ Iesus; and there may bee reasons found, to make probable their opinion. For, it is most true indeede of Christ, that he pros­pered in all he did. He prospered, in his mo­thers wombe: for at the salutation of the Vir­gin Mary; the babe sprang in the wombe of Elizabeth: He prospered at his birth; for he was presently adored, of the wise men of the East: he prospered in his infancie; for he grew in favour, with God and men: he prospered in his baptisme: for There came a voice from heaven; This is my well beloved sonne, in whom I am well pleased. He prospered in his temptations, in the wildernesse; for he triumphed over satan; and the Angels ministred unto him. He prospe­red in his death; for he was manifested by mi­racles, to be the Sonne of God. He prospered in the grave; for God suffered not his holy One, to see corruption. Hee prospered in his ri­sing; for He ascended into heaven. He prospered in ascending: for; Hee sitteth at the right hand of God, in the glory of his Father. And thus also shall a godly man, as ingrafted into Christ; be carried with him, through the like passages: he shall prosper in temptations: for God will give the issue, with the temptation. He shall prosper in hunger; For he shall be fed with bread from hea­ven. [Page 87] He shall prosper in mourning; for he shall receive comfort. Hee shall prosper in sicknesse: for God himselfe will make his bedde, and lay him at ease. He shall prosper in death; for hee shall rest from his labours, and his workes shall follow him. He shall prosper in the grave: for he shall sleepe in quiet; till God awake him, and give him light. Hee shall prosper in his Resurrection; For hee shall meete Christ in the aire; and be carryed with him, into his Kingdome of Glory.

And now it may be time, both for the Pro­phet and us, to rest a while; and take breath: for of us, it may be said; that wee have now passed over the Mount Gerizzim; and are come to the foote of the Mount Ebal; for wee are entring upon his second proposition; which is his Onus or burthen for the wicked; and of the Prophet it may be said; that hee hath now finished, his second prize; and hath put a god­ly man in quiet possession of his blessednesse; and is now entring the Lysts againe, to make good his second challenge; The wicked are not so.

Where first, wee may observe, that the Pro­phet observes here, a different course, in hand­ling of this proposition; from that he held in handling the former: For there, he onely de­scribed a godly man; but named him not: here, he onely names the wicked, but describes them not: and indeed, it needed not; For Rectum est index sui & obliqui; by telling what [Page 88] a godly man is; he tels, by vertue of the Law of contraries, what the wicked are; for if that be affirmed of a wicked man, which was deni­ed of a godly; and that denied, which was affirmed; the description is made ready to your hand: and you have him deciphered in his fulnesse. And yet we may take notice of a further reason; for godlinesse is subiect to ma­ny falsifications; it may suffer much allay, by mixture of base metals; and then, there is need of a touch-stone, to try whether it bee right, or no: many colours may be laid upon wickednesse, to make it seeme godlinesse; as satan can transforme himselfe, into an Angell of light; and then there is need of markes, to know whether it bee a good Angell; whether it be true godlinesse or no: but in the case of wickednes, it is not so; there is no need of any such markes; for there cannot a worse vizard be put upon wickednesse, than its owne face; there is no baser metall to be mingled with it, and though a wicked man will bee counterfai­ting, to bee godly; yet it was never knowne, that a godly man would counterfeit, to bee wicked: and therefore the Prophet, who is no waster of words in vaine; would not give markes, where there needed none; but left wickednesse to be knowne, by its owne ill face; which is seene plaine enough, by the Law of contraries.

And now, what meanes the Prophet by say­ing; The wicked are not so? meanes hee not, they [Page 89] are like a Tree? and what care the wicked, whe­ther they be like a Tree, or no: as long, as they may be like to something else, as well to be liked as a Tree? as to bee like a Flower; or to be like the Grasse; or like a stone: for they may be so, though they be not so; they may be like these; though they bee not like that; and any of these, will serve their turne, and please them as well, as to be like a Tree. This indeed might be their hope, if the Prophet should stay here; but hee quickly takes them off, from this hope: for he findes hee cannot make use of the Law of contraries here, as he did before; though the Negation of godli­nesse, might well enough expresse the nature of wickednesse; yet the Negation of blessed­nesse of the godly, is no sufficient expressing of the misery of the wicked: but as their misery is a positive thing; so it must have a positive expressing; It is not enough to say, They are not like a Tree; but hee must tell what they are like: and hee cannot say, They are like a flower, for a flower, when time serves, is the prime beauty of the earth; where wickednesse is never but deformity: Nor hee cannot say, they are like to grasse, for the grasse is thought a fit similitude, as well for the godly, as the wicked; as it is said, All flesh is grasse: Nor he cannot say, They are like a stone: for a stone, is serviceable for many excellent uses, and es­pecially for building up; where wickednesse can serve for nothing, but destroying and pul­ling [Page 90] downe; and to what then, can he say, they are like? To speake it at once, (as Ioab strooke Amasa) and not to speake againe; hee may justly say, They are like to chaffe; for chaffe, as fully expresseth the misery of the wicked; as a tree expressed the blessednesse of the godly; for though the likening them, to so light a thing as chaffe, may seeme to import but a light misery; yet being well weighed, it will appeare, that though he say not, in plaine termes, A wicked man is miserable; yet by saying, he is like to chaffe, he intimateth more misery, than the word miserable is capea­able off.

But may we not make a stand here, and que­stion the Prophet, about his similitude? for looke upon the wicked; doe they looke like chaffe? One would thinke them rather, in all appearance, to be cleane wheate; and the best wheate too; for they onely are flourishing; they onely carry the price in all markets. But the Prophet speakes not, how they looke; but what they are; hee saith not, they looke like chaffe; but They are like chaffe; and before hee hath done, for all their appearance, hee will make it appeare, they are like chaffe; and chaffe they are like to have for their similitude. Well, be it so; Let the Prophet have his will; and let them bee like chaffe; what hurt take they by this? For doth not the chaffe grow up; and is it not brought up with the wheat? and when Harvest comes; are they not both reaped toge­ther; [Page 91] and both together, laid up into the Barne? and what more misery in all this, to the chaffe, then to the wheate it selfe? all this is true; the Prophet sees it well enough; and therefore staies not here neither; hee ends not with saying, They are like to chaffe; but they are like to chaffe, which the minde scatters. For this is that which perfects the similitude; and now let any man except against it, if he can. For, there was a time indeed, when the chaffe was united to the wheate; and made one body with it; and enjoyed then some priviledges, for the wheates sake, which were proper to the wheate, and nothing at all belonging to the chaffe; and all this while, it could not justly be said, the wicked are like to chaffe; but when it is divided from the wheate; and is no longer countenanced by it; when it is not borne out by the greatnesse of the wheate, against the power of the winde; but is wholly cast off, and left alone to it selfe; then it becomes sub­ject, to the scattering of the winde: and then, and not till then, is it made sit, to bee a simili­tude for the wicked: for then, it shewes it selfe what it is; the most contemptible, and abject thing; the most unquiet, and restlesse thing, that is in the world; so contemptible and ab­ject; that if it flie in the ayre, all men shut their eyes against it: and if it lie on the ground; all men tread their feete upon it: so unquiet, and restlesse; that even Caine, the man that had the first taste of this similitude, makes this com­plaint [Page 92] upon it; I am now a vagabond in the earth: for what is his being a vagabond, but his being like chaffe? For who knowes not, that a va­gabond is properly one, that roames about from place to place, but is never in his pro­per place? and how great a misery it is, to be Extra locum proprium; out of the naturall place; may appeare, by the striving and strugling of all naturall bodies, to attaine it; but if any such thing be, that hath no locum proprium, as it were, no home at all to goe to; the unquietnesse of that thing must needs bee infinite; seeing it hath not so much as capacity of quietnesse: and such a thing is chaffe; for, the aire is not the naturall place; it is too heavy for that; nor the earth is not its naturall place; it is too light for that; and so as having no home at all to goe to; it must of necessity remaine a perpetuall vagabond still. And such was the state of Cain; and such is the state of all the wicked: that the Prophet could never have met, with such ano­ther similitude, to expresse the misery of the wicked: as to say, They are like to chaffe, which the wind scatters.

But here by the way, we may let the wicked know, they have a thankes to give, they little thinke of; that they may thanke the godly, for all the good daies, they live upon the earth: see­ing it is for their sakes, and not for their owne, that they enjoy them. For as the chaffe, whiles it is united, and keepes close to the wheate; enjoyes some priviledges for the wheates sake; [Page 93] and is laid up carefully in the Barne; but as soone as it is divided, and parted from the Wheate: It is cast out, and scattered by the wind: so the wicked, whilest the godly are in company, and live amongst them; partake for their sake, of some blessings promised to the godly; but if the godly forsake them, or be taken from them; then either a deluge of wa­ter, comes suddenly upon them; as it did up­on the old world, when Noah left it, and went into the Arke; or a deluge of fire; as it did upon Sodome, when Lot left it, and went out of the City. And even one good man, is often­times enough to morallize the Fable of At­las; and to stay the wrath of Heaven, from fal­ling downe upon the world. For, though Abra­ham in good manners, would not presse God un­der the number often; yet the Angell told Lot plainely, hee could doe nothing against So­dome, till hee were out of it, and farre enough from it.

But though wee cannot say, that a tree and chaffe are such contraries, as godlinesse and wickednesse are, where denying the one, in­ferres affirming the other; and affirming the one, denying the other, yet if they be laid together, and well examined, there will be found so infinite oddes betweene them; that they may well passe for contraries, which come so neere to being so. For, take but a leafe, which seemes, as it were, but the chaffe of a tree; at least, the meanest part of it; and [Page 94] see, how infinitely it exceedes this chaffe, in any thing that is of value: as in entitie; in use; in goodnesse. For every thing hath so much entitie in it, as it hath influence from the Primum ens; and as it is degrees removed from not being; but such degrees we may con­ceive in a leafe, infinite; in chaffe or dust, none at all: For, it is the very bottome and dregs of all being; and if you would conceive lesse than dust or chaffe; you must conceive just no­thing; and in this it resembles sinne; at least, comes neerest of any thing, to resemble it. For sinne hath no influence at all, from the Primum ens; it is no creature of Gods making; but when the Divell would be counterfeiting God; and take upon him, to be a maker; hee brought forth sinne; other creatures hee could make none: and therefore, so much as a man sinnes; so much hee recedes from the Primum ens; so much he approacheth to annihilate himselfe; so much he is made a creature of the Divell; and so much he becomes chaffe. In matter of use, the oddes betweene a leafe and chaffe, is yet more evident: For, a leafe, besides the ser­vice it doth the tree, is serviceable also, for food, for medicine, for clothing. A leafe was the first clothing of our first parents; and (as much as we scorne it now) it is our finest clothing still; for what are all our silkes, but Mulbery-leafes; at least, by propagation? whereas of chaffe or dust, there never was any use made, since the world was made, but onely, that by the curse of [Page 95] God; it was ordained to be the Divells food. And in this also, it resembles sinne; for ever since, God said to man, for his sinne; Dust thou art, and to dust thou shalt returne; the Divell hath taken, as common dust, for his common food: so wicked men, as the finest dust, for his escaede­licatae, his daintiest food; as Esay calls them. And this, perhaps, in contracts with Witches; makes the Divell so eager to be sucking their blood; setting his marke upon them, as dainty morsells reserved for his owne tooth. Lastly, for good­nesse, doe wee not see, in the leafe, a kinde of gratefulnesse, and good nature; that when it can doe the tree no more service by hang­ing upon it; it then falls off, and lies as neere to the roote as it can; warming and fatning all the ground about it; as it were, to pay the tree, for the juyce and nourishment it had re­ceived from it: where the chaffe is so ungrate­full a thing; and of sovile a nature, that where­soever it lights; it makes the very ground bar­ren that receives it; even the ground it selfe, that bore it. And in this also, it resembles sinne; which, though it be hurtfull, even to strangers; as appeares by the deluge, which brought ruine upon all creatures, for the onely sinne of man; yet it is most hurtfull to them that commit it, as it were, to its owne parents; and this ungrate­fulnesse, is so generall a symptome to all vice; that it seemes to have as large a latitude as vice it selfe: Nam cum ingratum dicis; omnia vitia dicis.

[Page 96] Thus the wicked have for their similitude, the chaffe; and the chaffe hath for its persecutor the wind; and as the wind or aire, tyrannizeth over the chaffe: so the prince, that ruleth in the aire, tyrannizeth over the wicked. This tyran­nicall wind, hath not power over any thing so much, as over this chaffe; for it tumbles & tosses it from post to pillar; and wee may even say, it gives the chaffe, as it were, a Strapadoe: for it whirleth it on high; and then lets it fall at lei­sure, to give it the longer paine. It hath no such power over our Tree; when it comes to a tree; it doth it more good than hurt; more pleasure than annoyance: for, when the wind blowes; we may justly say, The trees are then at their exercise; for having no locall motion in them­selves, they are agitated and stirred by the wind, which stirs up their vitall vigour, as exer­cise stirs up natural heate in the bodies of men. But the wind hath no such meaning towards the chaffe; it comes not to exercise it, but to vexe it; it makes it not a traveller; but a vagabond: for if it but happen to light any where; the least aire that moves, removes it againe: the East­wind drives it forward; the West-wind turnes it backeward; the North-wind crosseth them both; that the poore chaffe, hath no standing, but to stand amazed; it is held up, but by contra­ry motions; it is of all hands, under the hand of violence; it hath no naturall rest, but as it is na­turall to it, never to rest; it must be somewhere, yet it can be no where; it hath a place, but no [Page 97] mansion; a being, but no abiding; no refresh­ing, but while the wind is weary: no resting, but till the aire be up and ready; that as long as the aire is an Element; and hath to doe in the world; there is no hope for the miserable chaffe to be ever at quiet. And such is the con­dition of the wicked; a gale of prosperity, hoisteth them up; that they neither know them­selves, nor where they are; a blast of adversity blowes them downe; and makes them teare the heavens with murmuring; and themselves with impatience. No state, no time, no place con­tents them: that it may be truely said, There is no ungodly man, that is not a kind of a foole; their being like chaffe, makes them light-hea­ded: they are onely wittie, to shew they have no wit; onely ingenious, to doe themselves hurt; their braines that should rest in their heads, are alwaies a working to finde out heads of unrest; adversity doth not please them; be­cause they are in a storme; prosperity doth not please them, because they are becalmed: A meane degree doth not please them, because it leaves them in the darke: Honour doth not please them, because it sets them in too much light: Labour doth not please them, because it breakes their rest: Ease doth not please them, because it gathers rust: Life doth not please them, because it is alwaies going away: Death doth not please them, because it never suffers them to come againe. That let come what will come, the wicked make sure worke, to be never [Page 98] contented. Where the godly are as a cube; tosse them and tumble them, how yee will; yet they have a bottome still to light upon: and we may truely say, There is no godly man, that is not truely wise, their wits are alwaies imploied to finde out reasons of contentment: Poverty pleaseth them, because they have nothing to lose: Riches please them, because they have something to give: Adversity pleaseth them, because they may shew patience: Prosperity pleaseth them, because they may shew charity: A meane estate pleaseth them, because they may be quiet: Honour pleaseth them, because they may be humble: Labour pleaseth them, because it is a good exercise: Ease pleaseth them, be­cause it is a good recreation: Life pleaseth them, because they have something to doe: Death pleaseth them, because they rest from their labours. That let come, what can come; the godly make sure worke, to be ever conten­ted: Let Fortune appeare in what shape shee will; yet a godly man, is Faber fortunae suae: he can worke her, and frame her, to his owne like­ing; that the Prophet may well justifie his si­militudes: The godly are like a tree, which stands fixt and immoveable; The wicked are like to chaffe, which is scattered about.

It is a miserable thing to be in slavery; much more to be in slavery to a tyrant; but to a malicious tyrant, a misery most intolerable. If the Prophet had onely said; The wicked are like to chaffe, which is scattered about; though this had [Page 99] beene a slavery; yet there had been hope they might have lighted on a gentle Master: but when he saith, They are like the chaffe which the wind scatters; this makes them in a desperate case; they are now in slavery to a malicious tyrant; and no possibility of any good for ever. We may observe, there are divers kindes of scatterings: it is said of a liberall man; that he scatters abroad, when hee gives to the poore; and it is said of a husband-man; that hee scatters abroad, when hee sowes his seede: and these are good scatterings; for they are waies to gathering; though they be scatterings, for a time, yet they be gatherings in the end; and such scattering is a blessed thing; but the scattering of the chaffe by the wind; is not a way to gathering; you may as soone gather the wind in your fist; as gather the chaffe, when the wind hath once scat­ter'd it; it is a scattering first and last: and such scattering is a miserable thing. And wee may know the condition of the scattering, by the conditions of the scatterer: For Almes are scat­tered, by a mercifull hand; and seed is scattered by a provident hand: but this chaffe is scattered by a malicious hand: the hand of Satan; that will never leave scattering them, till he have scattered them for his own gathering; which is the finall; yet the endlesse scattering. And there­fore it seemes well observed in Scripture; that when the godly die, it is said; They are gathered to their Fathers; but when the wicked die, there is no gathering to their fathers spoken of; but their [Page 100] scattering must be understood, to be first & last; a scattering, both here, and in another World.

And now, if you cannot choose but thinke it, a miserable thing, to be this chaffe; you can as little choose but thinke it, a miserable thing, to be a wicked man: For whatsoever is seene or said of this chaffe; is true, and more true of a wicked man. The chaffe is light, and makes no weight in the ballance; but the wicked are lighter than vanity it selfe; they are not worth putting in the ballance. The chaffe is not mo­ved, but when the wind blowes; but the wicked are moved when there is no wind at all; they are afraid where no feare is. The chaffe hath the wind without it, that disquiets it; but a wicked man hath the wind within him: (his owne passions) that disquiet him. The chaffe is an absolute abject; and can never rise in value, but the wicked are more absolute Reprobates; and shall never rise in judgement. The chaffe is not suffered in the heape of the Wheate; but the Wheate shall be lesse suffered, in the congre­gation of the Righteous. The chaffe is perse­cuted but by the wind of the aire; but the wic­ked are persecuted by the Prince that ruleth in the aire: The chaffe is troden under foot, but by men and beasts; but the wicked shall be trampled upon by the Divell and his angells.

If that which is spoken of the godly man, may be applied to the man Christ Jesus; then certainly, that which is spoken of the ungodly, may be applied to the wicked Iewes: For no [Page 101] chaffe was ever more troden under foote; no chaffe more scattered upon the face of the earth: that it seemes verified of them, which David speakes in another place; Let them be as chaffe: and let the Angell of the Lord persecute them.

The Prophet hath now said fully as much, as need to bee said, in proofe of his two positi­ons; A godly man is blessed; A wicked man is mi­serable: and why then will hee use any more words? Is it, that as a good Mathematician, hee will not onely make a demonstration; but adde a corollary? Or is it, that considering it is the office of a Prophet, chiefly to tell of things to come; hee insists not upon the pre­sent misery of the wicked: but as more pro­perly belonging to his office, he discovers the misery, they shall have hereafter; and indeed, who but a Prophet, could have made this dis­covery? Or is it, that the present misery of the wicked, as a thing, more obvious, and ap­parent; he leaves to bee gathered, from the similitude it selfe; but their future misery, as a thing lesse knowne, and more concealed; he will not leave, to the venture of others con­struction; but for more surety, will bring it in, himselfe: and therefore, as the similitude con­sisted of two parts; They are like to chaffe; and to chaffe, which the wind scatters; so he brings in, an inference, consisting of two parts, to an­swer them; They are like to chaffe: Therefore they shall not rise in the judgement; and to chaffe. which the winde scatters: Therefore they shall [Page 102] not be of the Congregation of the Righteous.

But is not this a strange inference? Tho un­godly, are like unto chaffe; therefore they shall not rise in the judgement; for being as chaffe, they should rise the rather. For what is apter to rise, than that which is light? and what is lighter than the chaffe? And yet the inference, not so strange; as the consequence, dangerous: for if the ungodly, shall not rise in the judge­ment: what shall then become, of two Articles of our faith; the generall Resurrection; and the generall Iudgement? how will the Pro­phet avoide, the imputation of a Sadduce? how will hee hold fellowship with St. Paul, who makes a solemne protestation, that He beleeves the resurrection shall be, both of iust and uniust? Yet let not this trouble us: for both the inference, will be plainely enough justified; and the dan­gerous consequence, easily avoyded. For take the inference, as it is intended; and what can be plainer? the ungodly, are like to chaffe; there­fore they shall not rise in the Iudgement: for, the Iudgement is as a Ballance; but to rise in the judgement, is not to rise in the ballance; which is a worke of lightnesse, and makes rejected: but it is a pressing downe the ballance; which is a rising in value; and makes accepted. And as the inference, is thus justified: so the dange­rous consequence, not onely is easily avoided, but the directly contrary consequence, neces­sarily inferred: The ungodly shall not rise in the Iudgement; therefore there shall be a generall [Page 103] Resurrection. For the Iudgement indeed, is as a ballance, to try the weight of things; but how can the weight of any thing be tryed, if it bee not put into the ballance, and how can it bee put into the ballance, if it come not where the ballance is? when therefore the Prophet affirmeth, that the ungodly shall not rise in the Iudgement; is it not a necessary consequence, that they shall rise to the Iudgement? For how can it bee tryed, whether they shall rise in the Iudgement, or no; if they come not to the Iudgement, where they are to be tryed? The generall Resurrection, shall bee before the Iudgement; and therefore this rising in Iudge­ment; is a rising after the Resurrection; and so, the not rising here, no hinderance to the ri­sing there; but rather ensorcing that generall, that there may bee this particular.

But what say wee then, to that saying of Christ; Hee that beleeveth not, is judged already; for being judged already, hee needs not come any more to Iudgement? seeing none shall be judged for one cause, twice. Wee say, this is no consequence neither: For, what greater unbeleevers, than those in the Gospell, who cast out divels in Christs Name; yet did not so much as professe Christs Name? and yet even those shall come to Iudgement: for Christ tels, what answere shall bee made them, when they come there. How then is it true that they be judged already? Not by the sentence of the Iudge, but by the prejudice, of their cause: and this [Page 104] is no hinderance, for their comming to Iudge­ment. If the Prophet had sayd; The ungodly shall not rise, to the Iudgement; the Sadduces indeed might have taken hold of this; and iustly claymed him to bee of their side: but when hee onely saith, they shall not rise in the Iudgement; this is no more, then St. Paul would have said himselfe, if hee had beene in the Pro­phets place: for who ever thought, the ungod­ly should rise, in the Iudgement; who are sure to fall in the iudgement? seeing their Iudge ment shall bee to condemnation; and not to deliverance. To rise to the Iudgement, is to be brought to publique tryall: and this is the generall Resurrection, that we beleeve; but to rise in the Iudgement; is upon tryall, to come off with credit; and by the sentence of the Iudge, not onely to be iustified, but advanced: and who ever beleeved; this rising to belong to the wicked? It is therefore well observed by One; that St. Paul cals the resurrection of the Iust, [...]: to shew, that every one shall have their [...]: to bee raised up; but none but the Iust, shall have [...]: to bee raysed up, and be exalted.

And indeed, in this kinde of rising; how can any of the ungodly rise; who have so many standing ready to pull them downe? Cain can­not rise here; and with him, no murthe­rer, nor malicious person; for if he but offer, to come in place; the wounds of Abel, fall a bleeding afresh; and cry out for vengeance. [Page 105] Saul cannot rise here; and with him, none that trust in the world; and distrust in God: for though the witch of Endor, could raise up Sa­muel to Saul; yet shee cannot here raise up Saul to Samuel. Dives cannot rise here; and with him no glutton, nor covetous person; for the blisters of Lazarus are rising upon them; and keepe them from rising. Simon Magus cannot rise here; and with him, none guilty of simony or bribery: for Simon Peter, hath stopped all their rising with this, Thou and thy money perish together. The like may be said, of all other un­godly ones, as many as the chaffe, can challenge to be like it; that it is no hard matter, to prove the Prophets saying, true: it is impossible it should bee false; The ungodly shall not rise in the Iudgement.

But may wee not draw the similitude; and will not the similitude draw the wicked into a further degree, of not rising in Iudgement; than this, now spoken of? For, cast both wheate and chaffe into the ground; and after a few daies, you shall see the wheate rise flou­rishing up; and rise up daily more and more; till it come to a fit ripenesse, to be brought in­to the Barne: but you shall never see more of the chaffe, then to lie dead in the place; swel­tring and mouldring in its owne corruption. And this is even intimated, in the similitudes themselves: For in the similitude of the godly; the Prophet first expresseth passion; and then, action: First, the Tree is planted; and then, it [Page 106] brings forth fruite: but in the similitude of the wicked, he expresseth nothing but passion; They are like to chaffe, which the winde scatters: and seeing, the wicked are like to chaffe, in which there is nothing, but passivenesse; how should they rise in the Iudgement, which is a worke of activenesse? But will not this bring us againe, into a relaps, of denying the generall Resurre­ction? Not at all. For though the chaffe cannot rise, by any principle of motion, it hath in it selfe, as the Tree doth; yet it may bee raised up, by the working of the winde: so though the wicked cannot rise, by any seed of life, re­maining in themselves, as the godly shall; yet they may bee raysed up, by the helpe of some outward operation. The godly, have Semen spiritus, sowne in their hearts by faith; They are Members of Christs body; They have this promise made them by Christ; that hee will raise them up at the last day: and therefore their rising shall be a rising to Iudgement; and a ri­sing in judgement; but the wicked have no such semen in them; They are no partakers of Christs body; They have no such promise, made them by Christ; and therefore their ri­sing shall be to Iudgement; but not in Iudge­ment; Their rising shall be by a violent drag­ging by some other; it shall not be a voluntary motion of their owne; it shall bee by infirmity of passivenesse: it shall not be, by any strength of activenesse; it shall bee by the power of Christs Resurrection; It shall not bee by [Page 107] participation of Christs Ascension. And so, the Prophets denying, the rising of the ungodly in judgement; is no Negation, of their rising to Iudgement, and therefore neither joynes hands with the Sadduces; nor shakes hands with our beliefe; nor yet opposeth St. Pauls protestation.

And as there shall be a generall Iudgement; in which the ungodly shall not rise; so after the Iudgement; there shall bee a particular congre­gation of the righteous, in which sinners shall not stand. And indeed, what society can there bee, betweene a tree, and chaffe? or who can thinke it fit, that trees and chaffe, should bee made companions? and as there is no reason, that the ungodly, having made others, by their counsell, to fall here; should rise themselves, in judgement hereafter; so there is no reason, seeing the righteous could not bee suffered to stand here in the way of sinners; that sinners, should bee suffered to stand hereafter, in the congregation of the Righteous. And here now a multitude of reasons, seeme assembled, as it were to make it good; that sinners neither can, nor ought to stand in this assembly. It is a con­gregation; which none can make but the righ­teous: for sinners are all rebels; and would make it a rout. It is a Court, where all must be neate and cleane; and so are none but the righteous; for sinners are all lepers; and would make it a spittle. It is an assembly of such onely as are chosen, and come when they are called; [Page 108] and such are onely the righteous: for sinners, are all intruders; and scorne to come, at any ones call. It is a company that makes a com­munion; and that can none doe but Saints; for sinners seeke every one their owne; and are all for themselves. They must be some, hands; some, feere; some, head; yet all members of one body: and so are only the righteous; for sin­ners are dismembred members; they would be all, head; yet cannot all, make a body. They must be all Gods friends; at least, such as he knowes; and such, are onely the righteous; for sinners are all meere strangers, and aliens from God.

Indeed before the Iudgement, the wheate and the chaffe, made both but one heape: but after the Iudgement, the wheate is received into the barne, and the chaffe is cast upon the dunghill, and scattered about. Before the Iudgement, the un­godly and the righteous, made both but one assembly; but after the Iudgement, the righ­teous make a City by themselves, which is the new Ierusalem; into which, no sinners shall bee suffered to enter; The righteous shall be taken, with the Bridegroome, into glory: and the ungodly with shame, shall be shut out of dores. For the Iudge hath a Fan in his hand, to winnow the chaffe from the wheate; and to separate the ungodly from the righteous: and this is his fanning; when to the comfort of all comforts, he shall say to the godly, Venite benedicti patris; Come ye blessed of my Father; and to the terrour of all terrours, shall say to the wicked; Ite male­dicti [Page 109] in ignem aeternum. Goe yee cursed, into everla­sting fire. And when Christ the Iudge hath once said the word, there can bee no tarrying; they shall presently be parted, they must pre­sently part; and so be parted, and so part; as never to stand together, never to come toge­ther any more for ever.

But seeing the future misery of the wicked, shall consist in two maine points; in poena Damni, & poena sensus: in paine of losse, and paine of sense: why would the Prophet speake here, of onely their poena damni, as their not ri­sing in Iudgement; and their not standing in the Congregation of the Righteous; but speake nothing at all, of their poena sensus? when yet to speak of their pain of sense; would make us more sensible of their paine; and more readily assent to the Prophets assertion, that wicked men are miserable? Is it, that he would not goe further, than the line of his similitude would leade him? and he saw, that his similitude would not reach to Poena sensus? For, how can chaffe, which is a thing without life or sense, be able to expresse a misery, in which there is life onely, that there might be sense; and sense only, that there might be paine? Or, is it, that indeed it needed not; seeing the paine of losse, is misery enough to make a hell of it selfe; and able to bring upon the wicked, as much as Christ affirmed; even weeping and wailing, and gnashing of teeth. For, if ever misery deserved weeping of eyes; if ever losse deserved gnashing of teeth; this is the [Page 110] misery, that they shall not rise in the Iudge­ment; by which, they shall never come to see the blessed face of God; and this is the losse; that they shall not be of the Congregation of the Righteous; by which they shall for ever be ex­cluded from all society with Saints and Angels. Ahasuerus asked Haman, What should be done to the man, whom the King would honour? and Haman supposing himselfe should be the man; made answer, Thus and thus shall be done unto him; but when the King appointed Mordecai to be the man; and himselfe the man to see it executed; Oh, what torment, what anguish and vexation, did then surpize the soule of Haman; to be him­selfe thus basely imployed; and the man hee most scorned, so highly exalted? Such, and in­finitly greater, shall be the torment and anguish of minde to the wicked, when rising to the Iudgement, they shall not rise, in the Iudge­ment; but they which sate before in the chaire of scorners; shall now be scorned themselves; and to disgrace them the more, God himselfe shall turne scorner; as it is said, God shall laugh them to scorne; and have them in derision.

And now let the great men of the world, please themselves; and thinke it a happinesse, that they can rise in honours; can rise in riches and estimation in the world; yet alas, what is all this, if they faile of rising in the Iudgement to come? Let them please themselves; and thinke it a happinesse; that they are honoured in all companies where they comel; and have [Page 111] the solace of all the good fellowship the world can afford; yet alas, what is all this; if they faile to be admitted into the Congregation of the Righteous?

This rising in Iudgement, is that high glory, whereof Christ shewed a patterne, to St. Peter and Iohn, in his transfiguration; so high, that they were faine to be carried up into a moun­taine to see it; so glorious, that it put them in­to extasies to behold it; and yet but the lower Region of this rising neither: but when Saint Paul was taken up into the third heaven; where he might see much more than Peter and Iohn could see upon the mountaine; hee then saw so much glory as made him afflicted to ex­presse it; and could not expresse it, but by afflictions; the afflictions of this life, are not worthy of the glory that shall be revealed, not all the afflictions of the Prophets; of whom it is said, They were stoned; they were sawne asunder; were slaine with the sword; not all the afflictions of the Martyrs, of whom some were broyled upon Gridirons; some rosted upon Spits; some broken in pieces upon Racks and wheeles; put all together; and confined upon one man, yet can never make him worthy of the glory that is to come. And how then, O my soule, canst thou avoid the extasie of Peter and Iohn, but to thinke of this? how canst thou give David cause to say: Why art thou cast downe, O my soule; and why art thou so disquieted within me? for this rising there, will make ample amends, for [Page 112] all the fallings that can be here; for though it be a great fall, to be laid low in the earth; where the wormes shall eate this flesh of thine; yet it will be a greater rising, to be raised up into the mount, where thy body shall be made like to Christs glorious Body; and though thou maist say of thy selfe now, as Saint Paul said: O wretch that I am, who shall deliver mee from this body of death? yet when the time of this rising comes; it shall be said of thee; even of thee, O my body; as was said of Mordecai; Thus shall be done to the man whom God will honour.

This Congregation of the Righteous; is that new Hierusalem, of which it is said; Great and glorious things are spoken of thee, thou City of God. Great and glorious indeed; for if wee conceive in our mindes, the happinesse of a City, where there are millions of millions of Citizens; yet all, as loving mutually together, as David and Io­nathan; where there is Holinesse, immaculate; Peace, inviolate; Joy, ineffable; Pleasure, in­expressible: No time, but Eternity; no Place, but immensity: no noise, but of Musicke with songs of Allelujah: no sicknesse, but of love with the Spouse in the Canticles: no motions, but of mildnesse, where the Lambe is the leader: no words, but of wonder, where the Angells are si­lent; where God is All in All; and all and every one in God; this Congregation, is that City: but because no tongue can so well expresse it, as his, whose eyes did cleerely behold it; heare St. Iohn in his owne words; God shall wipe away [Page 113] all teares from all eyes; there shall be no more death; neither sorrow, nor crying; neither shall there be any more paine; there shall be no neede of the Sunne, nor of the Moone; for the glory of God shall lighten it; and the Lambe shall be the light thereof. Now there­fore, O my soule, Why art thou cast downe; and why art thou so disquieted within mee? What though thou flie as a bird, to the mountaines? what though thou dwell a while in the Tents of Mesek? this Congregation will make amends for all; not onely for Iohn Baptists desolatenesse in the wildernesse; but even for Iobs despised­nesse on the dung-hill. We may well be conten­ted to serve a Prentiship here; so we may come to be free of this City hereafter: here wee sweepe Kennells, there shall weare Crownes: here we are militant, there shall be triumphant: For Christ the crucified is our Captaine; and God our glory. And now we may see, there was no need at all, why the Prophet should ag­gravate the hell of the damned, by adding their sense of paine; seeing no bottome of hell can be so deepe as this, to be barred for ever, from this rising in Iudgement; and to be excluded for ever, from this Congregation of the Righ­teous. And so all this goes on upon the score still; to make up the full measures of the blessed­nesse of the godly; and of the misery of the wicked; that no Art can shew Principles so ir­refragable; Positions so infallible, as these of the Prophet; A godly man is blessed; A wicked man is miserable.

[Page 114] But how happens this sudden alteration in the Prophet? he was so reserved at first, and made so dainty but onely to name a Righteous man; that hee would not doe it, though it were to bring him to inherit blessednesse; and now on a sudden, he brings them in by troupes; a whole Congregation of the Righteous at once? Is it not, that he durst not presume to use the name of Righteous; till it were first determined of in the Iudgement? and till they had their station assigned them amongst the Saints? not only be­cause it cannot till then be knowne whether any such Title be due or no; (for who knew Iudas for any other than an holy Apostle; till Christ discovered him to be a Traitor? Or who knew the seven thousand that bowed not their knees to Baal; to be no Idolaters; till God, by his owne mouth made them knowne to Elias?) but because indeed, the name of Righteous, can by no right be given to any, till they be tryed, and have their approbation in the Iudgement: to make us know, that righteousnesse stands not so much in merit, as in acceptance; and though many may be so qualified, by delighting in the Law of God, as to inherit blessednesse; yet till by the Iudge, they be pronounced Righteous; they cannot rightly claime the Title: and there­fore David, who is no Herald to decide mens Titles; would not use a stile, that might not be due; and as little would detract from it, being once adjudged.

All the Prophet hath hitherto said; seemes [Page 115] to be but bare affirmations; only words that we must take upon his word; but now comes in a word of authority; this rationall particle, (for, or because) a little word, but of great command; which in all this Psalme, hath not been seene till now, and now, that it is come; we cannot well tell, why it is come: we know it brings a reason with it; but cannot easily finde, where this rea­son should lie. For, if we take the reason, as it seemes to lie; the ungodly shall not rise in the Iudgment; because God knoweth the way of the Righteous; is it not as unreasonable a reason, as if one should say; a Malefactor shall be punished, because the Iudge knoweth another to be an ho­nest man? and who would ever looke for such a blind reason from a Prophet? But is it not, that the Prophet hath a good opinion of our under­standing; and therefore trusts us to supply that, which by the Law of contraries, may plainly, or rather must necessarily be inferred? for having said; therefore the ungodly shall not rise in the Iudgement; nor be of the Congregation of the Righteous; he leaves us to supply; therefore the godly shall rise in the Iudgement, and make a Congregation by themselves; and then the rea­son stands ready, to tell wherefore; For the Lord knoweth the way of the Righteous.

But if this be a reason, to make the godly rise in the Iudgement; because God knoweth their way; why is it not then, as well a reason, to make the ungodly to rise in the Iudgement, seeing wee are sure, that God knowes their waie as [Page 116] well? and if Gods knowing the way of the righ­teous, be a sufficient cause to exclude the wic­ked; why is not his knowing the way of the wicked, as sufficient a cause to exclude the Righ­teous? Here, perhaps, we must be faine to doe, as Astronomers feigne to doe; make use of cer­taine Phaenomena; not that such things be indeed; but that wee may conceive them to be; for the better helping of our capacities. As to conceive that there is in God; (as to the purpose here) a twofold kind of knowledge: Scientia cognitionis, & scientia dignationis; that, common to God with men; this, proper to God alone; that, simple and without influence or operation; this opera­tive, and bringing blessings with it. In scientia Cognitionis, God knowes the wicked so well; that makes him say, In scientia dignationis, he knowes them not; but his scientia dignationis, is as a linke, that drawes with it the whole chaine of Gods goodnesse; for, whom hee knowes, he regards; whom he regards, he preserves; whom he pre­serves, he blesses; and with this kind of knowing, God knowes none but the Righteous; and therefore none but the righteous can have these blessings to rise in the Iudgement; and to be made a member of the Congregation of the Righteous. And now the Prophets reason is found where it lies; The godly shall rise in the Iudgement, because God knowes their way, In scientia dignationis; but the ungodly shall not rise in the Iudgement; nor be of the Congregation of the Righteous; because, although God know [Page 117] their way in his scientia Cognitionis; yet in his sci­entia Dignationis, he knowes it not.

But did not the Propher give a sufficient rea­son before, why the godly shal rise in the Iudge­ment, and make a congregation by themselves; when he said; They are like a tree? seeing a tree hath boughes and branches aspiring towards heaven; united in one roote, and making one body? but this perhaps, as being but a reason drawn from the similitude; the Prophet counts but a similitude of a reason, & takes it but upon a liking; the true reason, and which he insists upon, is this, which hee alledgeth here: For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous. For this indeed, is the true reason of all the blessings, that are or ever shall be to the godly; all their praises that went before; Their delighting in the Law of God; their exercising themselves in it; and whatsoever else; they are good conditions ne­cessarily required in them that must make this congregation; but the true cause and reason of making it, is this which the Prophet brings here; because the Lord knoweth the way of the righ­teous. For though it were a good likely reason, to say, The godly shall rise in the judgement; and make a congregation by themselves: be­cause They are like a tree; yet it may be asked, what makes them like a Tree? Godlinesse in­deed procures them to bee made like a Tree; but what makes them? For that which makes a thing, is a superiour cause, to that which pro­cures it, to bee made: and this superiour cause, [Page 118] the Prophet alleadgeth here; For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous. And though it were a like­ly reason to say; The ungodly shall not be of the congregation of the righteous; because they are like to chaffe, which the wind scatters; yet it may be asked, what makes them like to chaffe? Wic­kednesse indeed, procures them to bee made like chaffe; but what makes them? Here the Prophet is silent, and saies nothing; and by say­ing nothing, seemes to acknowledge, there is nothing to be said; wickednesse both procures them to be made like chaffe; and makes them like chaffe; they are both their owne ruine; and their owne ruinousnesse; God in this kinde, hath no hand at all in it; it is all their owne doing; Perditio tua ex te O Israel.

And may not a reason also be conceived thus, why the ungodly can never come to bee of the congregation of the righteous; because the ungodly and the righteous, goe two contrary waies: the righteous goe a way, that God knowes; and the wicked goe a way that God destroyes: and seeing these waies can never meete: how should the men meete that goe these waies? and to make sure worke, that they shall never meete indeed; the Prophet ex­presseth the way of the righteous, by the first linke of the chaine of Gods goodnesse, which is his knowledge; but expresseth the way of the wicked; by the last linke of Gods Iustice, which is his destroying: and though Gods Iu­stice and his mercy doe often meete; and are [Page 119] contiguous one to another; yet the first linke of his Mercy; and the last linke of his Iustice, can never meete: For it never comes to de­stroying, till God be heard to say, Nescio vos: and Nescio vos, in God; and Gods know­ledge, can certainely never possibly meete to­gether.

But why doth the Prophet say; The Lord knoweth the way of the righteous; and saith not ra­ther, The Lord knoweth the righteous? why saith hee; The way of the ungodly shall perish; and saith not rather, The ungodly shall perish? Is it not, that hee saith not, The Lord knoweth the righteous; because in another place it is said, There are none such for him to know; but hee knoweth the way of the righteous; and what is this way, but he which said, Ego sum via, veritas, & vita; I am the way, the truth, and the life? and the Prophet might well say, that God knoweth this way, seeing Christ saith; that none know­eth it, but he; None knoweth the Father, but the Sonne; and none knoweth the Sonne, but the Father. But what is this to us? That if we be engraf­ted into Christ, who is this way; then God in knowing this way, knowes us that are engraf­ted in this way; and this way indeed must God know us, or not know us at all; for if he know us not in Christ; in our selves, wee are sure he can never know us. Or is it, that the Prophet saith not, God knoweth the righteous; but the way of the righteous, perhaps least men, for doing one or two good deedes, in all their [Page 120] life, should claime to bee righteous; and for such righteousnesse, claime acquaintance with God; and so indeed, God might have acquain­tance enow: seeing no man is so wicked, but hee may sometimes have good thoughts; and doe good deeds: but this will not serve: it must bee a way of righteousnesse, before God will know it. Abraham had forsaken his Countrey, and sacrificed his onely sonne, with his owne hands; in obedience to God: before God came to say of him, Nunc cognovi te: and therefore it is not a turne or two that will serve the turne; it must be an exercising, day and night; a con­tinuall walking in the Law of God, that must make it a way, for God to know. Indeed this way, is something of a strange condition; for sometimes, much and long walking, will not make it a way; and sometimes againe, a turne or two will doe it. Sometimes the giving of all a mans goods to the poore; will doe but poore good: and sometimes the giving, but of a small mite, will have no small might in it: sometimes the giving ones body to bee burnt, will have but cold entertainement: and sometimes the giving but a cup of cold water, shall bee counted a hot service. Saul seemes to have wal­ked long in a course of godlinesse; and yet with all he could doe; hee could not make it a way, for God to know: where the Thiefe on the Crosse, fetched, as I may say, but a turne about; and he made such a way of righteous­nesse, that Christ presently knew it; and tooke [Page 121] notice of it. It seemes the matter is all, with what feete we walke: for if we walke, with the feete of the body onely: (if there be no other goodnesse in our good deed, but onely the outward act of doing it) wee may walke long enough, before we make it a way of righ­teousnesse for God to know; but if wee walke with the feet of our hearts; (in faith and love) then, perhaps, small walking may sometimes serve: for the heart indeed, is a hard treadder; it leaves prints behinde, that will not easily be gotten out; and with these feete of the heart, the good Thiefe walked; or else, he could ne­ver have made a way of righteousnesse, for Christ to know, upon such a suddaine, as hee did. Howsoever, when it is once made a way; whether with much walking, or with little, yet God presently knowes it; and knowing it, de­lights in it; and as in the garden of Eden, will walke in it himselfe; and then indeed, it will be a full measure of blessednesse; pressing downe; and running over: For if In the presence of God, there be fulnesse of ioy for evermore: how pressing downe; how running over, must that joy he; where we enjoy his presence, not onely as walking by us; but as walking in us?

And if the Prophet had said, the ungodly shall perish; and not the way of the ungodly; it would have made us all afraid; we could hardly have found eight persons to put into Noahs Arke: for the best that are, have a spice of ungodli­nesse; enough to taint them, with the name of [Page 122] ungodly: but this is the measure of Gods mer­cy; pressing downe, and running over; that he will not suffer it to be a way of perishing, un­lesse it be a way of ungodlinesse first. And here the godly may take this comfort by the way; that it is not, their slippings, or treading awry; which may be by ignorance, or infirmity; that can make with God, this shipwracke of peri­shing: it must bee a way of ungodlinesse; which is not usually made without much wal­king and exercising, without resolute intenti­ons and endeavours; without set purposes, and persistings; that if a man be sure he is free from these; he may then be confident, he is safe from perishing. And though this way of the ungodly, and the way of the righteous bee very unlike; yet they are like in this; that this way also, is not made sometimes with much walking: and sometimes againe, it is made with a turne or two: for David walked in adultery, and mur­ther, a whole yeare together: and yet it made not a way of perishing; because hee had the teares of repentance, to wash away the prints of the steppes; and charity to cover them. But Iudas walked but a turne or two; for any thing we know; and it made a way, that made a­way himselfe; because hee neither washed it with repentance, nor covered it with charity. Howsoever the way bee made with much wal­king, or with little; yet if once it come to be a way of ungodlinesse; there is no way then but perishing; all the world cannot save him; he [Page 123] shall never be forgiven in this world, nor in the world to come. And here againe is the measure of Gods Iustice; pressing downe, and running over; pressing downe, because it pres­seth downe, to the bottome of the bottomlesse pit; and running over; because it runnes for ever. For then the way of the ungodly is said to perish; when there is no way left to save them from perishing: for such and so despe­rate, is the state of the ungodly, in the state of ungodlinesse; that no way is left them, ei­ther for helpe, or hope: For wherein, should they hope for helpe? Compassion will not helpe them; for The Lord will laugh them to scorne, in his high displeasure. Mediation will not helpe them; for God hath sworne; though Noah, Daniel, and Iob should speake for them, yet he will not heare them. Time will not helpe them; for they shal perish everlastingly. Place wil not helpe them; for they shall fall into a bottomelesse pit. Death will not helpe them; for they shall call for death, and it shall flee from them; that they may live to be tor­mented, with the worme that never dies. And here now, for very pitties sake, let me put all poore soules in minde; that they bee carefull to re­member that warning of Christ; Agree with thine adversary, while thou art in the way: for whiles we are in the way; there are waies left, to keepe us from perishing; There is a way of compas­sion; For God delights not in the death of a sinner; but that he should turne from his wickednesse and live. There is a way of Mediation; not of the men [Page 124] Daniel and Iob: but of the Mediatour betweene God and Man, Christ Iesus. There is a way of re­pentance; for if a sinner repent him of his sinne; God will put away his sinne out of his remem­brance. But if it once come to this, that the way of the ungodly doe perish; alasse then, there is nothing left, but woe upon woe: no way left for helpe: no way left of hope; nothing to be talkt of; nothing to be thought of; but perishing; not onely whilst the world en dures; but not when the world it selfe shall perish.

The Prophet gave a good reason before, why there shall be a congregation of the righteous; because God knoweth the way of the righteous; but why would he give no reason here, why the way of the ungodly shall perish? For to draw a reason from the law of contraries; as to say; Because God knoweth not the way of the ungodly; will not serve: for Gods knowing, may well be a strong reason; seeing it is a strong cause: a cause that is operative; and that to many de­grees: For whom God knowes, hee regards; whom hee regards, hee preserves; whom hee preserves, he blesses: but what cause can Gods not knowing be? for what operation can be in a Negative? yet so it is; Gods not knowing, workes by not working: for whom he knowes not, he regards not; whom he regards not, he preserves not; and whom hee preserves not, they presently fall, and perish of themselves. And the Prophet had great reason to give a [Page 125] reason there, because it was an Effect, that needed a cause; but hee had no reason to give a reason here; because it is an Effect, without a cause, without a cause Efficient, though not Deficient: and why then should hee give a rea­son, why the ungodly shall perish; seeing God not knowing them; there can be no reason given, why they should not perish.

When it is said, The way of the ungodly shall perish; the wicked take occasion by these words, to conceive a hope, as wicked, as foolish; that if the way of the ungodly shall perish; then the un­godly shall have no way to stand in; and if they have no place to be in; then they shall be no where; and if they be no where, then they shall not be at all; which is as much as they desire: for it never troubles them, not to be at all; so they may be sure, not to be troubled at all. But this is a conceit, not onely vaine, but wicked; for by perishing, is not meant, an utter annihilating, and dissolving into nothing; but they are then said to perish, when they are forsaken of God, and delivered over into the hand of Satan. For when the Iudgement is once past, and the chaffe separated from the Wheate; then there shall be a new heaven, and a new earth; but the old Hell shall continue still; and there the ungodly, and their way shall lie; For in the new earth, there shall be no way, for either the ungodly to walke in, or for sinners to stand in; but all, shall be Holy ground; and no feete shall walke, or stand there; but such onely, as have put off [Page 126] the shooes of corruption; or rather indeede, as have put on the shooes of incorruption.

The Prophet in the beginning of his Psalme; noted in the wicked, a triplicity of sinning: Walking in the counsell of the ungodly; stand­ing in the way of sinners; and sitting in the chaire of scorners; and here in the end of his Psalme, hee noteth a triplicity of their punish­ments; They shall not rise in Iudgement; they shall not stand in the congregation of the Righ­teous; and their way shall perish: and it may be thought, when the scorners heard; they should not rise in the Iudgement; this never troubled them; for they care not for rising; they are well enough as they are; they have a chaire to sit in; and they scorne to rise. And when the sinners heard, they should not stand in the Congregation of the Righteous; this did not much move them neither: for they like bet­ter, to be by themselves, in the way of sinners; than be bound to keep company with such pre­cise fellowes: but when the ungodly heare, that their way shall perish, and that they shall not have that way to walke in; this strikes them dead; their hearts are cleane done; and now would they be begging of Abraham, to send Lazarus to their fathers house, to warne their friends from following their courses, for feare of their curses.

And may it not now be truely said, that the Prophet hath performed both his prizes, 'to the full? for as before, he did not leave a godly man, [Page 127] till he had brought him to receive his portion in heaven: so now, he hath not left a wicked man, till he hath brought him to receive his portion in hell. For, the wicked have a portion too; though they were better be without it; a mise­rable portion, to have misery for a portion; yet so the Prophet in another place calls it; this is their portion; Fire and Brimstone; and a stormy Tempest. And now we may indeed say, the Pro­phet hath well ended his taske; and wee might say, happily; but that he ends it miserably: for he hath delivered his Psalme, as it were, in a tra­gicall forme; making it to beginne with bles­sednesse; and to end with perishing; but yet he hath so framed it; that we may easily reduce it, by helpe of the Law of contraries; into a more Comicall forme (if I may so speake) making it to begin with misery; and to end with blessed­nesse: and this perhaps, will be a forme more ca­pable of a Plaudite from our hands; and of an Io Paean, from our toungs; and may thus be framed; Miserable and wretched are the men, that have walked in the counsell of the ungodly; and have stood in the way of sinners; and have sate in the chaire of scorners; but have no delight in the Law of the Lord; nor in his Law will exercise themselves, either day or night: and they shall be like to chaffe, which the wind scatters. The godly are not so; but they are like a tree, plan­ted by the waters side; which will give its fruit in its time: the leafes also shall not wither; and whatsoever they doe, it shall prosper. Therefore [Page 128] the godly shall rise in the Iudgement; and (par­ted from the wicked) shall make a Congregati­on by themselves: For, the Lord knoweth not the way of the wicked; and the way of the godly shall be established.


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