TVVO TREATI­ses of the comforting of an afflicted conscience, writ­ten by M. Richard Green­ham, with certaine Epistles of the same argument.

Heereunto are added two Sermons, with certaine graue and wise counsells and answeres of the same Author and argument.

Imprinted at London by Richard Bradocke, for Robert Dexter, and are to be solde at the signe of the Brasen Serpent in Paules Churchyard, 1598.

To the right worshipfull S. Drue Drurie Knight. H. C. wish­eth increase of all heauen­lie vertues.

IT hath been the cōtinual practise (Right worshipfull) of the most faithfull stewards & dispencers of the misteries of God; not only to spende the time of their pilgrimage, inplanting and watering those partes of Gods vineyarde, wherewithall it hath pleased him to charge them for the present, but also (as much as in them lay) to helpe, and set forward the growth of them, euen vnto the day of their perfection. Amongst many other, our present author M. Richard Greenham, may bet set with the for­wardest in this ranke. A man, into whose prai­ses if I should enter, I should eyther be iniuri­ous to his desert, or tedious, especially vnto you, in whose memory he doth yet most liuely re­maine. But amongst many excellent gifts which were so plentyfully powred out vpon this man of God, not any one did more shine either to the glory of God, or his cōmendation amōgst men, then that especial gift he had to the raising vp of the cōsciences of those who frō [...]he sense of their infirmitieswere discouraged & cast down. And left this extraordinary gift, should with his [Page] d [...]cease die in the graue with him, he left in writing vnto vs, among many things somthing also of that argument, which after his death, with more speed then diligēce was sent vnto the presse. The same now being brought vnto me to be prepared for the second impression; the cōmon good of those, who frō these holy labours might raise vnto them selues a souerayne cōfort for their oppressed consciences; as also the reue­rent regard I had vnto the blessed memory of the deceased Author, incouraged, or rather in­forced me to looke more carefully vnto it, and finding the former edition very defectiue, to indeauour the correction of it, which is thus as you see obtained, & the volume thus far increa­sed by such written coppies of the like argumēt, as were ministred vnto me. All which, I am imboldened to present vnto your W. fauour & protection; partly for the vnfained loue you bare vnto the roote frō whence they sprang, & partly also for that interest you had in them by the former dedication. May it please your wor­ship therfore to accept thē, as the poore remain­der of that hope, which in the Authors life time promised more vnto vs, then the Lorde hath thougt vs worthy to enioy. Thus cōmending your W. and yours to the tuition of the almigh­ty, I humbly take my leaue.

Your worships in all duty to commande. H. C.

To the Reader.

OVR life, saith the Apostle, is a warfare, & euery day we are more or lesse to in­coūter with our aduersary. And therfore is the Church of God vpō earth called Militant, because the mēbers therof are prest soldgiers, stā ­ding continually vpon their garde, knowinge, that their enemy is an olde wily Serpent, and a fierce rauenous Lion, cōtinually seeking whom he may deuoure. But amongst many snares he hath laide to intrappe the soule of man, eyther presuming too much of himselfe, or deroga­ting too much from the graces of the spiritt in him, this is not the meanest, that he laboureth, to deuide the kingdome against it selfe, and to vse men as his instrumentes for their owne destruction. For well he knowes, that where cumming in his owne likenes, he should seeme odious and be valiently resisted; there, masked vnder a vayle of humilitie, he may more secretly incroch vpō the fearful spirit; & if the Lord doth not put the bitt into his mouth, to curbe him with, he may at length display his banners in the heart. But we haue a valiant leader, let vs sticke vnto him, euen Iesus Christ the righte­ous, who is a Serpent also lift vp in the wildernes to cure all whose hearts are scorched with the venemous heat of the firie serpent; who is a Lion of the Tribe of Iuda, [...] [...]mightie prince, and the king of peace, who shall subdue all thinges vnder him that he may be all in all. I might here enter into a large discourse, but in this argumēt [Page] this present booke is so copious, as I doubt (gentle Reader) whether thou shalt finde any want; much lesse of that which I am able to af­forde thee. Onely it had beene to be wished the Author of these Treatises, had himselfe sur­uiued to the publishing of them, that the same might haue come more full & perfect into thy handes. But since it hath pleased the Lord, for cause best knowne vnto himselfe, to bereaue his Church in this land, of so excellēt a piller, there remaneth nothing for vs, but to submit ourselues vnto his prouidence, & to take vp that cōplaint of Elisha for Elias, when he was takē frō him into heauen. My Father, my Father, the Charet of Israell & the horsemen therof. But to returne vnto our selues, thou art to be intreated, courteous reader, to take in good part these few things at this time, & to make thine vse of them, till some other (the only true coppies wherof are yet in the hands of his friends) may be obtained of them. Amongst which there are many things of diuers argumēts worthy thy knowledge, & of good profit vnto the direction of a Christian life; Of which I haue thought good to set down vnto thee a briefe ca­tolog, that thou maist know: that as our Authors labours in the ministery of the gospell, were ex­ceeding great in that part of the Church which was cōmitted vnto him, so as he might, he was not vnmindfull of posterity, but carefull to leaue a remembrance of himselfe in some profitable instructions for those that should come after. Farewell.

Thine in the Lord. H. C.
  • 1 A large Treatise of the Sabboth.
  • 2 A Catechisme.
  • 3 A Treatise of contract
  • 4 Of the resurrection of the dead▪
  • 5 Of the last iudgement.
  • 6 Of zeale.
  • 7 Of humlity and honour▪
  • 8 Of anger.
  • 9 Of murmuring.
  • 10 Of a good name.
  • 11 Of lying.
  • 12 Of the necessity of the word preached.
  • 13 Of keeping the heart aboue all thinges.
  • 14 Of the kingdome of heauen compared vn­to a pearle.
  • 15 Of the comming of the holy Ghost.
  • 16 Of reioycing in the Crosse of Christ.
  • 17 A great number of graue and wise counsels and answers, gathered by Master Iohn Hopkins and others that attended him for that purpose.

An Epigrame to the Reader.

THE thirstie soule, that fainteth in the way,
Or hunger-bit for heauenly foode doth long:
The wearied Hart, that panteth all she way
Oppressed with feares, & home-bread griefs among;
The blinded eye, that hunt's the shining ray,
Or minde enthralde, through Satans wily wrong:
Let hither fare for comfort in their neede;
For smothered flames a greater fire will breede.
Here siluer streames shall quench thy boyling heat,
And hony dewes thy hungrie stomacke fill,
Heere sweete Repose with Comfort shall intreate
Thy wounded breast to cure with busy skill,
Hence fetch thy ransome howsoeuer great,
A mine of treasures are in this faire hill;
From whose hye top thy scaled eies may see
A glorious light that shall enlighten thee.
The streames are bloud, the dew is bread frō heauē
The Rest and Comfort are coelestiall ioyes;
The ransome from the crosse was freely giuen,
The light is faith, which darknes all destroyes.
THrise happy man that guides his steps so euen,
As his pure light no gloomy darke annoyes.
His ransom'd soule aeternall ioyes shall win
When timelye death shall blessed life begin.
H. C.

A MOST SVVEET Comfort for an afflicted Conscience.

It is thus written, Prouerb [...]. 18.14.

The Spirit of a man will sustaine his infirmi­tie: But a wounded Spirite who can beare it?

THis Scripture is not onely worthy to be grauen in steele with the penne of an Ada­mant, and to bee written in letters of golde; but also to be laide vp registred by the finger of God his spirit in the tables of our hearts. Which sentence briefly speaketh thus much vnto vs, that what trouble befal­leth a man (his minde being vnappalled) hee will indifferentlie beare it out; but if the spi­rit [Page 2] of a man be once troubled and disma [...]ed, hee cannot tell how to be deliuered. And no maruell; for if the minde of man be the fountaine of consolation, which ministreth comfort vnto him in all other troubles; if that become comfortlesse, what shall com­fort it? If it be voyde of helpe, when shall it bee helped? If the eye which is the light of the bodie be darkenesse, how great is that darkenesse? If the salt which [...]auo­reth all thinges be vnsauorie, for what is it good? If the minde which sustaineth all troubles be troubled, how intollerable is that trouble? To shew this the better, I wil first de­clare howe greate a punishment of God this wounde of conscience is: Secondly I will teach how this trouble of minde may be preuented and auoyded: Lastly I will set downe how Gods children faling in some measure into this affliction of [...]pirite, may bee recouered out of it.

For the first, the grieuousnesse of this mal­ladie is seene, eyther by some due considera­tion of the persons that haue felt it; or by some wise comparison made betweene this griefe of minde, and other outward griefes incident vnto a man.

The persons in whome we may consider this wounde of spirit, are eyther meerely na­turall men, or such as bee renued by the spi­rit [Page 3] of God: The men meerely naturall are either the Heathen such as neuer knew God in Christ, or carnall professors, such as haue not professed Christianitie aright. If wee looke among the Hearhen, how many of them haue willingly gone vnder pouertie, and haue beene content to vnburden them­selues of all worldly treasures? How haue some of them (whilest their mindes were vnappalled) suffered imprisonment, exile, and extreame tortures of bodie; rather than they would betray their Countries? Howe many of them haue deuoured many iniu­ries, and borne outwarde troubles, with some ease and with no resistance, whilest their mindes were at libertie? And yet looke not into the meanest, but the best and most excellent men among them, euen their wise Philosophers, sweete Orators, and exqui­site Poets; who in bearing and forbearing thought the chiefest pointe of vertue to con­sist; and yee shall see, when once some great distresse of minde did wounde them, some would make an ende of it by preparing a Cup of deadly poyson; some would violent­lye and voluntarily runne on the enemies pikes: some woulde throwe downe them­selues from hie Mountaines; some woulde not sticke to stabbe most monstrously their owne bodies with Daggers, or such [Page 4] like instruments of death: all which men would seeme to haue great courage in sustai­ning many harmes, so long as their mindes were not ouermastred. But when their di­uine and supreame Essence (which they accknowledged to be God) did by his pow­er crosse & ouerturne their witty deuises and headstrong attempts, so as without hope of remedie they were hampered in pensiuenes and sorrow of minde: then not being able to turne themselues vnder so heauie a bur­then, they shrunke downe, and by violent death would ridde themselues of that disqui­etnes & impatience of their troubled minds.

But let vs come neerer; and whether wee behold the Papists, or the familie of loue, or the common sort of Christians, wee shall see they will passe quietly through many af­flictions, whether for that they haue a spirite of slumbering and numbnes cast vppon them; or whether because they haue braw­ned themselues through some sencelesse blockishnes as men hewen out of hard Oaks, or grauen out of marble stones I know not: But yet when the lord shal let loose the corde of their consciences, and shall set before their faces their sinnes committed; see what fearefull endes they haue, whilest some of them by hanging themselues, some by casting themselues into the water, some [Page 5] by cutting their own throats haue rid them­selues out of these intollerable griefes. Now wherein is the difference that some die so sencelesly, and some dispatch themselues so violently? Surely the one feeling no sinne, depart like brutish swine; the other surchar­ged with sinne, die like barking Dogs.

But let vs come to the children of God, who haue in some degree felt this wounde of minde; and it will appeare both in the members and in the heade, of all burthens to bee a thing most intollerable to sustaine a wounded conscience. And to beginne with, let vs set in the first ranke Iob, Iob. that man of God commended vnto vs by the holy Ghost for a myrrour of patience; who although for his riches hee was the wel­thiest man in the land of Huz; for his autho­ritie, might haue made afraid a great mul­titude; and for his substance was the grea­test of all the men in the East: Yet when the Shabeans came violently and tooke away his cattell; when the fier of God falling from heauen, burnt vp his sheepe and his seruants; when the Caldeans had taken away his Camels; when a greate winde smote downe his house vppon his children; al­though indeede hee rent his garmentes, which was not so much for impatience, as to shewe that he was not senceles in these [Page 6] euils: Yet it is saide that hee worshipping blessed the name of the Lorde, saying: Naked came I out of my mothers wombe, and naked shall I returne thither: The Lorde gi­ueth and the Lorde taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lorde.

But beholde when at the strange confe­rence of his comfortlesse friendes, his minde beganne to be agast, which was not so in all his former tryall, when his conscience began to be troubled, when he sawe the Lord fasten in him sharpe arrowes, and to set him vp as a Butte to shoote at; when hee thought God caused him to possesse the sinnes of his youth, this glorious patterne of patience coulde not beare his griefe: he was heauye, and nowe may commende, the Image of a wounded spirite, to all that come after. Dauid, Dauid. a man chosen according to the Lordes owne heart: Ezekiah, Ezekiah. a pure worshipper of God, and carefull restorer of true Religion; Ieremiah, Ieremiah. the Prophet of the Lorde, sanctified and or­dained to that Office before hee was for­med in his mothers wombe, were rare and singular in the graces and fauour of God: yet when they felt this wounde pearcing them with griefe of heart, they were as Sparrowes mourning, as Cranes chattering, as as pel­licans casting out fearefull cries, they thought themselues as in the graue, they [Page 7] wished to haue dwelt solitary; they were as bottels parched in the smoke, they were as Doues mourning, not able without sighes and grones to vtter their wordes, their hearts cloue to the dust, and their tongues to the roofe of their mouthes.

But aboue all; (if these were not not suffi­cient to perswade vs in this doctrine) there remaineth one example, whome we affirme to be the perfect anatomie of an afflicted minde. This is the Lorde and Sauiour Iesus Christ the Image of the father,Christ Iesus. the heade of the bodie, the myrrour of all graces, the wisedome, righteousnes, holines, and re­demption of all the Saints, who sustained the Crosse euen from his youth vpward: and besides pouertie, basenes, hunger, did wil­lingly goe vnder the greate trouble of con­tempt and reproch, and that among them where he should haue had a right deserued honour, in respect of the doctrine he taught them, and in regard of the manifolde myra­cles be wrought among them; as the hea­ling of the sicke, the giuing sight to the blind, the restoring of life to the dead: This vnkind­nes neuertheles, did not so much strike into him. But at what time hee was set as a Sacri­fice for al, whē he was to beare our infirmities & carry our sorrowes, at what time hee was plagued & smitten of God, humbled & woun­ded [Page 8] for our transgressions, when hee should be broken for our iniquities, and the chastise­ment of our peace was vpon him; then he cried out; My soule is heauie euen vnto the death: Then he prayeth, Lord if it he possi­ble, let this Cup passe from mee: But howe praieth hee? euen with sweating; how swea­teth hee? euen droppes of blood; how long praieth hee? Three times; when endes his agonie? not vntill he was dead; What said hee beeing readie to depart? My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken mee.

Was this for his humane death, as some haue imagined? No no, wicked men haue died withthout complaint, whose patience then might seeme to exceede his; it was his suffering in his humane Spirite, which incountred with the wrath of God, his God­head suppressing it selfe for a while: he suffe­red indeede many tormentes in bodie, but much more heuily did the wrath of God lie vpon his soule.

If this consideration of an afflicted spirit in these examples doe not sufficiently shew what a grieuous thing it is to sustaine a wounded conscience: Let vs proceede to the comparing of this with other euils, which fal into the nature of man. There is no sicknes but Phisicke prouideth for it a remedy, there is no fore but Chirurgery wil afford it a salue; [Page 9] Friendship helpeth pouertie; There is noe im­prisonment, but there is hope of libertie; Suite and fauour recouer a man from banishment; Authoritie and time weare away reproch: But what Phisicke cureth? what Chirurgerie salueth? what riches ransometh? what counte­nance beareth out? what authoritie asswa­geth? what fauour relieueth a troubled Con­science? All these banded together in league, (though they would conspire a confederacy) cannot help this one distresse of a troubled minde; And yet this one comfort of a quiet minde doth wonderfully cure, and comforta­bly asswage al other griefes whatsoeuer. For if our assistance were as an host of armed sol­diers; If our frinds where the Princes and the Gouernours of the earth; If our possessions were as large as betweene the East and the west; If our meate were as Manna from hea­uen; If our apparrell were as costly as the E­phod of Aaron; If euery day were as glorious as the day of Christs resurrection; yet if our mindes bee appalled with the iudgements of God, these thinges would little comfort vs. Let experience speake; If a troubled minde impareth not health, drieth not vp the blood, wasteth not the marrowe, pineth not away the flesh, consumeth not the bones, if it ma­keth not all pleasures painfull, and shortneth not the life; surely no wisdome can councell [Page 10] it, no counsell can aduise it, no aduise can as­wage it, no asswagement can cure it, no eloquence can perswade it, no power can ouer­come it, no Scepter wil affray it, nor inchaun­ter can charme it. And yet on the contrary, if a man languish in sicknes, so his hart be whole, and is perswaded of the health of his soule, his sicknes doth not grieue him: If a man bee reproched, so he be p [...]ecious in the sight of God and his Angels, what losse hath hee? If a man be banished, and yet doubteth not that heauen is his Country, and that hee is a Citizen among the Saints, it doth not ap­pall him: If a man be in trouble, and find­eth peace of conscience, hee will quietly di­gest his trouble. But if the minde be trou­bled, who dareth meete with the wrath of the Lorde of Hoasts? who can put to silence the voice of desperation? who will step out and make agreement with the hells to spare vs; who dare make a couenant with the Diuell, that hee woulde not lay claime vnto vs? If then a good Conscience hel­peth all euills, and all other benefits in this life, in themselues cannot help a troubled cō ­science; we se it true in proofe; which here is in prouerbe; The spirit of a man will susteine his infirmitie: But a wounded Spirit, Who can beare it?

Againe, in all other afflictions we may [Page 11] haue some comfort against sinne; this is euer accompanied with the accusation of sinne. A man may be sicke, reproched, impoue­rished, imprisoned, and banished; and yet in all these haue a cleare conscience; his owne heart telling him that there is noe speciall cause of these crosses in him, but that he may suffer them for the triall of his faith, or for righteousnes sake and well doing. But when the spirit is wounded, there is stil a guiltines of sin, and when a mans spirit is troubled, he suspecteth all his waies, he feareth al his sins, he knowes not what sinne to begin with; it breeds such hurly burlyes in him, that when it is day he wisheth for night; when itis night he would haue it day, his meat doth not no­rish him; his dreames are fearefull to him, his sleepe oftimes forsaketh him; If he speaketh, he is little eased; if he keepeth silence, hee boileth in disquietnes of heart; the light doth not cōfort him, the darkenes doth terify him.

To prosecute our comparisons; where al other euils are the more tolerable, because they be temporal, & pursue vs but to death: this not being cured endeth not in death, but becommeth eternall. For euen the hea­then men thought that death was the end of all misery: the perswasion whereof made them (beeing in some misery) to make an ende of themselues, and hasten their [Page 12] owne death; as Sathan doth make many now a daies to doe, who are ignorant of the hell, which is a place of farre greater paines than any they can suffer in this worlde whatsoe­uer. Howebeit a tormented conscience, if before it was begun, is now continued; or if it was not before, now beginneth and ne­uer endeth world without ende. For though true it is, that sicknes, pouerty, imprisonmēt or banishmēt haue ended their term in death; yet a woūded hart which was tēporal in this life, is nowe eternall after this life: that which be­fore death was in hope recouerable, is after death made vncurable & vnrecouerable. It is good therefore to consider, if euen in this life the torment of conscience be so fearefull; how much more grieuous it is to susteine it in hell, where that is infinite, which here is finit; where that is vnmesurable, which here is mesurable: where is the sea of sorow, wher­of this is but a drop, where is the flame of that fire, wherof this is lesse then a sparke.

But to shut vp this argument: Some there haue beene who through out all their life time, haue been free from all other troubles, so as either they felt them not at all, or else in very small measure, and by that meanes neuer knewe what outward trouble meant. As for example, some men there haue beene, who for sicknesse neuer knewe there heade­ach; [Page 13] for pouertie, neuer knewe what want meant; who for discredite, were neuer e­uill spoken of; who euer put farre from them the euill daye of the Lorde; who made a league with death as it were, & a couenant with hell; who thought they could crucifie e­uery crosse, rather thā come vnderany crosse: yet they could neuer escape a wounded con­science, either in this life, or in the life to come. True it is, that Gods Children by faith & repentance do often escape it, but the wic­ked, and such as are borne vnto it, as to their sure inheritance; the more they flie from it, the more it pursueth them. If we haue trans­gressed the Ciuil Lawes, the Iudge by bribes may be corrupted; if a man haue committed some capitall offence, by flying his Country he may escape the Magistrates handes: but our consciences telling vs that we haue sin­ned against God; what bribe shall we offer? or whether shall wee flie? whether shall wee goe from his spirit? or whether shall we goe from his presence? If we ascend into heauen, is not he there? If wee lie downe in hell is hee not there? If we flie to the vtmost parts of the sea, is he not there also? There needeth no apparitor to summon vs, there needes no Bayly arraunt to fetch vs; there needes noe accuser to giue in against vs: sinne will arrest vs, and lieth at the Doore, our owne Consci­ence [Page 14] will impannell a Quest against vs; our owne heartes will giue in sufficient Eui­dence, and our owne iniquitie will plead vs to be guiltie to our owne faces.

Thus we se both by the experience of thē that haue suffered the wound of the spirit, and by the comparinge of it with other euils, what a waight most grieuous and burden in­tollerable it is to haue a tormented consci­ence.

Now let vs shew how we may preuent; & by what meanes Gods children falling into some degrees of it,The se­cōde part of the first diuision. (for if it rage in extremity it is an euill vnrecouerable) may safely and quietly be deliuered from it. And here a iust complaint is to be taken vp, & it is a wonder to be marked (if we may wonder at Gods works) that we se many so carefull & watch­full to auoide o [...]her troubles, and so few or none take any paines to escape the trouble of minde which is so grieuous. We se men lo­uing health and loathing sicknes, in diet tem­perat, in sleepe moderate, in Phisicke expert, skilful to purge, & to auoide such corrupt hu­mors, which in time may breed (though pre­sently they do not bring forth) some dāgerous sicknes: yet to auoid the diseases of the soule, no man abateth his sleep, no man abridgeth his diet, no man prepareth Phisicke for it; no man knoweth when to be ful, and when to [Page 15] be emptie; how to want and how to abound. Others carried away with the loue of riches, & very [...]ly to fall into pouerty; will not sticke to rise early, to take sleep lately, to fare hard­ly, to teare & taw their flesh in labour by land & by water, in faire & foule wether, by rocks and by sands, from farre and from neare: and yet to fall into Spirituall decaies, to auoid the pouertie of conscience no man taketh such paines; as though saluation and peace of minde, were not a thing worthy the labouring for. Some ambitiously hunting af­ter honor, & not easily digesting reproaches, behaue themselues neither sluggishly nor sleepely; but are actiue in euery attempt, by loue & by counsell, by prudence & prowesse, by wit & by practise, by labor & learning by cūning, & diligence to become famous, & to shun a ciuill reproach: yet to bee glo­rious in the sight of God and his Angelles, to fall before the heauens, and in the presence of the Almightie to bee couered with shame and confusion of Conscience, we make none account, as they, who neyther vse any means to obtaine the one, nor auoide those occasions which may bring the other.

Others vnwilling to come within the reach and daunger of the Lawe, that they may escape imprisonment of bo­dye, or confiscation of goodes; will [Page 16] be painefull in penall statutes, skilfull in eue­ry branch of the ciuill law, and especially wil labour to keepe themselues from treasons, murthers, fellonies, and such like offences deseruing the punishment of death: yet whē the Lord God threatneth the seazure both of soule and body, the attaching of our spi­rits, the confiscating of our consciences, the banishing of vs from heauen, the hanging of vs in hell, the suspending of our saluation, the adiudging of vs to condemnation for the breach of his Cōmaundements no man sear­cheth his eternall Lawe; noe man careth for the Gospell: neither the sentence of euer­lasting diuorsement from the Lord, neither the couenant of reconciliation is esteemed of vs.

And to reach our Complaint one degree father. Behold, the more we seek outward pleasures and to auoide the inward trouble of minde, the more we hast and runne into it; & suddainely plunge our selues in a won­ded spirite ere we be aware. VVho posteth more to become rich who hopeth lesse to be come poore than the marchant man? who aduentureth great treasures, who hazardeth his goods, who putteth in ieoperdie his life; and yet sodenly he either rusheth vpon the rocke of hardnesse of heart, or else is swallowed vp of the gulph of a desparing minde: [Page 17] from which afterwards he cannot be deliue­red with a ship ful of golde. Woful profe hath confirmed, how some men (wholly set on pleasures, such as could not away to be sad, and hedged vp alwaies of godly sorrow) haue had their tables made snares; and euen their excesse of pleasures, hath brought excesse of sorrowes: and whilest they laboured to put the euill day farre from them; they haue vsed such follies as haue beene the most bit­ter and speedie hang-men of their fearefull and trembling consciences.

There be some of another sort, who neuer dreaming of a troubled minde, haue had their harts set on nothing but howe they might get some greate fame and renowme; and therefore haue slipt into such vaine glo­rious attempts, and foule flatteries, as they haue not only lost the peace of their Consci­ences, but also fallen most deepely into re­prochfull shame, which they sought to shunne.

Now as the peace of conscience and ioye of minde is such a treasure, as the eye hath not seene, the eare hath not heard, nor the tongue expressed; but passeth all vnderstanding. So the wounded spirit is such as the eye hath not seene it, the eare hath not heard it, nor the tongue vttered, but passeth all vnderstanding. And as they onely knowe [Page 18] what the peace of minde meaneth, that feele it; so they alone can in trueth speake of a troubled minde, that haue tasted of it by experience.

Bet let vs shew what way is to be vsed to keepe vs from this wounde of the Spi­rit.How we may be preserued from the wound of Consci­ence. It is the vse of Phisicke, as to cure vs of diseases when wee are falne into them; so to preserue vs from sicknes before it hath taken holde of vs: it is the power of the worde, as to asswage the trouble of Con­science, when it doth once presse vs; so to preuent it before it hath ouertaken vs. It is a chiefe point of worldly wisdome not to tarry for the vse of Phisicke vntill we bee deadly sicke; but to be acquainted with GODS mercifull preseruations to de­fend vs from it; likewise it is a chiefe polli­cie of a godly Christian, not onely to seeke comfort when the agonie is vpon him, but also to vse all good helpes to meet [...] with it before it comes. And wee con­demne them of folly, who will not as well laboure to keepe themselues out of debt, as to pay the debt when they owe it: so it is a madnes not to bee as circum­spect to auoide all occasions, which maye bringe trouble of minde vppon vs; as wee woulde bee prouident to enter euery good waye which may drawe vs out of this [Page 19] trouble, when we haue once entred into it.

The remedies preseruatiue; are first the searching of our sinnes, & then the exami­ning of our faith.

The serching of our sinnes, is either the due acknowledging of our sinnes, or the true sense and feeling of our sinnes. The acknowledging of our sinnes, is eyther of those that bee past, whether wee haue vnfeinedly repented vs of them: or of those which bee present, whether wee be truelye greeued for them.

Thirdly of those secret corruptions, which in the course of our life are likely to come, whether wee are reuerently afraide of them and resolue to suppresse them with all our indeuour.

Concerning sinnes past, we must call to minde the sinnes done of old, in our youth, in our middle age, in our olde age; that we iudging our selues may not be iudged of the Lorde; that accusing of our selues, Sathan haue noe occasion to accuse vs; and throwing downe our selues before the Lord, he may lift vs vp. For many going quietly awaie, and sleeping in carnall securitie (not withstand-the sinnes of their youth) and neglecting to make conscience of their sinnes done long agoe; sodainely haue falne into such horrour o [...] minde, that (the violent remembrance of [Page 20] all their sinnes surcharging them) they haue beene ouerwhelmed.

This Examination dooth then rightly pro­ceede, when it is reacheth to the errors of this life, & to the sinnes of our youth; be­cause many men (euen from their childhood, by a ciuill righteous life) hauing escaped grose sinnes, wherewith the world could neuer charge them, haue notwithstanding ca­ried the burthen of their secret, sinnes done in their youth. Dauid (Psal. 25.7.) prayeth the Lord, not to remember the sinnes of his youth; Iob (23.6. the man of God) con­fesseth that the Lord writinge bitter things against him made him to possesse the ini­quities of his youth. What, shall we thinke that Dauid or Iob were giuen to notorious wickednes in their youth? No, they knew they were subiect to youthfull wantonnes and vnstaiednes of their affections; which though it did not burst out, yet it made them lesse carefull to glorifie GOD; which loosenes the way to leaudnes; which weak­nes, the waie to strange vanities; which wantonnesse, the way to open wickednes, is euen in the best of Gods Children in the daies of their youth: which being afterwards in the time of their regeneration, brought (as it were) to iudgement, and laide before their consciences, doth cause them to repent.

[Page 21]But here is a thing to be blushed at, which maketh mens eares to tingle when they heare it; that many men (farre noe doubt from this true repentance) can largely in­deed discourse of the things done in their youth; but in such a brauerie, with such boastings, and pleasing of themselues in the remembrance of them; as besides that they prouoke others to sinne in the like, and set themselues a flatte Backe-byas against Re­pentance and this Christian examination; they seeme to renewe the decayed colours of their olde sinnes, with the fresh suite of their second pleasures therein. But a­las what pleasure haue they in those things, whereof they haue noe profit? what profit haue they those thinges whereof they shoulde bee ashamed? Nether in this streine can wee forget the madnes of them, who may seeme to steppe one degree farther to­wardes this examination of sinne than did the former; by thinking that the leauing of sinne, and repenting of sinne is all one. Against these both daily experience and the word of God doth sufficiently declame. Io­sep [...]s brethren (Iacob his sonnes) who de­uised euill against their brother, put him into the pit, and solde him vnto strangers; did cease from this crueltie: but yet they are not read to haue remembered their sins [Page 22] with any remorce, vntill thirteene yeares af­ter the sinne was committed; as wee may see in the processe of the Historie. Dauid had left his sinnes of murther and adulterie (as thinking all quiet and well) the space of a whole yeare; after which time (being admonished by the Prophet Nathan) he repented of it. And experience hath tried in many that haue had some working of God in them, that though they left their sinnes many yeares agoe, yet because they repen­ted not truely for them, they haue rebound­ed vp on them with terrible sights & fea­full visions, to humble them, and to bring them to serious examination of them, be­ing done and left long since. Examples whereof wee neede not fetch from farre, seeing so many preachers as are acquainted with fearefull spirits will giue witnes hereof. The fruite of which amazed mindes for sins alreadie left, is ours, to beware of sinnes which are to come: And that other mens harmes may teach vs blessed wisdome, let vs labour not onely to leaue sinne, which one may doe for profite, for feare, for praise, or for werisomnes; but also to repent of it for conscience sake.

This Examination of our sinnes past, must bee partly of those that we committed bee­fore our calling, & partly of those which were [Page 23] done after our calling. Euery man (especially hauing his reason reformed by the worde of God) will graunt an examination of the life, before our true knowledge of God in Christ, to be most needfull: But it may be some wil thinke that wee neede not be so precise in the searching of those sinnes, which were after our knowledge. But seeing of all other sins these bite sorest, and pierce deepest, for that they are agrauated with all the mercies of God going before, and Sinne is then most sinfull, when after we knowe the truth, after wee haue beene deliuered from sinne, after wee haue beene inlightened with the grace of God, wee haue falne into it: I thinke that an examination most specially ought to be had of these sinnes. Wherefore to ite­rate our former examples in a new matter, as we may see the former kinde of examin­ing of our sinnes before our calling, in the sons of Iacob; so we haue a patterne of the lat­ter in the practise of the Prophet Dauid, who at the hearing of his sin was so troubled in his spirit, that he could not rest in the Prophets speach telling him his sin was forgiuē him, but still was disquieted, as one vtterly forsaken of God & could find no cōfort of Gods spirit in him. For as it fareth oftē with sores, it cōmeth to passe in sins we are loth to haue our woūds often grated vpon, we cannot so wel away to [Page 24] haue our sores rifled, seared, and lanced; but fed with healing salues: so we are hardlye brought to haue our consciences grounde, or our sinnes ransacked, sifted, searched, & ripped vp; but would still haue them plaist­ered with sweete promises, and bathed in the mercies of God: whereas it is farre safer before incarnatiue and healing Medicines, to vse corrosiue and mundifying waters, without which though some sores may seeme to close and skinne vp a pace, yet they proue worse, and being rotten still at the coare; they haue aboue a thin skin, & vnderneath deade flesh. In like manner, wee woulde cloake, we would hide and couer our sinnes, as it weare with a Curtaine; but it is more sounde Chirurgery to pricke and pierce our Consciences with the burning yron of the Lawe, and to cleanse the wounde of the Soule by sharpe threate­nings, least that a skinne pulled ouer the Conscience for a while, wee leaue the rottten corruption, vncured vnderneath; and so we bee constrained to crye out of our sinnes openly. As it is a folly then to disemble our soares whilest they bee curable, and after to make them know­en when they bee growen vncurable; so it is as greate folly to dissemble our sinnes [Page 25] whilest they may be remedied, and so after be constrained with shame to blaze them abroade when thy are remedilesse. But of this by the way, because wee shall more largely touch it in the last part to come.

It is sufficient to commit sinne before knowledge, but after some good light of the spirit to sinne, breedeth eyther hardnes of heart, or a troubled spirite; both which wee shall auoyde, if in trueth we be carefull to watch ouer our affections, and beware that after our deliuerie we fall not into sinne gaine.

Seuerall men subiect to seuerall sinnes, haue their seuerall checkes in their con­ciences: some are ouercome with wrath, and yet after the moodie fit they can tell that the wrath of man doth not ac­complish the righteousnesse of God; some are subiect to lust, and afterwardes they say, it profiteth them nothing. Some are giuen to a continuall course of vanitie, who notwith­standing can say, that mans l [...]fe hath another ende, some slip deepely into worldlinesse, and yet they bee often wakened with most terrible checkes of conscience. VVell, bles­sed are they whose heartes be truely grieued; and let them beware that make [...]aliance with sinne: for either hardnesse of heart will ouertake them, or a troubled coscience will [Page 26] confound them. Wherfore it comes to passe, that many spending their bodies on lust, la­ment that euer they so abused their strength; many giuen too much to the pleasure of this life, had griefe come vpon them, to re­member how they haue spent Gods graces, lauished his good giftes, and mispent their time; or else, if they haue not this griefe, they fall into voluptuousnes & draw such a thicke skinne vpon their heartes, as will cause the strongest denouncings of Gods iudgements to rebound, bee they driuen on neuer so hard. And sure it is the sinne of this worlde, that men beeing controled in their conscien­ces, whilest they are a praying, and feele a se­crete charge laid against them, to beware of guile in buying & selling; eyther haue these cheekes lesse and lesse, and so they grow to be prophane; or else afterward they are won­derfully wounded, that they haue beene so worldly, so greadely pursuing earthly things; so coldly procuring heauenly things. Thus euen our priuy thoughtes (not profited by) are breeders of farther trouble.

Now the remedie against this trouble is, willingly and wittingly not to cherish sin,Remedie. to wish that the minister should touch our most priuie and secret sinnes, to be glad priuate­ly to be admonished, to profite by our ene­mies when they doe reproach vs: and rather [Page 27] to desire (in such a case) to be humbled than to suffer our selues to be flattered. This trying of our selues must yet strech it selfe farther, not only to the committing of euill, but also to the omitting of good. As when (after some good working and feeling of the spirite,) we begin to fight and conflict with our own con­sciences saing; though I must pray, I must haue time also to prouide for my familie; if I goe so to heare the worde of God, surely I shall bee in danger to loose this profite; if I thus at­tend vpon the exercises of religion, I shall be cut short in the vse of my pleasures. Where­fore it shall be good to search our heartes, not onely in the carelesse not vsing of the meanes; but also in the negligent watching ouer the fruites of the meanes: saying to our selues in this manner; I haue heard a Ser­mon, but (alas) without anie feeling or working vpon my affections; I haue beene praying, but with no power of the spi­rite; I haue receiued the Sacrament, but without those ioyes glorious and vnspeakea­ble, which I was woont to taste of. I saw the Discipline of the Church executed, but without anie feare of sinne at all in my selfe, or compassion to the member censured.

And heere I dare from my owne ob­seruation assuredlye affirme, that out­ward [Page 28] sinnes haue not beene at some times so grieuous to Gods children; as that they haue sometimes vsed the meanes with little reuerence and with lesse fruite. And no mar­uel, we shall see many men at some times, not so much grieued for their sicknesse it selfe, as for that that they haue either willingly negle­cted the meanes which might haue preserued their health, or that they haue abused the Phi­sicke that might haue restored their health to them againe: in like manner (I say) it fareth with them, who eyther vnreuerentlie haue refused the meanes, which shoulde keepe their soules from surfetting: or else vnthank­fully haue abused those helpes, which might haue recouered them againe. From hence it commeth, that some men are as much grieued for not vsing their good giftes to the benefit of Gods Church, as others are trou­bled for pestering the Church with vnprofi­table corruptions; or as we shall see a rich man sometimes as much humbled for not gi­uing money to the poore, which hee might haue done; as for heaping vp riches falselie, which hee ought not to haue done. And thus, many (hauing receiued good giftes and gra­ces from the Lord) are seasoned and sanctifi­ed by afflictions; whereby they are taught to put their giftes in vre, and to offer their seruice to Christ: and others are forced to [Page 29] hide their giftes, which cannot bee without some decay of Gods glory, without offence to the weake, without the losse of many soules, which otherwise might be wonne to the gospell, and without strengthening the hande of the aduersarie to slaunder our darke and dumbe profession. All which thinges will in the ende bring terrour of minde: be­cause if the Lord cannot worke vpon vs by taking away goods, friendes, credit, wife, children, or such like, to bring vs to Re­pentance; he will surely whippe our naked consciences, he will enter euen into our ve­ry entrailes, and pierce our secret boweles.

As wee must examine our selues thus for sinnes of time past, and present, so must we vse this practise in sinne to come: and this is very needefull. For were it so, that our life and conuersation were such, as nei­ther before not after our calling, man could iustly accuse it: Yet the hidden corruption of our nature, may threaten some haynous downefall in time to come. Which hath made men of very good report and conuer­sation to hang downe their heades, and feare their secret hypocrisie, as that which may breake foorth to the shame of all their for­mer life, in time to come.

But because we forgatte to speake of them, that in the examining of their liues past, are [Page 30] much grieued for the want of sinceritie, and for priuie vaineglorie in themselues; let vs before we go to the searching of our heartes in sinne to come, speake somewhat of this. Men troubled for this priuie pride are eyther touched, or not touched. If the veyle of sinne was so great in them, that it hid Christ from them; it is the good will of God, that by this sight of their most secret sinnes they should come to see the righteousnes that is in Christ Iesus; and so they shall the better be kept from being Iusticiarie Pharises. For when being a long time well brought vp, and leading a ciuill life, the Diuell woulde per­swade vs of some inherent righteousnes in vs; It is the wisedome of our God to touch vs with the conscience of most hidden cor­ruptions, as also to certifie and make know­en vnto vs, that euen for our birth there was a secret seede of sinne in vs, which (without the Lord watching ouer vs) woulde surely haue broken forth to his dishonour.

As for them which haue had some woor­king in them, and yet are often plunged with sore distresses this trouble commeth to them for two especiall causes, eyther for some hy­pocrisie, that they did more in showe than in truth; wherfore the Lord bringeth thē back againe to see their corrupt proceedinges, and that they may knowe all their religion [Page 31] to be but hypocrisie, & all their righteousnes to bee but vnrighteousnes: or for the abusing of their knowledge, in that they made it but a maske to iuggle in, & that they made their af­fections to fight with their own iudgements. We must remedy this, by not thinking of our selues aboue that which is meete, and by la­bouring to embrace the truth in trueth. And heere let vs note, that many of Gods Childrē accuse themselues of hypocrisie, when indeed they offend not in it for the most righteous persons are their own greatest accusers. And yet the accusation doth iustlye arise from some fault on their partes: for though they haue done things in trueth, yet be­cause with trueth they labored not to see their secret corruptions, in some other mat­ters, they sustain this trouble of mind. So that there is nothing harder thā to sist & serch our harts to the bottom, whether we respect our sins past or our sins present, whether we looke to our priuy pride, hidden wants, or secret cor­ruptions. And to returne from whence we digressed, to the examinatiō of our harts, in sins to come:Returne to sins to comes. let vs obserue that in Gods children there is such a iealousy, as they trēble at the very first motions & quake at the least occasiō of sinne, although because vice wil sit in resi­dence very neere vnto vertue, there may be in them sometime too much scru­pulousnes [Page 32] This feare causeth the dearest of the Saintes of God to reason on this sorte; O Lord, I see now manye excellent in gifts, and constant in profession for a longe time, whose end hath not answered their beginnings, whose deathes were not like to their liues. This is true, whether wee looke into the word or into the world: and it is a thing that may much humble vs. For though we may remember what we haue beene, and knowe what we are; yet who can tell what may come vnto him heere­after.

Oh that the serious meditation heereof would dwell long vpon our consciences: that with an holy iealozie wee might pre­uent the sinne that is to come. But alas, there bee some venture some knights, which thinke it no masterie to offer themselues to masking, minstrelsie and dauncing, nor to runne into quarrells, braules and contenti­ons, as though they had their eares, their eyes, their hands and their feete in their own power, and at commaundement to vse and gouerne as themselues list.

Howbeit, GODS Children better fen­ced with his grace, than those bold buxzards are afraide of these occasions: as knowing full well, that their eyes maye soone bee prouoked to lust, their eares may quickly li­sten [Page 33] vnto vnchast delightes, their handes may sodainly strike a deadly blow, and their feete may easily be snared in carnall plea­sures.

Beware O man, bee circum [...]pect O wo­man that thou prostitute not thy selfe to too much libertie: for although in comming to such lasciuious and contentious places thou diddest purpose none euill; yet for thy ven­tring without warrant, thou maist bee ouer thy shoes in sinne, and plunged in some wicked attempt ouer head and eares, ere thou beest aware. And because vice is so confine vnto vertue, beware also of supersti­tion: for still the enemie laboureth either to make thee too hardy in sinne, or else he will cause thee to be too fearefull and superstiti­tious; eyther hee will puffe thee vp with pre­sumption, or assault thee with desperation. To these tentations our nature is very plia­ble: first to presumption, as may appeare by our common speech; tush, the Preacher is but a man as I am, I am sure he hath infirmities as others haue; wee are no Angels, our na­ture is corrupt, we are but flesh, I am sure you would not haue vs Gods. Thus the Di­uell commeth to tempt; but he apparrelleth himselfe in another sute when hee commeth to accuse: and then of a [...]lie he makes an Elephant, of the verie smallest pricke of [Page 34] a pin, a gloabe of the whole earth: of a mo­ale hill a mountain [...]: and presseth silly soules with feares and terrours, that they knowe not how to winde out themselues. If hee cannot bring them to make no conscience where they should make conscience, hee will labour to bring them to make conscience where they neede make no conscience. He careth not whether thou wilt be remisse or superstitious, so thou be one of them. If he cannot get you to follow the Epicurisme of the world, as Libertines in diet and appar­rell; hee will make you so precise as to think it a hainous sinne, to eate one bit of meate, or to weare one ragge of cloath more than for necessitie. How needfull there [...]ore it is to saile which an euen course, we may coniecture by other thinges which will bewray the corruption of our nature.

In the time of a plague we shall see some will be so bold, that without any lawfull cal­ling or godly warrant, they will rush into places infected; and then falling sicke, their conscience prickes them for their tempting of God by an vnaduised boldnes, in the how­er of their death.

Others plunged as deepely in a quite contrarie extremitie, are too fearfull when they doe but heare of the sickenesse; and [Page 35] for verie feare haue beene brought to deaths doore, onely by imagining themselues to haue beene infected, when they haue beene most free, who ofteneimes haue euen di­ed, and that without any naturall cause that euer coulde be knowen, but onely through immoderate feare▪ and the iudge­ment of God comming vppon them for their infidelity and vnbeliefe. Thus it is with vs in Christianitie, in that as well the op­pressing our selues with too much feare to be ouercome, as the carnall securitie, in not fearing to bee ouercome, may bring sinne vppon vs. God his children must la­bour for a measure, and that must be sought for in the word, which will teach them how they shall neyther decline on the right hand, nor on the left; but will guide them in the narrowe way, showing in euerie thinge what is the vertue, what is the vice; what is the meane, what is the extreame.

Among many Examples, let vs consider of zeale,Zeale. a most precious vertue in Christi­anitie, so long as it is free from the extremi­ties. Otherwise if we be colde in zeale, it is a sinne on the left hande: if wee bee zea­lous without knowledge, it is preposte­rous, and becommeth a sinne on the right hand.

[Page 36]But can wee not come to some perfection? No, if you vnderstand it for an absolute vn­spottednes; albeit to that perfection which the Scripture taketh for soundnesse, trueth, and sinceritie of heart, which is voyde of carelesse remissnes, wee may come. Nei­ther doth the Lord deale with vs a [...]ter our sinnes, nor reward vs after our iniquities: in whose eies the most glorious actions of men, are but as waters flowing purely from the Conduit, but defiled by passing through a filthy chanell: Wherefore although wee haue our imperfections, let vs not seeke to be more righteous than we can be; saying for euerie errour of this life, Oh, I am none of God his sonnes, I am none of his daugh­ters: for I cannot finde that perfection in me which is to be required: But let vs com­fort our selues in the trueth of our heartes, and singlenes of our de [...]ires to serue God, be­cause he is God; and so wee shall bee ac­cepted of God.

I speake this to this ende, that poore soules might haue comfort, and knowe that is they abhorr sin as sin, if they examine thēselues for it, if they grone vnder it, if they mislike them­selues for it, if they feare to fall into it; the Lord will not pursue them with the rigor of his lawe, but will giue them the sweetnesse of his promises; they are no more vnder the [Page 37] [...]urse, but vnder grace.

But further to inforce our Exhortation, to auoyde too scrupulous a feare, which hinde­reth the true examination of our heartes: let vs think that it happeneth in the spiritual con­flict as in ciuill wars. Wee reade that manie Cities lying in great securitie, haue sodainely both beene assaulted and ouerthrowen; as also, how some Countries (too much negli­gen [...]e in the meanes) through an excessiue fearefullnes, haue incouraged their enemies with more greedie violence to pray vppon them. With which kinde of stratagems our aduersary the diuell beeing well acquain­ted; doth often practise this pollicie. If hee see vs without all feare too quietly to rest in our selues, hee thinketh his assault must needes be the stronger, because our resi­stance is the weaker. Againe, if he discri­eth in vs a cowardly feare and fainting of heart, before wee once beginne to ioyne bat­taile with him; hee will set vpon our immo­derate feare, & as villainously as sodenly stab vs to the heart, & make a present spoyle of vs.

Common practise doth farther teach vs, that when we can heare the word without all trembling at God his iudgements, when wee can pray without all feare before the Ma­iestie of God, when wee can come to the Discipline of the Church without [Page 38] all reuerence of the ordinance of the Lord; all is in vaine. Againe, let vs heare with too much trembling, and wee shall learne nothing; let vs pray with too seruile a feare, and our worshipping of God will be without all comfort and vnchearfull. Thus if we nei­ther lessen sinne, that is sinne indeede; ney­ther make sinne of that which is not sinne in trueth, it is good to proceede to this three­folde examination and to lay the edge of this doctrine more neere our affections, because many will be found in this ripenes of know­ledge and barrennes of conscience, to speake, dispute and declame of al these thinges verie skilfully, which flickring in the circumfe­rence of the braine, and not sitting at the ground of the heart, doe seale vp a more iust sentence of condemnation against them. To helpe this euill with, we must meditate deep­lier of the Law and of the Gospell, together with the appurtenances of them both, that finding our selues farre from Gods blessings promised to the keepers of the law, and seeing our selues nere to the curses due to the brea­kers of the Law, we may raise vp some sense of sinne in our selues. Yet herein we must not stay our foote, but giue a farther stride: for whereas many by a diligent view of the law, haue come to the sense of sinne in themselues, and saw plainly their owne condemnation: [Page 39] yet because they labored not to se their guil­tinesse acquited by the remission of sinne in Christ, they plunged themselues into a bot­tomlesse sea of sorrowes. Others hauing pas­sed these degrees, & hitherto made these steps to auoyd the wounde of Conscience; haue come also too short, and missed of the marke: when because besides the sence of sinnes par­doned by the death of Christ, they felt not al­so the vertue of his passion crucifying sinne in them, but saw that with the remission of sinne was not ioined the mortification of sin; they feared that there was no forgiunesse for them, but still languishing with sorrow, they thought themselues to stand charged with their former guiltines. Yea and which is more for that such men haue not truely beene instructed, nor surely haue beene grounded in the doctrine of Christes death and resur­rection; that is for that they sawe not as well power flowing from his death to slay sinne in them, as vertue to pardon sinne in them; for that they felt not as well strength to San­ctification, streaming from the rising againe of Christ, as they were perswaded of iustifi­cation and righteousnes therein: They haue lyne still bleeding at the heart, in such sort, as the wound of griefe coulde hardly or neuer bee staide and staunched. Wherefore let vs strengthen our weake soules with this [Page 40] sixe-fold coarde of consolation, against these bitter assaultes. Let vs first labour to know sinne, then to sorrow for sinne, after to feele 1 our sinnes in Christ forgiuen, further to looke 2 3 for power to crucifie the same, then to lay 4 holde on iustification by his resurrection; 5 and lastly, hope for strength to proceede 6 from thence, to further vs in sanctification and holinesse of life, euen vnto the ende. And thus much briefly for the second thing which we matched in company with the examination of sinne, euen the triall of faith: both which rightly vsed, shall in some mea­sure sauegard vs from the trouble of an afflic­ted minde.

Now let vs hasten to the third parte of our deuision;The third part of the first deuision. to shew howe Gods children beeing fallen into this wounde of spirite may be helped out of it: which (God wil­ling) wee will also performe, after we haue answered a necessarie obiection; which (in the former part) might seeme to encoun­ter against vs. There is no man but will grant, that Dauid, Iob, and others of the Saintes of God, had a sight of their sins, a sorrow for their sinnes, and a taste of the re­mission of their sinnes: how then commeth it to passe, that these men were so troubled in minde? To this I answere, that their trou­ble so befell them, either for failing in some [Page 41] of these former things; or els they were rather afflicted for triall of their faith, than for pu­nishing of sinne in them. And therefore be it alwaies prouided, that wee thinke not e­uery conflict of Conscience, continuallye and chiefely to bee for the pursuing of our sinnes: but sometimes and principally, that it commeth for the triall of our faith: and yet secondarily, or lesse principally, for the scourging of sinne, as we may see in Iob.

Whereuppon let all men be admonished, when they see good men thus humbled & throwne downe in minde, to lay their handes on their mouthes from saying; Sure­ly these men are but hypocrites, doubtlesse these men be great sinners, the Lord hath founde out their hypocrisie. For good rea­son there is, that such silence should be vsed: for that the Lorde may as well make trial of their faith, as take punishment on their sins. For if such affliction should alwaies and chiefely be sent for sinne, then it should fol­low that all others as they exceeded them in sinne, should also exceede them in the punishment of sinne.

But now comming to the saluing of this soare,Salue of this sore. I shall seeme very strange in my cure: and so much the more bee wondered at, by how much in manner of proceeding I dif­fer from the most sort of men herein. I am [...] [Page 44] to vs and vncertaine.

To them which are troubled with such blinde griefes, whereof they can see no rea­son, as often it happeneth to Gods Chil­dren in secret prouidence, vvho either ne­uer knew God, or else had but a generall knowledge of him: I answere, that as I de­nie not Phisicke to be ministered, if it in part proceede from a naturall cause; so I require the word especially to shewe the principall and originall cause to beginne in the soule. And this I doe the rather, be­cause I would haue wisdome both in con­sidering the state of the bodie if neede so require; and in looking chiefely to the [...]oule, which so fewe thinke of. If a man troubled in Conscience come to a Mi­nister, it may be he will looke all to the soule and nothing to the bodie; if hee come to a Phisition, hee onely considereth of the bodie, and neglecteth the soule. For my part, I would neuer haue the Phisitions counsell seuered, nor the Ministers laboure neglected; because the soule and bodie dwelling together, it is conuenient, that as the soule should be cured by the word, by prayer, by fasting, by threatening, or by comforting; so the bodie also shoulde bee brought into some temperature, by Phy­sicke, by purging, by dyet, by restoring, [Page 45] by musicke, and by such like meanes; pro­uiding alwaies that it bee done so in the feare of God, and wisdome of his spirite, as we thinke not by these ordinarie meanes to smoother or smoke out our troubles; but as purposing to vse them as preparatiues, wher­by both our soules and bodies may be made more capable of the spirituall meanes to follow after.

As we require these thinges to bee the matter of our Ministerie in such a perplexi­tie; so we woulde wishe the persons mini­string to be men learned and of sounde iudgement, wise, and of Godly experience, meeke and of most louing spirites. For when the troubled patient shall be well per­swaded of our knowledge and discretion, & there with all shall perceiue vs to come in tender and louing affection, I thinke an en­terance is made, and all preiudice is taken avvay, so as wee may the more freely worke vppon the Conscience; first bringing them to the sight of sinne, as to some cause of their trouble. Heerein wee must labour to put awaye all confusion and blindenesse of sorrrowe, endeuoring by wisdome to bring the parties wounded to some certaine ob­iect & matter of their trouble; and so draw out of them the confession of some seuerall especiall, and secret, sinne; I say seuerall & [Page 46] secret sinne, because I know, how many (through a palpable blindnes or disordered discerning of sinne) talke nothing so much as of sinne; and yet they eyther can not dis­cry seuerall sinnes, or they will not be brought to acknowledge their secrete sinnes: wherof the one proceedeth of the ignorance of the Lawe of God, and the other of selfe loue, which maketh vs loath euen in our trauell of minde▪ to shame our selues.

Now that the confession of particular sins is requisite, it may appeare by the two and thirtieth Psalme,Psal. 32. wherein (beeing a Psalme of instruction, concerning the forgiuenesse of sinnes) the Prophet (by his owne expe­rience) teacheth vs, that hee could finde no reliefe of his sicknes, vntill hee had remem­bred, and made confession of his sinnes.

What? shall we thinke that the Prophet of God (taught so wonderfully by the worde and by the spirite) did not see his sinnes before? Be it farre from vs. Rather let vs know that he had not seuerally and perticularly ripped vp his sinnes before the Lorde, in a seuerall confession of them. Which though the Lorde knoweth farre better than wee our selues: yet such kinde of sacrifice is most acceptable vnto him.

Now if in this trouble the person hum­bled can not come to the perticular sight [Page 47] of sinne in themselues; it is good to vse the helpe of others vnto whome they may of­fer their heartes to bee gaged and search­ed, and their liues to bee examined more deepely, by hearing the seuerall Articles of the lawe laide open before them; where­by they may trye the whole course of their actions. For (as we saide before) the gros­est hypocrites will generally complaine of sinne; and yet deale with them in perticu­lar pointes of the perticular precepts, and prooue them in the applying of thinges to bee doone or not doone to their owne con­sciences; and wee shall see many of these poore soules tossed too and fro, now flo­ting in ioyes, now plunged in sorrowes, not able to distinguish one sin from another.

Now when wee shall see the wound of the spirit to arise of any certaine and known sinne, it is either for some sin alreadie cōmit­ted, wherein we lie; or els for some sin as yet not cōmitted, but whereunto we are tempted. For the former: It pleaseth God oftentimes to bring old sins to minde, when we had not tho­roughly repented of them before; that so (as it were) represēting thē to vs afresh, we might fal into a more misliking of thē. And yet here­in is not all, to mislike our selues for some perticulars, although it bee good to bee occupied about some especiall [Page 48] sins: for as it is not sufficient for the auoiding of hypocrisie, to see sinne generally: so it is not enough to escheue the deceiueablenesse of the heart, euer to be poring busilie in one particuler, and to be forgetfull of our great and generall sinnes. But let vs learne by the particulers to passe to the generalls. When any such one sinne then doth pursue thee, rest not onely therein, but say thus rather to thy selfe; Oh Lord, is this one sinne so grieuous? and doth my God pu­nish this one sinne so sorelie? Howe greate then should be my punishment, if thou shoul­dest (O Lord) so deale with mee for all my other sinnes.

Let vs labour to haue a sense both of gene­rall and of particular sinnes, least in time our griefe passe away without fruite; whilest that not being displeased as well with one sinne, as with another; we either looke to superficially to generall, and not to particu­lars; or else too superstitiously obserue par­ticulers and not the generals.

Concerning those sinnes whereunto we are tempted; as when a man is mooued to thinke blasphemously of God the father, o [...] to doubt wether there bee a Christ or no, or to imagine grosely of the holy Ghost, or to deny GOD, or to doubt of the Trini­tie; or to be mooued to murther, aduouterie, [Page 49] or such like: in which temptations hee fee­leth Gods spirit to cheke him for them, so as he knoweth not in this case what to doe, for that on the one side he dares not listen willingly to these fearefull and monstrous temptations; and on the other side, he fea­reth least in time by long, sute he might fall into them, or at the least for that hee seeth not how to be deliuered from them: I sup­pose these motions are not so much to bee disputed with, as we by them are to be pro­uoked to more instant and extraordinary zeale of praier.

Surely these are daungerous temptations, and therefore are not to be kept close; which our nature will easily encline vnto: but per­ticularly are to bee confessed of vs. For the Diuell will come sometime to thee, to keepe thee still in a generall acknowledgeing of sin, and vrge thee on this manner; Surely thou must needes doe this sinne, thou seest thou canst haue no ease, vntill thou hast consented, thou art ordained to it: the reason why thou art thus incessantly tempted, is because thou doest not thus take thy pleasure. Goe too, denie God, beleeue not his word: it is but a pollicie to keepe men in awe; Religion is no such matter as men make it. Thus for feare of yeelding on the one hand, and for shame of disclosing the tentations on the [Page 50] other hande; many men haue pined away, & almost haue beene ouercome by them. If we should disclose this (say these men) what would people say of vs? They would count vs Atheists, they would thinke vs the wick­edst men in the worlde. Well for our in­struction and consolation herein; Let vs learne that these kindes of tentations, are ei­ther corrections for some sinnes past, or pu­nishmēts for some sin present, or forwarners of some sin to come. We shal see many tempted to adultery, who (no doubt) cannot bee brought to commit it; & yet because in their youth they haue committed it, and not re­pented of it, it comes to them againe. The like may bee obserued in theft, in glut­tony, and in other tentations, which are not so much sent vnto vs, presently to ouer­come vs, as to put vs in minde, that some time heretofore we hauing bene ouer come with them, should now repent for them. Sōe time a man shall lie in some sinne, whereof when he will not bee admonished, neither by the publicke nor priuate meanes, and then some other strange tentation shall fall vpon him, differing from that wherein hee presently lieth, to admonish him of that o­ther sinne. As when a worldling shal be tēp­ted to adultery, a thing which he hath noe desire to doe; yet it is to make him looke to [Page 51] his worldlines, whereof he hath so strong & through a lyking: Whereat if then he will not bee awaked, he may sodainely fall into that too, and so by the punishment of GOD, in punishing one sinne with ano­ther, both his sinnes shall bee to his greate shame laide open, and one sinne shall make knowne another. Sometime also it com­meth to passe, that one shall bee tempted with such a sinne, as neither heretofore, nor presently he hath giuen any liking or enter­tainement vnto; and yet the Lord by it may forewarne him how he may fall into it here­after, as also to shew that hee hath stoode al his former life, rather by the grace of God than by the strength of flesh and bloode. Wherefore when thou art moued to doubt of God, of Christ, of the word, or of iustifica­tion, do not so much stand wondring at these strange tentations, as thinke with thy selfe that it is the mercy of God by them, to cause thee better to discerne of those tentations in others: when thou shalt haue obserued with feare and trembling how they make their first entrie into a mans heart, how they gather strength, how they agree with our corrupt nature, in what degrees they come to some growth, how the spirit of God doth resist them, what bee the meanes best to preuaile against them. And [Page 52] thus if thou make thy profite by them, thou shalt so wonderfully search and descrie by se­uerall veines, the body, age and sleight to of these tentations in others, by an holy expe­rience which God hath taught thee in o­thers, that besides that thou shalt lay forth mens secrete corruptions, as if thou wast in their bosomes; thou shalt be able also by the seede of sorrowe in thy selfe, to begette an vnspeakeable ioy in others, who in time may bee tempted as thou now art.

Thinke moreouer and besides, that such is the efficacie of sinne, that they who are now noe Papistes, Heretiques, Adulterers, or Theeues, may for their secure contem­ning and foolish passing ouer of these tenta­tions sent vnto them, sodainely, shortly af­ter fall into them; because they woulde not seeke to make some vse of them, nor con­fesse before the Lord both their pronenesse & worthinesse to fall into them. But if wee will humble our selues in such tentations, and learne by them meekely to discerne the cor­ruptions of our hearts, we shall not onely per­sently deliuer our selues from perill, but bee also further enabled to assist others her­after, in the l [...]ke danger.

But some will oppose against these things which wee haue deliuered: Doe you thinke it a remedie to cast downe them that are al­ready [Page 53] humbled? This is rather to bee a Butcher than a builder of a mans conscience. To whome I answeere, that I desire Preachers to bee Builders, and not But­chers; and it is one thinge generally to ap­ply, and another perticularly to lay the me­dicine vnto the wound▪ it is good to begin with searching first, and to purge the sore by the vineger of the Lawe, and after to supple it with the oyle of the Gospel. Both which must bee done in wisedome, vsing them to some in greater, to some in lesser measure. For as some hauing nothing but a decay of nature, and no mortall humor, neede rather restoratiue, than purging me­dicines: So some rather troubled for some spirituall wants, than for grosser sinnes, neede not so much the sharpe threatnings of the Lawe, as the sweete promises of the Gospell. But if the bodie, through some extraordinarie repletion hath gotten some greate surfet, not so much to the weakening of nature, as to the threatning of imminent death, and therefore requi­reth rather some stronge purgation, than comfortable and cordiall medicines: then the soule brought almost to deathes doore with some extraordinary sinne, is rather to be boared and pierced with the denouncing of Gods iudgements than otherwise. But be­cause [Page 54] we would deale more plainely & lesse confusedly, it is good in our accesse to affli­cted consciences, to lay these two grounds. First, we must perswade the persons hum­bled, that their sins are pardonable and their sores curable: And after, that this visitation is not so much a signe of Gods wrath and anger, as a seale of his mercie and fauoure, in that it is not either blind or barren, but plentifull in good effects, and fruitefull in Godly issues. The former how needfull it is, the experience of so many almost as haue bin throwne downe, is a sufficient witnes; who haue had this as a tagge tyed to their tenta­tions that neuer any were so plagued as they, none euer had the like temptations. The Lord will surelie make an end of thē in some strange and vnknowne tentation. Wherein they are notvnlike vnto men fallen into some dangerous disease, who thinking to be with­out the fadome of the Phisitians skill, and not to be within the compasse of things recou [...] ­rable, adde a second and sorer griefe vnto their former.

Wherefore as these men seeme to be halfe healed, when any man of knowledge can be brought, who by experience hath cured the like maladie in like degrees in others: So, then the sorrowfull soules are not a little by hope refreshed and strengthned to loke for [Page 55] some ease, when they see none other tentati­on to haue ouertaken them, than such as ha­uing fallen into the nature of man, haue foūd mercie at the handes of God, that he might bee feared. This ground worke framed; it is good to build vp and repaire the decayed ioy of the minde, partly by the Law, to make a preparatiue for these ioyes; if the minde not truely humbled, is not fit truely to be com­forted: and partly by the gospell, if the con­science kindly throwne downe, is become a fit subiect to aply the sweet promises of God in Iesus Christ vnto it. And here again, to ans­were them that denie the law wholly, or at all to bee vsed, when we would breed com­fort in one: I demand whether if it be neces­sary to maintaine the righteousnes of Christ, it be not also as necessary to preserue the righteousnes of the Law? Seing the righteous­nes of the Law, of vs not fulfilled, wil draw vs vnto the righteousnes of Christ to vs impu­ted: And sith the righteousnes of Christ to vs imputed, is neuer throughly & truly estee­med, vntill we se the righteousnes of the law of vs to be vnperformed. Again if our Sauiour Christ did foreshew his Disciples, that the first work of the holy Ghost at his cōming, should be to conuict the world of sinne, to make men knowe, that without Iesus Christ their is nothing but sinne, and then, that he should [Page 56] rebuke the world of righteousnesse, that they might see how Christ dyed not for his owne sinne, but for the sinnes of others: I see not why it should not be verie conueni­ent, first to lay open the righteousnes of the lawe, that men may see their sinnes; and then the righteousnes of Christ; that men may see their sins discharged in him. Besids, where the Lord saith by his Prophet. At what time soeuer a sinner doth repent of his sins from the bottome of his heart, I will put all his wickednes out of my remembrance: it may wel be gathered that there must be a soūd sorrow for sin goe before; and then true ioy of sinnes pardoned, may the more frely by vertue of his promise be both hoped for, & loked for after­ward. Moreouer, seeing all the promises of God in the gospel are cōmended vnto vs vn­der the title and tenor of restoring sight to the blinde, hearing to the deafe, strength to the Lame, health to the Sicke, and life to the Deade; it is manifest, not on­lye that there is noe disease of the soule which Christ cannot heale: but also that wee must first finde our selues blinde, deafe, dumbe, lame, sicke and deade, before hee will meddle with vs; because they that are whole neede not the Phisiti­on, and hee came to call sinners, not the Righteous to repentance. Now, to [Page 57] doe this in wisedome, by neither pressing the conscience too seuerely, nor releasing the conscience more vnaduisedly, it shalbe a safe way, to vse the well tempered speech of the Apostle to the sorcerer; Repent, that if it be possible, thy sinne may be forgiuen thee. Where hee doth not wholly discourage him, because it may bee his sinne may be pardo­ned; neither yet too boldly incourage him, in that without repentance, he sheweth it alto­gether impossible to be pardoned.

And that we be not too preposterous in our consolations, let vs bee warned by the blasphemous speech of that detestable Arian, who of late yeares was put to death at Norwich. This hellish heretique, a little before he should be executed,An Arian executed at Nor­wich. afforded a fewe whorish teares asking whether hee might bee saued in Christ or no? When one tolde him, that if he truely repented, he should surely not perish: he brake out most mon­strously into this speech: Nay, is your Christ so easily to be intreated indeede, as you say? Then I defie him, and care not for him. Oh how good a thing had it beene not to haue cast this precious stone to this swine? Oh how safe had it beene to haue dealt more bit­terlie, and to haue dwelt more vehementlie on the conscience of this caytife?

Now to attaine some discretion in curing [Page 58] this wounded spirite, wee must learne wise­ly to iudge, both of the person afflicted, and of the nature of his affliction. First, we may note whether it be a man or a woman, be­cause we may vrge more fearfully the vse of the law to a man, as beeing the stronger ves­sell. And as Sathan knewe the woman to be most easie and frameable to be wrought vp­on, at his first temptation: so is hee not ig­norant that shee is the weaker partye to su­staine any temptation nowe. Then let vs con­sider, whether they that are thus humbled haue knowledge or no? Because, if they haue no knowledge they thinke trouble of minde to be so strange a thing, as neuer anie before had it: if they haue knowledge, then Sathan is readie to accuse them of the sinne against the holy Ghost, as though euery sinne done against knowledge, were a sinne of pre­sumption. Further, we are to enquire, howe strong or weake they are, that if they be sorely stricken we cease to humble thē any further, if they be not sufficiently wounded then to touch thē with some deeper sense of sin. Also we must be circumspect, to finde out whether by nature they are more fearful & melancho­ly or no: As also, whether they be vsuall sinners, or haue falne once of infirmity; that so vpon their disposition & inclinatiō we may builde our speeches the better. To these it is [Page 59] good to adde the consideration of the persons age, estate & ability: as if the party be troubled for worldlines, whether he be not a great hous­holder: if he complaine of vncleannes, whether he be not a yoong man & vnmaried: if he be hūbled with couetousnes, whether he be not old: because diuers countries, callings, ages, conditions & estates of men, haue their diuers & peculiar sinnes, which we must rightly dis­cerne. Howbeit of what sex soeuer they are men or women, of what complexion soeuer the are, of what knowledge to discerne sin, of what degree of commiting sinne; of what age, authority, wealth, estate, or condition so­euer they are, it is good to marke that there be many, who are more troubled for the vex­ation and disquietnes of their minde beeing distempered, then for the vilenes and horrible­nes of their sinne committed; who are woun­ded more with the feare of shame, with the feare of beeing mad, or with the feare of run­ning out of their wittes, than with the consci­ence of sinne. Which thing if we find in them, it is our part to trauell with them, that they make a lesse matter of the outward shame, & more conscience of the inward sinne. Ney­ther must we here forget to make a distinctiō between our speeches vsed to the hūbled in the very time of their extream agony & burning a gue of their trobles, & those speches which we [Page 60] vse to them the fit beeing past; because the one and former requireth more consolation and lesse exhortation, the other and latter would haue vs more aboundant in admonish­ing, and more sparing in comforting, when we may wisely admonish them to beware of sinne, which so procured their owne woe. In this breathing time, it is also expedient to exhort them, that for some season vntill they shall finde greater power of regeneration, they would tye them­selues to some holy orders, and godly vowes, whereby they may either be furthered in mor­tifying some speciall sinne; which for that they coulde finde no power against it, did most grieue them, or strengthened in some special grace, the want wherof did also wound them.

But before we launch deeper into this sea of particular tentations, and beginne to founde the dangerous passages of naturall corruption, and originall sinne, the trouble­some froath whereof, doth almost ouer­whelme many poore pilgrims it; shall be good to giue this caution, that both in these and in the former troubles, men woulde be still againe admonished, patiently to beare with a wounded spirit, albeit it fall out so, that they be somewhat pettish, seeing the holy Ghost speaketh so fauourably of them, saying: [Page 61] A wounded Spirit who can beare? And surely our practise in other thinges, by the lawe of equitie, may vrge this at our handes. For if men by the light of reason can see it to bee a duetie conuenient, not furiously to controle, but meekely to suffer, and wisely to put vp the vnaduised speeches of a man distemper­ed in braine, by reason of some burning a­gue, or such like violent and vehement sick­nes: we may easily gather euen by the same rule of reason, not so seuerely to censure the impatient speeches of him, who by reason of some parching Feuer of the spirit, is disquie­ted in all partes of his minde, and hath all the veynes of his heart (as it were in a spirituall agony) vexed. Wherfore both vnsauory for want of godly wisedome, and vncharitable for want of Christian loue, are their murmu­ring obtrectations which say, what? Is this the godly man? Is this hee that is so troubled for his sinnes? Why! see how pettish he is, nothing can please him: no bodie can satis­fie him. Consider, O man, if thou canst beare with a fraile body, that thou must much more beare with a fraile minde. Consider O man that this his pettishnes doth more wound him to the heart, than any iniury thou couldest presse him with. And therefore seeing he afflicteth his owne soule for it, thou needest not adde any thing to his afflic­tion, [Page 62] and to exasperate his grieuous smart. Consider that it is a blessed thing mercifully to bethinke vs of the estate of the needy, and that to rub a fresh wound, & to streine a blee­ding sore, is nothing else, but with Iobs friends to bring a new torment, wher there is no need of it. If the wise father doth rather pittie than rebuke his childe, when by reason of sicknes the appetite is not easily pleased: euen so, if we purpose to doe any good with an af­flicted minde, we must not be austere in re­prehending euery infirmity, but pitifull in considering of it tender frailtie. Neither do I speake this to nourish pettishnesse in any, but would haue them to labour for patience, and to seeke for peace, which though they finde not at the first, yet by prayer they must waite on the Lord, and say; Lorde, because there is mercie that thou maist be feared: I will waite vpon thee, as the eye of the seruant waiteth vpon the hand of his Master. I will condemne my selfe of folly, and say, Oh my soule, why art thou so heauy? Why art thou so cast downe with­in mee? Still trust in the Lorde, for he is thy health and thy saluation.


Another shorte Treatise belon­ging to the Comfort of an affli­cted Conscience.

IN all afflictions Gods children must looke vnto the ende: They are to desire to profite by them, and in them to seeke the way of perfect cō ­fort and consolation: which that they may finde, they must know that the afflicti­ons of the godly last but a while; they serue them but for salues and medicines; the ende of them is alwaies happy. In them they are not onely preserued, and purified from many sinnes: but also much beautified with the I­mage of Iesus Christ, who is the eldest Sonne in the house of God. Againe the crosse of true Christians is the sweete and amiable call of God vnto repentance, in that he putteth vs in minde thereby to bethinke vs of our debts: because we are giuen to thinke the daie of payment is yet farre of; yea we fall a sleepe vntill our turne be ended, and whilest God lengtheneth our daies waiting for our repen­tance, we neuer thinke of our sinnes vntill the houre come wherein we perish with shame. The best meeting then with the Lordes visitation, is without delay and in syncerity to pray for our sinnes to be pardo­ned. For therefore doth the Lord oftentimes [Page 64] shackle vs the more with the chaines of his chastisements, because we are more carefull to be vnburthened of our sicknes, then to be freed from our sinne: which wee the rather are loath to confesse, because we would not be espied, to be in the wrath of God. O­thers there bee that nearing of their sinnes in the time of their afflictions, will acknowledge indeede their infirmities to be the mother of such a broode: yet they haue no true remorse to restraine themselues from sinne, because they haue but a confused con­ceite thereof, and though their ship be ne­uer so much tossed and turmoyled, yet thinke they not that God holdeth the sterne. These men if God beare with them, do as it were settle in their lees, and are as it were so­ked in their sinnes. For prosperitie is a drun­kennes, to cast our selues into a dead sleepe, and when the Lord setteth vs alone, we cease not to sooth vp our selues, bearing our selues in hand, that we are in Gods fauour, and that he loueth vs, because he scourgeth vs not. And thus retchles we are whilest we measure Gods loue according to our sence and humor. Wherin we be wray our ignorance of the exercise of the crosse, in that affliction is the mother of humilitie, humilitie breedeth repentance, & repentance obtaineth mercy. Some also there are who vsually whilest the [Page 65] fearefull iudgement of God is before their eies, eyther in themselues or in others, haue a fewe glancing motions, and starting co­gitations of their sinnes and of Christ his pas­sion: yet at all other times their mindes are so clasped vp from thinking of temptations, & their hearts so locked vp from foreseeing or forethinking of iudgments, that they feele no godly sorrow. They mocke the mourning daies of the elect, as of them that be of a me­lancholy nature; they make a sport of sin, as little remembring the sting which will either pricke them to the hart blood most fearfully in the houre of death, or meete thē with gry­ping agonies in the day of their visitatiō more speedily. But happely they thinke they haue giuen good testimony & word of their repen­tance and remembrance of God, when they giue one deepe sigh and away, and passe ouer Gods heauy indignatiō as ouer burning coals. So that whilest the Lord in prosperity affor­deth large peniworthes of his loue vnto them, they dally with his Maiesty, and make a sport of his mercy. All which imperfections may be better corrected, if in our deepest rest with a reuerente & humble feare of gods iudgmēts, we did waite for the day of our tryall, & pre­pare our selues to the lords visitations, as they who by the writing of their owne conscience do acknowledge themselues by iust title to be fosterers therof: for the feeling of Gods mer­cy [Page 66] must come from the sight of our misery by sinne; which being pardoned, we shall soone haue our infirmities heled. Wherfore let vs first learne to cleanse our soules from sin, and then to sustaine the sores of our body. Sure it is that if we haue suffered our hearts to be harrowed with the rake of Gods iudgements, (as occa­sion from the Lord hath bene giuen) that we are become soft & well exercised in the feare of God: we shall come to the feeling of our sins, the sence wherof; if it bring as it were a sicknes to the body & a corsey to the soule, it is an vndoubted earnest of our regeneration, & happy are we if we find our selues so disea­sed and troubled with our sinnes, that we can hardly (being in the skirmish & agony) make any difference between the motions to any euil, & the consent vnto the same: for often­times euil motions do so possesse the soules of gods children, sucking down so strongly in thē that though they weepe, pray, and meditate (which be the last meanes & remedies to ease & cure them) yet though they feele them with irksomenes & loathsomenes, as we feele sick­nes in our bodies: yet those motions will be continually in them without diminishing, the delight onely excepted. Wherefore for our comfort herein, we are not to martyre our selues with disquietnes of minde, because we are so pestered, thronged with wicked moti­ons and assaultes, but rather let vs quiet our [Page 67] selues, and not suffer our selues to be hindred with sicknes either of body or mind: by means wherof we should become more vnprofitable to our selues, & the whole church of God. For the godly shall not be so freed from sinne, but that they shalbe assalted with euill motions, suspitions, delusious, vaine fan ti [...]s & imagi­nations; the body of sin shall neuer be frō vs so long as we liue. For the scome therof is al­most continually boyling & wallopping in vs, foming out such filthy froth & stinking sauor into our mindes, that it is not only detestable to the minde regenerate and renewed by the spirit of God, but also it would make abashed the very naturall man, to looke into so loath­some a stye of sin, & sink hole of iniquity. Yea it maketh vs often to quaile, & if it were pos­sible, it would corrupt the very part regene­rate. For mighty is the power, & raging is the strength of sin: Neither for all this must we cease to sorrowe for our sins, nor dispaire on the other side, although our sorrow bee but small. For if we be sorrowfull for the hardnes of our hearts, if we can be grieued for that we are no more grieued for our sins, if we can but sigh and groone because we feele our iniqui­ties; it is so much a greater comfort vnto vs, as it is a greater testimony that our heartes are not altogether hardened: so that if we feele [...]orrowe indeede, although wee weepe [Page 68] not, yet we may gather comfort, considering that this sorrow is for sinne with a loue and hunger after righteousnes: yea if our assaults be distrust, pride, arrogancy, ambition, en­uie, concupiscence, as who [...]e as the fyre in the furnace all our daies, and though Sathan lay­eth out oyle in great measure & out of mea­sure, that it is the wonderfull mercy of the Lorde that we stand; and though our pray­ers be dull and full of wearisomenes, if the striuing and strayning of our selues to good­nesse be so hard, that we knowe not whether we striue for feare of punishment or for loue of so good a Father: yet if we feele this in our selues that we would faine loue the Lord, and be better, and beeing wearied and tyred with our sinnes, long gladly to enioye the peace of righteousnes, and desire to please God in a simple obedience of faith; then let vs comfort our selues; there is no time to late to repent in. For he commeth quickly to Christ (although in the hou [...]e of death) that commeth willingly, and in a desire of a better life: howsoeuer sinne and Sathan at that time would especially perswade him. For as the humming Bee hauing lost her sting in an o­ther, doth still notwithstanding make a fear­full and grieuous noyse by her often buz­zing about vs, but is nothing able to hurt vs: so sin & death, hauing lost their stings in Christ [Page 69] Iesus, do not cease at all, euen in the height of the parching heat of our consciences, to make a murmuring: and with furious stormes of temptations to terrifie vs and our conscien­ces, albeit they can neuer sting vs. Wherfore if Sathan charge our consciences with sin (if we can feele the things a little before mentio­ned, in our consciences) let vs bid him, not tell vs what we haue beene, but what we woulde be. For such we are by imputation as we be in affection, and he is now no sinner, who for the loue he beareth to righteousnes, would be no sinner. Such as we be in desire and purpose, such we be in reckoning and account with God, who giueth that true desire and holy purpose to none but to his children whom he iustifieth. Neyther vndoubtedly can the gil­tines of sinne breake the peace of our consci­ence, seeing it is the worke of an other who hath commended vs as righteous before God, and saued vs. It must indeed be confessed, that our owne works wil do nothing in the matter of iustification, which from Christ, & in Christ is freely giuen vnto vs: it must be granted that in our selues we are weaker then that we can resist the least sinne, so farre of is it, that we can encounter with the law, sinne, death, hell and Sathan: and yet in Christ we are more then conquerers ouer them all. When the law ac­cuseth thee because thou hast not obserued it; [Page 70] send it to Christ & say, there is a man that hath fulfilled the law: to him I cleaue, he hath ful­filled it for me, and hath giuen the fulfilling of it vnto mee; I haue nothing to do with thee, I haue another law which striketh thee down, euen the law of liberty which through Christ hath set me free. For my conscience which henceforth serueth the law of grace, is a glori­ous prince to triumph ouer thee. If sin come and would haue thee by the throat, send it to Christ, & say, as much as thou maist do against him, so much right thou shalt haue against me. For I am in him, & he in me: wherfore (O sin) I am righteous through my Christ, which is a condemning sin, to condemne thee which art a condemned sinner. If death creepe vpon thee & attempt to deuoure thee, say vnto it, Christ hath ouercome thee, & opened to me the gates of euerlasting life: thou wouldest haue killed him, with the sting of sin, but the same being of no force, thy purpose (O death) hath failed, and he being my life, is be­come thy death. If Sathan sommon thee to answer for thy debts, send him also to Christ and say, that the wife is not suable, but the hus­band: enter thine action against Christ mine husband, and he will make thee a sufficient answere: who then shall condemne vs? or what iudge shall daunt vs? syth God is our iudge and accquited vs? and Christ was con­demned, [Page 71] & iustifieth vs? he is our iudge that willeth not the death of a sinner; he is our man of law who to excuse vs, suffered himselfe to be accused for vs. O gluttonous hell where is thy defence? O cruell sin, where is thy tyran­nous power? O rauening death where is thy bloody sting? O roaring Lion, why doest thou freete and foame? Christ my lawe fighteth a­gainst thee O lawe, and is my liberty. Sinne against thee O sinne, and is my righteousnes: Christ against thee O diuell, and is my sauiour? Death against thee O death & is my life. Thou diddest desire to paue my way to the burning lake of damned soules: but contrarie to thy will, thou art constrained to lift vp the ladder wherby I must ascend into the new Ie­rusalem. Wherfore if we shal finde our selues forsaken of God, so as we perceiue nothing but matter of dispaire, let vs still hold our owne; & in the certainty of our faith stay our selues, sith Christ is giuen vs of God that he might ex­tinguish sin, triumph ouer the law, vanquish death, ouercome the diuell, and destroy hell, for our onely comfort and consolation. But peraduenture some will say, my faith is weake and colde, and my conscience is as a [...]laming lampe and burning furnace: I feare the Lorde will still pursue mee with his wrath­full indignation: Thou doest well to feare, but feare and sinne not.

[Page 72]For feare which subdueth the securitie of the flesh, is in all most requisite, in that the wea­ker we are in our selues, the stronger we are in God. But that feare is dangerous, which hin­dereth the certainty of faith, in that it incou­rageth our enemy more fearcely to set vpō vs; when we (comming into the campe) will cast away our armour especially which should de­fend vs. Comfort thy selfe, the Lord will not quench the smoking flaxe, nor breake the brused reede, he looketh not on the quanti­tie but on the qualitie of our faith. For as a good mother doth not reiect hir childe be­cause through some infirmitie it is weake, feeble and not able to go alone, but rather doth pitie and supporte it least peraduenture it should fal, & recompenseth that with more motherly affection, which in her child is wan­ting by occasion: in like manner the Lorde God our most gracious father doth not cast vs off, because through our imperfections we are vnable or afraide to drawe neerer to the throne of grace; but rather pitieth vs, and seing vs a farre of desirous to come vnto him, meeteth vs by the way, & by grace & strength of his owne hand, directeth our steps vnto his kingdom. And as he which freely purposeth to giue a wedge of gold, will not withdrawe his gift because the hand of him that should re­ceiue it, is weak, troubled with the gout, palsy, [Page 73] or leaprosie, so that by any meanes, though in greate weakenes, he be able to holde it: euen so the Lorde purposing in free mercie to bestowe on vs an immortall weight of glory, will not depriue vs of it, though many filthy blemishes haue poluted and weakened or faith, so that in any small mea­sure we be able to take holde of his promi­ses▪ neither are we [...]o loke on our faith which the Gospell hath called vs vnto, be­cause we neuer beleeue as we ought; but ra­ther on that which the Gospell offereth & giueth, that is on Gods mercy and peace in Christ: in whose lappe if we can lay our heads with Saint Iohn, then we are in felicitie, se­curitie, and perfect quietnes. Contrariwise there be some, who (notwithstanding that a tormented conscience is a stinging Serpent, that it were much better that all the creaturs rose vp against vs, euery one bringnig their bane; then once to come before the dreadful face of God) are so blockish that they are wholy resolued into hardnes. If they bee pricked with sicknes, they crye alas; if they be pinched with pouertie thy can complaine: but as for the torment of minde they cānot skil of it: And euē to talke of abrused, cōtrite & broken hart, is a strange lāguage. For profe whereof our consciences are rocked aslepe so that not one amongest a thousand know­eth [Page 74] what it is to be pressed and harrowed with the rake of Gods iudgements. But blessed are they that to their owne saluati­on feele this in their bodies, whilest sinne may be both punished and purged. For though God spare vs for a time, yet we know what he keepeth for our end. Wherefore it is the best for vs to runne to the Lord in this life with a troubled minde, least we tarry till the Lord haue locked vs vp with the heauie fetters of desperation, when he shall som­mon vs to the barre of his iudgement, in the sight of his Angels, and impannelling the great inquest of his Saintes against vs, shall denounce our fearefull and finall sentence of eternall condemnation, for we see many that haue beene carelesse and haue made good cheare all their life long, yea, and when men haue laboured to make them feele the iudgements of God, they haue turned all to mockery, but whose iolytie the Lorde hath so abated when they drawe towardes death, that in steade of resting and sporting (whereunto they had bene giuen) they haue felt the terrour of death, hell, and damnati­on, and lapping vp their ioyes in finall des­peration, haue forced out cursinges a­gainst their filthie pleasures. Wherefore if wee in the tempest of our temptations will saile a right course, neither shrinking [Page 75] nor slipping into the gulfe of desperation, neither battering our barke against the rocke of presumption; Let vs in a con­trite spiri [...]e cry vnto the Lorde: Haue mer­cy vpon mee, heale my soule for I haue sin­ned against thee, forgiue all mine iniqui­ties, and heale all mine infirmities. Thou healest those that are broken in hearte and byndest vp their soares: why art thou cast downe my soule, and why art thou disquie­ted within mee, waite on God, for I will yet giue him thanks, he is my present helpe, & my God. Yet my soule keepe thou silence before God, of him commeth my saluation, he is my strength, therefore I shall not much be moued, his mightines is enough to giue me courage, yea and shalbe euen when I am forlorne, I knowe that the diminishing of my body, goods, friendes, or any other thing is a calling of me, to that which neuer shall diminish nor decay, I beleeue that my Lord and my God allureth me daly thither; that I might not doubt that when my body is laide in the graue, and there consumed as it were to nothing, yet notwithstanding my soule resting in the bosome of the Lord, shall returne vnto me and shall rise to glo­ry: euen as it (resting in this life, in the mer­cies of Christ) did rise to grace verely I see, & that with ioy, that my flesh must go to decay [Page 76] for looke what freshnes soeuer was in it, it di­minished day by day. And I neede not goe farre to seeke for death, for I feele not so smale an infirmitie in my bodie, but the same is vnto me a messenger of dissolution. Yet for all this I shall see my God, and when I am couered in the belly of the graue with mouldes, I am assured, that he will reach me his hande to lift me vp againe to the beautie of his inheritance: so that this smale cottage and shed of leaues, being brought to the graue, shall be caried into an incor­ruptible tabernacle. Thus communing with our owne harts, and being still in the peace of a good conscience, concerning our outward sufferings, we shall finde that the Lord by his fatherly and louing chastismēts, intendeth nothing more then to proue our obedience, as good reason it is that he should, and to confirme our faith, as also is most ne­cessarie. Howbeit still as I saide, he vseth a fatherly correction, that is, in mercy, mea­sure, and iudgement. For as he striketh vs downe in anger for our sinnes with the one hande, so he raiseth vs vp againe in loue for our saluation with the other hand. For al­beit his corrections be wearisome woundes to flesh and bloude, yet are they soueraine medicines to the soule and conscience, es­pecially when the Lorde giueth vs that priui­uiledge [Page 77] of his children, that by his holy spirite he doth ouermaister vs, least that finally we should be his Iudge, and he not ours. And for this cause the Lord is often times prouo­ked to put on (as it were) a contrary face, & to locke vs vp in a prison of aduersitie, to re­straine vs from the libertie of our sinnes, which Sathan faine would make vs violently to rush into. And surely though the wisdome of the flesh perswadeth vs that nothing is better then to be spared and not to be espied when the Lord calleth vs to reckoning; yet the spirit shewing our desperate estate, with­out the syre of affliction, and boulter of ad­uersitie, teacheth vs that we cannot of all the blessings of God sufficiently esteeme this, being the mother of humilitie, and nource of true repentance. Againe, the Lorde fitteth vs often by inward temptations and out­warde crosses, to flitte vs from the stake of securitie and vntowardnes to good workes; least in time we should loose the experience of our knowledge and faith in Christ, and seeke some easier kinde of life for flesh & bloud. Neither can we truely repent, vntill by some crosse we know this world to be a place of sorrowe, and not of mirth and delight. For so long as we make our prosperitie a bul­warke to beate downe all harmes, we are to looke for aduersitie to beate downe the [Page 78] high saile of our proude hearts, whereby we gadde after our owne lustes, and leaue the anchor of peace, which is our trust in God. Let vs learn [...] then, when the world begin­neth to fauour vs, and we haue as it were an hundreth thousand soldiers, to beare vs vp; not to be secure; for there is nothing more ea­sie for a man, then for to make him selfe be­leeue that he shall alwaies continue in happy estate, and thinke he shall die in the nest. But we must be as birds on a bough, to remoue at Gods pleasure, and that without resistance when the Lord shall visite vs. And because we are giuen to much to thinke that wee haue the things in our owne right, which we houlde of the free goodnes of God: wee are taught in affliction how hainous vn­thankfulnes it were to binde the Lord con­tinually to intertaine vs in this life at so full Charge and cost, without respect of his free & vndeserued giftes: or to holde plee against, and sue him as it were by an obligation, at whose handes we ought to begge daily; and at whose gate we receiue all our maintei­nance: or to make a rent charge of all that which he giueth of his hee liberalitie. Thus in the end wee make a chalendge of owner­shippe of Gods giftes, and make accompt to haue their companie to the graue, where­by wee prouoke the Lord often to prooue to [Page 79] our faces, that all that wee haue is but lent and borrowed. Let vs then haue such an eye to euery blow, that whensoeuer the Lord shall lay any crosse vpon vs, wee bee rea­dy to receiue it & to yeelde vp our bonds vn­to him, the condition whereof is, that wee be readie to remooue whensoeuer he plea­seth, knowing that Gods prouidence for­ceth vs alwaies to the best, and as most may make for the hastening of our soules to our euerlasting inheritance. Let vs learne not to reckē without our host, & that we hold our prosperitie of the Lord not in [...]ee simple, but as tenants at will, that is, from day to day, resigning to God the soueraignetie of reuoking vs when it pleaseth him. Thus it becommeth the Lord to change our estate that wee be come not snatled in the giftes of prosperitie, and become so folish as not to keepe on our way to the heauenly life. Our natural inclination is to forget that we are on earth as pilgrimes; to leape vp into the clouds; and to promise vnto our selues the whole course of our liues to be in prosperitie; and so long as God letteth vs alone at our ease, we take our selues (as it were) to be petty Gods. But when we see our selues shut vp, and know not what will be the end of our misery, finde­ing our selues to be intertained in this life but as iorney men, waged for the present day, but [Page 80] not knowing what will become of vs the day following: we desire to take our [...]est in the bosome of Gods prouidence, and so much we strike our sailes the lower, when the Lord proclameth warre with our secure prosperitie: which perswadeth vs that we shall liue for euer, and driueth vs from bethinking vs of our miseries and frail [...]i [...]s. Wherefore let vs cut out our prosperitie by the patterne of humilitie, and in our best estate, putte our selues in readinesse to suffer aduersitie, and whē we are well, to looke for worse, & keepe a good watch when God handleth vs most gently, that in abounding we may foresee our wants, in health our sicknes, and in pro­speritie our calamitie: concerning things of this life the faithfull are to stande in a doubt, that that which they holde with one hande, may be taken away with the other. Wee must not thinke that we shall euer be shut vp in a mewe, so that we should see noe crosse: but we must lay open our selues to receaue stripes from the Lord, knowing that our least cryes will stay his greatest scourges. Let vs loue to bee assaulted, but not vnmea­surably because God will assist vs. Let vs looke to fal, but on our knees, because Gods hand doth hold vs vp. Let vs looke to bee humbled but in mercy, because the Lord sustaineth vs, and as we are as [...]ured where [Page 81] misery hemmeth vs about on euery side, to haue an ou [...]-gate in euery danger▪ so it is our part continually to confesse before the Lord, that wee euer giue new occasions that hee should follow vs with newe punishmentes▪ and that our sinnes doe often shake of the wings of Gods mercy, vnder the which we haue beene long comforted. For Gods children acknowledge themselues without ceasing, that God hath rodd [...]s in a readi­nes (though they see noe present euill) to beat them from their sinnes: and bende all their care, how they may rather suff [...]r ad [...]ersitie to Gods glory, then to steepe securely in prosperitie vnto their owne pleasure. Now when the Lord doth, as it were holde vs on the racke for these causes before named, we must pray vnto him, that (howsoeuer he kee­peth vs in the presse) wee may haue a brea­thing while to consider our daies spent in pleasure, and to examine our vnthankfulnes, which shutteth vp the doore of Gods mer­cy from vs. And because our afflictions are the sorer when they come the nearer to the soule, we may with our selues con­clude to hold on the way of our thorough- [...]aire and though wee see nothing but thornes of temptations, and bryers of euill affe [...]ions, so as wee must bee faine to leape ouer hedges, rockes, and ditches; yet must [Page 82] we not cease to continue in Gods seruice. For if that were not, what triall and examina­tion of our faith should there bee, weare wee as in a faire medowe that wee might runne on a longe by the water side in a shade, and that there might be nothing but pleasure and ioy all our life time: who could vant that he had serued God with good affection? But when GOD doth send vs things cleane contrary to our de­sires, that we must bee faine one while to enter into a quagmire, and another while to march vpon ragged rocks & stones; then wee shall haue the vse of a well ex­excised minde in prayer, in repentance, and in contempt of this life. And why doeth the Lorde some time suffer vs to pyne away, and to languishe in continu­ance of griefe, seeinge that hee coulde cleane ridde vs at the first, doubtlesse to this end, that wee might confesse his mercy more freely, and bite of his iust­stice more sharpely. Let vs now learne to holde all the passions of impacientie in bondage, both by comparing our e­uils which the wonderfull mercies of GOD, and our smale sufferings with the intollerable conflictes of our fore­fathers [Page 83] For there is noe greater cause of our desparing vnder the crosse, then when Sathan perswadeth vs: that ne­uer any were handled so roughlye, or els woulde beare vs in hande, that al­though GOD afflicted the faithfull that haue beene before vs, yet they were not so weake as wee. But let vs remem­ber that GOD hath so pinched his seruantes, euen them whome hee loued, and whose welfare was deare and pre­cious in his fight, and hath often brought them to such extremities, as they were not able to looke vp any more, not wist how to speake nor how to houlde their peace. Wherefore least our infirmities shoulde ouermaister vs, and when temp­tations are fierce vppon vs, wee knowe not where to become: Let vs call too minde the Saintes of God, who were constrained with sighes and grones to stoup vnder the hande of GOD; whose martyrs and tormented children ought to bee our looking glasses, to the ende that by them wee may learne, that according as GOD dealeth forth the giftes of the Spirite, thereafter doth hee sende greater af­flictions; both to make thē the more estemed, [Page 84] and also to cast vp a more plentifull fruite of their faith. How did God deale with Abra­ham, Abraham not a common man, but rather an An­gell, the tenth part of whose sufferings would make a stout heart to quaile. How was Da­uid the seruant of God,Dauid. exercised in Gods schole, who felt all Gods dar [...]s, and had all his arrowes shot at him. Thus it is requi­site that Gods graces shoulde not b [...] idle in his children, but set on worke by afflicti­ons, whereby they may be knowne in due time and place. How did God play the Lion wi [...]h Ezechias, Ezechias. who (as with pawes & teeth) brused and crushed his bones; not that wee may accuse God of crue [...]tie, but that wee may see with what anguish the Lorde doth some times exercise his children, and with what patience he doth arme them: who notwithstanding his vehement trialles, doe stay them selues vpon God, accusing themselues (Mat. 7.9) I will beare the wrath of the Lord, because I haue sinned against him: and ex [...]using the Lord with all humblenes with Dauid (Psal. 114) I know O Lord that thy Iudgements are right, and that thou hast afflicted me iustly &c. It is much auaileable to mortification and Christian patience also, to occupie our heartes in the house of mour­ning euen in our greatest banquetting, and to betake our selues vnto some serious medi­tation [Page 85] of aduersi [...]ie, when present pleasures would most deu [...]rce vs from the remēbrance thereof. So though wee haue much in pos­session, wee shall haue little in affection & when God doth most aduance vs, we shall feare our wantes of humilitie: and [...]hen esp [...]cially be ransacking our infirmities, when the Lord for ou [...] triall enricheth vs most with his benefits. For if the Lord God by multi­plying his mercies increaseth our account; we are often to suspect, to call to iudgement, and to arraine our selues for the vsing of Gods creatures; who often giueth that in iudge­ment, which he might deny vs in mercy and often wayneth vs from some things in his loue, which hee might giue vnto vs in his anger.


Sweete and sure signes of Election, to them especially that are brought lowe.

A clearing of iudgement, conceiuing of the truth, and true meaning of the Scrip­ture making for vs or against vs.

A rebuking of sinne inwardlie, a pouertie of spirite from thence, and a mourning ther­fore.

A being cast dowe in our owne conceite, & a meeknes to beare our punishment ther­by wrought.

An hungring after the righteousnes which is in Christ, and a prising and esteeming it aboue all eartly things.

A musing vpon, and a desire to thinke and speake of heauenly thinges.

A conflict of the flesh and spirite, and ther­in by practise the powe [...] of the spirite get­tinge the vpper hand.

A fowing to the spirit, by the vse of the means, as of the word, prayer, &c.

A purpose vnfained, vpon strength recei­ued, of vowing ones selfe wholly to the glo­rie of God, and good of our brethren.

A resignation of our selues into Gods hands.

An expecting of the daily increase of our soules health, and our bodies resurrection.

The forgiuing of our enemies.

[Page 87]An acknowledging of our offences with a purpose truely to leaue them.

A delight in Gods Saints.

A desire that after death the Church of GOD may flourish and haue all peace.

A spirite without guile: that is, an vnfai­ned purpose alwaies to doe well, howsoeuer our infirmities put vs by it.


A letter from M. Richard Greeneham to a friend of his, M. M. against hardnes of heart.

I Beseech God the Father of our Lord Iesus Christ giue mee his holy spirit in writing to giue aduice, and you in reading to re­ceiue it, Amen. Since the time I receiued M. S. his letter, wherein hee decla­red his carefull compassion ouer your estate, I haue beene not a litle grieued because, partly for want of a conuenient messenger, & partly because of my manifould distractions with the like occurrances & other waighty affairs, I haue beene hindred hitherto from wright­ing vnto you. And albeit euen still I am in the same case, yet conscience towards God, com­passion & loue towards you, forceth mee to ouercome lets which hardly I could otherwise preuaile against. And albeit I cannot write as I would, yet of that which I shall write pro­ceeding frō the forenamed groundes I looke for some blessing from God through Iesus Christ if you will not too much faint in faith, and yeeld to the aduersarie: yea, if you will but hope so well of your selfe, as (in the feare of GOD I doe write it) I hope of you. First, whereas it seemeth you are [Page 89] sometimes grieued, becaus you tarried not still at Cambridge according to mine ad­uise, you must knowe I aduised it not as a thing necessary, but more conuenient, as I thē supposed, but I aduised you to obey your father, if his pleasure still continued to haue you home; whereunto you yeelding, I can­not see [...]owe you offended, it beeing your Fathers pleasure you shoulde so doe. And who knoweth whether beeing there you might not haue beene as much troubled, there beeing no priuiledge for persons and places in such cases: And who knoweth whether it be the Lordes pleasure, for the ex­sample and instruction (and I hope the con­solation) of others in the ende. And albeit you will nowe thinke that heere you were nearer the moe and stronger meanes, yet knowe you and bee pers [...]aded, that God can and doth in such cases worke by fewer and weaker, according to his good pleasure: Be­sides, it is in our corrupt nature to make much of such meanes as we cannot haue, and not so to esteeme those which God doth offer vs, as we should; I beseech you therefore in the name of Iesus Christ, humbly to praise God for those meanes he offereth in mercy vnto you, and to vse them in faith accordingly; and so God shall blesse you by them: And then by such conference as you may haue [Page 90] from hence by letters, wherein if I may stand you in any steede, rather for the good opi­nion you haue of me, then for any greate matter I am able to performe, I shalbe ready to offer any office of loue vnto you as God shall inable mee, and so farre forth as I shall bee at any time instructed in your perticular estate in some letters sente from you by conuenient messengers. That which I per­ceiue presently by M. S. letter is, that you are afflicted with the blindnes of your mind; and hardnes of your heart, which cannot be moued either with the promises of Gods mer­cies, or feare of his iudgements; nor affected with the loue & delight of the things which bee good, nor with the hatred and loathing of the euill. Great cause you haue of griefe I confesse, but no cause of dispaire dare I grant, because I am perswaded that your perswati­on is somewhat false, partly for wante of a sounde iudgement of your estate, and partly for some defect of faith, somewhat through your owne default. First therefore know you for a certaintie, that this is no other tentation, than such as diuers of Gods children haue beene humbled with, and afterwarde haue had a good issue out of it: and if it please God to moue ye to credit me, I my selfe haue knowen others, as deepely this way plunged, as you can be. Remember ther­fore, [Page 91] that God is faithfull, and will not suffer you to be tempted aboue that which you shall be able to beare. And yet farther to confirme you heerein,1. Cor. 10.13 the holy scriptures do recorde, that this way God heeretofore hath humbled his owne people: in whose person the Prophet Esay lamentably complai­neth.Esa. 63, 15. O Lord looke down from heauen, be­hold from thy dwelling place of thy holines, and of thy glorie. Where is thy zeale and thy strength, the multitude of thy mercies, and of thy compassions? They are restrained from me. And afterwardes; O Lord why hast thou made vs to erre from thy waies, and hardened our heartes from thy feare? And in the next chapt.vers. [...] Wee haue beene alas an vncleane thing, and all our righteousnesse is as filthy cloutes: and we all doe fade as a leafe, and our iniquities as the winde doth take vs away: and there is none that calleth vpon thy name, nei­ther that stirreth vp himselfe to take hold on thee, for thou hast hid thy face from vs, and hast consumed vs, because of our iniquities. And before.Esa. 59.10 Wee grope for the wall like the blinde, and we grope as one without eies, we rore like beares, and mourne like doues. So complaineth Ezechias in the bitternes of his soule;Esa. 38.14 Like a crane or a swallow so did I chatter, I did mourne as a doue:Psal. 51.10 And when Dauid crieth, Create in me O God a [Page 92] cleane heart, renue in me a right spirit. Restore to me the ioy of my saluation, establish me with thy free spirit: doth he not declare that his heart was vncleane, his spirit cr [...]ked, the ioy of his saluation lost, and himselfe subiect to [...]he sp [...]rit of bondage? so that wanting the spirit of liberty or adoption, he could n [...]yther cry Abba Father, nor haue any power against sinne. T [...]us you see how Gods children may be blinded in minde, and hardened in heart for a time, so that they feele in themselues the grace of the holy spirite to be as it were perished and dead. Fa [...]ther to releeue the in­firmitie of your iudgement in this case, be­cause I know it may much distresse you, you must vnderstand that there bee two kindes of hardnes of heart, the one which is not felt nor perceiued; The other which is perceiued & felt; and of the former that there be two sortes, the first (which is most fearefull) when any doe purposely resist the motions of Gods spirite, and wilfully refuse the meanes of their salua­tion; of which the Prophet Zachary speaketh. 7.11. They refused to harken, and pulled a­way their shoulder and stopped their eares that they should not heare: yea, they made their heartes as an Adamant stone, least they should heare the law, and the wordes which the Lord of hostes sent in his spirit by the mi­nistery of the former Prophets. The outragi­ous [Page 93] sinne of these men, the Prophet Esay ex­presseth in these their owne fearefull termes,Esay. 28.15 we haue made a couenant with death, and with hell, we are at a [...]reement: though a scourge runne ouer and passe through, it shall not come at vs: for we haue made falshoode our refuge, and vnder vanitie are we hidden. This was a fearefull estat [...] indeede; yet for all that no man can say, but some of those hauing hardened their [...]eartes, might bee, and were af [...]erward conuerted. The other kinde of hardnes of heart which is not felt not percei­ued, or if perc [...]iued, y [...]t not felt; (which al­beit it is lesse fearefull, yet it is dangerous e­nough) is in such, as although they wilfully resist not God [...] spirite in good meanes; yet securely, car [...]lesly and willingly they lie in sinne, without any [...]emorse of i [...], or true tast of good thinges. Such was Dauid his estate for the space of a yeare before Nathan the Prophet ame to reproue him, and rouse him from his lulled sleepe. Both these kindes I am perswaded you are free from, otherwise than in temptation. Sathan may sometimes mooue yee thereunto. The other kinde of hardnes of heart which is perceiued and felt, is of two sortes; the one in them which are desirous of meanes whereby they may be re­leeued, although they do finde small or no ease at all in themselues for a time.

[Page 94]Of this kinde the Prophet Esay (in the name of some of gods people) complained.Esay, 63 And such was Dauids state. Af [...]er that Nathan had reproued him, and gods spirit began to to worke wi [...]h him, yet he crieth out as ye heard before, of the losse of gods graces: and when he saith, that God will accept of no sa­crifices be they neuer so many nor precious, without a contrite heart and broken spirit; he sheweth that for a time (euen a [...]ter the pro­ph [...]t had reproued him) he wanted both. This is your case, and therefore you are in the state of saluation; for Dauid was in this case, euen after he had confessed his sinne, and had receiued absolution and pardon from God, by the ministerie of Nathan, although he neuer felt ioy thereof, nor true griefe for the other: yet because in trueth of heart he confessed his finne (as my trust is you doe) and was certain­lie perswaded of the pardonablenesse of i [...] by gods mercie, (athough he was farre off from the feeling it, or applying it to his wofu [...]l con­science) his state was good, & verie well to be hoped of. And you must know & be perswaded that those things which are written of gods saints, & namelie of Dauid & Peter, & such o­thers, are examples for vs, if we will stay our selues vpon the word of God in the ministerie of his seruants, & wait vpon the Lords good time, till he come neerer vnto vs by his spirit: [Page 95] neerer I saie, for he is come alreadie vnto you: or it may be he neuer went from you; because to be grieued & humbled with blindnesse of minde & hardnes of heart, to beleue certainly the trueth of God his promises in generall, and to reuerence the seruants of God which bring the glad tidings of saluation and to long after the comfortes, vsing the meanes of the word and praier, the Sacrament of the supper, and the companie of gods children, contrarie to hope, vnder hope, yea without anie present feeling: all this is a certaine argument, that gods spirit is with such, & therefore with you. This estate although it bee verie grieuous, yet it is neuer dangerous, much lesse is it feare­full; vnlesse any be so wilfull, that they perse­uere & continue in desperate refusing al good meanes: vnlesse they perseuere I say, for that through the spirituall aduersarie, & his force­able power, wherby God suffereth him some­time for a season to winnow them as wheate, they are so be witched and intoxicated, that they are carried by violent force of tēptation, to waxe wearie of, or to refuse all meanes of comfort by fittes: yea, almost to haue no desire at all vnto them: yea, sometimes to speake veie euill of them: But all this is but temptation, and therefore GOD will bee mercifull vnto them for Christ his sake.

[Page 96]Thus Iob cursed the day of his birth, and wished to be strangled; Ieremie almost repen­ted that euer he preached in the name of the Lord: both scarcely abstaine from blasphemie. Dauid moued with the spirit of ambi [...]ion (though dutifully admonished) wilfully w [...]nt onin numbring the people; Peter also vain glo­riously presuming of his own strength, being most wisely and effectually preadmonished of his weakenes euen by our Lord Iesus, yet wit­tingly rusheth as a horse into the battell and then very cowardly yeeldeth, yea doubly de­nieth, yea strengtheneth his sinne with a three­fold coard, and fasteneth it with banning and cursings: and yet all these obtained mercy most bountifully. For why? as Sathan had desired to winnow them, so our Lord Iesus praied for them, that their faith, though it was vehemently assaulted, yet shoulde not be o­uercome; although it was battered, yet that it should not be destroyed▪ and though it was oppressed, yet that it should not be ex­tinguished. And heere bee you fully perswa­ded, that albeit Luke. 22.31. the words seeme to runne as belonging but to Peter, Vz. I haue praide for thee that thy fai [...]h should not faile; yet he praied for the rest of the Apostles, yea for all the faithfull. For first he saith not, Si­mon sathan hath desired to winnow thee: but you. Why then saith hee, I haue praied for [Page 97] thee? Verelie because he should more grie­uously offend than the rest: although their offence was verie great; therfore his and our most blessed Sauiour applied to him the pro­mise, but did not appropriate it vnto him only, and restrained it from the rest. Compare with this place. Iohn. 17.20. and you shall see that the heauenly verity affirmeth; that he praied not onelie for the Apostles, but for all those that should beleeue through their word: yea farther, Our lord Iesus Christ was yesterdaie, is to day, & shalbe for euer. And as the fore­fathers were baptised into him,Hebr. 13. and did eate his flesh, and did drinke his blood; so was his praier effectuall euen to them vnder the law; much more to vs vnder grace. And when you can finde testimonie in your heart, that when you would doe well, euill is present with you, and that you do the euill you would not; then do not you it, but sin in you, when it leadeth you captiue. Much more when sathan works with all buffeting you,Rom. [...]. assure your selfe that God hath pittie on you, that the vertue of his power shall be perfect in your weaknes. If you beleeue,2. Co. 12.9 according to your faith it shalbe done vnto you. But you will say, you cannot be­leeue, that this vile & crooked hardnes of your heart can be remitted & renued: & euen this was the seconde pointe which in the former part of my letter I gaue you to vnderstand [Page 98] was the cause of your excessiue distresse. I be­seech you, & I charge you in the name of our lord Iesus Christ, that you wil not willingly lie nor offer iniurie to gods spirit, nor to your selfe who hath receiued it. Tel me, what is the reasō why you thinke you haue no faith? Verely because you haue no feeling, nor any other fruites thereof, as you thinke. Wel [...] ▪ first then agree with me heerein (as you must if you will not disagree with the truth) that feeling is but an effect and fruite of faith; and there­for theremay be faith without feeling, as wel as thecause may be without the effect, & the tree without any appearance of fruit, yea, of sap for a season. And as a man sore wounded and diseased, may for a season be depriued almost of all operations of the naturall life to the out­ward shew, and to his owne iudgement and feeling; so may a spirituall man be [...]ore woun­ded by sa [...]han, and diseased by the present feeling of his sinful corruptions, specially in temptations; that he may thinke, yea ap­peare to others, that the life of the spirit is not in him. Thus, Peters faith did not wholly faile, (as you haue heard) or else the praier of our Sauiour preuailed not. Thus when Dauid declared that his heart was vncleane,Psal 5.12. and his spirit crooked or vnstable;vers. 14. and that he had lost the ioy of his saluation,vers. 13. and the spirite of libertie, or adoption: yet hee praieth, [Page 99] that God woulde not take his holy spirite from him: therefore hee was not depriued of the spirite of sanctification.

Heere seemeth to bee repugnance, but there is not anie: hee was depriued indeede for a time of the graces of the sanctifying spi­rite, but not of the holy Ghost where with hee was sanctified: which graces, as God re­stored vnto him, so I am perswaded he will do vnto you: Yea and I doubt whether you are depriued of them; but onely that partlie Melancholy, partly Sathan working there­with, make you doe iniurie to your selfe, and to the graces of the spirite in you; which I beseech you to take heede of.

But the messenger cannot stay, and there­fore I cannot write as I would, eyther of this, or of the remedie which you should vse; which heere after I will, as God shall enable me: and I pray you let me vnderstand (as I requested in the beginning) of your estate in perticular somewhat more, and that by this Bearer if you can; because he is of your acquaintance, and will bring it to me faithfully. Onelie I adde nowe vnto that I haue written of hard­nesse of heart at large, that you must dili­gently obserue the worde Create, which Dauid vseth,Psal. 51. declaring that hee had no fee­ling of heart. To this ioyne that which the Prophet Esay speaketh in the person of GOD. I create the fruite of the [Page 100] lippes to be peace, peace as well to him that is farre off, as to him that is neere. Therefore in faith you may as well pray, with hope to ob­taine,Esa 64.12 as did Dauid: therfore say with him of­ten, and with Gods people. O Lord, thou art our Father: wee indeed are clay, but thou art our maker, and wee are the worke of thy handes &c. Know also, God can cause wolues lions,Esay. 11.6. leopards, &c. to dwell louingly with lambes, calues and kids, &c. & that which is vnpossible to men, is possible with God, euen to cause a cable rope to go through a needles eye; that is, to change the hard heart of the vnbeleeuing couetous wretched man; much more yours: yea know you that all things are possible to him which beleeueth. Cry then, I beleeue, O Lord helpe my vnbeliefe: and I dare promise you in the name of our Lord Ie­sus Christ, that you shall haue your hearts he­sire in goodnes. Thus abruptly I must ende, I cōmend you to God & the word of his grace, which is able to builde you vp, and giue you the right of inheritance among them that are sanctified. And the very God of peace sanctify you throughout, that your whole spirit & soule and body may be kept blamelesse vntill the comming of our Lord Iesus Christ. Faithfull is hee which hath called you, which will do it. Amen. I pray you pray for me, & I trust as I haue, so I shall pray for you, and much more.

Yours in Christ Iesus to vse in any neede. R. G.

An other Comfortable Letter by Master R. G. to Master M.

BRother beloued in our Lord Iesus Christ, seeing you haue had heeretofore not onelie knowledge, but also expe­rience of Gods gracious and mercifull goodnes in Iesus Christ, of your owne vnbeliefe and of Sa­thans subtlenes; I could meruaile why you should giue such place, and not keepe your ground no furer, if I were not much acquain­ted with such occurrences. I know not ther­fore whether with wordes of rebuke, or of comfort, I should seeke to relieue you. Be­cause I cannot come vnto you, my counsell and desire is, that you would come vp to Lon­don the next Tearme at the farthest; that so I might aske of God, to frame my speech to your Good. In the mean season I beseech you to call vnto minde that which you cannot be ignorant of, that in the lawe,Leuit. sacrifices were offered for Gods people, not onely at their first entrance into couenant with the Lorde, but also afterwardes manie times;Leuit. Nū. 15.28. and that not only for sinnes committed by ignorance but also by errour, that is, forgetfulnes, fraile­nesse, [Page 102] retchlesnes, carelesnesse, &c. If you haue not Tremelius his translation by you, you must take heede of the english that hath ig­norance, for they failed that so transla­ted it.

It is manifest that the sinne of errour is there opposed against the sinne committed with an hie hande, that is to blasphemie with contempt of God, and making his lawe of none effect but to bee in vaine. Which sinne Iam sure you are most farre off from, I would you were as farre off from vnbeliefe and distrust. That Gods children may fall after their calling into diuers foule faultes, may appeare by many proofes. First, in the Lawe, when the Lord speaketh in his Maiestie and proclaimeth his glory,Exod. 24.6.7. yet in howe many wordes commendeth he his mercy, and for howe many seuerall sortes of sinnes. Doth not Esay the holy Prophet call the people of his daies,Esay. 1.10.11. the people of Gomorrha, and their Princes the Princes of Sodome? Doth not he accuse them as grieuous transgressors both of the first and second Table; and yet doth afterwardes promise them, that though their sinnes were as crimson,vers. 18. they shall be as white as snowe; though they were redde like scarlet, they shall bee as woole. Doth hee not charge them that they were sunke deepe in rebellion,Esa. 31.6 and yet [Page 103] exhorteth them to returne vnto the Lorde? Yea, doth he not charge them not onelie with rebellion,Esa. 63.10 but also with vexing the holy spirit of God? And yet reade what is written. Pray as there you may learne, Esay tenth.Esay. 63.9 Chap. fiue, sixe, &c.

What, doth not the holy Prophet Iere­mie shewe,Ier. 31.18.20 that Ephraim was as an vnta­med Calse, &c. yet so soone as he mourned and was ashamed of himselfe, doth not the Lord shew, that his bowels of mercy were troubled for his estate? Do [...]h not the Lorde offer mercy vnto the prophane and forget­full transgressors of his holy couenant?Psal. 50.5.22 Is not this part of the couenant made with all the sonnes of Dauid in Christ Iesus, that if they not onely omitting many good things, but also commit rebellions & iniquities, that though hee may visit them, yet it shall bee with the rodde of his children, and that his mercy hee will not take from them, nor break of his couenant made with them in Iesus Christ?Psal. 89.30 Therfore remember that the holy pro­mises, threatnings, precepts & examples are written, that we should not sinne, but if any man sinne, we haue an aduocate with the father Iesus Christ the iust,1. Ioh. 2, 2 & he is the re­conciliation of our sinnes, & not for our sins onely, but for the sinnnes of the whole world. Doth not the blessed Apostle Paule [Page 104] charge the Corinthians whom he affirmeth to bee rich in Christ,1. Cor. 1.6, 7 and destitute of no spi­rituall gift, to be more carnall then spirituall, yet babes in Christ, yea to be falne Into idola­try,1. Cor. committing of euill things, fornication, tempting not only of God, but of Christ, yea murmuring against them; yet doth hee not heerein comfort them,1. Cor. 10.9.13. that no temptation hath token hold on them, but such as apper­taineth to man,Psal. 19.13 & that God will be mercifull vnto. Dauid praieth against presumptuous sinnes, that they should not raigne ouer him. Signifying though he sinned presumptuously, yet if he did not perseuer in presumption ob­stinately, without desire to repent, that such sinne or sinnes were pardonable: Nowe the Lords couenant towards his in Iesus Christ is, not to deale after their sins, nor to reward thē after their iniquities, much lesse will he not regard in wrathful displesure their infirmities. For if he should so marke what is said or done amisse, who were then able to abide it? But with him is mercy in Iesus Christ, that he may be feared. Therfore, lift vp your hands which hange downe, strengthen your weak knees, & say vnto your soule, why art thou so cast down and vnquiet within mee? I will yet trust in Iesus Christ and waite vpon the mercifull graces of God purchased by his merites. Consider that true humilitie a riseth of faith [Page 105] in Iesus Christ, and that is true faith that in­gendreth humilitie; as we may not diminish our sinnes, so may wee not too much ag­grauate them, nor diminish Christes merits: haue euermore in your minde the example of the prodigall sonne, who saith not, I am not thy sonne, but I am no more worthie to be called thy sonnes he saith not let me bee thy bondslaue; nay, hee saith not let me bee thy hyred seruant: but let me be as one of thy hyred seruants; his father came and met him, fell on his necke, &c. So shall it come to you good brother; I neede make no more appli­cation; the holy annointing which you haue receiued, will bring the old mercies of God vpon others and vppon your owne soule vnto remembrance, and leade you into all truth, which shall bee requisite for your saluation. Put your trust in the Lord, and be you assu­red, beleeue his ministers & you shall pros­per: The Lord Iesus came not to breake the brused reede, nor to quench the smoaking flaxe; his grace shall bee euer more sufficient for you, and his vertue shal vnto the end manifest it selfe in your weakenes. Now therfore I beseech him to preserue your body & soule, & spirit, vnto his most glorious ap­pearing; Faithfull is he that hath called you, & promised, who wil also performe it, Amen.

Yours in Iesus Christ as he ha [...]h beene Richard Greenham.

A letter consolatory written to a friende afflicted in Conscience, for sinne.

Grace and peace in Iesus Christ.

MY very good and louing friend in the Lord Iesus, I vnderstand by M. H. who ofte trauelleth into those parts, that you require of mee letters of comfort for reliefe of your afflicted and distressed conscience. Wherein I could bee glad to performe any deutie that is within the compasse of my poore abilitie. But your best and soundest comfort (as I take it) lieth in those, that haue them selues bene exercised with that triall: who from the comforts of Christ that haue abounded in them, are best able to comfort those that are in like sort afflicted by the hand of God.Cor. 1, 4, 5, Agine, I haue written vnto you many times of this argument: If my letters remaine with you, they may alwaies speake for mee that which I am able to say to that point. If you require more then I haue written before this▪ then were it reason you should sende mee my former letters, that I might knowe [Page 107] where to begin that which remaineth. My leasure is not great as you knowe, and there is nothing whereinto I enter more vnwilling­ly, then into this labour of writing: Yet that you may vnderstand that I haue not alto­gether forgotten your ould loue towardes me, nor haue suffered mine affection towards you vtterly to decaye: I will indeauour at once as briefelye as I may to remember vnto you, so far as I can call to minde, the summe of all that I haue written vnto you heretofore. The question (as I take it) that that lieth in controuersie betweene your cō ­science and the enimie, is of the assurance of your saluation. Wherein I would haue you first to consider what is, or at any time past hath beene the testimony of the Spirit of God vnto your spirit,The testi­mony of the spirit. and then I doubt not, but either from present sence of the same spirit of God crying in your heart Abba Fa­ther, or from the remēbrance of the daies of old, wherin you had a cōfortable assurance of Gods fauor, you shal be able to repel the force of this temptation, cōsidering that the holy Ghost cānotly, that God, whom he loueth, vnto the end he loueth, & because his gifts & calling (as the Apostle saith) are such as whereof he doth not, nor cānot repēt him. Thē cōsider the nature of faith;The na­ture of faith. which how weak & vnper­fect soeuer it be, it cānot be denied euē by Sathan [Page 108] himselfe, to be faith: according to that which is saide;Mar. 9 24▪ Mat. 17.2, I beleeue Lord helpe thou my vnbe­liefe. And if you haue faith euen as a graine of mustard seede &c. that Faith apprehen­deth Christ Iesus in whome there is all suffi­ciency of saluation, and in whome wee are compleat: so that whatsoeuer scruple ariseth from our selues,Col. 2.10. or is inforced of the enimie from any imperfection that is in vs, it neede not at all to dismay vs, because wee saue not our selues, but are saued by him, who is made vnto vs from God, wisdome, righte­ousnes,1. Cor. 1 30. sanctification, and redemption; that who so glorieth should glorie in him. And in deede there is no surer refuge when the e­nimie distresseth vs, then renouncing our selues to professe the onely name of Christ Iesus; who died for our sinnes, and rose a­gaine for our iustification.Rom. 4.25. For if the ene­mie shall say wee haue sinned, our answere is,Rom. 8.34. Christ hath died for vs, yea is risen a­gaine, yea is ascended into heauen &c. If he say;Rom. 5.19. we want the righteousnes of the law; we must answere, Christ hath fulfilled the lawe,2. Cor. 5.21. that wee by him might be made the righteousnes of God. If hee say wee are in nature corrupt, and therefore both vnwor­thy and vnfit for the kingdome of heauen; we must answere him with the wordes of Christ himselfe,Ioh. 17.19. for there sakes haue I san­ctified [Page 109] my selfe. Fynally whatsoeuer shalbe obiected against vs by the enimie, our an­swere must bee: that in Christ, all the pro­mises of God are yea,2 Cor. 1.20. Colo. 1. [...]9 and in him they are Amen. That all fulnes dwelleth in him, and that in him wee are perfected: so that wee may boldly say with Saint Paul, there is no damnation to those which are in Christ Ie­sus.Rom. 8, 1, If Sathan his importunitie and impu­dencie will not thus bee answered, we must ende all disputation with him by our selues, and send him vnto Christ, who amongst o­ther parts of his office towardes vs, perfor­meth also this for vs, both before his hea­uenly father, and against all our aduersaries, that he is our aduocate to pleade and defende our cause,Iohn, 2, 1. which yet is not so much ours as his owne; because the question is not of our merits or satisfactions which we freely re­nounce, but of the merite of his obedience, and of the value of his death vnto the sal­uation of those that beleeue in him. So shall wee at once stoppe vp the mouth of the enimie, when refusing to pleade our own cause, we referre our selues vnto Christ whome wee knowe to bee the wisdome of God, and able to answere all that can possi­bly be obiected against vs. For seeing Sathan is a wrangling and subtill sophister, it is our furest and safest dispatch, to break [Page 110] of all dispute with him, and to send him thi­ther where he may receiue his best answere; and we neede not to doubt, but he that hath answered the iustice of God, and canceled the obligation that was against vs before his heauenly father, will easily defeate what­soeuer the olde serpent our accuser the De­uill is able to alledge against vs. But if wee cannot so auoide his assault, but needes we must enter the combat with him; let vs take vnto our selues that courage that be­commeth the souldiors of Christ, and in the name of the Lorde Iesus manfully oppose our selues, knowing that hee which hath brought vs into the battell, will both saue vs and deliuer vs out of all dangers. Then if the enimie shall say that wee haue no faith,Whether we haue faith or not. and therefore haue no interest in Christ, we may answere that our beleeuing dependeth not vpon his testimony, it is enough that our selues doe know, and feele by the grace of God, that wee doe beleeue. As for him, we doe the rather perswade our selues of faith, because he saith that we beleeue not:Iohn, 8, 44 25. know­ing that he is not only a murderer, but al­so a lie [...] from the beginning, and the father of lying. Now, he that was neither ashamed nor afraide to charge God himselfe with vn­trueth, will make lesse scruple to deale fal [...]ly with vs,Gen. 3. & that therfore we vtterly reiecte his [Page 111] witnesse, as the witnes of a notorious & trea­cherous deceauer, vnworthie all credit, and whome we cannot beleeue, euen in the truth it selfe without danger. For which cause, he was so oftentimes silenced by our Sauiour Christ and his Apostles,Mar. 2, 24, Act. 16, 18 euen then when after his deceiuable man the bare wit [...]es vnto the truth. Againe when the qu [...]stion is of our faith in Christ wether we beleeue in him or not, we must beware that we stand not here vpon perfection of knowledge, which in the best Diuines is vnperfect: nor vpon the perfec­tion of our perswasion which in all flesh is mingled with imperfection. It is enough for our present cōfort, & to the silencinge of our aduersarie, that we haue a cōpitent know­ledge of the misterie of our saluation by Christ; far remoued from that ignorance, and implicit vnderstanding, which Sathan hath planted in the kingdome of Antichrist. For perswasion also, we acknowledge, that partly by the cor­ruption of nature, and partly by his assalts, by the grace of God it is such, as the same is oftentimes assailed & shaken. Yet faileth not▪ nor falleth vnto the ground, but standeth in­uincible against all his attēpts & inuasions whatsoeuer. And finally, for that faith wherby we rest for our saluation vpon Christ Iesus, we glory not in our own strength but we say eue­ry one for himselfe, whi [...]h him in the Gospell, [Page 112] wee beleeue, Lord helpe thou our vnbeliefe. For if faith be as it is in deede a repose, set­ling, placing and putting of our trust and confidence for saluation in Christ whome the father hath sealed: Then we doubt not to prooue against Sathan, and all his instru­ments of inside litle that wee doe beleeue: and that the weakenesse of our faith wich we willingly acknowledge, and that remnant of vnbeliefe which yet hangeth vpon vs, is so farre off from dismaing vs; that it is both a warning and motiue vnto vs of great force to sturre vs vp, and to set vs a worke by all good meanes to establish and to increase our faith wherein wee finde the good hand of the Lord not to bee wanting vnto vs: and his eares not to bee shutte vp against our prayers; in which wee alwaies say with the Apostles of Christ, Lord increase our faith. If it shall be obiected, that because we haue not the same sence and feeling of faith which some times we had as Sathan himselfe could not then deny; therefore wee haue nowe noe faith, but haue vtterly lost the same: wee may answere, the argument fol­loweth not: for euen in many diseases of the bodie it is so with them that haue them, that they seame little better then dead cor­ses, and yet there is life in them, which hid­den for a time after is recouered and raised [Page 113] vp againe; so it is many times with the chil­dren of God, that being ouerborne and di­stressed with extremitie of affliction and temptation, they seeme for the time both to themselues and others, to haue lost the life and light which once they enioyed: Yet, so it is, that when the tempest is ouerblowne and the gratious countenance of the Lorde againe beginneth to shine vpon them, the faith which was as it were hid for the time, taketh life, and sheweth forth it selfe, & plain­ly prooueth that as the trees when they bud in the spring time and bring fourth their fruit, ware not dead in the winter as they see­med to be: so the faith of Gods childrē, spring­ing a fresh after the stormy winter of temp­tation, declareth manifestly that it was not dead when it seemed so to bee, but was only respited for the time, that afterward it might bring forth more fruit, & wheras the afflicted soule desireth nothing more then to beleeue, though it feele not a present operation of comfort by faith; euen that desire argueth a secret sence that cānot easily be discerned, to­gether with assurance of better estate in time to come,Math. [...]. according to that of our sauiour Christ. Blessed are they that hunger & thirst after righteousnes, for they shall be satisfied: & that of the blessed virgin▪ he filleth the hū ­gry with good things, but the rich he hath [Page 114] sent empty away. Also that bewaling & de­ploring of vnbeliefe which is found in the af­flicted, is not only a steppe vnto their former comfort, but a certaine proofe & demonstra­tion of the returne thereof. For the Lorde working by his spirit in the hearts of his chil­dren gronings that cannot be expressed, ther­by assureth them that in his good time hee will heare them and grant their requestes. And so much the more we may be perswaded hereof because the loue of God towards vs, as it began not of vs (as S. Iohn sayeth,Iohn, 5. so it depē ­deth not vpō vs, but vpō the truth & constā ­cie of him, with whom there is no change nor shadow of change. Againe the temptation it selfe frō which our afflictiō doth arise, though it haue of it selfe a most bitter & sharp tast, e­uen vnto the wounding of our soules neare vnto death: yet hath it also in it argument of cō ­fort: the Lord himselfe out of darknes raising vp light vnto his children. For euenby this, that Sathan so busily and so fearcely assaileth vs, it doth appeare that as once helost his possession in vs and was cast out by one more mighty then himselfe which is Chirst: so now he find­eth no peaceable entrance, but a strong & mighty resistance & that therefore there yet remaineth such part of the former worke, he could not hitherto ouerthrow, nor shall be able foreuer, which is the secret seede of faith still sustained & nourished by the spirit of god [Page 115] when we would think it were vtterly extin­guished. For as the fire when it wrasteleth with the water throwne vpon it, ceaseth not till it haue ouercome▪ so this resistance of the spirit against the flesh, will not cease vntil the full victory be obtained, & sathan himselfe troden vnder our feete. Neither is there any more sure testimony, either of our present deliue­rance begun, or of our full & perfect victorie in time to come, then this, that by the worde of God we do (though but weakly) resist the tentations of the enimy, & continue in the battaile against him: mourning in deed & tra­ualing vnder the bou [...] then of afflictiō, but yet standing vpright before the enimie: so that he cānot fully preuaile against vs, much lesse ouerthrow & destroy vs. But here one thing must carefully be loked vnto, that we be not so far discouraged, either with want of feling, or ouerborne with desire of that we haue not, as we forget what mercy hertofore we haue re­ceiued. When Iob so earnestly,Iob. 29.2. & as on would thinke impatiently wiseth the good things he had somtimes inioyed, he doth not only ex­presse the great affection he had to be resto­red vnto his former estate, but also giueth the attētiue reader to vnderstand, a secret worke of that grace of God; from the remembrance of that which had been, insinuating an hope of that which shold be, as the euēt it self afterward [Page 116] declared which issue of his troubles S. Iames would haue vs diligently to consider when he saith.Iam. 5. Ye haue heard of the sufferings of Iob, and haue seene the ende of the Lord. But it fareth in this case with the afflicted soule many times, as it doth with those that gre­dily striue for the goods of this world. Their affection of hauing more is so strong, & doth so violently possesse and carry them, as it not only depriueth them of the vse of that they haue, but also maketh them forget the same, & which is yet mo [...]e, protest against it, as if they had it not at all. So the humbled & af­flicted spirit, ouerborne for the time with present griefe and anguish of minde, not onely vseth not the comforts it hath, & cannot pre­sently discerne: but also causeth an vtter for­getfulnes of them, and which more is, pro­testeth against them, as if they were not: yea, (as we se often in Iob) he so complaneth of the contrary, as if the Lord had not only forsaken his seruant, but had armed himselfe, and did fight against him to destroy him. Here ther­fore we must bridle & chastise our impatient and murmuring spirit: and remember that of Iob so farre contrary to the other,Iob. that though the Lord should destroy him, yet he will trust in him. Neither must we so much vexe and vnquiet our ha [...]ts for that we want, as labour to make vse of that we haue. which though it seeme little vnto vs for the present: yet in [Page 117] truth is more then Sathan by all his force is able to ouercome, as may appeare vnto vs by that endles resistance which the spirit of god dwelling in vs maketh against him. For he that so fighteth is not yet captiue: & he that standeth in face of the enimie, and endureth all his assaults, is not yet vanquished. Yet that he holdeth out in so great weaknes of his owne, against so strong & furious assaults of the enimy; it plainely argueth, that he stand­eth by a greater strength then his owne, by which, as he is presently preserued that hee fals not into the hand of his aduersary; so nede he no doubt therby to be finally deliuered, & be crowned with victory & tryumph in despite of Sathan & all hee is able to worke against him. But if the enimie, whose quarrelling with vs is endles, as his malice is vnsatiable, will not thus leaue vs & giue vs rest: then as I said before, it is our best & safest way, at once to end all disputation with him. And we can­not better shake him of, thē by exercising our selues in prayer, reading, and medit [...]tion of the word of God, & by diligent walking in the works & labours of our callings, for there is no greater oportunitie nor aduantage that can be giuen vnto the aduersary, then if he shal finde vs idle & vnoccupied. If the minde be alreadie possessed of, & occupied in good things, it cannot so easily be trsāported vnto that which is euill. But if he finde the house [Page 118] emptie and fit for him, he then entreth with­out difficultie. In the question of faith wee haue comfort also from the works & effects therof in our selues: For as the tree is knowne by the fruits,Faith pro­ued by the fruits. so faith wanteth not her fruites wherby she may be discerned. These are of diuers sorts, sorow for sinne past, hatred of euill, care and indeauor to auoide it both in generall and in particular, the loue of God & of his righteousnes; desire & care with labour & contention to please him, both in generall & perticular duties. And here againe wee haue a lawful & necessary recorse vnto the time past. For albeit wee haue nothing to glory in be­fore God,Psal. 77.6. when the question is of the cause of our saluation; yet the effects of this grace and fauour of God towards vs in the for­mer fruites of our faith, may yeeld vs noe small comfort in the time of our heauinesse and of the anguish of our spirites: here of it is that the Prophet in the psalmes doth so often protest his obedience vnto God,Psal. 119 & care to doe his commaundements, hereof it is that Iob vnto the comforting of his di­stressed conscience remembreth the course of his former life,Iob. 31. led in the feare of God and obedience of righteousnes. For although we may not attribute any merit, vnto our workes,Rom. 8.4 but must giue the whole glorie of our saluation vnto Christ alone; yet our works [Page 119] doe witnes for vs, that we are the children of God, because wee are guided by his spirite and as the Apostle saith,Rom, 8.10 though the body be deade in respect of sinne, yet the spirite is life for righteousnes sake. Also the gratious effectes of Christ himselfe dwelling in our heartes by faith, are sure and certaine testi­monies that we are members of his bodie & doe belong vnto him, because as branches implāted into him which is the vine, we bring forth fruite according vnto the nature of the vine. If it be said we doe yet sin:Iohn. 15. [...] our answere is, that that happeneth vnto vs, not from the new creature, but from that other part yet re­maining in vs stil subdued vnder sin, in which the Lord of mercy doth not esteeme vs, but in that new man which is fashioned againe according vnto his own image. In so much as S. Paul doubteth not to say, that the sins of the faithful proceding frō the remāder of corrup­tion yet abiding in thē are not their workes,Rom. 7.17 but the works of the flesh which being already woūded vnto death by the power of the death of Christ, languisheth more & more,Rom. 6.2. & shal fi­nally be abolished by death which is the end & accomplishment of our mortification, & fully endeth the battell betweene the flesh & the spirit. What shall I say of the loath­ing of this life,Loathing of this life &c. and the vanitie thereof, & of that desire which is in the children of God to be dissolued & to be with Christ?Phil. 1.21. of contēmēt [Page 120] in all estates, patience in afflictions, constan­cie in the truth, loue towards those that loue the Lorde, pitie towardes those that are in misery, and the desiring of the good e­uen of their enimies and those that hate them? Which vertues, though they beare not an equall saile, by reason of the weaknes of the flesh and of the malice and resistance of the enimie; yet are they vndoubted testimonies of our loue to­wards God, which is not but in those who are first beloued of him, and haue tasted how good and gratious hee is. If wee shall looke vnto the exercises of pie­tie and of the worshippe of GOD,Comfort from the exercise of pietie. though wee may here (as els where) complaine of our wants and defectes, yet wee shal through Gods goodnes finde mat­ter of comfort. Remember therefore what mercie the Lord hath shewed you in this parte: whi [...]h what desire and affection you haue heard the word of God.The hea­ring of the word. Howe pretious it hath bene vnto you, aboue gold, euen the most fine golde, how sweete and comfortable, euen aboue the hony and the honie combe. Remember with what fruite of knowledge in the will of God, increase of faith in his promises, purpose and indea­uour of amendment of life, you haue often times hearde the same Call to minde with whatPraier, zeale & earnestnes of spirit you haue [Page 121] somtimes called vpon the name of God, both publikely & priuately, with others & alone by yourselfe: with what ioy & reioicing of the soule you haue praised the lord for his mercies towards his Church, and towardes you selfe:Praising of God. Call to minde what hath beene in you at any time the power of those Sacramentes,Sacra­ments which are annexed as seales vnto the promise of saluation by Christ, and howe farre they haue by the blessing of God erected your minde in hope and assurance of his goodnes towardes you.

If your present discouragement resist the comfort of these meditations, it is no newe thing, that in our weaknes we shoulde after the manner of those that be sicke, disaduan­tage our selues of that, which might doe vs most good: yet remember howe iniurious a thing it were, to esteeme the children of God by their present agonies and conflict of con­science, rather then by the comfort of that e­state wherein the grace of God shined plen­tifully vpon them and in them. For as when men are diseased it cannot therof be conclu­ded, that they were neuer in health; so the present discomfortures of the children of God, though they take away the sense of his mercie for a time, yet they are no repeale of his former goodnes and fauour towardes them, nor denie them to haue beene, euen in [Page 122] their owne iudgement and feeling, deare vnto the Lord: and still to be, though the storme and tempest of their present affliction suffer them not so liuelie and comfortably to enioy the same, as before. For which cause they must with Iob and Dauid call to remēbrance the comfortes of times past,Iob. 29.3 Psal. 77.6 12. from thence to assure themselues of the returne of the good hande of the Lorde in due time. I doubt not but you can be witnesse vnto God and to your owne selfe, that the time hath beene when your comfort and assurance of Gods fauour was such, as Sathan himselfe coulde not denie the testimonie which then the spirite of God did beare vnto your spirite. Nowe the giftes and calling of God are without repentance,Rom. 8.16 Rom. 11.29 Iohn. 13.1. and whome hee loueth he loueth vnto the ende, neyther doth our sal­uation depend vppon any thing of our owne: for then wee shoulde a thousande times pe­rish and fall before the enemie, but vppon that eternall and euerlasting loue of God, wherewith hee hath loued vs in Iesus Christ before the foundations of the worlde were laide: which loue of his, if it hath at anie time beene made knowen vnto vs and ap­prehended of vs, wee haue assurance grea­ter then the testimonie of men and Angels. But you will say, that which sometimes I felt is now gone, and in steade thereof I [Page 123] am perpetually opprested with the horror of the wrath of God iust against me for my sinnes. It is true that the power and sence of faith is not alwaies alike in the children of God: yet is it a false and sophisticall conclusion, suggested from him that is a lyar from the beginning, and the father of lying, to say, wee feele not faith, therefore there is no faith in vs. For in many disea­ses of the bodie wee haue no sence of life, and yet we liue. The sunne shineth not in the night season, nor when it is obscured with cloudes: shall wee say therefore that there is no sunne, or that it hath vtterlie no operation? Admitte also (which yet may not bee admitted) that the Lorde had for a time vtterlie giuen vs ouer: can wee conclude thereof, that hee will neuer a­gaine be mercifull vnto vs? Nay, hee that founde vs when we sought him not, will sure­lie returne vnto the worke which hee hath begunne, though he seemeth for a while to haue forsaken it. There is somtime as it were an ecclips of our faith, and of the feeling of the grace of GOD towardes vs, but let vs assure our selues, that as the Sunne and Moone doe not perish in their ecclipses, nor loose their lighte for e­uer: soe in this ecclips which hap­peneth for a time vnto our fayth, [Page 124] and sence of Gods goodnes, the same shall not perish or loose his vertue for euer: but shall in good time be restored, or rather quickened in vs againe, vnto our further and more assured comfort. This you haue seene in many the deare children of God whose heauines hath beene knowne vnto you, that they haue not beene forgotten for euer, but that the Lord, who seemed for a while to frowne vpon them, did in the ende cause his most gracious and louing countenance to shine vpon them againe: you haue felt it in your selfe, that there hath beene an inter­changeable course of sorrow and comfort, of faith and feare, and that the one hath conti­ally succeeded the other, that the same hand that humbled you, did raise you vp againe; that he that inflicted the wounde into your soule, applied thereunto the most sweete and soueraigne remedie of his grace. So ancient and so experienced a soldiour as you are in this spirituall battaile, should now be valiant and strong vnto the combat: our victorie wherein, though it be not to be hoped from the weakenes of flesh, yet the experience we haue had of the goodnes of God in our former troubles, ought to assure vs of the re­turne of his helping hand in al our necessities. Shall I put you in minde of the grace of God towardes you in your comforting of others, [Page 125] euen then when your selfe haue beene in some discouragement? If others haue recei­ued comfort from you, raise vp the same comfortes vnto your selfe. Neither is there a­nie cause you shoulde feare, least that spirite which in you was able to erect and confirme others, should not be able to refresh & com­fort your owne soule. In other things we loue our [...]elues too much, and doe well vnto our selues rather then to others: but heere many times, by the fraude of the enemie, we are made cruell vnto our owne bowels, and be­come his abused instruments to torment our selues: who will put a sworde into the hande of his aduersarie to wounde himselfe with all? And who will strengthen his enemie that is alreadie too strong for him? Yet this is our folly, that we will conspire with Sathan a­gainst our selues, and arme him with wea­pons vnto our owne destruction. Saint Peter saith resist the Diuell beeing strong in faith.1. Pet. 5.9 We must not therefore yeald our selues vnto his tyrannie,1. Ioh, 5.4 Ephe▪ 6, 16 nor cast away that weapon of faith by which alone we may be able to ouer­come. But I will vrge this argument no further.Comfort from the benefits of this life.

I knowe that the benefites of this life are common for the most part, both to the repro­bate and to thé elect: yet both in those which are common, there is a great and large diffe­rence, [Page 126] and there are some so singular as car­ry with them a stronger testimony of the fa­uour of God, then that it may without im­pietie be denied. In common benefits it hol­deth, that as thinges most aduerse are yet turned vnto our good:Rom. 8.28 so much more the good giftes and blessinges of God doe carry with them a testimonie of his loue and fauour towardes vs. For as the Lord speaketh vnto vs in the worde and by his spirit, so his good and fatherly prouidence towardes vs, is not without voyce, but foundeth aloud vnto the declaration of his loue: But there are as I saide some benefites so speciall, that the vse of them is propper onely vnto his children. Remember with me the first time of this trouble and dismaying of your conscience; and remember with all howe many meanes the Lorde hath ministred vnto you for your comforte. What shall I saye of those whom the Lorde hath put euen into your bosome the more nearelie to apply his mercie vnto you, Master C. Master B. Master R. &c. all so furnished vnto your comforte, that you may well thinke, they were as so many hands stretched out from heauen to supporte and strengthen your weakenesse withall▪ if I shoulde set my selfe to remember howe ma­my other the seruantes of God haue by di­uine prouidence beene directed to minister [Page 127] comfort vnto you, the number woulde be innumerable: Master S, Master F. Ma­ster D. Master, B, Master G. Master G, and almost who not, of those that haue beene trained and brought vp in that schoole. Consider howe greate a mercy this hath beene, that so many excellent Physitions of the soule, shoulde at seuerall times apply themselues, if not vnto the cure, at the least vnto the mitigating of your dis­ease. I will not examine howe many and greate comfortes you haue receiued from them by worde in presence, and by let­ters in absence; this onely I aske of you, whether you haue not knowne all these to beare vnto you the same testimonie, to speake the same comforte, and to confirme you in the same assurance of the loue of God towardes you.

Nowe what spirite must that be, that shall contradicte the spirite of GOD in the mouthes of so many and faithfull witnes­ses? My good friende, marke that I will saye vnto you: as the patient that is sicke in bodie willinglye resigneth himselfe vnto the sentence and direction of his skilfull and faithfull Physition; so muste the Children of GOD in thir spi­rituall maladies, yeelde them selues, [Page 128] vnto the physitions of their soules, so much the more because the Lord hath giuen vnto the ministers of his Gospell the power of bin­ding and loosing, [...]at. 18.18 both in the publique mini­sterie of his worde, and also in the priuate consolation of his children. I will not speake of that which is publique, although not alto­gether vnfitt vnto my purpose, considering that that which is publiquely spoken as vnto all, hath also a particular addresse vnto those that are the Lordes. As when the Lorde saith by his prophet, Blessed are all they that mourne in Sion. Esay. I will for the present rest in that vse of this power of binding and loosing which is priuate and perticular. Remem­ber that of Saint Iames, Iac. 5, 15 who saith that vpon the praiers of the elders of the Church, the sinnes of the diseased shall be forgiuen him: which wordes can haue no other sense, but that by them shall be pronounced vnto him the forgiuenes of sinnes. A most excellent practise wherof, we haue in our Sauiour him­selfe: Luke. 7. where first he proueth by ar­gument vnto Simon the Pharesie,Luke. 7, 41 that the mourning sinner was pardoned all hir sinnes, and therefore was now no sinner and wicked one, as he vncharitably esteemed her to be, thē turning himselfe vnto the distressed soule; first saith, thy sinnes are forgiuen thee, and after­ward, thy faith hath saued thee, go in peace. [Page 129] Wherin, though there be some thing extraor­dinarie in our SauiourChrist as the son of God yet is it that power which he hath communi­cated vnto all his seruantes,Iob. 20.23 saying whose sinnes you forgiue, they are forgiuen, &c. which is nothing else but, whose sinnes vpon due examination and triall of their repen­tance you pronounce to be forgiuen, they are forgiuen. Heere againe remember, (my deare friende) howe many of the faithfull and expert seruants of Christ haue examined your estate by conference with your selfe, and haue founde all signes vnto health and saluation. Vnlesse therefore Sathan dare contradict the spirite of GOD, speaking by the mouthes of so many witnesses, hee cannot saye but you are the Lordes. Nowe for your selfe, I am assured that you will not, nor dare not say, but this hath beene the con­stant testimonie of all the seruantes of God sente vnto you; and that they were such as you had no cause to suspect their partia­litie or flatterie in anie sorte. Howe is it then, that the voyce of so many shoulde not bee vnto you as the voyce of GOD him­selfe? Who, though hee doe not speake vn­to vs nowe immediately from heauen, as in some times past; yet hee speaketh vnto vs by the mouthes of his seruantes, his Pro­phets. [Page 130] When Dauid saide in the horrour of his soule, I haue sinned against the Lorde, was it thinke you a small comforte that Na­than saide immediately vnto him,2. Sam. 12.13. the Lorde ha [...]h pardoned thy sinne? I will say nothing of the prayers of so many of the seruantes of Christ as haue commended your cause vn­to the Lorde: which cannot be frustrate, the Lorde himselfe directing them to pray according to his worde, and vppon the as­surance of his promise. Read Iob. 33.23.Iob. 33.23 If there be present with him (that is with the afflicted soule, as verse 22.) a messenger from God an interpreter (of the will of God,) such as is one of a thousand, who may sig­nifie vnto man the equitie of the Lord, and intreating him for fauour shall say: Redeeme thou him that he goe not downe into the pit, by that redemption which I haue founde; when he hath humblie besought the Lord, he doth graciously receiue him that he may beholde his face with ioy, and he restoreth vnto man his righteousnesse. In which words there are many excellent thinges to be noted for the comforte of those that are afflicted. The first is, that the anguished soule finding no comfort at home and in her selfe, by rea­son of the strength of temptation, must seeke reliefe abroade at the handes of those, whom [Page 131] God hath appointed to make glad the sor­rowfull minde, and to giue rest vnto the wea­ried and distressed conscience. Wherein you must consider with all thankefulnesse, howe greate mercie the Lorde hath shew­ed vnto you, for I doe perswade my selfe; as before I haue saide, that since the time of your affliction, there hath not beene al­most one, that hath had any extraordina­rie gifte in that kinde, who by conference, writing, or otherwise, hath not bestowed some parte of his trauaile vnto your com­forte. I coulde my selfe name a greate number besides those aboue mentioned, but your selfe can remember many more: nowe the testimonie of so many faithfull seruantes of Christ witnessing the grace and goodnesse of GOD towardes you, must bee as the voyce of GOD him­selfe: who is not as man that hee shoulde lie, or as the sonne of man that hee should repente, or alter that which hee hath once testified. And if Iob doe acknowledge that the comforte of one faithfull witnesse on the behalfe of GOD, is enough to the erecting and chearing of the heauiest minde, what can Sathan say vnto the testimonie not of 2 or 3 witnesses which the lawe onely requireth, but vnto the testi­mony of 2 or 3 score, the meanest and weakest [Page 132] whereof, should be able to answere in your behalfe vnto all that the enemie is able to obiect against you. The second thing I note is, that these haue not come vnto you by er­rour or by chance, but by speciall addresse of Gods mercifull prouidence, as sent from the throne of grace to binde vp your wounde, and to minister comfort vnto your consci­ence. The third, that these speake not their owne wordes nor of themselues, but are the faithfull interpreters and declarers of the will and counsell of God, not indeede immedi­atelie from himselfe, but by viewing and esteeming of the worke of God, and the fruites of his grace in those that are his. The fourth, that as they declare vnto the afflicted, that fauour of God towardes them which themselues are not able for the pre­sent to discerne, so they commend them by praier vnto the Lorde, who hath pro­mised to heare and to graunt their requestes. The fift, that for comfort in this cause, we must passe out of our selues, in whom there is nothing that may ease our griefe, and cast our eye and cogitation onelie vpon Christ, in whom all fulnesse of saluation doth dwell, considering that this is one of the meanes whereby Sathan doth most distresse and anguish the afflicted soules, that he holdeth them in the cogitation of their sinnes and [Page 133] transgressions against GOD, and suffe­reth them not to see, that length, breadeth, height, and depth, and to knowe that loue of Christ that passeth all knowledge,Ephe. 3.18 that they might be filled with all the fulnesse of God. The sixt, that the Lorde both mercifullie blesseth the labours of his ser­uantes in comforting his children, and al­so graciouslie heareth their prayers and supplications made in their behalfe vnto his maiestie. And the last, that God in his good time erecteth the mindes of the afflicted, and openeth their mouthes to praise his name, and to protest his good­nes, that hee hath brought againe their soule from the pitt, and hath shined vp­on them with the light of life. Which e­ffect of the grace of GOD, because you haue both seene in others, and felt in your selfe manie times, you haue greate cause to hope and expecte the returne of his comforting hande in due season, who also shall once determine these conflicting daies, and set vs in that peace which shall neuer bee interrupted, and wherein all teares shall be wiped awaye from our faces for euer.Apoc. 7.18 14 13.

The malice of the enemie during this life hath no ende nor measure at all, and therefore wee may iustlie feare all extremity [Page 134] of attempt against vs: but we must strength­en our selues in him, who can and will inable vs vnto all thinges.

The Last and most grieuous assaulte of sathan against the afflicted, is that he calleth into doubt their election.Against the doubt of electiō For, because that saluation is onely of the elect, he laboureth by all meanes to shake this grounde and pillar of comfort, and if it be possible to subuert and ouerthrowe the same. It behooueth vs to take heede howe wee carrie our selues, as in that temptation which all others is moste difficulte and dangerous. First therefore, wee muste beware of that gulfe wherein the enemie hopeth to deuoure vs, that we enter not into the secrete and hidden coun­sell of GOD. For the secretes of the Lorde: are for him selfe: But the thinges that are reuealed,Deut. 29.29 are for vs and our po­steritie after vs for [...]uer, as Moses; saith: what then hath the Lorde reuealed concerning 1 our election? First the spirite of GOD witnesseth vnto our spirites that wee are 2 the Children of GOD. Then it teach­eth vs to crie Abba Father, and stirreth vp in vs those gronings that cannot bee expres­sed. 3 From these let vs descende vnto faith it selfe, the voyce whereof if it bee not suppressed by the grieuousnesse of temp­tation, [Page 135] soundeth cheerefully vnto vs, that wee are beloued of GOD, redeemed be Christ, and fellow-heires with him of his fathers kingdome. If heere also the 4 enemye haue darkened our senses and obscured our light: Wee muste of neces­sitie with Iob, Iob. 31. releeue our selues from the fruites of our faith, these what they are hath alreadie beene sayde. If necessitie doe soe compell vs, wee must flye vnto 5 the times that are past, & referre our selues vnto the testimonies of the faithfull ministers of GOD, who as they are for their wis­dome 6 and manyfolde experience, better able to iudge of our estate then our selues; so haue they power and authoritie from GOD, to decide the controuersie be­tweene vs and our enemie and to pleade our cause against him. Also where the e­nemie from our presente trouble and tor­ment of minde, seeketh to driue vs vnto dispaire, wee are to vse against him his owne weapons; for amongest manie te­stimonies of our state in grace and fa­uour with GOD, there is none more euidente and sensible, then is that conflicte which wee finde and feele in our selues, of the spirite againste the fleshe, of faythe against vnbeliefe, [Page 136] of a sanctified minde against that parte that is vnregenerated: and finally, of the newe creature against the olde man, and of Christ himselfe in vs, against the power of Sathan. If hee replie that this is not so, but the con­trarie. Wee may answere, that albeit there haue beene many times, wherein wee haue had a more presente and mightie hande of the Lorde vppon vs: yet euen nowe Sathan himselfe cannot denie, but wee hate sinne and loue righteousnesse: that we loue God and to our power obeye his will, and flie the baites and occasions of euill: whereof if if there were for the presente no manifest and apparant effectes, (as yet by the grace of GOD there are) notwithstanding the onelye affection and desire of the heart thir­sting and longing after God his kingdome and righteousnesse, are sufficiente argu­mentes of the worke of grace begunne in vs, which shall so longe be continued by the good hande of our heauenlie father, vn­till it be consummated and perfected in the life to come. For if it be God (as the Apostle faith) that giueth both the will and the deede: hee that hath giuen vs to desire to obey his wil,Phil. 2.13. will also inable vs vnto the doing of the same. And seeing the worke of sanctificatiō beginneth in the hart, & thēce [Page 137] floweth into our whole life, wee nothing doubt but God, who hath giuen vs ioy in the holy Ghost, and thereby a loue vnto him, and vnto his Lawe; will further confirme and strengthen vs, that we may be vessels of honoure vnto his name, and glorifie the Gospell of our profession with fruites agre­able and according thereunto. Yea the thoughts, meditations, and desires of the hearte, are deedes before God, and principall parts of that obedience which he requireth at our handes. And therefore if the faithfull man should be taken awaye by death, before he hath done any of the outward workes of the Lawe; yet shoulde not his faith be without fruites, in that be­ing sanctified in the inward man, he doth now in soule and spirit serue the Lorde, and desireth abilitie and opportunitie, in acte to doe his will, and to honour his nam [...]; as appeared in that penitent malefactor that died with our Sauiour Christ.Luk. 23.42

Another thing I am to admonish you of, that you be not as the couetous men of the world: who so gape vpō that they fur­ther desire, as they consider not but rather forget that which they alreadie haue, and hauing much indeede, in ther opinion haue nothing and to all purposes and vses doe as well want that which they haue, as [Page 138] that which they haue not. So it oftentimes happenneth to the deare children of God, that whilest they looke and breath after that, which they haue not yet attained vnto, they forget and neglect that which they haue re­ceiued, and vse it not to their comfort and reioycing as otherwise they should. This ouerreaching and importunite of theirs, Sathan abuseth against them; from the opini­on of hauing nothing, to blinde their eies, not to see the present grace and goodnes of God towardes them. It is true that the Apo­stle saith that in the course of Godlines and religion,Phil. 3.11. we may not thinke we haue attain­ed the goale, or are come vnto the ende of our rase: but, forgetting that which is be­hinde vs, and preassing on vnto that which is before, must contende (as to a marke) vnto the reward of that most high calling of God in Christ Iesus. But he speaketh it not to this ende, that we should not in thankfulnes ac­knowledge the former mercies of GOD bestowed vpon vs, or not vse them vnto our comfort as testimonies of his loue and fa­uour toward vs: But that we may not stay in our present profiting, but add dayly a new and fresh increase; that as from a larger and greater heape of benefits, we may more and more assure our selues, that we are beloued of God, and shall inioy the inheritance of [Page 139] his kingdome. When the Apostle saith, work your saluation &c. and laboure to make your callinge and election sure, though the meaning be not,Phil. 2, 12▪ 2, Pet. 1, 10. that we should put confi­dence of saluation in workes, yet it telleth vs, that the workes and fruites of our faith are testifications of Gods spirit dwelling in our hearts, more e [...]ident and pregnant, then that Sathan himselfe can or dare deny them. We may not suffer our selues to be so o­uerborne of the enimie vnder the colour of zeale and desire to doe well, as not to re­member wherein the Lorde hath alreadie giuen vs some parte of well doing: not so to striue vnto that wee haue not, as to for­get that which by his grace we alredy haue: But rather with all thankfulnesse acknow­ledging the goodnes of God, from thence assure our selues of the continuance and fi­nishing of the worke begun. In the cour­ses of the worlde, as slownesse getteth no­thing; so preposterous hast looseth all. It is the subtiltie and malice of the enimie, when hee cannot houlde vs with himselfe; to hasten and push vs on so fast and so headelong, as by rashnes wee may fall into that which by forwardnesse wee had escaped. Good thinges to come there­fore, wee must holde them in hope, and pur­sue them in peace: but the good wee haue [Page 140] already attained vnto, we must so farr reioice and comfort our selues in, as from thence wee may be able to sustaine and support our cause against the enemy, and from that we haue, to let him vnderstand that wee doubt not of that which remaineth: that the Lord wil both cō ­tinue and confirme the woorke of his owne handes, & not forsake the same vntil it be ac­complished in his kingdome of glory. Thus I haue in great hast and confusedly set down so much as presently came vnto minde of those thinges which often heretofore I haue writ­ten vnto you: humbly beseching the father of all mercy and God of al consolation, who hath annointed you with the oyle of his grace, sea­led you with his spirit of adoption, and geuen you a sure earnest and pledge of euerlastinge [...]aluation, to increase vppon you, and in your heart the measure of faith, and multiplie your fruites in all maner of well doeing, make you stronge against the face of your enemie, and crowne you with victorie in the daye of battaill, that you may praise his name in the day of your deliuerance, glorifie him in the whole course of your life, and finally enioye with the rest of his saincts, that eternall king­dom of glorie prepared for all those that loue and feare him. Amen.

A Sermon preached by M. Richard Greenham, vpon these wordes.

Quench not the spirit.

1. Thessa. 5.19.

ALl the doctrine of the Scriptures may be briefe­ly referred to these two heades. First how we may bee prepared to re­ceiue the spirit of God. Secondly, how the spirite may bee retained when wee haue once re­ceiued it. And therefore Saint Paul hauing laboured to instruct the Thessalonians, in the former part of this Epistle, how they may receiue the spirit, doth here teach them how to keepe and continue this spirit vnto the ende: and this the Apostle doth by giu­ing them a charge and commaundement, that in no wise they doe quench the spirit: thereby doubtlesse teaching, that as the shū ­ning of euill, is the first steppe vnto good­nes; so the readie way to continue the spi­rite of God in our heartes, is to labour that it bee not quenched. Now the Apostle v­pon greate and weightie consideration, [Page 142] doth here deliuer this precept. For first of all, though all those be worthely and iustly condemned, that neuer tasted of the spirite of God: yet as our sauiour Christ saith; A more iust and fearefull condemnation is like to come vppon them, that hauing once re­ceiued it, doth afterwardes loose the same againe. Moreouer, without this spirit of God, noe holy exercise can haue his full effecte: For the worde worketh not, where the spirit of GOD is wanting; pray­ers haue no power to pearce into the pre­sence of God; the sacraments seeme small and seely thinges in our eyes, and all other orders, and exercises which God hath graun­ted and ordained for man, they are vnpro­fitable to man, where the spirit is not present to conuey them into our hearts, there to seale vp the fruite of of them. Last of all, we are fitte to receiue no good grace at Gods handes: nay, wee doe not esteeme Gods gra­ces, when we haue not the spirit to teach vs to set a due price vpon them: for speake of the Law, or of the Gospell; of sinne, or of righteousnes: speake of Christ, or of our re­demption, & iustification by him: yea, speake of that huge, and heauy waight of glory wher with the elect of God shall bee crowned; all this mooueth not, wee are little affected therewith, vnlesse God giue vs of his good [Page 143] spirit, to profit by the same. The Apostle ther forewith good reason, gaue this precept, and wee, for many greate causes, are to listen vnto it, least by any meanes the spirit of God be quenched in vs, & so we depriue our selues of all these fruites. Now, whereas the Apostle saith, Quench not the spirit, it may appeare he speaketh to those that had alredy receiued the spirit. For, as the fire cānot be said to be quē ­ched, where it is not: so they cannot be sayd to quench or loose the spirit, which haue not as yet receiued it. Then knowe, that this pre­cept doeth properly beelong to them, that haue receiued the spirit of God, and they es­pecially are to make a special vse of it: for the other, it cannot profite them, vnlesse that, as the seede lying in the ground a long time doth afterwarde budde and become fruitfull; so this continue in their mindes, tyll they haue tasted (in some good sorte) of the spirite of GOD, and then breede in them some carefulnesse that they doe not quench it. Well then, to them that haue felt and founde the spirite of GOD in them, to them saith Sainte Paul in this place. Take heede, that yee quench not the spirite. Of this, if wee doe somewhat seriouslye con­sider; these two questions will offer them selues, and soone arise in our minde. [Page 144] First, how wee may know whether we haue the spirit of God, or no: Secondly, if wee haue it, whether it may bee lost againe or no: which if they bee well and sufficiently answered, they will doubtlesse giue greate force vnto this precept. For the first then, if wee will know whether wee haue the spirit or no; wee must surely vnderstande, that as hee knoweth best that he hath life, which feeleth it in himselfe: so he best knoweth whether we haue the spirit of God, that feeleth the spirit working in him. And if wee will further know, by the peculiar wor­king and effectes of the spirite, then let vs marke these. First of all, if there bee no­thing in man but the nature of man; if no­thing but that may bee attained by the art and industry of a man, then surely in that man, is not the spirit of God: for the spirit is from God, it is from aboue, it is aboue nature: and therefore the Apostle doth set the spirit of God, against the spirit of the world, when he saith: we haue receiued the spi­rit, not of the worlde, but of God, Besides, the spirit of God is eternall, and endureth for euer: but all the doings and deuises of men they perish, and in time they haue an ende. Therefore though a man haue wise­dome with greate knowledge, though in wit and skill hee passe and excell the com­mon [Page 145] sort of men: yet, if from aboue he haue not beene inlightned, if from heauen his wisedome hath not bene sanctified, his knowledge shall decay, his wisdome shall wyther like grasse, hee hath not as yet tast­ed of the spirit of God, that endureth for euer. And therefore saith. S. Paul: We teach the misteries of God, which none, no not the Princes, and the men of this worlde, which are aboue others most excellent, are able to vnderstande. Secondly consider, whether in hee, there bee any alteration or change. For the wise men which were exper [...]e in nature, coulde say, that in euery generati­on there is a corruption▪ And wee see, that the seede sowen is much changed before it growe vp and beare fruite: Then needfull it is that in regeneration, there be a corrup­tion of sinne, so that as seede in the ground, so sinne in our mortall bodies may decaye, that the new man may be raised vp, the spi­rit of God takeing possession of our soules. Therefore the Euangelist Iohn doth make this, the first worke of the spirit, that it shal rebuke the worlde of sinne: and this so needefull, that without it, there is not the spi­rit of God, neither yet can Christ come and enter into that man. Hereof it was that Christ compared the Iewes to Children in the market place, who would not daunce [Page 146] though they were piped vnto: and the reason was, because they had not first learned with Ioh [...] to mourne: for they that by the preach­ing of Iohn, learned to lament their sinnes, and for their sinnes were [...]pensiue in their owne soules, they receiued Christ, they daū ­ced and did reioyce to heare the ioyfull ty­dings of the Gospell. Therefore Christ saith, That whores and harlots entred into the king­dom of heauen (seeing they lamēted their sins) before the proud Pharisies, which were tuch­ed with no remorce for their sinnes. And for the same cause it is, that Christ calleth vnto him, them onely, that labour and are heauie laden: teaching, [...]hat if they finde not sinne to bee a heauie loade and burthen to them, they haue not the spirit of God, neyther are they fitt to receiue Christ. Then to be re­buked of sinne, is the first worke of the spirite; which the spirite worketh in vs by these degrees. First it raiseth vp in vs a great and generall astonishment, by reason of all those greate and enormous sinnes that wee haue committed, and this doth strike vs downe, it doth terrifie vs, and houlde vs amazed woonderfully: then it dealeth with vs more perticularly; and besides that, it bringeth vs vnto a speciall griefe for spe­ciall sinnes, it doth bereaue vs of our cheefe desires, and bringeth vs out of conceite and [Page 147] liking with the best thinges that are in vs: for, then it doth display before vs the vani­tie and darkenesse of our vnderstanding, how vnfit and vnmeete wee are to vnder­stande and conceiue those things, that do aboue all others especially concerne vs: then doth it let vs see the peruerse corrupti­on of our iudgement, that before God, and in thinges belonging to GOD, wee bee as bruite beastes, not able to dis­cerne thinges that differ, nor to put a sound difference betweene good ad euill; then doth it let vs see that our reason is vnrea­sonable, nay, that it is hurtfull vnto vs, a greate enimie to faith, and a greate pa­trone of infidelitie and vnbeliefe. When it commeth to our affections, it turneth them vpside downe, it turneth our myrth into mourning, our pleasure into paine­fulnesse, and our greatest delight in­to most bitter griefe: If it doe proceede further, and come once to the hearte, and to the stomacke and courage that is in vs, then it cutteth vs to the quicke, then doth it at once throwe vs downe in humilitie vnder the hande of GOD: for while wee had to deale with men, wee were as stoure as any, and woulde not starte for the best, Wee had reason to say for our [Page 148] selues, & courage to defend our selues against all them that did deale with vs: but now the spirite draweth vs into the presence of God, it letteth vs see that we haue to doe with God, and that our strength is weake­nesse in respect of him. Then doth our harte beginne to fayle vs, then doe wee lay our handes on our mouthes, and dare not an­swere, nay, then doe wee quickly take vp our crosse, because the Lord himselfe hath done it. Beholde here how the spirit wor­keth, beholde how sinne is corrupted: and who so can beholde here this in him­selfe, may assuredly say, that the spirit of God is in him, that it is not in vaine with­in him, nay, that it is mightie and liuely in operation in his heart. The third note and effect, is the bringing on forwarde of this worke vnto iustification: for when the spirite hath brought vs thus farre, then doth it beginne to open vnto vs a doore vn­to the graces and fauour of God: it doth put into our mindes, that there is mercie with God, and therefore stirreth vs vp to seeke mercie at his handes: afterwarde, it doth let vs see how Christ suffered, to take away the sinnes of the worlde, that in the righteousnesse of Christ, wee may looke to be iustified before God▪ And this it doth not let vs see only, but doth effectually worke a [Page 149] sure perswasion of it in our heartes, and con­firmeth the same by two notable effectes. The first is, a ioy most vnspeakeable and glorious, wherewith our hearts must needs be wholly taken vp and rauished, when wee see our selues by the righteousnes of Christ of the free mercy and grace of God, redee­med from death, deliuered from hell, and freede from the fearefull condemnation of the wicked. The second is the peace of conscience: which indeede, passeth all vn­derstanding. While sinne, and the guilt of sinne remained there was no peace, nor rest, no quietnesse to be founde, but feare within, terrours without, and troubles on euery side: But when sinne is once nailed to the crosse of Christ, when the guilt of sinne is taken out of our consciences, and the puninshment thereof farre remoued, then must needes ensue great peace: for our accusers dare not proceed against vs, our sinnes are forgiuen vs, and God is at one with vs: and for this, we haue the warrant and testimonie of the spirit. Can flesh and bloode perswade vs of it? can any creature assure vs how God is affected towardes vs? no doublesse. And therefore where this ioy and peace is, there must needes be the holy ghost, the author and worker of the same: for as no man knoweth what is in man, [Page 150] but the spirit of man which is in him: so none knoweth the will of God, but the spirit of God, and therefore it is the spirit of God that must certifie our hearres and spirites of the same. And hereof there doth arise that, which wee take as the fourth note, when we finde it in our selues, to wit; The life and nemblenes that is in vs to doe good: for when a man doth finde fauoure from God, for the forgiuenesse of sinnes, then the loue of God constraineth him, that ioy which hee conceiueth inforceth him, and putteth life into him, for the performance of those thinges, which are pleasing vnto God: then hee beginneth to finde himselfe not onely reclamed from e­uill, but also applyed and framed to that which is good; then is his vnderstanding inlyghtened, to see into the mysteries of godlinesse, and into that great worke of his redemption, and into whatsoeuer concer­neth the sauing health of his soule: then is his iudgement reformed, and he is made able to iudge betweene false religion and trewe, betweene the workes of the fleshe, and of the spirit, betwene that which is good, and that which is euill and displeasing in the sight of God. Then are his affections in some good measure altered, his desire is set, not vpon earthly, but vpon heauenly thinges, his [Page 151] ioyes are not in the ea [...]th, but in the heauens, his anger is wasted and spent, not vpon his owne priuae cause and quarrels, but vpon his owne sinnes, and vpon whatsoeuer hin­dereth the glory of his God: This is the life of God in him; thus he liueth that hath re­ceiued the spirite, and thus he leadeth his life continually: for they that haue receiued the spirite, are led by the spirit and do liue accordingly, bringing forth the fruites of the spirite. But this hath weakenes ioyned with it, and men through frailtie may sone fal, and therefore their life: is sayde To be hid in Christ, because in full and perfect manner it doth not appeare: Therefore, if notwith­standing these frailties and falles, wee will know whether wee still retaine the spirite of God, wee must search our selues, and trye our hearts by these rules. First, if when through frailtie wee haue fallen (for who is hee that falleth not?) We will then know whether by our fall we haue lost the spirite of God or no, let vs see what liking, or misly­kinge wee haue of sinne: for it after our fall, wee doe holde our former hatred of sinne, and the oftenner wee fall, the more thorough and deadly hatred wee conceiue against sinne, vndoubtedly that fraile­tie hath not as yet depriued vs of the spirite. Secondly: come and see [Page 152] how it standeth with thy sorrow: for so long as thy sorrow encreaseth for thy sinnes, it cannot bee thought that sinne and the fleshe, haue ouercome and vtterly quenched the spi­rite in thee, Thirdly, try thy care: and if thou grone in a godly care, both how thou mayst bee able to wage battaile against sinne in the plaine fielde, and how thou mayst preuente sinne in all his pollicies, thou hast a further assurance that sinne, although it be as great as Goliah, yet it hath not hitherto preuailed a­gainst thy poore and little Dauid, I say, a­gainst those fewe and small graces, which the good spirite of God hath bestowed vp­pon thee: but the last is most certaine, and that is this. When thou art carefull to redeem that, which by thy fall thou hast lost, & hast a care to runne so much faster forwarde, by how much more thou hast beene letted by thy fall: then it doth appeare that the spi­rite is in thee, yea liuely and mighty in ope­ration, and such as shall neuer be taken from the, vntill the day of Christ. Thus may wee in some good and competent measure try and prooue, whether wee haue the spirite of GOD or noe: for where these fruits are to bee founde, there is also the spirite of GOD. For further confirmation where­of, wee may note the manner of speach, where hee saith, Quenche not the spirite. [Page 153] Wee doe commonly vse to say, the fire is quenched, when the light and heate there­of is taken away; and indeede nothing can properly be saide to be quenched, but the fire. Now whereas the Apostle saith, Quench not the spirite, he giueth vs to vnderstande, that the spirite is in some respect like vnto fire: therfore if we do but a litle consider of the na­ture of fire▪ we shal a greate deal better iudge of the spirite, And among others, these pro­perties we finde to be in the fire. First of all it will burne vp, and consume things that may b [...] burned and consumed: and therefore lighting vpon shawe, stubble, stickes, or such like, it bringeth them to ashes, and doth make them as though they had not beene at all. Se­condly, it doth purge and purifie those things that can abide to be purged: and this it doth, first by taking away the superfluity of drosse, that hath ouer couered the thing to be pur­ged. Then by fyning the thing it selfe, and by making it purer and purer: Thirdly, it giueth light euen in the most dimme & dar­kest places: And last of all, it giueth heate, and with all doth as it were put life into those thinges which are capable of life: for whilest a man is frozen and starued for colde, hee is numbde, and as it were without life▪ but being broughtto the fire, he is h [...]tt, he is reuiued, he is cheared, and then becometh actiue & nimble. [Page 154] These are the properties of fire, and these doe in some manner sort, resemble and shadowe out vnto vs the workes and effectes of the spi­rite: for first of all, when the spirit of God sea­seth vpon a man, and entreth into his soule, then it beginneth to burne to wast and consume in him, those things that will be wasted: after this sort euill affe­ctions, noysome lustes, & other stuble which is in man, by the spirite of God are con­sumed and burned. Secondly, it doth purge vs from grosse sinnes, and daily more and more doth purifie vs, that we may be a cleane and holy vessell and Temple for him to rest and dwell in. Thirdly, it is a shining lampe, euer burning and continually gi­uing light vnto vs, in that way which we haue to walke. And lastly, it doth set vs on heate, and inflameth vs with a zeale of Gods glorie, with a care of our duety, and with a loue of all mankinde: yea, withall it putteth life and lust into vs, to walke in that good way which it doth leade vs, and to doe all those good workes which may glorifie God, or be com­modious vnto men. Thus we see what likeli­hoode there is betweene the [...]pirite and fire, for which cause the spirite in the scripture is compared vnto fire: nay it is sometimes called fire: for Iohn saith. That our Sauiour Christ shoulde baptise with the holy ghost, & with [Page 155] fire: that is, with the holy ghost, which is like vnto the fire: Therefore, as truely and as certainly as we may say that there is fire, where we see strawe and such like thinges consumed, or golde and siluer finely purged, or great light in darke places, or great heate in bodies that were nummed before; euen so truely wee may say, and so certainly we may perswade our selues, that the spirit of God is in vs, when we see our coruption consu­med, our soules purged from the drosse of sinne, our heartes in [...]ightened and made hot in walking, and working according to that light. The second question to be conside­red is,The secōd Question. whether that man which hath once tasted of the spirite, may loose it, and haue it quenched in him. To this it may be saide, that because the spirite of God commeth to, and worketh in diuers men, diuerse­lie, in diuerse measures: therefore wee must consider of the diuerse woorking of the spirite, and then frame our answere accordingly. First then, there is a ligh­ter and lesser worke of the spirite, which may be quenched in them that haue it: and that this inferiour or lesser kinde of woorking may bee taken away▪ appeareth plainelye by the parable of the seede which our Sauioure CHRIST propoundeth, for there, besides [Page 156] them that receiue the worde into good grounde, and bring foorth fruites, some an hundreth, some thirtie, some sixtie folde: he doth also make mention of some others that receiued the worde and yet continued not. And what, had not these the spirite of God in them? yes doubtlesse, for they receiued the worde▪ yea, they receiued it gladly, & that which is more, they beleeued that which they had receiued. Beholde then three fruites of Gods spirite in these men, and yet they continued not: for they beleeued indeede, but their faith was temporarie, it lasted but for a time, and after a time it vanished away, and the spirite de­parted from them: for, eyther the pleasures and profites of this life did drawe out the gra­ces of God, and drie them vp, or else the fie­rie heate of persecution did quite consume them. More plaine and notable for this pur­pose is that, in the sixt to the Hebrewes, for there the Apostle faith, That some may taste of the holy ghost, and thereby be made to taste of the good worde of God, to be inlightned, to re­ceiue heauenly giftes, yea, and to tast of the pow­er of the life to come: and what then? surely the Apostle saith, That if such fall, it is impossible they should be renewed: giuing vs to vnder­stand, that euen they which haue receiued the holy ghost, that haue beene inlightned, that haue receiued heauenly giftes, & haue tasted [Page 157] of the power of the life to come euē such may fall away, and the spirite may be quenched in such. There is a second kinde of working of the spirite, which is a more thorough and effectuall working, which can neuer be taken away from them that haue receiued it. This the Apostle Peter describeth, when he saith, That the chosen of God, are begotten againe of the immortall seede of the worde: This is not a bare receiuing, or a light tasting of the word; but it is a deepe tast of the same, whereby we are begotten and borne againe. The Apostle Iohn setteth downe an other note of it, saying, That they that are thus borne againe, cannot sinne: that is, they cannot make an occupati­on of sin, they c [...]nnot fall flat away by sinne: and why? Euen because the the seede of God a­bideth in them, euen that seede, wherewith they were begotten to a liuely hope of life, euen that seede doth abide, and will abide vnto the ende. Who so is begotten again by this seed, and hath this seede, abiding in him, the spirite hath wrought that in him, which shall not be taken from him: and therefore our Sauiour Christ saith, The worde that I speake, is spirite and life: And in an other place he saith, that none shall take his sheepe from him, for the father is mightier then all; and therfore in ano­ther place he saith, That it is impossible that the elect should be seduced. Thus then we see the [Page 158] question is answered: namely, that there is an inferiour working which may be lost; and a more effectuall woorking of the spirite which can neuer be taken away from them that haue it: And this must not seeme strange to vs, neyther must we bee offended that the Lorde should take some, and leue others: or that he shoulde beginne in some, and not bring his worke to perfection: For so he dea­leth with other thinges in the world. Some corne is sowen and neuer riseth: some sprin­geth, and yet shortly withereth: some grow­eth vp to an eare, and yet then is stricken or blasted: and other some (at his good pleasure) doth come to a timelie ripenesse. In like man­ner, some trees are planted and neuer take roote: some take roote but yet not blossome, some blossoms, and yet neuer bring forth fruit: & other some through his goodnesse do bring foorth fruite in good season. If the Lorde deale so with the plant and herbe of the field, why may he not deale so with vs, the sonnes of men? If we cannot conceiue the reason of this, we must holde our peace: for all the workes of GOD are done in righteous­nesse, and all our knowledge is vnperfect; therefore we must heerein rather accuse our selues of ignorance, then the Lord of vn­righteousnesse: nay, we our selues doe deale in like sort with those thinges which are vn­der [Page 159] our handes. In Colledges, Fellowes are first chosen to be probationers; and if they be then approued, they be made full Fellowes, otherwise they are not. If a man (beeing childlesse) do take vnto him some friendes childe, to make him heire of all his goods, he will keepe him vppon liking; if his manners be honest, he shall be prefer­red, yea it may be, set ouer all his house, and yet afterward for some fault be quit cast off. Some other man taketh an other childe for the same ende, and maketh him his heire indeed: Therfore we must thinke it righ­teous in the Lorde to deale thus with vs, seeing we are in his hande: and we must not be offended, though he call some, and doe not inlighten them: and although hee inlighten some, and do not continue them, and doe of his greate mercy continue some euen vnto the ende: let vs rather see what vse we must make of this doctrine. First, we must take heede that wee ne­uer quench any grace, or gift that GOD bestoweth vppon vs. Secondlye, wee must still laboure to haue greater measure of giftes: for the wicked may come to haue some small giftes, and such as may bee quite taken away from them. Lastly it doth put a playné difference betweene the Godly, and the Godlesse, beweene them that [Page 160] beare a shew of holinesse, and them that are indeede the holy ones of the Lorde: for the one endureth but for a time, and the other la­steth for euer. Now if we require a further tryall, whereby we may knowe whether we haue receiued that spirit which lasteth but for a time, or that which will abide for euer with vs: then let vs marke these rules, which put a plaine difference betweene them. First we must marke that inlightning and insight wee haue in to the worde of God, Ce [...]taine it is, that both the godly and wicked are inlight­ned, but the inlightning of the godly is one, and the insight of the wicked is an other: for that knowledge and insight which the godly haue receiued, is certaine and distinct: and therefore in particuler thinges, they be able to apply the threatning of Gods iudgements to the humbling of themselues, and the pro­mises of God to comfort themselues. Againe, their knowledge is sufficient to direct them both generally, and in euery particular deuty. And last of all, it neuer sayleth them, but di­recteth them vnto the ende: But the know­ledge of the wicked is not so, for it is confused, general, and vncertaine. And therfore though they haue a general knowle [...]ge of the threat­nings, and of the promises of God, yet can they not make perticular vse of the same. Their knowledge is insufficient, nor able to [Page 161] direct them in their particular actions, and therfore it doth leaue them in the ende. Ther­fore as the knowledge of the godly for the clearenes, the certaintie, and the sufficiencie of it, is compared to the Sunne: so the know­ledge of the wicked, is compared to the light­ning, which doth not giue any certaine light, it doth not continue any time; and when it is gone, men are worse then they were before. So doth it fall out with the wicked; for beside that their knowledge doth soone vanish, there is also in them afterwardes, greater and more dangerous darkenes then there was be­fore: heerein then we do see one plaine and manifest note of difference. Secondly, we come to our affections. Certaine it is, that the wicked doe desire the helpe and the fauor of God: but looke to the cause, and that will shewe a difference betweene them and the godly. The wicked doe onely seeke helpe, because of some extremitie which they suf­fer? they onely desire to be in the fauour of God, because they woulde be freed from griefe; and therfore it is common with them to say: Oh that I were out of this payne, Oh that this my sorrowe were taken from me. By which speaches they shewe, that so they might be at rest, or liue at their case, they woulde little weigh of the helpe or fauour of God. But the godly finde such sweete­nes [Page 162] in the fauour of God that for the desire thereof▪ they can be contente to forgoe all the pleasures of this life, yea they can be content to suffer much, and endure the crosse patiently, so that at the last, they may assuredly enioy Gods fauour. Not the godly onely, but the wicked also, are grieued when they haue sinned but the wicked do there­fore sorrowe, because their sinne hath, or will bring some punishment vppon them: And the godly sorrowe, because they haue offended God, and giuen him occasion to drawe his fauour from them, therefore his correction doe they beare patiently: but the remembrance of their sinne, that touch­eth them still at the verie quicke. Then in their ioy, and in thei [...] sorrow, may appeare a seconde difference. The thirde diffe­rence is in loue, for though both of them doe loue GOD, yet it is after a diuerse manner; the one of sinceritie, the other for wages. A poore childe that is taken vp, fedde, and cloathed, will loue him that doth thus feede and cloath him: but if he receiued no more of that man then of another, he woulde like him, and loue him no better then another: Euen so is it with the wicked, if their bellies be filled, their barnes stuffed, and they haue their heartes desire, they loue God indeede, but [Page 163] yet onely for their belly, and their barnes. Thus did Saule loue God, but it was for his kingdome: Thus did Achitophell loue God, but it was because he was aduanced to be a councellour: And thus did Iudas loue God, but it was because he was chosen to be an A­postle, and caried the bagg: But what be­came of their loue the histories doe testifie. Saule was a little afflicted, and forsooke God: Achitophell somewhat crossed in his de­uises, hangeth himselfe: and Iudas for againe of money, betrayed Christ. Some experience of this wee may see among vs; Courtiers will be professours, and Schol­lers of ripe wittes will be religious, if Cour­tiers may come to be Counsellers, and if Schollers may be preferred to the chiefest places: but if promotion come not, then their profession is forsaken, and their Religi­on laide aside. And yet that is not all, for ey­ther they waxe prophane in their life or haere­ticall in their opinions. Doe the children of God loue on this manner? No, the holie Ghost which they haue receiued in effec­tuall manner, doth shedde the seede of loue in their heartes, and doth worke in them a speciall liking of his goodnesse, of his righteousnesse, and of his holines: and therefore of sincere affection they loue him. As the naturall childe loueth [Page 164] his father naturally, and though his father beate him, yet beareth he it, and still loueth him: so do the children of God deale. They haue powred into them as (Saint Peter saith) a godly nature, so that they do freely loue God their father: and though he afflict them, or crosse them in their desires, yet they loue him, and in loue performe their obedience vnto him continually: therefore Iob sayeth, Though he kill me, yet will I trust in him: They therefore are saide to haue receiued a free spirite, and to serue God in the liberty of the spirite. And who seeth not this to be a plaine and manifest difference betweene them: ther­fore we may well take it as a thirde marke or rule, whereby to proue and try our selues. The fourth and last rule is, in considering the worke and effect which Gods mercie recei­ued, doth worke in vs: for, heerein doe the wicked shewe their wickednesse two waies. First, on the right hande, the mercies of God do work in thē a wonderfull contentation▪ but not such as causeth them to returne the glory vnto God, nay rather it is such, as causeth them to take all glory to themselues: for the gra­ces of God doe puffe them vp, and make them proude, and conceyted in themselues. Heereof there ariseth a greate securitie, which bringeth first neglect, and after­warde contempt of all good meanes, wher­by [Page 165] they shoulde growe vp in goodnes. On the left hande others offende, beeing neuer pleased nor contented with that they haue: nay, indeede forgetting and lightly estee­ming that they haue, and still desiring newe. These men besides that they be vnthankfull, they doe also murmure and grudge against God, & are neuer pleased with him. Between these two, doe the children of God holde a middle and euen course: and therefore wee shall see these thinges in them. First, a sight and an acknowledging of the wantes which doe mooue them, as Saint Peter saith, Like newe borne babes, to desire the sweete and sincere milke of the worde, that thereby the graces they haue, may be increased, and their other wantes may be supplied: and so farre are they from beeing puffed vp with pride, that they reioyce when their pride may be pulled downe, or their hautinesse abated, eyther by some sharpe rebuke, or by some feare­full threatning, or by some moderate cor­rection from the Lorde. For they knowe, that if it were needfull for Saint Paule to be buffited, and that by the minister of Sathan, to the intent that his pride might be beaten downe: then it is much more needfull for them, after sundry waies to be humbled. Besides they doe not onely desire the worde▪ but they also waite vppon the Lorde, [Page 166] vntill it pleased him to worke further in them thereby: and this wayting is as earnest as is theirs, who hauing watched all the night, doe waite and looke for the dawning of the day. Secondly, as they see their wantes, so also they see that grace they haue receiued, and are for that time will appayde, and con­tented therewith: and therefore as their wantes do humble them, so the graces of God receiued do comfort them: and as their wantes do call vpon them, and cause them to seeke more: so that they haue, doth prouoke them to be thankefull for that they haue receiued. See then a quite contrarye course of the wicked, and those that of since­ritie doe worship God, See I say howe con­trarily the graces and giftes of GOD doe worke in them. And therfore from the consi­deration heereof, we may well draw a fourth rule, wherby to make triall and examination of our selues: So to conclude this poynte in a worde, when a man by the spirite of GOD hath beene inlightned vnto a certaine and sufficient knowledge of Gods will, when he findeth his affection, chiefly and aboue all other things set vppon GOD, when he fin­deth a pure and sincere loue of God in his heart, not for wages, but for the worke of grace, which after an vnspeakable manner doth moue him thereunto: and when hee doth thankefully acknowledge mercies re­ceiued, [Page 167] as he doth carefully attend and wa [...]te vppon the Lord, till he bestow some greater measure of graces vpon him; Then may he be vndoubtedly perswaded, that he hath found the spirite working in him, in a more effec­tuall manner, and that therefore it shall ne­uer be taken from him. But what then? may such men cast off all care? No, for vnto them doth saint Paule giue this charge That they doe not quench the spirite. And not with out cause doth he giue them this charge: for though the spirite it selfe can neuer be taken vtterly from them, yet doubtles, if they waxe proude, if they grow secure, if they fall into sinne, the graces and giftes of the spirite, may decaye and die in them, their cleare vnderstanding, their feeling, their affec­tion, and all may be gone, so that in their owne iudgement, and in the iudgment of others, it may seeme that they haue quite quenched, and put out the spirite. Neyther must this seeme so strange: for if the image of God, which was more perfectly placed in Adam, then it is now in vs, If I say, th [...]s i­mage might quite be lost and blotted out, as we see it was, then no maruell if the graces of the spirit of God be for a time, as it were dead and drowned in vs. And that we may be the lesse offended herewith, the scriptures doe offer vnto vs such examples of men, as hauing [Page 198] bene once effectually called and truely borne againe, haue yet a [...]terwarde through some sinnes, lost the graces of the spirite: such were the Galathians, for they were truely called, and effectually regenerate by the spirite and Gospell of God, as may appeare by this, that for the wordes sake they reuerenced the A­postle as the Angell of God; yet they were shared with false doctrine, and fell very dan­gerously to the choaking and quenching of the graces of Gods spirite in them. The spi­rit it selfe was not taken from them, nay, Christ did still continue in their heartes, but yet for want of godly graces, he was as it were without fashion and forme, so that the Apostle did as it were trauell againe, vntill Christ was fashioned a newe in them. Dauid also vppon the committing of his sinne, was brought into the like case, therefore in the 51. Psal. he prayeth: That God will create in him a newe spirit: What? was the spirit quite gone? no, for by and by in the same Psalme he prayeth, That the Lorde woulde not take a­way his holy spirite from him: howe can these two stande together, first to pray, that a new spirite may be created in him, and then, that the spirite of God may not be taken from him? Surely the spirite it selfe was still in him, and therfore he prayeth, that it may not be taken frō him: but the graces, & gracious working of [Page 169] the spirite they were deade and gone, and therefore hee prayeth that they may bee re­newed in him. By this then we see, that the very chiefe graces of the spirite may be quenched, euen in the most godly, when they fall into sinne. But yet that no libertie may be taken hereby, let vs a litle consider, what griefe and punishment they procure to themselues, that do by any means loose the graces of the spirite. First of all we must know, that though the spirite of God cannot be go [...]ten by our labour, yet it causeth vs much labour, and we must vnder­goe much trauell, and suffer much trouble, before the spirite of God do take possession of vs; now when the graces of the spirite are lost, all this our labour seemeth to bee lost, and what griefe is it to see the whole labour and trauaile of a man to vanish and come to nothing. Secondly, when a man re­ceiueth the spirit of GOD, and by the same spirite is assured that his sinne is for­giuen him, and that hee is in the fauour of GOD; there doth arise in his hearte a great ioy in the holy Ghost, a ioy I say, that is vnspeakeable and glorious: and this ioy is lost and gone, when the graces of Gods spirite are gone: with how greate griefe and woe, they know, that in any measure haue tasted of it. Againe, when the gra­ces of the spirite are choaked in men, then [Page 170] they haue no hart to doe good, they haue no affection to goodnesse, but all is gone; and they are made for the time, as it were an vn­profitable burthen of the earth. What griefe can be greater then this? What sorrow can sinke more deepe, then that a good man should be cleane withholden from doing good? Moreouer it is sure, that when the giftes of the spirit are in this sorte gone, then hee that was most righteous before, may soone fall into greate sinnes, yea and which is more, they shall also suffer the reproch of their sinnes: For this is a part of the coue­nant that GOD made with his, That though he will not take his mercies vtterly from them, yet he will visite their sinnes with the rodde, and their iniquities with scou [...]ges: and what griefe this is, the example of Gods chil­dren may shew vs▪ what griefe was it to Noah become a laughing stocke to his owne sonne? what heartbreaking to Dauid, by his owne son to be thrust frō his kingdome, so grieuous were those punishments laid vpon them that if without anye respect of hell or heauen, we coulde consider of them, wee had rather want all the pleasures of sinne, which they enioyed, then wee woulde beare the reproch and feele the paine which they suf­fered. Last of all, when the graces of the [Page 171] spirite of GOD are once decayed, they can neuer be repaired and recouered, but with much sorrowe and greate daunger: for it cannot but breede much sorowe of hearte, to remember his former sinnes, to examine and see the greatnesse of them, to apply Gods iudgements to them, and to prouoke himselfe to sorrowe for them: This is as it were to goe thorough the pikes, and through a purgatorie in this pre­sent life; and yet this must bee done, before wee can recouer Gods graces againe. A­gaine, it is a very dangerous thing▪ for in such cases men are brought as it were with Ionas, into the bottome of the sea: and as Dauid saith, into the deepe waters, so that all the surges, and waues doe passe and flow o­uer him. Now wee know what danger it is for a man to bee thrust ouer heade and ears into the deepe waters: and therefore they that are in such a case, are in great dan­ger: wherefore all these things considered, the losse of all our labour, the losse of all true ioye, the vnfitnesse to doe good, the readinesse to sinne; the griefe and danger that ensueth thereof, will, or at the least wise may, cause vs to bee ware, how wee quench the spirit. And this is the vse of the Doctrine, in humblinge of [Page 172] of vs: which also doth furthermore serue to comfort vs, knowing that we may suffer a greate decay of GODS graces; yet by the rodde, or by the worde of GOD or by both, they shall bee renewed in vs againe. And thus much of this com­maundement that the Apostle giueth here, that wee shoulde not quench the spirite.


The Seconde Sermon prea­ched by M Richard Greenham.

It is thus written Acts 2. Vers. 37.38.

37 Now when they heard it, they were pric­ked in their hearts, and said vnto Peter, and the other Apostles. Men and brethren, what shall we doe?

38 Then Peter saide vnto them, amende your liues, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Iesus Christ for the remission of sinnes &c.

IN this portion of the holy booke of God is set down to vs an effecte, or ra­ther a fruite of Peter his sermon, which hee made for the answering of the sclanderous reports of the Iewes, at what time they saw the won­derfull giftes of GOD sent downe vpon the Apostles. In which sermon, the Apostle had pricked their consciences whith shewing them their sinnes, telling them of a suretie, that their iniquities was the cause of Christ his death: whereby a certaine care began [Page 174] to be wrought in them, insomuch that being thus troubled, they enquired and saide men and brethren, what shall we doe? whereupon afterward followed the second Sermon of Peter, wherein he exhorteth thē to cōtinue in their repētance & teacheth vs that if our sor­rowe be good, we must go forward therin. Further he sheweth thē to this end, that they must beleeue, that beleuing they may be baptised, that being baptised they might receiue the gifte of the holy Ghost. Lastly it is ma­nifest, how they hearing that sermon first receiued the doctrine, and after perseuered in the practise of the same. Briefely there­fore three thinges are here to bee noted: First the fruite of the former Sermon of Peter contained in these wordes. Now when they hearde it, &c. Scondely the summe of a new Sermon of Peter in these worde. Then Peter saide vnto them, amende your liues, &c. Thirdly is set downe the fruite of their obe­dience. In the former part of this Chapter wee may knowe the wonderfull workes of GOD, that the Apostles, who were ne­uer brought vp in scholes, speake with di­uers tongues▪ which when the multitude hearde, some are saide to maruaile and to be astonied, some mocked them and saide, They are full of new wine. But when Peter with greate boldenesse of spirite had in this Ser­mon which hee made, set the truth of God [Page 175] against their false accusations, and had prea­ched against their sinnes, then they lefte of mocking▪ & were pricked in their harts. Where first we may note the power of Gods word, which onely is able to touch our consciences for sinne. For neither the diuersitie of tongues, nor other giftes of the holy Ghost coulde pricke their [...]eartes, as being able onely to cast them into an admiration. What more forci­ble thinge then to cause a go [...]ly sorrow, thē to haue our conscience pricked? What so able to pricke our conscience as the worde of GOD? Indeede many feele sorrowe and are inwardly pricked, but because therewith is not ioyned the power of Gods word, They be either senceles [...]e as blocks, or in their feeling they are murmurers. This com­meth vnto vs by the dignitie of GOD his worde, in that no wonders from heauen, no miracles on earth can touch our heartes, and worke in vs any fruite without the same. For though the Lorde shoulde shewe vnto vs al the wonders from heauen, which he shew­ed on the olde worlde, and on Sodome, al­though hee shoulde lay all the plagues vpon vs, which he laide on Pharaoh and on the Ae­gyptians, without the word of God, we should be as vnprofitable beholders, as euer were the Sodomites, & should become as harde­harted as euer were Pharaoh, & the Aegyptians. [Page 176] so that no iudgement from heauen, no trouble from earth can humble vs, noe blessing from aboue, no benefite from beneath can▪ profite vs, vntil the worde of GOD com­meth, which teacheth the olde way to for­sake it, the newe way to enter into it, and the perfecte way to continue in it. And thus much for the generall scope of this do­ctrine. Now more particularly we may ob­serue in this first part three things. First the power of the worde to pricke our consci­ence. Secondly that this pricke must not cause in vs a more rebelling againste the worde or ministers thereof: but rather a greater reuerence to them both. Thirdly such prickes must prepare vs to a greater desire to profit. For the first wee must knowe, that this is the beginning of repentance, and this is the ente [...]ie to godlines, euen to con­ceiue a sorrow for our sinnes, and so bee wounded with a feeling of our euils. For as long as men are secure, it is not possible, that they should seriously apply their minde vnto doctrine, neither without the know­ledge, and feeling of our sinnes can wee hartily longe for Christ. To this agree the lawe, the Prophets, and the Apostles. The lawe, because in all their sacrifices, wherein Christ was prefigured, was manifested also vnder darke signes, the contrition of hart, and [Page 177] acknowledging their vnworthinesse. The Prophets as Dauid and Esay. Dauid in the fourth psalme and fi [...]t verse [...]ayeth, Tremble and sinne not, where the Prophet sheweth,Psal. 45. that this is an effectuall thing to trew repen­tance, to quake and tremble for feare of Gods iudgements. That wee may then tru­ly examine our selues, wee must feare and humble our selues, because before trouble, terrour, and quaking at the iudgementes of GOD, we will neuer be brought to of­fer our selues to Christ alone. In the Psal. 51. Vers. 18.19. the Prophet like wise sheweth, that no sacrifice is acceptable to God with­out a contrite heart, that is, neither prayer, neither almes-giuing, neitheir praise or thanksgiuing, vnlesse we bringing an humble and contrite spirit with vs, cast our selues downe before his iudgement seate, and sue for mercy in Christ. And here marke, that he saith, the sacrifices of God, are a troubled spirit &c. where he vsing the plurall number sheweth, that the sacrifices of repentance, which must not be one, but many, are hum­blenes of spirite and contrition of hearte. For the affliction of the soule & contrition of the minde, doe so cast vs downe, wounded with our sinnes & humbled with a feeling of Gods wrath, as that it maketh vs to acknow­ledge, that we are nothing of our selues, and [Page 178] to seeke for our saluation wholly at the mer­cie of God. Noe maruaile then, if by this means we being confounded and ashamed of our selues, and staying our selues on the only promises of God, doe confesse our owne nakednes and wreatchednes, why the Pro­phet should say, that the Lord is pleased with this sacrifice as with the sacrifice of sacrifices. The Prophet Esai. cap 40. V. 6.7.8. saith.Esa. 40.6.7 8. All flesh is grasse, & the beautie therof as the flower of grasse, the grasse withereth, & the flower fal­leth, when the breath of the Lord falleth vpon it. where the Prophet painting out man in his proper couliers, and driuing him to seeke our saluation not in himselfe but in Christ, des­cribeth the outward part of man to be as grasse and by the flower of grasse, he sheweth his gifts of minde being vnregenerate, as wisdōe memorie, knowledge, and vnderstāding. So that, when Gods spirit doth but breath on vs, all our wisdome, all our knowledge, riches, and authoritie fall before the presence of the Lord of hosts, neither can we remaine, but only by the word of God, whereby wee are borne againe. Wherefore the considering & meditating of our trāsitory estate driu [...]th vs to a contrition & humblenes of spirit. Besides, the Lord God, saith Esai, Esa. 66. whom the heauens cannot containe, nor the earth hold, wil come and dwell with a lowly, poore, and troubled spi­rit, and which standeth in awe of his word. God doth not accept our sacrifices, which are of­fered [Page 179] without trembling at his word, no more then if we should kill a man, & choke a dog, or offer swines flesh, which was counted an abhominable thing among the Iews, or praise the thing that is vnright. Lastly to this accor­deth the Gospel, and the Apostles. Our saui­our Christ Mat. 9.13. saith,Mat. 9▪ 11. I came not to cal the righteous, but sinners to repentance, not euerie sinner, but that sinner, which condēneth sinne in him, & is weary and laden with his sinnes. Mat. 11.28. Mat. 21.32. our Sauiour Christ preferreth the harlotts & Publicans before the Pharises, for they being pricked for their sins & conuicted, did sorrow, & heard Iohn preaching vnto them. So then Christ giueth reliefe to those that want, righteousnes to thē that feele themselues sinners, ease to them, which are burthened, lightto them, which are in darknes, life to them which are dead, & saluation to them, which condēne thēselues. 1. Cor. 14. the Apostle declareth, how the Cor­rinthians were moued with strāge tongues: but yet had not in admiration the word. Be­sides he sheweth by comparing the gifte of tongues & prophecying together, that if an Infidell or vnlearned man should come, and heare them speake with strange tongues, he would say, they were out of the witts, but if he should heare them speake the word of god plainly, he wold be rebuked of all mē & iudg­ed of all men, & so the secrete of his heart shold be mad manifest, he wold fal down on his [...] [Page 180] and worshippe God and say plainely, when he feeleth his sinnes, they rifle mine hearte, they shewe my secret sinnes, doubtlesse, this is Gods doing, God is in them, I will follow this religion. Wherefore in this appeareth the power of the worde, in that it citeth and sommoneth our consciences before the tri­bunall of God, and woundeth vs with a liue­ly feeling of Gods iudgement, that he, who before thorough securitie did despise sounde doctrine, may now be constreained to giue the glory vnto God. This appeareth more plainely: Heb. 4.12. where it is saide,Heb. 4.12. that the word of God is liuelie, m [...]ghty in operation, and sharper then any two edged sword, & it pearceth thought frō thought; & all holinesse shall seme hypocrisie, all our righteousnes shall seeme as a defiled cloath: we shall finde with Paul, that in vs, that is, in our flesh dwelleth no righteousnes. For mens consciences are coulde, neither are they touched and dis­pleased with their euils, so long as they be in ignorance, but when the worde of God pear­ceth into the vttermost corners of their con­sciences, and telleth them, that they haue to doe with the Lorde; they are thoroughlye touched and beginne to feare, and ente­ring into themselues examining their con­science, they come to the knowledge of that, which before they had forgotten. We can neuer bee offered to God without his spirite [Page 181] Iohn. 16.8.Iohn, 16, 8 For he reprooueth the world of sinne, and awaketh our consciences, that those sins, which before were hid, should be made manifest. Dauid did lye an whole ye [...]re without this pricke of conscience, and thought, that all was well,2, Sam, vntill Nathan came, neither did he finde comfort of con­science, vntill he had thus beene pricked. Iosephes brethren were thirteene yeares, and neuer remembred their sinnes, vntill, after such time the Lorde laide it before them. The Prophet Dauid, Psal. 32 (which he inti­tuled a Psalme of instruction concerning the free remission of sinnes) [...]eacheth how wee shall finde the same. For many perswade themselues, that their sinnes are forgiuen, when they be not. He also sheweth, that vntill trouble of minde did driue him to GOD, he founde no comfort,2. Reg. Man [...]s­ses which did eate the breade of sorrow, and did drinke the water of griefe; vntill he had lamented and sorrowed, felt no rest nor peace. The woman of Samaria Iohn 4. was pleasant, and iested with our Sauiour Christ, vntill hir sinnes were ope­ned, and then shee beganne to answere with more reuerence. For vntill shee was willed to call hir husbande, shee thought all was safe, but after that he had tolde hir, that shee had plaide the adulteresse, shee acknowledged him, that hee was a Prophet.

[Page 182]Wherefore wee may see by this, which hath beene spoken, that the word of God onely pricketh our consciences, as plain­ly may here appeare by the Iewes, who ca­red not for the Apostles nor made any con­science, vntill their hearts were pricked. In the second place we must note, that they were rightly pricked. For many often times are pricked, which kicke against the pricke, and hauing their consciences galled by the word, they murmur eyther against the prea­cher of the word, or against the word itselfe. Here then is the difference betweene the godly and the wicked, the one is pricked and is made more carefull in a godly consci­ence; the other more hardened then before. But this is a godly sorrowe, when we loue the man, that rebuketh vs, and reuerence the word the more being by it reprooued in our conscience. Doe we loue him then that re­buketh vs? then we heare profitably. Let vs examine our selues in this sort: I see God hath wounded me by him, he is the instrument, whereby God doth humble me, I will ther­fore loue him. Contrary if we be often tou­ched & amende not, we are in danger of Gods wrath. Many indeed are pricked, with pouer­ty, many with sicknes, & some with other like afflictiōs, but few with their sins, which is the [Page 183] cause of their pouerty, sicknes, and other af­flictions. Let vs then learne a willingnesse to offer our selues to be taught and to be pric­ked for sinne, as these men were. The wicked also are pricked somtimes for sinne: but it is rather for feare of punishment, then for con­science to displease God, as were Caine and Iudas. Some men are pricked, and to put away their sorrow, they will goe sleepe, they will go play, they will goe sport, they wil get to merie company, and passe away the time, and so, as they terme it, they will purge & driue away the rage of melancholy, they neuer goe to any Preacher, to aske of the Lord, or at the mouth of his spirite. They neuer respect to prayer, nor seeke any com­forte in the word of GOD. But to put away sorrow on this sort is to call it a­gaine, and to feele it more freshly either in the hower of death, or in hell. Con­trariwise if our sorrow doth driue vs to praier or to the worde of God, it is good. As for the wicked and prophaine worldlinges, though as the wise man saith, Ecclesiact. 11. hee spende all his daies without any euill, yet his darknes wilbe greater then the light, his sorrowe greater then his pleasure, his losse greater then his gaine, his trouble greater then his vanitie, in [Page 184] hell. Let vs not then so carnally shake off this godly sorrow, For the worde will send vs often an vnquiet spirite, that wee may seeke to be quiet in Christ. To examine our selues herein. Haue wee heard the worde of God? were we pricked by it? then haue wee profited, haue we not been pricked thereby? then as yet are we not a sacrifice for the Lord. For, as was saide before, Christ comforteth them that are troubled, he helpeth them that doubt, he caseth them, which are in distresse, he setteth their feete in the way of peace and gladnes, that haue long beene in darkenes and sorrow. Haue ye not beene sor­rowfull, & will ye learne a salue for this sore? be sorrowfull, that ye were not sorrowfull, be pricked in your hearts, because you were not more pricked. Haue we heard the word? Let vs examin our selues? if our knowledge be the beter; If our affectiōs be the holier; As hauing heard the expositiō of the law of God; do we feare God? do we know how to loue God? do we pray to God? do we worship God in our soules, & in our bodies more carfully & in greater cōscience thē we haue don hertofore? Are we not now as profaine & carelesse stil in gi­uing the right worship to the true God, as before we were to superstitious, in seruing Angels, Sāts & other false Gods; nether sorrowing for our idolatry, nor careing for true religiō? haue we not blasphemed, & profaned the name [Page 185] of god in vnreuerēt hearing his word, in vnpro­fitable talking of his works & abusing his owne maiesty with swearing and cursing as much as we euer did before? Haue we kept holie the saboth? or haue we not prophaned it, by open neglect of the worde, by play­ing, sporting, drinking, and other vani­ties doe we not still send forth our seruantes to dispatch our busines on that day, as if it were the market day, when they may do such thinges most lawfully? Are not parentes, hous-holders, and gouernours, as slacke in prouo­king obedience; and children, seruantes and subiectes, as flow in yeelding obedience as e­uer they were? parents in the meane time, not seeing that children therefore rebell against thē, because they rebell against God; nor hous-holders perceiue that seruants doe not their dueties to them, because they doe not their duety to God? Are we lesse wrathfull, and more mercifull? are we lesse riotous, and fil­thy defilers of our flesh? and are we more so­ber, chast, and holy? are we lesse giuen to oppression, to hard dealing one with another, and more iust, righteous, and carefull to maintaine the good estate of our brethren? Are we not backbiters, slaunderers, or sow­ers of discord, causers of contention [...]mong our neighbours? beeing farre off from main­teyning loue vnited, and the good name of [Page 186] our brethren? The cause, why we cannot see further into these things, is because we flat­ter our selues, and because we compaire our selues with our selues & with others, but not with the rule of Gods word. Let vs then learne to accuse our selues and to iudge our owne consciences. For if God see vs con­demne ourselues, he will not condemne vs, if we accuse our selues, God will not suf­fer Sathan to accuse vs, if we iudge our selues, God will acquite vs from the fearefull iudg­ment to come, if we be displeased for our sins, God will be pleased in Christ his righteous­nesse. On the contrary, whilest we lie in our sinnes, we lie in our owne blood, if we iudge not our selues, God will both iudge vs, and be reuenged of our sinne, he wil set our house on fire, he will send enemies, he will sende earthquakes, he will sende famines to make vs to consume our goods, he will make friends foes, he will sende sicknes and sorenes vpon our bodies, & a troubled spirit into our soules, he will send vs an ill name, thus will he bring plague vpon plague vntill we repent, & come to a feeling of our sinnes. And why doth God all this? because we wil not come to iudge our selues. For this cause, saith the Apostle. 1. Cor. 11.30. that is, because we iudge not our selues many are weake, & sicke among you, & many sleepe. 31. for if we would iudge our selues, we [Page 187] should not be iudged, 32. but when we are iudged, we are chastined of the Lord, that we shoulde not be condemned with the worlde. Likewise the Prophet Psal. 89. & But if his children forsake my lawe, and walke not in my iudgments, if they breake my sta­tutes and keepe not my commandementes. Then will I visite their transgression with the sword, and their iniquitie with strokes, yet my louing kindnes will I not take from him, neyther will I falsifie my trueth. For as a fa­ther withdraweth from his child sometimes his loue, & whippeth him with the rod of cor­rection, so the Lord dealeth often with his children & scourgeth their naked conscience. God doth iudge his here, but his enemies will he iudge in the world to come, if we be not pu­nished here, the punishment wil be as a thun­derbolt in the day of iudgmēt. Hast thou bene afflicted, & not profited? will not a litle crosse serue thee? a greater shall come to thee, will not a few troubles turne thee to God, then many shall come vpon thee? If a man be not troubled for sin here, it is the way to hell, if he be troubled here, it is the way to heauen. And as they which haue not bene troubled, ha­uing had a little ioy shall haue eternall paine, so they which here haue had a little paine, shall after haue euerlasting ioye. They that are corrected and haue profited by it, [Page 188] are afflicted of the Lord in mercy, but they that be vexed and amende not, receiue a token of Gods further wrath. Wherefore we must not looke to feele comforte in the remission of sinnes, vnlesse we also haue sorrowe for committing our sinnes. For neuer any of gods children were comforted throughly, but they were first humbled for their sinne lawfully. To the working of which humiliation, wee must remember Gods iudgements shewed on others: hath God destroyed the whole world for sinne, and can he not, or will he not destroy thee for sinne? hath he ouerthrowen whole nations, and will he suffer thee to lie still in thy sinnes? See how full Hell is alrea­die, and yet daily we runne headlong thither. Consider also, how great thy sinne was, that could not be cleansed but by the bloode of Iesus Christ; Oh how soule was that sinne, that nothing else could wash it, but Christ his hart blood? oh how great was our guiltines, that were ransomed by such a price? How greate was the sore, that needed such a salue? howe deepe was the wound, that needed such a medicine? O louing kindnes, and vnspeake­able loue towards vs! Shall Christ be slaine for our sinnes, and we not slaye sinne in our selues? Shall Christ die for our sinnes, and sinne as yet is not dead in vs? Shall Christ be crucified for vs, and will we not crucifie sinne [Page 189] in our selues? Shall Christ haue his hearte pricked with a speare, and shall not we haue our harts pricked with sorrow? This is the true vse and meditating of Christ his passion. We are wont to defy the Iewes for accusing Christ, we spit at Iudas for betraying Christ, and we condemne Pilate for condemning Christ, but we are much more to be at defiance with our sinnes, which accused him before the iudge­ment seat of God, we are to accuse our selues, who haue and daily doe, betray him; we must condemne our selues, whose sinnes haue con­demned him. But if neither the iudgements of God, hell, nor the crosse of Christ can moue vs, then let vs examine our selues how we can reioyce in Christ.

It followeth to speake of the counsell of Peter, Repent, as if he should say. I know your heartes are pricked, how be it I will shewe you, how it is the pollicy of the Diuell, to make these good motions quickly to waxe dry in you, he will stay you from perseuering, you must therfore endeuoure to continue in this godly sorrow. The Apostle saw, that this sorrow, which as Paule witnesseth is not to be repented of, was well begunne in them, but in continuing his sermon still to that effect, he sheweth that our sorrow must be also conti­nuall. Many sorrow, as hath beene shewed, but in a worldly sorrowing, which bringeth [Page 190] eternal death, not in a godly griefe which bringeth repentance. Wherfore we are to note that repentance beginneth in vs, continueth and endeth with sorrow. Now, if it might be, it were expedient to shew what repentance is. In one word, Repentance is not a bare lea­uing of sinne, but an vtter condemning and misliking of that sinne, which we haue left. For though we haue left it, yet Sathan may make vs to sorrow for it many yeares after, yea euen at the point of death. 'Dauid had left his sinne, but it caused him to sorrow an whole yeare after. Iosephs brethren had for­saken and almost forgotten their sinne, yet it troubled them and grieued them thirteene yeares after. Our pricking of heart therfore must be continued and daily renued. This repentance is figured in baptisme, both in that we must die to sin, and bury it, and also that we must rise againe to newnes of life, for a man cannot die to sin but by the vertue of Christ his death, neyther can he rise to righ­teousnes without the power of his resurrecti­on. Now we must know that as our sinnes are forgiuen, so we must also receiue Gods spirit. If God promiseth mercy to our children much more to vs, if we beleue and receiue his promises, if to them, which are a farre of, much more to them that are neare. And yet though we haue been baptised an hundred yeares, and [Page 191] haue not receiued the holy Ghost: we may die in our sinnes. Some vnderstand by the gift of the holy Ghost the graces of God bestowed on the Apostles, but in my iudgement, their opinion is not sound, because, that was a par­ticular thing giuen only to them of that time, this promise is generall and respectes all pos­terities. We are then to note, that repentance is a continuall course of sorrowe, and if we haue this in trueth, then may we boldly seeke for comfort out of Gods wo [...]d, and from his ministers, and looke what comfort they giue vs on earth, the same shal be sealed also in heauen. Wherefore as it is requisite continu­ally to till the ground, if we will haue fruite, and daily to eate, if we will liue: so in spiri­tuall things, we must be humbled with conti­nuall sorrow, that we may be refreshed with daily comfort in Christ, in whose name let vs pray. Our father, &c.


Certaine wise and graue Coun­sels and Answers, made by the same author, of the former argument.

VNto one that was much tem­pted with vnbeliefe, he gaue this counsell; When the temptation commeth, either fall downe in prayer, & say, Lord thou makest me to pos­sesse the sinnes of my youth, and this temp­tation is of very equity; howbeit, O Lorde, grant I may by wisedome herein, make this temptation an holy instruction, and suffer me to possesse my soule in patience: Oh turne this to thy glory and my saluation. I see and confesse what hath beene in mee a long time, by that which now sheweth it selfe in me, and that thy grace hath hitherto kept vnder this corrupt [...]on: yet Lord I beleeue, yet Lord I will beleue, helpe Lord my vnbe­liefe. Thy name be praised, for this seale of thy loue, and pledge of thy spirit; that in this vnbeleefe I am grieued, as in my beliefe I am wont to be comforted. And though my olde and secret sinnes, deserue that I should not onely be giuen ouer to infidelity, but al­so that it should be in mee without griefe and remorse, yet Lord forgiue my sinnes newe, [Page 193] and olde, forgiue my vnthank [...]ulnes. Lord in­crease my faith, and grant good father, that when thou shalt restore to mee the gifte of grace againe, that I may vse it in feare, and shew it by fruites.

Or if this doe not preuaile, giue your selfe with all humblenes to read the word of God, especially, his promises, and be still atten­ding vpon the meanes, waiting when the Lord shall inlarge your hearte. Or if this do not helpe, goe to some faith full brother, con­fesse your state to him, acknowledg your weaknes to him, and be not ashamed to giue God the glory by shaming your selfe, and o­pening your corruption to him; that so hee may pray for you; whose praier according to the promise of God, made to his holy ordināce herein, Iames. 5. vndoubtedly shall be heard in the appointed time. Thus hauing praied by your selfe, and with another, and vsed the meanes of reading for your recouery, though you haue not present release, yet in meeknes of mind & patience of your spirite, go to your calling; knowing that your praiers and the word of God, being as seede, must haue some time betweene the sowing of them, and the reaping of the increase and fruite of them. Aboue all, reason not with your temp­tations, dispute not with the Deuill, as though you coulde preuaile of your selfe. [Page 194] And as I would not you should dispute with your temptation, so I would not you should despise it. For in both are extremities. If you take it too much to heart, or maruell how you should ouercome such a temptation, it will make you dull or desperate. If you ac­count of it to little, and maruell how such thinges should come into your head, which was not wont to be so, it will make you not to striue, and you shall be swallowed vp be­fore you be aware. If you account of it too fearefully, Sathan will oppresse you before you beginne to fight; If you account of it too lightly, the deuill needs not to wrestle with you, you will ouerthrow your [...]elfe. Therefore feare in respect of your selfe: fight boldly in Christ; tremble at your owne cor­ruption; but rest and trust in Christ your sal­uation. If still you are tempted, and no body by you, write your temptation, and offer it to God by prayer, and promise to him, that you will aske counsell of his worde, at the mouth of his minister, when he shall giue you iust occasion. If all this helpe not, comfort your selfe with this pledge of election, that you are ioyed when you feele your beliefe, and that you are grieued▪ least you shoulde displease God by your vnbeliefe; and know, that as there is a viciss [...]tude of the meanes of saluation, which you must vse; so there is [Page 195] also a vicissitude of temptations, wherof this is one, agianst which you must striue.

2 Vnto one that was tempted with world­ly shame,Worldly shame. and thought the distemperature of his minde and bodie proceeded thereof, he saide on this sorte. Fist know, that Sathan hath not an absolute power, but a power by permission to try vs, against which, we must arme our selues by faith, which will assure vs, that eyther the Lorde will mitigate our temp­tation if our power and patience be not great, or else, if he enlarge the tryall, he wil increase our strength and retch it out, according to the proportion of our temptation. Wee must al­so pray, that the Lord giue not out that mea­sure of leaue to the diuell, which we giue out to sinne, to worke rebellion in vs against his maiesty; but that he would rather make Sa­than a Surgeon to shew vs our sinnes, then a Sregeant to confound vs for our sinnes. It is the pollicie of the aduersary, to perswade many, that the weaknes of their body, and feeblenes of their braine proceedeth of their temptations, when indeed it commeth of the vnstaidnes of their mindes, wandering too much after the motions of the diuell; in that they not resting on the word, nor depending on Christ, nor contenting thēselues to be try­ed, nor cōforting themselues by meditatiō, at­tend to much, & cōfor to often with the diuels [Page 196] illusions and temptations, and so they come­playne of the effectes, and not of the causes of their temptations; beeing more grieued for their present sufferinges, then for their sinnes past. The roote of this worldly shame, is pride and hautinesse of minde, which is a priuie euill, and hardly will be beaten into the head of them that are infected therwith. But sure it is, that we wold neuer be so grieued for the losse of a thing, if we did not too much desire it, and too immoderately vse it, whilst wee had it. Iohn. 12:42. Which sinne of haughtines, the Lord seeing in his children, that they are more humbled, with the losse­of worldly credit, then with the sence of their sinnes, and the losse of their glory; [...]ee striketh them with the wante of that thing which is most precious vnto them, because they made no conscience of that honor which is most precious vnto him. Wherefore this is the best remedie, rather to be grieued that we feele not our sinnes to be pardoned with God, then that we are knowne to be sinners amongst men, and that we be ready to shame our selues that God may haue the glory; ac­knowledging shame, and confusion, and the whole hell of temptations to be due vnto vs; and glory, praise & compassion, to be only the Lords. For this is a speciall marke of the child of God, by temptations rightly humbled, [Page 197] when he is ready to shame himselfe for his sin, that he may glorifie God in his mercy.

3 Vnto one that thought himselfe to haue [...]inned against the holy Ghost,Sinne a­ga [...]nst the holy ghost he saide, Sa­thans temptations follow our affections. For if we lightly account of sinne, he bleares our eyes still with Gods mercies; if we beginne to make a conscience of sinne, he loadeth vs with the iudgements of God; being as ready now to aggrauate the sinne, more then it is in it selfe, as before he woulde extenuate it to make it seeme lesse then it was. Howbeit, said he to the man thus afflicted; I will saye vnto you as Samuel saide to the people after they had confessed themselues to haue sinned a­gainst God with a great sinne: True it is, said Samuel, not flattering them in their iniqui­ties; Ye haue sinned greatly: notwithstan­ding, if ye will feare the Lord, and serue him, and heare his voice, and not disobey the word, of the Lorde ye shall follow the Lord your God. But if ye will not obey the voyce of the Lorde but disobeye the Lordes mouth, then shall the hand of the Lord be vpon you. 1. Sam. 12.14. So I will not lessen your sine, but I say, you haue sinned with a great sinnne before the Lord, in that you made a mocke of the worde which you knew; yet if you turne to the Lord in feare and serue him, your sinne is remissible, howsoeuer Sathan char­geth [Page 198] your conscence, that you haue done euill against your owne knowledge. For al­though euery sinne against the holy Ghost is against a mans conscience & knowledge; yet euery sinne against our knowledge and conscience is not against the holy Ghost. For then Dauid and Peter had sinned against the holy Ghost, for they sinned after the holy Ghost was come vpon them: which is not true, as may appeare by their godly repentance en­suing. Some sins are against knowledge, but of humane frailty; some are against know­ledge of a rebellious obstinacy. These last are the persecutions of the spirit of God, as he is the power of God; Those first are not so pre­cisely against the holy ghost, but against God the Father, the Sonne, & the holy Ghost, the one which may be repented of is remissible, the other which is without repentance is irre­missible, wherfore in that you quake, and are affraid least this sin be in you, & would reioice in God, if it were not in you: If you purpose to leaue your former sins, & in trueth hence­forth turne vnto the Lord, I dare assure you, that as yet you are free from this sinne.

4 Vnto one afflicted in mind, he gaue this cō ­fort: First, if you haue knowledge, be thankful for it, & desire the lord to giue you faith: if you haue faith, which vndoubtedly you may haue though not rightly discerning your selfe, you [Page 199] presently perceiue it not; you must wait on the Lord for feeling of it. And though it may be you shal tarry the lords leasure long▪ yet surely he wil giue it you in time. In the meane time, assure your self, that the greatest faith is when there is least feeling. Because it is easy for eue­ry one in glorious feelings, & ioies vnspeaka­ble to beleue: but when a man feeling no sen­sible cōfort in the Lord, can notwithstanding beleeue in the Lord, & by saith wait on him, this mans faith is very great.

5 He gaue this aduise to one, against the dead­nes of the mind that ouertaketh the godly: first search the cause, whether it be for some euill thing done, or for some good thing not done, & so leauing some means of saluatiō vnused; whe­ther for some sin seene, but not repented of; or some sin repented of, but not soūdly, or for vn­thankfulnes. Secondly, vse the remedy, please not your selfe in it, but rouse vp your selfe as frō a slūber, which willingly you would shake from you: cal to mind the special & greatest mercy of God, vse the means. Thirdlie, in the meanes offer your selfe to God, waiting [...]umbly, & pa­tiently for the time of deliuerance; neither e­steming to much or to little of your afflictions.

6 To one that cōplained of the hardnes of his hart, he said. You must wait for cōfort & know, that you can now no more iudge of your selfe, than a man sleeping can iudge of thinges which he did waking: or a man [Page 200] wandring in the darke, can discerne of bright colours. For as the one may whilest he was waking doe exccellent things, and yet nowe neyther himselfe knoweth of them, nor any other can espie them in him: & the other may be enuironed with fresh and flourishing co­lours, & yet for want of light, can haue no vse of his eies, nor pleasure in the obiects; so you haue done great good things, whilst god gaue you a waking heart to put them in practise, and the light of his spirit, to discerne his gra­ces in you: though now, you haue neyther the sight nor sence of them. And this is the thing that deceiueth and disquieteth many; they look for that discerning of thēselues, whē the graces of God are more cold, which they had when gods spirit wrought in the swetest & fullest measure in them. And because there is some intermission of the work of their new birth, they thinke there is a [...]lat amission in thē of the spirit of God. But as it is a token of a mind to presumpteous, & infatuated, in time of a dead security, to perswade our selues still of that safety, in hauing those graces which somtimes we had: so it is a signe of a minde abiect, & too much dispairing; to thinke, that because we haue not in present feelings these ioyes, glorious & vnspeakable which we haue had; therfore we neuer had thē heretofore, or that we shall neuer haue thē again hereafter.

[Page 201]8 He saide to a godly Christian, much inuaying against our vnbeleefe; I doe not now suspect your estate, when you seeme to mee rather to haue faith, than when you seeme to your selfe to haue it; for faith being the gift of God, is then most obtained and in­creased of God, when you thirsting after the increase of present feelings, are humbled vnder the mightie and mercifull hande of God for it, rather I suspect you, when you say you haue faith, because then you can least feare and suspect you selfe, and by that meanes lie open to vnbeleefe againe. And surely experience prooueth, that then we shewe we haue beliefe, when we mourne for our vnbeliefe, and then our faith may be least, when we thinke it to be most. Besides here­in you are to comfort your selfe, with shewe of increase of faith; because faith groweth by these two means, either by some greate fee­ling by the worde, and the spirite, and hum­ble thanksgiuing ioyned thereunto, or else by humbling our selues before the mercye seate of GOD, for wante of our faith.

9 When one was troubled in minde he gaue this comfortable note: that although it came to passe, that after some trauell in newebirth, Gods graces were not so sweet, and our sinnes not so sowre and grieuous vn­to [Page 202] to vs, as they were in our first entrance into regeneration; but we a [...]e now weaker in lesse assaultes, hauing afore beene stronger in greater temptations: yet we were not to dispaire, but to consider, from whence this gratious progresse did com [...]; namely of God, and not of our selues; who shewed him­selfe more fauorable in the beginning, both because hee would not discourage vs, new­lie comming vnto him, and for that wee forsaking our selues, with a godly suspecting of our weaknes in the least temptations, did flie vnto Gods helpe by prayer; who in wis­dome can hide himselfe vnder a cloude: partly, for that he will looke to see some triall of strength at our hands, comming to some age in the newe birth partly, for that wee nowe lesse forsake or suspect our selues, euen in greater temptations; and for that pre­sumpteously wrestling with our owne strength, and staying our selues with our owne staffe, we do not call to God for helpe, and not calling, do not obtaine, and not ob­taining helpe, we take the foile in the con­flict, that the Lorde may make knowne vn­to vs, that notwithstanding our proceeding in Christianitie, we are still but men, and God alone is God.

10 He saide to one troubled in minde, for a secret and small sinne: I doe not so much [Page 203] feare this sinne in you, as the pollicie of Sa­than by it, either in that he will not sticke to shewe you the leste sinnes & hide from you the greater; or else by the quick sight of your secret & smal sins, to cast vpon you an open & grosse sin of vaine glorie and priuie pride.

11 It is a most certaine thi [...]ge in Gods chil­dren, that the more their afflictions growe, the more their faith groweth: the more Sa­than striueth to draw them from God, the more they draw neere to [...]od; although in­deede in feeling, they cannot see so much.

12 Though we finde not the spirituall ioy which we should feele, yet let vs not bee to much cast downe; so that our conscience tell vs, that we are readie to withdrawe some­what from our outward pleasures, for want of this inward pleasure; and that we haue not preuented, or smothered out these spirituall ioyes, but are grieued that we haue them not, & waite for the time to feele them. For of all things, we must bewar, that we draw not into their stead carnall ioys, & so driue a [...] it were in to exile the working of gods spir [...]t in vs by thē.

13 Many despaire of help, because of their owne vnworthines▪ as though there were no hope of Gods mercy, vnles we bring in our gifte & pawne in our hands to him. But this were to discredit the Lords mercie, and to bring in credite our merits; and rather [Page 204] to binde the Lord to vs, than vs vnto him: but if our sinnes be greate, our redemption is greater; though our merits be beggerlye. Gods mercie is a rich mercie: If our case be not desperate, and we past hope of recouery, our redemption should not be so plentifull, But when all seemes to goe one way; when Heauen and Earth, the Sunne, the Moone, and the Starres goe against vs; then to ran­some vs, and to make a perfect restitution, is to drawe something out of nothing. Euen as in sicknesse, to haue either little daunger, or in greate daunger; deliuerance by present meanes, is nothing; but in extreame perril, when Phisicke can doe nothing, and no­thing maketh for vs but the Graue, then to be rescued from the graue, and to recouer our life from the pitte, is Redemption.

14 There are two workings of Gods Spirite in vs: the one inferiour, which bring­geth but certaine fruites of the Spirite, with­out any speciall fruite of grace: the other su­periour, and more certaine, when the spirite worketh an infallable sanctification. The first, may totally be darkened, and fully quenched; the other hath but particular E­clipse, and in measure may be dimmed, as it was in Dauid psal. 51, but is not finally quenched. As God made man so that he might fall, though afterwardes he had mer­cie [Page 205] vpon him: so he regenerateth vs so, that wee may fall, though afterwardes he may raise vs vp againe, and will. And it is feare­full inough, that there may be such particu­lar decaies of it in vs, as to feele lesse com­fort in the word, lesse feare of sinne, lesse care of well doing, lesse zeale in praying, lesse fruites in the meanes; so that all our actions are turned to be bitter, which were swe­ter vnto vs than any worldly increase to the worldly man, or honie can be to them that loue it. These are euident tokens of the sanctifying spirite, to loue good, be­cause it is good; and to hate sinne: the more wee growe in giftes, the more to hun­ger, the more to complaine of our vnworthi­nes, the more to be humbled in our selues, the more meekely to iudge of others: when we are most quiet with all things, then to think our selues least quiet, and then most to feare our selues; so to feele the grace of God in vs, and yet our sence and feeling of sin is not lessened; and to feare and quake at the first degrees and motions of sinne; not lest they fully quench, but lest they coole the heat of the spirit in vs.

15 In afflictions we must search the cause, first by ascending to GOD, then by descending into our selues. Wee must ascende to GOD, pleading guiltie, cra­uing [Page 206] mercy, and not stand quarelling with the malice of men, or hatred of the deuill a­gainst vs: for as it were no good wisdome for a man condemned to die, to make any long suite to the Ialor, or to the Executioner; (for they be but vnder officers & can do nothing) but he must labour to the Iudge, who can ei­ther repriue or release him: so it is no good pollicie to stande about S [...]than in our temptations, who doth all by constraint and restraint vnder the Lord; but wee must goe to the principall, that is God; in whose handes, are both the entrance, and the issues of our sufferings. Secondly, we must search our selues, how farre either reason is vnrefor­med, or affections vnrenewed; knowing that the deuill himselfe can neuer hurt vs, vntill we haue hurt our selues; and in what measure our reason is corrupt, or our affections disor­dered; in that measure are we weak, either to be ouer come of men, or of Sathan; and in what measure our reason is sound, and our affecti­ons [...]incere, in that measure we remaine in­uincible.

16 Some afflicted consciences a [...]ter some deliuerances look no more to be deliuered: for they thinke as God is most liberal, so we must not weary or make tedious his bountifull dealing with vs. But the Lord hath many deliuerances in store, which it is as impossi­ble [Page 207] to waste, as it is, that the Lorde himselfe should be lessened; he will make an end of his owne worke in vs, for his owne glory; which as he hath appointed to be endlesse in our deliuerances, so the means thereunto are also endlesse. Yea when wee seeme as it were in a whirlepit, and to be caried by a violent streame of troubles we know not whither, & are constrained oft to diue & plunge downe, the waters of affliction running ouer our heade; yet the Lord will recouer vs and set our feete in a steadie [...]la [...]e. If wee be cast downe, so wee can but s [...]raule vp againe: if we be resisted of Sa [...]han, so we can but kicke against him; if we can but open our lippes, and accuse his malice before the Lord, there is found hope of comfort to bee founde of him.


Faultes escaped.

Page 111. lin. 22. reade, his assaults, the same is of­tentimes assalied and shaken, yet by the grace of God it is such. &c. pag 114 l 111, 20, he, read, as he, p. 115 li, 10. word, [...]eade, grace, 28, that, read, the. pag. 117, l. 6, in face, read, in the face. p, 134, l, 10, it, read, heare it, p, 135, l, 3, be, reade, by.

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