Contemplations, THE SIXTH VOLVME.

By Ios. HALL D. of D.

LONDON, Printed by J. H. for Nathaniel Butter. 1622.

Contemplations. THE …

Contemplations. THE SIXTEENTH BOOKE. Containing

  • Shimei Cursing.
  • Achitophel.
  • The death of Absalom.
  • Shebaes Rebellion.
  • The Gibeonites reuenged.
  • The numbring of the people.



You shall not need to im­pute it to any other reason besides your vertues, that I haue presumed to shroud this peece of my labours vnder your Noble Patronage. The world hath taken iust notice how much the Gospell is graced by your reall profession; whom neither honor hath [Page] made ouerlie, nor wealth lauish, nor charge miserable, nor greatnesse licentious. Goe on happily in these safe and gainfull steps of goodnesse; and still honour the God that hath honoured you; In the meane time, accept from my vnworthy hands these poore Meditations, more hie for their subiect, then meane for their au­thor; Wherein SHIMEIES curses shall teach you how vnable either greatnesse, or innocence is to beare off the blowes of ill tongues; and how basenesse euer molds it selfe according to the aduantage of times. ACHITOPHELS depth compared with his end shall shew how witlesse, and insensate craft is, when it striues against honestie; and how iustly they are forsaken of their reason, that haue abandoned God; The bloud of ABSALOM and SHEBA proclaime the ineuitable re­uenge of rebellion, which neither in woods nor walls can finde safetie. The late famine of Israel for the forgotten violence offered to the Gibeonites, shewes what note God takes of our oathes, and [Page] what sure vengeance of their violation. DAVIDS muster seconded with the plague of Israel teaches, how highly God may be offended with sinnes of the least appearance, how seuere to his owne, how mercifull in that seueritie. If these my thoughts shall be approued beneficiall to a­ny soule, I am rich. I shall vow my prai­ers to their successe; and to the happinesse of your Honourable Familie, both in the root, and branches; Whereto I am in all

Humble dutie deuoted, IOS: HALL.

SHIMEI cursing.

WITH an heauy heart, and a coue­red head, and a weeping eie, and bare feet, is Dauid gone away from Hierusalem; neuer did he with more ioy come vp to his [Page 2] citie, then now he left it with sorrow: how could he doe o­therwise, whom the insurrecti­on of his owne Sonne droue out from his house, from his throne, from the Arke of God? and now, when the depth of this griefe deserued nothing but compassion, the foule mouth of Shimei entertaines Dauid with curses: There is no small cruel­tie in the picking out of a time for mischiefe; That word would scarce gall at one season, which at another killeth. The same shaft flying with the winde pierces deepe, which against it, can hardly finde strength to sticke vpright. The valour, and iustice of children condemnes [Page 3] it for iniuriously cowardly to strike their aduersary when he is once downe. It is the murder of the tongue to insult vpon those, whom God hath hum­bled, and to draw bloud of that backe, which is yet blew from the hand of the Almightie. If Shimei had not presumed vpon Dauids deiection, he durst not haue beene thus bold; now he that perhaps durst not haue lookt at one of those Worthies single, defies them all at once, and doth both cast, and speake stones against Dauid, and all his armie. The malice of a base spi­rits sometimes carries them fur­ther then the courage of the valiant.

[Page 4] In all the time of Dauids pro­speritie, we heard no newes of Shimei; his silence and coloura­ble obedience made him passe for a good subiect; yet all that while was his heart vnsound, and trayterous. Peace and good successe hides many a false heart; (like as a snow-drift couers an heape of dung) which once melting away descryes the rot­tennesse that lay within: Ho­nor and welfare are but flatte­ring glasses of mens affections; aduersitie will not deceiue vs; but will make a true report as of our owne powers, so of the dispositions of others.

He that smiled on Dauid in his throne, curseth him in his [Page 5] flight; if there be any quarrels, any exceptions to be taken a­gainst a man, let him looke to haue them laid in his dish when he fares the hardest. This pra­ctise haue wicked men learnt of their master to take the vt­most aduantages of our afflicti­ons; He that suffers had need to be double armed, both against paine, and censure.

Euery word of Shimei was a slaunder; He that tooke Sauls speare from his head, and repen­ted to haue but cut the lap of his garment, is reproched as a man of bloud; The man after Gods owne heart is branded for a man of Belial. He that was sent for out of the fields to be [Page 6] anointed, is taxed for an vsur­per; If Dauids hands were stai­ned with bloud, yet not of Sauls house; it was his seruant, not his master that bled by him; yet is the bloud of the Lords anoin­ted cast in Dauids teeth, by the spight of a false tongue. Did we not see Dauid (after all the proofes of his humble loyaltie) shedding the bloud of that A­malakite who did but say he shed Sauls? Did we not heare him lament passionately for the death of so ill a master, chiding the mountaines of Gilboa on which he fell; and angerly wi­shing that no dewe might fall where that bloud was powred out; and charging the daughters [Page 7] of Israel to weepe ouer Saul, who had clothed them in scar­let? Did we not heare and see him inquiring for any remain­der of the house of Saul, that he might shew him the kindnesse of God? Did we not see him honouring lame Mephibosheth with a princely seat at his owne table? Did we not see him re­uenging the bloud of his riuall Ishbosheth, vpon the heads of Re­chab and Baanah? What could any liuing man haue done more to wipe off these bloudy aspersions? Yet is not a Shimei ashamed to charge innocent Dauid with all the bloud of the house of Saul.

How is it likely this clamo­rous [Page 8] wretch had secretly tradu­ced the name of Dauid, all the time of his gouernment, that dares thus accuse him to his face, before all the mightie men of Israel, who were witnesses of the contrary? The greater the person is, the more open doe his actions lie to mis-interpreta­tion, and censure. Euery tongue speakes partially according to the interest he hath in the cause, or the patient. It is not possible that eminent persons should be free from imputations; Inno­cence can no more protect them, then power.

If the patience of Dauid can digest this indignitie, his traine cannot; their fingers could not [Page 9] but itch to returne iron for stones. If Shimei raile on Dauid, Abishai railes on Shimei; Shimei is of Sauls familie, Abishai of Da­uids; each speakes for his owne; Abishai most iustly bends his tongue against Shimei, as Shimei against Dauid, most vniustly; Had Shimei been any other then a dog, he had neuer so rudely barked at an harmlesse passen­ger; neither could he deserue lesse then the losse of that head which had vttered such blas­phemies against Gods anoin­ted; The zeale of Abishai doth but plead for iustice, and is checked; What haue I to doe with you ye sonnes of Zeruiah? Dauid said not so much to his [Page 10] reuiler, as to his abettor: He well saw that a reuenge was iust, but not seasonable; he found the present a fit time to suffer wrongs, not to right them: he therefore giues way rather meekly to his owne hu­miliation, then to the punish­ment of another; There are seasons wherein lawfull moti­ons are not fit to be cherished; Anger doth not become a mourner; One passion at once is enough for the soule. Vnad­uised zeale may be more preiu­diciall, then a cold remisnesse.

What if the Lord for the cor­rection of his seruant haue said vnto Shimei, Curse Dauid; yet is Shimeies curse no lesse worthy of [Page 11] Abishaies sword; the sinne of Shimeies curse was his owne, the smart of the curse was Gods; God wils that as Dauids chastise­ment, which he hates as Shime­ies wickednesse; That lewd tongue moued from God, it moued lewdly from Satan. Wic­ked men are neuer the freer from guilt, or punishment, for that hand which the holy God hath in their offensiue actions; Yet Dauid can say, Let him a­lone, and let him curse, for the Lord hath bidden him; as mea­ning to giue a reason of his owne patience, rather then Shi­meies impunitie; the issue showd how well Dauid could distin­guish betwixt the act of God, [Page 12] and of a traytor; how he could both kisse the rod, and burne it; There can be none so strong motiue of our meeke submissi­on to euils, as the acknowledge­ment of their originall; He that can see the hand of God stri­king him by the hand or tongue of an enemie, shall more awe the first mouer of his harme, then maligne the instrument.

Euen whiles Dauid laments the rebellion of his sonne, he gaines by it; and makes that the argument of his patience, which was the exercise of it. Behold, my sonne which came forth of my bowels seeketh my life; how much more now may this Ben­iamite doe it? The wickednesse [Page 13] of an Absalom may rob his father of comfort, but shall help to adde to his fathers good­nesse; It is the aduantage of great crosses, that they swallow vp the lesse; One mans sin can­not be excused by anothers, the lesser by the greater; If Absalom be a traytor, Shimei may not curse and rebell: But the passion conceiued from the indignitie of a stranger may be abated by the harder measure of our owne; If we can therefore suf­fer because we haue suffered, we haue profited by our affliction. A weake heart faints with euery addition of succeeding trouble; the strong recollects it selfe, and is growne so skilfull that it [Page 14] beares off one mischiefe with another.

It is not either the vnnaturall insurrection of Absalom, nor the vniust curses of Shimei, that can put Dauid quite out of heart. It may be that the Lord will looke on mine affliction, and will re­quite good for his cursing, this day. So well was Dauid ac­quainted with the proceedings of God, that he knew cheri­shing was euer wont to follow stripes; after vehement euacua­tion, cordialls; after a darke night, the cleere light of the morning: Hope therefore doth not only vphold, but cheere vp his heart, in the midst of his sor­row; If we can looke beyond [Page 15] the cloud of our affliction, and see the Sun-shine of comfort on the other side of it, we cannot be so discouraged with the pre­sence of euill, as hartened with the issue; As on the contrary, let a man be neuer so mery within, and see paine and mise­rie waiting for him at the doore, his expectation of euill shall ea­sily daunt all the sense of his pleasure; The retributions of temporall fauours goe but by Peraduentures, It may be the Lord will looke on mine affli­ction; of eternall, are certaine and infallible; If we suffer, we shall raigne; why should not the assurance of raigning make vs triumph in suffering?

[Page 16] Dauids patience drawes on the insolence of Shimei. Euill natures grow presumptuous vpon forbearance: In good dispositions, iniury vnanswe­red growes weary of it selfe, and dies in a voluntary remorse; but in those dogged stomacks, which are only capable of the restraints of feare, the silent di­gestion of a former wrong pro­uokes a second; Mercy had need to be guided with wis­dome, lest it proue cruell to it selfe.

Oh the base mindes of incon­stant-Time-seruers! Stay but a while, till the wheele be a little turned; you shall see humble Shi­mei fall downe on his face be­fore [Page 17] Dauid, in his returne ouer Iordan; now his submission shall equall his former rude­nesse; his praiers shall requite his curses, his teares make a­mends for his stones, Let not my Lord impute iniquitie vnto me; neither doe thou remember that which thy seruant did peruersly, the day that my Lord the King went out of Ierusalem, that the King should take it to heart; for thy seruant doth know that I haue sinned; False-hearted Shimei, had Absalom pro­spered, thou hadst not sinned, thou hadst not repented; then hadst thou braggd of thine insultation ouer his miseries, whose pardon thou now beg­gest with teares. The changes [Page 18] of worldly mindes are thank­lesse; since they are neither wrought out of conscience, nor loue, but only by a slauish feare of a iust punishment.

Dauid could say no more to testifie his sorrow (for his hai­nous sinnes against God) to Nathan, then Shimei saies of him­selfe to Dauid; whereto may be added the aduantage of a vo­luntarie confession in this offen­der, which in Dauid was extor­ted by the reproofe of a Pro­phet; yet is Dauids confession seriously penitent, Shimeies craf­tily hypocriticall; Those altera­tions are iustly suspected, which are shaped according to the times, and outward occasions; [Page 19] the true penitent lookes only at God, and his sinne, and is chan­ged when all other things are themselues.

Great offences had need of answerable satisfactions; As Shimei was the only man of the house of Beniamin that came forth and cursed Dauid in his flight, so is he the first man (euen before those of the house of Ioseph, though neerer in situati­on) that comes to meet Dauid in his returne with praiers and gratulation: Notorious offen­ders may not thinke to sit downe with the taske of ordi­nary seruices; The retributions of their obedience must be pro­portionable to their crimes.


SO soone as Dauid heard of Achitophels hand in that conspiracie, he falls to his praiers, O Lord, I pray thee turne the counsell of Achitophel into foolishnesse; The knowne wisdome of his reuol­ted counsellor made him a dan­gerous and dreadfull aduersarie: Great parts mis-imployed can­not but proue most mischie­uous: when wickednesse is ar­med with wit, and power, none but a God can defeat it; when [Page 21] we are matched with a strong and subtile enmitie, it is hie time (if euer) to be deuout; If the bountie of God haue thought good to furnish his creatures with powers to warre against himselfe, his wisdome knowes how to turne the abuse of those powers to the shame of the owners, and the glory of the giuer.

Oh the policie of this Ma­chiauell of Israel, no lesse deepe, then hell it selfe: Goe in to thy fathers concubines, which he hath left to keepe the house; and when all Israel shall heare that thou art abhorred of thy fa­ther, the hands of all that are with thee shall be strong. The first [Page 22] care must be to secure the facti­on: There can be no safetie in siding with a doubtfull rebell; if Absalom be a Traitor yet he is a sonne; Nature may returne to it selfe; Absalom may relent, Da­uid may remit; where then are we that haue helpt to promote the conspiracie: the danger is ours, whiles this breach may be peeced; There is no way but to ingage Absalom in some further act, vncapable of forgiuenesse; Besides the throne, let him vio­late the bed of his father; vnto his treason let him adde an in­cest, no lesse vnnaturall; now shall the world see that Absalom neither hopes, nor cares for the reconciliation of a father; [Page 23] Our quarrell can neuer haue any safe end but victorie; the hope whereof depends vpon the resolution of our followers; they cannot be resolute, but vp­on the vnpardonable wicked­nesse of their leader; Neither can this villanie be shamefull enough, if it be secret. The closenesse of euill argues feare, or modestie; neither of which can beseeme him that would be a succesfull traitor; Set vp a tent on the top of the house, and let all Israel be witnesses of thy sin, and thy fathers shame; Ordina­ry crimes are for vulgar offen­ders; Let Absalom sinne emi­nently; and doe that which may make the world at once [Page 24] to blush, and wonder.

Who would euer haue thought that Achitophel had li­ued at the Court, at the Coun­cell-table of a Dauid? Who would thinke that mouth had euer spoken well? Yet had he beene no other then as the Ora­cle of God to the religious Court of Israel; euen whiles he was not wise enough to be good: Policie and grace are not alwaies lodged vnder one roofe; This man whiles he was one of Dauids deepe Counsel­lors, was one of Dauids fooles that said in their hearts, There is no God; Else he could not haue hoped to make good an euill with worse, to build the suc­cesse [Page 25] of treason vpon incest.

Prophane hearts doe so con­triue the plots of their wicked­nesse, as if there were no ouer­ruling power to crosse their de­signes, or to reuenge them: He that sits in heauen laughs them to scorne, and so farre giues way to their sinnes, as their sinnes may proue plagues vnto them­selues.

These two sonnes of Dauid met with pestilent counsell: Amnon is aduised to incest with his sister; Absalom is aduised to incest with his fathers Concu­bines; That by Ionadab, this by Achitophel: Both preuaile: It is as easie at least to take ill coun­saile, as to giue it: Pronenesse to [Page 26] villanie in the great cannot want either proiectors to de­uise, or parasites to execute the most odious and vnreasonable sinnes.

The tent is spred (lest it should not be conspicuous e­nough) on the top of the house, The act is done; in the sight of all Israel: The filthinesse of the sinne was not so great, as the impudencie of the manner: When the prophet Nathan came with that heauie message of re­proofe, and menace to Dauid, after his sinne with Bathsheba, he could say from God, Behold I will raise vp euill against thee, out of thine owne house, and will take thy wiues before thine eies, and giue them [Page 27] vnto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wiues, in the sight of this Sunne: For thou didst it secretly, but I will doe this thing before all Israel, and before this Sunne. The coun­sell of Achitophel, and the lust of Absalom haue fulfilled the iudge­ment of God. Oh the wisdome of the Almightie, that can vse the worst of euils, well; and most iustly make the sinnes of men his executioners!

It was the sinne of Reuben that he defiled his fathers bed; yet not in the same height of lewdnesse: what Reuben did in a youthfull wantonnesse, Absa­lom did in a malicious despight; Reuben sinned with one; Absalom with ten; Reuben secretly, Absa­lom [Page 28] in the open eies of heauen and earth; yet old Iacob could say of Reuben, Thou shalt not ex­cell; thy dignitie is gone; Whiles Achitophel saies to Absalom, Thy dignitie shall arise from incest; Climbe vp to thy fathers bed, if thou wilt sit in his throne; If Achitophel were a politician, Iacob was a Prophet; if the one spake from carnall sense, the other from di­uine reuelation. Certainly, to sinne is not the way to prosper; what euer vaine fooles may promise to themselues, there is no wisdome, nor vnderstan­ding, nor counsell against the Lord.

After the rebellion is secured for continuance, the next care is [Page 29] that it may end in victorie; this also hath the working head of Achitophel proiected. Wit and experience told him that in these cases of assault, celeritie vses to bring forth the happiest dispatch: whereas protraction is no small aduantage to the de­fendant. Let me (saith he) choose out now twelue thousand men, and I will vp, and follow after Dauid this night; and I will come vpon him while he is wearie, and weak-handed. No aduice could be more per­nicious: For, besides the weari­nesse, and vnreadinesse of Dauid and his armie, the spirits of that worthy leader were daunted, and deiected with sorrow, and offered way to the violence of a [Page 30] sudden assault. The field had beene halfe won ere any blow striken. Achitophel could not haue beene reputed so wise, if He had not learned the due pro­portion betwixt actions and times: He that obserueth euery winde shall neuer sowe; but he that obserues no Winde at all, shall neuer reape.

The likeliest deuices doe not alwaies succeed; The God that had appointed to establish Da­uids throne, and determined Sa­lomon to his succession, findes meanes to crosse the plot of A­chitophel, by a lesse-probable ad­uice: Hushai was not sent backe for nothing: where God hath in his secret will decreed any [Page 31] euent, he inclines the wills of men to approue that which may promote his owne purpo­ses: Neither had Hushai so deepe an head; neither was his coun­sell so sure, as that of Achitophel, yet his tongue shal refell Achi­tophel, and diuert Absalom: The pretences were fairer; though the grounds were vnsound; First, to sweeten his opposition, he yeelds the praise of wisdome to his aduersarie in all other counsells, that he may haue leaue to denie it in this; His ve­ry contradiction in the present insinuates a generall allowance. Then, he suggests certaine ap­parent truths concerning Da­uids valour, and skill, to giue [Page 32] countenance to the inferences of his improbabilities; Lastly, he cunningly feeds the proud humour of Absalom, in magni­fying the power and extent of his commands, and ends in the glorious boasts of his fore-pro­mised victorie; As it is with fa­ces, so with counsell, that is faire that pleaseth. He that giues the vttrance to words, giues also their speed: Fauour both of speech and men is not euer ac­cording to desert, but according to fore-ordination: The tongue of Hushai, and the heart of Ab­salom is guided by a power a­boue their owne; Hushai shall therefore preuaile with Absalom, that the treason of Absalom may [Page 33] not preuaile; He that worketh all in all things, so disposeth of wicked men and spirits, that whiles they doe most oppose his reuealed will, they execute his secret, and whiles they think most to please, they ouerthrow themselues.

When Absalom first met Hu­shai returned to Hierusalem, he vpbraided him pleasantly with the scoffe of his professed friend­ship to Dauid; Is this thy kindnesse to thy friend? Sometimes there is more truth in the mouth then in the heart, more in iest then in earnest; Hushai was a friend, his stay was his kindnesse; and now he hath done that for which he was left at Hierusa­lem, [Page 34] disappointed Achitophel, preserued Dauid; Neither did his kindnesse to his friend rest here, but (as one that was iustly iea­lous of him, with whom he was allowed to temporize) he mistrusts the approbation of Absalom; and not daring to put the life of his master vpon such an hazard, he giues charge to Zadok, and Abiathar of this in­telligence vnto Dauid: we can­not be too suspicious when we haue to doe with those that are faithlesse: We cannot be too cu­rious of the safetie of good Princes.

Hushai feares not to descry the secrets of Absaloms counsell; To betray a traitor is no other [Page 35] then a commendable worke; Zadok and Abiathar are fast within the gates of Hierusalem; their sonnes lay purposely a­broad in the fields; this message that concerned no lesse then the life of Dauid, and the whole king­dome of Israel, must be trusted with a maid: Sometimes it plea­seth the wisdome of God, who hath the varietie of heauen and earth before him, to single out weake instruments for great seruices; and they shall serue his turne, as well as the best; No counsailour of state could haue made this dispatch more effe­ctually; Ionathan and Ahimaaz are sent, descried, pursued, pre­serued; The fidelitie of a maid [Page 36] instructed them in their mes­sage, the suttletie of a woman saued their liues. At the well of Rogel they receiued their mes­sage, in the Well of Bahurim was their life saued; The sudden wit of a woman hath choked the mouth of her Well with dri­ed corne, that it might not be­wray the messengers; and now Dauid heares safely of his dan­ger, and preuents it; and though weary with trauell, and laden with sorrow, he must spend the night in his remoue. Gods pro­mises of his deliuerance, and the confirmation of his kingdome may not make him neglect the meanes of his safetie: If he be faithfull, we may not be care­lesse; [Page 37] since our diligence and care are appointed for the fa­ctors of that diuine prouidence; The acts of God must abate no­thing of ours; rather must we [...]abour, by doing that which he requireth, to further that which he decreeth.

There are those that haue great wits for the publique, none for themselues: Such was Achitophel, who whiles he had powers to gouerne a state, could not tell how to rule his owne passions: Neuer till now doe we finde his counsell balked; neither was it now reiected as [...]ll, only Hushaies was allowed for better; he can liue no longer now that he is beaten at his [Page 38] owne weapon: this alone i [...] cause enough to saddle his Asse [...] and to goe home, and put th [...] halter about his owne necke Pride causes men both to mis­interpret disgraces, and to ouer­rate them; Now is Dauids praie [...] heard, Achitophels counsell is tur­ned into foolishnesse; Desperat [...] Achitophel, what if thou be no [...] the wisest man of all Israel [...] Euen those that haue not attai­ned to the hiest pitch of wis­dome, haue found content­ment in a mediocritie; what [...] thy counsell were despised? [...] wise man knowes to liue hap­pily in spight of an vniust con­tempt: what madnesse is this [...] reuenge another mans reputa­tion [Page 39] vpon thy selfe? And whiles thou striuest for the hiest roome of wisdome, to run into the grossest extremitie of folly? Worldly wisdome is no pro­tection from shame and ruine. How easily may a man, though naturally wise, be made wearie of life: A little paine, a little shame, a little losse, a small af­front can soone rob a man of all comfort, and cause his owne hands to rob him of himselfe; If there were not hier respects then the world can yeeld, to maintaine vs in being, it should be a miracle if indignation did not kill more then disease: now, that God by whose ap­pointment we liue here, for his [Page] [Page 38] [...] [Page 39] [...] [Page 40] most wise and holy purposes, hath found meanes to make life sweet, and death terrible.

What a mixture doe we finde here of wisdome and madnesse? Achitophel will needs hang him­selfe, there is madnesse; He will yet set his house in order; there is an act of wisdome; And could it be possible, that he who was so wise as to set his house in order, should be so mad as to hang himselfe? That he should be carefull to order his house, who regarded not to order his impotent passions? That he should care for his house, who cared not for either body or soule? How vaine it is for a man to be wise, if he be not wise in [Page 41] God? How preposterous are the cares of idle worldlings that prefer all other things to them­selues, and whiles they looke at what they haue in their co­fers, forget what they haue in their breasts.

The Death of Absalom.

THE same God that raised enmitie to Dauid from his own loines, procured him fauour from forrainers; Strangers shall re­leeue him, whom his owne sonne persecutes; Here is not a losse, but an exchange of loue: Had Absalom beene a sonne of Ammon, and Shobi a sonne of Da­uid; Dauid had found no cause of complaint: If God take with [Page 43] one hand, he giues with ano­ther: whiles that diuine boun­tie serues vs in, good meat, though not in our owne dishes, we haue good reason to be thankfull. No sooner is Dauid come to Mahanaim, then Barzil­lai, Machir, and Shobi refresh him with prouisions; Who euer saw any childe of God left vt­terly destitute? Whosoeuer be the messenger of our aide, we know whence he comes; Hea­uen shall want power, and earth meanes, before any of the hous­hold of faith shall want main­tenance.

He that formerly was forced to imploy his armes for his de­fence against a tyrannous father [Page 44] in law, must now buckle them on against an vnnaturall sonne: Now therefore he musters his men, and ordaines his com­manders, and marshalls his troupes, and, since their loyall importunitie will not allow the hazard of his person, he at once incourages them by his eye, and restraines them with his tongue, Deale gently with the yong man Absalom, for my sake: How vnreasonably fauourable are the warres of a father? O holy Dauid, what meanes this ill-placed loue, this vniust mercy? Deale gently with a traytor? but of all traytors with a sonne? of all sonnes with an Absalom, the gracelesse dareling of so [Page 45] good a father; and all this for thy sake, whose crowne, whose bloud he hunts after? For whose sake should Absalom be pursued, if hee must be forborne for thine? He was still courteous to thy followers, affable to su­tors, plausible to all Israel, only to thee he is cruell: Wherefore are those armes, if the cause of the quarrell must be a motiue of mercy? Yet thou saist, Deale gently with the young man Absalom, for my sake: Euen in the holiest Parents nature may be guilty of an iniurious tendernesse, of a bloudy indulgence.

Or, whether shall we not ra­ther thinke this was done in type of that vnmeasurable mer­cy [Page 46] of the true king, and redee­mer of Israel, who prayed for his persecutors, for his murde­rers; and euen whiles they were at once scorning and killing him, could say, Father forgiue them, for they know not what they do? If we be sonnes, we are vngrati­ous, we are rebellious, yet still is our heauenly Father thus com­passionately regardfull of vs: Dauid was not sure of the suc­cesse; there was great inequali­tie in the number; Absaloms for­ces were more then double to his; It might haue come to the contrary issue, that Dauid should haue beene forced to say, Deale gently with the father of Absalom; but, in a supposition of that vi­ctorie, [Page 47] which only the good­nesse of his cause bade him hope for, he saith, Deale gently with the young man Absalom; as for vs, we are neuer but vnder mercy; our God needs no aduantages to sweepe vs from the earth, any moment, yet he continues that life, and those powers to vs, whereby we prouoke him, and bids his Angels deale kindly with vs, and beare vs in their armes, whiles we lift vp our hands, and bend our tongues a­gainst heauen. O mercie past the comprehension of all finite spirits, and only to be concei­ued by him whose it is: Neuer more resembled by any earthly affection then by this of his [Page 48] Deputie and Type, Deale gently with the young man Absalom, for my sake.

The battell is ioyned; Dauids followers are but an handfull to Absaloms? How easily may the fickle multitude be transported to the wrong side? What they wanted in abettors, is supplied in the cause. Vnnaturall ambi­tion drawes the sword of Absa­lom, Dauids, a necessarie and iust defence. They that in simpli­citie of heart followed Absalom, cannot in malice of heart, per­secute the father of Absalom: with what courage could any Israelite draw his sword against a Dauid? or on the other side, who can want courage to fight [Page 49] for a righteous Soueraigne, and father, against the conspiracie of a wicked sonne? The God of hosts, with whom it is all one to saue with many or with few, takes part with iustice, and lets Israel feele, what it is to beare armes for a traiterous vsurper. The sword deuoures twentie thousand of them, and the wood deuoures more then the sword, It must needs be a very vniuersall rebellion, wherein so many perished; What vertue or merits can assure the hearts of the vulgar, when so gracious a Prince findes so many reuolters? Let no man looke to prosper by rebellion; the very thickets, and stakes, and pits, and wild beasts [Page 50] of the wood shall conspire to the punishment of traitors; A­mongst the rest, see how a fatall oke hath singled out the ring-leader of this hatefull insurrecti­on; and will at once serue for his hangman and gallowes; by one of those spreading armes snatch­ing him away to speedy execu­tion. Absalom was comely, and he knew it well enough; His haire was no small peece of his beautie, nor matter of his pride: It was his wont to cut it once a yeere; not for that it was too long, but too heauie; his heart could haue borne it longer, if his necke had not complained; And now, the iustice of God hath platted an halter of those [Page 51] lockes; Those tresses, had for­merly hangd loosely disheueld on his shoulders, now he hangs by them; He had wont to weigh his haire, and was proud to finde it so heauie; now his haire poyseth the weight of his bodie, and makes his burden his torment: It is no maruell if his owne haire turnd traitor to him, who durst rise vp against his father. That part which is misused by man to sinne, is commonly imployed by God to reuenge; The reuenge that it worketh for God, makes a­mends for the offence, whereto it is drawne against God; The very beast wheron Absalom sat, as wearie to beare so vnnaturall a [Page 52] burden, resignes ouer his lode to the tree of Iustice; There hangs Absalom betweene heauen and earth, as one that was ha­ted, and abandoned both of earth, and heauen: As if God meant to prescribe this punish­ment for traitors, Absalom, Achi­tophel, and Iudas die all one death: So let them perish that dare lift vp their hand against Gods anointed.

The honest souldier sees Ab­salom hanging in the Oke, and dares not touch him; his hands were held with the charge of Dauid, Beware that none touch the young man Absalom; Ioab, vpon that intelligence, sees him, and smites him, with no lesse then [Page 53] three darts; What the souldier forbore in obedience, the Cap­taine doth in zeale: not fearing to preferre his Soueraignes safe­tie, to his command; and more tendering the life of a King, and peace of his Countrie, then the weake affection of a father; I dare not sit Iudge betwixt this zeale and that obedience; be­twixt the captaine and the Soul­dier; the one was a good sub­iect, the other a good Patriot: the one loued the King, the o­ther loued Dauid; and out of loue disobeyed; the one meant as well, as the other sped: As if God meant to fulfill the charge of his Anointed, without any blame of his subiects, it pleased [Page 54] him to execute that immediate reuenge vpon the rebell, which would haue dispatcht him without hand, or dart: only the Mule and the Oke conspired to this execution; but that death would haue required more lea­sure, then it was safe for Israel to giue; and still life would giue hope of rescue; to cut off all feares, Ioab lends the Oke three darts to helpe forward so need­full a worke of iustice: All Is­rael did not afford so firme a friend to Absalom, as Ioab had beene; who but Ioab had sub­orned the wittie widow of Tekoah, to sue for the recalling of Absalom, from his three yeeres exile? Who but he went to fetch [Page 55] him from Geshur to Ierusalem? Who but he fetcht him from his house at Ierusalem (whereto he had beene two yeeres confined) to the face, to the lips of Dauid? Yet now he that was his solici­tour for the Kings fauour, is his executioner against the Kings charge: With honest hearts all respects either of bloud or friendship cease in the case of treason; well hath Ioab forgot­ten himselfe to be friend to him who had forgotten himselfe to be a sonne. Euen ciuilly, the King is our common father; our countrie our common mo­ther; nature hath no priuate re­lations which should not glad­ly giue place to these; He is nei­ther [Page 56] father, nor sonne, nor bro­ther, nor friend that conspires against the common parent▪ Well doth he who spake para­bles for his masters sonne, now speake darts to his Kings ene­mie; and pierces that heart which was false to so good a father: Those darts are secon­ded by Ioabs followers; each man tries his weapon vpon so faire a marke. One death is not enough for Absalom; he is at once hanged, shot, mangled, stoned: Iustly was he lift vp to the Oke, who had lift vp him­selfe against his father, and so­ueraigne; Iustly is he pierced with darts, who had pierced his fathers heart with so many sor­rowes; [Page 57] Iustly is he mangled, who had dismembred and di­uided all Israel; Iustly is he sto­ned, who had not only cursed, but pursued his owne parent.

Now Ioab sounds the retrait; and calls off his eager troupes from execution; howeuer he knew what his rebellious coun­trimen had deserued in follow­ing an Absalom; Wise comman­ders know how to put a diffe­rence betwixt the heads of a faction, and the misguided mul­titude; and can pittie the one, whiles they take reuenge on the other.

So did Absalom esteeme him­selfe, that he thought it would be a wrong to the world, to [Page 58] want the memoriall of so good­ly a person. God had denied him sonnes; How iust it was that hee should want a sonne, who had robd his father of a sonne, who would haue robd himselfe of a father, his father of a Kingdome? It had beene pitty so poysonous a plant should haue beene fruitfull; His pride shall supply nature, hee reares vp a stately piller in the Kings dale, and cals it by his owne name, that he might liue in dead stones, who could not suruiue in liuing issue; and now, behold this curious pile ends in a rude heape, which speakes no language, but the shame of that carcasse which it couers: Heare [Page 59] this yee glorious fooles, that care not to perpetuate any me­mory of your selues to the world, but of il-deseruing great­nesse; the best of this affectati­on is vanity; the worst, infamy and dishonour; whereas the memoriall of the iust shall be blessed; and if his humility shall refuse an Epitaph, and chose to hide himselfe vnder the bare earth, God himselfe shall in­graue his name vpon the pillar of eternity.

There now lies Absalom in the pit, vnder a thousand graue­stones, in euery of which is written his euerlasting reproch; well might this heape ouer-liue that pillar; for when that ceased [Page 60] to be a piller, it began to be an heape; neither will it cease to be a monument of Absaloms shame, whiles there are stones to bee found vpon earth; Euen at this day very Pagans and Pilgrims that passe that way, cast each man a stone vnto that heape, and are wont to say in a solemne execration; Cursed be the paricide Absalom, and cursed be all vniust persecutors of their parents, for euer; Fasten your eies vpon this wo­full spectacle, ô all ye rebellious and vngratious children, which rise vp against the loynes and thighes from which ye fell: and know that it is the least part of your punishment, that your carcasses rot in the earth, and [Page 61] your name in ignominie; these doe but shadow out those eter­nall sufferings, of your soules, for your foule and vnnaturall disobedience.

Absalom is sped; who shall re­port it to his father? Surely Ioab was not so much afraid of the fact, as of the message; There are busie spirits that loue to car­ry newes, though thanklesse, though purposelesse; such was Ahimaaz, the sonne of Zadock; who importunately thrusts himselfe into this seruice; wise Ioab, who well saw, how vnwel­come tydings must be the bur­den of the first post, disswades him in vaine; hee knew Dauid too well to imploy a friend in [Page 62] that errand. An Ethiopian ser­uant was a fitter bearer of such a message, then the sonne of the Priest. The entertainment of the person doth so follow the quality of the newes, that Dauid could argue afar off, He is a good man, he commeth with good tidings. Oh how welcome deserue those messengers to be that bring vs the glad tidings of saluation; that assure vs of the foile of all spirituall enemies, and tell vs of nothing but victories, and Crownes, and Kingdomes; If we thinke not their feet beauti­full, our hearts are foule with in­fidelity, and secure worldlinesse.

So wise is Ahimaaz growne by Ioabs intimation, that though [Page 63] he out-went Cushi in his pace, he suffers Cushi to out-goe him in his tale, cunningly suppres­sing that part, which hee knew must be both necessarily deliue­red, and vnpleasingly receiued.

As our care is wont to bee where our loue is; Dauids first word is not, how fares the host, but how fares the young man Absalom: Like a wise, and faith­full messenger, Cushi answers by an honest insinuation, The ene­mies of my Lord the King, and all that rise against thee to doe thee hurt, be as that young man is; implying both what was done, and, why Dauid should approue it being done; How is the good King thunder-strooke with that word [Page 64] of his Black-moore? who, as if he were at once bereaued of all comfort, and cared not to liue, but in the name of Absalom, goes and weepes, and cries out, O my sonne Absalom, my sonne, my sonne Absalom; Would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my sonne, my sonne. What is this we heare? that he whose life Israel valued at ten thousand of theirs, should be exchanged with a traytors? that a good King, whose life was sought, should wish to lay it downe for the preseruation of his murtherer? The best men haue not wont to be the least passionate; But what shall wee say to that loue of thine, ô Saui­our, who hast said of vs wret­ched [Page 65] traytors, not, Would God I had died for you; But I will dye, I doe dye, I haue died for you; Oh loue, like thy selfe, infinite, incomprehensible, whereat the Angels of Heauen stand yet a­mazed; wherewith thy Saints are rauished, Turne away thine eyes from mee, for they ouercome me▪ Oh thou that dwellest in the Gardens, the companions hear­ken to thy voyce, cause vs to heare it; that wee may in our measure answere thy loue, and enioy it for euer.

Shebaes Rebellion.

IT was the doome which God passed vp­on the man after his owne heart by the mouth of Nathan, that the sword should neuer depart from his house, for the bloud of Vriah; After that wound healed by remission, yet this scarre remaines; Absalom is no sooner cast downe into the pit, then Sheba the sonne of Bi­chri is vp in armes; If Dauid be not plagued, yet he shall be cor­rected; First by the rod of a [Page 67] sonne, then of a subiect: He had lift vp his hand against a faithfull subiect; now a faith­lesse dares to lift vp his hand a­gainst him; Malice like some hereditarie sicknesse runs in a bloud; Saul and Shimei, and She­ba were all of an house; That ancient grudge was not yet dead; The fire of the house of Iemini was but raked vp, neuer throughly out; and now, that which did but smoke in Shimei, flames in Sheba; Although euen through this chastisement it is not hard to discerne a Type, of that perpetuall succession of en­mitie, which should be raised a­gainst the true King of Israel. O Sonne of Dauid, when didst [Page 68] thou euer want enemies? How wert thou designed by thine e­ternall father, for a signe that should be spoken against? How did the Gentiles rage, and the people imagine vaine things? The Kings of the earth assem­bled, and the Rulers came toge­ther against thee? Yea, how doe the subiects of thine owne kingdome daily conspire a­gainst thee? Euen now whiles thou inioyest peace, and glorie at thy Fathers right hand, as soone shalt thou want friends, as enemies vpon earth.

No eye of any traitor could espie a iust quarrell in the go­uernment of Dauid, yet Sheba blowes the trumpet of rebel­lion; [Page 69] and whiles Israel and Iu­dah are striuing who should haue the greatest part in their re­established Soueraigne, he sticks not to say, We haue no part in Da­uid, neither haue we inheritance in the sonne of Ishai; and whiles he saies, Euery man to his tents O Is­rael, he calls euery man to his owne; So in proclaiming a libertie from a iust and loyall subiection, he inuites Israel to the bondage of an vsurper.

That a lewd conspirator should breath treason, it is no wonder; but is it not wonder and shame, that vpon euery mutinous blast Israel should turne traitor to Gods anointed? It was their late expostulation [Page 70] with Dauid, why their brethren the men of Iudah should haue stollen him from them; now might Dauid more iustly expo­stulate, why a rebell of their brethren should haue stolne them from him: As nothing is more vnstable then the mul­titude, so nothing is more sub­iect to distastes, then Soueraign­tie; for as weake mindes seeke pleasure in change; so euery light conceit of irritation seems sufficient colour of change; Such as the false dispositions of the vulgar are, loue cannot be securitie enough for Princes, without the awfulnesse of po­wer; What hold can there be of popularitie, when the same [Page 71] hands that euen now fought for Dauid to be all theirs, now fight against him, vnder the son of Bichri, as none of theirs? As Bees when they are once vp in a swarme, are ready to light vpon euery bow, so the Israelites, be­ing stirred by the late commo­tion of Absalom, are apt to fol­low euery Sheba; It is vnsafe for any State, that the multitude should once know the way to an insurrection; the least track in this kinde is easily made a path▪ Yet, if Israel rebell, Iudah continues faithfull▪ Neither shall the sonne of Dauid euer be left destitute of some true sub­iects in the worst of Apostasies: He that could command all [Page 72] hearts, will euer be followed by some; God had rather glorifie himselfe by a remnant.

Great commanders must haue actiue thoughts; Dauid is not so taken vp with the embroiled affaires of his state, as not to in­tend domesticke iustice; His ten concubines, which were shamelesly defiled by his ince­stuous sonne, are condemned to ward, and widow-hood; Had not that constupration beene partly violent, their pu­nishment had not beene so ea­sie; had it not also beene partly voluntarie, they had not beene so much punished; But how much so euer the act did par­take of either force, or will, [Page 73] iustly are they sequestred from Dauids bed; Absalom was not more vnnaturall in his rebelli­on, then in his lust; If now Dauid should haue returned to his owne bed, he had seconded the incest: How much more worthy of separation are they, who haue stained the mariage bed with their wilfull sinne?

Amasa was one of the wit­nesses, and abettors of Absaloms filthinesse, yet is he (out of po­licie) receiued to fauour and imployment, whiles the con­cubines suffer; Great men yeeld many times to those things, out of reasons of state, which if they were priuate persons could not be easily put ouer; It is no [Page 74] small wisdome to ingage a new reconciled friend, that he may be confirmed by his owne act: Therefore is Amasa comman­ded to leuie the forces of Iudah: Ioab after many great merits and atchieuements lies rusting in neglect: he that was so intire with Dauid as to be of his coun­sell for Vriahs bloud; and so firme to Dauid, as to lead all his battels against the house of Saul, the Ammonites, the Aramites, Absalom is now cashiered, and must yeeld his place to a stran­ger, late an enemie: Who knowes not that this sonne of Zeruiah had shed the bloud of warre in peace? But if the bloud of Absalom had not beene louder [Page 75] then the bloud of Abner, I feare this change had not been; Now Ioab smarteth for a loyall disobe­dience; How slippery are the stations of earthly honours, and subiect to continuall mutabili­ty? Happy are they who are in fauour with him, in whom there is no shadow of change.

Where men are commonly most ambitious to please with their first imployments, Amaza slackens his pace; The least de­lay in matters of rebellion is pe­rilous, may be irrecouerable; The sonnes of Zeruiah are not sullen; Abishai is sent, Ioab goes vnsent to the pursuit of Sheba. Amasa was in their way; whom no quarrell but their enuy had [Page 76] made of a brother an enemy; Had the heart of Amasa beene priuy to any cause of grudge, hee had suspected the kisse of Ioab; now his innocent eyes looke to the lips, not to the hand of his secret enemy; The lips were smooth, Art thou in health, my brother; the hand was blou­die, which smote him vnder the fift ribbe; That vnhappie hand knew wel this way vnto death; which with one wound hath let out the Soules of two great Captaines, Abner and Amasa; Both they were smitten by Ioab, both vnder the fift ribbe, both vnder a pretence of friendship. There is no enmity so dange­rous as that which comes mas­ked [Page 77] with loue; Open hostility cals vs to our guard; but there is no fence against a trusted tre­cherie: wee neede not be bid­den to auoid an enemy, but who would runne away from a friend? Thus spiritually deales the world with our soules; it kisses vs, and stabs vs at once; If it did not embrace vs with one hand, it could not murther vs with the other; Onely God deliuer vs from the danger of our trust, and we shall be safe.

Ioab is gone, and leaues Amasa wallowing in bloud; That spe­ctacle cannot but stay all pas­sengers; The death of great per­sons drawes euer many eyes; Each man sayes, Is not this my [Page 78] Lord Amasa? Wherefore doe we goe to fight, whiles our Gene­rall lyes in the dust? What a sad presage is this of our owne miscarriage? The wit of Ioabs followers hath therefore soone both remoued Amasa out of the way, and couered him; not re­garding so much the losse, as the eye-sore of Israel. Thus wicked Politicks care not so much for the commission of villany, as for the notice; Smo­thered euils are as not done; If oppressions, if murders, if trea­sons may be hid from view, the obdured heart of the offender complaines not of remorse.

Bloudy Ioab, with what face, with what heart canst thou pur­sue [Page 79] a traitor to thy King, whiles thy selfe art so foule a traytor to thy friend, to thy cozen-ger­man, and (in so vnseasonable a slaughter) to thy Soueraigne, whose cause thou professest to reuenge? If Amasa were now in an act of loyalty, iustly (on Gods part) payd for the arera­ges of his late rebellion, yet that it should be done by thy hand, then, and thus, it was flagiti­ously cruell; Yet, behold Io­ab runnes away securely with the fact, hasting to plague that in another, whereof himselfe was no lesse guilty; So vast are the gorges of some consciences, that they can swallow the grea­test crimes, and finde no straine in the passage.

[Page 80] It is possible for a man to be faithful to some one person, and perfidious to all others; I doe not finde Ioab other then firme and loyall to Dauid, in the mid­dest of all his priuate falshoods; whose iust quarrell he pursues against Sheba, through all the Tribes of Israel. None of all the strong Forts of reuolted Israel can hide the Rebell from the zeale of his reuenge▪ The Citie of Abel lends harbour to that conspirator, whom all Israel would, and cannot protect; Ioab casts vp a Mount against it, and hauing inuironed it with a siege, begins to worke vpon the wall; and now, after long chase, is in hand to digge out [Page 81] that Vermin, which had earth'd himself in this borough of Beth­maachah. Had not the Citie been strong and populous, She­ba had not cast himselfe for suc­cor within those wals; yet of all the inhabitants, I see not any one man moue for the preseruation of their whole body: Onely a woman vndertakes to treat with Ioab, for their safety: Those men whose spirits were great enough to maintaine a traytor against a mighty King, scorne not to giue way to the wisdome of a matrone; There is no reason that Sex should disparage, where the vertue and merit is no lesse then masculine: Surely the soule acknowledgeth no Sexe, neither [Page 82] is varied according to the out­ward frame; How oft haue wee knowne female hearts in the brests of Men▪ and contrarily manly powers in the weaker vessels? It is iniurious to mea­sure the act by the person, and not rather to esteeme the person for the act.

Shee, with no lesse prudence then courage challengeth Ioab for the violence of his assault; and laies to him that law which he could not be an Israelite, and disauow; the Law of the God of peace; whose charge it was, that when they should come neere to a Citie to fight against it, they should offer it peace; and if this tender must be made [Page 83] to forrainers, how much more to brethren? So as they must inquire of Abel, ere they bat­ter'd it; Warre is the extreme act of vindicatiue iustice; nei­ther doth God euer approue it for any other then a desperate remedy; and if it haue any o­ther end then peace, it turnes into publique murder. It is therefore an inhumane crueltie to shed bloud, where wee haue not profered faire conditions of peace: the refusall whereof is iustly punished with the Sword of reuenge.

Ioab was a man of bloud, yet when the wise woman of Abel charged him with going about to destroy a mother in Israel; [Page 84] and swallowing vp the inheri­tance of the Lord, with what vehemencie doth he deprecate that challenge, God forbid, God forbid it me, that I should deuoure, or destroy it; Although that citie with the rest had ingaged it selfe in Shebaes sedition, yet how zealously doth Ioab remoue from himselfe the suspicion of an intended vastation? How fearfull shall their answer be, who vpon the quarrell of their owne ambition haue not spa­red to waste whole tribes of the Israel of God? It was not the fashion of Dauids Captaines to assault any citie ere they sum­mond it; here they did; There be some things that in the very [Page 85] fact carrie their owne conuicti­on; So did Abel in the entertai­ning, and abetting a knowne conspirator; Ioab challenges them for the offence, and re­quires no other satisfaction then the head of Sheba; This Matrone had not deserued the name of Wife, and faithfull in Israel, if she had not both ap­prehended the iustice of the condition, and commended it to her Citizens; whom she hath easily perswaded to spare their owne heads, in not sparing a Traitors; It had beene pittie those walls should haue stood if they had beene too hie to throw a Traitors head ouer.

Spiritually, the case is ours: [Page 86] Euery mans brest is as a citie in­closed; Euery sinne is a trai­tor, that lurkes within those walls; God calls to vs for She­baes head; neither hath he any quarrell to our person, but for our sinne: If we loue the head of our Traitor, aboue the life of our soule, we shall iustly perish in the vengeance: we cannot be more willing to part with our sin, then our mercifull God is to withdraw his iudgements.

Now is Ioab returned with successe, and hopes by Shebaes head to paie the price of Ama­saes bloud; Dauid hates the mur­der, entertaines the man, defers the reuenge; Ioab had made him­selfe so great, so necessarie, that [Page 87] Dauid may neither misse, nor punish him: Policie led the King to conniue at that which his heart abhorred; I dare not commend that wisdome which holds the hands of Princes from doing iustice; Great men haue euer held it a point of worldly state, not alwaies to pay where they haue beene con­scious to a debt of either fa­uour, or punishment; but to make Time their seruant for both; Salomon shall once defraie the arerages of his father; In the meane time Ioab commands and prospers; and Dauid is faine to smile on that face, whereon he hath in his secret destination written the characters of Death.

The Gibeonites reuenged.

THE raigne of Dauid was most trouble­some towards the shutting vp; where­in both warre and famine con­spire to afflict him; Almost for­tie yeeres had he sate in the throne of Israel, with compe­tencie, if not abundance of all things; now at last are his peo­ple visited with a long dearth; we are not at first sensible of common euils; Three yeeres [Page 89] drought and scarcitie are gone ouer ere Dauid consults, with God, concerning▪ the occasion of the iudgement, now he found it hie time to seeke the face of the Lord; The continuance of an affliction sends vs to God, and calls vpon vs to aske for a reckoning; Whereas like men strucken in their sleep, a sudden blow cannot make vs to finde our selues; but rather astonish­eth, then teacheth vs.

Dauid was himselfe a Pro­phet of God, yet had not the Lord all this while acquainted him with the grounds of his proceedings against Israel; this secret was hid from him, till he consulted with the Vrim; Or­dinarie [Page 90] meanes shall reueale that to him, which no vision had discryed; And if God will haue Prophets to haue recourse vnto the Priests, for the notice of his will; how much more must the people? Euen those that are the inwardest with God must haue vse of the Ephod.

Iustly is it presupposed by Dauid that there was neuer iudgement from God, where hath not beene a prouocation from men; therefore when he sees the plague, he inquires for the sinne. Neuer man smarted causelesly from the hand of di­uine iustice; Oh that when we suffer, we could aske what we haue done; and could guide [Page 91] our repentance to the root of our euils.

That God whose counsells are secret, euen where his acti­ons are open, will not be close to his Prophet, to his Priest: without inquirie we shall know nothing; vpon inquirie no­thing shall be concealed from vs, that is fit for vs to know.

Who can choose but wonder at once both at Dauids slack­nesse in consulting with God, and Gods speed in answering so slow a demand? He that so well knew the way to Gods Oracle, suffers Israel to be three yeeres pinched with famine, ere he askes why they suffer; Euen the best hearts may be ouertaken [Page 92] with dulnesse in holy duties; But oh the maruellous mercy of our God, that takes not the ad­uantage of our weaknesses; Da­uids question is not more slow, then his answer is speedie, It is for Saul, and for his bloudie house, because he slew the Gibeonites. Israel was full of sinnes, besides those of Sauls house; Sauls house was full of sinnes besides those of bloud; Much bloud was shed by them besides that of the Gi­beonites; yet the iustice of God singles out this one sinne of vi­olence offered to the Gibeonites (contrary to the league made by Ioshua, some foure hundred yeeres before) for the occasion of this late vengeance. Where [Page 93] the causes of offence are infi­nite, it is iust with God to pitch vpon some; it is mercifull not to punish for all: Welneere for­tie yeeres are past betwixt the commission of the sinne, and the reckoning for it. It is a vaine hope that is raised from the delay of iudgement; No time can be any preiudice to the ancient of daies; When we haue forgotten our sinnes, when the world hath forgotten vs, he sues vs afresh for our arerages. The slaughter of the Gibeo­nites was the sinne not of the present, but rather the former generation; and now posteri­tie paies for their forefathers; Euen we men hold it not vniust [Page 94] to sue the heires and executors of our debters▪ Eternall pai­ments God vses only to require of the person, temporarie oft­times of succession.

As Saul was higher by the head and shoulders then the rest of Israel, both in stature and dignitie, so were his sinnes more conspicuous then those of the vulgar. The eminence of the person makes the offence more remarkable to the eies both of God and men.

Neither Saul nor Israel were faultlesse in other kindes; yet God fixes the eie of his reuenge vpon the massacre of the Gibe­onites, Euery sin hath a tongue, but that of bloud ouer cries▪ [Page 95] and drownes the rest. He who is mercy it selfe abhorres cruel­tie in his creature aboue all other inordinatenesse; That holy soule which was heauie pressed with the weight of an hainous adulterie, yet cries out, Deliuer me from bloud, O God, the God of my saluation, and my tongue shall sing ioyfully of thy righteousnesse.

If God would take account of bloud, he might haue entred the action vpon the bloud of Vriah spilt by Dauid; or (if he would rather insist in Sauls house) vpon the bloud of Ahi­melech the Priest; and fourescore and fiue persons that did weare a linnen Ephod; but it pleased the wisdome and iustice of the [Page 96] Almightie rather to call for the bloud of the Gibeonites, though drudges of Israel, and a remnant of Amorites; Why this? There was a periurie at­tending vpon this slaughter; It was an ancient oath, wherein the Princes of the Congregati­on had bound themselues (vp­on Iosua [...]s league) to the Gibeo­nites, that they would suffer them to liue; an oath extorted by fraud, but solemne, by no lesse name, then the Lord God of Israel; Saul will now thus late either not acknowledge it; or not keepe it; out of his zeale therefore to the children of Is­rael, and Iudah, he roots out some of the Gibeonites, whe­ther [Page 97] in a zeale of reuenge of their first imposture, or in a zeale of inlarging the possessions of Israel, or in a zeale of execu­ting Gods charge vpon the brood of Canaanites, he that spared Agag whom he should haue smitten, smites the Gibeo­nites whom he should haue spa­red: Zeale and good intention is no excuse, much lesse a war­rant for euill; God holds it an hie indignitie that his name should be sworne by, and vio­lated. Length of time cannot dispense with our oathes, with our vowes; The vowes and oathes of others may binde vs, how much more our owne?

There was a famine in Israel; [Page 98] a naturall man would haue a­scribed it vnto the drought; and that drought perhaps to some constellations; Dauid knowes [...] looke higher; and sees a di­uine hand scourging Israel for some great offence; and ouer­ruling those second causes to his most iust executions. Euen the most quick-sighted worldling is pore-blinde to spirituall ob­iects; and the weakest eyes of the regenerate pierce the Hea­uens, and espy God in all earth­ly occurrences.

So well was Dauid acquain­ted with Gods proceedings, that hee knew the remouall of the iudgement must begin at the satisfaction of the wronged; [Page 99] At once therefore doth he pray vnto God, and treat with the Gibeonites; What shall I doe for you, and wherewith shall I make the attonement, that I may blesse the in­heritance of the Lord? In vaine should Dauid (though a Pro­phet) blesse Israel, if the Gibeo­nites did not blesse them: Iniu­ries done vs on earth giue vs power in heauen; The oppres­sor is in no mans mercy but his whom he hath trampled vpon.

Little did the Gibeonites thinke that God had so taken to heart their wrongs, that for their sakes all Israel should suf­fer. Euen when we thinke not of it, is the righteous Iudge a­uenging our vnrighteous vexa­tions; [Page 100] Our hard measures can­not be hid from him, his returns are hid from vs; It is sufficient for vs, that God can be no more neglectiue then ignorant of our sufferings. It is now in the power of these despised Hiuites to make their own termes with Israel; Neither Siluer, nor Gold will sauour with them towards their satisfaction; Nothing can expiate the bloud of their fa­thers, but the bloud of seauen sonnes of their deceased perse­cutor; Here was no other then a iust retaliation; Saul had pu­nished in them the offence of their predecessours▪ they will now reuenge Sauls sinne in his children. The measure we mete [Page 101] vnto others, is with much equi­tie re-measured vnto our selues. Euery death would not content them, of Sauls sonnes, but a cur­sed and ignominious, hanging on the Tree; Neither would that death content them, vnlesse their owne hands might be the executioners; Neither would any place serue for the executi­on but Gibeah, the Court of Saul; neither would they doe a­ny of this for the wreaking of their owne fury, but for the ap­peasing of Gods wrath, We will hang them vp vnto the Lord in Gi­beah of Saul.

Dauid might not refuse the condition: Hee must deliuer, they must execute: Hee chooses [Page 102] out seuen of the sonnes, and grand-children of Saul; That House had raysed long an vn­iust persecution against Dauid; now God payes it vpon ano­thers score. Dauids loue and oath to Ionathan, preserues lame Mephibosheth▪ How much more shall the Father of all mercies doe good vnto the children of the faithfull, for the couenant made with their Parents?

The fiue sonnes of Adriel the Meholathite, Dauids ancient ri­uall in his first loue, which were borne to him by Merab, Sauls Daughter, and brought vp by her barren sister Michol, the wife of Dauid, are yeelded vp to death; Merab was after a pro­mise [Page 103] of marriage to Dauid, vn­iustly giuen away by Saul, to A­driel; Michol seemes to abet the match in breeding the children; now in one act (not of Dauids seeking) the wrong is thus late auenged vpon Saul, Adriel, Me­rab, Michol, the children: It is a dangerous matter to offer iniu­ry to any of Gods faithful ones; If their meeknesse haue easily remitted it, their God will not passe it ouer without a seuere retribution.

These fiue, together with two sonnes of Rizpah, Sauls con­cubine, are hanged vp at once before the Lord; yea and before the eies of the World; No place but an Hill will serue for this [Page 104] execution; The acts of iustice as they are intended for exam­ple, so they should be done in that eminent fashion that may make them both most instru­ctiue, and most terrifying; Vn­warrantable courses of priuate reuenge seeke to hide their heads in secresie; The beautifull face of iustice both affects the light, and becomes it.

It was the generall charge of Gods Law that no corps should remaine all night vpon the gib­bet; The Almighty hath pow­er to dispense with his owne command; so doubtlesse hee did in this extraordinary case; these carcasses did not defile, but expiate. Sorrowfull Riz­pah [Page 105] spreads her a Tent of Sack­cloth vpon the rocke, for a sad attendance vpon those sons of her wombe; Death might be­reaue her of them, not them of her loue; This spectacle was not more grieuous to her, then plea­sing to God, and happy to Is­rael; Now the clouds drop fat­nesse, and the earth runs forth into plenty. The Gibeonites are satisfied, God reconciled, Israel relieued.

How blessed a thing it is for any Nation that iustice is vn­partially executed euen vpon the mighty. A few drops of bloud haue procured large showres from Heauen. A few carcasses are a rich compost to [Page 106] the earth; The drought and dearth remoue away with the breath of those pledges of the offender; Iudgements cannot tyrannize where iustice raignes: as contrarily, there can be no peace where bloud cries vnheard, vn­regarded.

The Numbring of the people.

ISRAEL was growne wanton and muti­nous; God pulls them downe first by the sword, then by famine, now by pestilence; Oh the wondrous, and yet iust waies of the Almightie! Because Israel hath sinned, therefore Da­uid shall sinne that Israel may be punished; Because God is an­grie with Israel, therefore Dauid shall anger him more, and strike himselfe in Israel, [Page 108] and Israel through himselfe.

The spirit of God else-where ascribes this motion to Satan, which here it attributes to God; Both had their hand in the worke; God by permission, Sa­tan by suggestion; God as a Iudge, Satan as an enemie: God as in a iust punishment for sin, Satan as in an act of sinne; God in a wise ordination of it to good; Satan in a malicious in­tent of confusion; Thus at once God moued, and Satan moued; Neither is it any excuse to Satan or Dauid, that God moued; nei­ther is it any blemish to God, that Satan moued; The rulers sinne is a punishment to a wic­ked people: though they had [Page 109] many sinnes of their owne, whereon God might haue grounded a iudgement, yet as before he had punisht them with dearth for Sauls sinne, so now he will not punish them with plague, but for Dauids sin; If God were not angrie with a people, he would not giue vp their gouernours to such euills as whereby he is prouoked to vengeance; and if their gouer­nours be thus giuen vp, the peo­ple cannot be safe; The body drownes not whiles the head is aboue the water; when that once sinkes▪ death is neere, Iust­ly therefore ere we charged to make praiers and supplications, as for all, so especially for those [Page 110] that are in eminent authoritie▪ when we pray for our selues, we pray not alwaies for them, but we cannot pray for them, and not pray for our selues; the publique weale is not compri­sed in the priuate, but the pri­uate in the publique.

What then was Dauids sinne? He will needs haue Israel and Iudah numbred: Surely there is no malignitie in numbers; Nei­ther is it vnfit for a Prince to know his owne strength; this is not the first time that Israel hath gone vnder a reckoning▪ The act offends not, but the mis-affection; The same thing had beene commendably done out of a Princely prouidence, [Page 111] which now through the curio­sitie, pride, mis-confidence of the doer proues hainously vi­cious; Those actions which are in themselues indifferent, re­ceiue either their life, or their bane from the intentions of the agent. Moses numbreth the peo­ple with thankes, Dauid with displeasure: Those sins which carrie the smoothest forheads, and haue the most honest ap­pearances, may more prouoke the wrath of God, then those which beare the most abomi­nation in their faces. How ma­ny thousand wickednesses pas­sed through the hands of Israel, which we men would rather haue branded out for a iudge­ment, [Page 112] then this of Dauids? The righteous Iudge of the world censures sinnes, not by their ill looks, but by their soule hearts.

Who can but wonder to see Ioab the Saint, and Dauid the trespasser? No Prophet could speake better then that man of bloud; The Lord thy God increase the people an hundred fold more then they be; and that the eies of my Lord the King may see it; But why doth my Lord the King desire this thing? There is no man so lewd as not to be sometimes in good moods, as not to dislike some euill; con­trarily no man on earth can be so holy, as not sometimes to o­uerlash, It were pittie that ei­ther Ioab or Dauid should be tried [Page 113] by euery act; How commonly haue we seene those men ready to giue good aduice to others for the auoiding of some sinnes; who in more grosse▪ outrages haue not had grace to counsell their owne hearts? The same man that had deserued death from Dauid for his trecherous cruelty, disswades Dauid from an act that carried but a suspition of euill; It is not so much to be regarded who it is that admo­nisheth vs, as what he brings; Good counsell is neuer the worse for the▪ foule carriage▪ There are some dishes that we may eate euen from sluttish hands.

The purpose of sinne in a [Page 114] faithfull man is odious, much more the resolution: Notwith­standing Ioabs discreet admoni­tion Dauid will hold on his course; and will know the number of the people, only that he may know it; Ioab and the Captaines addresse themselues to the worke: In things which are not in themselues euill, it is not for subiects to dispute but to obey; That which authori­tie may sinne in commanding, is done of the inferiour, not with safetie only, but with praise. Nine moneths and twen­tie daies is this generall muster in hand; at last the number is brought in; Israel is found eight hundred thousand strong, Iu­dah [Page 115] fiue hundred thousand; the ordinarie companies which ser­ued by course for the roiall gard (foure and twentie thou­sand each moneth) needed not be reckoned; the addition of them with their seuerall Cap­taines raises the summe of Israel to the rate of eleuen hundred thousand. A power able to puffe vp a carnall heart; but how can an heart that is more then flesh trust to an arme of flesh? Oh holy Dauid, whither hath a glorious vanitie trans­ported thee? Thou which once didst sing so sweetly, Put not your trust in Princes, nor in the sonne of man, for there is no helpe in him. His breath departeth, and he returneth to [Page 116] his earth, then his thoughts perish; Blessed is he that hath the God of Ia­cob for his helpe, whose hope is in the Lord his God; How canst thou now stoope to so vnsafe and vnworthy a confidence?

As some stomackfull horse that will not be stopt in his ca­reer with the sharpest bit, but runs on heddily till he come to some wall, or ditch, and then stands still and trembles; so did Dauid; All the disswasions of Ioab could not restraine him from his intended course; al­most ten moneths doth he run on impetuously, in a way of his owne, rough and dangerous, at last his heart smites him; the conscience of his offence, and [Page 117] the feare of iudgment haue fetcht him vpon his knees, O Lord I haue sinned exceedingly in that I haue done; therefore now▪ Lord, I beseech thee take away the trespasse of thy seruant, for I haue done very foolishly. It is possible for a sinne not to baite only, but to soiourne in the holiest soule; but though it soiourne there as a stranger, it shall not dwell there as an owner. The renewed heart after some ro­uings of error will once (ere ouer-long) returne home to it selfe, and fall out with that ill guide, wherewith it was misled, and with it selfe for being mis­led; and now it is resolued into teares, and breathes forth no­thing [Page 118] but sighes, and confessi­ons, and deprecations.

Heere needed no Nathan by a parabolicall circumlocution to fetch in Dauid to a sight, and acknowledgement of his sin; The heart of the penitent sup­plied the Prophet; no others tongue could smite him so deep as his owne thoughts; But though his reines chastisd him in the night, yet his Seer scour­ges him in the morning, Thus saith the Lord, I offer thee three things, choose thee which of them I shall doe vnto thee. But what shall we say to this? When vpon the Prophets reproofe for an adul­terie cloked with murder, Dauid did but say, I haue sinned, it was [Page 119] presently returned, God hath put away thy sinne; neither did any smart follow, but the death of a mis-begotten infant; and now when he voluntarily reproued himselfe for but a needlesse mu­ster, and sought for pardon vn­bidden with great humiliation, God sends him three terrible scourges, famine, sword, or pe­stilence; that he may choose with which of them he had ra­ther to bleed▪ he shall haue the fauour of an election, not of a remission. God is more an­gred with a spirituall, and im­mediate affront offred to his Maiestie, in our pride, and false confidence in earthly things, then with a fleshly crime [Page 120] though hainously seconded.

It was an hard and wofull choice; of three yeeres famine added to the three fore-past; or of three moneths flight from the sword of an enemie, or three daies pestilence; The Almigh­tie that had fore determined his iudgement, referres it to Dauids will as fully, as if it were vtter­ly vndetermined, God hath re­solued, yet Dauid may choose; That infinite wisdome hath foreseene the very will of his creature; which whiles it freely inclines it selfe to what it had ra­ther, vnwittingly wills that which was fore-appointed in heauen.

We doe well beleeue thee, ô [Page 121] Dauid, that thou wert in a won­derfull straite; this very libertie is no other then fetters▪ Thou needst not haue famine, thou needst not haue the sword, thou needst not haue pesti­lence; one of them thou must haue; There is miserie in all, there is miserie in any; thou and thy people can die but once; and once they must die, either by famine, warre, or pestilence. Oh God, how vainely doe we hope to passe ouer our sinnes with impunitie, when all the fa­uour that Dauid and Israel can receiue is to choose their bane?

Yet behold, neither sinnes, nor threats, nor feares can be­reaue a true penitent of his [Page 122] faith, Let vs fall now into the hands of the Lord, for his mercies are great. There can be no euill of punishment wherein God hath not an hand; there could be no famine, no sword without him; but some euils are more imme­diate from a diuine stroke; such was that plague into which Da­uid is vnwillingly willing to fal, He had his choyce of dayes, mo­neths, yeares in the same num­ber; and though the shortnesse of time prefixed to the threat­ned pestilence might seeme to offer some aduantage for the leading of his election, yet God meant (and Dauid knew it) herein to proportion the dif­ference of time to the violence [Page 123] of the plague; neither should any fewer perish by so few daies pestilence, then by so many yeares famine: The wealthiest might auoyd the dearth, the swiftest might run away from the Sword; no man could pro­mise himselfe safetie from that pestilence: In likelihood Gods Angell would rather strike the most guiltie; How euer there­fore Dauid might well looke to be in wrapped in the common destruction, yet he rather choo­ses to fal into that mercy which he had abused, and to suffer from that iustice which he had prouoked; Let vs now fall into the hands of the Lord.

Humble confessions, and de­uout [Page 124] penance cannot alwaies a­uert temporall iudgements; Gods Angell is abroad, and within that short compasse of time sweepes away seuentie thousand Israelites; Dauid was proud of the number of his sub­iects, now they are abated; that he may see cause of humiliation in the matter of his glory; In what we haue offended, wee commonly smart; These thou­sands of Israel were not so inno­cent, that they should onely pe­rish for Dauids sinne; Their sins were the motiues both of this sinne, and punishment; besides the respect of Dauids offence, they die for themselues.

It was no ordinary pestilence [Page 125] that was thus suddenly and v­niuersally mortall; Common eyes saw the botch, and the markes, saw not the Angell; Dauids clearer sight hath espyed him (after that killing peragra­tion through the Tribes of Isra­el) shaking his sword ouer Ie­rusalem, and houering ouer Mount Sion; and now he who doubtlesse had spent those three dismall daies in the saddest con­trition, humbly casts himselfe downe at the feete of the auen­ger, and layes himselfe ready for the fatall stroke of iustice; It was more terror that God intended in the visible shape of his Angell, and deeper humiliation; and what hee [Page 126] meant, hee wrought; Neuer Soule could be more deiected, more anguished with the sense of a iudgement; in the bitter­nesse whereof hee cryes out, Be­hold I haue sinned, yea I haue done wickedly; But these Sheepe what haue they done? Let thine hand, I pray thee, be against me, and against my fa­thers house. The better any man is, the more sensible hee is of his owne wretchednesse; Ma­ny of those Sheepe were Wolues to Dauid; What had they done? They had done that which was the occasion of Dauids sinne, and the cause of their owne pu­nishment; But that gracious pe­nitent knew his owne sinne, he knew not theirs; and therefore [Page 127] can say, I haue sinned, What haue they done? It is safe accusing, where we may be boldest, and are best acquainted, our selues.

Oh the admirable charitie of Dauid, that would haue ingros­sed the plague to himselfe, and his house, from the rest of Is­rael; and sues to interpose him­selfe betwixt his people and the vengeance; Hee that had put himselfe vpon the pawes of the Beare, and Lion, for the rescue of his Sheepe, will now cast himselfe vpon the sword of the Angell, for the preseruation of Israel; There was hope in those conflicts; in this yeeldance there could be nothing but death; Thus didst thou, O sonne of [Page 128] Dauid, the true and great Shep­heard of thy Church, offer thy selfe to death for them who had their hands in thy bloud; who both procured thy death, and deserued their owne. Here hee offred himselfe that had sinned, for those whom hee professeth to haue not done euill; thou that didst no sinne, vouchsa­uedst to offer thy selfe for vs, that were all sinne; He offered and escaped, thou offeredst, and diedst; and by thy death wee liue, and are freed from euerla­sting destruction.

But, O Father of all mercies, how little pleasure doest thou take in the bloud of sinners? it was thine owne pitty that in­hibited [Page 129] the destroyer; Ere Da­uid could see the Angell, thou hadst restrayned him; It is suffi­cient, hold now thine hand; If thy compassion did not both with­hold and abridge thy iudge­ments, what place were there for vs out of hell?

How easie and iust had it been for God to haue made the shutting vp of that third eue­ning red with bloud? His good­nesse repents of the slaughter; and cals for that Sacrifice wher­with he will be appeased; An Altar must bee built in the threshing-floore of Araunah the Iebusite; Lo, in that very Hill where the Angel held the sword of Abraham from killing his [Page 130] Sonne, doth God now hold the Sword of the Angell from kil­ling his people; Vpon this ve­ry ground shall the Temple, af­ter, stand; heere shall be the ho­ly Altar, which shall send vp the acceptable oblations of Gods people in succeeding ge­nerations.

O God, what was the thresh­ing-floore of a Iebusite to thee aboue all other soyles? What vertue, what merit was in this earth? As in places, so in per­sons, it is not to be heeded what they are, but what thou wilt; That is worthiest which thou pleasest to accept.

Rich and bountifull Araunah is ready to meete Dauid in so [Page 131] holy a motion; and munifi­cently offers his Sion for the place, his Oxen for the Sacri­fice, his Carts and Ploughes, and other Vtensils of his Hus­bandry for the wood; Two franke hearts are well met; Da­uid would buy, Araunah would giue; The Iebusite would not sell, Dauid will not take: Since it was for God, and to Dauid, Araunah is loth to bar­gaine: Since it was for God, Dauid wisheth to pay deare, I will not offer burnt Offering to the Lord my God, of that which doth cost mee nothing; Heroicall spi­rits doe well become eminent persons; Hee that knew it was better to giue then receiue, [Page 132] would not receiue but giue; There can be no deuotion in a niggardly heart; As vnto dain­ty palates, so to the godly soule, that tastes sweetest that costs most; Nothing is deare enough for the Creator of all things. It is an heartlesse piety of those base-minded Christians, that care onely to serue God good cheape.

Contemplations. THE …


  • Adonijah defeated.
  • Dauids end and Salomons be­ginning.
  • The execution of Ioab and Shi­mei.
  • Salomons choice, with his iudge­ment vpon the two Harlots.
  • The Temple.
  • Salomon with the Queene of Sheba.
  • Salomons Defection.

TO MY WORTHILY MVCH HONOVRED FRIEND Sr HENRY MILDMAY Knight, Master of the Iewell-house; all grace and peace.


Besides all priuate obligations, your very name chal­lengeth from me all due seruices of loue, and ho­nour; If I haue receiued mercy to beare any fruit, next vnder heauen, [Page] I may thanke the stocke wherein I was ymped; which was set by no other then the happie hand of your right Hono­rable Grandfather; How haue I so long forborne the publique Testimonie of my iust gratulations, and thankfull respects to so true an heire of his noble vertues. Pardon me that I pay this debt so late; and accept of this parcell of my well-meant labours; Wherein you shall see SALOMON both in his rising and set­ting; his rising hopefull and glorious, his declination fearefull; You shall see the proofes of his early graces; of mercie, in sparing ADONIIAH, and ABIA­THAR; of iustice, in punishing that riuall of his, with IOAB, and SHIMEI; of wisdome, in his award betwixt the two harlots, and the administration of his Court, and state: of pietie, in building and hallowing the Temple; all dashed in his fall, repaired in his repentance. I haue no cause to misdoubt either the ac­ceptation, or vse of these mine hie pit­ched thoughts; which, together with your [Page] selfe, and your worthy and vertuous Lady, I humbly commend to the care and blessing of the hiest; who am bound by your worth and merits to be euer

Your syncerely, and thankfully deuoted in all obseruance, IOS: HALL.

ADONIJAH Defeated.

DAVID had not so carefully husban­ded his yeeres, as to maintaine a vigo­rous age; he was therefore what through warres, what with sor­rowes, what with sicknesse, decrepit betimes; By that time he was seuentie yeeres old, his [Page 140] naturall heate was so wasted, that his clothes could not warme him; how many haue we knowne of more strength, at more age? The holiest soule dwells not in an inpregnable fort; If the reuenging Angell spared Dauid, yet age and Death will not spare him; Neither his new altar, nor his costly sacri­fice can be of force against de­cay of nature; Nothing but death can preuent the weak­nesses of age.

None can blame a people if when they haue a good King, they are desirous to hold him; Dauids seruants and subiects haue commended vnto his bed a faire young virgin; not for [Page 141] the heat of lust, but of life; that by this meanes they might make an outward supplie of fu­ell for that vitall fire which was well-neere extinguished with age.

As it is in the market, or the stage, so it is in our life; One goes in, another comes out; when Dauid was withering, Ado­nijah was in his blossome; That sonne, as he was next to Absalom both in the beautie of his body, and the time of his birth, so, was he too like him in practise; He also taking aduantage of his fa­thers infirmitie, will be caruing himselfe of the kingdome of Is­rael; That he might no whit vary from his patterne, he gets [Page 142] him also Charets and horse-men, and fiftie men to run be­fore him: These two, Absalom and Adonijah were the darlings of their father; Their father had not displeased them from their childhood, therefore they both displeased him in his age; Those children had need to be very gracious, that are not marred with pampering; It is more then God owes vs, if we receiue comfort in those children whom we haue ouer-loued; The indulgence of parents at last paies them home in crosses.

It is true that Adonijah was Da­uids▪ eldest sonne now remai­ning, and therefore might seeme to challenge the iustest title to [Page 143] the Crowne; But the kingdome of Israel (in so late an erection) had not yet knowne the right of succession: God himselfe that had ordained the gouernment, was as yet the immediate ele­ctor; He fetcht Saul from a­mong the stuffe, and Dauid from the sheepfold; and had now ap­pointed Salomon from the ferule, to the Scepter.

And if Adonijah (which is vn­like) had not knowne this, yet it had beene his part to haue ta­ken his father with him in this claime of his succession; and not so to preuent a brother, that he should shoulder out a father; and not so violently to preoc­cupate the throne, that he should [Page 144] rather be a rebell, then an heire.

As Absalom, so Adonijah wants not furtherers in this vsurpati­on, whether spirituall, or tem­porall; Ioab the Generall, and Abiathar the Priest giue both counsell, and aid to so vnseaso­nable a challenge; These two had beene firme to Dauid in all his troubles, in all insurrections; yet now finding him fastned to the bed of age, and death, they shew themselues thus slipperie in the loose; Outward happi­nesse and friendship are not knowne till our last act. In the impotencie of either our re­uenge or recompence, it will ea­sily appeare who loued vs for our selues, who for their owne ends.

[Page 145] Had not Adonijah knowne that Salomon was designed to the kingdome both by God, and Dauid, he had neuer inuited all the rest of the Kings sonnes, his brethren, and left out Salo­mon; who was otherwise the most vnlikely to haue beene his riuall in this honour; all the rest were elder then he; and might therefore haue had more pretence for their competition: Doubtlesse the Court of Israel could not but know, that im­mediately vpon the birth of Sa­lomon, God sent him by Nathan the Prophet, a name and mes­sage of loue; neither was it for nothing that God called him Iedidiah; and fore-promised him [Page 146] the honour of building an house to his Name; and (in re­turne of so glorious a seruice) the establishment of the throne of his kingdome ouer Israel for euer; Notwithstanding all which, Adonijah backed by the strength of a Ioab, and the gra­uitie of an Abiathar, will vnder­worke Salomon, and iustle into the not-yet-vacant seat of his father Dauid. Vaine men, whiles like proud and yet brittle clay, they will be knocking their sides against the solid, and eter­nall decree of God, break them­selues in peeces.

I doe not finde that Adonijah sent any message of threats, or vnkindnesse to Zadok the Priest, [Page 147] or Nathan the Prophet, or Be­naiah the sonne of Iehoiada, and the other worthies; only he in­uited them not to his feast with the Kings sonnes, and seruants; Sometimes a very omission is an affront, and a menace. They well knew that since they were not called as guests, they were counted as enemies; Ceremo­nies of curtesie, though they be in themselues sleight, and arbi­trarie, yet the neglect of them in some cases may vndergoe a dangerous construction.

Nathan was the man by whom God had sent that er­rand of grace to Dauid, concer­ning Salomon, assuring him both to raigne, and prosper; yet now [Page 148] when Adonijahs plot was thus on foot, he doth not sit still, and depend vpon the issue of Gods decree, but he bestirres him in the businesse, and con­sults with Bathsheba how at once to saue their liues, and to aduance Salomon, and defeate A­donijah; Gods pre-determination includes the meanes as well as the end; the same prouidence that had ordained a crowne to Salomon, a repulse to Adonijah, preseruation to Bathsheba and Nathan, had fore-appointed the wise and industrious endeuours of the Prophet to bring about his iust, and holy purposes; If we would not haue God wan­ting to vs, we must not be wan­ting [Page 149] to our selues: Euen when we know what God hath meant to vs, we may not be negligent.

The Prophets of God did not looke for reuelation in all their affaires, in some things they were left to the counsell of their owne hearts; the policie of Nathan was of vse as well as his prophecie: that alone hath turned the streame into the right channell; Nothing could be more wisely contriued then the sending in of Bathsheba to Dauid, with so seasonable and forceable an expostulation, and the seconding of hers with his owne.

Though lust were dead in [Page 150] Dauid, yet the respects of his old matrimoniall loue liued still; the very presence of Bath­sheba pleaded strongly; but her speech more; the time was, when his affection offended in excesse towards her being then anothers; he cannot now neg­lect her being his owne; and if either his age, or the remorse of his old offence should haue set him off; yet she knew his oath was sure; My Lord thou swarest by the Lord thy God vnto thine hand­maid, saying, Assuredly Salomon thy sonne shall raigne after me, and he shall sit vpon my throne; His word had beene firme, but his oath was inuiolable; we are enga­ged if we haue promised, but if [Page 151] we haue sworne, we are bound.

Neither heauen nor earth hath any gieues for that man that can shake off the fetters of an oath; for he cares not for that God whom he dares in­uoke to a falshood; and he that cares not for God, will not care for man.

Ere Bathsheba can be ouer the threshold, Nathan (vpon com­pact) is knocking at the doore. Gods Prophet was neuer but welcome to the bed-chamber of King Dauid; In a seemiug strangenesse he falls vpon the same suit, vpon the same com­plaint with Bathsheba: Honest policies doe not mis-become the holiest Prophets; She might [Page 152] seeme to speake as a woman, as a mother, out of passion; the word of a Prophet could not be misdoubted; He therefore that had formerly brought to Dauid that chiding and bloudy message concerning Bathsheba, comes now to Dauid, to sue for the life and honour of Bathshe­ba, and he that was sent from God (to Dauid) to bring the newes of a gracious promise of fauour vnto Salomon, comes now to challenge the execution of it from the hands of a fa­ther; and he whose place freed him from suspicion of a facti­on, complaines of the insolent demeanure and proclamation of Adonijah; What he began [Page 153] with an humble obeysance, shutting vp in a lowly and lo­uing expostulation, Is this thing done by my Lord the King, and thou hast not shewed thy seruant who should sit on the Throne of my Lord the King after him? As Nathan was of Gods counsell vnto Da­uid, so was he of Dauids Coun­sell both to God, and the State; As God therefore vpon all occa­sions told Nathan what he meant to doe with Dauid, so had Dauid wont to tell Nathan what he meant to doe in his holy and most important ciuill affaires. There are cases wherein it is not vnfit for Gods Prophets to meddle with matters of State; It is no disparagement to religi­ous [Page 154] Princes to impart their counsels vnto them, who can requite them with the counsels of God.

That wood which a single yron could not riue, is soone splitted with a double wedge; The seasonable importunitie of Bathsheba and Nathan, thus se­conding each other, hath so wrought vpon Dauid, that now his loue to Adonijah giues place to indignation, nature to an ho­ly fidelitie; and now he renewes his ancient oath to Bathsheba with a passionate solemnitie; As the Lord liueth, who hath redeemed my soule out of all aduersitie, euen as I sware vnto thee by the Lord God of Israel, saying, Assuredly Salomon [Page 155] thy sonne shall reigne after me, and he shall sit vpon my throne in my stead; so will I certainly doe this day; In the decay of Dauids body I finde not his intellectiue po­wers any whit impaired: As one therefore that from his bed could with a perfect (if weake) hand stere the gouernment of Israel; he giues wise and full di­rections for the inauguration of Salomon; Zadok the Priest, and Nathan the Prophet, and Benaiah the Captaine receiue his graue and Princely charge for the car­riage of that so weightie a busi­nesse. They are commanded to take with them the royall gard, to set Salomon vpon his fathers Mule, to carry him downe in [Page 156] state to Gihon, to anoint him with the holy oile of the Ta­bernacle, to sound the trum­pets and proclaime him in the streets, to bring him backe with triumph and magnificence to the Court, and to set him in the royall Throne with all the due ceremonies of Coronation.

How pleasing was this com­mand to them who in Salomons glorie saw their owne safetie? Benaiah applauds it, and not fearing a fathers enuie, in Da­uids presence wisheth Salomons throne exalted aboue his; The people are rauished with the ioy of so hopefull a succession; and breake the earth, and fill the heauen with the noise of [Page 157] their Musicke and shoutings.

Salomons guests had now at last better cheere then Adonijahs; whose feast (as all wicked mens) ended in horror; No sooner are their bellies full of meat, then their eares are full of the sound of those trumpets, which at once proclaime Salo­mons triumph, and their confu­sion; Euer after the meale is en­ded comes the reckoning; God could as easily haue preuented this iollitie, as marred it; But he willingly suffers vaine men to please themselues for the time in the conceited successe of their owne proiects, that afterwards their disappointment may be so much more grieuous; No [Page 158] doubt, at this feast there was many an health drunke to Ado­nijah, many a confident boast of their prospering designe, many a scorne of the despised faction of Salomon; and now for their last dish is serued vp astonish­ment, and fearefull expectation of a iust reuenge. Ionathan, the sonne of Abiathar the Priest, brings the newes of Salomons so­lemne and ioyfull enthronizati­on; now all hearts are cold, all faces pale; and euery man hath but life enough to run away; How suddenly is this brauing troupe dispersed? Adonijah their new Prince flies to the hornes of the Altar, as distrusting all hopes of life, saue the Sanctitie [Page 159] of the place, and the mercie of his riuall.

So doth the wise and iust God befoole proud and inso­lent sinners in those secret plots, wherein they hope to vnder­mine the true sonne of Dauid, the Prince of peace; he suffers them to lay their heads together and to feast themselues in a io­cund securitie, and promise of successe; at last, when they are at the height of their ioyes, and hopes, he confounds all their deuices, and laies them open to the scorne of the world, and to the anguish of their owne guiltie hearts.

Dauids end, and Salo­mons beginning.

IT well became Salo­mon to begin his raigne in peace. Adonijah re­ceiues pardon vpon his good behauiour, and finds the throne of Salomon, as safe as the Altar. Dauid liues to see a wise sonne warme in his seat, and now hee that had yeelded to succession yeelds to nature. Many good counsels had Dauid giuen his heire; now hee summes them vp in his end. Dying words [Page 161] are wont to be weightiest; The Soule when it is entring into glory breathes nothing but di­uine. I goe the way of all the earth; How well is that princely heart content to subscribe to the con­ditions of humane mortalitie; as one that knew Soueraigntie doth not reach to the affaires of nature? Though a King, he nei­ther expects, nor desires an im­munity from dissolution; ma­king not account to goe in a­ny other then the common tracke, to the vniuersall home of mankinde, the house of age; Whither should earth but to earth? and why should wee grudge to doe that, which all doe? Be thou strong therefore, and [Page 162] shew thy selfe a man, Euen when his spirit was going out, he puts spirit into his Sonne; Age puts life into youth, and the dying a­nimates the vigorous. He had well found that strength was requisite to gouernment; that he had need to be no lesse then a man that should rule ouer men; If greatnesse should ne­uer receiue any opposition, yet those worlds of cares, and busi­nesses that attend the chayre of State, are able to ouer-lay any meane powers; A weake man may obey, none but the strong can gouerne. Gracelesse courage were but the whet-stone of ty­ranny; Take heed therefore to the charge of the Lord thy God, to walke [Page 163] in his wayes, and to keepe his Sta­tutes. The best legacy that Da­uid bequeathes to his heire, is the care of piety; himselfe had found the sweetnesse of a good conscience, and now hee com­mends it to his successor. If there be any thing that in our desires of the prosperous con­dition of our children, takes place of goodnesse, our hearts are not vpright. Here was the father a King, charging the King his sonne to keepe the Statutes of the King of Kings; as one that knew greatnesse could neither exempt from o­bedience, nor priuiledge sinne; as one that knew the least de­uiation in the greatest and [Page 164] hiest Orbe, is both most sensi­ble, and most dangerous: Nei­ther would he haue his sonne to looke for any prosperity, saue onely from well-doing; That happinesse is built vpon sands or Ice, which is raised vpon any foundation besides vertue. If Salomon were wise, Dauid was good; and if old Salomon had well remembred the counsell of old Dauid, hee had not so foulely mis-carried.

After the precepts of pietie, follow those of iustice; distri­buting in a due recompence, as reuenge to Ioab and Shimei, so fa­uour to the house of Barzillai. The bloudinesse of Ioab had lien long vpon Dauids heart; the [Page 165] hideous noyse of those treache­rous murders, as it had pierced heauen, so it still filled the eares of Dauid; He could abhorre that villanie, though hee could not reuenge it; What hee cannot pay, he will owe, and approue himselfe at last a faithfull deb­tor: Now he will defray it by the hand of Salomon. The slaugh­ter was of Abner, and Amasa, Da­uid appropriates it; Thou knowest what Ioab did to mee: The Soue­raigne is smitten in the Subject; Neither is it other then iust, that the arraignement of meane ma­lefactors runnes in the stil [...] of wrong to the Kings Crowne and dignitie: How much more doest thou, O sonne of Dauid, [Page 166] take to thy selfe those insolen­cies which are done to thy poo­rest subiects, seruants, sonnes, members here vpon earth? No Saul can touch a Christian here below, but thou feelest it in heauen, and complainest.

But, what shall we thinke of this? Dauid was a man of war, Salomon a King of peace; yet Da­uid referres this reuenge to Sa­lomon, How iust it was that he who shed the bloud of warre in peace, and put the bloud of war vpon his girdle that was about his loynes, should haue his bloud shed in peace, by a Prince of peace; Peace is fittest to re­ctifie the out-rages of Warre; Or whether is not this done in [Page 167] type of that diuine administra­tion, wherein thou, O Father of heauen, hast committed all iudgement vnto thine eternall sonne? Thou who couldst im­mediately either plague, or ab­solue sinners, wilt doe neither but by the hand of a Mediator.

Salomon learned betimes what his ripenesse taught afterwards, Take away the wicked from the King, and his Throne shall be established in righteousnesse; Cruell Ioab, and malicious Shimei, must be there­fore vpon the first opportunity remoued; The one lay open to present iustice, for abetting the conspiracy of Adonijah; neither needes the helpe of time for a new aduantage; The other went [Page 168] vnder the protection of an oath from Dauid, and therefore must be fetcht in vpon a new chal­lenge. The hoare head of both must be brought to the graue with bloud; else Dauids head could not be brought to his graue in peace; Due punish­ment of malefactors is the debt of authoritie; If that holy King haue run into arerages; yet as one that hates and feares to breake the banke, he giues or­der to his pay-master; It shall be defraid, if not by him, yet for him.

Generous natures cannot be vnthankfull: Barzillai had shewed Dauid some kindnesse in his extremitie; and now the [Page 169] good man will haue posteritie to inherit the thankes. How much more bountifull is the Father of mercies, in the remu­neration of our poore vnwor­thy seruices? Euen successions of generations shall fare the bet­ter for one good parent.

The dying words and thoughts of the man after Gods owne heart did not confine themselues to the straites of these particular charges, but in­larged themselues to the care of Gods publique seruice; As good men are best at last, Dauid did neuer so busily, and carefully marshall the affaires of God, as when he was fixed to the bed of his age and death. Then did he [Page 170] lode his sonne Salomon with the charge of building the house of God; then did he lay before the eies of his sonne the modell and patterne of that whole sacred worke whereof if Salomon beare the name, yet Dauid no lesse me­rits it: He now giues the plat­forme of the Courts, and buil­dings; He giues the gold and siluer for that holy vse; an hun­dred thousand talents of Gold, a thousand thousand talents of Siluer; besides brasse and yron passing weight; He weighes out those precious mettalls for their seuerall designements; Euery future vessell is laid out already in his poise, if not in his forme; He excites the Princes of Israel [Page 171] to their assistance, in so high a worke; He takes notice of their bountifull offerings; He num­bers vp the Leuites for the pub­lique seruice; and sets them their taskes. He appoints the Singers, and other Musitians to their stations; the Porters to the Gates that should be; And now when he hath set all things in a desi­red order, and forwardnesse, he shuts vp with a zealous blessing of his Salomon, and his people, and sleepe with his fathers. Oh blessed soule, how quiet a pos­session hast thou now taken (af­ter so many tumults) of a better Crowne! Thou that hast pre­pared all things for the house of thy God, how happily art thou [Page 172] now welcomed to that house of his, not made with hands, e­ternall in the heauens! Who now shall enuie vnto good Princes the honour of ouersee­ing the businesses of God, and his Church; when Dauid was thus punctuall in these diuine prouisions? What feare can be of vsurpation where they haue so glorious a precedent?

Now is Salomon the second time crowned King of Israel; and now in his owne right (as formerly in his fathers) sits peaceably vpon the Throne of the Lord; His awe and power come on faster then his yeeres; Enuie and ambition where it is once kindled, may sooner be [Page 173] hid in the ashes, then quite put out; Adonijah yet hangs after his old hopes; He remembers how sweet he found the name of a King; and now hath laid a new plot for the setting vp of his crackt title; He would make the bed a step to the throne; His old complices are sure enough; His part would gather much strength, if he might inioy Abi­shag the relict of his father, to wife; If it were not the Iewish fashion (as is pretended) that a Kings widow should mary none but a King; yet certainly the power both of the alliance, and friendship of a Queene must needs not a little aduance his purpose; The craftie riuall [Page 174] dare not either moue the suit to Salomon, or effect the mariage without him; but would cun­ningly vndermine the sonne by the suit of that mother, whose suit had vndermined him. The weaker vessells are commonly vsed in the most dangerous sug­gestions of euill.

Bathsheba was so wise a wo­man that some of her counsels are canonized for diuine, yet she saw not the depth of this drift of Adonijah; therefore she both entertaines the suit, and moues it: But what euer were the in­tent of the suitor, could she choose but see the vnlawful­nesse of so incestuous a match? It is not long since she saw her [Page 175] late husband Dauid abomina­ting the bed of those his Con­cubines, that had beene touched by his sonne Absalom; and can she hold it lawfull that his son Adonijah should climbe vp to the bed of his fathers wife? Sometimes euen the best eies are dimme, and discerne not those things which are obuious to weaker sights: Or whether did not Bathsheba well see the foulenesse of the suit, and yet in compassion of Adonijahs late repulse (wherein she was the chiefe agent) and in a desire to make him amends for the losse of the kingdome, she yeelds e­uen thus to gratifie him. It is an iniurious weaknesse to be [Page 176] drawne vpon any by-respects to the furtherance of faultie suits, of vnlawfull actions.

No sooner doth Bathsheba come in place, then Salomon her sonne rises from his chaire of State and meets her and bowes to her, and sets her on his right hand; as not so remembring himselfe to be a King, that he should forget he was a sonne. No outward dignitie can take away the rights and obligati­ons of nature; Had Bathsheba beene as meane, as Salomon was mightie, she had carried away this honour from a gracious sonne: Yet for all these due complements, Bathsheba goes a­way with a deniall, Reuerence [Page 177] she shall haue, she shall not haue a condescent.

In the acts of Magistracie, all regards of naturall relations must giue way; That which she propounded as a small request, is now, after a generall and con­fused ingagement reiected as vnreasonable. It were pittie we should be heard in all our suits. Bathsheba makes a petition a­gainst her selfe, and knowes it not; her safetie and life depends vpon Salomons raigne, yet she vn­wittingly moues for the ad­uancement of Adonijah.

Salomon was too dutifull to checke his mother, and too wise to yeeld to her: In vnfit suppli­cations wee are most heard [Page 178] when we are repelled. Thus doth our God many times an­swer our praiers with mercifull denials and most blesseth vs in crossing our desires.

Wise Salomon doth not finde himselfe perplexed with the scruple of his promise; he that had said Aske on, for I will not say thee nay, can now sweare, God doe so to me, and more also, if A­donijah haue not spoken this word a­gainst his owne life▪ His promise was according to his suppositi­on; his supposition was of no other then of a suit, honest, rea­sonable, expedient; now he holds himselfe free from that grant, wherein there was at once both sinne and danger. [Page 179] No man can be intangled with generall words against his own iust and honest intentions.

The policies of wicked men befoole them at last; this inter­cession hath vndone Adonijah, and in stead of the Throne, ha­stens his graue: The sword of Benaiah puts an end to that dan­gerous riualitie. Ioab and Abia­tbar still held Champerty with Adonijah; Their hand was both in his claime of the kingdome, and in the suit for Abishag; There are crimes wherein there are no accessories, such is this of treason. Abiathar may thanke his burden that he liues; Had he not borne the Arke of the Lord before Da­uid, he had not now carried his [Page 180] head vpon his shoulders; Had he not beene afflicted with Da­uid, he had perished with Ado­nijah; now though he were, in his owne merit, a man of death, yet he shall furuiue his partners, Get thee to Anathoth vnto thine owne fields; The Priesthood of Abia­thar, as it aggrauated his crime, so it shall preserue his life: Such honour haue good Princes gi­uen to the Ministers of the San­ctuarie, that their very coate hath beene defence enough a­gainst the sword of iustice; how much more should it be of proofe against the contempt of base persons?

Besides his function, respect is had to his sufferings; The fa­ther [Page 181] and brethren of Abiathar were slaine for Dauids sake, therefore for Dauids sake Abia­thar (though worthy of death) shall liue; He had beene now a dead man, if he had not beene formerly afflicted; Thus doth our good God deale with vs; by the rod he preuents the sword; and therefore will not con­demne vs for our sinnes, be­cause we haue suffered. If Abia­thar doe not forfait his life, yet his office he shall; he must change Ierusalem for Anathoth, and the Priesthood for a retired priuacie. It was fourescore yeeres agoe since the sentence of iudgement was denounced a­gainst the house of Eli; now [Page 182] doth it come to execution; This iust quarrell against Abiathar (the last of that line) shall make good the threatned iudgement; The wickednesse of Elies house was neither purged by sacrifice, nor obliterated by time: If God pay slowly, yet he paies sure; Delay of most certaine punish­ment is neither any hin­drance to his iustice, nor any comfort to our mi­series.

The execution of Joab, and Shimei.

ABiathar shall liue though he serue not; It is in the power of Princes to remit (at least) those punish­ments which attend the breach of humane Lawes; good reason they should haue power to dis­pence with the wrongs done to their owne persons; The newes of Adonijahs death, and A­biathars remouall cannot but af­fright Ioab; who now runnes to Gibeon, and takes sanctuary in [Page 184] the Tabernacle of God; all his hope of defence is in the hornes of the Altar; Fond Ioab hadst thou formerly sought for coun­sell from the Tabernacle, thou hadst not now needed to seeke to it for refuge; if thy deuotions had not beene wanting to that Altar, thou had'st not needed it for a shelter: It is the fashion of our foolish presumption to looke for protection, where we haue not cared to yeeld obe­dience.

Euen a Ioab clings fast to Gods Altar in his extremity; which in his ruffe and welfare hee regar­ded not; The worst men would be glad to make vse of Gods ordinances, for their aduantage; [Page 185] Necessitie will driue the most profane and lawlesse man to God; But what do those bloudie hands touching the holy Altar of God? Miserable Ioab, what helpe canst thou expect from that sacred pile? Those hornes that were besprinkled with the bloud of beasts, abhorre to be touched by the bloud of men; that Altar was for the expiation of sinne by bloud; not for the protection of the sin of bloud. If Adonijah fled thither and esca­ped, it is murder that pursues thee more then conspiracie; God hath no sanctuary for a wilfull Homicide.

Yet such respect doth Benaiah giue to that holy place, that his [Page 186] Sword is vnwilling to touch him that touches the Altar: Those hornes shall put off death for the time; and giue protracti­on of the execution, though not preseruation of life; How sweet is life euen to those who haue beene prodigall of the bloud of others? that Ioab shifts thus to hold it but some few houres? Benaiah returnes with Ioabs an­swer, in stead of his head; Nay, but I will die here; as not daring to vnsheath his Sword against a man sheltered in Gods Taber­nacle, without a new commis­sion. Yong Salomon is so well acquainted with the Law of God, in such a case, that he sticks not at the sentence: Hee knew [Page 187] that God had enacted, If a man come presumptuously vpon his neigh­bour, to slay him with guile, thou shalt take him from mine Altar, that hee may die: He knew Ioabs murders had not beene more presump­tuous, then guilefull, and there­fore he sends Benaiah to take a­way the offender, both from God, and men, from the Altar, and the world.

No Subiect had merited more then Ioab; When proclamation was made in Israel, that who e­uer should smite the Iebusites first, he should be the Chiefe and Captaine; Ioab was the man; When Dauid built some part of Ierusalem, Ioab built the rest; so as Ierusalem owes it selfe to Ioab, [Page 188] both for recouery, and reparati­on; No man held so close to Dauid; no man was more in­tent to the weale of Israel, none so succesfull in victories; yet now is he cald to reckon for his old sinnes, and must repay bloud to Amasa, and Abner: It is not in the power of all our de­serts to buy off one sinne, either with God, or man: where life is so deeply forfaited, it admits of no redemption.

The honest simplicity of those times knew not of any infamy in the execution of iu­stice. Benaiah, who was the great Marshall vnder Salomon, thinkes not his fingers defiled with that fatall stroke. It is a [Page 189] foolish nicenesse to put more shame in the doing of iustice, then in the violating of it.

In one act Salomon hath ap­proued himselfe both a good Magistrate, and a good sonne; fulfilling at once the will of a father, and the charge of God; concluding vpon this iust exe­cution, that, vpon Dauid, and vp­on his seed, and vpon his house, and vpon his Throne there shall be peace for euer from the Lord; and infer­ring, that without this there could haue beene no peace.

Bloud is a restlesse suitor, and will not leaue clamoring for iudgement, till the mouth be stopped with reuenge. In this case fauour to the offender, is [Page 190] cruelty to the fauourer.

Now hath Ioab paid all his a­rerages by the sword of Bena­iah; there is no suit against his corps; that hath the honor of a buriall fit for a Peere of Israel, for the neere cozen to the King. Death puts an end to all quar­rels; Salomon strikes off the skore, when God is satisfied; The reuenge that suruiues death and will not be shut vp in the Coffin, is barbarous, and vnbe­seeming true Israelites.

Onely Shimei remaines vpon the file; his course is next, yet so, as that it shall be in his owne liberty to hasten his end; Vpon Dauids remission, Shimei dwels securely in Bahurim, a towne [Page 191] of the tribe of Beniamin; Doubt­lesse, when he saw so round iu­stice done vpon Adonijah, and Ioab, his guiltie heart could not thinke Salomon message porten­ded ought but his execution; and now he cannot but be well pleased with so easie conditi­ons, of dwelling at Ierusalem, and not passing ouer the brooke Kidron; What more delightfull place could he choose to liue in, then that citie, which was the glorie of the whole earth? What more pleasing bounds could he wish then the sweet bankes of Kidron? Ierusalem could be no prison to him, whiles it was a Paradise to his betters; and if he had a desire to take fresh aire, [Page 192] he had the space of six furlongs to walke from the citie to the brooke; He could not com­plaine to be so delectably confi­ned; And besides, thrice euery yeere he might be sure to see all his friends without stirring his foot.

Wise Salomon whiles he cared to seeme not too seuere an ex­actor of that, which his father had remitted; prudently laies insensible twigs for so foule an offender; Besides the old grudge, no doubt Salomon saw cause to suspect the fidelitie of Shimei; as a man who was euer knowne to be hollow to the house of Dauid; The obscuritie of a Countrie life would easily [Page 193] afford him more safe oportuni­ties of secret mischiefe; Many eies shall watch him in the citie; he cannot looke out vnseene, he cannot whisper, vnheard: Vpon no other termes shall he inioy his life, which the least straying shall forfait.

Shimei feeles no paine in this restraint; How many Nobles of Israel doe that for pleasure, which he doth vpon command? Three yeeres hath he liued within compasse; limited both by Salomons charge and his owne oath; It was still in his power (notwithstanding Da­uids Caueat) to haue laid downe his hoare-head in the graue, without bloud; The iust God [Page 194] infatuates those whom he meanes to plague; Two of Shi­meies seruants are fled to Gath; and now he saddles his Asse and is gone to fetch them backe; Either (he thinkes) this word of Salomon is forgotten, or in the multitude of greater affaires, not heeded; or this so small an occurrence will not come to his eare: Couetousnesse and pre­sumption of impunitie are the destruction of many a soule; Shimei seekes his seruants, and loses himselfe; How many are there who crie out of this folly, and yet imitate it; These earth­ly things either are our seruants, or should be; How commonly doe we see men run out of the [Page 195] bounds, set by Gods law, to hunt after them, till their soules incurre a fearefull iudgement?

Princes haue thousands of eies, and eares; If Shimei will for more secrecie saddle his owne Asse, and take (as is like) the be­nefit of night, for his passage; his iourney cannot be hid from Salomon; How warie had those men need to be which are ob­noxious? Without delay is Shi­mei complained of, conuented, charged with violation both of the oath of God, and the iniun­ction of Salomon; and that all these might appeare to be but an occasion of that punishment, whose cause was more remote, now is all that old venome laid [Page 196] before him, which his malice had long since spit at Gods a­nointed: Thou knowst all the wic­kednesse, whereto thine heart is priuie, that thou didst to Dauid my father.

Had this old tallie beene stri­ken off; yet could not Shimei haue pleaded ought for his life; For, had he said; Let not my Lord the King be thus mortally displeased for so small an of­fence: Who euer died for passing ouer Kidron? What man is the worse for my harmlesse iour­ney? It had soone beene retur­ned, If the act be small, yet the circumstances are deadly; The commands of Soueraigne au­thoritie make the sleightest du­ties weightie; If the iourney be [Page 197] harmlesse, yet not the disobedi­ence; It is not for subiects to poyse the Princes charge in the scales of their weake constru­ctions; but they must suppose it euer to be of such importance, as is pretended by the Com­mander. Besides the precept, here was a mutuall adiuration; Shimei swore not to goe, Salomon swore his death if he went; the one oath must be reuenged, the other must be kept: If Shimei were false in offending; Salomon will be iust in punishing. Now therefore, that which Abishai the sonne of Zeruiah wished to haue done in the greenenesse of the wound, and was repelled; after long festering Benaiah is [Page 198] commanded to doe, The stones that Shimei threw at Dauid, strucke not so deepe, as Benaiahs sword; The tongue that cursed the Lords anointed hath paid the head to boot. Vengeance against rebells may sleepe, it cannot die; A sure, if late, iudge­ment attends those that dare lift vp either their hand, or tongue against the sacred persons of Gods Vice-gerents. How much lesse will the God of heauen suf­fer vnreuenged the insolencies, and blasphemies against his owne diuine Maiestie? It is a fearefull word, he should not be iust, if he should hold these guiltlesse.

Salomons Choyce, with his iudgement vpon the two harlots.

AFter so many mes­sages and proofes of grace, Salomon begins doubtful­ly, both for his match, and for his deuotion: If Pharaohs daughter were not a Proselyte, his early choice was (besides vnwarrantable) dan­gerous: The hie places not only stood, but were frequented, both by the people, and King; I doe not finde Dauid climbing [Page 200] vp those mis-hallowed hills, in an affectation of the varietie of Altars; Salomon doth so, and yet loues the Lord, and is loued of God againe: Such is the mercy of our God, that he will not suffer our well-meant weak­nesses to bereaue vs of his fa­uours: he rather pitties, then plagues vs for the infirmities of vpright hearts.

Gibeon was well worthy to be the chiefe, yea the only hie-place; There was the allowed Altar of God, there was the Ta­bernacle, though (as then) seue­red from the Arke; thither did young Salomon goe vp; and, as desiring to begin his raigne with God, there he offers no [Page 201] lesse then a thousand sacrifices.

Salomon worships God by day; God appeares to Salomon by night; Well may we looke to enioy God, when we haue serued him; The night cannot but be happie whose day hath beene holy.

It was no vnusuall course with God to reueale himselfe vnto his seruants by dreames; So did he here to Salomon; who saw more with his eies shut, then euer they could see open, euen him that was inuisible: The good King had offered vn­to God a thousand burnt-sacri­fices, and now God offreth him his option, Aske what I shall giue thee: He whose the beasts are on [Page 202] a thousand mountaines graci­ously accepts a small returne of his owne. It stands not with the munificence of a bountifull God to be indebted to his crea­ture, we cannot giue him ought vnrecompensed; There is no way wherein we can be so libe­rall to our selues, as by giuing to the possessor of all things. And art thou still, ô God, lesse free vnto vs thy meaner seruants vn­der the Gospell? Hast thou not said, Whatsoeuer ye shall aske the Father in my name, it shall be giuen you? Only giue vs grace not to be wanting vnto thee, and we know thou canst not suffer any thing to be wanting vn­to vs.

[Page 203] The night followes the tem­per of the day; and the heart so vseth to sleepe, as it wakes: Had not the thoughts of Salomon bin intent vpon wisdome by day, he had not made it his suit in his dreame: There needs no leisure of deliberation; The heart was so fore-stalled with the loue, and admiration of wisdome, that not abiding the least motion of a competition, it fastens on that grace it had longed for; Giue vn­to thy seruant an vnderstanding hart, to iudge thy people. Had not Salo­mon beene wise before, hee had not knowne the worth of wis­dome, he had not preferred it in his desires; The dung-hill cocks of the World cannot know the [Page 204] price of this pearle; those that haue it, know that all other ex­cellencies are but trash, and rub­bish vnto it. Salomon was a great King, and saw that he had pow­er enough, but withall, he found that royalty, without wisdome, was no other then eminent dis­honour; There is no trade of life whereto there belongs not a peculiar wisdome; with­out which there is nothing but a tedious vnprofitablenesse: much more to the hiest, and bu­siest vocation, the regiment of men; As God hath no reason to giue his best fauours vnasked; so hath he no will to withhold them where they are asked.

He that in his cradle had the [Page 205] title of Beloued of God, is now be­loued more in the Throne for the loue and desire of wisdome; This soyle could neuer haue borne this fruit alone; Salomon could not so much as haue drea­med of wisdome, if God had not put it into him; and now God takes the suit so well, as if hee were beholden to his creature for wishing the best to it selfe: and because Salomon hath asked what he should, hee shall now receiue both what he asked, and what he asked not: Riches and honor shall be giuen him in to the match. So doth God loue a good choyse, that hee recom­pences it with ouer-giuing; Could wee but first seeke the [Page 206] kingdome of God, and his righ­teousnes, all these earthly things should be super-added to vs; Had Salomon made wealth his boone, hee had failed both of riches and wisdome; now hee askes the best, and speeds of all; They are in a faire way of hap­pinesse that can pray well; It was no dis-comfort to Salomon, that he awaked and found it a dreame; for hee knew this dreame was diuine, and oracu­lar; and he already found in his first waking, the reall perfor­mance of what was promised him sleeping: Such illuminati­on did he sensibly finde in all the roomes of his heart, as if God had now giuen him a new [Page 207] soule: No maruell if Salomon now returning from the Taber­nacle to the Arke, testified his ioy and thankfulnesse by burnt-offerings, and peace-offerings, and publique feastings; The heart that hath found in it selfe the liuely testimonies of Gods presence, and fauour, cannot containe it selfe from outward expressions.

God likes not to haue his gifts lie dead where he hath confer'd them; Israel shall soone witnesse that they haue a King inlighte­ned from heauen; in whom wisdome did not stay for heires; did not admit of any parallel in his predecessors; The all-wise God wil find occasions to draw [Page 208] forth those graces to vse, and light, which he hath bestowed on man. Two Harlots come before young Salomon with a difficult plea; It is not like the Princes eare was the first that heard this complaint; there was a subordinate course of iustice for the determination of these meaner incidences: the hardnes of this decision brought the matter, through all the benches of inferiour iudicature, to the Tribunall of Salomon; The ve­ry Israelitish Harlots were not so vnnaturall as some now a­dayes that counterfait honesty; These striue for the fruit of their wombe, ours to put them off; One sonne is yet aliue, two mo­thers [Page 209] contend for him. The children were alike for features, for age; the mothers were alike for reputation, here can be no euidence from others eyes; Whethers now is the liuing Childe, and whethers is the dead? Had Salomon gone about to wring forth the truth by tor­tures, he had perhaps plagued the innocent, and added paine to the misery of her losse; the weaker had beene guilty, and the more able to beare, had car­ried away both the Childe, and the victory: The countenance of either of the mothers bewrai­ed an equality of passion; Sor­row possessed the one, for the sonne shee had lost; and the o­ther, [Page 210] for the sonne shee was in danger to leese: Both were e­qually peremptory, and impor­tunate in their claime; It is in vaine to think that the true part can be discerned by the vehe­mence of their challenge; Fals­hood is oft-times more clamo­rous then truth; No witnesses can be produced; They two dwelt apart vnder one roofe; and if some neighbours haue seene the children at their birth, and circumcision; yet how little difference, how much change is there in the fauour of infants? how doth death alter more confirmed lines?

The impossibility of proofe makes the guilty more confi­dent, [Page 211] more impudent; the true mother pleads that her childe was taken away at midnight by the other; but in her sleepe; She saw it not, she felt it not; and if all her senses could haue witnessed it, yet, here was but the affirmation of the one, a­gainst the deniall of the other, which in persons alike credible doe but counterpoise. What is there now to leade the Iudge, since there is nothing either in the act, or circumstances, or persons, or plea, or euidence that might sway the sentence? Salomon well saw that when all outward proofes failed, there was an inward affection, which if it could be fetcht out, would [Page 212] certainly bewray the true mo­ther; He knew sorrow might more easily be dissembled then naturall loue; both sorrowed for their owne; both could not loue, one, as theirs; To draw forth then this true proofe of motherhood, Salomon calls for a sword; Doubtlesse, some of the wiser hearers smiled vpon each other; and thought in them­selues, What, will the young King cut these knottie causes in peeces? Will he diuide iustice with edge-tooles? will he smite at hazard before conuiction? The actions of wise Princes are riddles to vulgar constructions; neither is it for the shallow ca­pacities of the multitude to fa­dome [Page 213] the deepe proiects of So­ueraigne authority: That sword which had serued for execution, shall now serue for triall; Diuide ye the liuing childe in twaine, and giue the one halfe to the one, and the other halfe to the other; Oh diuine ora­cle of iustice, commanding that which it would not haue done, that it might finde out that which could not be discouered; Neither God, nor his Deputies may be so taken at their words, as if they alwaies intended their commands for action, and not sometimes for probation.

This sword hath alreadie pierced the brest of the true mother; and diuided her heart with feare, and griefe, at so kil­ling [Page 214] a sentence; There needs no other racke to discouer nature; and now she thinkes, woe is me that came for iustice, and am answered with crueltie; Diuide yee the liuing childe? Alas, what hath that poore infant offended that it suruiues, and is sued for? How much lesse miserable had I beene, that my childe had beene smothered in my sleepe, then mangled before mine eies? If a dead carcasse could haue satisfied me, I needed not to haue complained; What a wo­full condition am I falne into, who am accused to haue beene the death of my supposed child already, and now shall be the death of my owne? If there [Page 215] were no losse of my childe, yet how can I indure this torment of mine owne bowels? How can I liue to see this part of my selfe sprawling vnder that blou­die sword? And whiles she thinkes thus, she sues to that suspected mercie of her iust Iudge, Oh my Lord, giue her the li­uing childe, and slaie him not: as thinking, if he liue, he shall but change a mother; if he die, his mother loseth a sonne; Whiles he liues, it shall be my comfort that I haue a sonne, though I may not call him so; dying, he perisheth to both; it is better he should liue to a wrong mo­ther, then to neither: Contrari­ly, her enuious competitor as [Page 216] holding her selfe well satisfied that her neighbour should be as childlesse, as her selfe, can say, Let it be neither mine, nor thine, but diuide it; Well might Salomon, and euery hearer conclude, that either she was no mother, or a monster, that could be content with the murder of her childe; and that if she could haue beene the true mother, and yet haue desired the bloud of her infant, she had beene as worthy to be stript of her childe for so foule vnnaturalnesse, as the other had beene worthy to inioy him for her honest compassion. Not more iustly then wisely there­fore doth Salomon trace the true mother by the footsteps of loue, [Page 217] and pittie; and adiudgeth the childe to those bowels that had yearned at his danger.

Euen in moralitie it is thus al­so; Truth as it is one, so it loues intirenesse; falshood, diuision: Satan that hath no right to the heart, would be content with a peece of it; God that made it all, will haue either the whole, or none; The erroneous Church striues with the true, for the li­uing childe of sauing doctrine; each claimes it for her owne; Heresie conscious of her owne iniustice, could be content to goe away with a legge, or an arme of sound principles, as ho­ping to make vp the rest with her owne mixtures; Truth can­not [Page 218] abide to part with a ioynt; and will rather indure to leese all by violence, then a peece through a wil­ling conni­uencie.

The Temple.

IT is a weake and in­iurious censure that taxeth Salomons slack­nesse in founding the house of God; Great bodies must haue but slow motions; He was wise that said, the matters must be all prepared without, ere we build within; And if Dauid haue laid readie a great part of the mettals and timber; yet ma­ny a tree must be felled and squared, and many a stone hewne and polished, ere this [Page 220] foundation could be laid; nei­ther could those large Cedars be cut, sawne, seasoned in one yeere; Foure yeeres are soone gone in so vast a preparation: Dauid had not beene so intire a friend to Hiram, if Hiram had not beene a friend to God; Sa­lomons wisdome hath taught him to make vse of so good a neighbour, of a fathers friend; he knowes that the Tyrians skill was not giuen them for nothing; Not Iewes onely, but Gentiles must haue their hand in building the Temple of God; Onely Iewes medled with the Tabernacle, but the Temple is not built without the aide of Gentiles; They, together with [Page 221] vs, make vp the Church of God.

Euen Pagans haue their Arts from heauen; how iustly may we improue their graces to the seruice of the God of Heauen; If there be a Tyrian that can worke more curiously in gold, in siluer, in brasse, in yron, in purple, and blew silke, then an Israelite, why should not he be imployed about the Temple? Their heathenisme is their own; their skill is their makers; Ma­ny a one workes for the Church of God, that yet hath no part in it.

Salomon rayses a tribute for the work; not of mony, but of men: Thirty thousand Israelites are leuied for this seruice; yet not [Page 220] [...] [Page 221] [...] [Page 222] continuedly, but with intermis­sion; their labour is more ge­nerous, and lesse pressing; it is e­nough if they keepe their cour­ses one moneth in Lebanon, two at home; so as euer ten thousand worke, whiles twen­ty thousand breathe. So fauou­rable is God to his creature, that he requires vs not to be ouer­toyled in the works of his own seruice. Due respirations are re­quisite in the holiest acts. The maine stresse of the worke lies vpon Proselytes; whose both number, and paines was herein more then the Natiues: An hun­dred and fifty thousand of them are imployed in bearing bur­dens, in hewing stones; besides [Page 223] their three thousand, three hun­dred ouer-seers; Now were the despised Gibeonites of good vse, and in vain doth Israel wish that the zeale of Saul had not robbed them of so seruiceable drudges.

There is no man so meane but may be some way vsefull to the house of God; Those that cannot worke in gold, and sil­uer, and silke, yet may cut and hewe; and those that can doe neither, yet may carry burdens; Euen the seruices that are more homely, are not lesse necessarie: Who can dis-hearten himselfe in the conscience of his owne insufficiency, when he sees God can as well serue himselfe of his [Page 224] labour, as of his skill.

The Temple is framed in Le­banon, and set vp in Sion; Nei­ther hammer nor axe was heard in that holy structure; There was nothing but noyse in Le­banon, nothing in Sion but si­lence and peace; What euer tu­mults are abroad, it is fit there should be all quietnesse & sweet concord in the Church; Oh God, that the axes of schisme, or the hammers of furious conten­tions should be heard within thy Sanctuary! Thine house is not built with blowes, with blowes it is beaten downe: Oh knit the hearts of thy seruants together in the vnity of the spi­rit, and the bond of peace; that [Page 225] we may minde and speake the same things, that thou who art the God of peace, maist take pleasure to dwell vnder the qui­et roofe of our hearts.

Now is the foundation laid, and the wals rising of that glo­rious fabricke, which all Nati­ons admired, and all times haue celebrated; Euen those stones which were laid in the Base of the building were not ragged and rude, but hewne and cost­ly; the part that lyes couered with earth from the eyes of all beholders, is no lesse precious, then those that are most conspi­cuous: God is not all for the eye, hee pleaseth himselfe with the hidden value of the liuing [Page 226] stones of his spirituall Temple; How many noble graces of his feruants haue beene buried in obscurity; not discerned so much as by their owne eyes? which yet as he gaue, so he crowneth: Hypocrites regard nothing but shew; God nothing but truth.

The matter of so goodly a frame striues with the propor­tion, whether shall more excell; Here was nothing but white Marble without; nothing but Cedar and Gold within; Vpon the Hill of Sion stands that glit­tering and snowy pile, which both inuiteth and dazeleth the eyes of passengers a farre off; so much more precious within, as Cedar is better then stone, Gold [Page 227] then Cedar; No base thing goes to the making vp of Gods house; If Satan may haue a dwelling, he cares not though he patch it vp of the rubbish of stone, or rotten sticks, or drosse of mettals; God will admit of nothing that is not pure and ex­quisite; His Church consists of none but the faithfull, his habi­tation is in no heart but the gra­cious.

The fashion was no other then that of the Tabernacle; on­ly this was more costly, more large, more fixed; God was the same that dwelt in both, hee va­ried not, the same mystery was in both; Onely it was fit there should be a proportion betwixt [Page 228] the worke and the builder; The Tabernacle was erected in a po­pular estate, the Temple in a Monarchy; it was fit this should fauour of the munificence of a King, as that of the zeale of a multitude; That was erected in the flitting condition of Israel in the desert; this, in their setled residence in the promised Land; it was fit therefore that should be framed for motion, this for rest. Both of them were distin­guished into three remarkable diuisions, whereof each was more noble, more reserued then other.

But what doe we bend our eies vpon stone, and wood, and mettals? God would neuer haue [Page 229] taken pleasure in these dead ma­terials for their owne sakes, if they had not had a further in­tendment: Me thinkes I see foure Temples in this one. It is but one in matter, as the God that dwels in it is but one; three yet more in resemblance: accor­ding to the diuision of them in whom it pleases God to inha­bite; For where euer God dwels, there is his temple; Oh God, thou vouchsafest to dwell in the beleeuing heart: as we thy sillie creatures haue our being in thee, so thou the Creator of heauen and earth hast thy dwel­ling in vs. The heauen of hea­uens is not able to containe thee, and yet thou disdainest [Page 230] not to dwell in the strait lod­gings of our renewed soule. So then, because Gods children are many, and those many diuided in respect of themselues, though vnited in their head, therefore this Temple which is but one in collection as God is one, is manifold in the distribution, as the Saints are many; each man bearing about him a little shrine of this infinite Maiestie; And for that the most generall diui­sion of the Saints is in their place and estate; some strugling, and toyling in this earthly war­fare, others triumphing in hea­uenly glorie, therefore hath God two other, more vniuersall Temples; One the Church of [Page 231] his Saints on earth, the other, the hiest heauen of his Saints glorified. In all these, ô God, thou dwellest for euer, and this materiall house of thine is a cleere representation of these three spirituall; Else what were a temple made with hands vnto the God of spirits? And tho one of these was a true type of all, yet how are they all exceeded each by other? This of stone, though most rich and costly, yet what is it to the liuing Temple of the holy Ghost, which is our body? What is the Temple of this body of ours, to the Tem­ple of Christs body which is his Church? And what is the Tem­ple of Gods Church on earth, [Page 232] to that which triumpheth glori­ously in heauen?

How easily doe we see all these in this one visible Temple? which as it had three distincti­ons of roomes; the Porch, the Holy-place, the Holy of Holies; so is each of them answered spiritually; In the porch we finde the regenerate soule en­tring into the blessed societic of the Church; In the holy place, the Communion of the true vi­sible Church on earth, selected from the world; In the holy of holies (whereinto the hie-Priest entred once a yeere) the glori­ous heauen, into which our true hie-Priest, Christ Iesus, entred once for all to make an attone­ment [Page 233] betwixt God, and man. In all these what a meet correspon­dence there is both in proporti­on, matter, situation?

In proportion; The same rule that skilfull caruers obserue in the dutting out of the perfect statue of a man, that the height be thrice the breadth, and the breadth one third of the height, was likewise dulie obserued in the fabrike of the Temple; whose length was double to the height, and treble to the breadth; as being sixtie cubits long, thirtie hie, and twentie broad; How exquisite a sym­metrie hast thou ordained (ô God) betwixt the faithfull heart, and thy Church on earth, with [Page 234] that in heauen; how accurate in each of these, in all their pow­ers and parts compared with other; So hath God ordered the beleeuing soule that it hath nei­ther too much shortnesse of grace, nor too much height of conceit, nor too much breadth of passion; So hath he ordered his visible Church, that there is a necessarie inequalitie, without any disproportion; an height of gouernment, a length of ex­tent, a breadth of iurisdiction duly answerable to each other; So hath he ordered his trium­phant Church aboue, that it hath a length of eternitie, an­swered with an height of per­fection, and a breadth of in­comprehensible [Page 235] glorie.

In matter; All was here of the best; The wood was preci­ous, sweet, lasting; The stone beautifull, costly, insensible of age; The gold pure and glitte­ring; So are the graces of Gods children, excellent in their na­ture▪ deare in their acceptation, eternall in their vse: So are the ordinances of God in his Church, holy, comfortable, ir­refragable. So is the perfection of his glorified saints incompa­rable, vnconceiuable.

In Situation; the outer parts were here more common, the inner more holy, and peculiar­ly reserued: I finde one Court of the Temple open to the vn­cleane, [Page 236] to the vncircumcised; Within that; another open only to the Israelites, and of them, to the cleane; within that, yet another, proper only to the Priests and Leuites; where was the Brazen Altar for sacrifice, and the Brazen sea for washings; The eies of the Laitie might fol­low their oblations in hither, their feet might not.

Yet more, in the couered roomes of the Temple, there is, whither the Priests only may enter, not the Leuites; there is, whither the hie-priest only may enter, not his brethren.

It is thus in euery renewed man, the indiuiduall temple of God; the outward parts are al­lowed [Page 237] common to God and the world; the inwardest and secretest, which is the heart, is reserued only for the God that made it. It is thus in the Church visible, the false and foule-hear­ted hypocrite hath accesse to the holy ordinances of God, and treads in his Courts; only the true Christian hath intire and priuate conuersation with the holy one of Israel. He only is admitted into the Holy of ho­lies, and enters within the glo­rious vaile of heauen.

If from the walls we looke vnto the furniture; What is the Altar whereon our sacrifices of praier and praises are offered to the Almightie but a contrite [Page 238] heart? What the golden Can­dlesticks, but the illumined vn­derstanding, wherein the light of the knowledge of God, and his diuine will shineth for euer? What the Tables of Shew-bread, but the sanctified memo­rie, which keepeth the bread of life continually? Yea, if we shall presume so farre as to enter into the very closet of Gods oracle; Euen there, ô God, doe we finde our vnworthy hearts so honou­red by thee, that they are made thy very Arke, wherein thy Royall law, and the pot of thine heauenly Manna is kept for euer; and from whose pro­pitiatorie, shaded with the wings of thy glorious Angels, [Page 239] thou giuest the gratious Testi­monies of thy good spirit, wit­nessing with ours, that we are the children of thee the liuing God.

Behold, if Salomon built a Temple vnto thee, thou hast built a Temple vnto thy selfe in vs; We are not only through thy grace liuing stones in thy Temple, but liuing Temples in thy Sion: Oh doe thou euer dwell in this thine house; and in this thy house let vs euer serue thee: Wherefore else hast thou a Temple, but for thy presence with vs, and for our worship­ping of thee? The time was, when, as thy people, so thy selfe; didst lodge in flitting Tents, e­uer [Page 240] shifting, euer mouing; thence thou thoughtest best to soiourne both in Shilo; and the roofe of Obed-Edom; After that, thou condescendedst to settle thine abode with men, and wouldst dwell in an house of thine owne, at thy Ierusa­lem. So didst thou in the be­ginning lodge with our first Parents as in a Tent; Soiourne with Israel vnder the law; and now makest a constant resi­dence vnder the Gospell, in the hearts of thy chosen children; from whence thou wilt remoue no more; they shall remoue from the world, from them­selues, thou shalt not remoue from them.

[Page 241] Wheresoeuer thou art, ô God, thou art worthie of ado­ration; Since thou euer wilt dwell in vs, be thou euer wor­shipped in vs; Let the Altars of our cleane hearts send vp euer to thee the sweetly-perfumed smokes of our holy meditati­ons, and faithfull praiers, and cheerefull thanks-giuings; Let the pure lights of our faith, and godly conuersation shine euer before thee, and men, and neuer be put out; Let the bread of life stand euer readie vpon the pure, and precious tables of our hearts. Locke vp thy Law, and thy Manna within vs; and speake comfortably to vs from thy mercie-seat. Suffer nothing [Page 242] to enter in hither that is vn­cleane; Sanctifie vs vnto thy selfe, and be thou san­ctified in vs.

Salomon, and the Queene of Sheba.

GOD hath no vse of the darke lanternes of secret, and reser­ued perfections; We our selues doe not light vp can­dles to put them vnder bushels. The great lights whether of hea­uen, or earth are not intended to obscuritie; but as to giue light vnto others, so to be seene them­selues; Dan and Beersheba were too strait bounds for the fame of Salomon; which now hath [Page 244] flowne ouer all lands and seas, and raised the world to an ad­miration of his more then hu­mane wisdome. Euen so, ô thou euerlasting King of peace, thy Name is great among the Gen­tiles; There is no speech, nor language, where the report of thee is not heard; The sound of thee is gone forth through all the earth; Thy name is an ointment powred out, therefore the virgins loue thee.

No doubt many from all coasts came to learne and won­der; none with so much note as this noble daughter of Cham: Who her selfe deserues the next wonder to him whom she came to heare, and admire; [Page 245] That a woman, a Princesse, a rich and great Queene, should trauell from the remotest south, from Saba, a region famous for the greatest delicacies of nature, to learne wisdome, is a match­lesse example. We know Mer­chants that venture to either Indies for wealth; Others we know daily to crosse the seas for wanton curiositie; Some few Philosophers we haue knowne to haue gone farre for learning, and amongst Princes it is no vnusuall thing to send their Embassadors to farre-distant kingdomes, for transaction of businesses either of State, or commerce; but that a royall Lady should in person vnder­take [Page 246] and ouercome so tedious a iourney, only to obserue, and inquire into the mysteries of nature, art, religion, is a thing past both parallel, and imitati­on; Why doe we thinke any labour great, or any way long to heare a greater then Salomon? How iustly shall the Queene of the South rise vp in iudgement, and condemne vs, who may heare wisdome crying in our streets, and neglect her?

Certainly so wealthy a Queene, and so great a louer of wisdome could not want great schollers at home; them she had first apposed with her enigma­ticall demands; and now fin­ding her selfe vnsatisfied she be­takes [Page 247] her selfe to this Oracle of God; It is a good thing to doubt, better to be resolued: The minde that neuer doubts shall learne nothing; the minde that alwaies doubts shall neuer profit by learning; Our doubts only serue to stir vs vp to seeke truth; Our resolutions settle vs in the truth we haue found. There were no pleasure in reso­lutions if we had not beene for­merly troubled with doubts; There were nothing but dis­comfort and disquietnesse in doubts, if it were not for the hope of resolution; It is not safe to suffer doubts to dwell too long vpon the heart; there may be good vse of them as [Page 246] [...] [Page 247] [...] [Page 248] passengers, dangerous as in­mates: Happie are we if we can finde a Salomon to remoue them.

Fame as it is alwaies a blab, so oft-times a lyer. The wise Princesse found cause to distrust so vncertaine an informer, whose reports are still either doubtfull, or fabulous; and like windes, or streames, increase in passing: If very great things were not spoken of Salomon, fame should haue wrongd him; and if but iust rumors were spread of his wisdome, there needed much credulitie to be­leeue them. This great Queene would not suffer her selfe to be lead by the eares; but comes in person to examine the truth of [Page 249] forraine relations. How much more vnsafe is it in the most important businesses of our soules, to trust the opinions and reports of others? Those eares and eies are ill bestowed that doe not serue to choose and iudge for their owners.

When we come to a rich trea­sure, we need not be bidden to carrie away what we are able. This wise Lady as she came far for knowledge, so finding the plentie of this veine, she would not depart without her full lode: There was nothing where­in she would leaue her selfe vn­satisfied: she knew that she could not euery day meet with a Salomon; and therefore shee [Page 250] makes her best vse of so learned a master; Now she empties her heart of all her doubts, and fils it with instruction. It is not good neglecting the oportuni­ties of furnishing our soules with profitable, with sauing knowledge. There is much wis­dome in mouing a question well, though there be more in assoyling it: What vse doe we make of Salomons teacher, if sit­ting at the feet of Christ we leaue our hearts either ignorant, or perplexed?

As if the errand of this weal­thie Queene had beene to buy wisdome, she came with her Camels laden with Gold, and precious stones, and rich odors: [Page 251] Though to a mightie King she will not come to schoole emp­tie-handed; If she came to fetch an inualuable treasure, she findes it reason to giue thankes vnto him that kept it. As he is a foole that hath a price in his hand to get wisdome, and wants an heart; So is he vn­thankfull that hath an heart to get wisdome, and hath no price in his hand; A price, not coun­teruailable to what he seekes, but retributorie to him of whom he seekes. How shame­full is it to come alwaies with close hands to them that teach vs the great mysteries of saluation.

Expectation is no better then [Page 252] a kinde enemy to good deserts. Wee leese those obiects which we ouer-looke. Many had been admired if they had not beene ouer-much befriended by fame; who now in our iudgement are cast as much below their ranke, as they were fore-imagined a­boue it. This disaduantage had wife Salomon with this stranger; whom rumour had bid to look for incredible excellencies; yet so wonderfull were the graces of Salomon, that they ouercame the hiest expectation, and the liberallest beleefe: So as when shee saw the architecture of his buildings, the prouisions of his tables, the order of his atten­dants, the religion of his sacrifi­ces, [Page 253] shee confessed both her in­iust incredulity in not beleeuing the report of his wisdome, and the iniury of report in vnder­rating it. I beleeued not the words till I came, and mine eyes had seene it; and loe the one halfe was not told mee. Her eyes were more sure infor­mers then her eares. She did not so much heare as see Salomons wisdome in these reall effects. His answers did not so much demonstrate it, as his prudent gouernment. There are some whose speeches are witty, whiles their carriage is weake, whose deeds are incongruities, whiles their words are Apothegmes. It is not worth the name of wis­dome that may be heard onely, [Page 254] and not seene; Good discourse is but the froth of wisdome; the pure and solid substance of it is in well-framed actions; if wee know these things, happy are we if we doe them.

And if this great person ad­mired the wisdome, the buil­dings, the domesticke order of Salomon, and chiefly his stately ascent into the House of the Lord; how should our soules be taken vp with wonder at thee▪ O thou true sonne of Da­uid, and Prince of euer-lasting peace, who receiuedst the spi­rit not by measure? who hast built this glorious house, not made with hands, euen the hea­uen of heauens? whose infinite [Page 255] prouidence hath sweetly dispo­sed of all the family of thy crea­tures, both in heauen and earth; and who lastly didst ascend vp on hie, and ledst captiuity cap­tiue, and gauest gifts to men?

So well had this studious Lady profited by the Lectures of that exquisite Master, that now shee enuies, shee magnifies none but them who may liue within the ayre of Salomons wis­dome: Happy are thy men, and hap­py are thy seruants, which stand con­tinually before thee, and that heare thy wisdome; As if she could haue beene content to haue changed her Throne for the foot-stoole of Salomon. It is not easie to con­ceiue how great a blessing it is [Page 256] to liue vnder those lips, which doe both preserue knowledge, and vtter it: If wee were not glutted with good counsell, we should finde no relish in any worldly contentment in com­parison hereof; But, hee that is full, despiseth an hony-combe.

Shee, whom her owne expe­rience had taught how happy a thing it is to haue a skilfull Pi­lote sitting at the sterne of the State, blesseth Israel for Salomon, blesseth God for Israel, blesseth Salomon and Israel mutually in each-other; Blessed be the Lord thy God which delighted in thee, to set thee on the Throne of Israel. Be­cause the Lord loued Israel for euer, therefore made hee the King to doe [Page 257] judgement and justice. It was not more Salomons aduancement to be King of Israel, then it was the aduancement of Israel to be gouerned by a Salomon. There is no earthly proofe of Gods loue to any Nation comparable to the substitution of a wise, and pious gouernour: to him wee owe our peace, our life, and which is deseruedly dearer, the life of our soules, the Gospell. But, oh God, how much hast thou loued thine Israel for euer, in that thou hast set ouer it that righteous Branch of Iesse, whose name is Wonderfull, Counsellor, the mightie God, the euerlasting Father, the Prince of peace: in whose dayes Iudah shall be saued, and Israel shall [Page 258] dwell safely? Sing O heauen, and re­ioyce, O earth, and breake forth into singing, O mountaines, for God hath comforted his people, and will haue e­uerlasting mercie vpon his afflicted.

The Queene of Sheba did not bring her gold and preci­ous stones to looke on, or to re-carry, but to giue to a weal­thier then her selfe. Shee giues therefore to Salomon an hundred and twenty talents of Gold, be­sides costly stones and odors. He that made siluer in Hierusa­lem as stones, is yet richly pre­sented on all hands. The riuers still runne into the Sea; To him that hath shall be giuen: How should wee bring vnto thee, O thou King of Heauen, the pu­rest [Page 259] gold of thine owne graces, the sweetest odors of our obe­diences? Was not this withall a type of that homage which should be done vnto thee, O Sa­uiour, by the heads of the Na­tions? The Kings of Tarshish and the Iles bring presents; the Kings of Sheba and Saba bring gifts; yea all Kings shall worship thee, all Nations shall serue thee: They cannot in­rich themselues but by giuing vnto thee.

It could not stand with Sa­lomons magnificence to receiue rich curtesies without a returne; The greater the person was, the greater was the obligation of requitall; The gifts of meane persons are taken but as tributes [Page 260] of dutie; it is dishonourable to take from equalls, and not to retribute: There was not there­fore more freedome in her gift, then in her receit; Her owne will was the measure of both; She gaue what she would, she receiued what soeuer she would aske; And she had little profi­ted by Salomons schoole, if she had not learned to aske the best: She returnes therefore more richly laden then she came; she gaue to Salomon as a thankfull Client of wisdome; Salomon re­turnes to her as a munificent Patrone, according to the libe­ralitie of a King; We shall be sure to be gainers by whatsoe­uer we giue vnto thee, ô thou [Page 261] God of wisdome and peace: Oh that we could come from the remote regions of our infi­delitie, and worldlinesse, to learne wisdome of thee, who both teachest and giuest it a­bundantly, without vpbrai­ding, without grudging; and could bring with vs the poore presents of our faithfull desires, and sincere seruices; how wouldst thou receiue vs with a gracious acceptation, and sends vs away laden with present comfort, with eternall glorie?

Salomons defection.

SInce the first man A­dam, the world hath not yeelded either so great an example of wisdome, or so fearefull an example of A­postasie as Salomon: What hu­mane knowledge Adam had in the perfection of nature by cre­ation, Salomon had by infusion; both fully, both from one foun­taine; If Adam called all crea­tures by their names, Salomon spake from the Cedars of Le­banon, to the mosse that springs [Page 263] out of the wall; and besides these vegetables, there was no Beast, nor Fowle, nor Fish, nor creeping thing that escaped his discourse. Both fell, both fell by one meanes; as Adam, so might Salomon haue said, The woman de­ceiued mee; It is true indeed, that Adam fell as all; Salomon as one; yet so as that this one is the pat­terne of the frailty of all. If knowledge could haue giuen an immunity from sinne, both had stood: Affections are those feet of the soule, on which it ei­ther stands, or fals; Salomon lo­ued many out-landish women; I wonder not if the wise King mis-carried; Euery word hath bane enough for a man; Wo­men, [Page 264] many women, out-lan­dish, idolatrous, and those not onely had, but doted on; Sexe, multitude, nation, condition, all conspired to the ruine of a Sa­lomon; If one woman vndid all mankind, what maruell is it if many women vndid one? yet had those many bin the daugh­ters of Israel, they had tempted him onely to lust, not to mis­deuotion; now they were of those Nations, whereof the Lord had said to the children of Israel, Goe not yee in to them, nor let them come in to you, for surely they will turne your hearts after their Gods; to them did Salomon ioyne in loue; who can maruell if they disioyned his heart from God? [Page 265] Satan hath found this bait to take so well, that he neuer chan­ged it since he crept into Para­dise. How many haue wee knowne whose heads haue bin broken with their owne ribbe?

In the first world the sonnes of God saw the daughters of men, and tooke them wiues of all they liked; they multiplied not children, but iniquities; Balaam knew well if the dames of Mo­ab could make the Israelites wantons, they should soone make them Idolaters: All lies open where the couenant is not both made with the eye, and kept.

It was the charge of God to the Kings of Israel, before they [Page 266] were, that they should not mul­tiply Wiues. Salomon hath gone beyond the stakes of the law, and now is ready to leese him­selfe amongst a thousand bed-fellowes: Who so laies the reines in the necke of his carnall ap­petite, cannot promise where he will rest. Oh Salomon, where was thy wisdome, whiles thine affections run away with thee into so wilde a voluptuousnes? What bootes it thee to discourse of all things, whiles thou mis­knowest thy selfe? The perfe­ctions of speculation doe not argue the inward powers of selfe-gouernment; The eye may be cleare whiles the hand is pal­sied. It is not so much to be [Page 267] heeded how the soule is infor­med, as how it is disciplined; The light of knowledge doth well, but the due order of the affections doth better: Neuer any meere man since the first, knew so much as Salomon▪ many that haue knowne lesse haue had more command of them­selues; A competent estate well husbanded, is better then a vast patrimony neglected.

There can be no safety to that soule where is not a strait curbe vpon our desires; If our lusts be not held vnder as slaues, they will rule as tyrans. Nothing can preuent the extremity of our mis-carriage but early and strong denials to our concupi­scence: [Page 268] Had Salomon done thus, delicacie and lawlesse greatnesse had not led him into these bogs of intemperance.

The waies of youth are steep and slipperie, wherein as it is easie to fall, so it is commonly releeued with pittie; but the wanton inordinations of age are not more vnseasonable then odious; yet behold Salomons younger yeeres were studious, and innocent, his ouer-hastened age was licentious and misgo­uerned; For, when Salomon was old, his wiues turned away his heart after other Gods; If any age can secure vs from the danger of a spirituall fall, it is our last; and if any mans old-age might se­cure [Page 269] him, it was Salomons; the beloued of God, the Oracle, the miracle of wisdome; who would haue looked but that the blossoms of so hopefull a spring, should haue yeelded a goodly and pleasant fruit, in the Autumne of age? yet behold euen Salomons old age vicious. There is no time wherein we can be safe, whiles we carrie this body of sinne about vs; Youth is impetuous, mid-age stub­borne, old age weake, all dan­gerous; Say not now; The furie of my youthfull flashes is ouer; I shall henceforth finde my heart calme and impregnable; whiles thou seest old Salomon doting vpon his concu­bines, yea vpon their Idolatrie.

[Page 270] It is no presuming vpon time▪ or meanes, or strength; how many haue begun and proceeded well, who yet haue shamed themselues in their last stage? If God vphold vs not, we cannot stand; If God vp­hold vs, we cannot fall; when we are at our strongest, it is best to be weake in our selues; and when at our weakest, strong in him, in whom we can doe all things.

I cannot yet thinke so hardly of Salomon, that he would pro­iect his person to Ashtaroth the Goddesse of the Sidonians, or Milchom the Idoll of the Am­monites, or Chemosh the abo­mination of Moab: He that [Page 271] knew all things from the shrub, to the Cedar, could not be ig­norant that these statues were but stocks, or stones, or mettals, and the powers resembled by them, Deuils. It is not like he could be so insensate to adore such deities; but so farre was the vxorious King blinded with affection, that he gaue not passage only to the Idolatrie of his heathenish wiues, but furtherance.

So did he dote vpon their persons, that he humord them in their sins: Their act is there­fore his, because his eies winkt at it; his hand aduanced it; He that built a Temple to the li­uing God, for himselfe and Israel [Page 272] in Sion, built a Temple to Chemosh in the mount of Scan­dall, for his mistresses of Moab, in the very face of Gods house: No hill about Ierusalem was free from a Chappell of Deuils; Each of his dames had their Puppets, their altars, their in­cense; Because Salomon feedes them in their superstition, he drawes the sinne home to him­selfe, and is branded for what he should haue forbidden. Euen our very permission appropri­ates crimes to vs; We need no more guiltinesse of any sinne then our willing toleration.

Who can but yearne, and feare to see the wofull wracke of so rich and goodly a vessell? [Page 273] O Salomon, wert not thou he whose younger yeeres God ho­noured with a message and stile of loue? To whom God twice appeared; and in a gracious vi­sion renewed the couenant of his fauour? Whom he singled out from all the generation of men to be the founder of that glorious Temple which was no lesse cleerely the Type of heauen, then thou wert of Christ the Sonne of the euer­liuing God? Wert not thou that deepe Sea of wisdome which God ordained to send forth riuers and fountaines of all diuine, and humane know­ledge to all nations, to all ages? Wert not thou one of those se­lect [Page 274] Secretaries, whose hand it pleased the Almightie to em­ploy in three peeces of the di­uine monuments of sacred Scriptures? Which of vs dares euer hope to aspire vnto thy graces? Which of vs can pro­mise to secure our selues from thy ruines? We fall, ô God, we fall to the lowest hell, if thou preuent vs not, if thou sustaine vs not: Vphold thou me according to thy word that I may liue, and let me not be ashamed of my hope. Order my steps in thy word, and let not any iniquitie haue dominion ouer me. All our weaknesse is in our selues, all our strength is in thee. O God be thou strong in our weaknesse, that our weake knees [Page 275] may be euer steddie in thy strength.

But in the midst of the hor­ror of this spectacle (able to affright all the sonnes of men) behold some glimpse of com­fort: was it of Salomon that Da­uid his father prophesied; Though he fall, he shall not be vtterly cast downe; for the Lord vpholdeth him with his hand? If sensible grace, yet finall mercy was not taken from that beloued of God; In the hardest of this winter▪ the sappe was gone downe to the root, though it shewed not in the branches: Euen whiles Sa­lomon remoued, that word stood fast, He shall be my Sonne, and I will be his Father. He that foresaw his [Page 276] sinne, threatned and limited his correction. If he breake my sta­tutes, and keepe not my commande­ments; then will I visit his trans­gression with a rodde, and his iniqui­tie with stripes; Neuerthelesse my louing kindnesse will I not vtterly take from him, nor suffer my faith­fulnesse to faile; My Couenant will I not breake; nor alter the thing that is gone out of my mouth; Behold the fauour of God doth not de­pend vpon Salomons obedience; If Salomon shall suffer his faith­fulnesse to faile towards his God; God will not requite him with the failing of his faithful­nesse to Salomon; If Salomon breake his couenant with God; God will not breake his Coue­nant [Page 277] with the father of Salomon, with the Sonne of Dauid; He shall smart, he shall not perish. Oh gracious word of the God of all mercies, able to giue strength to the languishing, comfort to the despairing, to the dying, life. Whatsoe­uer wee are, thou wilt be still thy selfe, O holy one of Israel, true to thy Couenant, constant to thy Decree; The sinnes of thy chosen can neither frustrate thy counsell, nor out-strip thy mercies.

Now I see Salomon of a wan­ton louer, a graue Preacher of mortification; I see him quen­ching those inordinate flames with the teares of his repen­tance. [Page 278] Me thinkes I heare him sighing deeply betwixt euery word of that his solemne pe­nance which he would needs inioyne himselfe before all the world, I haue applied my heart to know the wickednesse of folly, euen the foolishnesse of madnesse; and I finde more bitter then death the wo­man whose heart is as nets and snares, and her hands as bands; Who so pleaseth God shall be deliuered from her, but the sinner shall be taken by her.

Salomon was taken as a sinner, deliuered as a penitent. His soule escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers; the snare was broken, and he deliuered; It is good for vs that he was both [Page 279] taken, and deliuered; Taken, that wee might not presume; and that we might not despaire, deliuered. He sinned, that we might not sinne; he recouered, that we may not sinke vnder our sinne.

But, oh the iustice of God in­separable from his mercie; Salo­mons sinne shall not escape the rod of men; Rather then so wise an offender shall want ene­mies, God shall raise vp three aduersaries vnto Salomon, Ha­dad the Edomite, Rezon the King of Aram, Ieroboam the son of Nebat, whereof two were forraine, one domesticall: No­thing but loue and peace soun­ded in the name of Salomon; [Page 280] nothing else was found in his raigne, whiles he held in good termes with his God; But when once he fell foule with his ma­ker, all things began to be troubled. There are whips laid vp against the time of Salomons fore-seene offence, which are now brought forth for his cor­rection; On purpose was Ha­dad the sonne of the King of Edom hid in a corner of Egypt from the sword of Dauid and Ioab, that he might be reserued for a scourge to the exorbitant sonne of Dauid: God would haue vs make account that our peace ends with our inno­cence: The same sinne that sets debate betwixt God and vs, [Page 281] armes the creatures against vs; It were pittie we should be at any quiet whiles we are falne out with the God of peace.

Contemplations VPON …

Contemplations VPON THE PRINCIPALL HISTORIES OF THE NEVV TE­STAMENT. The third Booke. Containing

  • The Widowes sonne raised.
  • The Rulers sonne healed.
  • The dumbe Deuill eiected.
  • Matthew called.
  • Christ among the Gergesens; or Legion, and the Gadarene heard.

TO MY RIGHT WORTHY AND WOR­SHIPFVLL FRIEND, Master IOHN GIFFORD of Lan­crasse in Deuon, Esquire, All Grace and Peace.


I hold it (as I ought) one of the rich mercies of GOD, that he hath giuen me fauour in some eies which haue not seene me; but [Page] none, that I know, hath so much de­merited me, vnknowne, as your wor­thy Familie: Ere therefore you see my face, see my hand willingly pro­fessing my thankfull Obligations: Wherewith may it please you to ac­cept of this parcell of thoughts, not vn­like those fellowes of theirs, whom you haue entertained aboue their desert. These shall present vnto you our bountifull Sauiour, magnifying his mercies to men, in a sweet varietie; healing the diseased, raising the dead, casting out the Deuill, calling in the Publican, and shall raise your heart to adore that infinite goodnesse; Euery helpe to our deuotion deserues to be precious; So much more, as the decre­pit age of the world declines to an heart­lesse coldnesse of pietie: That GOD, to whose honour these poore labours are meant, blesse them in your hands, and from them, to all Readers. To his protection I heartily commend you, and the right vertuous Gentlewo­man, [Page] your worthy wife, with all the pledges of your happie affection, as whom you haue deserued to be

Your truly thankfull and officious friend, IOS: HALL.

The Widowes Sonne raised.

THE fauours of our beneficent Sauiour were at the least contiguous. No sooner hath he rai­sed the Centurions seruant from his bed, then he raises the Widowes sonne from his Beere.

The fruitfull clouds are not ordained to fall all in one field; Nain must partake of the bountie of Christ as well as Cana, or Capernaum: And if [Page 290] this Sunne were fixed in one Orbe, yet it diffuseth heat, and light to all the world; It is not for any place to ingrosse the messengers of the Gospell, whose errand is vniuersall; This immortall seed may not fall all in one furrow.

The little citie of Nain stood vnder the hill of Hermon, neere vnto Tabor; but now it is wa­tered with better dewes from a­boue, the doctrine and miracles of a Sauiour.

Not for state, but for the more euidence of the worke, is our Sauiour attended with a large traine; So entring into the gate of that walled Citie, as if he meant to besiege their [Page 291] faith by his power, and to take it; His prouidence hath so con­triued his iourney, that he meets with the sad pompe of a fune­rall; A wofull widow attended with her weeping neighbours is following her only sonne to the graue; There was nothing in this spectacle that did not command compassion.

A young man in the flowre, in the strength of his age swal­lowed vp by death; Our decre­pit age both expects death, and solicites it; but vigorous youth, lookes strangely vpon that grim sergeant of God; Those mellow apples that fall alone from the tree we gather vp with contentment; we chide to haue [Page 292] the vnripe vnseasonably beaten downe with cudgells.

But more, a young man, the only sonne, the only childe of his mother: No condition can make it other then grieuous for a well-natu'rd mother to part with her owne bowells; yet surely store is some mitigation of losse: Amongst many chil­dren one may be more easily missed; for still we hope the suruiuing may supplie the com­forts of the dead; but when all our hopes and ioyes must ei­ther liue or die in one, the losse of that one admits of no consolation.

When God would describe the most passionate expression [Page 293] of sorrow that can fall into the miserable, he can but say, Oh daughter of my people gird thee with sack-cloth, and wal­low thy selfe in the ashes, make lamentation and bitter mour­ning, as for thine onely sonne; Such was the losse, such was the sorrow of this disconsolate mo­ther; neither words, nor teares can suffice to discouer it.

Yet more; had she beene ai­ded by the counsell and suppor­tation of a louing yoke-fellow, this burden might haue seemed lesse intolerable; A good hus­band may make amends for the losse of a sonne; had the root beene left to her intire, she might better haue spared the branch; [Page 294] now both are cut vp, all the stay of her life is gone; and she seemes abandoned to a perfect miserie. And now when she gaue her selfe vp for a forlorne mourner, past all capacitie of redresse, the God of comfort meets her, pitties her, relieues her; Here was no solicitor but his owne compassion; In other occasions he was sought, and sued to; The Centurion comes to him for a seruant, the Ruler for a sonne▪ Iairus for a daughter, the neighbours for the Paraly­ticke; here he seekes vp the pa­tient, and offers the cure vnre­quested; Whiles we haue to doe with the Father of mercies, our afflictions are the most power­full [Page 295] suitors. No teares, no prai­ers can moue him so much as his owne commiseration. Oh God, none of our secret sor­rowes, can be either hid from thine eies, or kept from thine heart: and when we are past all our hopes, all possibilities of helpe; then art thou neerest to vs for deliuerance.

Here was a conspiration of all parts to mercie. The heart had compassion, the mouth said, Weepe not, the feet went to the Beere, the hand touched the coffin, the power of the Deitie raised the dead: What the heart felt was secret to it selfe, the tongue therefore expresses it in words of comfort, Weepe not; [Page 296] Alas what are words to so strong and iust passions? To bid her not to weepe that had lost her only sonne, was to per­swade her to be miserable, and not feele it; to feele, and not re­gard it: to regard, and yet to smother it; Concealement doth not remedie but aggrauate sor­row: That with the counsell of not weeping therefore, she might see cause of not weeping; his hand seconds his tongue: He arrests the coffin, and frees the Prisoner; Young man I say vnto thee arise; The Lord of life, and death, speakes with com­mand; No finite power could haue said so without presumpti­on, or with successe: That is [Page 297] the voice that shall one day call vp our vanished bodies from those elements, into which they are resolued, and raise them out of their dust; Neither sea, nor death, nor hell can offer to de­taine their dead, when he char­ges them to be deliuered: Incre­dulous nature, what dost thou shrinke at the possibilitie of a re­surrection, when the God of nature vndertakes it? It is no more hard for that almightie Word which gaue being vnto all things, to say, Let them be re­paired, then, Let them be made.

I doe not see our Sauiour stretching himselfe vpon the dead corps, as Elias, and Elisha, vpon the sonnes of the Suna­mite, [Page 298] and Sareptan, nor knee­ling downe, and praying by the Beere, as Peter did to Dorcas, but I heare him so speaking to the dead, as if he were aliue, and so speaking to the dead that by the word he makes him aliue, I say vnto thee, arise; Death hath no power to bid that man lie still, whom the Sonne of God bids Arise. Immediatly he that was dead sate vp. So at the sound of the last trumpet by the pow­er of the same voice, we shall a­rise out of the dust, and stand vp glorious; this mortall shall put on immortalitie, this cor­ruptible, incorruption; This bo­die shall not be buried, but sowne; and at our day shall [Page 299] therefore spring vp with a plen­tifull increase of glorie; How comfortlesse, how desperate should be our lying downe, if it were not for this assurance of rising? And now, behold, lest our weake faith should stagger at the assent to so great a diffi­cultie, he hath alreadie by what he hath done, giuen vs tastes of what he will doe; The power that can raise one man, can raise a thousand, a million, a world; no power can raise one but that which is infinite; and that which is infinite admits of no limitation; Vnder the old Te­stament, God raised one by E­lias, another by Elisha liuing, a third by Elisha dead; By the [Page 300] hand of the Mediator of the new Testament he raised here the sonne of the widow, the daughter of Iairus, Lazarus, and, in attendance of his owne re­surrection he made a gaole-deli­uery of holy prisoners, at Ieru­salem. He raises the daughter of Iairus from her bed; this widowes sonne from his coffin; Lazarus from his graue, the dead saints of Ierusalem from their rottennesse, that it might ap­peare no degree of death can hinder the efficacie of his ouer­ruling command; He that keepes the keyes of death can­not only make way for himselfe through the common hall, and outer-roomes, but through the [Page 301] inwardest, and most reserued closets of darknesse.

Me thinkes I see this young man who was thus miracu­lously awaked from his deadly sleepe, wiping and rubbing those eies that had beene shut vp in death; and descending from the Beere, wrapping his winding sheet about his loines, cast himselfe downe in a passio­nate thankfulnesse, at the feet of his Almightie restorer; adoring that diuine power which had commanded his soule backe a­gaine to her forsaken lodging; and though I heare not what he said, yet I dare say they were words of praise and wonder, which his returned soule first [Page 302] vttered; It was the mother whom our Sauiour pittied in this act, not the sonne; (who now forced from his quiet rest must twice passe through the gates of death.) As for her sake therefore he was raised, so to her hands was he deliuered; that she might acknowledge that soule giuen to her, not to the posses­sor: Who cannot feele the a­mazement, and extasie of ioy that was in this reuiued mother, when her sonne now salutes her from out of another world? And both receiues and giues gratulations of his new life? How suddenly were al the tears of that mournfull traine dried vp with a ioyfull astonishment? [Page 303] How soone is that funerall ban­quet turned into a new Birth­day feast? What striuing was here to salute the late carcasse of their returned neighbour? What awfull and admiring lookes were cast vpon that Lord of life, who seeming homely, was approued omnipotent? How gladly did euery tongue cele­brate both the worke, and the author? A great Prophet is raised vp amongst vs, and God hath vi­sited his people. A Prophet was the hiest name they could finde for him whom they saw like themselues in shape, aboue themselues in power; They were not yet acquainted with God manifested in the flesh; [Page 304] This miracle might well haue assured them of more then a Prophet; but he that raised the dead man from the Beere would not suddenly raise these dead hearts from the graue of Infide­litie; they shall see reason e­nough to know that the Pro­phet who was raised vp to them, was the God that now vi­sited them, and at last should doe as much for them as he had done for the young man, raise them from death to life, from dust to glorie.

The Rulers Sonne Cured.

THE bountie of God so exceedeth mans, that there is a con­trarietie in the exer­cise of it; We shut our hands because we haue opened them; God therefore opens his, be­cause he hath opened them: Gods mercies are as comforta­ble in their issue, as in them­selues; Seldome euer doe bles­sings goe alone; where our Sauiour supplied the Bride­groomes [Page 306] wine, there he heales the Rulers son; He had not in all these coasts of Galilee done any one miracle but here; To him that hath shall be giuen.

We doe not finde Christ oft attended with Nobilitie; here he is; It was some great Peere, or some noted Courtier that was now a suitor to him for his dying sonne: Earthly greatnesse is no defence against afflictions: We men forbeare the mightie; Disease and death know no fa­ces of Lords, or Monarkes; Could these be bribed, they would be too rich; why should we grudge not to be priueled­ged, when we see there is no spare of the greatest?

[Page 307] This noble Ruler, listens af­ter Christs returne into Galile; The most eminent amongst men will be glad to harken af­ter Christ in their necessitie: Happie was it for him that his sonne was sicke; he had not else beene acquainted with his Sa­uiour, his soule had continued sicke of ignorance, and vnbe­leefe; Why else doth our good God send vs paine, losses, oppo­sition, but that hee may bee sought to? Are we afflicted, whither should we goe but to Cana, to seeke Christ? whither but to the Cana of heauen, where our water of sorrow is turned to the wine of gladnesse, to that omnipotent Physitian, [Page 308] who healeth all our infirmities; that we may once say, It is good for me that I was afflicted.

It was about a daies iourney from Capernaum to Cana; Thence hither did this Courtier come for the cure of his sonnes feuer; What paines euen the greatest can be content to take for bodily health? No way is long, no labour tedious to the desirous: Our soules are sicke of a spirituall feuer, labouring vnder the cold fit of infidelitie, and the hote fit of selfe-loue; and we sit still at home, and see them languish vnto death.

This Ruler was neither faith­lesse, nor faithfull; Had he beene quite faithlesse, he had not ta­ken [Page 309] such paines to come to Christ. Had he beene faithfull, he had not made this suit to Christ, when he was come, Come downe, and heale my sonne, ere he die.

Come downe, as if Christ could not haue cured him ab­sent; Ere he die, as if that power could not haue raised him being dead; how much difference was here betwixt the Centurion, and the Ruler; That came for his seruant, this for his sonne. This sonne was not more aboue that seruant, then the faith which sued for the seruant surpassed that which sued for the sonne; The one can say, Master come not vnder my roofe, for I am not [Page 310] worthy, only speake the word; and my seruant shall be whole; The other can say, Master, either come vn­der my roofe, or my sonne can­not be whole. Heale my sonne, had beene a good suit, for Christ is the only Physitian for all dis­eases; but, Come downe, and heale him, was to teach God how to worke.

It is good reason that he should challenge the right of prescribing to vs, who are euery way his owne; it is presumpti­on in vs to stint him vnto our formes: An expert workman cannot abide to be taught by a nouice; how much lesse shall the all-wise God indure to be directed by his creature? This [Page 311] is more then if the patient should take vpon him to giue a Recipe to the Physitian: That God would giue vs grace is a beseeming suit, but to say, Giue it me by prosperitie, is a saucie motion.

As there is faithfulnesse in de­siring the end, so modestie and patience in referring the meanes to the author. In spirituall things God hath acquainted vs with the meanes whereby he will worke, euen his owne sa­cred ordinances; Vpon th [...]se, because they haue his owne promise, we may call absolutely for a blessing; In all others, there is no reason that beggers should be choosers; He who doth [Page 312] whatsoeuer he will, must doe it how he will; It is for vs to re­ceiue, not to appoint.

He who came to complaine of his sonnes sicknesse, heares of his owne, Except ye see signes and wonders, yee will not beleeue. This noble man was (as is like) of Capernaum; There had Christ often preached; there was one of his chiefe residences: Ei­ther this man had heard our Sa­uiour oft, or might haue done; yet because Christs miracles came to him only by heare-say (for as yet we finde none at all wrought where he preached most) therefore the man be­leeues not enough; but so speaks to Christ as to some ordinarie [Page 313] Physitian, Come downe and heale; It was the common dis­ease of the Iewes, incredulitie; which no receit could heale but wonders; A wicked and adul­terous generation seekes signes. Had they not beene wilfully gracelesse; there was alreadie proofe enough of the Messias; the miraculous conception and life of the fore-runner; Zacharies dumbnesse; The attestation of Angels, the apparition of the Starre, the iourney of the Sages, the vision of the Shepherds, the testimonies of Anna and Simeon, the prophesies fulfilled, the voice from heauen at his bap­tisme, the diuine words that he spake; and yet they must haue [Page 314] all made vp with miracles; which though he be not vnwil­ling to giue at his owne times, yet he thinkes much to be tied vnto, at theirs; Not to beleeue without signes, was a signe of stubborne hearts.

It was a foule fault, and a dangerous one; Ye will not beleeue: What is it that shall condemne the world but vnbeleefe? What can condemne vs without it? No sinne can condemne the re­pentant, Repentance is a fruit of faith; where true faith is then, there can be no condemnation; as there can be nothing but condemnation without it. How much more foule in a noble Ca­pernaite, that had heard the Ser­mons [Page 315] of so diuine a Teacher? The greater light we haue, the more shame it is for vs to stumble.

Oh what shall become of vs, that reele and fall in the cleerest Sun-shine that euer looked forth vpon any Church? Be mercifull to our sinnes, ô God, and say any thing of vs, rather, then, Ye will not beleeue.

Our Sauiour tells him of his vnbeleefe; he feeles not himselfe sicke of that disease; All his minde is on his dying sonne; As easily doe we complaine of bodily griefes, as we are hardly affected with spirituall. Oh the meeknesse and mercy of this Lambe of God; When wee [Page 316] would haue lookt that he should haue punished this suitor for not beleeuing, he conde­scends to him, that he may be­leeue: Goe thy way, thy sonne liueth. If we should measure our hopes by our owne worthinesse, there were no expectation of bles­sings, but if we shall measure them by his bountie, and com­passion, there can be no doubt of preuailing. As some tender mo­ther that giues the brest to her vnquiet childe, in stead of the rod, so deales he with our per­uersnesses.

How God differences men ac­cording to no other conditions, then of their faith! The Centu­rions seruant was sicke, the Ru­lers [Page 317] sonne; The Centurion doth not sue vnto Christ to come; only saies, My seruant is sicke of a Palsie; Christ answers him, I will come, and heale him: The Ruler sues vnto Christ that he would come, and heale his sonne, Christ will not goe; only saies, Goe thy way, thy sonne liues; Out­ward things carrie no respect with God; The Image of that diuine Maiestie shining inward­ly in the graces of the soule, is that which wins loue from him in the meanest estate; The Cen­turions faith therfore could doe more then the Rulers great­nesse; and that faithfull mans seruant hath more regard then this great mans sonne.

[Page 318] The Rulers request was, Come and heale; Christs answer was, Goe thy way, thy sonne liues; Our mercifull Sauiour meets those in the end, whom he crosses in the way: How sweetly doth he correct our praiers, and whiles he doth not giue vs what we aske, giues vs better then we asked.

Iustly doth he forbeare to goe downe with this Ruler, lest he should confirme him in an opinion of measuring his pow­er by conceits of localitie, and distance; but he doth that in absence, for which his presence was required with a repulse; Thy sonne liueth; giuing a greater demonstration of his omnipo­tencie [Page 319] then was craued; How oft doth hee not heare to our will; that he may heare vs to our aduantage? The chosen vessell would be rid of tentati­ons, he heares of a supplie of grace; The sickeman askes re­lease, receiues patience: life, and receiues glorie: Let vs aske what we thinke best, let him giue what he knowes best.

With one word doth Christ heale two Patients, the sonne, and the father, the sonnes feuer, the fathers vnbeleefe; That o­peratiue word of our Sauiour was not without the intention of a triall; Had not the Ruler gone home satisfied with that intimation of his sonnes life, [Page 320] and recouerie, neither of them had beene blessed with suc­cesse: Now the newes of per­formance meets him one halfe of the way; and he that be­leeued somewhat ere he came, and more when hee went, grew to more faith in the way; and when he came home, inlarged his faith to all the skirts of his familie; A weake faith may be true, but a true faith is growing: Hee that boasts of a full stature in the first moment of his as­sent, may presume, but doth not beleeue.

Great men cannot want cli­ents; their example swaies some, their authoritie more; they [Page 321] cannot goe to either of the o­ther worlds alone; In vaine doe they pretend power ouer others, who labour not to draw their fa­milies vnto God.

The dumbe Deuill eiected.

THAT the Prince of our peace might ap­proue his perfect vi­ctories, wheresoeuer hee met with the Prince of darknesse he foiled him, he eiected him; He found him in heauen, thence did he throw him headlong; and verified his Prophet, I haue cast thee out of mine holy mountaine; And if the Deuils left their first habitation, it was because (be­ing Deuils) they could not [Page 323] keepe it; Their estate indeed they might haue kept, and did not; their habitation they would haue kept, and might not; How art thou falne from heauen ô Lucifer? He found him in the heart of man; (for in that closet of God did the euill spirit after his exile from heauen shrowd himselfe; Sinne gaue him possession, which he kept with a willing violence) thence he casts him by his word, and spirit; He found him tyranni­zing in the bodies of some pos­sessed men, and with power commands the vncleane spirits to depart.

This act is for no hand but his: When a strong man keeps [Page 324] possession, none but a stronger can remoue it: In voluntarie things the strongest may yeeld to the weakest; Sampson to a Dalilah; but in violent, euer the mightiest carries it; A spirituall nature must needs be in ranke aboue a bodily; neither can a­ny power be aboue a spirit, but the God of spirits.

No otherwise is it in the mentall possession; Where euer sinne is, there Satan is; As on the contrarie, whosoeuer is borne of God, the seed of God remaines in him; That euill one not only is, but rules in the sons of disobedience: in vaine shall we trie to eiect him, but by the diuine power of the Redeemer; [Page 325] For this cause the Sonne of God was manifested, that he might destroy the workes of the De­uill; Doe we finde our selues haunted with the familiar De­uils of Pride, selfe-loue, sensuall desires, vnbeleefe? None but thou, ô Sonne of the euer-liuing God, can free our bosomes of these hellish guests; Oh cleanse thou me from my secret sinnes, and keepe me that presumptu­ous sinnes preuaile not ouer me. O Sauiour, it is no Paradox to say that thou castest out more Deuils now, then thou didst whiles thou wert vpon earth; It was thy word, When I am lifted vp, I will draw all men vnto me; Satan weighes downe [Page 326] at the feet, thou pullest at the head, yea at the heart; In euery conuersion which thou wor­kest, there is a dispossession. Conuert me, ô Lord, and I shall bee conuerted; I know thy meanes are now no other then ordinarie; if we expect to be dispossessed by miracle, it would be a miracle if euer we were dis­possessed; Oh let thy Gospell haue the perfect worke in me, so only shall I be deliuered from the powers of darknesse.

Nothing can be said to be dumbe, but what naturally speakes; nothing can speake na­turally, but what hath the in­struments of speech; which be­cause spirits want, they can no [Page 327] otherwise speake vocally, then as they take voices to them­selues, in taking bodies; This deuill was not therefore dumbe in his nature, but in his effect; The man was dumbe by the operation of that deuill, which possessed him; and now the action is attributed to the spirit, which was subiectiuely in the man; It is not you that speake, saith our Sauiour, but the spirit of your Father that speaketh in you.

As it is in bodily diseases, that they doe not infect vs alike, some seaze vpon the humors, others vpon the spirits; some assault the braine, others the heart, or lungs; so in bodily and [Page 328] spirituall possessions; In some the euill spirit takes away their senses, in some their limms, in some, their inward faculties; like as spiritually they affect to moue vs vnto seuerall sinnes; One to lust, another to coue­tousnesse, or ambition, another to crueltie, and their names haue distinguished them accor­ding to these various effects: This was a dumbe deuill; which yet had possessed not the tongue only of this man, but his eare; nor that only, but (as it seemes) his eies too.

O suttle and tyrannous spirit, that obstructs all waies to the soule: that keeps out all meanes of grace both from the doores, [Page 329] and windowes of the heart; yea that stops vp all passages whe­ther of ingresse, or egresse; Of ingresse at the eie, or eare; of egresse at the mouth; that there might bee no capacitie of re­dresse.

What holy vse is thereof our tongue but to praise our Maker, to confesse our sins, to informe our brethren? How rife is this dumbe Deuill euery-where, whiles he stops the mouthes of Christians from these vsefull and necessarie duties?

For what end hath man those two priueledges aboue his fel­low creatures, Reason, and Speech, but, that, as by the one he may conceiue of the great [Page 330] workes of his Maker, which the rest cannot, so by the other he may expresse what he con­ceiues, to the honour of the Cre­ator, both of them, and him­selfe; And why are all other creatures said to praise God, and bidden to praise him, but be­cause they doe it by the appre­hension, by the expression of man? If the heauens declare the glory of God, how doe they it but to the eies, and by the tongue of that man, for whom they were made? It is no small honour whereof the enuious spirit shall robbe his Maker, if he can close vp the mouth of his only rationall, and vocall creature; and turne the best of [Page 331] his workmanship into a dumbe Idoll, that hath a mouth and speakes not; Lord open thou my lips, and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.

Praise is not more necessarie then complaint; praise of God, then complaint of our selues, whether to God, or men; The only amends we can make to God, when we haue not had the grace to auoid sinne, is to confesse the sinne we haue not auoided: This is the sponge that wipes out all the blots and blurrs of our liues; If we con­fesse our sinnes, he is faithfull and iust to forgiue vs our sins, and to cleanse vs from all vn­righteousnesse.

[Page 332] That cunning man-slayer knowes there is no way to purge the sicke soule, but vp­ward by casting out the vicious humor wherewith it is clogged; and therefore holds the lips close, that the heart may not dis­burden it selfe by so wholsome euacuation. When I kept silence, my bones consumed; For day and night thy hand, ô Lord, was heauie vpon me; my moisture is turned into the drought of Summer; O let me confesse against my selfe my wicked­nesse vnto thee, that thou maist for­giue the punishment of my sinne.

We haue a tongue for God, when we praise him; for our selues, when we pray, and con­fesse; for our brethren, when [Page 333] we speake the truth for their in­formation; which if we hold backe in vnrighteousnesse, we yeeld vnto that dumbe Deuill: where doe we not see that ac­cursed spirit? He is on the Bench, when the mute, or partiall Iudge speakes not for truth, and inno­cence: He is in the pulpit, when the Prophets of God smother, or halue, or adulterate the mes­sage of their master; He is at the barre, when irreligious Iu­rors dare lend an oath to feare, to hope, to gaine: He is in the market, when godlesse chapmen for their pennie sell the truth, and their soule; Hee is in the common conuersation of men, when the tongue belies the [Page 334] heart, flatters the guiltie, bal­keth reproofes euen in the fou­lest crimes: O thou, who only art stronger then that strong one, cast him out of the hearts, and mouthes of men; It is time for thee, Lord, to worke, for they haue destroyed thy law.

That it might well appeare this impediment was not natu­rall; so soone as the man is freed from the spirit, his tongue is free to his speech: The effects of spirits as they are wrought, so they cease at once. If the Sonne of God doe but remoue our spirituall possession, we shall presently brake forth into the praise of God, into the con­fession of our vilenesse, in­to [Page 335] the profession of truth.

But, what strange varietie doe I see in the spectators of this mi­racle, some wondring, others censuring, a third sort tempting, a fourth applauding; There was neuer man, or action, but was subiect to varietie of con­structions: What man could be so holy, as he that was God? What act could be more wor­thy then the dispossession of an euill spirit? yet this man, this act passeth these differences of interpretation: What can we doe to vndergoe but one opini­on? If we giue almes, and fast; some will magnifie our charity, and deuotion, others will taxe our hypocrisie: If we giue not, [Page 336] some will condemne our hard-heartednesse, others will allow our care of iustice; If we preach plainly, to some it will sauour of a carelesse slubbering, to o­thers of a mortified sinceritie; Elaborately, some will tax our affectation, others will applaud our diligence in dressing the delicate viands of God; What maruel is it, if it be thus with our imperfection, when it fared no otherwise with him that was puritie, and righteousnesse it selfe? The austere fore-runner of Christ came neither eating nor drinking, they say, He hath a Deuill; The sonne of man came eating and drinking, they say, This man is a glutton, a friend [Page 337] of Publicans and sinners: and here one of his holy acts carries a­way at once wonder, censure, doubt, celebration. There is no way safe for a man but to square his actions by the right rule of iustice, of charitie; and then let the world haue leaue to spend their glosses at pleasure. It was an heroicall resolution of the chosen vessell, I passe very little to be iudged of you, or of mans day.

I maruell not if the people maruelled; for here were foure wonders in one; The blinde saw, the deafe heard, the dumbe spake, the demoniacke is deli­uered; Wonder was due to so rare, and powerfull a worke, [Page 338] and, if not this, nothing; We can cast away admiration vpon the poore deuices, or actiuities of men, how much more vpon the extraordinarie workes of omnipotencie? Whoso knowes the frame of heauen and earth shall not much be affected with the imperfect effects of fraile humanitie; but shall with no lesse rauishment of soule ac­knowledge the miraculous workes of the same almightie hand. Neither is the spirituall eiection worthy of any meaner intertainment; Raritie and dif­ficultie are wont to cause won­der; There are many things which haue wonder in their worth, and leese it in their fre­quence; [Page 339] there are some which haue it in their strangenesse, and leese it in their facilitie; Both meet in this. To see men haun­ted, yea possessed with a dumbe Deuill is so frequent, that it is a iust wonder to finde a man free; but to finde the dumbe spirit cast out of a man, and to heare him praising God, confessing his sinnes, teaching others the sweet experiments of mercie, deserues iust admiration. If the Cynick sought in the market for a man amongst men, well may we seeke amongst men, for a conuert. Neither is the diffi­cultie lesse then the rarenesse: The strong man hath the pos­session, all passages are blockt [Page 340] vp, all helpes barred, by the tre­cherie of our nature; If any soule be rescued from these spi­rituall wickednesses, it is the praise of him that doth won­ders alone.

But whom doe I see won­dring? The multitude; The vn­learned beholders follow that act with wonder, which the learned Scribes entertaine with obloquie: God hath reuealed those things to babes, which he hath hid from the wise, and pru­dent. With what scorne did those great Rabbins speake of these sonnes of the earth, This people that knowes not the Law is ac­cursed? Yet the mercie of God makes an aduantage of their [Page 341] simplicitie; in that they are therefore lesse subiect to cauil­lation, and incredulitie; as con­trarily, his iustice causes the proud knowledge of the other to lie as a blocke in their way, to the readie assent vnto the di­uine power of the Messias; Let the pride of glorious aduersa­ries disdaine the pouertie of the clients of the Gospell; it shall not repent vs to goe to heauen with the vulgar, whiles their great ones goe in state to per­dition.

The multitude wondered; Who censured but Scribes great Doctors of the law, of the diui­nitie of the Iewes? What Scribes, but those of Ierusalem, the most [Page 342] eminent Academie of Iudea? These were the men, who out of their deepe-reputed iudge­ment cast these foule aspersions vpon Christ. Great wits oft­times mis-lead both the owners and followers; How many shall once wish they had beene borne dullards, yea idiots, when they shall finde their wit to haue bar­red them out of heauen? Where is the Scribe, where is the dispu­ter of this world? Hath not God made the wisdome of the world foolishnesse? Say the world what it will, a dramme of holinesse is worth a pound of wit; Let others censure with the Scribes, let me wonder with the multitude.

[Page 343] What could malice say worse, He casteth out Deuils through Beel­zebub the Prince of Deuils? The Iewes well knew that the Gods of the heathen were no other then Deuils; Amongst whom for that the Lord of Files (so cal­led, whether for the concourse of flies to the abundance of his sacrifices, or for his aide implo­red against the infestation of those swarmes) was held the chiefe, therefore they stile him, The Prince of Deuils. There is a subordination of spirits; some hier in degree, some inferiour to others; Our Sauiour himselfe tels vs of the Deuill, and his Angels; Messengers are inferi­our to those that send them: [Page 344] The seuen Deuils that entred into the swept, and garnished house, were worse then the for­mer; Neither can Principalities, and Powers, and Gouernours, and Princes of the darknesse of this world designe other then seuerall rankes of euill Angels; There can be no being, without some kinde of order, there can be no order in paritie; If wee looke vp into heauen, there is The King of Gods, The Lord of Lords; hier then the hiest. If to the earth, There are Monarchs, Kings, Princes, Peeres, people; If we looke downe to hell, There is the Prince of Deuils; They labour for confusion that call for paritie; What should the [Page 345] Church doe with such a forme, as is not exemplified in heauen, in earth, in hell?

One deuill (according to their supposition) may be vsed to cast out another: How farre the command of one spirit ouer another may extend, it is a secret of infernall state, too deepe for the inquirie of men: The thing it selfe is apparent; vpon com­pact, and precontracted com­position, one giues way to o­ther for the common aduan­tage; As we see it in the Com­mon-wealth of Cheaters, and Cut-purses; one doth the fact, another is feed to bring it out, and to procure restitution: both are of the trade; both conspire [Page 346] to the fraud; the actor falls not out with the reuealer; but di­uides with him that cunning spoile.

One malicious miscreant sets the Deuill on worke to the in­flicting of disease, or death; a­nother vpon agreement, for a further spirituall gaine, takes him off; There is a Deuill in both; And if there seeme more bodily fauour, there is no lesse spirituall danger in the latter; In the one Satan wins the agent, the suitor in the other; It will be no cause of discord in hell, that one deuill giues ease to the bo­dy which another tormented, that both may triumph in the gaine of a soule. O God, that [Page 347] any creature which beares thine Image, should not abhorre to be beholden to the powers of hell for aid, for aduice? Is it not because there is not a God in Is­rael, that men goe to inquire of the god of Ekron? Can men be so sottish to thinke that the vowed enemie of their soules can offer them a baite, without an hooke? What euill is there in the citie which the Lord hath not done, what is there which he cannot as easily redresse: He wounds, he heales againe; And if he will not, it is the Lord, let him doe what seemes good in his eies; If he doe not deliuer vs, he will crowne our faithful­nesse in a patient perseuerance. [Page 348] The wounds of a God are bet­ter then the salues of Satan.

Was it possible that the wit of Enuie could deuise so hie a slan­der? Beelzebub was a God of the heathen; therefore herein they accuse him for an Idolater; Be­elzebub was a Deuill to the Iewes, therefore they accuse him for a coniurer; Beelzebub was the chiefe of Deuils, therefore they accuse him for an Arch­exorcist, for the worst kinde of Magician; Some professors of this blacke Art, though their worke be deuillish, yet they pre­tend to doe it in the name of Ie­sus, and will presumptuously seeme to doe that by command, which is secretly transacted by [Page 349] agreement; the Scribes accuse Christ of a direct compact with the Deuill; and suppose both a league and familiaritie, which by the law of Moses (in the very hand of a Saul) was no other then deadly; Yea so deepe doth this wound reach, that our Sa­uiour, searching it to the bot­tome, findes no lesse in it then the sinne against the Holy-ghost; inferring hereupon that dreadfull sentence of the irre­missiblenesse of that sinne vnto death: And if this horrible crimination were cast vpon thee, ô Sauiour, in whom the Prince of this world found no­thing, what wonder is it if we thy sinfull seruants be branded [Page 350] on all sides with euill tongues?

Yea (which is yet more) how plaine is it that these men forced their tongue to speake this slan­der against their owne heart? Else, this blasphemie had beene only against the sonne of man, not against the holy Ghost; but now, that the searcher of hearts findes it to be no lesse then a­gainst the blessed spirit of God, the spight must needs be obsti­nate; their malice doth wilful­ly crosse their conscience. Enuie neuer regards how true, but how mischieuous; So it may gall, or kill, it cares little, whe­ther with truth, or falshood; For vs, Blessed are we when men re­uile vs, and say all manner of euill of [Page 351] vs, for the name of Christ; For them: What reward shall be giuen to thee, thou false tongue? Euen sharpe arrowes with hote burning coles; Yea those very coles of hell from which thou wert en­kindled.

There was yet a third sort that went a mid-way betwixt won­der, and censure; These were not so malicious as to impute the miracle to a Satanicall ope­ration; they confesse it good, but not enough; and therefore vrge Christ to a further proofe; Though thou hast cast out this dumbe Deuill, yet this is no sufficient argu­ment of thy diuine power; Wee haue yet seene nothing from thee like those ancient miracles, of the times of our [Page 352] fore-fathers. Iosua caused the Sunne to stand still; Elias brought fire downe from heauen; Samuel astonisht the people with thunder and raine in the midst of haruest; If thou wouldst command our beleefe, doe somewhat like to these; The casting out of a Deuill, shewes thee to haue some pow­er ouer hell; shew vs now, that thou hast no lesse power ouer heauen. There is a kinde of vnreasona­blenesse of desire, and insatia­blenesse in infidelitie; it neuer knowes when it hath euidence enough; This which the Iewes ouer-looked, was a more irre­fragable demonstration of di­uinitie, then that which they desired. A Deuill was more then a Meteor, or a parcell of an [Page 353] element; to cast out a Deuill by command, more then to com­mand fire from heauen: Infi­delitie euer loues to be her owne caruer.

No sonne can be more like a father, then these Iewes to their progenitors in the desert; that there might be no feare of degenerating into good, they also of old tempted God in the Wildernesse: First, they are wearie of the Egyptian bon­dage, and are readie to fall out with God, and Moses, for their stay in those fornaces: By ten miraculous plagues they are freed, and going out of those confines; the Egyptians follow them, the sea is before them; [Page 354] now they are more afflicted with their libertie, then their ser­uitude; The sea yeelds way, the Egyptians are drowned; and now, that they are safe on the other shore, they tempt the pro­uidence of God for water; The rocke yeelds it them; then, no lesse for bread and meat; God sends them Manna, and Quailes, they crie out of the food of An­gels; Their present enemies in the way are vanquished, they whine at the men of measures, in the heart of Canaan; Nothing from God but mercie; nothing from them but Temptation.

Their true brood both in na­ture and sinne had abundant proofes of the Messiah; if curing [Page 355] the blinde, lame, diseased, deafe, dumbe, eiecting deuils, ouer­ruling the elements, raising the dead could haue beene suffici­ent▪ yet still they must haue a signe from heauen; and shut vp in the stile of the Tempter, If thou be the Christ. The gracious heart is credulous; Euen where it sees not, it beleeues; and where it sees but a little, it beleeues a great deale; Neither doth it pre­sume to prescribe vnto God what, and how he shall worke; but takes what it findes, and vn­moueably rests in what it takes. Any miracle, no miracle serues enough for their assent, who haue built their faith vpon the Gospell of the Lord Iesus.

Matthew called.

THE number of the Apostles was not yet full, One roome is left void for a fu­ture occupant; who can but expect, that it is reserued for some eminent person? and behold, Matthew the Publican is the man: Oh the strange electi­on of Christ; Those other dis­ciples, whose calling is recor­ded, were from the Fisher-boat, this from the Tole-booth, They were vnlettered, this infamous; [Page 357] The condition was not in it selfe sinfull, but as the taxes, which the Romans imposed on Gods free people, were odious, so the Collectors, the Farmers of them abominable; Besides, that it was hard to hold that seat without oppression, without ex­action; One that best knew it, branded it with poling, and sy­cophancie: And now, behold a griping Publican called to the familie, to the Apostle-ship, to the Secretary-ship of God; Who can despaire in the conscience of his vnworthinesse; when he sees this patterne of the free bountie of him that calleth vs? Merits doe not carrie it in the gracious election of God, but [Page 358] his meere fauour. There sate Matthew the Publican busie in his Counting-house, reckoning vp the summes of his Rentalls; raking vp his arerages, and wrangling for denied duties, and did so little thinke of a Sa­uiour, that he did not so much as looke at his passage, but, Ie­sus, as he passed by, saw a man sit­ting at the receit of custome, named Matthew; As if this prospect had beene sudden and casuall, Iesus saw him in passing by; Oh Sauiour, before the world was, thou sawst that man sitting there, thou sawst thine owne passage; thou sawst his call in thy pas­sage; and now thou goest pur­posely that way, that thou [Page 359] mightst see, and call: Nothing can be hid from that piercing eie; one glance whereof hath discerned a Disciple in the clothes of a Publican; That habit, that shop of extortion cannot conceale from thee a vessell of election; In all formes thou knowest thine owne; and in thine owne time shalt fetch them out of the disguises of their foule sins, or vnfit conditions; What sawst thou, ô Sauiour, in that Publican, that might either allure thine eie, or not offend it? What but an hatefull trade, an euill eie, a griple hand, bloudie tables, heapes of spoile? yet now thou saidst, Follow mee; Thou that saidst once to Ierusa­lem, [Page 360] Thy birth and natiuitie is of the land of Canaan; Thy father was an Amorite, thy mother an Hittite; Thy nauell was not cut, neither wert thou washed in water, to supple thee, thou wast not salted at all; thou wast not swadled at all; None eie pittied thee, but thou wast cast out in the open fields, to the loathing of thy person, in the day that thou wast borne; And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine owne bloud, I said vnto thee, Liue, yea, I said vn­to thee, when thou wast in thy bloud, Liue; Now also, when thou pas­sedst by, and sawst Matthew sit­ting at the receit of custome, saidest to him, Follow mee; The life of this Publican was so much worse, then the birth of [Page 361] that forlorne Amorite, as, Follow mee, was more then, Liue; What canst thou see in vs, ô God, but vglie deformities, horrible sins, despicable miseries, yet doth it please thy mercie to say vnto vs, both, Liue, and, Follow mee?

The iust man is the first ac­cuser of himselfe; whom doe we heare to blazon the shame of Matthew, but his owne mouth? Matthew the Euangelist tells vs of Matthew the Publican; His fellowes call him Leui, as wil­ling to lay their finger vpon the spot of his vnpleasing professi­on; himselfe will not smother, nor blanche it a whit, but pub­lishes it to all the world, in a thankfull recognition of the [Page 362] mercie that called him; as liking well that his basenesse should serue for a fit foile to set off the glorious lustre of his grace by whom he was elected; What matters it how vile we are, ô God, so thy glorie may rise in our abasement?

That word was enough, Fol­low mee; spoken by the same tongue, that said to the corps, at Nain, Young man I say to thee, Arise; He that said, at first, Let there be light, saies now, Follow me: That power sweetly inclines which could forceably com­mand; the force is not more vnresistible, then the inclinati­on; When the Sun shines vpon the Isicles, can they choose but [Page 363] melt, and fall? When it lookes into a dungeon, can the place choose but be inlightened? Doe we see the Iet drawing vp strawes to it, the Load-stone yron, and doe we maruell if the omnipotent Sauiour, by the in­fluence of his grace, attract the heart of a Publican? He arose and followed him. We are all natu­rally auerse from thee, ô God; doe thou but bid vs Follow thee; draw vs by thy powerfull word, and we shall run after thee. Alas, thou speakest, and we sit still; thou speakest by thine outward word to our eare, and we stir not, speake thou by the secret, and effectuall word of thy spirit, to our heart; [Page 364] The world cannot hold vs downe, Satan cannot stop our way, we shall arise, and follow thee.

It was not a more busie then gainfull trade that Matthew a­bandoned to follow Christ into pouertie; and now he cast a­way his counters, and strucke his tallies, and crossed his books, and contemned his heapes of cash in comparison of that bet­ter treasure, which he fore-saw lie open in that happie atten­dance. If any commoditie be valued of vs too deare to be par­ted with, for Christ, we are more fit to be Publicans, then Disciples; Our Sauiour inuites Matthew to a Disciple-ship; Mat­thew [Page 365] inuites him to a feast. The ioy of his call makes him to be­gin his abdication of the world, in a banquet.

Here was not a more cheere­full thankfulnesse in the inuiter, then a gracious humilitie in the guest: The new seruant bids his master, the Publican his Saui­our, and is honoured with so blessed a presence. I doe not finde where Iesus was euer bid­den to any table, and refused; If a Pharisee, if a Publican in­uited him, he made not daintie to goe; Not for the pleasure of the dishes; what was that to him who began his worke in a whole Lent of daies? But (as it was his meat and drinke to doe [Page 366] the will of his Father,) for the benefit of so winning a conuer­sation. If he sate with sinners, he conuerted them; If with con­uerts, he confirmed and instru­cted them; If with the poore, he sed them; If with the rich in substance, he made them richer in grace. At whose board did he euer sit, and left not his host a gainer? The poore Bride­groome entertaines him, and hath his water-pots filled with wine: Simon the Pharisee enter­taines him, and hath his table honoured with the publique re­mission of a penitent sinner, with the heauenly doctrine of remission: Zacheus entertaines him, saluation came that day to [Page 367] his house, with the author of it; that presence made the Publi­can a sonne of Abraham; Matthew is recompenced for his feast with an Apostle-ship: Martha, and Mary entertaine him, and besides diuine instruction re­ceiue their brother from the dead; O Sauiour, whether thou feast vs, or we feast thee, in both of them is blessednesse.

Where a Publican is the Feast­master, it is no maruell if the guests be Publicans, and sin­ners; whether they came alone out of an hope of that mercie, which they saw their fellow had found; or whether Matthew inuited them to be partners of that plentifull grace, whereof [Page 368] he had tasted, I inquire not: Publicans and sinners will flocke together; the one, hate­full for their trade, the other for their vicious life. Common contempt hath wrought them to an vnanimitie; and sends them to seeke mutuall comfort in that societie, which all others held loathsome and contagi­ous. Moderate correction hum­bleth, and shameth the offender; whereas a cruell seueritie makes men desperate; and driues them to those courses, whereby they are more dangerously infected; How many haue gone into the prison faultie, and returned fla­gitious? If Publicans were not sinners, they were no whit [Page 369] beholden to their neighbours.

What a table full was here? The Sonne of God beset with Publicans, and sinners: O hap­pie Publicans, and sinners, that had found out their Sauiour; Oh mercifull Sauiour, that dis­dained not Publicans and sinners.

What sinner can feare to kneele before thee, when he sees Publicans and sinners sit with thee? Who can feare to be de­spised of thy meeknesse, and mercy, which didst not ab­horre, to conuerse with the out­casts of men? Thou didst not despise the theefe confessing vp­on the crosse, nor the sinner weeping vpon thy feet, nor the [Page 370] Cananite crying to thee in the way, not the blushing adulte­resse, nor the odious Publican, nor the forswearing Disciple, nor the persecutor of Disciples, nor thine owne executioners, how can we be vnwelcome to thee, if we come with teares in our eies, faith in our hearts, re­stitution in our hands? Oh Sa­uiour, our brests are too oft shut vpon thee, thy bosome is euer open to vs; we are as great sin­ners as the consorts of these Publicans, why should we de­spaire of a roome at thy Table?

The squint-eid Pharisees look a-crosse at all the actions of Christ; where they should haue admired his mercie, they cauill [Page 371] at his holinesse; They said to his Disciples; why eateth your master with Publicans, and sinners? They durst not say thus to the Master, whose answer (they knew) would soone haue conuinced them; This winde (they hoped) might shake the weake faith of the Disciples; They speake where they may be most likely to hurt; All the crue of Satani­call instruments haue learnt this craft of their old Tutor in Pa­radise: Wee cannot reuerence that man, whom we thinke vn­holy; Christ had lost the hearts of his followers, if they had en­tertained the least suspicion of his impuritie; which the mur­mur of these enuious Pharisees [Page 372] would faine insinuate; He can­not be worthy to be followed that is vncleane; He cannot but be vncleane that eateth with Publicans and sin­ners: Proud and foolish Phari­sees, ye fast whiles Christ eateth; ye fast in your houses, whiles Christ eateth in other mens; ye fast with your owne, whiles Christ feasts with sinners; but if ye fast in pride, whiles Christ eats in humilitie; if ye fast at home, for merit, or popularitie, whiles Christ feasts with sinners for compassion, for edification, for conuersion, your fast is vn­cleane, his feast is holy, ye shall haue your portion with hypo­crites, when those Publicans, and sinners shall be glorious.

[Page 373] When these censurers thought the Disciples had offended, they speake not to them, but to their Master; Why doe thy Disciples that which is not lawfull? now, when they thought Christ offended, they speake not to him, but to the Disciples; Thus, like true make-bates they goe about to make a breach in the familie of Christ, by setting off the one from the other; The quicke cie of our Sauiour hath soone espied the packe of their fraud, and therefore he takes the words out of the mouthes of his Disciples, into his owne; They had spoke of Christ to the Disciples; Christ answers for the Disciples concerning [Page 374] himselfe, The whole need not the Physitian, but the sicke. Accor­ding to the two qualities of pride; scorne, and ouer-wee­ning, these insolent Pharisees ouer-rated their owne holinesse, contemned the noted vnholi­nesse of others; As if them­selues were not tainted with secret sinnes, as if others could not be cleansed by repentance; The searcher of hearts meets with their arrogance, and findes those iusticiaries sinfull, those sinners iust; The spirituall Physitian findes the sicknesse of those sinners wholsome, the health of those Pharisees despe­rate: that, wholsome, because it calls for the helpe of the Phy­sitian, [Page 375] this, desperate, because it needs not. Euery soule is sicke; those most, that feele it not; Those that feele it, complaine, those that complaine, haue cure; those that feele it not, shall finde themselues dying ere they can wish to recouer. Oh blessed Physitian, by whose stripes we are healed, by whose death we liue, happie are they that are vnder thy hands, sicke, as of sin, so of sorrow for sin; it is as vnpossible they should die, as it is vnpossible for thee to want either skill, or power, or mercy; Sin hath made vs sicke vnto death, make thou vs but as sicke of our sinnes, we are as safe, as thou art gracious.

Christ among the Gerge­sens, or Legion, and the Gada­rene heard▪

I Doe not any where finde so furious a De­moniacke, as amongst the Gergesens; Satan is most tyrannous, where he is obeyed most. Christ no sooner sailed ouer the lake, then he was met with two possessed Gadarenes; The extreme rage of the one hath drowned the mention of the other; Yet in the midst of all that crueltie of the euill spirit, [Page 377] there was sometimes a remissi­on, if not an intermission, of vexation; If, Oft-times Satan caught him, then, sometimes, in the same violence, he caught him not. It was no thanke to that malignant one, who as he was indefatigable in his execu­tions, so vnmeasurable in his malice; but▪ to the mercifull ouer-ruling of God, who in a gratious respect to the weak­nesse of his poore creatures, li­mits the spightfull attempts of that immortall enemie; and takes off this Mastiue, whiles we may take breath: Hee who in his iustice giues way to some onsets of Satan, in his mercie re­straines them; so regarding our [Page 378] deseruings, that withall he re­gards our strength: If way should be giuen to that malici­ous spirit, we could not subsist; no violent thing can indure; and if Satan might haue his will, we should no moment be free; He can be no more weary of doing euill to vs, then God is of doing good: Are we there­fore preserued from the malig­nitie of these powers of dark­nesse, Blessed be our strong helper that hath not giuen vs ouer to be a prey vnto their teeth: Or if some scope haue beene giuen to that enuious one, to afflict vs, hath it beene with fauourable limita­tions, it is thine only mercy, ô God, that hath▪ chained and [Page 379] muzzled vp this band-dog, so as that he may scratch vs with his pawes, but cannot pierce vs with his fangs. Farre, far is this from our deserts, who had too well merited a iust abdication from thy fauour, and protecti­on, and an interminable sei­sure by Satan, both in soule and bodie.

Neither doe I here see more matter of thankes to our God, for our immunitie from the ex­ternall iniuries of Satan, then occasion of serious inquirie in­to his power ouer vs, for the spi­rituall. I see some that thinke themselues safe from this ghost­ly tyrannie, because they some­times finde themselues in good [Page 380] moods, free from the suggesti­ons of grosse sins, much more from the commission; Vaine men, that feed themselues with so false and friuolous comforts; will they not see Satan, through the iust permission of God, the same to the soule, in mentall possessions, that he is to the bo­dy, in corporall? The worst demoniack hath his lightsome respites; not euer tortured; not euer furious; betwixt whiles he might looke soberly, talke sen­sibly, moue regularly; It is a wofull comfort that we sinne not alwaies: There is no master so barbarous as to require of his slaue a perpetuall vnintermitted toyle; yet, though he some­times [Page 381] eate, sleepe, rest, he is a vassall still; If that wicked one haue drawne vs to a customarie perpetration of euill, and haue wrought vs to a frequent itera­tion of the same sinne, this is gage enough for our seruitude, matter enough for his tyrannie, and insultation; He that would be our tormentor alwaies, cares only to be sometimes our Tempter.

The possessed is bound, as with the inuisible fetters of Sa­tan, so with the materiall chaines of the inhabitants; What can bodily force preuaile against a spirit? Yet they inde­uour this restraint of the man, whether out of charitie, or iu­stice; [Page 382] Charitie, that he might not hurt himselfe; Iustice, that he might not hurt others; None doe so much befriend the De­moniacke as those that binde him; Neither may the spiritu­ally possessed be otherwise han­dled; for though this act of the enemie be plausible, and, to ap­pearance, pleasant, yet there is more danger in this deare, and smiling tyrannie; Two sorts of chaines are fit for outragious sinners; Good lawes, vnpartiall executions; That they may not hurt, that they may not be hurt to eternall death.

These yron chaines are no sooner fast, then broken; There was more then an humane po­wer [Page 383] in this disruption; It is not hard to conceiue the vtmost of nature, in this kinde of actions; Sampson doth not breake the cords, and ropes like a threed of towe, but God by Sampson; The man doth not breake these chaines, but the spirit. How strong is the arme of these euill angels, how farre transcending the ordinarie course of nature? They are not called Powers for nothing; what flesh and bloud could but tremble at the palpa­ble inequalitie of this match, if herein the mercifull protection of our God did not the rather magnifie it selfe, that so much strength, met with so much ma­lice, hath not preuailed against [Page 384] vs: In spight of both we are in safe hands; Hee that so easily brake the yron fetters, can neuer breake the adamantine chaine of our faith; In vaine doe the chafing billowes of hell beate vpon that rocke, whereon we are built; And though these brittle chaines of earthly met­tall be easily broken by him, yet the sure-tempered chaine of Gods eternall decree, he can ne­uer breake; that almightie Ar­biter of heauen, and earth, and hell, hath chained him vp in the bottomlesse pit, and hath so restrained his malice, that (but, for our good) wee cannot be tempted; we cannot be foyled, but for a glorious victorie.

[Page 385] Alas it is no otherwise with the spiritually possessed; The chaines of restraint are com­monly broken by the furie of wickednesse; What are the re­spects of ciuilitie, feare of God, feare of men, wholsome lawes, carefull executions to the despe­rately licentious, but as cob­webs to an harnet? Let these wilde Demoniacks know, that God hath prouided chaines for them, that will hold, euen euer­lasting chaines vnder darknesse; these are such as must hold the Deuils themselues (their ma­sters) vnto the iudgement of the great day, how much more those impotent vassals? Oh that men would suffer themselues to [Page 386] be bound to their good behaui­our, by the sweet, and easie re­cognizances of their dutie to their God, and the care of their owne soules, that so they might rather be bound vp in the bun­dle of life.

It was not for rest, that these chaines were torne off, but for more motion; This prisoner runs away from his friends, he cannot run away from his Iay­lor; He is now carried into the wildernesse; Not by meere ex­ternall force, but by internall impulsion; Carried by the same power that vnbound him, for the oportunitie of his Tyrannie, for the horror of the place, for the affamishment of his [...] [Page 387] for the auoidance of all meanes of resistance. Solitarie deserts are the delights of Satan▪ It is an vnwise zeale that moues vs to doe that to our selues, in an opinion of merit, and holinesse, which the Deuill wishes to doe to vs for a punishment, and con­ueniencie of tentation. The e­uill spirit is for solitarinesse; God is for societie; He dwells in the assembly of his Saints, yea, there he hath a delight to dwell; Why should not we account it our happinesse that we may haue leaue to dwell, where the au­thor of all happinesse loues to dwell?

There cannot be any miserie incident into vs, whereof our [Page 388] gracious Redeemer is not both conscious, and sensible; with­out any intreatie therefore of the miserable Demoniack, or suit of any friend; the God of spirits takes pittie of his di­stresse; and, from no motion but his owne, commands the ill spirit to come forth of the man: O admirable precedent of mercy, preuenting our re­quests, exceeding our thoughts, forcing fauours vpon our im­potence; doing that for vs, which we should, and yet can­not desire. If men vpon our in­stant solicitations would giue vs their best aid, it were a iust praise of their bountie, but it well became thee, ô God of [Page 389] mercie, to goe without force, to giue without suit; And doe we thinke thy goodnesse is im­paired by thy glory? If thou wert thus commiseratiue vpon earth, art thou lesse in heauen? How doest thou now take no­tice of all our complaints, of all our infirmities? How doth thine infinite pittie take order to redresse them? What euill can befall vs which thou knowest not, feelest not, relieuest not? How safe are we that haue such a Guardian, such a Mediator in heauen?

Not long before had our Sa­uiour commanded the windes, and waters, and they could not but obey him; now, he speakes [Page 390] in the same Language to the e­uill spirit; he intreats not, he perswades not, he commands; Command argues superioritie, He only is infinitely stronger then the strong one in possessi­on; Else, where powers are matcht, though with some ine­qualitie, they tugge for the vi­ctorie; and without a resistance yeeld nothing. There are no fewer sorts of dealing with Sa­tan, then with men; Some haue dealt with him by suit, as the old Satanian heretickes, and the present Indian Sauages, sacri­ficing to him, that he hurt not: Others by couenant, condicio­ning their seruice vpon his assi­stance, as Witches and Magici­ans, [Page 391] Others by insinuation of implicite compact, as charmers and Figure-casters; Others by adiuration, as the sonnes of Sce­ua, and moderne Exorcists, vn­warrantably charging him by an hier name then their owne; None euer offred to deale with Satan by a direct and primarie command, but the God of spi­rits; The great Archangel, when the strife was about the body of Moses, commanded not, but im­precated rather, The Lord rebuke thee, Satan; It is only the God that made this spirit an Angel of light, that can command him, now that he hath made him­selfe the Prince of darknesse. If any created power dare to [Page 392] vsurpe a word of command, he laughs at their presumption; and knowes them his vassals whom he dissembles to feare as his Lords; It is thou only, ô Sa­uiour, at whose becke those stubburne Principalities of hell yeeld, and tremble: no wicked man can be so much a slaue to Satan, as Satan is to thee; the in­terposition of grace may defeat that dominion of Satan; thy rule is absolute, and capable of no let. What need we to feare, whiles we are vnder so omni­potent a commander? The waues of the deepe rage horri­bly, yet the Lord is stronger then they; Let those Principali­ties and powers doe their worst; [Page 393] Those mightie aduersaries are vnder the command of him, who loued vs so well as to bleed for vs, What can we now doubt of? His power, or his will? How can we professe him a God, and doubt of his power? How can we professe him a Sa­uiour, and doubt of his will? He, both can, and will com­mand those infernall powers; we are no lesse safe, then they are malicious.

The Deuill saw Iesus by the eies of the Demoniack; For the same saw, that spake; but it was the ill spirit, that said, I beseech thee torment me not; It was sore against his will that he saw so dreadfull an obiect; The ouer­ruling [Page 394] power of Christ dragged the foule spirit into his presence. Guiltinesse would faine keepe out of sight; The limmes of so wofull an head shall once call to the hills, and rockes to hide them from the face of the Lambe; such Lyon-like terror is in that milde face, when it lookes vpon wickednesse: Nei­ther shall it be one day the least part of the torment of the dam­ned, to see the most louely spectacle that heauen can afford: He, from whom they fled in his offers of grace, shall be so much more terrible, as he was, and is more gracious; I maruell not therefore that the Deuill, when he saw Iesus, cryed out; I could [Page 395] maruell that he fell downe, that he worshipped him: That which the proud spirit would haue had Christ to haue done to him, in his great duell, the same he now doth vnto Christ, fear­fully, seruilely, forcedly; Who shall henceforth bragge of the externall homage he performes to the Sonne of God, when he sees Satan himselfe fall downe, and worship? What comfort can there be in that, which is common to vs with Deuils; who as they beleeue, and trem­ble, so they tremble, and wor­ship? The outward bowing is the body of the action, the dis­position of the soule is the soule of it; therein lies the difference [Page 396] from the counterfait stoopings of wicked men, and spirits: The religious heart serues the Lord in feare, and reioyces in him with trembling; What it doth is in way of seruice; In seruice to his Lord, whose soueraintie is his comfort, and protection; In the feare of a sonne, not of a slaue; In a feare tempered with ioy; In a ioy, but allaied with trem­bling; whereas the prostration of wicked men, and deuils is only an act of forme, or of force; as to their Iudge, as to their tormentor, not as to their Lord; in meere seruilitie, not in reuerence, in an vncomfortable dulnesse, without all delight; in a perfect horror, without [Page 397] capacitie of ioy; These worship without thankes, because they fall downe without the true af­fections of worship.

Who so maruells to see the Deuill vpon his knees, would much more maruell to heare what came from his mouth; Iesa the sonne of the most high God; A confession, which if wee should heare without the name of the author, we should aske, from what Saint it came. Be­hold, the same name giuen to Christ by the Deuill, which was formerly giuen him by the An­gell, Thou shalt call his name Iesus; That awfull name, whereat eue­ry knee shall bow, in heauen, in earth, and vnder the earth, is [Page 398] called vpon, by this prostrate Deuill: and lest that should not import enough, (since o­thers haue beene honoured by this name in Type,) he addes, for full distinction, The Sonne of the most hie God, The good Sy­rophenician, and blinde Barti­meus could say, The Sonne of Da­uid; It was well to acknow­ledge the true descent of his pedigree, according to the flesh; but this infernall spirit lookes aloft, and fetcheth his line out of the most heauens, The Sonne of the most hie God; The famous confession of the prime Apo­stle (which honoured him with a new name to immortalitie,) was no other then, Thou art the [Page 399] Christ, the Sonne of the liuing God; and what other doe I heare from the lips of a fiend? None more diuine words could fall from the hiest Saint; No­thing hinders but that the veri­est miscreant on earth, yea the foulest Deuill in hell may speake holily: It is no passing of iudgement vpon loose senten­ces; So Peter should haue beene cast for a Satan, in denying, for­swearing, cursing; and the De­uill should haue beene set vp for a Saint, in confessing, Iesus the Sonne of the most hie God; Fond hypocrite, that pleasest thy selfe, in talking well, heare this De­uill, and when thou canst speake better then he; looke to fare [Page 400] better; but in the meane time know, that a smooth tongue, and a foule heart, carries away double iudgements.

Let curious heads dispute whether the Deuil knew Christ to be God; In this I dare beleeue himselfe, though in nothing else; he knew what he beleeued, he beleeued what he confessed, Iesus the Sonne of the most hie God; To the confusion of those semi-Christians, that haue either held doubtfully, or ignorantly mis­knowne, or blasphemously de­nied what the very Deuils haue professed. How little can a bare speculation auaile vs in these cases of Diuinitie? So farre this Deuill hath attained, to no ease, [Page 401] no comfort. Knowledge alone doth but puffe vp; it is our loue that edifies; If there be not a sense of our sure interest in this Iesus, a power to applie his me­rits, and obedience, we are no whit the safer, no whit the bet­ter; only we are so much the wiser, to vnderstand who shall condemne vs.

This peece of the clause was spoken like a Saint, Iesus the Son of the most hie God; the other peece, like a Deuill, What haue I to doe with thee? If the disclama­tion were vniuersall, the latter words would impugne the for­mer; for whiles he confesses Ie­sus to be the Sonne of the most hie God, he withall confesses [Page 402] his owne ineuitable subiection; Wherefore would he beseech, if he were not obnoxious; Hee cannot, he dare not say, What hast thou to doe with mee; but, What haue I to doe with thee; Others indeed I haue vexed, thee I feare; in respect then of any violence, of any personall prouocation, What haue I to doe with thee? And doest thou aske, ô thou euill spirit, what thou hast to doe with Christ, whiles thou vexest a seruant of Christ? Hast thou thy name from know­ledge, and yet so mistakest him whom thou confessest, as if no­thing could be done to him, but what immediately con­cernes his owne person? Heare [Page 403] that great, and iust Iudge sen­tencing vpon his dreadfull Tri­bunall; In as much as thou didst it vnto one of these little ones, thou didst it vnto mee; It is an idle misprision to seuer the sense of an iniurie done to any of the members, from the head.

He that had humilitie enough to kneele to the Sonne of God, hath boldnesse enough to ex­postulate, Art thou come to tor­ment vs before our time? Whether it were, that Satan, who vseth to inioy the torment of sinners, whose musicke it is to heare our shriekes, and gnashings, held it no small peece of his torment, to be restrained in the exercise of his tyrannie; Or, whether the [Page 404] very presence of Christ were his racke: For, the guiltie spirit proiecteth terrible things, and cannot behold the Iudge, or the executioner without a renouati­on of horror, Or, whether (as himselfe professeth) he were now in a fearefull expectation of being commanded downe into the deepe, for a further de­gree of actuall torment, which he thus deprecates.

There are tortures appoin­ted to the very spirituall natures of euill Angels; Men, that are led by sense, haue easily granted the body subiect to torment, who yet, haue not so readily conceiued this incident to a spi­rituall substance: The holy [Page 405] Ghost hath not thought it fit to acquaint vs with the particular manner of these inuisible acts, rather willing that we should herein feare, then inquire; but, as all matters of faith, though they cannot be proued by rea­son (for that they are in an hier sphere) yet afford an answer a­ble to stop the mouth of all rea­son, that dares barke against them, (since truth cannot be opposite to it selfe) so, this of the sufferings of spirits; There is therefore both an intentionall torment incident to spirits, and a reall: For, as in blessednesse the good spirits finde them­selues ioyned vnto the chiefe good; and, hereupon feele a [Page 406] perfect loue of God, and vn­speakable ioy in him, and rest in themselues, so contrarily, the euill spirits perceiue themselues eternally excluded from the presence of God, and see them­selues setled in a wofull dark­nesse; and, from the sense of this separation arises an horror not to be expressed, not to be conceiued; How many men haue we knowne to torment themselues with their owne thoughts? There needs no o­ther gibbet then that, which their troubled spirit hath erected in their owne heart: and if some paines begin at the body, and from thence afflict the soule in a copartnership of griefe, yet [Page 407] others arise immediately from the soule, and draw the body into a participation of miserie; Why may we not therefore con­ceiue meere and separate spirits capable of such an inward ex­cruciation?

Besides which, I heare the Iudge of men and Angels say, Goe ye cursed into euerlasting fire, prepared for the Deuill, and his An­gels; I heare the Prophet say, To­phet is prepared of old; If with feare, and without curiositie we may looke vpon those flames; Why may we not attribute a spi­rituall nature to that more then naturall fire? In the end of the world, the elements shall be dissolued by fire: and if the pure [Page 408] quintessentiall matter of the skie, and the element of fire it selfe, shall be dissolued by fire, then that last fire shall be of a­nother nature, then that which it consumeth; what hinders then but that the omnipotent God hath from eternitie created a fire of another nature propor­tionable euen, to spirituall es­sences? Or why may we not distinguish of fire, as it is it selfe, a bodily creature, and, as it is an instrument of Gods iustice, so working, not by any materi­all vertue, or power of it owne, but by a certaine height of su­pernaturall efficacie, to which it is exalted by the omnipotence of that supreme and righteous [Page 409] Iudge? Or lastly, why may we not conceiue that though spi­rits haue nothing materiall in their nature, which that fire should worke vpon, yet by the iudgement of the almightie Ar­biter of the world, iustly wil­ling their torment, they may be made most sensible of paine, and, by the obedible submission of their created nature, wrought vpon immediately by their ap­pointed tortures; Besides, the very horror, which ariseth from the place, whereto they are euer­lastingly confined: For if the incorporeall spirits of liuing men may be held in a loathed, or painfull body, and conceiue sorrow to be so imprisoned; [Page 410] Why may we not as easily yeeld that the euill spirits of Angels, or men may be held in those direfull flames, and much more abhorre therein to continue for euer? Tremble rather, ô my soule, at the thought of this wofull condition of the euill Angels; who, for one only act of Apostasie from God, are thus perpetually tormented, whereas we sinfull wretches multiplie many, and presump­tuous offences against the Ma­iestie of our God; And withall admire, and magnifie that infi­nite mercie to the miserable ge­neration of man; which, after this holy seueritie of iustice to the reuolted Angels, so graci­ously [Page 411] forbeares our hainous ini­quities, and both suffers vs to be free for the time, from these hellish torments, and giues vs oportunitie of a perfect free­dome from them for euer; Praise the Lord, ô my soule, and all that is within mee, praise his holy name, who forgiueth all thy sinnes, and healeth all thine infirmities; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction, and crowneth thee with mercie and compassions.

There is no time wherein the euill spirits are not tormented; there is a time, wherein they ex­pect to be tormented yet more; Art thou come to torment vs before our time? They knew that the last Assises are the prefixed terme [Page 412] of their full execution; which they also vnderstood to be not yet come; For though they knew not when the day of Iudgement should be; (a point concealed from the glorious Angels of heauen) yet they knew when it should not be; and therefore can say, Before the time. Euen the very euill spirits confesse, and fearfully attend a set day of vniuersall Sessions; They beleeue lesse then Deuils, that either doubt of, or denie that day of finall retribution.

Oh the wonderfull mercie of our God, that both to wicked men, and spirits, respites the vt­most of their torment; He might vpon the first instant of [Page 413] the fall of Angels, haue inflicted on them the hiest extremitie of his vengeance; He might vpon the first sinnes of our youth (yea of our nature) haue swept vs away, and giuen vs our por­tion in that fierie lake; he staies a time for both; Though, with this difference of mercie to vs men, that here, not only is a de­lay, but, may be, an vtter pre­uention of punishment, which to the euill spirits is altogether impossible; They doe suffer, they must suffer; and though they haue now deserued to suf­fer all they must, yet they must once suffer more then they doe.

Yet, so doth this euill spirit expostulate, that hesues; I beseech [Page 414] thee torment me not. The world is well changed, since Satans first onset vpon Christ; Then, he could say, If thou be the Sonne of God; now, Iesus, the Sonne of the most hie God; then, All these will I giue thee if thou wilt fall downe, and worship me; now, I be­seech thee torment mee not; The same power, when he lists, can change the note of the Temp­ter, to vs; How happie are we that haue such a Redeemer as can command the Deuils to their chaines? Oh consider this ye lawlesse sinners, that haue said, Let vs breake his bonds, and cast his cords from vs; How euer the Almightie suffers you, for a iudgement to haue free scope [Page 415] to euill, and ye can now impo­tently resist the reuealed will of your Creator, yet the time shall come, when ye shall see the very masters, whom ye haue serued, (the powers of darknesse) vn­able to auoide the reuenges of God; How much lesse shall man striue with his Maker; man, whose breath is in his nosthrills, whose house is clay, whose foundation is in the dust?

Nature teaches euery creature to wish a freedome from paine: the foulest spirits cannot but loue themselues; and this loue must needs produce a depreca­tion of euill; Yet, what a thing is this, to heare the Deuill at his [Page 416] praiers? I beseech thee torment me not; Deuotion is not guiltie of this, but feare; There is no grace in the suit of Deuils, but nature▪ no respect of glory to their Creator, but their owne ease; They cannot pray against sinne, but against torment for sinne. What newes is it now, to heare the profanest mouth, in extremitie, imploring the sacred name of God, when the Deuils doe so? The worst of all crea­tures hates punishment, and can say, Lead me not into paine; only the good heart can say, Lead me not into temptation▪ If we can as heartily pray against sinne, for the auoiding of displeasure, as against punishment, when we [Page 417] haue displeased, there is true grace in the soule: Indeed, if we could feruently pray against sinne, we should not need to pray against punishment; which is no other then the inseparable shadow of that body; but if we haue not laboured against our sinnes, in vaine doe we pray a­gainst punishment; God must be iust; and the wages of sinne is death.

It pleased our holy Sauiour, not only to let fall words of command vpon this spirit, but to interchange some speeches with him: All Christs actions are not for example: It was the error of our Grand-mother to hold chat with Satan; That [Page 418] God, who knowes the craft of that old Serpent, and our weake simplicitie, hath charged vs not to inquire of an euill spirit; sure­ly, if the Disciples returning to Iacobs Well, wondred to see Christ talke with a woman, well may we wonder to see him tal­king with an vncleane Spirit; Let it be no presumption, ô Sa­uiour, to aske vpon what grounds thou didst this, where­in we may not follow thee: We know, that sinne was ex­cepted in thy conformitie of thy selfe to vs; we know there was no guile found in thy mouth, no possibilitie of taint in thy nature, in thine actions; Neither is it hard to conceiue [Page 419] how the same thing may be done by thee without sinne, which we cannot but sinne in doing. There is a vast difference in the Intention, in the Agent; For, on the one side, thou didst not aske the name of the spirit, as one that knew not, and would learne by inquiring; but, that by the confession of that mischiefe, which thou pleasedst to suffer, the grace of the cure might be the more conspicu­ous, the more glorious; so, on the other, God and man might doe that safely, which meere man cannot doe, without dan­ger; thou mightest touch the leprosie, and not be legally vn­cleane, because thou touchedst [Page 420] it to heale it, didst not touch it with possibilitie of infection; So mightest thou, who by rea­son of the perfection of thy di­uine nature, wert vncapable of any staine, by the interlocution with Satan, safely conferre with him, whom corrupt man, pre­disposed to the danger of such a pearle, may not meddle with, without sinne, because not without perill; It is for none but God to hold discourse with Satan; Our surest way is to haue as little to doe with that euill one, as we may; and if he shall offer to maintaine conference with vs by his secret tentati­ons, to turne our speech vn­to our God, with the Archan­gell, [Page 421] The Lord rebuke thee Satan.

It was the presupposition of him that knew it, that not only men but spirits haue names; This then he askes; not out of an ignorance, or curiositie; no­thing could be hid from him who calleth the starres, and all the hosts of heauen by their names; but, out of a iust respect to the glory of the miracle he was working; whereto the no­tice of the name would not a little auaile: For, if without inquirie, or confession, our Sauiour had eiected this euill spirit, it had passed for the sin­gle dispossession of one onely Deuill, whereas now, it ap­peares there was a combination [Page 422] and hellish champertie in these powers of darknesse, which were all forced to vaile vnto that almightie command.

Before, the Deuill had spo­ken singularly of himselfe, What haue I to doe with thee; and, I be­seech thee torment me not; Our Sauiour yet, knowing that there was a multitude of De­uils lurking in that brest, who dissembled their presence, wrests it out of the Spirit by this interrogation, What is thy name? Now can those wicked ones no longer hide them­selues; He that asked the que­stion, forced the answer, My name is Legion. The author of discord hath borrowed a name [Page 423] of warre: from that militarie order of discipline (by which the Iewes were subdued) doth the Deuill fetch his denomina­tion; They were many, yet they say, My name, not, Our name; though many, they speake as one, they act as one, in this pos­session: There is a maruellous accordance euen betwixt euill spirits; that Kingdome is not diuided, for then it could not stand; I wonder not that wicked men doe so conspire in euill; that there is such vnanimitie in the brochers, and abettors of errors, when I see those deuils, which are many in substance, are one in name, action, habitation; Who can bragge too much of [Page 424] vnitie, when it is incident into wicked spirits? All the praise of concord is in the subiect; if that be holy, the consent is Angeli­call, if sinfull, deuillish.

What a fearfull aduantage haue our spirituall enemies a­gainst vs? If armed troupes come against single straglers, what hope is there of life, of vic­torie? How much doth it con­cerne vs to band our hearts to­gether, in a communion of Saints? Our enemies come vpon vs like a torrent; Oh let not vs run asunder like drops in the dust; All our vnited forces will be little enough, to make head against this league of de­struction.

[Page 425] Legion imports Order, num­ber, conflict. Order, in that there is a distinction of regiment, a subordination of Officers; Though in hell there be confu­sion of faces, yet not confusion of degrees; Number; Those that haue reckoned a Legion at the lowest, haue counted it six thousand; others, haue more then doubled it; though here it is not strict, but figuratiue, yet the letter of it implies multi­tude; How fearfull is the con­sideration of the number of Apostate-Angels? And if a Le­gion can attend one man, how many must we needs thinke are they, who, all the world ouer, are at hand to the punishment [Page 426] of the wicked, the exercise of the good, the tentation of both; It cannot be hoped there can be any place, or time, wherein we may be secure from the onsets of these enemies; Be sure, ye lewd men, ye shall want no fur­therance to euill, no torment for euill; Be sure, ye godly, ye shall not want combatants to trie your strength, and skill; Awa­ken your courages to resist, and stirre vp your hearts to make sure the meanes of your safetie; There are more with vs then a­gainst vs; The God of heauen is with vs, if we be with him; and our Angels behold the face of God; If euery deuill were a Le­gion, we are safe: Though wee [Page 427] walke through the valley of the shadow of death, we shall feare no euill; Thou, ô Lord, shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of our enemies, and thy right hand shall saue vs.

Conflict; All this number is not for sight, for rest; but for motion, for action; Neither was there euer houre, since the first blow giuen to our first pa­rents, wherein there was so much as a truce betwixt these aduersaries. As therefore strong frontier-Townes, when there is a peace concluded on both parts, breake vp their garrison, open their gates, neglect their Bull-warkes; but, when they heare of the enemie mustering [Page 428] his forces, in great and vnequall numbers, then they double their guard; keepe Sentinell, repaire their Sconces, so must we, vpon the certaine knowledge of our numerous, and deadly enemies, in continuall aray against vs, ad­dresse our selues alwaies to a warie and strong resistance. I doe not obserue the most to thinke of this gostly hostilitie; Either they do not find there are tentations, or those tentations hurtfull; they see no worse then themselues; and if they feele motions of euill, arising in them, they impute it to fancie, or vnreasonable appetite; to no power, but natures; and; those motions they follow, without [Page 429] sensible hurt; neither see they what harme it is to sinne: Is it any maruell that carnall eies cannot discerne spirituall ob­iects? That the world who is the friend, the vassall of Satan, is in no warre with him? Elishaes seruant, when his eies were ope­ned saw troupes of spirituall soldiers, which before he discer­ned not; If the eies of our soules be once enlightened by super­naturall knowledge, and the cleere beames of faith, we shall as plainly descrie the inuisible powers of wickednesse, as now our bodily eies see heauen, and earth. They are, though we see them not, wee cannot be safe from them, if we doe not ac­knowledge, [Page 430] not oppose them.

The Deuils are now become great suitors to Christ; That he would not command them in­to the deepe; that he would permit their entrance into the swine. What is this deepe but hell? both for the vtter separati­on from the face of God; and for the impossibilitie of passage to the region of rest and glory? The very euill spirits, then, feare, and expect a further degree of torment; they know themselues reserued in those chaines of darknesse for the iudgement of the great day; There is the same wages due to their sinnes, and to ours; neither are the wages paid till the worke be done; [Page 431] they, tempting men to sinne, must needs sinne grieuously in tempting; as with vs men those that mislead into sinne, offend more then the actors; not till the vpshot therefore of their wickednesse shall they receiue the full measure of their con­demnation: This day, this deepe they tremble at; what shall I say▪ of those men that feare it not? It is hard for men to beleeue their owne vnbeleefe: If they were perswaded of this fierie dungeon, this bottomlesse deepe, wherein euery sinne shall receiue an horrible portion with the damned, durst they stretch forth their hands to wickednesse? No man will put [Page 432] his hand into a fierie crucible to fetch gold thence, because he knowes it will burne him; Did we as truly beleeue the euerla­sting burning of that infernall fire, we durst not offer to fetch pleasures, or profits, out of the midst of those flames.

This degree of torment they grant in Christs power to com­mand; they knew his power vn­resistible; had he therefore but said, Backe to hell, whence ye came, they could no more haue staid vpon earth, then they can now climbe into heauen. O the won­derfull dispensation of the Al­mightie; who though he could command all the euill spirits downe to their dungeons in an [Page 433] instant; so as they should haue no more oportunitie of temptation, yet thinkes fit to retaine them vp­on earth; It is not out of weak­nesse, or improuidence of that di­uine hand, that wicked spirits ty­rannzie here vpon earth, but out of the most wise, and most holy ordination of God, who knowes how to turne euill into good; how to fetch good out of euill; and by the worst instruments, to bring about his most iust decrees: Oh that we could adore that aw­full, and infinite power, and cheerefully cast our selues vpon that prouidence, which keepes the Keyes euen of hell it selfe, and either lets out, or returnes the Deuils to their places.

[Page 434] Their other suit hath some mar­uell in mouing it, more in the grant; That they might be suffred to enter into the heard of Swine. It was their ambition of some mischiefe, that brought forth this desire; that since they might not vexe the bodie of the man, they might yet afflict men in their goods; The malice of these enuious spi­rits reacheth from vs, to ours; It is sore against their wills, if we be not euery way miserable: If the Swine were legally vncleane for the vse of the table, yet they were naturally good; Had not Satan knowne them vsefull for man, he had neuer desired their ruine; But as Fencers will seeme to fetch a blow at the legge, when they [Page 435] intend it at the head; so doth this deuill; whiles he driues at the Swine, he aimes at the soules of these Gadarens; by this meanes, he hoped well (and his hope was not vaine) to worke in these Gergesens a discontentment at Christ, an vnwillingnesse to en­tertaine him, a desire of his ab­sence; he meant to turne them in­to Swine, by the losse of their Swine: It was not the rafters, or stones of the house of Iobs chil­dren, that he bore the grudge to, but to the owners; nor to the liues of the children so much, as the soule of their father; There is no affliction wherein he doth not strike at the heart; which, whiles it holds free, all other dammages [Page 434] [...] [Page 435] [...] [Page 436] are light; but a wounded spirit (whether with sinne or sorrow) who can beare? What euer be­comes of goods, or limmes, hap­pie are wee if (like wise souldiers) we gard the vitall parts; whiles the soule is kept sound from im­patience, from distrust, our enemy may afflict vs, he cannot hurt vs.

They sue for a sufference; not daring other then to grant that without the permission of Christ, they could not hurt a very swine; If it be fearfull to thinke how great things euill spirits can doe with permission; it is comfor­table to thinke how nothing they can doe without permission: We know they want not malice to destroy the whole frame of [Page 437] Gods worke; but of all, man; of all men, Christians; but if with­out leaue they cannot set vpon an hogge, what can they doe to the liuing Images of their Creator? They cannot offer vs so much as a suggestion, without the per­mission of our Sauiour; And can he that would giue his owne most precious bloud for vs, to saue vs from euill, wilfully giue vs ouer to euill?

It is no newes that wicked spi­rits wish to doe mischiefe, it is newes that they are allowed it; If the owner of all things should stand vpon his absolute com­mand, who can challenge him for what he thinkes fit to doe with his creature? The first Fole [Page 438] of the Asse is commanded, vnder the law, to haue his necke broken, what is that to vs? The creatures doe that they were made for, if they may serue any way to the glory of their Maker; But, seldome euer doth God leaue his actions vnfurnished with such reasons, as our weaknesse may reach vnto. There were sects amongst these Iewes that denied spirits, they could not be more euidently, more powerfully conuinced then by this euent: Now shall the Ga­darens see from what a multitude of Deuils they were deliuered; and how easie it had beene for the same power to haue allowed those spirits to seaze vpon their persons, as well as their Swine; [Page 439] Neither did God this without a iust purpose of their castigation; His iudgements are righteous, where they are most secret; though we cannot accuse these inhabitants of ought, yet hee could; and thought good thus to mulct them: And if they had not wanted grace to acknowledge it, it was no small fauour of God, that he would punish them in their Swine, for that, which he might haue auenged vpon their bodies, and soules: Our goods are furthest off vs; If but in these we smart, we must confesse to finde mercie.

Sometimes it pleaseth God to grant the suits of wicked men, and spirits, in no fauour to the suitors: [Page 440] Hee grants an ill suit, and with­holds a good; He grants an ill suit in iudgement, and holds backe a good one, in mercie; The Israelites aske meat; hee giues Quailes to their mouthes, and leanenesse to their soules; The chosen vessell wishes Satan taken off, and heares only, My grace is sufficient for thee: Wee may not euermore measure fauour by con­descent; These Deuils doubtlesse receiue more punishment for that harmefull act, wherein they are heard. If we aske what is either vnfit to receiue, or vnlawfull to begge, it is a great fauour of our God to be denied.

Those spirits which would goe into the Swine by permission, goe [Page 441] out of the man by command; they had staied long, and are e­iected suddenly; The immediate workes of God are perfect in an instant, and doe not require the aid of time for their maturation.

No sooner are they cast out of the man, then they are in the Swine; They will leese no time, but passe without intermission from one mischiefe to another; If they hold it a paine not to be do­ing of euill; Why is it not our de­light to be euer doing good? The impetuousnesse was no lesse, then the speed, The heard was carried with violence from a steep-downe place into the lake, and was choked. It is no small force that could doe this; but if the Swine had beene so many [Page 442] mountaines, these spirits, vpon Gods permission, had thus trans­ported them: How easily can they carrie those soules (which are vn­der their power,) to destruction? Vncleane beasts that wallow in the mire of sensualitie, brutish drunkards, transforming them­selues by excesse, euen they, are the swine, whom the Legion carries headlong to the pit of perdition.

The wicked spirits haue their wish; The Swine are choked in the waues; What ease is this to them? Good God; that there should be any creature that seekes contentment in destroying, in tormenting the good creatures of their Maker! This is the diet of hell; Those fiends feed vpon [Page 443] spight; towards man so much more, as he doth more resemble his Creator: Towards all other liuing substances, so much more as they may be more vsefull to man.

The Swine ranne downe vio­lently, what maruell is it if their keepers fled; that miraculous work which should haue drawne them to Christ, driues them from him: They run with the newes; the countrie comes in with clamour; The whole multitude of the countrie about, besought him to depart; The multitude is a beast of many heads; euery head hath a seuerall mouth, and euery mouth hath a seuerall tongue, and euery tongue a seuerall accent; Euery [Page 444] head hath a seuerall braine, and euery braine thoughts of their owne; so as it is hard to finde a multitude, without some diuisi­on: At least seldome euer hath a good motion found a perfect ac­cordance; it is not so infrequent for a multitude to conspire in e­uill; Generalitie of assent is no warrant for any act; Common error carries away many; who in­quire not into the reason of ought, but the practise: The way to hell is a beaten road through the ma­ny feet that tread it; when vice growes into fashion, singularitie is a vertue.

There was not a Gadarene found, that either dehorted their fellowes, or opposed the motion; [Page 445] it is a signe of people giuen vp to iudgement, when no man makes head against proiects of euill. A­las, what can one strong man doe against a whole throng of wic­kednesse? Yet this good comes of an vnpreuailing resistance, that God forbeares to plague, where he findes but a sprinkling of faith: Happie are they, who (like vnto the celestiall bodies, which being carried about, with the sway of the hiest sphere, yet creepe on their owne waies) keepe on the courses of their owne holinesse, against the swinge of common corrupti­ons: They shall both deliuer their owne soules, and helpe to with­hold iudgement from others.

The Gadarenes sue to Christ [Page 446] for his departure; It is too much fauour to attribute this to their modestie, as if they held them­selues vnworthie of so diuine a guest; Why then did they fall vp­on this suit in a time of their losse? Why did they not taxe themselues, and intimate a secret desire of that, which they durst not begge? It is too much rigor to attribute it to the loue of their hoggs, and an anger at their losse; then, they had not intreated, but expelled him; It was their feare that moued this harsh suit: A seruile feare of danger to their persons, to their goods, Least hee that could so ab­solutely command the Deuils, should haue set these tormentors vpon them; Least their other [Page 447] Demoniacks should be disposses­sed with like losse. I cannot blame these Gaderens that they feared; This power was worthy of trem­bling at; Their feare was iust, the vse of their feare was vniust; They should haue argued, This man hath power ouer men, beasts, Deuils, it is good hauing him to our friend; his pre­sence is our safetie & protection; Now they contrarily mis-inferre, Thus powerfull is he, it is good he were fur­ther off; What miserable and per­nicious misconstructions do men make of God; of diuine attri­butes, and actions? God is om­nipotent, able to take infinite ven­geance of sinne, Oh that he were not; He is prouident, I may be carelesse; He is mercifull, I may [Page 448] sinne; He is holy, Let him depart from me, for I am a sinfull man; How wittie sophisters are natu­rall men to deceiue their owne soules, to rob themselues of a God? Oh Sauiour, how worthy are they to want thee that wish to be rid of thee? Thou hast iust cause to be wearie of vs, euen whiles we sue to hold thee; but when once our wretched vn­thankfulnesse growes wearie of thee, who can pittie vs to be pu­nished with thy departure? Who can say it is other then righteous, that thou shouldst regest one day vpon vs, Depart from mee yee wicked.


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