OR, OF The true sight and feare of the ALMIGHTY.

A needfull Tractate.

In two Bookes.


LONDON, Printed by Thomas Harper, for Na­thanael Butter, and are to be sold at his shop at the signe of the pyde-Bull, at S. Austins Gate, 1637.


Octob. 11. 1637.

The Contents.

THe Remedy of Prophane­nesse. A Sermon Preach't in the Ci­ty of Excester, at the consecrati­on of a new Buriall-place there, Gen. 23.19.20.


I Had meant to take leave of the Presse, as one that re­pented to bee guilty of this common surfet. Yet once againe my zeale ur­ges me to breake silence. I finde so little feare of God in this world which I am shortly leaving, that [Page] I could not forbeare, after my tears, to bestow some inke upon it. Every man can bewaile it, I have stu­died to redresse it. Wee may indevour that which GOD onely can ef­fect. I humbly leave this to the worke of no lesse then an omnipotent grace. In the meane time it is both holy and lauda­ble to project the reme­dies; and it shall bee the no-small comfort of my death-bed, that I have [Page] left behind me this seaso­nable advice of better thoughts; which, when I am gone, may survive to the benefit of many: Know withall that this Treatise entred the Presse under the honored name of my deare Lord, the Earle of Norwich, whose death preventing the publication, hath sent it forth Patron-lesse; Mee thought I should not in­dure that what was once his, in my destination, [Page] should ever bee any o­thers; Let this blanke be as my last memoriall of the honour that I justly beare to that incompara­ble friend, both alive and dead, serve to professe un­to the world, that these papers yeeld themselves not unwilling Orphans upon his losse: But why doe I so mis-name his glo­ry? That blessed soule not staying the leisure of my present directions, hasted up to the free view of the [Page] face of his God, which I could onely shew dimly, and aloofe. There will be more use of the imitation of his practice, then of the honour of his protection; Let us goe cheerefully on in the steps of true piety, and conscionable obedi­ence, untill our faith like­wise shall shut up in an happy fruition.

The Contents of the severall Sections.

  • Proem. THe occasion, need and use of the Treatise ensuing.
  • Sect. 1. No one word can expresse that grace which we treat of; what it in­cludes and intimates. Feare is no fit terme for it: Affections well im­ployed, turne vertues. Wherein holy feare consists: What is required to the attaining of it:
    • The sight of God.
    • The sight of our selves.
  • Sect. 2. Of the sight of the Invisible: Moses a fit patterne for it. Two waies wherein he saw the Invisible. Our felicity consists in the sight of God: the degrees of our spirituall sight: how sight and invisibility may consist together.
  • [Page] Sect. 3. How wee may not think to see God: Not by any fained representa­tion; Not by the worke of impro­ved reason; Not in a full compre­hention; Not here in his divine essence, or height of resplendence. How Moses desired to see the face of God.
  • Sect. 4. How we must indeavour to s [...]e the Invisible:
    • 1. That our eyes must be cleared from all hindrances of sight.
    • 2. That blessed object must bee set before our eyes.
  • Sect. 5.
    • 3. There must be an exaltation, and fortification of our sight.
    • 4. There must be a trajection of the visuall beames of the soule thorow all earthly occurrences.
    • 5. A divine irradiation of the mind must follow: what light wee must conceive.
  • Sect. 6.
    • 6. The eye must be fixed upon this blessed object unremoveably.

      How this may bee effected, and how farre.

      [Page]Three waies of our apprehention of God.

  • Sect. 7.
    • 7. There will follow a delight and complacency in that God whom wee see. Reprobates doe rather see Gods anger, than himselfe.
  • Sect. 8. Motives to stirre us up to strive to this happie sight: The act is re­ward enough to it selfe:
    • 1. This sight frees us from being transported with earthly vanities.
  • Sect. 9.
    • 2. It is a prevalent meanes to restraine us from sinning.
    • 3. It upholds us in the constant suffering of evill.
  • Sect. 10.
    • 4. It enters us into our hea­ven. This vision is not without a fruition: not so in other objects.
  • Sect. 11. Of the casting downe our eyes to see our owne wretchednesse. How fraile we are; how sinfull; in how wofull condition by our sinne.
  • [Page]Sect. 1. WHat the feare of God is. A double stamp or sig­nature in this impression of feare.
    • 1. An inward adoration of God.
    • 2. A filiall care of being approved to God.
  • Sect. 2. What inward adoration is; wherein it consists, and how to be wrought. Of Gods infinite great­nesse, shown in the Creation of the world, and the government thereof, in the frame of the heaven, earth, sea, man himselfe.
  • Sect. 3. Of Gods infinite mercy shown in the redemption of mankind.
  • Sect. 4. Of the holy mixture of this feare: Of the continuation and per­petuily of it.
  • Sect. 5. Religious adoration diffused through our whole outward cari­age, in our respects.
    • 1. To the holy name of God. The [Page] Iewes scruples; our carelesnesse.
  • Sect. 6.
    • 2. To the word of God.
  • Sect. 7.
    • 3. To the services of God, Pray­er, Preaching, Administration of Sacraments.
  • Sect. 8.
    • 4. To the house of God.
  • Sect. 9.
    • 5. To the messengers of God.
  • Sect. 10. Of the humble subjection of our selves to the hand of God.
    • 1. In suffering from him meekely, and patiently: The good examples thereof.
    • 2. In all changes of estates.
  • Sect. 11. Of our child-lik care of a secret approving our selves to God, and avoyding his displeasure: How wee are affected after wee have beene miscarried. The holy jelousy and sus­picion of Gods children: This feare a retentive from sinne. Rifenesse of sinne, an argument of the want of this feare. Wicked hearts must have terrible remedies. The mis­placed feare of prophane men.
  • [Page] Sect. 12. Of the filiall indevour of obe­dience; in particular callings, ari­sing from this feare. The happy effects and issue of this feare.
  • Sect. 13. Of the extreames of this feare, on both sides.
    • 1. Whereof the first is Securi­ty: whence it ariseth. Of the abuse of Gods mercy, in giving and for­giving.
    • 2. Of the custome of sinning.
  • Sect. 14.

    Of the remedies of Secu­rity.

    Meanes to keepe the heart ten­der.

    Meditations of Gods judgements, and of our owne frailties.

    A resolution to repell the first motions of sinne.

    Care of speedy recovery after our fall.

    Due heed not to check the con­science.

    A right estimation of worldy things.

  • [Page] Sect. 15. Of Presumption, another op­posite to feare.
    • Presumption of the way.
    • Presumption of the end.
    • 1. In matter of event.
    • 2. In matter of ability.
  • Sect. 16. The remedies of Presumpti­on, in the severall kindes of it.
    • 1. In respect of outward events; of our due valuation of them.
  • Sect. 17.
    • 2. In respect of abilities.

      An exact survay of our graces.

      The differences betwixt coun­terfeit vertues and true.

  • Sect. 18.

    The remedy of our pre­sumption of the end, which is sal­vation.

    Of our modest consideration of the waies and counsels of God.

  • Sect. 19. The extreames on the other hand.
    • 1. Of the feare of horrour; how to be remdyed.
  • [Page] Sect. 20.
    • 2. Of the feare of distrust; with the remedy thereof.


      A recapitulation of the whole.

OF THE SIGHT and FEARE of the ALMIGHTY. The First Book.

The Proem.

NOthing is more easie to observe, than that the mind of man (beeing ever prone to ex­tremities) is no sooner fetcht [Page 2] off from Superstition, than it is apt to fall upō Prophanenesse: finding no meane betwixt ex­cesse of devotion, and an irre­ligious neglect. No wise Chri­stian, who hath so much as so­journed in the world, can choose but feele, and (with griefe of heart) confesse this truth: We are ready to think of Gods matters, as no better than our owne: And a saucy kind of familiarity, this way, hath bred a palpable contempt; so as we walk with the great God of Heaven, as with our fellow; and think of his sacred Ordinances, as either some common imployment, or fa­shionable superfluity. Out of [Page 3] an earnest desire therefore to settle in my selfe, and others, right thoughts, and meet dis­positions of heart, towards the glorious and infinite Majesty of our God, and his holy ser­vices (wherein we are all apt to be too defective) I have put my pen upon this seasonable task; beseeching that Almigh­ty God, (whose work it is) to blesse it both in my hand, and in the perufall of all Readers; whom I beseech to know, that I have written this, not for their eyes, but for their hearts; and therefore charge them as they tender the good of their owne soules, not to rest in the bare speculation, but to work them­selves [Page 4] to a serious, and sensible practice of these holy prescrip­tions, as without which, they shall never have either true hold of God, or found peace, and comfort in their owne soules.Psal. 34.11 Come then yee children, hearken unto me, and I shall teach you the feare of the Lord; There cannot be a fitter lesson for me, in the improvement of my age, to reade, nor for your spiritu­all advantage to take out: One glance of a thought, of this kind, is worth a volume of quarrelsome litigation.


AS above we shall need no words; when we shall be all spirit, and our language shall be all thoughts, so, below, wee cannot but want words, wherein to cloath the true no­tions of our hearts. I never yet could find a tongue, that yeel­ded any one terme to notifie the awfull disposition of the heart towards God; wee are wont to call it Feare; but this appellation comes farre too short; for this signifies an af­fection; whereas this, which we treat of, is no other than an excellent vertue, yea a grace [Page 6] rather; yea rather a precious composition of many divine graces, and vertues.

Gen. 42.18 Deu 6.13. Psa. 25.12. Eccl. 12.13 Psal. 128.1.It is no marvell therefore, if the Spirit of God have wont under this one word, to com­prehend all that belongs either to the apprehension, or adora­tion of a God; For this alone includes all the humble con­stitution of an holy soule, and all the answerable demeanure of a mortified creature: nei­ther is there any thing so well becomming an heart sensible of infinitenesse, as this which wee are faine to mis-name Feare.

To speak properly, there is no feare but of evill, and that [Page 7] wch we justly call servile: which is a doubtfull expectation of something that may be hurt­full to us: and this, when it prevailes, is horror, and dread­full confusion; an affection (or perturbation rather) fit for the gallies, or hell it selfe; Love casts it out, as that which is ever accompanied with a kind of hate; and so will we; we are meditating of such a temper of the heart,Psa. 103.17 128.4 Eccl. 8.11. as in the continu­ance of it is attended with bles­sednesse; as in the exercise of it, is fixed upon infinite great­nesse, and infinite goodnesse, and in the meane time is ac­companied with unspeakable peace, and contentment in [Page 8] the Soule.

And yet, who so had a de­sire to retaine the word (if our Ethick Doctors would give him leave) might say, that affe­ctions well imployed upon ex­cellent objects, turne vertues; so love though commonly marshelled in those lower ranks of the soule, yet when it is elevated to the All-glorious God, is justly styled the high­est of Theologicall vertues, yea, when it rises but to the levell of our brethren, it is Christian charity; so, griefe for sinne, is holy penitence; and what more heavenly grace can be incident into the soule, than joy in the holy Ghost? Neither is it [Page 9] otherwise with Feare, when it is taken up with worldly oc­currents of paine, losse, shame, it is no better than a trouble­some passion, but when wee speak of the feare of God, the case and style is so altered, that the breast of a Christian is not capable of a more divine grace. But not to dwell in syllables, nor to examine curious points of morality: That which we speak of, is no other than a re­verentiall awe of the holy and infinite majesty of God, con­stantly and unremovably set­led in the soule; A disposition so requisite, that he who hath it, cannot but be a Saint, and he that hath it not, is in a sort with­out [Page 10] God in the world. To the producing whereof there is need of a double apprehensi­on; The one of an incompre­hensible excellence, and in­separable presence of God; The other of a most miserable vilenesse, and, as it were, no­thingnesse of our selves. The former is that which the spirit of God calls the sight of the Invisible: For sight is a sense of the quickest, and surest per­ception; so as in seeing of God, we apprehend him infinitely glorious in all that he is, in all that he hath, in all that he doth; and intimately present to us, with us, in us.


LEt us then first see what that Sight is; wherein we can­not have a more meet patterne than Moses; that exposed infant, who in his cradle of Bulrushes was drawne out of the flagges of Nilus, is a true embleme of a regenerate soule, taken up out of the mercy of a dange­rous world, in whose waves he is naturally sinking: Hee that was saved from the waters saw God in fire; and in an holy cu­riosity hasted to see the Bush that burned, and consumed not; Let our godly zeale carry us as fast to see what he saw; [Page 12] and make us eagerly ambiti­ous of his eyes, of his Art. Surely Moses, as St. Stephen tels us, was learned in all the wise­dome of the Egyptians; Hee was not a greater Courtier, than a Scholler: But, Moses his Opricks were more worth than all the rest of his skill. All E­gypt, and Chaldea to boot, though they were famous of old for Mathematick Sciences, could not teach him this Art of seeing the Invisible: As on­ly the Sunne gives us light to see it selfe, so only the Invisible God gives a man power to see himselfe that is Invisible.

There is a threefold world objected to humane apprehen­sion; [Page 13] A sensible world, an intel­ligible, a spirituall or divine; and accordingly man hath three sorts of eyes, exercised about them; The eye of sense, for this outward and materiall world; of reason, for the intel­ligible; of faith, for the spiri­tuall: Moses had all these; By the eye of sense he saw Pharaohs Court, and Israels servitude; By the eye of reason he saw the mysteries of Egyptian lear­ning; By the eye of faith hee saw him that is invisible. In the eye of sense, even brute creatures partake with him, In the eye of reason men, In the faculty of discerning spirituall and divine things only Saints [Page 14] and Angels. Doubtlesse Moses was herein priviledged above other men, Two wayes there­fore did he see the Invisible, First, By viewing the visible signes, and sensible represen­tations of Gods presence; as in the Bush of Horeb (the hill of visions:) in the Fire and Cloud in the Mount of Sinai; Secondly, By his owne spiritu­all apprehension: That first was proper to Moses, as an emi­nent favourite of God: This other must be common to us with him. That we may then attaine to the true feare and fruition of God, we must see him that is invisible, as travel­lers here, as comprehensors [Page 15] hereafter; How we shall see him in his, and our glorious home, we cannot yet hope to comprehend; When we come there [...]o see him, we shall see and know how, and how much we see him; and not till then. In the meane time it must bee our maine care to blesse our eyes with Moses object, and even upon earth to aspire to the sight of the Invisible. This is an act wherein indeed our cheife felicity consists. It is a curiously witty disquisition of the Schooles, since all beati­tude consists in the fruition of God, Whether we more essen­tially, primarily, and directly injoy God in the act of under­standing, [Page 14] [...] [Page 15] [...] [Page 16] (which is by seeing him,) than in the act of will, which is by loving him; and the greatest Masters (for ought I see) pitch upon the under­standing in the full sight of God; as whose act is more no­ble, and absolute, and the uni­on wrought by it more perfect. If any man desire to spend thoughts upon this divine cu­riosity,Iohan. de Neapoli. qu. 14. I referre him to the ten reasons which the Doctor So­lennis gives and rests in, for the decision of this point. Surely these two go so close together, in the separated soule, that it is hard, even in thought, to distin­guish them. If I may not rather say, that as there is no imagi­nable [Page 17] composition in that spi­rituall essence; so its fruition of God is made up of one simple act alone, which here results out of two distinct faculties. It is enough for us to know, that if all perfection of happi­nesse and full union with God consist in the seeing of him, in his glory, then it is, and must be our begun happinesse, to see him (as we may) here be­low: hee can never be other than he is; our apprehension of him varies: Here we can only see him darkly, as in a glasse, there cleerely, and as hee is. Even here below there are de­grees, as of bodily, so of spi­rituall, sight: The newly reco­vered [Page 18] blind man saw men like trees, the eyes of true sense see men like men; The illumina­ted eyes of Elisha, and his ser­vant, saw Angels, invironing them;Act. 7.56. Saint Stephens eyes saw heaven opened, and Iesus stan­ding at the right hand of God: The cleere eyes of Moses see the God of Angels: Saint Pauls eyes saw the unutterable glories of the third heaven: still, the better eyes the brigh­ter vision.

But what a contradiction is here, in seeing the Invisible? If invisible, how seene? and if seene, how invisible? Surely God is a most purely and sim­ply spirituall essence. Here is [Page 19] no place for that, not so much heresie, as stupid conceit, of Anthropomorphisme: A bo­dily eie can only see bodies like it selfe; the eye must answer the object: A spirituall object therefore (as God is) must be seene by a spirituall eye: Mo­ses his soule was a spirit, and that saw the God of spirits: so he that is in himselfe invisible, was seene by an invisible eye: and so must be. If we have no eyes but those that are seene, we are as very beasts as those that we see; but if we have in­visible and spirituall eyes, we must improve them to the sight of him that is invisible.


LEt us then, to the unspeak­able comfort of our soules, inquire, and learne how wee may here upon earth, see the invisible God.

And surely, as it was wisely said of him of old, that it is more easie to know what God is not, than what he is, so it may be justly said also, of the vision of God, it is more obvi­ous to say how God is not seene, than how he is; Let us (if you please) begin with the negative, we may not there­fore think to see God by any fancied representation; hee [Page 23] will admit of no image of himselfe; no not in thought; All possibly conceiveable I­deas, and similitudes, as they are infinitely too low, so they are cleane contrary to his spi­rituall nature, and his expresse charge; and the very entertain­ment of any of them is no other than a mentall idolatry. In the very holy of holyes, where he would most mani­fest his presence, there was no­thing to be seene but a cloud of smoake,Nil preter nubes. Iuv. as the Poet scof­fingly; and as that great King professed to see there;Alex. Mag. to teach his people that he would not be conceived any way, but in an absolute immunity from all formes.

[Page 22]Secondly, we may not hope to see God by the working of our improved reason; for as intelligible things are above the apprehension of sense, so divine matters are no lesse a­bove the capacity of under­standing. Iustly is Durand ex­ploded here, who held that a created understanding was of it selfe, sufficient for the vision of God, without supernaturall aid; for what ever our soule understands here, it doth it by the way of those phantasmes which are represented unto it; by which it is not possible there should be any comprehension of this infinite essence: every power works within the com­passe [Page 23] of his owne sphere; even from the lowest of sense, to the highest of faith: If the eye should encroach upon the eare, in affecting to discerne the delicate ayre of pleasant sounds; and the eare should usurp upon the eye, in pro­fessing to judge of a curious picture, or pleasant prospect; it were an absurd ambition of both. It is all one for a beast to take upon him to judge of matter of discourse; and for a Philosopher to determine of matters of faith: Reason was not given to man for nought, even that can impart unto us something concerning God, but not enough. I remember [Page 24] Gerson, Io. Gers: de distin­ctione ve­rarum vi­sionum à falsis. a great Master of Con­templation, professes that he knew one, (which is, in Saint Pauls phrase, himselfe) who after many temptations of doubt, concerning a maine article of faith, was sudden­ly brought into so cleere a light of truth, and certitude; that there remained no re­liques at all of dubitation; no­thing but confidence, and se­renity, which (saith hee) was wrought by an hearty humi­liation, and captivation of the understanding to the obedi­ence of faith; neither could any reason bee given of that quiet, and firme peace in be­leeving, but his owne feeling [Page 25] and experience: And surely, so it is in this great businesse of seeing God; the lesse wee search, and the more wee be­leeve, the cleerer vision do we attain of him that is invisible.

Neither, thirdly, may wee hope here to aspire to a per­fect sight, or a full compre­hension of this blessed object; the best of all earthly eyes doth but look through a scarfe at this glorious Sight, and com­plaines of it's owne weaknesse and obscurity; and what hope can we have to compasse this infinite prospect? The cleerest eye cannot, at once, see any round body, if it be but of a small bullet, or ring; And [Page 26] when we say, wee see a man, we meane, that we see but his outside; for surely, his heart, or lungs, or braine, are out of our sight; much lesse can we see his soule, by which he is: What speak I of the poore narrow conceit of us mortals? I need not feare to say, that the glori­fied Saints and glorious An­gels of Heaven, being but of a finite (though spirituall) na­ture, hold it no disparagement to disclaime the capacity of this infinite object; much lesse may we think to draine this Ocean with our egge shell.

Lastly, we may not make account here to see the face of God in his divine essence, or [Page 27] in the height of the resplen­dence of his glory: This, even Moses himselfe did not; he de­sired it indeed, but it might not be yeelded, (Exodus 33) and God tels him, this was no object for mortall eyes; A man must die to see it, as Au­sten well. Indeed it is said, Mo­ses spake to God, face to face; the word in the originall is ( [...]) faces to faces:) but ye never read that he saw God face to face; he still con­ferred with that Oracle which was ever invisible. It is a poore conceit of Cornelius à Lapide, that Moses longed so much to see the face of God in some assumed forme; for then that [Page 28] face should not have been his: And if God should have been pleased to assume such a forme, it had beene no lesse easie for him, to have made the face aspectable, as the back; In this sense,Gen 32.30 old Jacob calls his Altar Penu-el, the face of God, and professes to have seene God, face to face; his face saw that face which God had for the present assumed, without a present death: Doubtlesse Mo­ses, having seene divers vayles of Gods presence, (that is, sen­sible testimonies of his be­ing there) desires now to see that glorious Majesty of God open-faced, without those maskes of outward represen­tation, [Page 29] (so hee interprets him­selfe whiles he expresses [...] by [...] vers. 19.Thy face, by thy glory. Exo. 33.18) the desire was zealously ambitious; too high, even for him, that had beene twice blessed with forty dayes cōference with the God whom he longed to see; much lesse may we think of aspiring to this Sight, who must know our distance, even from the foot of the Mount. It is abun­dantly enough, for us, if out of some small loop hole of the rock, we may be allowed, in his passage, to see some after-glimpses of that incomprehen­sible Majesty; to see him, both as we can be capable, and as he will be visible; that is, as he [Page 30] hath revealed himselfe to us in his word, in his works, in his wonderfull attributes. In his word as a most glorious spiri­tuall substance, in three equal­ly glorious subsistences. In his works, as the most mighty Creator, and munificent Pre­server, as the most mercifull Redeemer of the world, as the most gracious Comforter, and Sanctifier of the world of his Elect. In his attributes, as the God of spirits, whose infinite power, wisedome, mercy, ju­stice, truth, goodnesse is essen­tiall; so as he is all these abstra­ctedly, uncompoundedly, re­ally, infinitely. Shortly there­fore, we may not look here to [Page 31] see him by the eye of fancy, or by the eye of reason, or in a full view, or in the height of his glory.

Let us then in the next place see how we may and must see him.


WOuld we therefore see him that is invisible? In the first place we must have our eyes cleered from the na­turall indisposition, to which they are subject; we have all, in nature, many both inward, and ambient hinderances of this sight; there is a kind of earthlinesse in the best eye; [Page 32] whereby it is gouled up, that it cannot so much as o­pen it selfe, to see spirituall things; these are our carnall affections: There is a dim­nesse and duskinesse in the body of the eye, when it is opened; which is our naturall ignorance of heavenly things: There is, besides these, a filme, which is apt to grow over our eye, of naturall infidelity; which makes it incapable of this divine vision; and after all these, (when it is at the clearest) the moats and dust of world­ly thoughts, are apt to trouble our sight: Lastly, every known sinne, wherein a man willingly continues, is a beame in the [Page 33] eye, that bars all sight of God: [...] Wisd. 1.4. Wicked­nesse blinds the under­standing. Jn malevolam animam, &c. Wis­dome enters not into an ill-doing soule, and Malitia occaecat intellectum, as the wise man of old; There must bee a remo­vall and remedy of all these, ere we can attaine to a comforta­ble vision of the Invisible. The goule of our eyes must bee washt off; and if we cannot by our utmost endeavours, lift up our eye-lids, as we ought, we must sue to him that can do it, (Aperioculos:) Open thou mine eyes that I may see the won­derfull things of thy Law. The dimnesse and duskinesse of our eyes must be cleared, by that eye-salve of the Spirit. [Page 34] (Revel. 3.) The filme of our infidelity must be scoured off by the clensing waters of Silo­am, the fountaine of divine truth, welling out of the holy Scriptures; The moates and dust of worldly cares must be wipt out, by a contemptuous, and holy resolution; The beame of sinne, lastly, must be pulled out by a serious re­pentance. So then, if there be any of us that makes account to see God, whiles he is taken up with sensuall affections, whiles he is blinded with his naturall ignorance, and infi­delity, whiles he is seized up­on by worldly cares, and di­stractions, whiles he harbours [Page 35] any knowne sinne in his bo­some, he doth but deceive his own soule; away with all these impediments, that wee may be capable of the vision of God.

In the second place, wee must set this blessed object be­fore our eyes; resolving of the certainty of his presence, with us; Or, rather, we must set our selves before him, who is ever unremovably before us, with us, in us; acknowledging him with no lesse assurance of our faith, than we acknowledge the presence of our owne bo­dies, by the assurance of sense: For, how shall we suppose wee can see him that is absent from [Page 36] us? No man will say, he sees the Sun, when it is out of our Hemisphere: That infinite God therefore, who cannot but be every where, must bee acknowledged to be ever, in a glorious manner, present with us; manifesting his presence most eminently, in the high heavens, and yet filling both heaven and earth with the Ma­jesty of his glory: In him it is that we live, and move, and have our being: he compre­hends the whole world, him­selfe being only incomprehen­sible; secluded from no place, included in no place; neerer to us than our owne soules: when we die, we part from them; [Page 37] from him we cannot part; with whom remotenesse of place can make no difference, time no change: when the heart is thus throughly assured, it is in a faire way to see the Invisible; for now, after all the former impediments, the hinderance of distance is taken away; and nothing remaineth, but that the eye bee so affected, and imployed hereabouts, as it ought.


TO which purpose, in the third place, there must be an exaltation, and a fortifica­tion of our sight; An exaltati­on [Page 38] rasing it above our wonted pitch, for our heart is so inu­red, and confined to bodily objects, that, except it bee somewhat raised above it selfe, it is not capable of spirituall things. A fortification of our sight, so raised; for our visive beames are (at our best) so weak, that they are not able to look upon a sight so spiritually glorious; alas, wee cannot so much as look upon the Sunne­beames, but we are dazeled, and blinded, with that, which gives us opportunity of sight: how shall wee be able to be­hold the infinite resplendence of him that made it? St. Stephen was a true Eagle; that blessed [Page 39] protomartyrs cleared, exalted, fortified sight pierced the hea­vens, and saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God▪ Whence was this vigor, and perspicaci­ty? Hee was full of the holy Ghost, that Spirit of God, that was within him, gave both clearnesse, and strength (in such miraculous manner) to the eyes of him, who should strait-way see, as hee was seene; who should instantly by the eye of his glorified soule, no lesse see the incom­prehensible Majesty of God the Father, than now by his bodily eye, he saw the glori­fied body of the Son of God: It must bee the only work of [Page 40] the same Spirit of God within us, that must enable us, both to the faculty, and exercise of seeing the Invisible; for the performance whereof, there must be, in the fourth place, a trajection of the visuall beames of the soule, thorow all earth­ly occurrences, terminating them only in God; as now, we look thorow the aire, at any object, but our sight passes thorow it, and rests not in it: whiles we are here, we cannot but see the world; even the holiest eye cannot look off it; but it is to us, as the vast aire is betwixt us and the Starry heaven, only for passage; all is translucid, till the sight arrive [Page 41] there; there it meetes with that solid object of perfect content­ment, and happinesse, where­with it is throughly bounded. When it hath therefore attain­ed thither, there must bee, in the fifth place, a certaine divine irradiation of the mind, which is now filled, and taken up with a lightsome apprehension of an infinite Majesty, of a glory incomprehensible, and bound­lesse; attended and adored by millions of heavenly Angels, and glorified Spirits; whereto way must be made by the con­ceit of a transcendent light; wherein God dwelleth; as far above this outward light which we see, as that is above dark­nesse: [Page 42] For though we may not in our thoughts liken God to any created brightnesse, (bee it never so glorious;) yet no­thing forbids us to think of the place of his eternall habitati­on, as infinitely resplendent, above the comparison of those beames which any creature can cast forth. He is clothed (saith the Psalmist) with light as with a garment. Lo, when wee cannot see a mans soule, yet we may see his body; and when we cannot see the body, yet wee may see the clothes: Even so, though wee may not think to see the essence of God, yet we may see, and conceive of this his resplendent garment [Page 43] of light. Farre be it therefore from us, when we would look up to a Deity, to have our eye­sight terminated in a gloomy opacity, and sad darksomnesse, which hath no affinity with any appendance of that divine Majesty, who hath thought good to describe it selfe by light: Let our hearts adore such an infinite spirit, as that the light wherein he dwels, is inaccessible, the light which he hath, and is, is inconceive­able, and rather rest themselves in an humble and devout ado­ration of what they cannot know, than weary themselves with a curious search of what they cannot comprehend. A [Page 44] simple and meek kind of asto­nishment, and admiration, be­seemes us here better, than a bold and busie disquisition. But, if this outward light (which of all visible creatures comes neerest the nature of a spirit) shall seeme too mate­riall, to expresse the glory of that blessed habitation, of the Highest: Let the mind labour to apprehend an intellectuall light, which may be so to our understanding, as this bodily light is to our sense, purely spi­rituall, and transcendently glo­rious; and let it desire to won­der at that which it can never conceive; How should this light be inaccessible, if it were [Page 45] such as our either sense, or rea­son could attaine unto?


WHen we have attained to this comfortable and heavenly illumination, there must be, in the sixt place, a fixing of the eye upon this beatificall object, so, as it may be free from distraction, and wandring. Certainly there is nothing more apt to be mis­carried, than the eye; every new sight winnes it away from that which last allured it. It is not hard, or unusuall to have some sudden short glympses of this happy vision; which yet [Page 46] the next toy fetches off, and makes us to forget: like as the last wave washeth off the im­pression of the former: what are we the better for this, than that patient, who having the filme too early raised from his eye, sees the light for the pre­sent, but shall never see any more. Would wee see God to purpose? when we have once set eye upon him, we may not suffer our selves, by any means to lose the sight of him againe; but must follow it still with a constant and eager intention: Like as the Disciples of Christ, when they had fixed their eyes upon their ascending Saviour, could not be taken off, with [Page 47] the presence of Angels; but sent their eye-beames after him into heaven, so earnestly, that the reproofe of those glo­rious spirits could hardly pull them off. You are now ready to tell me, this is a fit task for us, when we are in our heaven; and to plead the difficulty of such our settlement, in this re­gion of change; where our eyes cannot but bee forced aside, with the necessity of our worldly occasions; and to que­stion the possibility of view­ing two objects at once; God, and the world; not conside­ring, that herein lyes the im­provement of the Christians skill, in these divine Opticks: [Page 48] The carnall eye looks through God, at the world; The spiri­tuall eye lookes through the world, at God; the one of those he seeth mediately, the other terminatively; neither is it in nature hard to conceive, how we may see two such objects, as whereof one is in the way to the other, as thorow a pro­spective glasse, we can see a re­mote mark; or thorow a thin cloud wee can see heaven. Those glorious Angels of hea­ven are never without the vi­sion of God, yet being mini­string spirits for the good of his Elect, here below, they must needs take notice of these earthly occurrents: the variety [Page 49] of these sublunary objects can­not divert their thoughts from their Maker: Although also (to speak distinctly) the eye thus imployed is not the same: nothing hinders but that whiles the bodily sees a body, the spirituall eye may see a spi­rit: As when a load-stone is presented to my view, the eye of my sense sees the body, and fashion of the stone, my eye of reason sees the hidden vertue which is in it; both these kinds of eyes may be thus fixed up­on their severall objects without any intersection of the visu­all lines of each other. But, that no man may think God hath so little respect to our infirmi­ties [Page 50] as to impose upon us im­possible tasks, we must know, that since the soule of man in this state of fraile mortality, is not capable of a perpetuall act of such an intuition of God, here is necessary use of a just distinction: As the Schoole therefore is wont to distin­guish of intentions, so must we here of the apprehension of God, which is either actuall, or habituall, or virtuall. Actu­all, when our cogitations are taken up, and directly imploy­ed in the meet consideration of the blessed Deity, and the things thereto appertaining: Habituall, when we have a settled kind of holy disposi­tion, [Page 51] and aptitude inclining us ever to these divine thoughts, ready still to bring them forth into act, upon every least mo­tion: Virtuall, betwixt both these, being neither so quick and agile, as the actuall; nor yet so dull and flagging as the habituall, (which may be inci­dent to a man whether sleep­ing, or otherwise busied) when by the power of an heavenly disposition, wrought in the mind, we are so affected, as that divine thoughts are be­come the constant (though in­sensible) guests of the soule; whiles the vertue of that ori­ginall illumination sticks still by us, and is, in a sort, derived [Page 52] into all our subsequent co­gitations; leaving in them per­petuall remainders of the holy effects of the deeply-wrought, and well grounded apprehen­sion of God: As in a pilgrim towards the holy Land, there are not alwaies actual thoughts concerning his way, or end; yet there is still, an habituall resolution, to begin and com­passe that journey; and a secret power of his continued will, to put forward his steps to that purpose; there being a cer­taine impression remaining in the motive faculty, which still insensibly stirres him towards the place desired: Neither is it unusuall, (even in nature) to [Page 53] see many effects continuing, when the motion of the cause, by which they were wrought, ceaseth; As when some deep Bell is rung to the height, the noyse continues some time in the ayre, after the clapper is si­lent: Or when a stone is cast into the water, the circles that are caused by it are enlarged, and multiplyed, after the stone lyes still in the bottome.

How ever therefore we can­not hope in this life (through our manifold weaknesses, and distractions) to attaine unto the steddy continuance of the actuall view of him that is in­visible, yet, to the habituall, and virtuall power of appre­hending [Page 54] him, wee may, (through the goodnesse of him, whom we strive to see) happily aspire.

Neither may we be wanting to our selves in taking all oc­casions of renewing these our actuall visions of God; both set, and casuall: there is nothing that wee can see, which doth not put us in mind of God; what creature is there, wherin we do not espy some footsteps of a Deity? every herb, flower, leafe, in our garden; every Bird, and Fly in the aire; eve­ry Ant and Worme in the ground; every Spider in our window, speakes the omnipo­tence, and infinite wisedome [Page 55] of their Creator: None of these may passe us without some fruitfull monition of ac­knowledging a divine hand. But besides these, it will be re­quisite for us, every morning to season our thoughts with a serious renovation of our aw­full apprehensions of God; and not to take off our hand, till wee have wrought our hearts to some good compe­tency of right, and holy con­ceits of that glorious Majesty; the efficacy whereof may di­late it selfe to the whole follow­ing day; which may be often revived by our frequent ejacu­lations: But above all other, when wee have to do with [Page 56] God, in the set immediate ex­ercises of his services, and our heavenly devotions, we must endeavour (to our utmost) to sharpen our eyes, to a spirituall perspicacity; striving to see him, whom we speak unto, and who speaks unto us, as he hath pleased to reveale himselfe. But, over and beside all these, even when we have no provo­cations from any particular oc­casion, it must be our continual care, to labour with our God, that it would please him to work us to such an holy, and heavenly disposition, as that what ever our imployments may be, we may never want the comfort of a virtuall and [Page 57] habituall enjoying the sight of God; so as the power and effi­cacy of our first, well-taken apprehension may runne on, thorow all the following acti­ons, and events both of our life, and death.


VPon this constant fixed­nesse of our thoughts, on God, there cannot but follow (in the seventh place) a mar­vellous delight, and compla­cency of the soule, in so blessed an object; neither is it easie to determine whether of these doe more justly challenge a precedency in the heart, whe­ther [Page 58] the eye be so fixed, be­cause it is well pleased with the sight; or whether it be so plea­sed and ravished, with that hap­py sight, because it is so fixed: whatsoever these two are in the order of nature, I am sure in time, they are inseparable, neither is it possible for any man to see God as interessed in him, and not to love him, and take pleasure in him: As a stranger, as an enemy, or aven­ger, even divels and reprobate soules behold him, to their regret, and torment; if I may not say, they rather see his an­ger, and judgement, than him­selfe; but never eye can see him as his God, and not be taken [Page 59] with infinite delight: for that absolute goodnesse (out of which no man can contem­plate God) can be no other, than infinitely amiable. And if in the seeing of God, we be (as the Schoole hath taught us to speak) unitively carried in­to him, how can we choose but in this act, bee affected with joy unspeakable and glorious? In thy presence, saith the Psal­mist, is the fulnesse of joy: and at thy right hand, are pleasures for evermore. In summe there­fore; if when our eyes being freed from all naturall indispo­sitions, and both inward, and outward impediments; wee have so this blessed object pre­sented [Page 60] before us, as that, there is an exaltation and fortifica­tion of our sight; and there­upon a trajection of the visu­all beames thorow all earthly occurrents, and a divine irra­diation of the understanding, and a stedfast fixing of the eye upon this happy object, with­out wandring and distraction; not without a wonderfull de­light, and joy in the God of all comfort, whom we appre­hend; we do now effectually borrow Moses his eyes, and, as he did, see the Invisible.


BVt as all good things are difficult, and all difficulties full of discouragement, unlesse they be matched with a coun­tervaileable benefit, (in which cases they doe rather whet, than turne the edge of our de­sires) let us see what consi­derations of profit, arising from this noble act, may stirre up our languishing hearts to the endeavour, and perfor­mance thereof: There are acti­ons, which carrying nothing but danger and trouble in the mouth of them, had need to be drawne on with the pro­mise [Page 62] of an externall reward; there are those, which carry in them their owne recompence; such is this wee have in hand: What can there bee out of it selfe, so good as it? When we take paines to put our selves into some Theater, or Court, or some pompous triumph, we have no other end but to see; and yet how poore, and unsa­tisfying is that spectacle; and such, as wherein our frivolous curiosity shuts up in empti­nesse, and discontentment? how justly then are we ambi­tious of this prospect, where­in, to but see, is to be blessed. It is no newes to see wantons transported from themselves, [Page 63] with the sight of a beautifull face, though such, perhaps, as wherein they can never hope to have any interest; and some curious eyes no lesse taken with an exquisite picture, which yet shall never be theirs: how can we be other than ravi­shed with an heavenly delight, and pleasure, in so seeing the infinite beauty of the God of Spirits, as that our sight can­not be severed from fruition? the act it selfe is an abundant remuneration, yet doth it not want many sweet, and benefi­ciall consequences, which do justly quicken our desires to attaine unto the practise of it. Whereof it is not the meanest, [Page 64] that who-ever hath happily aspired thereunto, cannot bee carryed away with earthly va­nities; what poore things are these, in comparison of those invisible glories? Alas, what was the pleasure and riches of the Court of Egypt, in the eyes of Moses, when he had once seene his God? It is a true word,Gustato spiritu de­sipit om­nis caro. Gers. de. 4. domibus. that of the Chancellor of Paris, when a man hath ta­sted once of the spirit, all flesh is savourlesse: Surely, when once the chosen vessell had beene rapt into the third hea­ven, and seene those unutte­rable magnificencies of the divine Majesty, who can won­der, if he looked, ever after, [Page 65] with scorne, and pitty upon all the glittering poverty of this inferiour world? Goe then ye poorely-great ones of the world, and admire the piles of your treasures, the stateli­nesse of your structures, the sound of your titles, the extent of your territoryes; but know, that hee who hath seene the least glympse of the Invisible, knowes how to commiserate your felicity, and wonders what yee can see in all these, worth your admiration, and pursuit: What joy and tri­umph was among the Iewes when they saw the foundation of the second Temple laid? yet those ancient Priests and [Page 66] Levites, whose eyes had seene the glory of the former Tem­ple, wept, and cryed as loud, as the rest shouted: Those that know no better, may rejoyce and exult in these worldly contentments; but those, who have had but a blink of the beauty of heaven, can look up­on them no otherwise, than with an overly contemptuous­nesse. I wonder not if good old Simeon were content to have his eyes clozed for ever, when he had once seene the Sonne of God: what ever he should see afterwards, would but abase those eyes, that had beene blessed with the face of his Saviour. It was no ill con­ceit [Page 67] of the wise Oratour, that he who had once knowne and considered the magnitude of the world, could never after admire any thing; Surely we may more justly say, that hee who hath duly taken into his thoughts the consideration of the infinite power, wisdome, goodnesse, of the great God of the world, cannot think the world it selfe, worthy of his wonder. As some great Peere therefore, that hath beene used to stately showes, and courtly magnificence, doth not vouch­safe so much as to cast his eye towards the meane worthlesse gewgawes of a Pedlars Stall, (which yet silly children be­hold [Page 68] with great pleasure and admiration: so the soule that hath beene inured to the sight of the divine Majesty, scornes to suffer it selfe to be transpor­ted with the trash and toyes of this vaine and transitory world.


NO whit inferiour to this benefit, is the second; that this sight of the Invisible is a notable and prevalent meanes to restraine us from sinning, for how dares he sinne, that sees God ever before him? whom he knowes of so pure eyes, that he detests the least [Page 69] motion to evill; of so almigh­ty power, as to revenge it everlastingly. It was a poore thought of him (who yet could know no better) that hee who would disswade himselfe from a secret wickednesse, should suppose a grave Cato, or some other such austere frowning Censor, to be by him, looking upon his actions; as if the shame or feare of such a wit­nesse were a sufficient coerci­on from evill: he that hath no eyes to see a God, may scarre himselfe with the imagined sight of a man, somewhat bet­ter than himselfe; but he who hath the grace to see the Invi­sible, finds a stronger restraint [Page 70] in that presence, than if hee were looked on by millions of Witnesses, Iudges, Executio­ners: Yet as this sight is mu­tuall, (ours of God, and Gods of us,) the good heart finds a more powerfull restriction in his seeing of God, than in Gods seeing of him: if there be more feare in this, there is more love in the other; for, since this holy vision of God is ever joyned with some warmth of good affection to that prime, and infinite good­nesse, the very apprehension of that unspeakable loveli­nesse, which is in him, more effectually curbeth all evill de­sires, in us, than the expectati­on [Page 71] of any danger, that can threaten us: How can I do this great evill, and sinne against God, Gen. 39 9. saith good Ioseph: the sinne af­frights him more than the suf­fering, and the offence of a God, more than his owne danger.

The Spirit of God hath thought fit to specifie the third benefit, upon occasion of the mention of Moses his vision of God; he endured, as seeing him who is invisible: As this sight therefore hath power to withhold us from doing evill; so also to uphold us in the suf­fering of evill; What but cheer­fulnesse, and ease, could holy Stephen find in the stones of [Page 72] his enraged murtherers, when, through that haile storme he could see his Iesus, standing at the right hand of God, ready to revenge, and crowne him? What a pleasing walk did the three children find in Nebu­chadnezzars Fornace, whiles the Sonne of God made up the fourth? What Bath was so suppling, and delightfull, as the rack of Theodorus the Mar­tyr, whiles Gods Angel wip't, and refreshed his distended joynts? With what confidence and resolution, did the Father of the faithfull break thorow all troubles, and tentations, when he heard God say, Feare not, Gen. 15.1. Abraham, I am thy sheild, [Page 73] and thy exceeding great reward. Certainly, all feare and discou­ragement arises from a con­ceit of our owne weaknesse, and an adversaries power, and advantage; take away these two, and the mind of man re­maines undanted: and both these vanish at the sight of the Invisible; For, what weaknesse can we apprehend, when God is our strength, or what adver­sary can we feare, when the Al­mighty is with us? Good E­zekiah was never so much scarred with all the bravings of Rabshakeh, as when he said, Am I come up hither without the Lord? Had God taken part against his degenerated [Page 74] people, what could the arme of flesh have availed, for their defence? As contrarily, when hee strikes in, what can the gates of hell do? Is it multi­tude that can give us courage? as Elisha's servant said; there are more with us than against us: It is strength? behold, the weaknesse of God is stronger than men; than divels: How justly do we contemne all vi­sible powers, when we see the Invisible? when we see him, not empty handed, but stan­ding ready, with a crowne of glory,Revel. 2, 7. To him that over­comes it shall be given. to reward our conquest; Vincenti dabitur: Are we ther­fore persecuted, for professing the truth of the Gospell, and [Page 75] cast into a dark, and desolate dungeon, where no glimme­ring of light is allowed to look in upon us; where we are so farre from being suffered to see our friends, that we cannot see so much as the face of our Keeper? Lo even there, and thence, we may yet see the In­visible, and (in spight of ma­lice) in his light wee can see light. Do we lie groaning up­on the painfull bed of our sicknesse, closing our curtaines about us to keep out the light, which now growes offensive to our sight; yea, doth death begin to seize upon our eyes, and to dim and thicken our sight, so as now we cannot dis­cerne [Page 76] our dearest friends, that stand ready to close them for us; yet, even then may we most cleerly see the Invisible; and that sight is able to cheere us up, against all the pangs, and terrours of death, and to make us triumph even in dying.


LAstly, what other doth this vision of God but enter us into our heaven? Blessed are the pure in heart, (saith our Sa­viour upon the Mount) for they shall see God; Lo, he that only can give blessednesse, hath promised it to the pure; and he that best knowes wher­in [Page 77] blessednesse consists, tells us, it is in the seeing of God; The blessed Spirits above, both Angels and soules of the departed Saints, see him cleer­ly, without any vaile drawne over their glorified eyes; we, wretched Pilgrims here on earth, must see him as wee may; there is too much clay in our eyes, and too many, and to grosse vapors of ignorance and infidelity betwixt us and him, for a full and perfect vi­sion: Yet even here, we see him truly, though not cleerly; and the stronger our faith is, the clearer is our sight; and the clearer our sight is, the grea­ter is our measure of blessed­nesse: [Page 78] Neither is it a meere presence, or a bare simple visi­on, which doth either inchoate, or perfect our happinesse: we find there was a day, when the Sonnes of God came to pre­sent themselves before the Lord,Iob 1.6. and Satan came also among them;Zach. 12.10 and the wickeds eyes shall see him whom they have peirced; we see so much of God, (in the way of our blisse) as we enjoy. I know not how the eye in these spiri­tuall objects, (betwixt which and us there is a gracious rela­tion) hath a certaine kind of applicatory faculty, which in these materiall things it wan­teth: O taste, and see (saith [Page 79] the Psalmist) how sweet the Lord is; as if our sight were more inwardly apprehensive of heavenly pleasures, than our most sensible gustation: In these bodily objects, either there is no operation upon the sense, or, to no purpose; The eye is never the warmer for seeing a fire a farre off, nor the colder for beholding yce: we are no whit the richer for seeing heapes of treasure, nor the fairer for viewing anothers beauty; But such a powerfull, and glorious influence there is of God into our spirituall sen­ses, that we cannot see him by the eye of our faith here, and not be the happier; we [Page 80] cannot see him above by the eye of our separated soules, and not be perfectly glorious; and the one of these doth ne­cessarily make way for the o­ther: for, what is grace here but glory begun? and what is glory above, but grace perfect­ed? Whosoever therfore here, hath pitcht the eye of his faith upon the Invisible, doth but continue his prospect, when he comes to heaven: the place is changed, the object is the same; the act more compleat: As then, we do ever look to have our eyes blessed with the perpetuall vision of God, in the highest heavens; let us acquaint them before hand, [Page 81] with the constant and conti­nuall sight of him, in this vale of mortality.


NO sooner have our eyes beene thus lifted up above the hills, to the sight of the In­visible, than they must be in­stantly cast downe, and tur­ned inwards to see our owne wretchednesse; how weak and poore we are, how fraile, how vaine and momentany, how destitute of all good, how obnoxious to all sinne, and mi­sery: Contrarieties make all things better discerned; And surely however it be cōmonly [Page 82] seene, that the neernesse of the object, is an hindrance to the sight, yet here, the more close­ly we behold our owne condi­tion, the more cleerly we shall discerne, and the more fully shall we be convinced of this unpleasing truth: It is not for us to look back (like the heires of some decayed house) at what we were; whoever was the better for a past happi­nesse? Alas, what are we now? miserable dust and ashes; earth at the best, at the worst, hell; Our being is vanity, our sub­stance corruption; our life is but a blast, our flesh wormes-meat, our beginning impo­tent, above all creatures, (even [Page 83] wormes can crawle forward, so soone as they are, so cannot we) our continuance short, and troublesome; our end grievous; who can assure himselfe of one minute of time, of one dramme of con­tentment? But, woe is me, other creatures are fraile too, none but man is sinfull; our soule is not more excellent, than this tainture of it, is odi­ous, and deadly; our compo­sition laies us open to mortali­ty, but our sinne exposes us to the eternall wrath of God, and the issue of it, eternall damna­tion: The grave waits for us, as men; hell, as sinners: Beasts compare with us in our being; [Page 84] in our sinning, Devils insult over us. And now, since the spring is foule, how can the streames be cleare? Alas, what act of ours is free from this wofull pollution? who eats, or drinks, or sleepes, or moves, or talks, or thinks, or heares, or prayes without it? Even hee that was blessed with the sight of the third heaven, as tyred with this clogge, could say, O wretched man that J am, who shall deliver mee from this body of death? Blessed Apostle, if thou wert so sensi­ble of thy in-dwelling corrup­tions, who knew'st nothing by thy selfe, how must our hearts needs rend with shame, and [Page 85] sorrow, who are guilty of so many thousand transgressions, which our impotence can nei­ther avoid, nor expiate? how justly do we feare God, since we have deserved to be under so deep a condemna­tion.

OF THE SIGHT and FEARE of the ALMIGHTY. The Second Book.


THus therefore when a man shall have stedfastly fixed his eyes upon the dread Majesty of an ever-present God, and upon the deplo­red [Page 88] wretchednesse of his own condition, hee shall bee in a meet capacity to receive this holy Feare, whereof we treat: Neither indeed is it possible for him to see that all-glorious presence, and not presently thereupon find himselfe affe­cted with a trembling kind of awfulnesse. Neither can hee look upon his owne vilenesse, without an humble and bash­full dejection of soule; But when he shall see both these at once, and compare his owne shamefull estate, with the dread­full, incomprehensible Maje­sty of the great God; his owne impotence, with that almigh­ty power; his owne sinfulnesse, [Page 89] with that infinite purity, and justice; his owne misery with the glory of that immense mer­cy, how can he choose but be wholly possessed with a de­vout shivering, and religious astonishment. The heart then thus tempered with the high thoughts of a God, and the humble conceits of our selves, is fit for the impression of this Feare, which is no other, than an awfull disposition of the soule to God: wherein there is a double stamp, or signa­ture; the one, is an inward adoration of the Majesty seene and acknowledged; the other, a tender and filiall care of be­ing secretly approved of God; [Page 90] and of avoyding the displea­sure, and offence of that God whom we so adore. The first, is a continuall bowing the knees of our hearts to that great, and holy God; both in­wardly blessing, and praising him in all his divine attributes; in his infinite power, wise­dome, justice, mercy, and truth; and humbly submitting and resigning our selves whol­ly to his divine pleasure in all things; whether for his dispo­sing, or chastising.


ALL true adoration be­gins from within; even the soule hath the same parts, and postures with the body: as therefore it hath eyes to see, so it hath a tongue to speak un­to, and a knee to bend unto the Majesty of the Almighty: Shortly then; we shall inward­ly adore the God of heaven, when our hearts are wrought to bee awfully affected to the acknowledgment, cheifly of his infinite Greatnesse, and infinite Goodnesse; And this shall be best done, by the con­sideration of the effects of [Page 92] both: Even in meaner mat­ters, wee cannot attaine to the knowledge of things by their causes; but are glad to take up with this secondary informa­tion: how much more in the highest of all causes, in whom there is nothing but transcen­dency, and infinitenesse? We shall therefore most feelingly adore the infinite greatnesse of God, upon representing unto our selves, the wonderfull work of his creation, and his infinite goodnesse, in the no lesse wonderfull work of our re­demption:Rom. 1.20. For (as the great Doctor of the Gentiles most divinely) the invisible things of God from the creation of [Page 93] the world are cleerly seene, being understood by the things that are made; even his eternall power, and Godhead. Even so, O God, if we cannot see thee, we cannot but see the world, that thou hast made: and in that, wee see some glympses of thee: When wee behold some goodly pile of building, or some admirable picture, or some rarely-artifici­all engine, our first question uses to be, who made it? and we judge of, and admire the skill of the workman, by the excellent contrivance of the work; how can we do other­wise in this mighty and goodly frame of thy universe? Lord [Page 94] what a world is this of thine, which wee see? What a vast, what a beautifull fabrick is this, above and about us? Lo thou, that madest such an hea­ven, canst thou be other than infinitely glorious? O the power and wisdome of such a Creator! Every Starre is a world alone, the least of those globes of light, are farre grea­ter than this our whole inferi­our world, of earth and waters (which we think scarce mea­surable,) and what a world of these lightsome worlds hast thou marshalled together in that one firmament? and yet what roome hast thou left in that large contignation, for [Page 95] more? so as the vacant space betwixt one Starre, and ano­ther, is more in extent than that which is filled: In how exact a regularity do these ce­lestiall bodies move, ever since their first setting forth, with­out all variation of the time or place of their rising, or setting; without all change of their influences? In what point and minute Adams new created eyes saw them begin, and shut up their diurnall motions, we, his late posterity, upon that same day and in the same Cli­mate find them still; How have they looked upon their spectators, in millions of chan­ged generations, and are still [Page 96] where they were, looking still for more? But, above the rest, who can but be astonished at that constant miracle of na­ture, the glorious Sunne, by whose beames, all the higher and lower world is illumina­ted; and by whose sole benefit, we have use of our eyes? O God, what were the world without it, but a vast, and sul­len dungeon of confusion, and horrour; and, with it, what a Theater of beauty and won­ders? what a sad season is our midnight, by reason of his farthest absence; and yet, even then, some glympses of ema­nations, and remainders of that hidden light, diffuse them­selves [Page 97] thorow the aire, and forbid the darknesse to bee absolute. Oh what an hell were utter darknesse; what a revi­ving and glorious spectacle it is, when the morning opens the curtaines of heaven, and showes the rising Majesty of that great Ruler of the day, which too many eyes have seene with adoration; never any saw, without wonder, and benediction: And if thy crea­ture be such, what, oh, what art thou that hast made it? As for that other faithfull wit­nesse in heaven, what a cleare and lasting testimony doth it give to all beholders, of thine omnipotence? Alwayes, and [Page 98] yet never changing? still uni­forme in her constant variati­ons, still regular in the mul­tiplicity of her movings; and O God, what a traine doth that great Queene of Heaven (by thine appointment) draw after her? no lesse than this vast ele­ment of waters, so many thou­sand miles distant from her sphere? She moves in heaven, the sea followes her, in this in­feriour orb, and measures his paces by hers: How deep, how spacious, how restlesly turbu­lent is that liquid body? and how tamed and confined by thine Almightinesse? How just­ly didst thou expostulate with thy people of old, by thy Pro­phet [Page 99] Ieremy, Feare yee not mee, Ier. 5.22. saith the Lord, will ye not trem­ble at my presence, which have placed the sand, for the bounds of the sea, by a perpetuall decree, that it cannot passe it; and though the waves thereof tosse them­selves, yet they cannot prevaile; though they roare, yet can they not passe over it? And what a stu­pendious work of omnipo­tence is it, that thou, O God, hast hanged up this huge globe of water and earth, in the midst of a yeelding aire, without any stay, or foundation, save thine owne eternall decree? How wonderfull art thou in thy mighty winds; which, whence they come, and whi­ther [Page 100] they go, thou only know­est; in thy dreadfull thunders, and lightnings; in thy threat­ning Comets, and other fiery exhalations? With what mar­vellous variety of creatures hast thou peopled all these thy roomy elements; all of seve­rall kinds, fashions, natures, dispositions, uses; and yet all their innumerable motions, actions, events, are predeter­mined and over-ruled by thine all-wise, and almighty provi­dence! What man can but open his eyes, and see round about him these demonstrati­ons of thy divine power, and wisedome, and not inward­ly praise thee in thine excellent [Page 101] greatnesse? For my owne pra­ctise, I cannot find a better no­tion, wherby to work my heart to an inward adoration of God, than this; Thou that hast made all this great world, and gui­dest, and governest it, and fil­lest and comprehendest it, be­ing thy selfe infinite and in­comprehensible: And I am sure there can be no higher re­presentation of the divine greatnesse unto our selves. Al­though withall, we may find enough at home: for what man that lookes no further than himselfe, and sees the goodly frame of his body, erected and imployed for the harbour of a spirituall, and im­mortall [Page 102] soule, can choose but say, I will praise thee, for I am fearefully, and wonderfully made.


SVrely, could we forget all the rest of the world, it is enough to fetch us upon our knees, and to strike an holy awe into us, to think that in him we live, and move, and have our being: For, in these our parti­cular obligations, there is a mixed sense both of the great­nesse, and goodnesse of our God; which, as it manifestly showes it selfe in the wondrous work of our excellent creati­on, [Page 103] so most of all magnifies it selfe, in the exceedingly grati­ous work of our redemption: Great is thy mercy that thou mayst be feared, saith the sweet Singer of Israel; Lo, power doth not more command this holy feare, than mercy doth; though both here, meet toge­ther; for as there was infinite mercy mixed with power, in thus creating us; so also, there is a no lesse mighty power mixed with infinite mercy, in our redemption: What heart can but awfully adore thy so­veraigne mercy, O blessed God, the Father of our Lord Iesus Christ, in sending thine only, and coequall Sonne, the [Page 104] Sonne of thy love, the Sonne of thine eternall essence, out of thy bosome, downe from the height of celestiall glory, into this vale of teares and death, to abase himselfe, in the susception of our nature, to clothe himselfe with the ragges of our humanity, to indure temptation, shame, death, for us? O blessed Iesu, the redee­mer of mankind, what soule can be capable of a sufficient adoration of thine inconceive able mercy, in thy meane and despicable incarnation, in thy miserable, and toilsome life, in thy bloudy agony, in thine ignominious and tormenting passion, in thy wofull sense [Page 105] of thy fathers wrath in our stead, and lastly, in thy bitter and painfull death? thou that knewest no sinne, wert made sinne for us, thou that art om­nipotent, would'st die; and by thy death, hast victoriously tri­umphed over death, and hell. It is enough, O Saviour, it is more than enough, to ravish our hearts with love, and to bruise them with a loving feare. O blessed Spirit, the God of comfort, who but thou only can make our soules sen­sible of thy unspeakable mercy, in applying to us the wonder­full benefit of this our deare redemption, in the great work of our inchoate regeneration, [Page 106] in the mortifying of our evill and corrupt affections, in rai­sing us to the life of grace, and preparing us for the life of glo­ry? O God, if mercy be pro­per to attract feare, how must our hearts, in all these respects, needs be filled with all awfull regard unto thy divine boun­ty?Psal. 31.20. Oh how great is the good­nesse that thou hast laid up for those that feare thee, even be­fore the sonnes of men!


NOw we may not think this inward adoration of the greatnesse, & goodnes of God to be one simple act, but that, [Page 107] which is sweetly compounded of the improvement of many holy affections: for there can­not but be love mixed with this feare;Eccl. 25.5. The feare of the Lord is the beginning of love; and this feare must be mixed with joy:Psal. 2.11. Rejoyce in him with trembling: and this feare and joy, is still mixed with hope:Pro. [...]1.2 [...]. For in the feare of the Lord is strong confi­dence; and the eye of the Lord is upon them that feare him, Psal. 33.1 [...]. upon them that hope in his mercy: As therefore, we are wont to say that our bodies are not, neither can bee nourished with any simple ingredient; so may we truly say of our soules, that they neither receive any com­fort, [Page 108] or establishment, nor exe­cute any powers of theirs, by any sole single affection; but require a gracious mixture for both. As that father said of obedience, we may truly say of grace, that it is all copula­tive. Neither may wee think, that one only impression of this holy feare, and inward adoration will serve the turne, to season all our following disposition, and carriage; but, there must be a virtuall conti­nuation thereof, in all the pro­gresse of our lives; Our Schooles do here seasonably distinguish of perpetuity, of, whether the second act, when all our severall motions and [Page 109] actions are so held on, as that there is no cessation, or inter­mission of their performance: (which wee cannot here ex­pect) Or, of the first act, when there is an habit of this inward adoration, settled upon the heart so constantly, that it is never put off, by what ever oc­currences; so as whatsoever we do, whatsoever we indea­vour, hath a secret relation hereunto. And this second way; we must attaine unto, if ever we will aspire to any com­fort in the fruition of Gods presence here, upon earth, and our meet disposition towards him. I have often thought of that deep, and serious question [Page 110] of the late judicious, and ho­nourable,Mr. Samu­el Burton Archdea­con of Glocester. Sir Fulke Grevil, Lord Brook, (a man worthy of a fairer death, and everlasting memory) moved to a learned kinsman of mine, (much in­teressed in that Noble man) who when he was discoursing of an incident matter, very considerable, was taken off with this quick interrogation, of that wise and noble person; What is that to the Infinite? as secretly implying, that all our thoughts and discourse must be reduced thither; and that they faile of their ends, if they be any other where termina­ted▪ It was a word well be­comming the profound judge­ment, [Page 111] and quintessentiall no­tions of that rare, memorable Peere. And certainly so it is, if the cogitations and affecti­ons of our hearts be not dire­cted to the glory of that infi­nite God, both they are lost, and we in them.


REligious adoration begins in the heart, but rests not there; diffusing it selfe through the whole man, and comman­ding all the powers of the soule, and all the parts of the body to comply in a reverent devotion: so that, as we feare the Lord whom wee serve, [Page 112] so wee serve the Lord with feare.

Where the heart stoopes, it cannot be, but the knees must bend, the eyes and hands must be lift up; and the whole body will strive to testifie the inward veneration; as upon all occasi­ons, so especially, when wee have to deale with the sacred affaires of God, and offer to present our selves to any of his immediate services: Our feare cannot bee smothered in our bosomes; Every thing that pert [...]ines to that infinite Ma­jesty must carry from us due testifications of our awe; his Name, his Word, his Services, his House, his Messengers: I [Page 113] cannot allow the superstitious niceties of the Iewes, in the matters of God; yet I find in their practise, many things wor­thily imitable; such as favour of the feare of their father Isaac, and such as justly shame our prophane carelesnesse.

There is no wise man but must needs mislike their curi­ous scruples, concerning that ineffable name, the letters and syllables wherof, they held in such dreadfull respect, that they deemed it worthy of death, for any but sacred lips, and that, but in set times and places, to expresse it; as if the mention of it pierced the side of God, together with their [Page 114] owne heart;Schichard de jure re­gio Hebr. And, if the name of God were written upon their flesh, that part might not bee touched either with water, or oyntment. But well may wee learne this point of wit, and grace from this first, (and, then, the only) people of God; not rashly, sleightly, re­gardlesly, to take the awfull name of God into our mouths, but to heare and speak it (when occasion is given) with all ho­linesse, and due veneration.

There are those that stumble at their adoration at the blessed name of Iesus, prescribed and practised by our Church; as unjustly conceiving, that wee put a superstitious holinesse in [Page 115] the very sound, and syllabicall enunciation of the word; wher­as, it is the person of that bles­sed Saviour, to whom, upon this occasion, our knees are bended: A gesture so far out of the just reach of blame, that if it seemed good to the wise­dome of the Church, to allot this reverent respect to all▪ whatsoever the names, wher­by the Majesty of God, in the whole sacred Trinity, is signi­fied, and expressed to men, it were most meet to be accor­dingly exhibited unto them: And now, since it hath (without inhibition of the like regard to the rest) pitched upon that name, which intimating and [Page 116] comprising in it the whole gra­tious work, and immediate author of our deare redemp­tion, hath beene exposed to the reproach and opposition of the gain-saying world; We cannot (if we be not wanting to our filiall obedience) detrect our observance of so antient, and pious an institution. Ne­ver any contempt was dared to bee cast upon the glorious name of the Almighty, and absolute Deity, only the state of exinanition, subjected the Sonne of God to the scorne, and under-valuation of the world; Iustly therefore hath our holy and gracious Mother thought fit, and ordained, up­on [Page 117] that person and name, which seemed lesse honourable, and lay more open to affront, to bestow the more abundant ho­nour: In the meane time, as shee is a professed incourager and an indulgent lover of all true devotion, shee cannot but be well pleased, with what so­ever expressions of reverence, we give to the divine Majesty, under whatsoever termes, ut­tered by our well advised, and well instructed tongues.

I have knowne, and hono­red, as most worthy a constant imitation, some devout per­sons, that never durst mention the name of God, in their or­dinary communication, with­out [Page 118] uncovering of their heads, or elevation of their hands, or some such other testimony of reverence.

And certainly, if the heart be so throughly possessed with a sad awe of that infinite Ma­jesty, as it ought; the tongue dares not presume in a sudden unmannerlinesse to blurt out the dreadfull name of God; but shall both make way for it, by a premised deliberation, and attend it with a reverent elocution. I am ashamed to think how farre we are surpas­sed by heathenish piety; The ancient Grecians and amongst the rest, Plato, (as Suidas well observes,) when they would [Page 119] sweare by their Iupiter, out of the meere dread, and reverence of his name, forbare to men­tion him: breaking off their oath, with a, [...], as those that onely dare to owe the rest to their thoughts; And Climas the Pythagorean, out of this regard, would rather under­goe a mulct of three talents, than sweare. Whiles the pro­phane mouthes of many Chri­stians, make no difference in their appellation, betweene their God, and their ser­vant.


AS the name, so the word of our maker challengeth an awfull regard from us, as a re­flection of that feare wee owe to the omnipotent author of it. What worlds of nice caution have the masters of the Syna­gogue prescribed to their dis­ciples, for their demeanour to­wards the book of the Law, of their God? No letter of it might be writ without a copy; no line of it without a rule; and the rule must be upon the back of the parchment; no parch­ment might bee imployed to this service, but that which is [Page 121] made of the skinne of a cleane beast; no word might be writ­ten in a different colour; inso­much as when in the Penta­teuch of Alexander the Great,Idem Schicar­dus de ju­re regio Heb [...]aeo­rum. the name of Iehovah, was (in pretence of honour) written in golden Characters, their great Rabbins cōdemned the whole volume to be obliterated, and defaced: No man might touch it, but with the right hand, and without a kisse of reverence: No man might sit in the pre­sence of it; No man might so much as spit before it; No man might carry it behind him; but lay it next to his heart, in his travell; No man might offer to read it, but in a cleane place; [Page 122] no man might sell it, though the copy were moth-eat, and himselfe halfe famished: And is the word of the everlasting God of lesse worth and autho­rity, now, than it hath beene? Or is there lesse cause of our reverence of those divine Ora­cles, than theirs? Certainly, if they were superstitiously scru­pulous, it is not for us to be carelesly slovenly, and negle­ctive of that sacred Book, out of which wee shall once bee judged: Even that impure Alcoran of the Turkes is for­bidden to bee touched by any but pure hands. It was not the least praise of Carlo Boromeo, Ogier. A­polog. Bal­sac [...], &c. the late Saint of Millaine, that hee [Page 123] would never read the divine Scripture, but upon his knees; and if we professe to beare no lesse inward honour to that sacred volume; why should we, how can wee think it free for us to entertaine it with an unmannerly neglect?


AS to the name and word, so to the services of God must the efficacy of our holy feare bee diffused; and these, whether private or publick: If we pray, our awe will call us, either to a standing on our feet, as servants; or a bowing of our knees, as suppliants; or, [Page 124] a prostration on our faces, as dejected penitents; Neither when the heart is a Camell, can the body be an Elephant: What Prince would not scorne the rudenesse of a sitting peti­tioner? It was a just distincti­on of Socrates of old, [...]. Plat. Apol. that, to sacrifice, is to give to God; to pray, is to beg of God: And who is so liberall, as to cast away his almes upon a stout, and unreverent beggar? If we attend Gods message in the mouth of his holy servants, whether read or preached, our feare will frame us to a reve­rent carriage of our bodies; so as our very outward deport­ment may really seeme to [Page 125] speak the words of the good Centurion;Acts 10.33 Now we are all here present before God, to heare all things that are commanded thee of God; we shall need no law to vaile our bonnets, save that in our owne breast. It was a great word that Simeon the sonne of Satach, Talm. said to the Iewish Prince, and Priest, con­vented before their Sanhedrin; Thou standest not before us, but before him that said, Let the world be made, and it was made: did we think so, how durst wee sit in a bold sauci­nesse (whiles that great Em­bassie is delivered) with our hats on our heads; as if we ac­knowledged no presence but [Page 126] of our inferiours; yea, (that which is a shame to say) those very apprentices, who dare not cover their heads at home, where their Master is alone; yet, in Gods house, where they see him in a throng of his bet­ters, waiting upon the ordi­nances of the God of heaven, think it free for them, equally, to put on, and to bee no lesse fellowes with their Master, than he is with his Maker: as if the place and service gave a publick priviledge to all com­mers, of a prophane lawles­nesse: Surely, the same ground whereon the Apostle built his charge for the covering of the heads of the women, serves [Page 127] equally for the uncovering the heads of the men, Because of the Angels; yea more, because of the God of the Angels;1 Cor. 11.10. who by these visible Angels of his Church, speakes to us, and so­licites our salvation. If we ad­dresse our selves to the dread­full mysteries of the blessed Sacrament of the body and bloud of our Lord Iesus, our feare will bend our knees in a meet reverence to that great and gracious Saviour, who is there lively represented, offe­red, given, sealed up to our soules; who at that heavenly Table, is, (as Saint Jerome tru­ly) both the guest,Ipse con­viva & convivium. Ad Hedibiam and the ban­quet: Neither can the heart [Page 128] that is seasoned with true piety, be afraid of too lowly a parti­cipation of the Lord of glory; but rather resolves, that he is not worthy of knees, who will not here bow them; for, who should command them, if not their Maker, if not their Re­deemer? Away with the mon­sters of opinion, and practise, concerning this Sacrament: Christ Iesus is here really ten­dred unto us; and who can, who dares take him but on his knees? What posture can we use with our fellowes, if we sit with our God and Saviour? At our best, well may we say with the humble Centurion; Lord we are not worthy thou shouldest [Page 129] come under our roofe: but, if we prepare not both soules, and bodies, to receive him reve­rently, our sinfull rudenesse shall make us utterly uncapa­ble of so blessed a presence.


NEither doth our awfull regard reach onely to the actions of Gods service, but extends it selfe even to the very house, which is called by his name: the place where his honour dwelleth. For, as the presence of God gives an ho­linesse to what place soever he is pleased to shew himselfe in; (as the Sunne carries an inse­parable [Page 130] light wheresoever it goes) so that holinesse calls for a meet veneration from us: It was a fit word for that good Patriarch, who sware by his fa­thers feare; which he spake of his Bethel; Gen. 31.53 How dreadfull is this place, Gen. 28.17 this is none other, but the house of God: this is the gate of Heaven. The severall distan­ces, and distinctions that were observed in the Temple of God, at Hierusalem, are fa­mously knowne: None might sit within the verge thereof, but the King; all others, ei­ther stood, or kneeld. I have read of some sects of men so curiously scrupulous, that their Priests were not allowed to [Page 131] breathe in their Temple,Rugiano­rum sacer­dos non in­tra aedem Dei sui ha­litum emit­tebatne, &c. Hos­pinian de orgi. Festor. Mabume­tan. but were commanded (whiles they went in to sweep the floore) to hold their winde, (like those that dive for spon­ges at Samos) to the utmost length of time; and when they would vent their suppressed aire, and change it for new, to goe forth of the doores, and re­turne with a fresh supply. But,Zago Za­baes rela­tion. we are sure the Ethiopian Chri­stians are so holily mannerly, that they doe not allow any man so much as to spit in their Churches; and if such a de­filement happen, they cause it to be speedily clensed: What shall we then say of the com­mon prophanenesse of those [Page 132] carelesse Christians, that make no distinction, betwixt their Church, and their barne; that care not to looke unto their foule feet, when they come un­der this sacred roofe; that with equall irreverence stum­ble into Gods house, and their tavern; that can find no fitter place for their ambulatory, their burse, their counting house; their sepulcher? It is re­corded of Saint Swithine, Matth. Westmo­nast. 862. the (no lesse famous than humble) Bishop of Winchester, that when he died, he gave charge that his body should not in any case be buryed, within the Church; but be layd where his grave might be wet with raine, and [Page 133] open to weather & passengers; I suppose, as conceiving that sa­cred place too good for the re­pository of the best carcasses.

Surely, we cannot easily en­tertaine too venerable an opi­nion of the habitation of the Almighty: If our hearts have the honour to be the spirituall Temples of God, we shall gladly give all due honour to his materiall Temples: and doubtlesse in all experience, we shall so respect the house, as we are affected to the owner. It was the discipline and prac­tise of the Hetruscians, from whom old Rome learned much of her skill in Auguries, and many mysteries of religion, [Page 134] that those deities whom they desired to harbour in their owne breasts, as Vertue, Peace, Modesty, should have Tem­ples erected within their walls; but those, which were the Pre­sidents of warres and combu­stions, or pleasures, and sensu­alitie, (as Mars, Venus, Vulcan,) should take up with Temples without their walls: And even so it is, and will be ever with us; if we have an holy regard to the God of heaven, and a­dore him, as inhabiting our bosomes, we cannot but give all faire and venerable respects to those houses, which he hath taken up for his own worship, and presence.


NEither, lastly, can Gods very Messengers (though partners of our owne infirmi­ties) escape some sensible re­flections of our feare: It was the rule of the Iewes, that the very Prince of the people,Vide Schi­cardum de jure regio Hebr. if hee would consult Gods Ora­cle, out of reverence to that divine pectorall, must reve­rently stand before that Priest, who, at other times was bound to give lowly obedience to his Soveraigne Lord. What Great Alexander did to the Iewish high Priest, who knowes not? Neither hath the practises of [Page 136] the godly Emperours in the Christian Church, through all successions of Ages, savored of lesse regard: Even the late Caesar Ferdinand in the sight of our English, not long before his end, together with his Em­presse, received an Episcopall benediction publickly, upon their knees. Away with that insolent pompe of kissing of toes,Lipsius, electorum lib. 2. tur­pem & servilem. (which Iustus Lipsius just­ly called once, foule and ser­vile) fit for a Caligula, or Maxi­minus the younger, or a Diocle­sian; Away with the proud horsing on shoulders, or tread­ing on necks, or the lackey­ing of Princes; It was a mo­derate word of Cardinall Za­barell, [Page 137] concerning his great Master;Tract. de Schism: Innocentii septimi & Benedicti. So is he to be honou­red, that he be not adored. Surely when religion was at the best, great Peeres thought it no scorne to kisse the venera­ble hands of their spirituall fa­thers;Paulin. in vita Sancti Ambrosii. and did not grudge them eminent titles of honour. It was but a simple port that Eli­jah carryed in the world, who after that astonishing wonder of fetching downe fire and wa­ter from heaven, thought it no abasement to be Ahabs lackey from Carmel to Iezreel;1 Kings 18.46. yet Obadiah, who was high Stew­ard to the King of Israel, even that day, could fall on his face to him, and say, Art thou that [Page 138] my Lord Elijah? Not much greater was the state of those Christian Bishops, who began, now to breathe from the blou­dy persecutions of the heathen Emperours; yet, with what dearenesse did that gracious Constantine (in whom this Iland is proud to challenge no small share) kisse those scarres, which they had recei­ved for the name of Christ? with what titles did he dignifie them? as one that saw Christ in their faces; and meant in their persons to honour his Saviour: And indeed, there is so close, and indissoluble a relation betwixt Christ and his Messengers, that their mutuall [Page 139] interest can never be severed. What Prince doth not hold himselfe concerned in the ho­nors, or affronts that are done to his Ambassadors? Those keyes which God hath com­mitted to our hands, lock us so fast to him, that no power in earth, or hell, can separate us; but still that word must stand fast, in heaven: He that despi­seth you, despiseth me: In vaine shall they therefore pretend to feare God, that contemne and disgrace their spirituall gover­nours. There is a certain plant,Gerard pag. 642. which our Herbalists call (her­bam impiam) or wicked Cud­weed, whose younger branches still yeeld flowers to over-top [Page 140] the elder; Such weeds grow too rife abroad; It is an ill soyle that produceth them: I am sure, that where the heart is manured, and seasoned with a true feare of the Almighty, there cannot be but an awfull regard to our spirituall Pa­stors; well are those two char­ges conjoyned,Eccl. 7.33. Feare God, and honour his Preists.


HItherto having conside­red that part of holy Feare, which (consisting in an in­ward adoration of God) ex­presseth it selfe in the awfull respects to his Name, Word, [Page 141] Services, House, Messengers; we descend to that other part, which consists in our humble subjection, and selfe-resignati­to his good pleasure, in all things; whether to order, or correct: The suffering part is the harder. It was a gracious resolution of old Eli; 1 Sam. 3.18 Jt is the Lord, let him doe whatsoever hee will; Surely, that man, though he were but an ill Father, to his worse sonnes, yet he was a good sonne to his Father in heaven: for nothing but a true filiall awe could make the heart thus pliant; that repre­sents our selves to us, as the clay, and our God to us, as the potter; and therefore showes [Page 142] us how unjustly we should re­pine at any forme, or use, that is by his hand put upon us: I could envy that word which is said to have falne from the mouth of Francis of Assisse, in his great extremity; I thank thee,Lib. 1. Conform­ [...]uct. 12. O Lord God, for all my paine; and I beseech thee (if thou think good) to adde unto it, an hundred fold more. Neither was it much different from that, which I have read, as reported of Pope Adrian, Binius, &c. but I am sure was spoken by a worthy divine, within my time and knowledge, of the Vniver­sity of Cambridge. (whose la­bours are of much note, and use in the Church of God) [Page 143] Master Perkins; who, when he lay in his last, and killing tor­ment of the stone, hearing the by-standers to pray for a miti­gation of his paine, willed them, not to pray for an ease of his complaint, but for an increase of his patience; These speeches cannot proceed but from subdued, and meek, and mortified soules; more inten­tive upon the glory of their Maker, than their owne peace and relaxation: And certain­ly, the heart thus seasoned, can­not but bee equally tempered to all conditions, as humbly acknowledging the same hand, both in good, & evill: And ther­fore, even frying in Phalaris his [Page 144] Bull (as the Philosopher said of a wise man) will be able to say,Hovv pleasant? Quàm suave? Was it true of that heathen Martyr, So­crates, that, as in his lifetime he was not wont to change his countenance upon any altera­tion of events, so when hee should come to drink his Hem­lock, [...]. Plat. Apol. &c. as Plato reports it, no dif­ference could be descryed, ei­ther in his hand or face; no palenesse in his face, no trem­bling in his hand, but a sted­fast and fearlesse taking of that fatall cup, as if it differed not from the wine of his meals? Even this resolution was no other, than an effect of the ac­knowledgment of that one [Page 145] God for which he suffered; If so, I cannot lesse magnifie that man for his temper, than the Oracle did for his wisdome: but I can doe no lesse than blesse, and admire the known courage, and patience of those Christian Martyrs, who out of a loving feare of him, that on­ly can save, and cast both bo­dies and soules in hell, despi­sed shame, paine, death, and manfully insulted upon their persecutors? Blessed Ignatius could professe to challenge and provoke the furious Lyons, to his dilaniation. Blessed Cy­prian could pray that the Ty­rant would not repent of the purpose of dooming him to [Page 146] death; and that other holy Bishop, when his hand was threatned to be cut off, could say, Seca ambas, Cut of both: It is not for me to transcribe volumes of Martyrologies. All that holy army of conque­ring Saints began their victo­ries in an humble awe of him, whose they were; and cheer­fully triumphed over irons, and racks, and gibbets, and wheeles, and fires, out of a meek and obedient submissi­on to the will and call of their ever-blessed God, and most deare Redeemer; In so much as Saint Chrysostome professes to find patterns and parallels, for himselfe in all varieties of [Page 147] tormenrs, and whatsoever se­verall formes of execution: And the blessed Apostle hath left us a red Calender of these constant witnesses of God; whose memory is still on earth,Heb. 11.36, 37, 38. their Crowne in heaven.

Neither is it thus only in the undaunted sufferings for the causes of God; but our awe subjects us also to the good will of God, in all what­soever changes of estate. Do I smart with afflictions? I will beare the indignation of the Lord, Mich. 7.9. because I have sinned against him. I held my peace because thou Lord hast done it. Doe I a­bound in blessings? Who am I, O Lord God, 2 Sam. 7.18 and what is my [Page 148] fathers house, that thou hast brought me hitherto: Philip. 4.11. In both; J have learned in what condition soever I am, to bee there with content.


THus do we bow the knee [...] of our hearts to God, in our adoration of his Majesty, both in duely magnifying his great­nesse and goodnesse; and in our humble submission to his holy, and gratious pleasure▪ there remaines that other sig­nature of our awfull dispositi­on, which consists in a tender and child-like care, both of his secret approbation of us, and [Page 149] of our avoydance of his dis­pleasure, and our offence to­wards him; these two part not asunder, for, he that desires to be approved, would be loath to displease.

The heart that is rightly affected to God, is ambitious, above all things, under hea­ven, of the secret allowance of the Almighty; and therefore is carefull to passe a continu­all, and exact inquisition upon all his thoughts, much more upon his actions, what accep­tation, or censure they find above; like as some timorous child upon every stitch, that she takes in her first Sampler, lookes tremblingly in the face [Page 150] of her Mistresse, to see how she likes it;Error Tho. Aqui. Quodlib. art. 20. Ho­spin. in no­tis ad regul Benedicti. as well knowing that the Law of God was not given us (as some have said of Benedicts rule) only to professe, but to peforme; and that ac­cordingly the conscience shall find either peace or tumult. As we are wont therefore, to say of the Dove, that at the picking up of every graine, she casts her eyes up to hea­ven, so will our godly feare teach us to do, after all our speeches and actions: For which cause it will be necessa­ry to exercise our hearts with very frequent (if not continu­all) ejaculations;Io. Cap­grave. I remember the story tells us of that famous [Page 151] Irish Saint (of whom there are many monuments in these westerne parts) that hee was wont to signe himselfe,Patricius. no lesse than an hundred times in an houre: Away with all super­stition; although Cardinall Bellarmine tells us (not impro­bably) that in the practise of those ancient Christians,In one of his prefa­ces to his controver­sie. their crossing was no other than a silent kind of invocation of that Saviour, who was cruci­fied for us; Surely I should envy any man that hath the leisure, and grace, to lift up his heart thus often, to his God; let the glance bee never so short: neither can such a one choose, but be full of religious [Page 152] feare: I like not the fashion of the Euchites, that were all pray­er, and no practise, but the mixture of these holy elevati­ons of the soule, with all out actions, with all recreations, is so good and laudable, tha [...] whosoever is most frequent i [...] it, shall passe with me for mos [...] devout, and most conversant it heaven.

But the most proper an [...] pregnant proofe of this Fear [...] of God, [...]. Plat. Eu­thy phr. is the feare of offending God; in which regard i [...] is perfectly filiall; The goo [...] child is afraid of displeasin [...] his father, though he were su [...] not to be beaten; whereas, th [...] slave is only afraid of stripes [Page 153] not of displeasure: Out of this deare awe to his father in hea­ven, the truly regenerate trem­bles to be but tempted; and yet resolves not to yeild to any assault; whether proffers of favour, or violence of battery, all is one: The obfirmed soule will hold out, and scornes so much as to looke of what co­lour the flagge is; as having learned to bee no lesse affraid of sin, than of hell: and if the option were given him, whe­ther hee would rather sinne without punishment; or bee punished without sinne, the choyce would not be difficult; any torment were more easie than the conscience of a divine [Page 154] displeasure. It was good Iosephs just question.Gen. 39.9. How shall I do this great wickednesse and sinne against God? Lo it is the sinne that he sticks at, not the judge­ment; as one that would have feared the offence, if there had beene no hell: But, if it fall out that the renewed person (as it is incident to the most duti­full children of God) bee, through a violent tentation, and his owne infirmity, mis­carryed into a knowne sinne, how much warme water doth it cost him, ere hee can reco­ver his wonted state? what anxiety, what strife, what tor­ture, what selfe-revenge, what ejaculations and complaints, [Page 155] what unrepining subjection to the rod? I have sinned, Iob 7.20. what shall I do to thee, O thou preser­ver of men; So I have seene a good natur'd child, that even after a sharp whipping, could not be quieted till hee had obtained the pardon, and eve­ned the browes of a frowning parent.

And now, (as it is with lit­tle ones, that have taken a knock with a late fall) the good man walkes hereafter with so much the more wary foot; and is the more feareful­ly jealous of his owne infirmi­ty, and finding in himselfe but the very inclinations towards the first motions of evill, he is [Page 156] carefull, according to that wholsome rule of a strict Vo­tary,Benedict. reg. cap. 4. (Cogitationes malas mox ad Christum allidere,) instantly to dash his new borne evill thoughts against the rocke Christ. And henceforth, out of a suspition of the danger of excesse, he dares not go to the further end of his tether, but in a wise and safe rigour, a­bridges himself of some part of that scope, which he might be allowed to take, and will stint himselfe rather than lash out; indeed, right reason teacheth us to keep aloofe from offen­ding that power which wee adore:Marr. Dorza. Sab. post d [...]minic. 4 Quadrag The ancient Almaines holding their rivers for gods, [Page 157] durst not wash their faces with those waters, lest they should violate those deities: And the Iewes were taught not to dare to come neere an Idolatrous grove, though the way were never so direct and commodi­ous. No wise man however hee might have firme footing upon the edge of some high rocky promontory, will ven­ture to walk within some paces of that downfall; but much more will his sense and judge­ment teach him to refraine from casting himselfe head­long (like that desperate Barba­rian in Xenophon) from that steep precipice;Xenoph. de exped. Cyri. The feare of God therefore is a strong re­tentive [Page 158] from sinne; nei­ther can possibly consist (in what-soever soule) with a re­solution to offend; As then the father of the faithfull when he came into Gerar, a Philistim City, could strongly argue that those heathens would refraine from no wickednesse, because the feare of God was not in that place;Gen. 20.11 so, we may no lesse irrefragably inferre, where we see a trade of prevalent wick­ednesse, there can be no feare of God: Wo is me, what shall I say of this last age, but the same that I must say of mine owne? As this decrepit body, therefore, by reason of the un­equall temper of humors, and [Page 159] the defect of radicall moysture and heat, cannot but be a sewer of all diseases; So it is, so it will be with the decayed old age of this great body of the world, through want of the feare of the ever-living God;Psal 119.136. Rivers of waters O God shall run downe mine eyes because men keep not thy law. But what do I sug­gest to the obdured hearts of wilfull sinners, the sweet and gracious remedies of a loving feare? This preservative is for children; sturdy rebells must expect other receits: A frown is an heavy punishment to a dutifull sonne, scourges and scorpions are but enough for a rebellious vassall. I must lay [Page 160] before such, an hell of ven­geance; and show them the horrible Topheth prepared of old, even that bottomlesse pit of perdition; and tell them of rivers of brimstone, of a worm ever gnawing, of everlasting burnings, of weeping, wai­ling,2 Thes 1.8 and gnashing, when the terrible Iudge of the world shall come in flaming fire ren­dring vengeance to them that know not God, and obey him not; And certainly, if the sin­ner had not an Infidell in his bosome, the expectation of so direfull a condition, to be in­flicted and continued upon him, unto all eternity, with­out possibility of any inter­mission, [Page 161] or of any remission▪ were enough to make him run made with feare; only unbe­leefe keeps him from a fran­tick despaire, and a sudden leap into his hell. And if the custome and deceit of sinne have wrought an utter sense­lesnesse in those brawny hearts, I must leave them over to the wofull sense of what they will not feare, yea to the too late feare of what they shall not bee able either to beare, or avoid. Certainly the time will come, when they shall be swallowed up with a dreadfull confusion, and shall no more be able not to feare, than not to bee; Oftentimes [Page 162] even in the midst of all their se­cure jollity, God writes bitter things against them, such as make their knees to knock to­gether, their lips to tremble, their teeth to chatter, their hands to shake, their hearts to faile with­in them, for the anguish of their soules; Were they as in­sensate as the earth it selfe,Habac. 3.10. Touch the mountaines and they shall smoke, saith the Psalmist; The mountaines saw thee, and they trembled, saith Habbacuc: But if their feare be respited, it is little for their ease; it doth but forbeare a little that it may overwhelme them at once for ever; Woe is mee for them; In how heavy and deplorable [Page 163] case are they and feele it not? They lie under the fierce wrath of the Almighty, and com­plaine of nothing but ease. The mountains quake at him, Nahum. 1.56. and the hils melt, and the earth is burnt at his presence; Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fiercenesse of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rockes are thrown downe by him, saith the Prophet Nahum. Yet, oh, what a griefe it is to see, that so dreadfull a power should carry away no more feare from us wretched men; yea even from those that are ready to feare where no feare is? Paines of body, frownes of the great, restraint [Page 164] of liberty, losse of goods, who is it that feares not? But, alas, to avoid these, men feare not to venture upon the dis­pleasure of him whose anger is death, and who is able to cast body and soule into hell fire: So wee have seene fond children, that to avoid a bug­beare have runne into fire, or water: So we have seen a star­ting jade, that suddenly flying from a shadow, hath cast him­selfe into a ditch; We can but mourne in secret for those that have no teares to spend upon themselves, and tremble for them that will needs gnash. If those that are filthy, will be fil­thy still; If secure men will [Page 165] set up a trade of sinning; e­very good heart will take up Nehemiahs resolution:Neh. 5.15 But so did not J, because of the feare of the Lord; and the practice of holy Habacuc; Hab. 3.16. I trembled in my selfe, that I might rest in the day of trouble: It is wise Solo­mons good experiment, (which hee loved to repeat;Prov. 16.6. Prov. 3.7.) By the feare of the Lord men depart from evill: for they say one to another, (as the Tremelian ver­sion hath it, in Malachy) The Lord hearkeneth and heareth;Mal. 3.16. and how dare they, how can they doe amisse in that pre­sence? For as the Saints say, after the Song of Moses, and the Song of the Lambe; Great [Page 166] and marvellous are thy workes, Revel. 15.3.4. Lord God Almighty: Iust and true are thy wayes, thou King of Saints; who shall not feare thee, and glorifie thy Name? for thou onely art holy.


SHortly then, that wee may put these two together, (which are not willing to be severed:) Whosoever is duely affected with a true filiall feare of the Almighty, cannot by allurements be drawne to doe that which may offend so sweet a mercy: cannot by any difficulties bee discouraged from doing that which may [Page 167] bee pleasing to so gracious a majesty: The Magistrate that feares God, dares not, cannot be partiall to any wickednesse; dares not, cannot bee harsh to innocence; managing that sword wherewith hee is in­trusted, so as God himselfe, if he were upon earth, would doe it, for the glory of his owne just mercie: The Messenger of God that feares him on whose errand hee goes, dares not, cannot either smother his message, or exceed it: he will, he must lift up his voice like a trumpet, and tell Israel of her sinnes, and Iudah of her trans­gressions; not fearing faces, not sparing offences. The [Page 168] ordinary Christian that feares God, dares not cannot, but make conscience, of all his wayes; he dares not defraud or lie for an advantage, he dares not sweare falsely for a world, hee dares not prostitute his body to whatsoever filthinesse, he dares not oppresse his infe­riours, he dares not turn away his owne face from the poore, much lesse dares hee grind theirs; in one word, he dares rather dy than sinne; And contrarily; what blockes soe­ver nature layes in his way, (since his God calls him forth to this combat) he cannot but bid battell to his owne rebelli­ous corruptions, and offer a [Page 169] deadly violence to his evill and corrupt affections; and enter the lists with all the powers of darknesse, resisting unto bloud, and willingly bleeding, that he may overcome: Who now would not be in love with this feare?Psal. 34.9. O feare the Lord yee his Saints, hee that feares him shall lacke nothing; Mal. 4.2. The Sunne of righteousnesse shall arise unto him with healing in his wings; In the meane time,Psal. 25 [...] the secret of the Lord is with him; The Angells of the Lord are ever about him; P [...]al. [...] Psal. 2 [...].23 His soule shall dwell at ease here below; and above salva­tion is neare unto him; yea,Psal. 85.10 he is already feoffed of life and glory.Pro. 19.25


NOw, as some carefull Pilot, that takes upon him to di­rect a difficult sea-passage, which his long and wary ob­servation hath discovered, doth not content himselfe to steere a right course, in his owne ves­sell, and to show the eminent sea-markes a farre off, but tells withall, what rocks, or shelves lie on either side of the chan­nell, which, upon the least de­viation, may indanger the pas­sengers; So must we do, here; Having therefore sufficiently declared wherein this feare of God consisteth, what it requi­reth [Page 171] of us, and how it is acted, and expressed by us; it remay­neth, that we touch at those ex­tremes, which on both sides must bee carefully avoyded; These are, Security, and Pre­sumption on the one hand; on the other, Vicious feare. It was the word of the wise man, yea,Prov. 28.14. rather of God, by him, Happy is the man that feareth alway; but he that hardneth his heart, shall fall into mischiefe; Lo an obdu­red security is proposed to feare, both in the nature and issue of it: Feare intenerates the heart, making it fit for all graci­ous impressions; security har­dens it, and renders it unca­pable of good: feare ends in [Page 172] happinesse, security in an evita­ble mischiefe; And these two (though contraries, yet) arise from the same cause contrarily applyed: Like as the same Sunne hardens the clay, and softens the wax; it is heat that doth both; causing drynesse in the one, and a dissolution in the other: Even so the same beames of divine mercy melt the good heart into an holy feare, (Great is thy mercy that thou mayst be feared) and har­den the wicked heart in a state of security; For, upon the goodnesse of God to men, both in giving and forgiving, do men grow securely evill, and rebel­lious to their God; as being [Page 173] apt to say; J have sinned, and what harme hath happened unto mee? Ecclus. 5.4. saith Siracides: Lo even forbea­rance obdureth,Eccles. 8.11. Because sentence against an evill work, is not exe­cuted speedily, therefore the heart of the sonnes of men is fully set in them to do evill: How much more do the riches of Gods goodnes which are the hottest beams of that Sun,Rom. 2.4. when they beat directly upon our heads?Prov. 1.32. The ease of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fooles shall destroy them, saith Salomon; Our philosophy tells us,Nemo po­test am­plecti Dei gratiam simul & seculi. Ambros, lib. 4. Epist. 29. that an extreme heat shuts up those pores, which a moderate open­eth; It was a sore word of Saint Ambrose; that no man can at [Page 174] once embrace Gods favour,Aegidius. lib. Con­form. &.c. conform. 8 and the worlde: Neither can I disallow that observation of a rigorous Votary; that the Di­vells of consolation (as he calls them) are more subtile, and more pernicious, than those of tribulation; Not so much per­haps in their own nature, as for the party they find in our own breasts: The wise man could say;Prov. 30.9. Lest J bee full and deny thee, and aske, who is the Lord? Even very heathens have beene thus jealously conscious of their owne disposition;Tit. Livi­us. So as Camil­lus when upon ten yeeres siege he had taken the wealthy city Veies, could pray forsome mis­hap to befall himselfe, and [Page 175] Rome, to temper so great an happinesse. This is that which Gregory the great, upon his ex­altation to that papall honour,Torpet ignava mens, & circumla▪ trantibus curis tem­poralibus cum pene ad stupo­rem dedu­cta &c. Greg. Epist. l. 7.127. doth so much complaine of, in himselfe: that his inward fall was no lesse than his outward raysing; and that his dull heart was almost grown stu­pid, with those temporall oc­casions: And surely, so it will be, if there be not a strong grace within us,Trifarius rerum cur­sus, Abun dantiae, Indigen­tiae, Tem­perantiae; ex abun­dantia ani­moptatas &c. Fascic. temp. in An. 1404. to season our prosperity.

That which the Historian observed in the course of the world, that abundance begets delicacy and animosity; that againe, quarrells and vastation of warre; and from thence [Page 176] growes poverty; is no lesse true in the particular state of the soule; If we be rich and high fed, we grow wanton, and stomackfull, and apt to make warre with heaven, till we be taken down againe with affli­ction: Thereupon, it is that the wise and holy God, hath found it still needfull to sauce our contentments with some mixtures of sorrow; and to proclaime the Iubile of our mirth and freedome, upon the sad day of expiation: The man after Gods owne heart could say, In my prosperity I said, Psal. 6.7. I shall never be moved; but the next yee heare is, Thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled; [Page 177] and this trouble he professes to have beene for his good; without these meet tempera­ments, worldly hearts runne wilde, and can say with the scornfull men, that rule in Ie­rusalem; Esay. 28 15. We have made a cove­nant with death, and with hell are wee at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall passe thorow, it shall not come to us, for we have made lies our re­fuge, and under falshood have wee hid our selves: yea in a stout insolence, as the Prophet Iere­my expresses it;Ier. 5.12. They belie the Lord, and say, it is not he; neither shall evill come upon us; neither shall we see sword, or famine. Nei­ther yet is it only the abuse of [Page 178] Gods long suffering and boun­ty that produceth this ill habit of security, and hard-hearted­nesse; but especially, a cu­stome of sinning: Oft treading hardens the path; the hand that was at the first soft, and tender, after it hath beene in­ured to worke, growes braw­ned, and impenetrable. Wee have heard of Virgins, which at the first, seemed modest; blushing at the motions of an honest love; who being once corrupt, and debauched, have grown flexible to easie intrea­ties unto unchastity, and from thence, boldly lascivious, so as to solicite others, so as to pro­stitute themselves to all com­mers, [Page 179] yea (as our Casuists com­plaine of some Spanish Stewes) to an unnaturall filthinesse.Martin. Vivaldus in Cande­labro. in Cap. de Confessi. That which our Canonists say, in an other kind, is too true here,Vivald. 4. parte in 30. Custome can give a Iu­risdiction; neither is there any stronger law than it: The con­tinued use then of any known sinne, be it never so small, gives (as Gersons phrase is) a strong habituation; and, though it be a true rule,Habitus inclinant, non co­gunt. that habits do only incline, not compell; yet the inclination that is wrought by them, is so forceable, that it differs little from violent: Surely so powrefull is the ha­bit of sinne, bred by ordinary practise, as that it takes away [Page 180] the very sense of sinning; so as the offender now knowes not that he doth the very act of some evill; much lesse that he sinnes, and offends in doing it; and now the heart is all turned dead flesh, whether too good, or ill: there is not then a more dangerous condition incident into the soule of man, than this of security; it bars us of the ca­pacity of any good, that may be wroug [...] upon us, it exposes us to the successe of all tentations, it drawes downe the heaviest of Gods judgements upon our heads; it defies justice, it re­jects mercy, it makes the heart Gods Anvile, (which the har­der it is struck, the more re­bounds [Page 181] the blow) but the de­vills featherbed, wherein hee sinkes, and lyes soft, at free ease; neither would that evill spirit wish for any more plea­sing repose; it flatters the soule with an impossible im­punity, it shifts off necessary vengeance: Lastly, whiles other dispositions do but yeild to an hell, this invites it. By how much more wo­full it is, by so mu [...]h more carefull must we be to avoid it.


IF we care for our souls then, we shall zealously apply our selves to prevent this hellish evill; which shall bee done, if wee shall constantly use all meanes to keepe the heart ten­der; whereof the first is, Fre­quent meditation upon the judgements of God, attending sinners: it is the Apostles owne prescript; Let us have grace, whereby we may serve God accep­tably, Heb. 12.28, 29. with reverence and godly feare; For our God is a consuming fire. Could wee but stoop downe a little, and looke into hell, wee should never come [Page 183] thither; the apprehension of those torments would be sure to keep us from sinning, and and impenitence; It is a true observation of Cyrill, that the want of beleefe is guilty of all our obdurednesse; for should it be told thee,Cyr. in Lev. lib. 9 (saith that Fa­ther) that a secular Iudge in­tends to doome thee to bee burned alive to morrow, how busily wouldst thou imploy the remaining time to prevent the judgement? how eagerly wouldst thou runne about, how submissively and impor­tunately wouldst thou sue, and beg for pardon, how readily wouldest thou poure out thy mony to those friends, that [Page 104] should purchase it? and why wouldest thou do all this, but because thou doubtest not of the truth of the report? Were our hearts no lesse convinced of the designation of an ever­lasting burning to the rebelli­ous and impenitent, could we lesse bestirre our selves? To this purpose also it will much conduce that we meditate of­ten of our owne frailty and momentanynesse; no evill can fasten upon the soule of that man, that hath death ever be­fore his eyes; That father said well, he easily contemnes all things that thinks to die every day; The servant that said, my master deferres his comming, [Page 185] was he that revelled in the house, and beat his fellowes; he durst not have done it, if he had seene his master at the doore: No whit lesse preva­lent a remedy of security is a firme resolution of the soule to repell the first motions to what soever sinne, whose nature (as experience tells us) is to gather strength by continuance; com­monly all onsets are weakest in their beginnings, and are then most easily, and safely re­sisted: Custome can never grow where no action will be admitted to make a precedent: It is well observed by that lear­ned Chancellour of Paris, that some filthy and blasphemous [Page 186] cogitations are better over­come by contemning them,Cogitati­ones fo [...] ­dae, blas­phemae, noxiae, potiùs vincuntur contem­nendo, quàm re­sponden­do. Gers. de pre­cept. Theolog. than by answering them; If either way they bee repulsed, the heart is safe from security: But, thirdly, if we have beene so farre overtaken as to give way to the perpetration of evill, our care must be to work our hearts to a speedy re­novation by repentance; If sinne have seized upon the soule, it may not settle there; this is that which will else work a palpable indisposition: Let a knife be wet with the stron­gest aqua fortis, and presently wipt dry againe, the mettall is yet smooth, and bewrayeth no change; but, if that moist fire [Page 187] bee suffered to rest upon it a while, it eates into the blade, and leaves behind, some deep notes of corrosion; It is de­lay in these cases that breeds the utmost danger; Let a can­dle that is casually put out, be speedily rekindled at the next flame, neither is the scent offen­ded, nor the wick unapt to be strait-way re-inlightned; stay but a while, the whole roome complaines of the noy­some smell, and it will cost per­haps much puffing, and dip­ping in ashes, ere it can reco­ver the lost light. That which Salomon advises in matter of suretiship, we must do in the case of our sinne; speedily ex­tricate [Page 188] our selves,Prov. 6.4. and give no sleep to our eyes till we bee freed from so dangerous an en­gagement. Moreover, unto these, it must bee our maine care, not to give any check to the conscience, upon whatsoe­ver occasions: That power hath as a keene so a tender edge, and easie to be rebated; when that dictates to a man some duty, or the refraining of some doubtfull action, he that disobeyes it, makes way for an induration; for when that fa­culty hath once received a dis­couragement, it will not be apt to controule us in evill; but growes into a carelesse neglect of what we do, or omit; and [Page 189] so declines to an utter sense­lessenesse; As therefore wee must bee carefull to have our consciences duly regulated by the infallible word of God, so must wee be no lesse carefull still, to follow the guidance of our conscience, in all our wayes: And that all these things may be performed with effect, we must bee sure that wee do constantly observe all our set exercises of piety, hearing, rea­ding, receiving the blessed Sa­crament, prayer, and especi­ally, strict selfe examination, whereby wee may come to espy our first failings, and cor­rect our very propensions to evill: One said well, that na­ture [Page 190] doth not more abhorre vacuity than grace doth idle­nesse:Gers. ser. de Domin. Evangel. Plus ab­horret gratia oti­um, quàm natura vacuum. now all these, if they seeme harsh and tedious to corrupt nature; yet to the re­newed heart (familiarly con­versant in them) nothing is more pleasing, and cordiall. The Philosopher could say, and find, [...]. Arist. Eth. lib. 1. that vertuous actions are delightfull to well disposed minds; in so much as it is defi­ned for the surest argument of a good habit fully acquired, that wee find contentment and delectation in good per­formances.

Lastly, because ill used pro­sperity is apt to obdure the heart, we must be sure to set­tle [Page 191] in our selves a right estima­tion of all these worldly things; which indeed, are, as they are taken: I may well say of riches, as the Iewish Rabbins had wont to say of their Cabala; with a good heart, they are good; otherwise they are no better than the Mammon of iniquity: and indeed, worse than want; but at their best, they are such, as are utterly unable to yeeld true content­ment to the soule; they are good for use, ill for fruition; they are for the hand to imploy, not for the heart to set up his rest in: hereupon it is, that the holiest men have still both in­clined and perswaded to their [Page 192] contempt:Bene ha­bet quod molestant te omnia quae cer­nis, utique temporali: & morta­lia, &c. Gers. epist. ad Card. Camera­cens. That great master of meditation applauded it in his friend, the Cardinal of Cambray, as the happiest con­dition; that all these earthly and temporall things which his eye beheld, were tedious unto him; And Saint Bernard mag­nifies in this name his deare acquaintance,Ep. 24. ad Gilbertum Londini. Gilbert, Bishop of London, that even in that state, he would live poore; and the same Father would have his Monke to take most joy,Ber. Specul. Monacho­rum. and think himselfe then wel­commest, when the coursest fare was set before him;Lib. Con­formirat: Conform. 8. an­swerable whereunto (but be­yond it was the diet of Valen­tine a rigorous Votary, who for [Page 193] ten yeares together, would eat nothing but bread dipt in wa­ter, wherein wormwood was steept; And of that other his fellow, who steept his bread in lye, that he might eat ashes with the Prophet.

Not to runne into extremi­ties, it is sure and necessary counsell which the Psalmist gives us to resolve;Psal. 62.10. If riches in­crease, not to set our hearts upon them; to account them no other than as good helps, and needfull impediments; and all worldly contentments such, as are not worthy to take us up: It was a question moved to the founder of some strict devoti­onists, whether they might [Page 194] laugh with all their heart,Si ex toto corde ri­dere non licet? R [...]sp. ne­gativè Reg. Bene­dic [...]i. c. 32. and it is answered negatively; Non li­cet: And the devout Gover­nour of the votaries of Clareval, could give charge to his religi­ous; Non debet totus manducare: and it is reported by the writer of his life, if he heard any of his Dorter snorting in his sleep, he would chide that man, as sleeping carnally, and secularly. Surely the world is, and should be the same to them and us, who have no lesse ingaged our selves to a professed hostility unto all the vanities thereof; and have no more hearty share in the pomps, and pleasures of it, than the most reclused Anacho­rets: [Page 195] At the best, this earth can be no other than our vally of teares, and region of our pilgrimage.Girald. Cambr. prefat. ad tract. de mirac. Our Giraldus Cam­brensis tells us that his Saint Brendan, upon long and weari­some travell, at last went so farre, as to come to the sight of the earthly Paradise: They may, that list, believe it,Abrah. Ortel. In the Geograph. Ego vero paradisum ubique fu­isse puto, nempe ante A­dami lap­sum, & non locum significa­re, sed loci naturam & qualita­tem. but sure I am; Never any mortall eye (since the Angell brandi­shed his sword there) could find ought worthy the name of a Paradise, in this inferiour world; here is Purgatory e­nough, and perhaps, some hell above ground: But if, as Orte­lius of late held, that all the whole earth was, at the first, [Page 196] Paradise, any man shall now think that any part of it is so still, I shall pitty him; and think him worthy the pleasure of these earthly torments: For us, if we would have our soules safe, wee must learn with the blessed Apostle, so to use the world,S. Martin. Cujus faci­em non fusca vit moeror, nec l [...]vi­gavit risus. Ber. spec. monach. as if we used it not, and strive to attaine to the equable temper of that holy man, whose face was neither dark­ned with sorrow nor smoothed with laughter, as well know­ing,Quantò in [...]erius delecta­mur, tan tò a super­no amore disju [...]gi­mur. Her. de interi­ore domo. that what affection soever the world wins of us, is lost un­to God. Thus, if we shall keep our selves carefully from the trade of sinne, and from the fascination of the world, wee [Page 197] shall be sure that our hearts shall not thus be deaded with security.


THe no lesse direct, but more active opposite to ho­ly feare, is Presumption. We presume when, out of an un­just selfe-love, we entertaine an higher opinion of our spirituall estate, than there is cause; whether in respect of the way, or of the end; Gods favour as the way, Salvation as the end: We are apt to overweene our interest in Gods favour & our assured safety thereby; cōmon­ly upon a double ground, ei­ther [Page 198] matter of event, or matter of ability: For, either we mis­interpret faire events, as pled­ges of happinesse, and safety; or, we mistake those qualities, for true graces, which are ei­ther meere appearances, or per­haps, no better than very enor­mities; Millions of men mis­carry both wayes; and are ther­fore so far from feare, as that they go dancing towards their hell. It was the strong Bulwark which the Egyptian Iewes set up against all Ieremy's mena­ces,Ier. 44.17. We will burne incense to the Queene of Heaven, and poure out drink-offerings to her, as wee have done, we and our fathers, our Kings and our Princes, in the [Page 199] Cityes of Judah, and in the streets of Ierusalem: For then, wee had plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evill. Had their belly beene their God, the argument had held well; that deity is best pleased with store of cares, but the true God, many times, even with Quailes sends lean­nesse: Carnall hearts know not how to measure felicity, but by the affluence of what most pleases them; and that please them most, which gives most contentment to their sense, and appetite; wher­in, if their desires be answered, they are soone transported from themselves; and now, can be no other than the great fa­vourites [Page 200] of heaven.2 Chron. 26.15. If Ʋzziah once feele himselfe growne strong, his heart is lifted up; why should not a Censer fit him no lesse than a Scepter? The great Dragon of Egypt, Ezec. 29, 2. when hee hath lien at ease a while, in the swolne waters of his Nilus, can say, My river is my owne, and I have made it for my selfe: and, who is there that hath fished successefully in this sea of the world, but is ready to sacrifice unto his owne nets; and sayes within himselfe, Had I not beene so good, I had not sped so well: Our naturalists truly observe, that the most poysonous flyes are bred in the sweetest fruit-trees; So are [Page 201] these most dangerous pre­sumptions in an outward hap­pinesse of condition: Let an Amalekitish Agag be but a little made of,1 Sam. 15.3 [...]. he comes in delicate­ly and sayes; Surely the bitter­nesse of death is overpast; when a King hath beene indulgent, a Prophet will not be bloudy: all is safe; there may be hope of my crowne; there can bee no danger of my head. Here­upon it is, that (as those whose heads are laid upon downe pil­lowes, are not apt to heare noyse) the over-prosperous have their eares precluded against all threats of perill, all counsells of reformation; as thinking they neither need to [Page 202] wish themselves better, nor to feare being worse. And whiles they applaud themselves (as the only darlings, they looke overly and scornfully upon the meaner estate of others, and passe deep censures upon the adversities of their miserable neighbours; as if they could not fare ill, if they were not so: Iob cannot bee afflicted if hee were not an hypocrite; Doth the Tower of Siloe, like some dreadfull pitfall,Luk. 13 4. overwhelme eighteene Citizens of Jeru­salem? they were more hai­nous sinners than their fel­lowes. Doth a Viper seize up­on Saint Pauls hand?Acts 28.4. Doubt­lesse, this man is a murtherer, [Page 203] whom vengeance would not suf­fer to live: Thus the vaine hearts of sensuall men are car­ried with those outward events, which God never meant for the distinction of either love, or hatred; Those that are rich in these proud conceits, make their imaginary wealth their strong City; which they please themselves in thinking im­pregnable; and as foolish Mi­cah argued a necessity of Gods future beneficence to him, by the good that he had done,Iudg. 17.1 [...]. in procuring a Levite to his Priest; So these flatter them­selves with an assurance of Gods present favour, by the benefits which God hath [Page 204] showred downe upon them; wherein it falls out oft, as it did with the riflers of Semira­mis his tombe; who, where they expected to find the richest treasure, met with a deadly poyson. Neither is it easie to know whether that other pre­sumption of abilities be not at least equally frequent and dan­gerous; The proud Angell of the Church of Laodicea could say, I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; not knowing that hee was wretched, miserable, poore, blind, naked: How many have wee heard to boast of those graces, whereto they beene perfect strangers? How [Page 205] have wee knowne some that have pretended to no lesse illumination than Pisanus re­ports of Iohn of Alverne, Lib. con­formit. who in a rapture was elavated above every creature, and his soule swallowed up in the abisse of the divinity; when it hath beene, indeed, nothing but a fanaticall illusion: How ordinarily do wee find men challenging no meane share in a lively faith, spirituall joy, fervent zeale, true sancti­ty, when in the meane while, they have embraced nothing but the clouds of their owne fancies, instead of these heaven­ly graces; and, by this meanes have stript themselves of the [Page 206] possibility of those holy ver­tues, which they falsly soothed in themselves: for who can care to seeke for that which he thinks he hath already? Men do not so much covet, as arro­gate spirituall gifts, Every Zid­kijah can say,1 King. 22.24. which way went the spirit of God from mee to speake unto thee? and like a spirituall Epicure, can clap himselfe on the breast, with Soule take thy ease, thou hast grace enough layd up for many yeares: from this opinion of satiety arises a necessary carelesnesse of better indeavors, and a contemptu­ous undervaluation of the poore stock of grace in others; It being commonly incident [Page 207] into these presuming soules, that was of old wont to be said of the Tartars, that they are better invaders of other mens possessions, than keepers of their owne: those censures then, which they should spend upon their owne secret corrup­tions, they are ready to cast upon the seeming enormities of their neighbours: And as if they would go contrary to the Apostles charge; Be not high minded, but feare; these men are high-minded and feare not.

The way leades to the end, the presumption of the way, to the presumption of the end: over-weening and misprision [Page 208] of grace, to an over-reckoning of an undue salvation. Good God, with what confidence have I heard some, not over-conscionable men, talke of the assurance of their heaven; as if the way thither were so short, and so plaine, that they could not misse it; as if that passage had neither danger nor diffi­culty; as if it were but a re­move from the Lobby to the great Chamber, wherein they can neither erre, nor fall: Here need no harsh exercises of mor­tification, here are no misdoubts of Gods desertions, no selfe-conflicts, no flashes of troubled consciences, but all faire and smooth; Have they sinned, [Page 209] the score is crossed by their surety; have they forfeited their soules, their ransome is payd; is justice offended, mercy hath satisfied: Short­ly, they have by Acesius his ladder climbed up into hea­ven, and stollen the sight of the Book of life, and found their name there; and who can obliterate it? I cannot forget a bold word, which ma­ny yeeres ago, I heard fall from a man whom I concei­ved not to have had any extraordinary reason of con­fidence; If I should heare God say, there shall but one man be saved, I would strait say, That is I, Lord. Surely [Page 210] the man was in good favour with himselfe, in what termes soever hee stood with the Almighty. Not that I con­demne an holy and well-grounded resolution of our spirituall estate; I know who hath charged us, to give di­ligence to make our calling and election sure: Had it not been at all feisible, our wise and good God had not tasked our diligence with it; and, had it been easie, and obvious, it might even with­out diligence of study and endeavour, have beene ef­fected: Now, as one said of Evangelicall Councels, I must say of this high pitch of [Page 211] Christianity;Non est omnium vo [...]are ad alta mon­tana con­siliorum. Gers. It is not for every man to mount up this steep hill of assurance; every soule must breathe, and pant towards it, as he may; even as wee would and must to perfection: hee is as rare as happy, that attaines it. Give mee a man that hath worne out himselfe with a strict au­sterity, who by many secret bickerings hath mastered his sturdy and rebellious corrup­tions, who in a trembling awfulnesse walks constantly with his God, keeping a severe watch over all his wayes, assiduous and fervent in his devotions; Shorly, who hath spent his time in [Page 212] heaven before-hand: why should I not beleeve that God hath sealed up to such a soule, an assecurance of his future glory? Some tran­sient acts of interposed doubting may, and will glance into the holiest heart; but, a formed habit of doubt falles not into such an eminence of grace: This is not a lesson for every novice to take out; whose maine care must ever bee, to work out his salvation with feare and trembling. As for spirituall security, let him labour towards it, as that which hee would most gladly compasse, but [Page 213] not brag of it too soone, as that which he hath al­ready compassed.


AS there is no disease in­cident into the body, for which nature hath not provided a remedy, so nei­ther is there any spirituall complaint incident into the soule, for which grace af­fords not a redresse.

The way of the generall cure of presumption is, to take a just estimate of our privi­ledges and abilities; and to work the heart to a true selfe-dejection, and humiliation, [Page 215] under the mighty hand of God; Particularly, he can ne­ver presume upon those out­ward commodities, that seri­ously considers how they are valued by the owner, and gi­ver of them: Where are the most curious and rich Pearles layd up, but in the mud of the sea? And what is the earth, but marsupium Domini, (as Saint Malacby termd it of old;) Gods purse wherein he puts his most pre­cious jewells, and mettalles; And what baser peece hath the world, than this reposi­tory? And, if it please him to lay them out; how doth hee think them worthy to be be­stowed; [Page 216] He fills the belly of the ungodly with his hidden trea­sure, Iob. 9.24. saith the Psalmist; and, The earth is given into the hands of the wicked, saith holy Iob in his answer to Bildad; nei­ther is it other that he ob­serves in his reply to Zo­phar, Iob. 12.6. The Tabernacles of the robbers prosper, and they that provoke God, are secure, in­to whose hands God bring­eth abundantly; How then can we esteeme those things as pledges of favour, which God makes choyce to cast upon enemies? which mere naturall men have contem­ned, as not worthy their af­fectation, or regard? with [Page 217] what scorne did those na­ked Brachmanni (the re­lation is fatherd upon Saint Ambrose) repell the profe­red gold? And if at any time it hath pleased him, whose the earth is, and the fullnesse thereof, to lade his deere ones with this thick clay, as himselfe stiles it; and, to store them with abun­dance, he doth it not with­out a further blessing of sanctification; Some kinds of fishes there are that passe for delicate, with our great masters of the palate, which yet, must have the dangerous string in their backs puld out, ere they [Page 218] can bee safely fed upon. Such is worldly wealth and prosperity; The wise and holy God plucks out their venome, when he will have them serv'd up for dainties to his childrens table; Or if he find that the deceit­fulnesse of riches will be apt to beguile good soules, he deales with them, as carefull gardiners are wont to do by those trees from which they expect fayre fruit; abate the number of their blossomes, as more ca­ring they should be good, than full: Lastly then, How can we account those argu­ments of favour, which the [Page 219] best have had least; Even the great Lord of all the world, for whom heaven it selfe was too strait, when he would come down and converse with men, could say, The Foxes have holes, and the fowles of heaven have nests, but the son of man hath not where to rest his head; And when the tri­bute mony was demanded, is faine to send for it, to the next fish: Shortly, wore out his few dayes upon earth, in so penall a way, that his sor­rowes were read in his face; in so much as when he was but two and thirty yeares of age, the by-standers could say, Thou art not yet fifty; [Page 220] What proofes of divine favour then are these to presume upon, which the worst have, which the best want, which God oft-times gives in judgement, denyes in mercy.


THere cannot bee a more sure remedy for presum­tion of abilities, than to take an exact survay of our graces, both of their truth, and degrees. Satan is a great imposter, hee that was once an Angell of light, knowes how to seeme so still; when hee left to bee an Angell, hee began to bee a Serpent; and his conti­nuall experience cannot but have added to his Art, so [Page 222] as he knowes how to coun­terfeit graces, both in him­selfe and his, in so exquisite a fashion, that it is not for every eye to discerne them from true. We see to what perfection Mechanicall imi­tation hath attayned; what precious stone hath Nature yeelded, which is not so ar­tificially counterfeited, both in the colour and lustre, that only the skilfull Lapidary can descry it; Pearles so re­sembled, that for whitenesse, cleernesse, smoothnesse, they dare contend with the true; Gold so cunningly multiply­ed and tinctured, that nei­ther the eye can distinguish [Page 223] it, nor the touch, scarce the crucible: So as Art would seeme to bee an Havilah, whose Gold is good; whiles Nature is an Ophir, whose Gold is exceeding good: What marvell is it then, if crafty Spirits can make so faire representations of spiri­tuall excellencies, as may well deceive ordinary judge­ments? The Pythonesse's Samuel was so like the true, that Saul adored him for such; And Iannes and Iambres made their wooden Serpent to crawle so nimbly, and hisse so fiercely, that till Moses his Serpent devoured theirs, the beholders knew not whe­ther [Page 224] were more formidable; Some false things seeme more probable than many truths; there must be there­fore much serious and accu­rate disquisition, ere we can passe a true judgement, be­twixt apparent and reall gra­ces; Neither would it aske lesse than a volume to state the differences whereby we may discriminate counterfeit vertues from true, in all their severall specialties; they are faced alike, they are clad alike; the markes are in­ward, and scarce discernable by any but the owners eyes. In a generality, we shall thus descry them in our owne [Page 225] hearts. True grace is right-bred, of a divine originall, and comes down from a­bove, even from the fa­ther of lights; Gods spirit working with, and by his own ordinances, produceth it in the soule, and feeds it by the same holy meanes it is wrought: The coun­terfeit is earth-bred, ari­sing from mere nature, out of the grounds of sensuali­alitie. True grace drives at no other end than the glory of the giver, and scornes to look lower than heaven: The counterfeit aimes at no­thing but vaine applause, or carnall advantage, not [Page 226] caring to reach an inch above his own head.

True grace is apt to crosse the plausiblest inclinations of corrupt nature, and chears up the heart to a delihgtfull performance of all good du­ties, as the best pastime. The counterfeit is a meere parasite of fleshly appetite, and findes no harshnesse, but in holy devotions. True grace is undantedly constant in all opposition; and like a well wrought vault, is so much the stronger by how much more weight it un­dergoes; This metall is pu­rer for the fire, this Eagle can look upon the hottest [Page 227] Sunne: The counterfeit showes most gloriously in prospe­rity; but when the evill day commeth, it looks like the skinne of a dead Camelion, nasty and de­formed. Lastly, true grace is best alone: the coun­terfeit is all for witnesses. In briefe, if in a holy jea­lousie of our own deceit­fulnesse, wee shall put dayly interrogatories to our hearts, and passe them under severe examinations, we shall not bee in dan­ger to presume upon our mistaken graces; but the more we search, the more cause we shall find of our [Page 228] humiliation, and of an aw­full recognition of Gods mercy, and our own unwor­thinesse.


THe way not to presume upon salvation, is, in an humble modesty to content our selves with the clearely revealed will of our Ma­ker; not prying into his coun­sells, but attending his com­mands: It is a grave word wherein the vulgar translati­on expresses that place of Salomon, Scrutator majestatis, Pro. 25.27. opprimetur à gloria; hee that searcheth into majesty, shall bee overwhelmed with glory; [Page 230] Amongst those sixteene pla­ces of the Bible, which in the Hebrew are marked with a speciall note of regard; that is one,Deut 29.29. The secret things be­long unto the Lord our God, but those things which are re­vealed, belong unto us and to our children for ever; that wee may do all the words of this Law. Wherein our maine care must bee, both not to sever, in our conceit, the end from the meanes, and withall, to take the meanes along with us, in our way to the end: It is for the heavenly Angels to climbe downe the lad­der from heaven to earth: It is for us onely to climbe [Page 231] up from earth to heaven: Bold men! what do we be­gin at Gods eternall decree of our election, and thence descend to the effects of it in our effectuall calling, in our lively and stedfast faith, in our sad and serious re­pentance, in our holy and unblameable obedience, in our unfaileable perseverance; This course is saucily pre­posterous; What have wee to do to be rifling the hid­den counsells of the High­est; Let us look to our owne wayes: Wee have his word for this; that if wee do tru­ly beleeve, repent, obey, persevere, wee shall bee sa­ved; [Page 232] that if wee do heartily desire, and effectually indea­vour, in the carefull use of his appointed meanes, to at­taine unto these saving dispo­sitions of the soule, wee shall bee sure not to faile of the successe: What need wee to look any further, than con­scionably and cheerefully to do what we are enjoyned; and faithfully and comfortably to expect what hee hath promi­sed? Let it be our care, not to be wanting in the parts of our duty to God; we are sure hee cannot be wanting in his gra­cious performances unto us: But if wee in a groundlesse conceit of an election shall let [Page 233] loose the reines to our sinfull desires, and vicious practises, thereupon growing idle or un­profitable; wee make divine mercy a Pander to our unclean­nesse, and justly perish in our wicked presumption.


THe other extreame fol­lowes: It may seeme a harsh word, but it is a true one; that there may bee an evill feare of a good God; A feare of horror, and a feare of distrust. That God, who is love it selfe, is terrible to a wicked heart; Even in the be­ginning, our first progenitor ran from the face of his late maker, and hid him in the thickets; For it is a true ob­servation of Tertullian, no [Page 235] wickednesse can bee done without feare, because not without the conscience of do­ing it. Neither can any man flee from himselfe, as Bernard wittily: and this conscience reads the terrible things that God writes against the sin­ner; and holds the glasse, wherein guilty eyes may see the killing frownes of the Almighty: Now offensive objects cause the spirits to re­tire, as Philosophy and ex­perience teacheth us; where­upon followes a necessary tre­pidation in the whole frame of the body: And now the wicked heart could wish there were no God; or (which is [Page 236] all one) that this God had not power to avenge him­selfe; and, finding that after all his impotent volitions, the Almighty will bee still and ever himselfe; he is un­speakably affrighted with the expectation of that just hand, which hee cannot a­void: This terror, if (through the improvement of Gods mercy) at the last it drive the sinner to a true peni­tence, makes an happy a­mends for its owne anguish; otherwise, it is but the first flash of that unquenchable fire, which is prepared for damned soules. In this case men do not so much feare [Page 237] God, as are afraid of him: and such a torturing feare is never but joyned with heart-burning, and hatred: wher­in sinners demeane them­selves to God, as they say the Lampray doth to the fish­er, by whose first blow that fish is said to bee dulled, and astonished, but inraged with the next, and follow­ing: Wretched men! it is not Gods fault that hee is terribly just; no, it is his glory, that hee is merciful­ly terrible.Lib. 7. de Repub Ecclesiast. cap. 10. nu. 121. It is not for me to say as Spalatensis cites from Cyrill, that those who would not bee saved, are no lesse beholden to the boun­ty [Page 238] of the good God, than those that are brought home to glory: I know and blesse God▪ for the difference; But certainely, God is wonder­fully gracious (as hee is al­so infinitely just) even to those that will needs in­curre damnation; having tendered unto them many powerfull helps to their re­pentance, which hee hath, with much patience, and longanimity expected. That God therefore is just, it is his owne praise, that hee is terrible, wee may thank our selves; for were it not for our wickednesse, there were nothing in God, not infi­nitely [Page 239] amiable: Seest thou then, O sinnefull man, no­thing at all in Gods face, but frownes, and fury; doth eve­ry beame of his angry eye dart vengeance into thy soule? so as thou would'st faine runne away from his pre­sence, and wooest the rocks and mountaines to fall upon thee and hide thee from the sight of that dreadfull coun­tenance; cleanse thy hands, purge thine heart, cleare thine eyes with the teares of true contrition, and then look up, and tell me, whether thou dost not see an happy change of aspect, whether thou canst now discerne ought in that [Page 240] face, but a glorious loveli­nesse, fatherly indulgence, un­conceivable mercy, such as shall ravish thy soule with a divine love, with a joy unspeak­able and glorious.


SEldome ever is the feare of horror separated from a feare of distrust; which in the height of it, is that which we call despaire: for when the soule apprehends a deep feare of Gods dereliction, it cannot but be filled with horrour. Now as the holy and well mo­derated feare gives glory to God, in all his attributes, so this extremity of it affronts and dishonours him in them all; but especially, in his mercy, and truth. In his truth, sugge­sting that God will not make good his promises; in his mer­cy, [Page 242] suggesting that he either cannot, or will not, forgive and save; It was a true observa­tion of Saint Hilary, Non est minimum officium fi­dei metus. Hilar. in Ps. 66. that it is not the least office and effect of faith to feare, for that it is said by the Prophet Esay, He shall fill them with the spirit of the feare of the Lord: and againe, we are charged to worke out our salvati­on with feare. But there cannot be an act more opposite to faith, then to feare distrustfully; to despaire in fearing, none more injurious either to God, or our owne soules: For sure­ly,Non supe­rat bonita­tem de [...] malitia delictorum Cyril in Levit. l. 9. as Cyrill well, the wickednesse of our offences to God, cannot exceed his goodnesse toward us; the praise whereof from his [Page 243] creature he affects and esteems so highly, as if he cared not, in any other notion, to bee ap­prehended by us: proclaiming himselfe no otherwise in the mount, then, The Lord, Exod. 34.6.7. the Lord God, mercifull, and graci­ous, long suffering, and abundant in goodnesse and truth; keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgressions, and sinne; adding onely one word, (to prevent our too much pre­sumption) That will by no meanes cleare the guilty; which to doe, were a meere contra­diction to his justice: Of all other therefore GOD hates most to be robbed of this part of his glory. Neither is the [Page 244] wrong done to God more pal­pable, then that which is done herein unto our selves; in bar­ring the gates of heaven upon our soules; in breaking open the gates of hell to take them in, and in the meane time stri­ving to make our selves mise­rable, whether God will or no. And surely, as our experi­ence tels us concerning the e­state of our bodily indispositi­ons, that there is more fre­quent sicknesse in summer, but more deadly in winter; so we finde it here; other sinnes, and spirituall distempers are more common, but this di­strustfull feare, and despaire of mercy (which chils the soule [Page 245] with a cold horror) is more mortall. For the remedy wher­of, it is requisite that the heart should be throughly convin­ced of the super-abundant and ever ready mercy of the Al­mighty, of the infallible and unfaileable truth of all his gracious ingagements; And in respect of both, be made to confesse, that heaven can ne­ver be but open to the peni­tent. It is a sweet word and a true one of Saint Bernard, Jn libro tuo scribun­tur omnes qui quod possunt fa­ciunt, et si quod debent non possunt B [...]n. Apol ad Guli [...]lm. Ab [...]t. In thy Booke O Lord, are written all that doe what they can, though they cannot doe what they ought; Neither doth God onely ad­mit, but he invites, but he in­treates, but he importunes [Page 246] men to be saved; what could he doe more, unlesse he would offer violence to the Will, which were no other then to destroy it, and so to undoe the best piece of his owne work­manship? It is the way of his decree, and proceedings to dispose of all things sweetly; Neither is it more against our nature, then his, to force his owne ends; and when he sees that fayre meanes will not prevayle to win us from death, he is pleased feelingly to be­mone it, as his owne losse: Why will ye dye, O house of Israel? As for the stable truth of his promises, it is so everlasting, that heaven and earth, in their [Page 247] vanishing, shall leave it stan­ding fast: His title is, Amen, and faithfull is he that hath promised, who will also doe it: his very essence can no more faile, then his word: He that feares therefore that God will be lesse then his promise, let him feare that God will cease to be himselfe. It was the mot­to of that witty and learned Doctor Donne, the late Deane of Paules, which I have seene, more then once, written in Spanish with his owne hand, Blessed bee God that hee is God, divinely, like himselfe: as the being of God is the ground of all his blessed adscriptions, so of all our firmitude, safety, [Page 248] consolation: Since the veracity and truth of God (as his other holy attributes) are no other then his eternall es­sence: Feare not therefore, O thou weake soule, that the Almighty can bee wanting to himselfe, in fayling thee; Hee is Iehovah, and his counsels shall stand; Feare and blame thine owne wretched infirmities, but the more weake thou art in thy selfe, bee so much the str [...]nger in thy GOD; by how much more thou art tempted to distrust, cling so much the closer to the Au­thor and finisher of thy salva­tion.

[Page 249]Thus if wee shall hold an even course betwixt security on the one part, and horrour and distrust on the other; If the fortified and exalted eyes of our soules, being cleared from all inward and ambient impediments, shall have con­stantly fixed themselves upon the ever-present Majesty of God; not without a spirituall lightsomnesse, and irradiation, and therewith, an awfull complacency of soule in that glorious sight, and from thence shall bee cast downe upon our owne vilenesse, throughly apprehending how much worse then nothing we [Page 250] are, in, and of our selves, in the sight of God, wee shall be put into a meet capacity of an holy and well mixed feare: And, if now, our hearts thus enlightened, shall be taken up with an inward adoration of the infinite power and great­nesse of GOD, manifested in the framing and ordering of this visible world, and of the infinite goodnesse and mercy of GOD, shewed in the marvellous worke of mans redemption, and shall be carefull to expresse this inward worship in all due reverence, (upon all occasions) to the Name, the Word, the Servi­ces, the House, the Messengers [Page 251] of the Almighty; withall, if our humble soules shall meek­ly subject, and resigne them­selves over to the good plea­sure of God, in all things, be­ing ready to receive his fa­therly corrections with pati­ence, and his gracious dire­ctions with obedience. Last­ly, if wee shall have settled in our hearts a serious care of being alwayes approved to God in whatsoever actions; and a child-like loathnesse, and dread to give any offence unto so deare and glorious a Majesty, wee shall have attai­ned unto this blessed feare, which wee seeke for, and be happily freed from that wicked [Page 252] indevotion, and prophane­nesse, to which the world is so much, and so dangerously subject: which I beseech the God of heaven to worke out in all readers, to his glory in their salvation, Amen.


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