THE DESTRVCTION OF SODOME: A SERMON PREACHED at a publicke Fast, before the ho­nourable Assembly of the Commons House of Parliament, At St. MARGARETS Church in Westminster. By IOHN HARRIS, Preacher there. Feb. 18. 1628.

LONDON, Printed by H. L. and R. Y. for G. Lathum, dwelling in Pauls Church-yard, at the signe of the Bishops head.


GEN. 19. 24.‘Then the Lord rained vpon Sodome and Go­morrah brimstone and fire, from the Lord out of Heauen.’

ABout fiue hundred yeares after Christ, when the Romans vast Dominion began to decline, there was great affliction and trouble thoroughout the world; plagues, and fa­mines, and warres, and earth-quakes, and other euils, conspir'd together to vexe all places: so that the people of God, euery where, both in the Greeke and Latine Churches, fearing their turne [Page 2] might be next to come vnder the scourge, had formes of holy Prayers, composed by their Pre­lates, which the Greeke Church termedBasil. ep. 63. Niceph. lib. 14. cap. 3. Lita­nies, the Latine Rogations, to be spoken often into the eares of the Lord of heauen and earth, to preuent imminent iudgements; so godlily wise were the Christians of old time, that those cala­mities, which they knew, being present, all peo­ple would bewaile with teares, being absent, they laboured by their prayers to keep away.

And if I take not my marke amisse, that's the intention of this meeting:Iob 19. 12. Gods troupes of afflicti­ons, as holy Iob cals them, are abroad in the Chri­stian world, making hauocke of men and coun­tries; and wee, conscious to our selues, that our sinnes deserue to haue them come, and to en­campe about our tabernacles, are met here toge­ther, to make prayers to our God, to keepe them away from vs: and to set a greater edge vpon our deuotion, and the more to testifie our humiliation to the World, and to Angels; a Fast is proclai­med, which is to bee obserued by vs in a strict manner: all the time is to bee spent in confession of sinnes, in bitter lamentations, in deiection and humiliation for transgressions, in abstinence from meates and drinkes, and all other corporall de­lights, that may cheare the heart, and so hinder it from being truely sorrowfull and afflicted, in almes deedes and visiting the sicke, in mourning and weeping for angring God, and in crying mightily vnto the Lord, Ionah 3. 8. to diuert iudgements ap­proaching.

[Page 3] And to helpe to these exercises of repentance, the Word of God must be preached, the sinnes of a Nation must bee ript vp, Gods iudgements a­gainst sinne must be denounced, for nothing doth further more to humiliation and compunction, than a serious consideration, how infinitely ini­quity doth anger God, and how seuerely he hath, and doth, and will punish it. It was the course, which God himselfe directed the Prophet Iere­miah to runne, when Israel and Iudah were vpon the point of destruction:Ier. 36. 1, 2, 3. This word came vnto Ie­remiah from the Lord, saying, Take thee a roule of a booke, and write therein all the words that I haue spoken vnto thee against Israel, and against Iudah, and against all the Nations, from the day I spake vn­to thee, from the dayes of king Iosiah, euen vnto this day: it may be, that the house of Iudah will heare all the euill which I purpose to doe vnto them, that they may returne euery man from his euill way, that I may forgiue their iniquity and their sinne. And in that roule of the booke, the Rabbins say, was written the booke of Lamentations:Six. Sen. lib. 2. Bibl. in which booke, Ieremiah the Prophet, doth in a most mournfull Elegie, lament the miserable condition, which Ierusalem, because of sinne, was to come vnto. I haue resolued to follow that tract, to speake vnto you of a people, whose damnable impiety brought vpon them such a misery, the relation whereof, may make all, that worke vnrighteous­nesse with greedinesse, to tremble to heare it, and so to abhorre and auoide crying sinnes, lest they should proue likewise their ruine and confusion.

[Page 4] Then the Lord rained vpon Sodome and Go­morrah, brimstone and fire, from the Lord out of Heauen.

You may please to obserue in the Text, these particulars:

1. An act: It rained.

2. The agent: The Lord rained from the Lord; Dominus Filius pluit à Domino Patre, Carranz. sum. Concil. The Lord the Sonne rained from the Lord the Father: that in­terpretation is giuen of the words, at a Councell held at Ierusalem in the time of Constantius the Emperour.

3. The matter it rained: Brimstone and fire. The Lord rained from the Lord brimstone and fire.

4. The place from whence it rained: Out of Heauen. The Lord rained from the Lord brimstone and fire out of Heauen: Saluian. lib. 1. degub. Dei. Super impium populum Ge­hennam misit è Coelo; The Lord from the Lord sent vpon a wicked people Hell out of Heauen.

5. The patients vpon whom it rained; vpon Sodome and Gomorrah in the Text: Vpon Sodome and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboim, in Deut. 29. 23. Vpon Sodome, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboim and Segor, in lib. 1. St. Aug. de mirab. Script. Vpon all the plaine, vpon all the inhabitants of the Cities, vpon that which grew vpon the ground, in Gen. 19. 25.

6. The time when it rained; Then: Then the Lord rained vpon Sodome and Gomorrah brimstone and fire, from the Lord out of Heauen.

The time administreth occasion to discourse of the Agents longanimity, and of the Patients iniquity.

[Page 5] The act and the materials, giue way to treate of Gods seuerity, and of Sodome and Gomorrah's misery.

Thus then wee will proceed, Gods grace assi­sting.

First, speake of Gods clemency, and of Sodom and Gomorrah's impiety.

Secondly, declare Gods fury, and Sodom and Gomorrah's calamity.

Thirdly, conclude with an application of such vses, as may be made by the story.

First of Gods clemency, and of Sodome and 1 Gomorrah's impiety.

There is not a greater antipathy betwixt any two natures in the world, than there is betwixt the nature of God and sinne: You may sooner reconcile fire and water, heate and cold, light and darknesse, than God and Mammon, Christ and Belial, the holy Ghost and Dagon. God hates sinne wheresoeuer he findes it, be it in Heauen or Earth, in Men or Angels, in Elect or Reprobates. Indeed his Mercy, his sweet blessed Mercy, to which mankinde hath beene euer much bound, neuer ceaseth solliciting him to treat Adams chil­dren with all the fauour hee may, and like to an importunate suitor, neuer giueth ouer crauing of him, vntill he make her a promise, that hee will not execute the fiercenesse of his anger, Hosea 11. 9. otherwise the world should heare oftner from him than it doth. Howsoeuer though mercy doth much with God, yet mercy doth not all, iustice may bee heard: if the suspension of iudgement worke no remorse [Page 6] in sinners hearts, to take pitie vpon their owne soules, and to please God, iustice will procure that God shall render indignation and wrath, Rom. 2. 8, 9. tri­bulation and anguish, vpon euery soule of man that doth euill, to the Iew first, and also to the Gentile. Misericordia Deo attribuitur secundum effectum, Aquin. p. 1. q. 21 3. 0. non secundum passionis affectum; Mercy is attributed vnto God according to the effect, not according to the affect of the passion: it doth neuer transport him beyond himselfe, neither causeth it him vt­terly to stop his eares to his iustice, when it plea­deth for indignation. Tis euident in holy Writ, that Mercy is potent with God, hath a great hand with him; hee will heare her mediating for the most notorious malefactors in the world, if hee can discerne in them any hope of amendment.

How long did he protract Sodom's ruine, and what courses did hee take to reclaime them? sent Lot to preach to them, stirr'd vp foure Kings to make warre vpon them, gaue them victory ouer them, and when they had taken the people, and were carrying of them into captiuity, prest Abra­ham out to rescue them,Gen. 14. 15, 16. who diuided himselfe a­gainst them, he and his seruants by night, and smote them, and pursued them vnto Hoba, which is on the left hand of Damascus, and he brought backe all the goods, and also brought againe his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people. Yea, when their sinnes cryed out for brimstone, flames & wrath was gone out from God, and he had dis­patched his ministring spirits to goe downe, Gen. 18. 21. and see whether they had done altogether according to the cry [Page 7] of it which came vp vnto him. Hee protected vnto Abraham, if hee could finde ten righteous men there, he would not destroy them for tens sake. Gen. 18. 32. Gods goodnesse towards them, doth surpasse all orato­rie to expresse, all cogitation to thinke; he would haue spared them vpon any tolerable termes, they might haue made their peace vpon any indiffe­rent conditions: God, I say, tooke no delight in their desolation. At last, when hee saw that no preaching, no warre, no captiuity, no redempti­on from captiuity, could beget any piety among them, Then the Lord rained vpon Sodome and Go­morrah brimstone and fire, from the Lord out of Heauen.

Their sinnes were insufferable; not ordinarie, but great, very great transgressions: they did prouoke the iustice of God from the greatest of them, to the littlest of them, they did euen against nature and common reason agree to bee wicked, they were not onely sinners, drawne to iniquitie by the strong incitations of nature, but they were wicked, industriously wicked, willingly wicked; like to the house of Iacob,Micah 2. 2. they deuised iniquity vpon their beddes, and when the morning was light, they practis'd it: They were scelerum principes, & inuentores, prime offendors, and inuentors of new villanies: they tooke delight in damn'd transgressions, their greatest glory was in the greatest iniquity, and they were then most merry, when the God of Abraham was most angry. I reade of a people in Picenum, that were called [Page 8] Nequi nates; Wicked ones, à soli iniquitate, saith the Geographer,Bertij tab. Geogra. from the naughtinesse of their soile: the men of Sodome are call'd wicked ones from the iniquity of their manners.Gen. 13. 13. The men of Sodome were [...], wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly. Pride, a sinne, that made of Angels Diuels, as Prosper saith;Prosp. lib. 3 de vit. cont. cap. 3. a sinne that is fore-runner to destruction: as Solomon shewes, Humility goeth before honour, and a haughty spirit before a fall. A sinne, of which they that are guilty, haue God alwayes at their backes to take vengeance of them for it, as Seneca hath it, Sequi­tur superbos vltor à tergo Deus, was in high esteem among them: excessiue they were aboue measure; a mortall iniquity, Diues epulo, est Parochianus Di­abolo: A rich Epicure, is a Parishioner to the Di­uell. The higher men feede, the more outragious the bloud boiles, and the harder taske it is to re­sist concupiscence.Deut. 32. 15. Iesurun waxed fat and kicked; thou art waxen fat, thou art growne thicke, thou art couered with fatnesse; then hee forsooke God which made him, and lightly esteemed the rocke of his sal­uation. Idlenesse likewise, a sinne capitall by the lawes of Draco;Ecclus. 33. 27. A sin that teacheth much euill: A sinne that choaketh vertue, nourisheth pride, fra­meth a life fit onely for hell fire, a sinne, the whole vniuersity of things cries downe, aboun­ded among them: whereas all other creatures were perpetually in action; trees growing, wa­ters flowing, birds flying, oxen plowing, spheares mouing, the men of Sodome, like to standing [Page 9] ponds, like to Sodomes Salt-pits, stunke for lacke of motion. The poore they did contemne; a crying sinne: Negatur gutta, qui negauit micam, Aug. A droppe of water is denied to Diues to coole his tongue, being in hell in torments, who denied a crumme from off his table to Lazarus, to allay his hunger,Luke 16. liuing on earth in pleasures; These were sinnes which the earth it selfe could no longer endure: hearken, and I will shew you greater abominations than these.

Masculine beastiality; A sinne, none but a Di­uell, come out of Hell in the likenesse of a man, dares to commit: a sinne, enough to defile the tongue that talkes of it; a sinne, of which, if a man were sure neither God nor man did know of it, yet the turpitude of it should bee motiue enough to make a reasonable creature disdaine it, was as allowable among them by custome, as any other act, in other Common-wealths, is by law: Nay, Peccabant, & publicabant; They did sinne, and not for shame hide it,Aug. lib. 16. c. 30. de ciuit. Dei. but with ostentation they did publish it, tis manifest. Gods rehearsing Iudahs sinnes, saith, They declare their sinnes as So­dome did: to doe euill, and to reioyce at it, tis a desperate iniquity; deplorata nequitia: a lamenta­ble wickednesse;Caluin. for men to sinne, and to take pastime in it, to anger the powers of Heauen, and to ioy in it, to set their soules burning in the flames of sinne, as Nero set Rome on fire, and to behold them with affectation, like raging waues of the sea, for men to some out their owne shame, good Lord, that euer the children of women [Page 10] should bee so transcendently wicked: it was im­possible for any but incarnate Diuels to excell them in wickednesse. Furthermore, there was publicke liberty of sinning; each man gaue his consent for the allowance of villany, no man ac­cusing, or condemning, or correcting, or deplo­ring the iniquities that were among them: Onely Lot perswadeth, I pray you, Brethren, doe not so wickedly, Gen. 19. 7. and they frump him for it.Gen. 19. 9. This one fellow came in to soiourne, and hee will needes bee a Iudge. There was such a habit of filthinesse, that vn­righteousnesse was reputed for righteousnesse, and the gainsayer of vncleannesse, was blamed more than the actour. Their Magistrates, that had regall power, neuer interposed their authori­tie, to bridle them in their beastly desires: And (my beloued) that is a daring sinne, when the Ma­gistrates, that should bee to the people like gods to imitate, shall be euery iot as wicked as the mul­titudes: Inferiores sunt superiorum simiae, Herodot. Infe­riours they are the apes of superiours; whereby it commeth to passe, that those which are called to high places in the world, eyther carry many to destruction with themselues, or bring many into the way of saluation with themselues, as Fulgen­tius saith to Theodorus a Senatour of Rome:Fulgent. ep. 6. ad Theod. Sen. Ecclus. 10. 2. As the Iudge of a people is himselfe, so are his officers, and what manner of man the Ruler of a City is, such are they that dwell therein. Now that the Rulers of Sodome should be such, as did not only conniue, winke at wickednesse, but euen tolerate, nay ap­proue, yea partake with the people in their abo­minations; [Page 11] it was ominous, it did portend some dreadfull iudgement comming vpon the whole Nation. when the vices of inferiours are dissem­bled and winked at by gouernours, they are reser­ued for the iudgement of God. I had as liue see a blazing starre burning in the Heauens, as a wic­ked man in a place of power: an earth-quake is not so prodigious as a wicked Ruler. Before God broke downe the wals of Babylon, and burnt the high gates with fire,Ier. 51. 57. hee threatned to make drunke her Princes, and her Wisemen, and her Captaines, and her Rulers, and her mighty men: An inundation of vngodlinesse must needes ouerflow a Land, when those that haue the ouersight, doe superintend, and should bound wickednesse, are themselues boundlesly wicked. Religion must of necessity go downe the wind, as it did in Sodome, when those that should vphold it, doe most prophane it; one of the first in authority, and one of the last in Christianity. Ethelbertus King of Kent in the Heptarchy was wont to say, twas a signe of a very euill man, singulus quis (que) homo, &c. Euery particu­lar man is a part of the City and Kingdome wherein he was borne,Aug. de ciuit Dei. lib. 4. cap▪ be it neuer so ample; as a letter is part of a word, saith Augustine. Some bee like to capitall or text letters, as great men: some to smaller characters, as men of low degree: some be like to vowels, as men in authority: some to mutes and liquids, as the vulgar sort: all men goe to the making of a City or Kingdome, as all letters go to the making vp of words. And as in a word, if one letter be amisse, though but a mute, [Page 12] it may danger to marre the word, though not so much as if a vowell bee defaced; so in a City or Kingdome, if one man be blotted with sinne, say but a meane man, it may bring a destruction to that City or Kingdome, yet not so soone as if a man of higher place be blurd with impiety.

Here were sins enow to set patience in a rage, and to transforme the God of mercy into wrath, and yet God respited their subuersion so long, vntill their sins came bellowing vp into Heauen, and were ready to lay an imputation of partiality vpon his iustice. Three hundred and forty yeares, Chronologie saith, passed betwixt the drowning of the world with water, and the burn­ing of Sodome with brimstone and fire, all, or a great part of which time, God was grieued with that generation; and if euer they would haue be­thought themselues to alter their conditions, had there beene but a sprinkling, a gleaning of good people in her, one honest soule for a thousand re­probates, God would haue repented him of his purpose: at last, when the Lord looked, nay sent downe from Heauen, saw there was no hope, they were altogether corrupt, and become abomina­ble in their doings, there were none that did good, no not Ten, Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire, from the Lord, ut of Heauen.

Tis recorded of Iulius Caesar, that hee neuer entertained hatred against any man so deeply, but he was willing to lay downe the same vpon occa­sion offered;Sueton. vita Iul. Caes. and the author doth instance in this, [Page 13] when C. Memnius put-in for the Consulship, hee befriended him before others of the Competiti­on, notwithstanding that C. Memnius had made bitter inuectiues against him. Our God, to whom all the Caesars & Kings of the earth are tributaries and homagers, doth neuer hate (I take hatred as tis an intention of God in punishing) so irrecon­cileably, but true humiliation will worke a recon­ciliation; that maketh him say, Patientia Dei pios turbat; Gods patience doth euen distract good men, maketh them to wonder at him, how hee can indure such palpable dishonour, and suspend vengeance: When Dauid saw the prosperity of the wicked, hee saith, his feet were almost gone, his steps had well nigh stipt. And when God, because the Niniuites had turned from thier euill waies, repented of the euill which he said he would doe vnto them, and did it not, it displeased Ionah excee­dingly, Ionah 4. 1. and hee was very angry. Hee hath suffered likewise among wicked men for his clemency, the damned Atheist draweth an argument from thence against his omnipotency; saith he cannot, because hee doth not banish all euill out of the world. Auerroes the Philosopher, draweth an argument from thence against his prouidence; thinkes hee meddleth with nothing below the spheare of the Moone, because of his slownesse to anger. Ceacilius in Munitius Faelix, inferres a conclusion from thence against his iustice: saith that he is eyther inualidus, Munit. impotent, and not able to redresse euils, or else iniquus, vniust, and not willing to rectifie them.Psal. 21, 3 [...] He doth preuent a man [Page 14] with the blessing of goodnesse. Lam. 3. 23. He renueth his kind­nesse euery morning. He must be called vpon once, twice, thrice, to render vengeance: Lord, how long shall the wicked; Psal. 94. 3, 4. how long shall the wicked tri­umph; how long shall they vtter and speake hard things? I dare say by a [...], Dolet quoties cogi­tur esse ferox; Tis a griefe to our God, so often as men constraine him, to bee cruell.Iudg 10. 16. His soule is grieued for the misery of Israel; HisIerem. 31. 20 bowels are troubled for Ephraims sake. The rainbow is an embleme of Gods mercy; tis planted in the clouds, if you marke it, as if man were shooting at God, and not as if God were shooting at man. The situation of the Propitiatory, or Mercy-seat, was an argument of his mercy:Exod. 25. 21. God comman­ded it should be planted ouer the Arke, in which was the testimony, the booke of cursings, that so mercy might bee neare at hand to pronounce sentence of absolution, when iustice is in hand to denounce sentence of condemnation.Ambr. Epist. lib. 1. ep. 3. Of such infinite compassion was our Lord and Sauiour Christ Iesus, that he would haue pardoned Iudas, it Iudas had had grace to haue askt forgiuenesse. AugustineAug. lib. 13. cap. 7. de ciuit. Dei. saith, that some of them were forgiuen, that murdered Christ. In the 34. of Exodus, where himselfe proclaimeth his nature by adiectiues, hee begins with mercifull,Exod. 34. 6. The Lord, the Lord God, mercifull, &c. as if mercy had a priority in him. In the 116. Psalme, Verse 5. he doubles the epithite mercifull, Mercifull is the Lord, and righteous; yea, and our God is mercifull: as if he had two quantities of mercy in him for one of iustice; as if no act of iustice [Page 15] could passe from him, but thorow the gate of mercy. Longanimity is as Gods naturall childe; the holy Deity is in trauell with it: euen as any thing great with young doth desire to bee rid of the burthen, so doth God desire to poure forth his mercy: neuer Nurse, when her breasts were full of milke, was in greater paine for children to sucke them, than God is in paine to haue children to draw his mercy from him. Iustice commeth from God, as a sting from a Bee, constrainedly; Mercy floweth from him, as honey from a Bee, most willingly: Mercy is as essentiall to him, as light is to the sunne, or as heate is to the fire; hee delights in mercy, as any sense or faculty of our soules doe in their actions, the eye in seeing, or the eare in hearing, or the memory in remem­bring: Patience, and clemency, and mercy, and compassion, and peace, are the fruits of his bow­els, the off-spring which the diuine nature doth produce; fury, and rage, and anger, and affliction, and warre, and flaming fire, are forced into him by the prouoking exorbitances of the world.

God doth all along the Scripture euen court sinners to turne from their vicious courses; the omnipotent Creatour doth euen turne begger, to beseech his creatures to walke in his wayes; not that tis any aduantage to him, if all the world should worship him with a holy worship: Can a man be profitable to God, as he that is wise is profitable to himselfe? Is it any pleasure to the Almighty, that thou art righteous, or is it gaine to him, Iob 22. 2. 3. that thou makest thy wayes perfect? saith Eliphaz the Tema­nite [Page 16] to holy Iob. Our goodnesse extendeth not to him; Non eget ipsâ iustitiâ hominis: He hath no need,Aug. lib. 10. cap. 5. de ciuit. Dei. no not of mans righteousnesse. Ne (que) fonti se quisquam dixerit profuisse si biberit, ne (que) luci si vide­rit; A man cannot say he doth the fountain good by drinking of it, or the light by seeing by it, nor that he doth God good by seruing of him; all the worship man performes to God, is for mans pro­fit, not Gods: wherefore a man duely pondering of that [...], that long suffering which is in God, that beareth with many millions of misde­meanours mortall men commit, whereby hee is infinitely dishonoured, and of that free loue that doth prouoke him to desire mans loue, whereby he is in no respect benefited; if hee be not repro­bate siluer, if hee haue any reliques of Religion left in him, how can it choose but inflame his soule to loue the Almighty? Many a great disho­nour did God put vp before hee drowned the old world; 1500. years and odde he patiently waited they should amend their manners, before hee be­gan to affright them with any mention of a floud, yea and after hee had threatned a deluge, hee gaue them 120. yeares respit to change their courses, afforded them all that time Noah to preach righ­teousnesse vnto them: After all this, when the 1500. yeares were ended, and the 120. were ex­spired, when the Arke was builded, and Noah and his family were aboard in her, yet hee pro­long'd the time seuen dayes before he broke open the fountaines of the great deepe,Gen. 7. 4. and opened the floud-gates of Heauen. And so for the Sodo­mites, [Page 17] Ipsi extorserunt vt perirent; They them­selues wrested from God their owne destruction:Saluian. their iniquities, like rebels, make a head, as if they would bid Heauen a battell, and dare God and his Angels to doe their worst; and God for many yeares carried himselfe patiently: at last when no forbearance could beget repentance, no procra­stination of their affliction in him, could procure an alteration of manners in them, Then the Lord rained vpon Sodome and Gomorrah brimstone and fire, from the Lord out of Heauen.

Or you may, if you please, let this (Then) in my Text, answer to the (When) in the Verse next before it, When Lot was entered into Zoar, Then the Lord rained vpon Sodome and Gomorrah brim­stone and fire, from the Lord out of Heauen. And from thence you may make an obseruation, how deare in the sight of the Lord a righteous man is: Sodome could not bee burnt before Lot was de­parted; Haste thee, escape to Zoar: for I cannot doe any thing till thou be come thither, Gen. 19. 22. saith the Angell to Lot; the Angell had giuen him in commission to be as prouident in Lots preseruation, as to bee diligent in the Sodomites destruction: Haste thee, escape thither: for I cannot doe any thing till thou come thither. A speech, the more I meditate vpon it, the more I am amazed at it. St. Augustine saith, a certain Platonist, as Simplitianus told him, said those words of St. Iohns Gospell: In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, Iohn 1. 1. and the word was God, the same was in the beginning with God, were fit to be written in letters of gold,Aug. lib. 10. [...] ciuit. Dei. c. and to [Page 18] be set vp to be read in the highest places of all Churches; and the reason of this his high com­mendation of that saying, is, because tis such a strong text to confirme Christs diuinity: For, as Ambrose well noteth,Ambr. de fide cont. Arrian. erat, erat, erat, erat: ecce quater erat; & vbi inuenit Arrianus quod non erat? the word was, it was, it was, it was: behold, St. Iohn saith foure times it was in the beginning, and where doth Arrius finde that it was not in the beginning? Verily, this Scripture, Haste thee, e­scape thither: for I can do nothing til thou be come thi­ther, deserueth to be inscribed vpon euery mans heart, that God should so tender the welfare of his seruant, as to professe plainly, hee could not vindicate himselfe vpon his foes, vntill hee had taken order for his safety: I am rapt to reade it, & pray you all to take speciall notice of it; When Lot was entered into Zoar, Then, and not before then, the Lord rained vpon Sodome and vpon Gomorrah, brimstone and fire, from the Lord out of Heauen. And to say continually as the Psalmist doth, Blessed is the Lord, Psal. 35. 27. which hath alwaies pleasure in the prospe­rity of his seruant.

Wicked men may likewise make to themselues aduantage by this obseruation, and learne to re­spect the righteous, because they fare the better for it.Varro. Mundus est magna homilli domus; The world is the great house of little man, and faithfull men are the buttresses and pillars, to vphold it from ruine and confusion: they stand in the gappe be­twixt the world and Gods wrath, as Moses his chosen did in the breach betwixt the Israelites [Page 19] and Gods anger, when they had vext him at the waters of strife, to turne away his indignation from them,Psal. 106. 23. lest hee should destroy them. The Nurse fareth the better oftentimes for the Childs sake, and so doe the wicked for the children of Gods sake: Abraham could haue compounded with God for tenne righteous men for Sodomes sinnes, and so haue saued the place and the inha­bitants from destruction. Yea Ierusalem, iam iam (que) peritura, Hieron. euen now vpon the push of being destroyed, is offered to Ieremiah to be spared, if there could but a man bee found in it that executed righteousnesse. Ierem. 5. 1. At such a high rate doth God value one righteous man, that his holinesse shall bal­lance many a thousands wickednesse. Good men are sanguis mundi, the bloud of the world: when they dye, a man may feare the very world lyeth adying. When Eliah the Prophet was taken from the head of his seruant Elisha, and carried vp into Heauen, Elisha cryed out, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, 2. Reg. 2. 12 and the horsemen thereof: As if he should haue said, Eliah that good man, that was the onely chariot and horsemen to defend Israel, he had such power with God, because of his holy life to hinder him from plaguing of it, is taken from it. If God goe out against a place to ouer­throw it, one iust man is a better fort to defend it, than a rocke of marble, or a rampier of flint: A good man hath a great deale of interest in God; God will come to a parley with him, and yeeld to him in any tolerable request: that speech which God vsed to Moses on the Mount, is proofe suffi­cient [Page 20] to informe wicked men, how gracious a good man is with the great God. Israel had tres­passed greatly, turned the glory of the inuisible God, into the similitude of an Oxe that eateth grasse, and by that Idolatry angred Iehouah so farre, that hee hath a thought to confound them; and yet before hee will proceed to execution, knowing Moses loue to them was such, he would be making intercession, and knowing his owne nature to bee such, that if Moses mediated, hee could not choose but remit, the omnipotent God doth petition fraile man not to interpose; Now therefore let mee alone, Exod. 32. 10. that my wrath may waxe hote against them, and that I may consume them. And when Moses would not bee perswaded from ma­king supplication, but fals vpon God for Abra­hams sake to take compassion, God offereth Mo­ses composition to let him alone: Let mee alone, Exod. 32. 10. that my wrath may waxe hote against them, and that I may consume them, and I will make of thee a great people: When nothing would beat Moses off from being instant and earnest with God for their par­don, the Text saith,Exod. 32. The Lord repented of the euill which he thought to do vnto the people: An example that may moue a heart composed of hatred a­gainst Gods chosen, and turne it into loue. Nay, an after generation fareth the better oftentimes for a good man of a former generation; it was aboue too. yeares by computation, betwixt the reigne of King Dauid and King Ioram, and yet though the impieties of Ioram deserued to haue his Kingdome rent away from him, The Lord [Page 21] would not destroy Iudah for Dauid his seruants sake.2. Reg. 8. 19.Two hundred seuenty and sixe men had their liues▪ Acts 27. saued for St. Pauls sake from shipwracke: God gaue him all that sailed with him, Verse 24. as the Angell said. Small reason therefore haue dissolute wretches to contemne good people, if they consider it: It was a base vnworthy speech of Haman, when hee told King Ahashuerosh,Hest. 3. 8. It was not for his profit to suffer the Iewes; Himselfe and his kingdome fared the better for such inhabitants. Make much of honest men, my Beloued; make much of honest men: they are medulla mundi, to the world as mar­row is to the bones, the strength and stay of it. Thetares would quickly be weeded vp, were it not for plucking vp the good corne also. So long as there are good men, possibly the world may endure: when once there is a generall dearth of good men, adue this present world for euermore. No maruaile Laban was so loath to part with Ia­cob, and would come to a new composition with him, rather than he should quit his seruice; he had learnt by experience,Gen. 30. 27. that the Lord had blessed him for Iacobs sake. Dauid cries out in the 12. Psalme, Helpe Lord: Psal. 12. 1. And why? what is the matter with Dauid? O the godly man ceaseth, the faithfull faile from among the children of men: And is that such a matter to bee transported at? Yes, it is a fatall signe,Esay 1. 9. when there is a decrease of good men; Ex­cept the Lord of Hosts had left vnto vs a seed, wee should haue been as Sodome, and we should haue been like vnto Gomorrah.

The Dragon that is wroth with the woman, Apoc. 12. 17 ma­keth [Page 22] warre with the remnant of her seed; that is, the Diuell who is wroth with the Church, in all ages hath plotted the ruines of those which keepe the commandements of God, and haue the testi­mony of Iesus Christ, and infused a strong con­ceit in the hearts of all his subiects, that they were the causes of all calamities. If Tiber ouerflowed her bankes, if Nilus did not water the fields, if the heauens were brasse, or the earth quaked, if there were a plague or famine in the Common-wealth of Rome,Tert. Apol. the people cried, To the Lyon with a Christian; as if their being had beene the cause of all miseries. St. Augustine saith it grew to a Prouerbe in Rome,Aug. de ciuit. Dei. lib. 2. cap. 3. Pluuia defecit, Christiani nominis gratiâ, Raine hath failed, because the name Christian is tolerated. Alas, blinde Hea­then, were it not for Christianity, there would soone bee an end of Infidelity: God blesseth the Egyptians house for Iosephs sake, not Ioseph for the Egyptians sake. God blest Sodome for Lots sake, not Lot for Sodomes sake, tis euident here in this Text: for while Lot remained within her wals, it went well with her; when Lot was gone out of her, Then the Lord rained vpon Sodome and Gomorrah brimstone and fire, from the Lord out of Heauen. The same day that Lot went out of Sodome, it rained fire and brimstone from Heauen, and de­stroyed them all: he that rained it beares record of it, Luke 17. 29. And we know that his record is true.

2 Secondly, of Gods fury, and of Sodome and Gomorrahs misery.

[Page 23] God is no way so long suffering in bearing, that he is not as iust in punishing; If a man will not turne, he will whet his sword. God spun out the thread of his loue to an immeasurable length, to try whether the men of Sodome would lay hold of it; hee did angle for them, sate in heauen, let downe the line of his loue, and baited it with his mercy, to proue whether the men of Sodome would swallow it, that hee might catch their soules. Twas long before he was prouoked, he did smother indignation many yeares, before it kindled and came to bee deuouring flame; and when all would not preuaile, Then the Lord rained vpon Sodome and Gomorrah brimstone and fire, from the Lord out of Heauen.

Here, my Beloued, I will giue you another ob­seruation: As God is infinite in suffering, vrged, thoroughly vrged, before he will breake out into fury, so hee is violent and fierce in the execution of his iudgement, when hee is resolued vpon it: The longer the archer drawes before hee looses, the sorer shot hee maketh; the longer God is be­fore he poureth forth his vengeance, the more twill scorch. I need not search other Chronicles for examples to verifie this collection, Sodome and Gomorrah ratifie the truth of it. Strabo saith, nature wrought this act,Strabo. Geog. lib. 16. and that the fire issued out of the earth which consumed these cities; but Strabo vnderstood not the Scriptures, nor the power of God; he is but a prophane author, and we are not to credit his report: Wee haue Moses and the Prophets, and we must heare them; and [Page 24] they say The Lord rained vpon Sodome and Gomor­rah brimstone and fire, from the Lord out of Heauen. Fearfull raine.Tert. de Pal­lio. Tertullian saith, that the City cal­led Vid. Plin. lib. 2. cap. 52. Vulsinium in Italy, was destroyed with fire from heauen. Histories say, that in the yeare of our Lord 717. when the Arabians and Saracens lay at the siege of Constantinople,Basil. Menol. Bedae. fiery haile fell from heauen and burnt their Nauie. In Exodus 9. 24. It rained haile, Exod. 9. 24. and fire mingled with the haile, very grieuous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt, since it became a Nation. Here it rained brimstone, and fire mingled with the brimstone, very grieuous, such as there was none in all the world, since it was a world. From whence came it? from the Lord out of heauen. In­deed the Philosophers say there is an element of fire aboue;Arist. lib. 4. de coel. c. 5. and though the elementary fire bee of its owne nature vncapable to moue downward, vnlesse it be forced, as also vncapable of voracity, vnlesse a consuming faculty be supernaturally ad­ded to it, yet wee know God can, and it may be at this time did indue that simple fire with those qualities, to make the miracle the greater. Iobs cattell and his seruants were burnt with fire from Heauen, Iob 1. 16. the fire of God. So likewise fire came downe from heauen at Eliah's call, and burnt the two Captaines and their fifties. 2. Reg. 1. But there are no veines of brimstone aloft; what though? it may be, God borrowed brimstone of the earth; it may be he did command the Sunne to exhale vp some to intermingle with his potion, which he admi­nistred to diseased Sodome; it may be he turned [Page 25] ayre into brimstone,Iohn 2. as hee did water into wine. Whatsoeuer fire it was, simple or compound, and wheresoeuer he had the brimstone, it matters not much to dispute, sure I am it was the Lords do­ing, raine it he did, and though it be maruellous in our eyes, because supernaturall, the Heauens not vsing to poure downe brimstone drops, yet to him it was no more difficult to say to the brim­stone, Burne thou Sodome,Iob 37. 6. than to say to the snow, Be thou vpon the earth.

Alas, what became of the inhabitants? What became of them? naught became of them; they were all euery mothers childe fried in brimstone flames: a terrible iudgement; take it into your consideration, and wonder at it. The same mor­ning the sunne did arise in his wonted manner, deckt all the plaine of Iordan with his glorious raies, and before it was climb'd vp to the meri­dian, tota rogus, regio est; Sodome is all in a flame,Tert. Sodom [...]. her citizens bee all in a fire, her soile is poyson'd with sulphur, her vines and oliue trees bee blasted with filthy fume, the earth yawn'd and denoun­ced the ruines of the buildings, that were not of combustible matter, together with the ashes of the inhabitants: those that whilere did boile in lust, doe now boile with fire, God meeteth their strange lust with strange fire, quencheth the heate of their concupiscence with the heate of brim­stone, fils their swallowes, that were accustomed to bee fill'd with sauorie meates, with stifling smoke, consumeth all, their bodies, their goods, their cattell, yea their whole territory with a [Page 26] shoure of fire from heauen. Infamem vitam famo­sa poena consumit, Aug. lib. 1. de mirab. Script. A famous punishment finisheth an infamous life. Some were smitten with blind­nesse, and rather run into, than from the scorch­ing flames: Others no sooner cry Fire, fire, but their tongues burne with fire to stop their cla­mour: A third scuds out of the City, and a sheete of fire, like to a swift Herauld, maketh after him, arrests him, and executeth the will of God vpon him: Some leape into the water, hoping thereby to be rescued from the fire, because of the naturall contrariety that is betwixt those two elements; and, as in the Egyptian plagues, I shall now tell you a wonder, fire and water were made friends together for that day: the fire had power in the water, Wisd. 19. 20. forgetting his owne vertue, and the water for­got her owne quenching nature. In one streete the hote tiles spring from off the flaming roofes, braining those that passed vnder; in another lane the scalding lead drops downe out of the gutters, and lights vpon the hairy scalph of such as had gone on in their wickednesse: Here is a hideous noise heard with the downefals of houses, there is a piteous cry to be heard, made by people sore­ly tormented in that flame. The heauens thunder fearfully, the lightning flasheth dismally, the brimstone burnes inquenchably, the people shreek vniuersally, the cattell bellow miserably, God is angry terribly, because they had sinn'd abominably. The flakes of fire,Iudges 15. like Sampsons foxes with fire-brands at their tailes in the fields of Philistia, scoure thorough the fields of Sodom [Page 27] and Gomorrah, and the adiacent Cities, and burne vp the standing corne, with the vineyards and oliues. For all this Gods anger is not turned a­way, Esay 5. 25. but his hand is stretched out still.

As Christ cursed the fig-tree, and said,Matth. 21. 19. Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for euer, so God cursed the land of Sodome, and said, Let ne­uer inhabitant dwell in thee more henceforward for euer; the children were burnt with their pa­rents, that not a remnant of the bloud of Sodo­mites might remaine. Iosephus writes, that all that huge Army which Pharaoh led forth against the Israelites, consisting of 50000. horsemen, and 200000. footmen, was so vtterly defeated, that there was not one left aliue to carry home newes of the ouerthrow: and the Psalmist iustifi­eth it, The waters couered their enemies, there was not one of them left. A fearfull destruction,Psal. 106. 11. that not one should be able to come off, of such a mul­titude, yet twas not like this of Sodomes; though they lost many of their people, yet there were more Egyptians left behinde, Proletarij, to in­crease and multiply; here was an vtter extirpati­on, an euerlasting extinction of the whole race of Sodomites: The nurse burnt with the childe at her breast, the mother melted with her babe in her belly, the father fryed with his posterity in his loynes, young men were dissolued to ashes, young maidens were consumed to cinders; and not one only of a sort, but all of euery sort, all that gaue sucke, all that were great with childe, all that had beene, that were, or might be fit for pro­creation, [Page 28] of both sexes, male and female, of all ages, young and old,Amb. lib. 2 de vocat. gen [...]. c. 4. dyed in that dreadfull fire; Quos vna impietas prophanauit, vna sententia dele­uit. So saith St. Ambrose of those that perished by the floud, and so say I of those that perished by this fire: For all this Gods anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

God hath cursed the very climate, made it in­habitable, hath so altered the condition of the ground, that forreiners if they would aduenture to plant colonies there, cannot by any industry manure it so that it shall beare fruit. It hath Ba­bylons curse; It shall be no more inhabited for euer, Ier. 50. 39. 40. neyther shall it bee dwelt in from generation to gene­ration; no man shall abide there, neyther shall any son of man dwell therein: Once it was the choisest seat vnder the sunne, the very Paradise of the world, holding resemblance with the garden of the Lord; corne,Gen. 13. 10. and wine, and oile, did increase there so abundantly; it was so fertile a soile, that people beleeued it to be Gods peculiar habitation. Mar­tin Luther saith, that cruell raine hath made it so barren, that the ground hath lost her foyson, it cannot be till'd, the plowers cannot teare it vp in­to furrowes, to harrow-in any kinde of graine. God cursed the earth because Adam transgres­sed,Gen. 3. 18. yet not so, but that it should bring forth thornes and thistles: I cannot reade that eyther thorne or thistle will grow on Sodomes soile; tis onely a breeding place of nettles and salt-pits. God said,Zeph. 2▪ 9. he would lay Babylon in that desolate taking; that none but dolefull creatures should possesse it; as [Page 29] Owles, Dragons, Satyrs: I cannot heare that ey­ther Owle, or Dragon, or Satyr will dwell where Sodome was; though the wildernesse of Arabia border vpon it, and could spare plenty of such creatures to people it, if they did not disdaine to make their nests in it. Ierusalem for crucifying the Lord of glory, was razed in that fashion by Titus the Emperour, that those which came afterward to see, could hardly be perswaded to beleeue that there euer had been such a City as Ierusalem, Yet Sion is become a plowed field. Troy,Ier. 26. 18. for the periury of Laomedon, and for the adultery of Paris, was burnt to dust and ashes; one Fimbria the day after, to be sure Troy should not want desolation, went ouer all the ruines, prying and searching where any thing was standing, to raze that downe also, yet iam▪ seges est vbi Troiae fuit, Ouid. epist. now grasse doth grow▪ where the City of Troy was. The Land of Sodome is like salt that hath lost his sauour, good for nothing; neither will a fowle flye in her ayre, nor a fruit ripen in her vallies, nor a fish spawne in her riuer: A poole of water there is, rightly call'd mare mortuum, the dead sea; because ‘Nequit proferre aliquam de gurgite gentem squamigeram.Tert. Sodoma. ‘It cannot bring forth out of the deepe gulfe any of the scaly people.’ Diuers Authors giue this sea diuers names; some call it mare maledictum, the cursed sea: some mare solitudinis, the desert sea: some mare Diaboli, the Diuels sea. Philo the Iew saith it smokes still; and therefore some say tis caminus gehennae, the very [Page 30] chimney of hell. Yet here is not all: For all this Gods anger is not turnd away form them, but his hand is stretched out still. All this is but the beginning of their sorrowes, there is a worser doome behinde for these sensuall men: Whats that? fire and brimstone againe. What brimstone? that streame of brimstone the Prophet speaketh of,Esay 30. 33. that euerla­sting fire, Matth. 25. 41. such as is prepared for the diuell and his an­gels. What, fire and brimstone here, and fire and brimstone hereafter, fire and brimstone in infini­tum, doth it stand with diuine Iustice? I confesse, calamities poured downe vpon good people, are the earnest of an euerlasting inheritance; good people,Psal. 126. 5. if they sow in teares, shall reape in ioy; but the iudgements which the wrath of God raines downe in this life vpon the wicked, such as the Sodomites were, are but the preambles to future woes; but entrances into, not exemptions from ensuing miseries: Great plagues remaine for the vngodly. Tis said,Psal. 32. 10. that the heauie night which was spread ouer the Egyptians, was but an image of that darknesse which should afterward receiue them: And I may say,Wisd. 17. 21. the fire and brimstone which fell vpon the Sodomites in this life, was but a figure of that fire and brimstone which shall feed vpon them in the life to come. God, by the holy Prophet Na­hum,Nahum 1. 9. threatens his enemies to bring vpon them so much tribulation, that affliction should not rise vp the second time: There should be no need of a new plague, he would pay them home at once. From whence Pelagius concludes, God will not punish sinners twice. Ah Pelagius, if they be such sin­ners [Page 31] as the Apostle St. Paul speaketh of, that doe not like to retaine God in their knowledge, Rom. 1. 28. as the So­domites were, tis not the vtter ruinating of their dwelling places, and the rooting out of them and their posterity from the earth, will acquit them and satisfie Gods iustice; a worser doome is be­hinde, infinite extremity, deuouring fire, euerla­sting burnings; the Sodomites suffer the vengeance of eternall fire: and the reason is,Epist. Iud. ver. 7 wicked men, if it were in their power, would liue without end, that they might sinne without end; and therefore tis agreeable to Gods iustice, that their soules should neuer want woe in the next world, that by their good will would neuer want wickednesse in this. Let no man flatter himselfe in his owne heart, because tis said,Psal. 103. 9. God will not alwaies chide, neyther will he keepe his anger for euer. Let no man reason, Man sin'd but a time, and God will punish him but for a time; rather let him know, hee that sins against an infinite Maiesty, must expect to en­dure infinite misery, if it be not preuented by in­finite mercy: Hee that neglects ineffable good­nesse, must looke to bee exposed to ineffable fad­nesse. Man by sinne destroyed that good, which if he had kept, would haue made him eternally blessed; and loued that euill, which not repented of, will make him eternally cursed, if it be impu­ted to him, and not satisfied for by the bloud of Christ. God doth not measure sinne temporis lon­gitudine, by the quantity of time in which it is committed, nor proportion the punishment after that rate; then a beastly Sodomite should haue [Page 32] but a few minuts torment: he doth iudge of sinne as Augustine saith,Aug. lib. 21. c. 11 de ciuit. Dei. iniquitatis magnitudine, by the greatnesse of the iniquity, and correspondent to that allots the plague.

Then are the Sodomites vtterly vnhappy; first, to be turned to destruction; and then to bee turned into hell: Who can help it? the Holy One of Israel is not to be sleighted, is not to be negle­cted. My heart danceth for ioy to muse vpon the depth of his mercie, yet had wee best to be adui­sed that wee abuse it not by presumption; hee is not a God of wood, nor of stone, insensible of dishonour, or carelesse of par [...]ipension; if hee be long prouoked, hee will at last awake like a gyant out of sleepe, and teare those in his wrath, that feare not the Lord and his strength: A wretched people they were, the Sodomites were, to liue so as to deserue to haue their country and their kin­red ruined so irreparably; yet more wretched, to liue so as to deserue to haue their bodies and soules damned eternally. Tis lamentable to thinke of their iudgement past, tis more lamenta­ble to thinke of their iudgement to come: though their bodies are consumed vnto dust, as small as that which the whirlewinde scatters, yet God will collect together all parts of euery one of them (for tis as easie to him to raise a dead man out of his graue, as tis for one of vs to raise a li­uing man out of his bedde) and when hee hath so done, he will touch their flesh with such a touch of immortality, that they shall fry in flames, bee sensible of the paine, and yet not bee consumed [Page 33] with the fire, as they were when they were Citi­zens of Sodome, before that their mortall had put on immortality; and as the moth is to the garment, and the worme is to the wood, so sor­row shall eate their hearts: poena sensus, & poena d [...]mni, the consideration of that which they shall suffer, intermixt with the consideration of what they are bereft of, will crucifie their soules with vnspeakable woe.

But, saith one to mee, omit the eternall iudge­ment, and presse the temporall: for carnall men will quake more to heare of the losse of their bo­dies and estates, than of their soules. I can make no farther illustration of it than this: There were sundry goodly Cities, of which Sodome was the Metropolis, fairely situated in a champian in the plaine of Iordan, plentifully peopled with men, women, and children, delicately prouided for, of corne, and wine, and oyle, and all other necessa­ries that might any way conduce to earthly con­tent, as it might be this morning, and on the same day before noone, the soile was cursed with bar­rennesse, the beasts suffered for their masters transgressions, the people perished euery one, that there might bee an end of the race of Sodomites; The Lord from the Lord, God the Son from God the Father being the agent of this astonishing act, fire and brimstone being his instruments, cry­ing sinnes the incitements, and the reason Saint Peter giueth, God turned the Cities of Sodome and Gomorrah into ashes, 2. Pet. 2. 6. condemned them with an ouer­throw, making them an ensample vnto those which [Page 34] after should liue vngodly: and that Scripture brings mee to my Application.

I neede not search into the manners of other Nations, nor lay my seene abroad to make appli­cation of my discourse, it holds at home in many things, and in some things better than I would it did; we can vie blessings with Sodome, heauenly and earthly blessings with Gomorrah, the bles­sing of peace, the blessing of plenty, the blessing of Gods Word that inestimable blessing, and wee may tell sinnes with them too, and I feare ouer­tell them: If I had a Catalogue of the number of Sodomes sinnes, and a relation of their will and greedinesse to commit them, and were tasked to compare ours with theirs, I beleeue for quantity and manner, wee are neare euen with them: In­deed, Peccatum nefandum, that sin not fit to be na­med, the high hand of God hath kept out of our Countrey, and euer may it remaine a stranger, o­therwise I cannot set my thoughts to worke, to muse of any sinne that I doe not finde acted in a­bominable manner: Adultery is in the height, hardly more ordinary in any land; doe not men lay wait at their neighbours doores? Iob 31. 9. and do not wo­men sit blowzing in their windowes, looking for their paramours,Iudg 5. 28. as the mother of Sisera did for her sonne? Pride neuer rode in that state in the streets of Sodome when it went abroad, nor was bedeckt in that gorgeous fashion when it staid at home. Idlenesse like to a pernicious tetter hath ouerrun the land; there are among vs and abun­dance [Page 35] of such people as those Thessalonians were which the Apostle increpates, that walke in­ordinately, working not at all: Of men many,2. Thes. 3. 11. of women not a few, besides those sun-burnt vaga­bonds that lye basking vnder hedges, and yaw­ling in high wayes, trusting charity with their liues, rather than labour; which oftentimes fai­ling them, of beggers they become felons, and so end their dayes oftentimes cursedly vpon a tree; the iust iudgement of God vpon them for their inordinate walking. How many men borne of gentle bloud, and bred vp at the feet of Gama­liel in the schooles of the Prophets and Semina­ries of learning, of pregnant capacities, and able bodies, liue out of all honest vocations, sacrifice all their time eyther to Morpheus the minister of sleep, or to Bacchus the god of wine, or to Venus the goddesse of beauty, as if neither the true God, nor the Common-wealth deserued any time to be spent in their seruice, all were due to the bed, the tauerne, and the brothel-house?

Edebant & bibebant, Luke 17. 28. The men of Sodome did eate and drinke, saith our Sauiour; Ecce peccatum voluptatis, Behold the sinne of voluptuousnesse: Take notice of the garbs of men of present times, and trust mee not if you doe not see Sodome e­qualled, if not outstript in gluttony: Could the Manes of any man appeare, that euer dwelt with­in the consines of that Country, at one of our feasts, the ghost would say our feasts doe farre ex­ceed. If euer Nation was to bee condemn'd for superfluity in fare, I doe bewaile this Land, in [Page 36] which I was borne, and this City in which now I breathe; good Lord, that thou shouldest giue vs plenty, and we should spend it so profusely.

Emebant & vendebant, Luke 17. 28. The men of Sodome did buy and sell, Ecce peccatum cupiditatis, Behold the sin of couetousnesse: And had couetousnesse a habitation in Sodome? and was filthy auarice a cause of her desolation? then Lord bee mercifull vnto our Land, that hath many a member in it, who out of a couetous desire, haue made a marri­age with siluer, and giuen a bill of diuorce to Iesus Christ! The Clergie in the Church, as in Pro­spers generation,Prosp. lib. 1. c. 21 de vita con. Non vt meliores, sed vt ditiores, neo vt sanctiores, sed vt honor atiores sint caeteris fe­stinant, Make haste not to be better, but to bee ri­cher, not to be more holy, but to be more honou­rable than other men; forgetting that of St. Paul to Timothy,2. Tim. 2. 4. No man that warreth ent angleth him­selfe with the affaires of this life, that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a souldier. The Gen­try in the countrey, as in Augustines dayes,Aug. de ciu. Dei lib. 3. cap. 1. magis stama [...]hantur si villam malam habeant, quàm si vi­tam, are farre more offended at the badnesse of their Lordships, than at the badnesse of their liues; neuer remembring that of Salomon, Riches profit not in the day of wrath, Prou. 11. 4. but righteousnesse deli­uereth from death. The Gallants in the Court, as in Iugurtha King of Numidia's daies, are so pro­digall, that they will not keep goods themselues, and so couetous, that they will not suffer others to keepe theirs; making no vse of the Apostles pre­cept,Rom. 13. 8. Owe no man any thing, but to loue one another. [Page 37] The Aduocates and Pleaders at the barre, as in Pope Eugenius his dayes, greedy of filthy lucre,Bern. lib. 1. de consid. looke their Honorarium should be of such a value, that a man had better take our Sauiour Christs counsell litterally vnderstood,Matth. 5. 40. If any sue him at the law and take away his coate, let him haue his cloake also, than contend for his coate againe; neuer re­membring that speech of our Sauiour to the Pub­licans,Luke 3. 13. Exact no more than that which is appointed you.

Aedificabant, & plantabant, They planted, Luke 17. 28. they builded; Ecce peccatum securitatis, Behold the sin of security: And did security make her nest with­in that for euer cursed countrey? Examine all that euer breath'd out of English ayre, and let them speake the truth from their hearts, and verily they must certifie, none that euer were sprinkled with the water of Baptisme, nuzzle themselues more in security than wee. Stratonicus told the Rodes, they builded as if they would liue euer, and eate as if they would dye presently: For Gluttons; those Epicures that desired of the gods neckes so long as Cranes, that the delicious rellish of meats and drinkes might remaine long, were not more to be blamed than some among vs: And for buil­ders,Gen. 10. 10. Nimrod that was a prime agent in Babels building, was not more ambitious of eternizing his name than we; non Absolon,2. Sam. 18. 18. that built a tower in the valley of Sauch to keepe his name in remem­brance, calling it Absolons plane.

Nay, we are not cleare of that sinne of Sodom, which cryed to Heauen for brimstone, with that [Page 38] which cried lowdest, of reioycing in doing euill. A sin not greater than can bee forgiuen; for what sinne can bee so deadly, that the death of Christ will not salue? but I dare say tis a sinne that must haue an infinite measure of mercy, and an abun­dant measure of teares to wash it away; and yet tis among vs an vsuall sinne, and very vsuall sinne: Marke it when you please, when two humours meet that loue sinne alike, you shall heare the one vaunting to the other of his wickednesse, and then laugh himselfe at his owne beastlinesse, cheere vp his heart at the repetition of his owne vngodli­nesse. O Lord, looke downe from heauen, behold and visite the world, and restraine the sons of men from this most grieuous iniquity.

Ephraim and Manasses are in our land, ful­nesse of bread and forgetfulnesse of God. Gog and Magog are in our mother City, pride and plenty. Bloud maketh a clamour at the gates of heauen for vengeance, oppression presseth him to poure downe the vials of his wrath, blasphemy and swearing challenge him for his long suffe­ring; Vsury, a sinne that maketh a man worse than a theefe, worse than death, worse than hell, worse than Iudas: worse than a theefe, because the theefe robbeth onely in the night, the Vsurer robs both day and night: worse than death, because death kils onely the body, the Vsurer kils both body and soule: worse than hell, because in hell onely the bad shall bee punished, the Vsurer punisheth both good and bad: lastly, worse than Iudas; for Iudas restored the money againe which hee had [Page 39] vniustly taken, but the Vsurer seldome makes re­stitution, is had in more execration among Turkes than Christians: for Viri boni Deum timete, & foenerari praetermittite; qui enim Vsurarij vivunt, Daemoniaci resurgunt: Yee that be good men, feare God, and put no money to vsury; for they that liue Vsurers, doe rise Deuils, are the words in their Alcoran. The times are growne monstrous; there is discord in societies, fraud in merchants, corruption in officers, conniuency in magistrates, symonie in ministers; euery night brings forth a theefe, euery day a deceiuer, euery minute a drun­kard, and euery weeke a murtherer: we are fallen into such times the Prophet speakes of, Our hands are defiled with bloud, Esay 59. 3. and our fingers with iniquity, our lips doe speake lies, and our tongues matter per­uersnesse. There was neuer that vice reign'd, but now tis rife, yea I thinke I may say it, and not be­lye the world; there bee many new vices reigne now, which Sodome and Gomorrah neuer heard of: there be new deuices to cousin with, new fa­shions to be proud with, new oaths to blaspheme with, new merits to iustifie by, new Articles of Faith to beleeue, new Sacraments to receiue, new gods found out to worship, and new Media­tours to intercede: Fall to your prayers, and beg feruently of God to send that new heauen and new earth, of which St. Peter speaketh, wherein dwel­leth righteousnesse: 2. Pet. 3. 13. for this whole world lyeth in wic­kednesse, 1. Iohn. 5. 19. as St. Iohn saith: And for my part, I de­spaire of it, doubt twill neuer be better before it be purged with fire.

[Page 40] Nulla aetas erat culpae immunis, Ambr. de Abra. patr. cap. 6. No age was free from wickednesse in Sodome: the infants, whom nature yet denied strength to perpetrate actuall iniquity, had desire; and the old men that were decayed in strength, had eyes full of adultery, Omnes omni malo replerentur, They were all fil'd with euery euill.Gen. 19. [...]. The men of Sodome compassed Lots house round, both old and young, all the peo­ple from euery quarter, not ten righteous persons could be found among many thousand soules. I cannot say so of this Nation: for I doe resolue my selfe, I may confidently speake as the Lord did to Saint Paul in a vision by night concerning Corinth:Acts 18. 10. God hath much people in this City, more in this Land, and daily may he adde to the num­ber of them: And as he did to Ezechiel the Pro­phet in a vision concerning Ierusalem, There are some that sigh and cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst of vs, and daily may he adde to the number of those likewise: But withall, when I make an estimate of the multitude of people that are contained within our borders, and ob­serue so many marching furiously after their own lusts, for so few following of Iesus Christ, I am affraid of some vengeance approching, because I doe not know what the will of the Lord is, whe­ther he will spare the place for their sakes. I doe lay as much vpon Gods mercy as I may without wronging his iustice, hee will not be moued to poure forth his vengeance, vnlesse sinners super­abound in vices, neuerthelesse when and where you find all iniquity planted, all rebellion against [Page 41] God reigning, all the crying sinnes rousting, you may take liberty to proclaime what you feare, sal­uation stept aside, and destruction wing'd ready to seize vpon that people for a prey.

Eduardus the Confessor, one of the last of the Saxon Kings, said vpon his death bed, that the wickednesse of the English was complete and growne to the height,Hollinsh. Chro. and the reuenge and pu­nishment thereof would shortly follow. Loth I am to presage vnluckily of any grieuous calami­tie likely to betide my natiue Countrey, I had ra­ther promise the lengthning of tranquillity, were it not that your selues and your sinnes would cry out vpon me for flattery, if I should. I wish with all my soule, that peace Psal. 122. 7. may bee within your wals, and plenteousnesse within your palaces. Long may youIob 29. 6. wash your steps with butter, and may the rockes poure you outriuers of oyle. Long may your Psal. 126. 2. mouths be filled with laughter, and your tongues with ioy. God blesse yourPsal. 132. 15. victuals with increase, and satis­fie your poore with bread. Send that Psal. 144. 12, 13, 14. your sons may grow vp as the young plants, and that your daughters may be as the polished corners of the temple: That your garners may be full, and abounding in all manner of store, and that your sheepe may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in your streets; that your oxen may be strong to labour, that there may bee no inuasion, no leading into captiuity, no complaining in your streetes: That you may dwell without feare, Reg. 4. 25. euery man vnder his vine, and euery man vnder his fig-tree, hauing peace round about you, as Iudah and Israel had. GodPsal. 132. 17, 18. make the horne of our Dauid to bud, [Page 42] clothe his enemies with shame, but on him let his Crowne flourish; make his seed to endure for euer, and his throne as the dayes of Heauen: All the good that euer was conferd of all Nations, I wish heaped vpon you. They were wont to say of Pericles, that [...] Suadela, the goddesse of eloquence sate vpon his lips, he did by his Rhetorique so winne the hearts of the Athenians to him. From the bottome of my heart I wish our words were made so powerfull, as to wooe all that heare vs to con­uert from their sinnes, and to turne vnto the Lord, that so we might neuer need to fore-tell of anger and wrath ready to descend from heauen: but the intolerable head sinne hath got, kindleth in mee a strong iealousie, that eyther the end of all things is at hand, to make a cleane riddance of the wic­ked and their wickednesse, or else that some bit­ter iudgement is neare; it is neare, and hasteth greatly to scourge vs for our iniquities.

I haue no skill in diuination, yet let not my words seeme to you, as the report the women made of Christs resurrection seemed to the Apo­stles, [...], as an idle tale, Luke 24. 11. doe not sleight them altogether, as Lots sons in-law did Lots counsell: when hee told them God would destroy that Ci­tie, hee seemed to his sonnes in-law as though hee had mockt. Gen. 19. 14. I doe not speake them out of any suddaine flash of vndigested zeale, I haue made collection vpon collection, and obseruation vpon obserua­tion, and been at warre within my selfe in my me­ditations, how to deliuer my minde discreetly and christianly, to auoide the imputation of an [Page 43] Enthusiasticke, and I find the times so out of mea­sure sinfull, vices of all sorts, bloudy, beastly vi­ces, so fowly committed, and so little punished, vertue so sincerely preached and so little practi­sed, that I doe looke eyther for a sudden amend­ment of all hands, (which I will bee plaine with you I misdoubt: For can the Morian change his skinne, Ier. 13. 23. or the Leopard his spots? no more can they doe well, that are accustomed to doe euill.) or else for some punishment suddenly; and if it come not, tis Gods extraordinary mercy, because his compas­sions faile not.

We may say in our prosperity we shall neuer be remoued, God of his goodnesse hath made our hill so strong; our poore shall bee satisfied with bread, and our children within vs, our mowers shall continue filling of their hands, and they that gather vp the sheaues their bosomes: Yet heare me, Ecclus. 33. 18. heare me, ye great men of the people, and hearken with your eare, yee that be rulers of the congregation: Husband your prouisions neuer so frugally, re­plenish your store-houses neuer so aboundanly, barter with forreine Nations for wine to store your cellars, send into your owne vallies for wheate to fill your granaries, and be not carefull of the Vineyard of the Lord of Hosts, to prune off her rotten branches, if you doe not labour that the Lord of heauen and earth may haue a plenti­full haruest, if you doe not set iustice as a weeding hooke to the rootes of vices, to crop them ma­turely, so sure as Ier▪ 46. 18. Tabor is among the mountaines, and as Carmel is by the sea, Thistles shall Iob 31. 40. grow in [Page 44] stead of wheate, and cockles in stead of barley: Your Psal. 107. 34. fruitfull land shall be made barren, because of the wickednesse of those that dwell therein.

Againe, Heare me, heare me, yee great men of the people, and hearken with your eares yee that be rulers of the congregation: Giue order to cleanse your o­pen streetes from all annoyances that may breed an infection, and to purge your priuate houses from all scum and filth that may proue contagi­ous; yet if you doe not exercise your authority, to sweepe away sinne out of your countries, and cities, and villages, and priuate families, take heed a pestilence, morbus incognitus medicis, a dis­ease the physitians know not what to make of, such a one as kild in Israel 70000. people in three dayes, 2. Sam. 24. 15. doe not creep into your particular houses, to kill your wiues out of your bosomes, and your children in your cradles, and make your mer­chant men to drop downe dead in your streetes, as they are trotting to the Exchanges: dung in your streetes will not breed a plague so soone, as drunkennesse in your houses, nor wil the il-fauou­red serpent poyson a place so soon, as the wel-fa­uoured harlot.

Finally, Heare me, heare me, yee great men of the people, and hearken with your eares yee that be rulers of the congregation: Giue in charge to your Cap­taines of hundreds, and Captaines of fifties, to muster your fighting men yeare after yeare, and to exercise them in the feates of armes; prouide such horses as Iob speakes of, that will mocke at feare, Iob 39. 23. not turne backe at the ratling of speares, or [Page 45] glittering of swords: Rigge vp your shipping, and set out a Nauie to sea, aduise one with another to make fortifications and impregnable bulwarkes impossible to be scaled, for the safeguard of your Country, vse all the art, and cost, and counsell your Nation can yeeld to entrench your selues from forreine foes, and doe not take a course to quell the power of sinne, and take heed God doe not bring vpon you an Armie of men bitter and hasty, as those Caldeans the Prophet Habacuc talkes of,Habac. 1. 6. fell, as those Arabians whom Esdras cals the Nation of Dragons, fierce, as those Carna­nians the same man saith rage in wrath like the wilde Boare of the wood,2. Esdr. 15. 2 [...]. 30. hauing garments rolld in bloud, that shall waste your Cities with mise­rie, Ouerturne, ouerturne, ouerturne them, rauish your wiues,Ezech. 21. 27. defloure your daughters, take no pity of the fruit of your loines, but euen bloud their swords in the bellies of women great with child, that shall burne downe your Churches, and when the Ministers of the Gospel begge for their liues, shall answer them as Titus the Emperour did the Priests of the Iewes, when they petition'd him for their liues, Decet Sacerdotes cum templis int [...] ­rire, It is meet the Priests perish together with the Temples; that shall driue you of the Laity in whole droues away captiue, forbidding you vp­on paine of death to looke backe vpon the places where you dwelt, as the Romanes forbade the conquered Iewes to looke backe vpon Ierusalem;Euseb. Eccl. hist. lib. 4. cap. 6. and if they spare any at home, make them to pay an annuall tribute for their heads, as the Italians [Page 46] doe the Iewes at this day; and imploy their chil­dren to murther them that begat them, and to the rooting out of that faith wherein they were borne and baptized, as the Turke doth his Ianizaries, the children of the Grecians. An vnrighteous man will not consider this, neyther will a foole vnderstand it;Psal. 92. 6. like as the Lord vpon whose hand the King of Israel leaned, answered the man of God when he fore-told him of plenty: Behold, if the Lord would make windowes in heauen, 2. Reg. 7. 2. might this thing be? so some one incredulous spirit or other may obiect, If the Lord should cast vs altogether out of his protection, might this thing be? Are we not walled about with seas? Haue we not am­munition and weapons of warre? Haue wee not men of magnanimous resolutions? and may wee feare forreine inuasion? My beloued,Lament. 4. 2. the Kings of the earth, and all the inhabitants of the world would not haue beleeued, that the aduersary and the enemy should haue entred into the gates of Ierusalem: and yet Ierusalem is a heap of stones. Micah 3. 12. Let mee say vnto thee, O thou Merchant City, that art a mart for Nati­ons, as the voice did to Phocas the Emperour, Though thou build the wals of thy palaces as high as heauen, yet if sin dwell in them, they may easily be entered by an enemy. And giue me leaue to say vnto thee, O thou carelesse Nation, as Na­hum the Prophet doth to Niniueh, to that great City Niniueh,Nahum 3. 8, 9, 10. Art thou better than populous No, that was situate among the riuers, that had the wa­ters round about it, whose rampart was the sea, and her wals were from the sea? Ethiopia and Egypt were [Page 47] her strength, and it was infinite: Put and Lubin were her helpers, yet was shee carried away, shee went into captiuity, her young children also were dash'd in pie­ces at the top of all the streets, and they cast lots for their honourable men, and all her great men were bound in chaines.

Tremble therefore, thou secure Nation, and a­mend thy manners, lest God to raze thee, and to lay thine honour in the dust, doe call for Lucifer the sonne of the morning, doe hisse for the Bee of Ashur, do call for a rauenous bird out of the East, doe plant the Syrians before, and the Philistins behinde; giue them that charge hee gaue those whom hee pressed to destroy Babylon, Put your selues in array against (Britany) round about, all yee that bend the bow shoote at her, Ier. 50. 14, 15. spare no arrowes; for shee hath sinned against the Lord: Take vengeance vpon her, as she hath done, doe vnto her: And vpon that set all your inhabitants in such a hurry and an vp-roare, as the Citizens of Rome were in, when Martius Coriolanus approached neare it with an Army;Liuius. make the murmuring multitude to flocke about the streets, and you that are Magistrates, to be at your wits end, to send post after post, and mes­senger after messenger, to shew the King that his coun­try is taken at one end, Ier. 51. 31. as the Babylonians did to their King, when the King of the Medes had en­tered the City: and when men shall say, O thou sword of the Lord, how long will it be ere thou be qui­et? put vp thy selfe into thy scabberd, rest and be still; as tis Ier. 47. 9. when the Priests, the Ministers of the Lord, shall weep betweene the porch and the altar, [Page 48] and say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and giue not thy heritage to reproach, that strangers should rule ouer them, as tis Ioel 2 1 7. he sit in heauen, laugh Priest and People all to scorn, couer himselfe with a cloud, that our prayer should not passe thorough, as tis La­ment. 3. 44.

To conclude all, the way to keep vs from these fearfull punishments, are fasting, prayer, godly sorrow for sins past, and the amendment of our sinfull liues in the time to come: Not a day for a man to afflict his soule, Esay 58. 5. to bow downe his head as a bul­rush, to spread sackcloth and ashes vnder him, it is not such a fast that the Lord hath chosen: August. Opus est perpe­tuâ poenitentiâ, quia perpetuò peccamus; We sin per­petually, wherefore we had need to repent perpe­tually: though wee doe draine our hearts dry of water to day, wee shall haue need againe to mor­row to water our couches with our teares. Our griefe for our sins must be equiualent, it must hold proportion with the delight we haue taken in our sins: our sins haue been wonderous great, and our mourning must be maruellous deep: we haue bin out of measure sinfull, and we must be out of mea­sure sorrowfull; we haue sinned with greedinesse, and we must repent with bitternesse; we haue bin transported with delight in the commission of our sins, and wee must be swallowed vp with hea­uinesse in our submission for our sins: Qui culpam exaggerauit, Amb. lib. 1. de poenit, exaggeret etiam poenitentiam; maiora enim crimina maioribus abluuntur fletibm; He that hath augmented his sin, must augment his repen­tance; [Page 49] greater crimes are to be washt away with greater lamentations. Some run abominable ra­ces, act such iniquities the Angels of God wonder at; and when they haue done, will say each man for his owne particular, Miserere mei Deus, Lord haue mercy on mee, and that too ex more magis quàm ex animo, rather out of custome than hearti­ly, as Saul said to Dauid, when hee was going to combate with Goliah,1. Sam. 17. 37. Goe, and the Lord bee with thee; and thinke then they haue repented com­pleatly. O Lord God, that a man should dare to sinne so damnably, and dreame to quit himselfe of the guilt of it so eastly! tis not bare Lord haue mercy vpon vs will doe it, there belongs more to repentance than so; the faculties of our soules must bee griped with griefe, and wearied with groaning, and tired with supplications: we must double our words as Daniel doth, and say, O Lord heare, Dan. 9. 19. O Lord forgiue, O Lord hearken, and deferre not for thine owne sake, O our God. We must renue our complaints with Dauid,Psal. 55. 17. euening, and morning, and at noone day, we must pray, and make a noise, and God will hear our voice. We must weep and wipe our eyes, and weep againe and wipe our eyes a­gaine, if we haue loued many sinnes, before many sins can be forgiuen vs. We must draw a conclu­sion in our owne bosomes, that no Nation hath bin more bound to God than we, no Nation hath sinned against God with a higher hand than wee; and therfore no Nation hath greater cause to fast and weepe, mourne and lament for their sins, than we. We must giue way to the thoughts of our [Page 50] hearts, to reflect vpon the distressed condition of the Church of Christ abroad, and note how that the bed doth not priuiledge the sick man, nor the cradle the suckling babe, nor the great belly the woman, nor the altar the Priest, nor the seate of iustice the Magistrate, from the fury of the mer­cilesse souldier: They fight and are kil'd, they yeeld and are murthered, they flye and are pursu­ed, they remaine and are beleaguered, they hide themselues and are hunger-starued, their corne fields are deuoured by troupes of horses, their streams of water are coloured red with the bloud of men and beasts, and in some places their earth is voide, as if it were returning into the Chaos a­gaine; as tis, Zech. 8. 10.Zech. 8. 10. there is no hyre for man nor beast, neither is there any peace to him that goeth out, nor to him that commeth in, because of affliction; for all men are set, euery man against his neighbour.

And yet wee, a sinfull Nation, a people laden with as much iniquity as any Nation in the Chri­stian world, are at rest; no trumpet is heard in our streetes, no solitude ante ostia, no desolation is be­fore our gates, our plow-shares are not beaten into swords, nor our mattockes into speares: the seate of iustice is not interrupted, the Word of God hath a free passage, we lay vs down to sleep, and take our rest, God making vs to dwell in safe­ty; and vpon the comparison of these things, wee must bethinke our selues, what vngratefull wretches we haue bin to dishonour our God with our sinnes, that hath and doth follow vs with so much louing kindnesse aboue other people that [Page 51] are more righteous than we; we must earnestly re­pent, and be heartily sorry for our misdoings past, and we must sweare vnto the Lord, and vow a vow vnto the Almighty God of Iacob, to renounce our e­uill waies, and to serue him in spirit and truth, in sincerity and with good conscience in the time to come; and then our God will not forsake vs, nor giue vs vp for a reproach, that strangers should rule ouer vs, but blesse vs all our lines long in bo­dies and soules, and entaile the blessings more firmly, than by any law you can deuise, to descend vpon our posterity successiuely, so long as the Sunne and Moone shall endure: And to that pur­pose, let vs pray vnto him, and say, O most gra­cious God, let not our manifold sins make a sepa­ration betwixt thee and vs, let them not prouoke thee to remoue thy spirituall and corporall bles­sings from vs; Giue vs, O Lord giue vs, broken hearts, contrite spirits, and bleeding soules, to offer vp in sacrifice vnto thee, that thou mayest be reconciled, and at an attonement with vs: Our sins are great, Lord, we confesse it, but thy mercy is greater, Lord, we beleeue it; mercy therefore, deare Father, haue mercy vpon our King, vpon our Queene, vpon our Nobility, vpon our Cler­gie, vpon our Magistracy, vpon our Commonal­tie, vpon our whole Land, for thy Sions sake, for thy Gospels sake, for thy beloued sonne Iesus Christs sake. Giue, O Lord, giue thy Angels charge ouer vs, let them pitch their tents about vs, that no pestilence come among vs to deuoure vs, no famine befall vs to starue vs, no sword of [Page 52] an enemy inuade vs to destroy vs, and then, O Lord our God, if thou wilt giue vs grace, we will blesse thee, we will praise thee, we will magnifie thee, wee will sing songs of thanksgiuing vnto thee, wee will ascribe all honour and glory vnto thee, and to thy Sonne, our blessed Sauiour and Mediatour Iesus Christ, and to thy holy Spirit, to which blessed and glorious Trinity of per­sons, and but one God, bee giuen all might, maiesty, dominion, and praise, now and euer. Amen.


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