BY Mr ROBERT HARRIS, Pastour of the Church of GOD at HANVVELL in Oxfordshire.

GAL. 6.10.

As we haue therefore opportunitie, let vs doe good to all men, especially to them that are of the houshold of Faith.

LONDON Printed by IOHN DAVVSON for IOHN BARTLET, and are to be sold at the Guilt Cup in the Gold-smiths Row in Cheap-side.


TO THE RIGHT WORSHIPFVLL, Sir BAPTIST HICKS, Iustice of Peace in Middlesex, Grace and Peace.


I Should much forget my selfe, if (whilst I presse others to Good­nesse & Mercy) I should forget yours to my natiue Country; Campden in Glouc. shyre. there you haue done good, (to the house of God) not onely in out­ward buildings and ornaments, M. Lilly. but in set­ling a Preacher, where before was none, and such a one as cannot easily be equalled in eminency of gifts: There also, you haue [Page]exercised (Mercy) in building such an Almes-house, as that, I know not what may be added thereto, vnlesse hereafter, you shall see cause to set over the blind and lame, and deafe (who are lesse able to repaire to, and profit by the publique Ministery) a more private Teacher and Catechist. Sir, I thanke God, I could never yet the Art of flattery, neither will your Wisedome (if I know you) brooke the trade. It sufficeth, that I haue in a line or two recommended to o­thers practise your example; and conveyed to Posteritie, my thankfulnesse, with your bountie. If God make me able, I shall (haply) doe it hereafter in a better manner, In the meane, I beseech you to accept my present thankes wrapt vp in a dead Let­ter, and sicke Epistle, and still continue to loue his Country, who still rests

Your WORSHIPS in all thankefulnes and dutie ROBERT HARRIS.

In this Psalme, we haue

  • 1. A dutie, Thankfulnes, described from its common nature, Confession.
  • 2. Arguments, from the ob­ject of our prayses, God, considered
    • 1. In himselfe.
      • 1. In his simple being, Iehovah, vers. 1.
      • 2. In his second being, viz. his properties, reduced to
        • 1. Graci­ousnes
          • 1. Simply good.
          • 2. Respectiue­ly mercifull.
        • 2. Great­nesse.
          • 1. Power is his. vers. 2.
          • 2. Dominion is his. v. 3.
    • 2. In his works delivered
      • 1. In generall, they are all wonderfull. vers. 4.
      • 2. In spe­ciall.
        • 1. Such as con­cerne the whole world.
          • Creation in the parts thereof. vers. 5 6. 7.
          • Preservation & government. vers. 8.9.
        • 2. Such as con­cerne the Church.
          • 1. In her first Planta­tion vers. 10-23.
          • 2. In her setled e­state, her blessings
            • Privatiue. v. 23.24.
            • Positiue.
            • Earthly. vers. 25.
            • Spirituall. vers. 26.

❧ To the Christian Reader.


Vnderstand, that I was then Summoned to the Crosse, when I was not in case, either to Studie or to speake; the former straight, (when I could not be ex­cused) forced me to a familiar and easie Text, the later to a briefe and short kind of speech, which car­ried with it an appearance of that, which I ever shund, Affectation and Obscuritie. It may bee, thine Eye will conceiue mee better then thine Eare, and therefore I yeelde to importunity, and present my selfe to thy view, entreating 2. things of thee, 1. Charity, 2. Conscience, Charity towards the Printer, in case some faults (in my absence) escape him: towards me, in case so frequent quotations offend thee: my now pra­ctise agrees with my ancient Iudgement; at home, my people neither vnderstand nor desire tongues, and hu­mane Authorities, and therefore I am sparing, on the other side, when I fall vpon an Auditorie that conceiues and receiues both, I vse both, as I see my advantage. All is thine if thou canst be content, and wilt add con­science [Page](the second thing) to charity. It grieues my soule to see the guise of many hearers; they desire novel­ties: when they haue heard, théy iudge the man and his method▪ and then sit downe, seldome practising what is preached. Reader be not such an hearer, lest thou cosen thy selfe Iames 1.22. thou here seest, that if thou be of God, and Gods goodnesse, and special mercy shall be thine, thou must be good, and do good, be mercifull and shew mercie, the times require this, the Lord expects this, our vnthankfulnes and vnfruitfulnes hath welmost vndone vs, if wee, who haue more peace in the State, more preaching in the Church, then any other knowne Nation vnder Heauen, be not more fruitful and aboundant in goodnes, then other people, our light wilbe turnd into darknes, our Sunne into blood: what shall I say? or to whom shall I turne my selfe? we cal til we are hoarse, we speake till we spit forth our lungs, yet will not the Sonnes of Men heare vs, they wil not heare, I say (with teares) they will not heare, we can doe no good: O Lord perswade Iaphet for we can not, and be mercifull to this barren Countrey: Reader I leaue thee, adding to the Martyrs, Fox his Martyrol. &c. pray, pray, pray, worke, worke, worke.

Thine in the Lord, RO. HARRIS.

GODS GOODNES AND MER­CIE, LAID OPEN IN A Sermon at Pauls Crosse, on the last of Iune. 1622.

Psalme 136. verse 1.

Prayse ye the Lord, because he is good: for his mer­cie endureth for ever &c.

THis Psalme cleeres it selfe, and therefore a Title nee­ded not, it answers all oc­casions: and therefore the Arguments are generall, it was sung by course, and therefore the burthen is stil the same: In it we haue a Dutie pressed, and Ar­guments pressing: the Dutie is thankefulnesse, de­livered from its common nature; Confession: (our praises are but acknowledgments of Gods excellen­cies.) The Arguments are drawne from the Obiect of our prayses, God, considered first in himselfe; Se­condly, in his workes: in himselfe considered, he is apprehended by a first and second Act of our vnder­standing; [Page 2]First, in his most simple being (confesse to Iehovah.) Secondly, in his second being, (to speake as wee conceiue things) in his properties. These mentioned are, first, Gratiousnesse; Secondly, Great­nesse; for the first, he is first simply (Good) and then in a respect (Mercifull,) for the second, his is Pow­er, he is (Gods of Gods) Gods in the plurall, be­cause al powers are his, (God of Gods) in an hebrew superlatiue, because he is far aboue all Gods, whe­ther so reputed or deputed; that great, that strong God, as Moses expounds the phrase. Deut. 10.7. next, Kingdome is his: Hee is (Lords of Lords) in the same sence, that is the Monarch and Emperour, of Princes and States; nowe if power be his, and Kingdome his, Glory is his also, therefore [...] confesse it, sayth the Psalmist: this is the first Ar­gument from Gods blessed selfe, the second, from his workes, we leaue for hast, &c.

Of the Action (Confesse,) the Obiect (Iehovah) some thing at home. Goodnesse & Mercie, offer them­selues next; and first, Goodnesse as the more gene­rall.

Doct. God is good. This point is plaine, a principle not needing proofe; there be (sayth nature in the Phi­losopher) some confessed goods, [...] Arist. Rhet. li 1. c. [...] & inde: of these, God is the cheife, nay all these in one, like an absolute pearle, that containes all beauties in it selfe, no Mar­cion will denie goodnesse, where he yeelds a God­head, wee haue therefore sayd enough for proofe, when we haue once sayd what goodnes is, and how it is affirmed of God.

1 For the first, Goodnesse is the perfection of things, [Page 3]for which they are desireable, perfection imports freedome from all defects, and fulnes of all excel­lencies, and is cheifely seene in the being, working, end of things; that which hath the noblest being, and therefore ende, and therefore operations, is ever best and most desireable: Desire is the reaching of the Soule after that that likes vs, because it is like vs: Now the All-sufficient God is his owne Being, his owne Act, or rule in Action, Bonum onmis boni. Aug. de Trinit. li. 8. yea he is the Author of all good, and ende, & desire (in naturall respects) and therefore the perfection of all, and all perfec­tion and goodnesse.

2 For the second, God is, first, essentially good, good without goodnesse, (saith Austin). Creatures be good, but not goodnesse; their nature is good, but good­nesse is not their nature, but the nature and sub­stance of God (sayth the Christian Phylosopher) is goodnesse, nature and goodnesse differ not in him, but onely in a respect.

Secondly, causally good; v. Aqui. quast. de bon [...]. not as the forme of par­ticular goods, but as the worker of all; the ende, that terminates and perfects all.

Thirdly, (which followes vpon the former) e­minently good: first, in Order, Nature, Worth; and lastly, originally, and absolutely the onely good.

This Doctrine cals more for practise then proofe, because as in nature, so here, the sweetest things are most abused, and being abused, proue most dange­rous. God is good, let vs put it to a good vse; Vse first, for Humbling, see what we were once, good: for of goodnes, can come nothing but goodnes; secondly What we are now by nature, bad; for first, we are [Page 4]sunke as farre from God as Hell is from heaven; hee is holy, we profane, he wise, we foolish, he true, wee false, he good, we naught. Secondly from this dispro­portion growes hatred of Gods holinesse, in his word, worship, people, presence, every way. Third­ly, from this hatred springs loue to his Enemies, the World, Flesh▪ Satan. Fourthly from this loue a listning to what flesh shal propound, and Satan sug­gest, and thence a capacitie and possibilitie of being monstrous in life, and blasphemous to the death.

Oh what a peece of ground is mans heart nowe become wherein no spiritualnes thrives, vnlesse Power it selfe plant it? wherin, Pride, Murther, Whore­dome, Sodomy, Blasphemie, Atheisme, eyther doth or soone may seede? this cursed nature, this renders vs as odious, as goodnes doth amiable, and this must be seene, if ever we will be saved. Now the glasse that detects badnes is Gods goodnesse, by his na­ture and workes we see ours, as by the sunne wee see motes, and filth by light; but God is a light too strong for our sence; Strato. apud Iustin. lib. 18. True, therefore we must with him (in the story) looke for the Sunne in the West, not in the East: behold the Lord, as he is reflected and refracted, first in the glasse of his creatures, and his workes, Secondly, in the face of his dearest Son, so wee shall see (at one view) vnspeakeable beau­tie, and deformitie; that in God, this in vs: so way and overture will be made for that first, second, and third of Christianitie, true humilitie: Aug. Epist. so Gods goodnesse will be admired; mans wickednes ab­horred all the errours of the times, and incongrui­ties of action will be soone resolved into their first [Page 5]principle, estrangement from, and distrust in this goodnes of God.

2 Secondly, see what we should be, good, goodnes is even admirable, Plut. and therefore (sayth the Philo­sopher) imitable. Now the 119. Psal. vers. 68. tels vs, that God is good, and duth good, and he is our Coppy and rule.

1 First therefore wee must bee good, and then doe good. first the sap must be good, and then the fruit; for as things be, so they worke; the effusion of the sap (the first act of our conversion) is Gods act, our will prevents it not, but followes it. The second act (of fructifying) is ours, vnder God: for when God hath tuned and doth touch vs, we doe moue, and whilest the spirit imbreathes vs, we turne about like the Mill: in neither wee must bee wanting to our selues, but concurre, in this as agents, in that as pati­ents, and as our liberty (in externall acts) is still some, so must our endevours be answerable. Quoad externā disciplinam, as to come to Church, to heare, &c. First we must haue the patience to heare (what soever wanton wits may talke of the wills virginitie or o­ther exemptions of the higher faculties) that in our flesh dwels no spirituall goodnes, all our good­nesse dwels out of our selues in Christ.

Secondly, that it is Gods owne hand, that slends vs from the first, and sets vs in the second Adam. And thirdly that he doth this by his owne meanes, & therfore we must tender our selues to his meanes, waiting till hee (who speakes in working, and workes in speaking) shall please to speake life into the Soule, by the eare.

Thus are we made trees, Esay 55.3. being such, wee must 2 [Page 6]in the second place, beare: and heere lies our busines, our errand hither, is not to please or preach man, but to call for fruite Mat. 21.34. you are trees in Gods vineyard, well planted, fenced, husbanded, what is your fruite? your Land is good, your Law is good, your Cittie good, your Sermons good, what be you? Is your truite none? Heare our bles­sed Saviour, every Tree, every Man, House, Citty, Nation, Math. 7.19. that beares not fruite, is for the fire: Is 18.your fruite bad? Heare againe, a good Tree can not bring foorth bad fruite, and the ground that brings forth briers after showers must be burnt. Heb. 6.8. You haue received the raine of Heaven, and must be as the raine and dewe, Mic. 5.7. els the curse is neare. Is your goodnesse onely Morall? heare your Saviour, Every branch that beares not fruite in me, he takes away. Ioh. 15.2. Your workes must be the workes of God, wrought from God, for God, in God, according to God, else they are but shining sins. Is your goodnes spirituall? heare againe, vn­lesse a man abide in me he is cast out, cast into the fire and burnt, Iohn 15.6. Behold, if an other should crie fire, fire, fire, thus in your streetes, you woulde be all awakened; our blessed Saviour cries fire, if your fruite be none, fire, if bad, fire, if not spirituall, fire, if not lasting.

Oh be afraid of this consuming fire, and as you heare the words, so doe the workes of God. Reli­gion, (we must know) is not a name, goodnesse a word, it is actiue like fire, communicatiue like light, as the life of things stands in goodnes, so the life of goodnesse in action. The cheifest goods are [Page 7]most actiue, the best good a meere Act, & the more good we doe, the more god-like and excellent wee bee; what is the excellency of meates? goodnes, what of wines? goodnes, what of grounds? good­nes, what of all? goodnes: what is mans comfort in life? what in death? what after? whatever? goodnes. This is the man, Eccle. 12. the whole man, no crowne to this in life, no comfort to this in death, no tombe to this after death, no gaine to this in the day of ac­counts. Well done good servant, enter into thy masters ioy. Glory, and honour, and peace, is to e­very worker of goodnes, Rom. 2. whether Iew or Gentile, bond or free, rich or poore, wise or simple, weake or strong; if a worker of righteousnesse, hee is ac­cepted, assisted, rewarded, therefore worke.

Now as you must be pressed to, Tit. 3. 1. and rich in every good worke, so cheifely in the best, for kinde or vse, that is, good spirituall, and common, for the first, as spirituall gifts, so acts are most desireable. Man never liues till the life of God liue in him, and all that he doth be either a spirituall act, or (at least) spiritually acted, Zach. 14. holinesse must be written (Zacha­rie tels vs) vpon our bridles, when we warre; vpon our cups, when we drinke: In short, the kingdome of God, must first bee sought and set vpp in vs and ours; and, what we may, advanced among others, in the meanes of it and maintenance for it. And heere the rich may ioyne in one both these goods (spirituall and common) some Churches (you see) want men, some men Churches and meanes, I blush, I bleede to speake it, able men are ready to hire out themselues for bread, and excellent wits [Page 8]hang the head, for want of watering, gasping like fishes out of the water, being out of all, both meanes and hopes; if there be any true blood yet running in your veines, you that can feede Birds and Dogs, starue not Grace and Learning. Children might be Schollers, Obad. last verse. Schollers Preachers, Preachers Saviours, and that of Thousands did not dogs eate the Chil­drens bread.

Secondly, you must ayme at the common good, for that is still the greatest good; and heere two rules, first, if you will be for the publike, you must be good in private: beare your owne fruite, Psal. 1. worke in your owne hines, man your owne oares, and make good your owne standing. Happy is that body, wherein the eye sees, the eare heares, the li­ver sanguifies &c. Happy that house, wherein the Master rules, the man runs, the head leades, and the body follows; Happie that State, wherein the Cobler meddles with his last, the Tradesman with his shop, the Student with his booke, the Counsel­ler with State, the Prince with the Scepter, and each Creature liues in his owne Element; but woe be to the Heathens armie, when all wil be Captaines, and none Souldiers, woe to that body that will be all head; members misplaced are neither for vse nor ease.

Secondly, we must shoote at the common white, that is, though you bee private in your standings, yet you must be publike in your affections, and in­tendements.

For the first; Richard 1. as King Richard bestowed himselfe diversly, at his death, so must wee in life; Bohemia [Page 9]claimes a part in our loue, the Palatinate a part, the Churches abroad, our Brethren at home, a part: at home, in selling we must be buyers, in lending bor­rowers, in visiting patients, in comforting mour­ners; abroad, we must in our owne peace consider their warres, feele them panting, see them bleeding, heare them scriching; O husband, O wife, O my child, my child, O mother, mother, mother, my father is slaine, my brother is torne, my legge is off, my guts be out, halfe dead, halfe aliue, worse then either, because neither. O that wee had heartes to bleede over them, and to pray for the peace of Ierusalem.

For the second, our thoughts must all meete in the common good, like so many lines in a Center, streames in the Sea; Christ Iesus pleased not himselfe sayth Saint Paul, hee dyed for vs, sayth Saint Iohn, therefore wee must for our brethren; one mem­ber will die for all, one heathen for manie; if we must die for the common good, must wee not liue to it? If all must, must not the more publike per­son? Yes you Lawyers (to Instance) must be com­mon blessings, and not seeke your owne, you must (with Papinian) reiect bad causes, and ripen good, there goes but a paire of Sheares beween a protrac­ting Lawyer and cheating Mountebanke, that sets his Client backward and foreward like a man at Chesse, and proues a butcher to the sillie sheepe, which ran to him from the Grasier.

You Land-lords must be common too, v. Grin Epist. ad Synopsin Hist. bominis. if with that Duke you will trust your Tennants with your throat, you must not hurt theirs, you are heads of Townes, the head should care for the least toe, en­closure [Page 10]if it wound not the heart, yet treads it hea­vie on the toes of a State; force not men by wrac­king rents, by over laying Commons, and picking quarrels to vndoe themselues, betray not Townes as Rome did Carthage with a distinction, wee will saue the Cittic, but destroy the Towne: a poore man in his house is like a Snayle in his shell, crush that, and you kill him, say therefore with thy selfe, my Tennant is a man, not a beast, were he a beast, yet a righteous man is mercifull to his beast, a breeding Bird must not haue her nest destroyd, a yong kidd must not be sod in his mothers milke, what will become of me and mine, if I destroy the nest of breeding Christians, and having chopt them to the pot, Mich. 3.3. seethe old and yong in one ano­thers blood?

You Patrones must bee for the common good also, preferre many soules to one tenth, when you be to choose a Shepheard; let the question be that of theirs in the Gospell, who is worthy? and the deci­sion, detur digniori; when you present, present not a Prometheus sacrifice, skin and bone without flesh; when you haue presented, Zach 5.4. feare Zacharies curse a­gainst perjurie and sacriledge, if perjurie dwell in the Parsonage, and robbery in the Mannor, the curse of God will pull downe both. Lastly, when you haue a Prophet, bee you Patrones, studie his peace, as he doth yours, what Law it may be, after vowes to enquire I doe not know, sure I am, Salo­mon sayth, it is destruction, destruction of some e­states, of many soules; whilst the nurse wants bread the children want milke, so both cry and both are [Page 11]heard, and woe be to him that hath a crie of Soules against him.

Nobles, I know not whether they frequent this place or not, if so, I would entreat them to remem­ber, what the Story sayth of some men, that they are Medicinable from top to toe, Plin. li. 28. c. 3. and such should they be. First, they should heale themselues, because their actions are all exemplary; then their families, by establishing Nebuchadnezzars order, Dan. 3.29. that no man speake (much lesse doe) any thing amisse against the God of Heaven; thirdly, the oppressed and wounded; they should rescue the poore, as did no­ble Iob; plead for them, ride for them, speake to Maiestie it selfe for them, where povertie hath not accesse. So shall they be common blessings, Filij herôum noxae. and prevent the censure of former Ages.

We close this Vse with Magistrates and Iustices (Itinerant, or others); Rom. 13. [...] Saint Paul tells them their errand; it is the common good, and chalkes out their way; they must be terrors and comforts: first, terrors to the evill, else evill-doers will be a ter­ror to them, for sin is impudent and incroaching, as experience hath taught vs: bribery will be some­times bolder then innocency, falshood then truth; a man that doth more then deliberate of Rebellion (which yet a Tacitus could call Rebellion), Lib. 2. Histor. he will embarke himselfe in actions of State, embroyle Kingdomes, transferre, for his publique good, v. Carer. l. 2. ae potesst. Ro: Pont. c. 19. any Crowne, speake most basely of annointed Princes, and yet such a man as this will be, neere hand, heard as loud from the Barre, as Iustice from the Bench; a Gentleman-swearer, drunkard, whore-master, [Page 12]stabber, will soone out-stare a Iustice, an Alderman; and a Noble-mans mans man will so amaze Iustice (if shee take not the more heart) that shee is left speechlesse a long time after. O Iob, Phineas, Nehe­miah, &c. whats become of your spirit? You would driue sinne and sinners into their holes; now they dare the light, and stare Iustice in the face, as if they would out-face her: arise (ye living Images of God) cloth your selues with zeale as with a cloake, put on Iustice as a garment, vnderstand, that there is a King in Israell, a God in heaven; and make sin vnderstand, that you haue zeale in your hearts, and a sword in your hands.

Secondly, You must be incouragers of goodnes; goodnesse (I say) both spirituall and morall, reli­gion, and righteousnesse; for Religion, where is zeale comely, if not there? when, if not now, when false zeale blazeth, and true cooles? View a zealous Papist (in that name and respect, better then a meere Newter) and he dares tell vs to our heads, that our Religion is errour, our selues heretickes, our end destruction; that one Heaven cannot hold vs hereafter, one Church now, that living and dy­ing Lutherans, Cam. ca. 10. Barel. Paraen. Brist. Mot. 36. Coster res [...]ad Ruf. Luc. Osi­and: &c. we shall be certainely damned; if we be not, he will be damned for vs: Now if our Faith stand vpon better pillars then his, why should not we be as resolute and confident as he? View againe the Atheist, and he flieth vpon Religion, as a Bird vpon the Candle; he disgraces it, and will not you then grace it? He smites it, and will not you defend it? Yes, Religion calls in your sword to her suc­cour, chiefely when she is opposed in her Prophets, [Page 13]they are the men of sorrowes; Rerū Vocabula amisimus & Salust. they find the Histo­rian true, that we haue lost the names againe the Atheist, of things: Darkenesse is called light, light darkenesse; the Shepheard is hunted, and the Foxe hunts him: Many a man cryes out of blasphemie against God and the King, and the blasphemie is but this; Naboth will not part with a peece of his Fleese; many a fearefull Bill is framed against a Preacher, when the Enditement should run thus; Bonus vir, sed ideo malus, quia Christianus, Tertull: Apol­loget. at lest Chri­stinuncius. My Fathers, and reverent Iudges, open your mouthes in the cause of the afflicted; remem­ber, that you owe your Hoods, Gownes, Liues, selues to the Gospell; did not our Ministry awe mens Consciences, nor you, nor the world would be one yeare elder; should you cease to countenance vs in our righteous causes, you should betray your right hand with the left.

Now as Religion brings the greatest good, and therefore must be most respected; so Iustice the next, and therefore must be carefully administred. And here we shall not need to mind you of the O­ratours dust, or the Heathens note, Tac: l. 15. Annal. How that many more offend by seeking favour, then offending; it shall suffice to referre your wisedomes to two Scrip­tures in Iob; the first, Chap. 15.34. is Chap. 15. vers. 34 and its this; Fire shall consume the Tabernacles of Bribery: if Bribery (however disguised) get into the house, whether by the master or mistresse, or sonne, or ser­vant God will fire it out, or fire the house over it. The second, is Chap. 13. vers. 10. Chap. 13.10. He will surely re­proue you, if you secretly accept persons. Carry it never [Page 14]so smoothly, yet if vnder-hand, you preferre a Laick to a Churchman, a Lord to a Plough-man, a kins­man to a stranger, a Courtier to a peasant, and take away the righteousnesse of the innocent, God will certainely reproue you, chide, smite, curse you for it, and so set it on, as no man shall be able to take it off; that God that will not suffer you to be partiall for the poore, Iob 13. for himselfe, will never brooke other warpings, and partialities: Oh, then looke vpward, pervse your Oth, deale equally betweene party and party, plea and plea; and if you will needs heare any in private, heare the poore man speake, whose counsell dares not speake (sometimes) in publique; and if you will hasten any hence, hasten him who languisheth, whilst head and body stand a hundred myles a-sunder. And when you ride circuit, I be­seech you remember, that you ride circuit, not post, take time to heare poore mens grievances your selues, lest in a Reference, you leaue the Hare in the Hunts-mans-hands, and the Commissioner deputed, vmpire the matter, as once they did at Rome, The Aedeates & Aricini, &c. betweene Neighbours; the ground is neyther the Plaintifs nor Defendants, it is the Iudges. To wind vp all, nor you, nor wee of the Ministry (to whom I had more to say if the place suited) nor any present, haue done the good wee should; let vs say for the time past, That we haue beene vnprofitable ser­vants; and henceforward, resolue with the Church, of old; Nos non cloqui­mur magnased vivimus. Not to talke, but to liue.

The maine dispatcht, we would speake the rest, if we could, with one breath. Is God good? Then loue him; v. Minut. in Octav. for, Goodnesse is the obiect of loue: [Page 15]now loue is a desire of vnion, it vnites vs to God, by conforming and transforming vs, so that then our loue shall appeare to be true, when out of a desire to be made one with God, wee conforme to his ordinances, and be transformed into his image.

Againe, is God good? then let him be iustified, and every mouth stopped; we instance.

As B [...]llar: and Wright, and o­thers charge vs. First, sinnes are committed; Doe me make God a cause of it? What as much as man? What more then man? What more then Sathan? O blasphe­mie! O impudencie! Did it ever come into any of our hearts so to thinke? No, no, we yeeld that sinne cannot comport with a glorified estate, much lesse with glory it selfe: Wee hold, that God being goodnesse it selfe, and All-sufficiency, cannot be a cause, either morall or Physicall, of that which is (formally) nothing but deficiency; and if our owne words may not be taken in our owne cause, let some consult SVAREZ, v. Suar: Opus. v. Arm: Thes. Vorst: Apol: Pro eccl. Or­thod. and their owne Schooles; others their Arminius, and Verstius, and then tell vs, what wee say more then they, or they lesse then we (for substance) about the cause of sinne.

Secondly, the world (Christian) is embroyled, yet God is good; in this Confusion he seeth order, and in this double-faced world, the side to God­ward is beautifull, when that to-vs-ward is defor­med.

Thirdly, Disputes arise, touching Reprobation, which trench farre vpon Gods rights; say still, he is good, all that he decrees and does is of himselfe, [Page 16]and for himselfe, and therefore best, because from, and for the best.

Lastly, Discontents arise; say still, God is good; the times are hard, yet he is good; men are nought, yet he is good; we haue our wants; yet he is good to vs, and where can we mend our selues? Were we in France, in Bohemia, in Polonia; nay, were we not Christians but Heathens, not men but beasts, not beasts, but ghosts in hell, twere dutie to say, God is good (for where power, justice, wisedome are, there goodnesse is) and if goodnesse must be ac­knowledged there, must it not in England, the face of Europe; in London, the eye of England? Behold, the Creatures refresht with GODS goodnesse tri­umph; the Fields laugh; the Corne sings; the Birds chirp; Plut. of tranq. of mind. the Beasts skip; yea, (sayth the Hea­then) we loue to heare them sing, not howle, not roare, not bellow; and shall we (in the midst of their rejoycing) whine and cry? Doubtlesse, what ever the times be, or our estates be, God is good; and goodnesse is excellent, and excellency chal­lengeth honour, therefore doe the LORD right. How ever it be (sayth the Prophet) God is good to Israell; Psal. 73.1. Let the Israell of God taste it, relish it, confesse it, Psal. 34. liue in the strength of it, die in the sence of it, and ever continue in the feare of Goodnesse, as Hosea speakes, Cap. 3. vlt.

Thus farre of Goodnesse.

❧ Gods Mercie.

NOw followes the second; Mercie. Where, first, the thing: secondly, the adjunct. For the first, though ( [...]) be som­what Generall, yet our Translation is justified by our Saviour, Math. 9.13. who renders it ( [...]) secondly, by our Prophet, who severs it from goodnesse; this being a generall Mercie, that a particular Goodnesse, respecting misery and want.

For the second, tis Everlasting; everlastingnesse (or eternitie) is a perfect possession all at once of an endlesse life (sayth Boeth:) Everlasting Mercy then is perfect Mercy, De Consola. which shuts out all the im­perfections of time, beginning, end, succession, and such is Gods mercy. First, his Essentiall mercy is ever­lastingnes it selfe; for it is himselfe, and God hath not, but is, things; he is beginning, end, being, and that which is of himselfe, and ever himselfe, is eter­nitie it selfe: secondly, his Relatiue mercy (which re­spects vs, and makes impression on vs) is everlasting too, in a sense; for the Creatures, ever since they had being in him or existence in their naturall cau­ses, did ever and ever well need Mercy, either pre­serving or conserving. Mercy in the first sense, is Negatiuely endlesse, that is, vncapable of end, because vnboundable for being: in the second sense, it is [Page 18] Privatiuely endlesse, it shall never actually take end, though in it selfe it may, and some wayes is boun­ded; the first is included in the latter, but the latter chiefely here entended; and therefore the Point arises to be this▪ Doct. 2 Gods mercy (chiefly to his Church) is an endlesse Mercie, it knowes no end, receiues no in­terruption. Reas. Reasons hereof from the Word are these, (for as touching testimony this Psalme shall be our securitie) 1 first, from Gods nature; he is good. Mercy pleases him. Mic. 7.18. First, it is no trouble for him to exercise mercy: secondly, It is his delight; wee are never weary of receiving, therefore he cannot be of giuing; for, as it is a more blessed thing to giue then to receiue; so, God takes more content in that, then we in this. 2 Secondly, from his vnchangea­ble word and covenant, thus sayth the Lord, though the Mountaines should remoue, &c: and though my Covenant with the Heavens should fayle, yet not this. Esay. 3 Thirdly, From our need; Every Creature is compounded of perfection and imperfection: the first, is the ground, the second is the Object of Mercie; for the first, that which moues to mercie is proprietie, therefore we pitie man, because he is our owne flesh, Esa. 58.7. therefore a Christian man, because we be in the bodie. Heb. 13.2. Amat nos tan­quam aliquid sui, Aquinas. We pittie still our owne, and therefore God shewes mercie to vs, because he hath an interest in vs, and we be his owne, either as crea­tures, or children, and so concur with him in some degree of perfection: for the second; the Obiect of Mercy, v. Aqui: secun­da secundae q. 30. &c. is not misery, vnlesse in (the Schoole-mans sence, that is) a generall sense, but defectiuenesse; for whatsoever hath not all things in, of, by it selfe, [Page 19]stands ever at the mercy of another; and in these circumstances stands every Creature, As compoun­ded ex ente & non ente. he partly is and is not, and therefore needes, and therefore re­ceiues mercy from God, where he entends its per­petuitie.

Vses. 1 Now, is Gods mercy thus Endlesse? then (to say nothing of those vncouth disputes, touching that Apocryphall invocation of Saints, De vener: san­ctorum. as Eccius ac­knowledgeth it touching excision and intercision of grace, the precedency of some Creatures aboue Christ, in point of Mercy, and other the like mon­sters of opinion and blasphemie) Let vs learne of the Church, to dwell vpon the mercies of God; here a man may let out himselfe without danger; God offers more mercie to our eyes then we can see; to our thoughts, then we can conceiue; and when we haue done all, he is aboue all prayses: Neh. 9. here­by our hearts will be wonne to God; power with­out mercy, amazes, wisedome confounds, justice affrights, but mercie seene in all (as in this Psalme) vnites and melts, here is daily employment, for he lades vs daily with blessings, and his mercies are fresh every morning; we provoke him, Lam. 3. and he is pati­ent; we put him to it, and he is clement; we be emp­tie, and he is bountifull; we be miserable, and he is pitifull, good to our bodies, soules, estates, names, friends, townes, Church, State, Court, Kingdome: Oh, let these Mercies soke into our hearts, till they draw forth teares, as they did from Bradford; Let the house of Levi say, his Mercie endures for ever; Let the house of Iudah say, his Mercie endures for ever; Let the fields say, it is his mercy that we be not all spoy­led; [Page 20]led; Let our Cities say, it is his mercy that we be not all burnt; Let our Churches say, it is his mercie that we be not all rasde, yea, let this Land (of all Lands) say, it is his mercie that sword and fire and pestilence, and other miseries, doe not prey vpon mee, as vpon my Sister-Kingdomes; O Lord, who is a God like to thee? thus to beare thus to blesse; had not thy Mercies exceeded all limits, our sinnes ere this had sunke vs all.

2 Is God ever mercifull? Then the Argument is ever good, Ioel 2. Iona 3. &c. Rom. 2. Turne to the Lord say the Prophets, re­pent saies the Apostle, this the vse, that Mercy must be put to, the better God hath bin to vs, the more wee must bleede vnder his reproofes; O my people saies God Mich. 6.3.—6. &c. hee spake it once to Iudah, now to England, O my people, what is the matter that I cannot winne you? Wherein haue I wronged your Names that you teare mine? When did I grieue you that you grieue mee? when was I hard to you, that you so hardly affoord me one day in seven? What ayles you, what ayles you, that you will not be ruled by me? I would haue you leaue your sinnes, you will not; I would haue you holy, happy, you will not, I would haue a Covenant of Salt betwixt vs, that I might never leaue you, you will not; no words, no stroakes, no fights abroad, no loue, no kindnesse, no patience at home can melt you.

O that yet, yet, yet we of this land would meete the Lord and make our peace with him, whilest peace is in our gates. Now what the whole Land in ge­nerall, that this Chamber in perticular must doe, [Page 21]I will suppose your Government, your selues pre­sent, to bee good, but what shall wee say of many in the Citty? I must turne to Ezek. 22. and speake that to our Ierusalem, which the Prophet there doth to his London. In thee are they that make Idols, v. 3.4 7 &c. in thee they shed blood, in thee they set light by Father and Mother, in thee they oppresse, in thee they despise my Holinesse, and prophane my Sabbothes, in thee they carry tales, they cate vppon the Mountaines, in thee they commit Whoredome and abhominable filthinesse, in thee they take bribes and vsury, in thee thy Rulers take dis­honest gaine, thy Priests hide their Eyes from my Sab­bothes, thy Prophets daube with vntempered Morter, thy people (generally) vexe, oppresse, rob, and wrong one another; thus the Prophet then: now I report my selfe to you, whether a Prophet may not still take vp his words against this place, & if so, then heare what the Lord further adds I sought for a man among them that should stand in the gap for the Land. O vn­speakeable Patience and Mercie, when they sought not God, God sought them, when the most were desperate, hee sought for some fewe to stand in the breach, and a few should haue ransomed multi­tudes. Now then (Much honoured and beloved) are there any men amidst you? any that can weepe for the Abhominations of the place? that can pray, and wrestle with heaven? Let these stand in the gap, Let these stand betweene the living and the dead with their Censers, Let them lie betwizt the Porch and the Altar, and say, O thou God of Mercies spare our Cittie, our houses, our Churches, our streetes, and bee Mercifull to our sinnes, for they are great.

And what I say to all, I speake to every one now present, turne: Ho thou that hast beene an Idola­ter, a Swearer, an Adulterer, a Wanton, a Murtherer &c: Make this vse of Gods patience and kindenes to thee, to wit, Repent.

O but my sinnes are many? yea, but his mercies are more; O but they are great? his mercies are greater; O but I am exceeding bad; how bad? as Manasses? he had mercie for him; as Magdalen? he had mercie for her; as Adam? he had mercie for him; ô but it is now too late, al his mercie is spent; no, his mercie endureth for ever. Beloved, the Lord hath sent this day the cheife of Sinners to pro­claime thus much in your eares, that never yet a­ny perished for want of mercie in God; be it that thy sinnes be sinnes of darknesse, sinnes of death, of blood, of hell, yet if thou canst finde a heart to repent, God will finde in his heart to pardon, see thou thy sinnes, confesse, bewaile, abhorre, forsake them, seeke thou the face of God, lie at his foote, Call, Crie, Lord be mercifull to me a sinner: get his Sonne, his Image, and new Obedience, and thy case is blessed, nay if thou canst not thus repent, yet thirst, Math. 5. nay if thou canst not thirst, yet mourne, nay if thou canst not mourne, yet bee poore in spi­rit, and being so in truth, the blessing is thine, and the blood of Iesus Christ shall cleanse thee from all, all, (I say againe) all thy sinnes.

3 Is God ever merciful? then be ye merciful, as is your heavenly Father, Math. 5. nay hee doth not onely practise mercie but also commaunds it, nay commends it, nay rewards it, nay, plagues the neglect of it, even [Page 23]to vtter destruction; your Elder brother Christ is also mercifull, and interprets every kindnesse done to his done to himselfe, besides, Mercy graces Re­ligion, glads the Church, fils her mouth with Gods prayses, stops the mouth of all adversaries, yea mer­cy preserues the afflicted, and refresheth the bow­els; for Strangers, it winns vpon them in point of Religion, for thy selfe, it comforts thy Soule as an evidence of thy truth, easeth thy body, being a lighter burden then what else wil oppresse, (fierce­nes and cruelty) crownes thy name, being that grace that exempts from persecution, Cypt. de op: & elecmos. and is most attractiue, improues thine estate, sanctifieth thy present portion to thy selfe, and settles the remain­der vpon thy posteritie; armes thee against sick­nesse and death Psal. 41. &c. against oblivion in the graue, Acts 9. v. 39. against iudgement at the resur­rection, Iames 2. v. 13. Mat. 25. so that if we eyther respect our Father, God, or our Saviour, Christ, or our Mother the Church, or our brethren, Christi­ans, or our observers, Enemies, or our owne selues and soules, here or hereafter, wee must be merci­full.

If you aske me, how this mercie must be exer­cised? I must (in this hast) referre Schollers to the Casuists, and the rest of you to other Authors, for a fuller answere, the summe is this: Mercie must haue, first a good roote, Faith in God, Loue to God and man: Secondly, a good ende, Gods glory, in mans good and our thankes, not merit, not satisfaction, not impetration, as they. Thirdly, a good rule, the word must order vs, both for persons and things, for [Page 24] persons, wee must begin with God, and with the Macedonians giue our selues to him. 2. Cor. 8. v. 5. that done, wee must proceede to the Common State, then to those next, that touch vs nearest in the stron­gests ties; and so passe on till (like good stomacks) wee haue dealt something to the most removed members. For things, respect must bee had to the Soule first, then to the Name, then to the bodie, then to the estate: Fourthly our Almes must be good for the matter of it, first, in it selfe being wholesome and our owne, next for the receiver, being suted to his needs, (for the purpose) comfort, if tempted, Counsell, if distracted, succour, if oppressed, clothes if naked, eyther worke or a whippe, if Idle.

Would you knowe (in the third place) what mercy you must shew? I answere such a mercie as God shewes, 1 first vniversall mercie, to mens soules; bodies, estates, and (that which the worlds is little acquainted with) specially towards Rulers, mercie to mens Names.

2 Secondly, Everlasting mercie, the righteous (saith David) is ever giving, lending &c. Alasse Mercie breakes now as fast as trading, faire houses be shut in, mercy is runne the Countrie, and is like to perish, for it will hardly line without a house; where a poore house is kept, there is something for mer­cie to feede and worke vpon, some raggs, some scraps, some fewell, some thing; but when (Mi­das-like) all wee touch is gold, our bread gold, our fewell gold, all turned into the penny, I meane so, that we cannot giue, till wee haue past through three or foure Lockes, and scene and felt our almes, [Page 25]then certainely wee shall part with it most vnwil­lingly. The house-keeper (if he want not an heart (hath opportunities more then any, for the exerci­sing of mercy; be not yee wearie of this well do­ing, the World (I know) is importunate in Com­parisons, and impudent in pressures vpon the free hearted, but doe you your duties, and feare not Swine that are well neyther full nor fasting.

Now as House-keepers, so others in their places must be ever mercifull; all ever receiue mercy, Let all ever shew; all haue opportunities, let all appre­hend them; the poore (sayth our blessed Saviour) are ever with you, if ever, now. Mercy needes not ride abroad to seeke worke in these dayes step but into thy Neighbours house, and thou shalt finde po­vertie in the Chimney, in the Cupboard, leanesse sitting on the Cheekes, and cleaving to the ribbs of old and yong. O but wee haue not for them? Why wheres the want? your houses be as trim, as ever, your Children as fine, your Tables as full, your wastfulnesse as much as ever, and can you be ever near, nay ever prodigall, and not ever mer­cifull? Whats become of Religion now? Is all tur­ned into words, as once in Saint Iames his time? Time was when Christians would sell their plate Chalices, their Roabes and Iewels, their Lands and possessions to relieve the Churches necessity, and shall not we parte with superfluities? tell mee (you that reade Saint Iohn) how you satisfie his question, and your owne Consciences? 1. Iohn 3.17. if any Man hath these worlds goods, and sees his Bro­ther [Page 26]ther want &c. how dwels the loue of God in him? Will you say, wee haue not this Worldes goods? Then dissemble not, now yee stand in a crosse poynt to good Araunah, hee spent like a Subject, gaue like a King; 2. Sam. 24.23 you build fayre, goe like Prin­ces, and will you giue like Bankrupts? Nay your Tavernes, your Feastes, and Playes, will rise vp a­gainst you: you haue meanes to feast the Rich, and doe not you remember Christs Cavear, Mer­cie before kindnesse? You haue a pinte of wine for any Friend, and not a penny for Christ? you can finde a Tester for some game, some shewe, some stage Play, and what, nothing for Mercy? Or will yon say wee see no neede? Why, what else can you see? Men want stocke, want bread, want worke, want money, and when that is deare, nothing is cheape, and is not heere neede? but there is no extremitie? Woe is mee, there be many at her stay, I haue a little meale and oyle in a Cruyce, 1. Reg. 17.12. I will bake, eate, die, they are now sinking, sinking, if you come not quickly to their succour, they are loft, is not this an extremitie? But where bee meanes? finde you hearts, I will yet finde meanes.

1 First, the Backe may lend you something, your golden fingers might cloath some, and bee never the Colder, your great Ruffes might feede others, and be never the vnhandsomer, the Groues and Grownds vpon your backes (as Tertullian speakes) might lodge others, De habit: mul: & li. de cult. Faem. and yet sitt never the worse vpon your owne and childrens backs.

2 Secondly, the Belly might spare you something [Page 27]with advantage to your health, and strength, one meale saved in a weeke, one dish at a meale, one cup of wine, one pipe of Tobacco in a day would come to something in the yeare. I quake to thinke what Christians wee be, some surfet, some starue, all at once; rather then we will not pine the poore, wee will cramme and choake our selues.

3 Thirdly, our Houses might lend vs something, for howsoever (with them of old) wee feede, as if wee would die presently, yet wee build as if we would liue for ever: It is a world to see how cu­rious wee be in suting every Roome, whilest the members of Christ goe not like one Fathers chil­dren, nay it is not necessary they should bee all in a Sute, onely if Christ may be heard, hee that hath two coates, should giue one to the naked.

4 Fourthly, borrow of our Enemie Sinne, and here if you will not hold, I know not what to say, but that, the Heathen sayth, Senec. hee is a bad Phisitian that despayres of his cure; wee haue money for braules, for bribes, for the feeding of pride, revenge, am­bition, lust, and shall we feede foes, & starue friends? let me speake it once for all, had we as much zeale to mercy, as to sinne, to men, as to birds and mon­kies, to Christians and Preachers, as to Claw-backs, Iesters, Fidlers, Fooles, we would finde meanes to relieue them; meanes for the present, but how shall our owne doe hereafter? Why, is not mercy as sure a graine as vanitie? Is God like to breake? sayth not he, Hee that giues to the poore, lends to the Lord, and he will pay him? I haue nothing to spare; [Page 28]thou hast for thy friends, for Gods Enemies, Pride, Vanity, if none for Christ; receiue thy doome, Hee that stops has eare at the crie of the Poore &c. Pro 21.13. Iames 2.13. Iudg­ment without mercie, to him that shewed no mercy, de­part from mee yee cursed, you had meate, drinke, cloath, house-roome, for sinfull men, horses, doggs, carts, none for mee. But the poore bee as sine as my selfe? I pray thee, be sayd with reason; if others be not sit to receiue, thou art not tyed to giue; If thou bee fit to giue, and they to receiue, dispute no longer, rather heare the Apostle, Put on the bowels of mercy, Col. 3.12. verse 5. and to that ende take his directions, first slay vnmortified lusts, next steepe thy thoughts in the Mercies of God, and they will dye thine, Ephe. 318.19. as the dye-fart doth the cloath, that done, be rich in faith and good workes; first, in the Inwarce actes of mercy, pittie the afflicted, bleede with them, mourne with them, thirst their good, cast their good. Secondly, In outward acts of mercy, goe to them, sitt with them, pray for them, lend them, speake for them, giue them, for­giue them, and if all thy abilitie amount but to one cupp of cold water it shall bee accepted rewar­ded. Math. 10.

4 Lastly, God is ever mercifull, let vs then leaue the labouring Church in his everlasting armes as Moses speakes. Deut. 33.27. Lets recommend our Israell to him, whose mercy hath prevented and will preserve vs, if wee constantly flie vnto him, and let every one that is capable of mercy, being Fatherlesse, that hath obtained mercy, Hos. 14.3 being Penitent, and Mercifull, [Page 29]stay himselfe here: The Mercy of God endureth for ever, my strength may faile, my estate may, my friends may, my outward comforts, my inward feelings may, but the Mercies of God never fayle, all miseries haue an ende, Gods Mercie (which is my Mercie) is endlesse, is boundlesse: It endures for ever. (⸫)


This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. Searching, reading, printing, or downloading EEBO-TCP texts is reserved for the authorized users of these project partner institutions. Permission must be granted for subsequent distribution, in print or electronically, of this EEBO-TCP Phase II text, in whole or in part.