FLY FROM EVEL DOE GOOD

[Page]

DAVIDS teares By Sr John Hayward knight, Doc. of Lawe

LONDON Printed by John Bill. 1623.

TO THE READER.

HAuing finished my SAN­CTVARIE, and finding it to haue taken roote and life for some conti­nuance; I could not conceiue any better im­ployment of those houres, which I haue resolued to sequester for exercises in this kinde; then in making my conceptions legible vpon those Psalmes of DAVID, which liuely describe, both the forme [Page] and the force of true repentance. Partly in regard of the generall dignity of the whole Booke of Psalmes, largely extol­led by many; but chiefly in regard of the eminent excellency of these Penitentiall Psalmes, which heereafter I entend particularly to declare. And heerein I aime at no priuate end, but designe, and resigne my endeuors wholly to the Glo­ry of the All-powerfull GOD: to whom Glory is so proper, that nothing is more repugnant to reason, then either not to attribute it to him, or to seeke to draw it to our selues.

For albeit GOD, who is all fulnesse and perf [...]ction, cannot receiue accesse or increase; yet by praysing and blessing his exteriour workes, we enlarge and spread his glory to others. This praise and glo­ry, because we cannot incorporate into his essence, whereto no addition can bee [Page] made: we are sayd to attribute to his NAME. For the NAME of a thing is separate, and externall from the thing which it serueth to signifie; and neither a part nor of the substance therof.

But we on the other side, are inwardly hollow and empty, and alwaies wanting some amendment. Wherefore we haue e­nough to doe to labour in repairing that. We must not play our part for exteriour shewes; but inwardly, within our selues, where no eies shine but our owne. Other­wise we shalbe like to an Egge long coue­red with salt; the shell wherof wilbe faire and sound, but the inward substance alto­gether consumed. Or like an vnwise hun­ger-starued beggar; more desirous of a faire garment, then of necessary meat. Hee who seekes himselfe abroade; who regardes more what hee is to [Page] to others, then to himselfe; who doth ho­nestly, because he would be so esteemed; shall neuer produce profitable effect. As the intention is vaine, so wilbe the euent. But if constantly wee pursue reason and piety, let approbation of others follow if it please: as neither vainly desired, so not rigidly to be contemned.

Much lesse must they expect any benefit by their trauailes, who retire themselues to priuate studies. For they liue not out of themselues, they study not other mens humours, they applie not their thoughts to the time. And this is the reason wherfore many well esteemed for sufficiency, whose vertue forbids them to be base, hang vnder the wheele, and cannot aduance. Yea, sometimes it happeneth, that whilest they are most ho­nestly busied, men of scornefull and beg­garly [Page] ignorance, separate from all imi­table qualities or endeauours, will be nimble to nippe from them such small matters as they haue.

I confesse I haue beene bitten by some such Vipers; who thinke nothing suffici­ent that they haue, nothing dishonest that they doe. But I enuie not the grauell in any mans throat. It sufficeth for mee that I haue attained a quiet contented life, free either from anguish in my selfe, or enuie at others: free either from wish­ing great matters, or wanting some small: a life fit for serious cogitations.

The rich compositions of Ancient times, I reuerence and admire; they doe not only satisfie, but astonish mee. I see them not to the depth, but I see them so farre, that I conceiue the farthest reach of our age cannot neerely approach [Page] them. Of my owne productions, neuer any did fully content mee, and the ap­probation of others is no warrant to my owne iudgement; tender and seuere in what I doe. They may happily bee somewhat sprinkled ouer, but through­ly died, I conceiue they are not. And in case any thing be excusable in them, it is not in regard of themselues, but in comparison of some other form-lesse vnsinewie writings; whereto notwith­standing I finde good allowance to bee giuen. Assuredly, knowing my owne ig­norance and defects, I wonder much at the constant assurance of many others.

But modestie forbids vs to speake good or ill of our selues. I haue heere vnder­taken a difficult taske, in writing vpon these high parts of Scripture. I did put forth two of these psalmes at the first, for [Page] an assay, as before I did the like in my Sanctuary. And finding some accepta­tion I haue now added a third: and in­tend to proceede in some of the rest. And wherein I finde no encouragement from others, I will remaine satisfied with my owne contentments For by entertay­ning my thoughts in these sweet retreits, how many tedious and friuolous cogita­tions haue I auoyded? How many in­dignities and discontentments haue I therein buried? Let others hungerly hunt after fauour and wealth, the common drudgery of the world: let them spend their spirit and honestie in vnciuill vn­derminings. I desire and pray, that this heauenly harmony may alwayes ring in my eares; that I may close the last pe­riod of my life with one of these songs of Sion.

Nunquid Zimri pax &c.
HOM. Il.
[...]
[...]
[...]
[...].
TAM grauis ille mihi nigri
quam limina ditis.
Ore aliud qut fert, aliud sub
pectore celat.
AS dale of death,
so doe I hate that kinde;
whose tongue from thought,
whose mouth dissents from minde.

[Page 1]DAVIDS TEARES.

PSALME VI.

O LORD rebuke me not in thine indignation: neither chasten me in thy displeasure.

2 Haue mercy vpon me, O LORD, for I am weake: O LORD heale me, for my bones are vexed.

3 My soule is also sore troubled: but LORD how long wilt thou punish me?

[Page 2] 4 Turne thee, O LORD, and deliuer my soule: Oh saue mee for thy mercies sake.

5 For in death no man remembreth thee: and who will giue thee thankes in the pit?

6 I am weary of my groning, eue­ry night wash I my bed, and water my couch with my teares.

7 My beauty is [...] for very trouble: and worne away because of all mine enemies.

8 Away from me all yee that worke vanity: for the LORD hath heard the voice of my weeping.

9 The LORD hath heard my petition: the LORD will receiue my prayer.

10 All mine enemies shall be con­founded [Page 3] and sore vexed: they shall bee turned backe, and put to shame sud­denly.

Of the title and parts of this PSALME.

  • 1 THE inscription of this Psalme.
  • 2. The Authour thereof.
  • 3. Wherefore Dauid watered his bed with teares.
  • 4 Our conflicts in this life, and the weapons thereof.
  • 5 Wherefore the iust are sayd to flourish like a palme tree.
  • 6 Wherefore this Psalme is intituled, To him that vanquisheth.
  • 7. The parts of this Psalme.

THis is the first of those Psalms which are called Penitentiall; and according to the version of Saint Hierome and of Felix, beareth this inscription or title, A Psalme of I Dauid to him that vanquisheth (pro octaua) for an instrument of eight strings.

For, that Dauid was the Authour of this Psalme, it II is nothing doubted; not only because it hath beene [Page 4] both anciently and generally so receiued, but because diuers passages of the Psalme doe plainely seeme to import no lesse. For therein is liuely expressed a most exquisite sense of sorrow and griefe; agreeable, as well to the greatnesse both of the person and sinne of Dauid, as to the large measure of grace, which af­terward he did obtaine. It maketh mention also of (stratum) a kinde of couch vsed by men of eminent III dignity; which as Dauid had defiled with adulterous embracements, so did hee there chiefly exercise his sorrow, so did he there plentifully powre foorth his teares. Verely, as the sinnes of Princes are neuer small; so their great sinnes require a great and high degree of repentance.

IIII Now, in this life we are neuer at perfect peace, we are trauayled with continuall conflicts, wherin some armour is of necessary vse. But in these spirituall combats, sorrow, sighes, groanes, and teares are the onely armour of defence, the onely weapons of aduantage; by which wee atchieue true victory and V triumph. For this cause it is sayd, that the iust shall flourish as a Palme tree. Psal. 92.11 For as the Palme tree doeth flourish best vnder greatest weight; so vnder many difficulties and oppressions the iust must mount to their highest hopes. And therefore because by these armes Dauid did preuayle, not onely against his out­ward enemies, not only against his inward troubles and perplexities, but against the wrath and venge­ance of Almighty GOD: because by these meanes VI his griefe was turned into ioy: because hee beganne with bitter anguishes, and ended in exultation and [Page 5] triumph: this Psalme is entitled, To him that vanqui­sheth: therefore also it was appointed to bee sung vpon an instrument of eight strings, called Octaua; vpon which, as S. Hierome sayth,Super pa­ral. ca. 15. In Ci [...]haris pro Octaua, can [...]bant Epinicion. they vsed to sing Psalmes of triumph and ioy. And so this Psalme falleth naturally into two principall parts, as in the Table following doeth appeare.VII

  • [Page 6]In this Psalme of Da­uid is contey­ned his
    • sorrow and con­flict, wherein is ex­pressed
      • a fearefull apprehension of GODS Iustice, vers. 1.
      • an humble peti­tiō for his mer­cy, & that vn­der many rea­sons, whereof some are drawn from
        • himselfe; & namely from his
          • weakenesse, v. 2.
          • troubles in
            • body v. 2.
            • soule, v. 3.
        • GOD: and namely from his
          • mercy, ver. 4.
          • wisedome, ver. 5.
          • iustice, ver. 6.
          • power, ver. 7.
    • Victory and Ioy, in re­gard of
      • his reconciliation with GOD, ver. 8. and 9.
      • the confusion of his enemies, ver. 10.
VERS. 1.

O LORD rebuke me not in thy wrath, neither chastise me in thy displeasure.

  • 1 EVery sinne is infinite, and wherefore.
  • 2. Punishments in this life not to be feared, and wherefore.
  • 3 Eternall wrath how fearefull it is.
  • 4 The paine of losse.
  • 5 The paine of sence.
  • 6 The fearefull representations of a guilty consci­ence.
  • 7 Which turneth the trembling soule to GOD.

O Most glorious GOD! infinite in Maiesty, to be both honoured and obeyed; infinite also in might, to be feared: The greater thy Maie­sty I is, the greater are my offences against it to bee esteemed; and the [Page 8] greater punishment may thy Almightinesse inflict. As thy Maiestie is infinite, so is euery offence against it infinite; so is infinite punishment due to such of­fence. This infinite Maiestie haue I many wayes most grieuously offended; and therefore haue iust cause to feare thy grieuous displeasure, thy grieuous punishment: euen equall to my sinne, and that is in­finite.

II I feare not thy reproofe, I feare not thy corection; I dayly expect it, I dayly desire it; because dayly I deserue it. For I know that dayly I offend, and I know that thy diuine Iustice will not suffer offences to remaine vnpunished.Verebar omnia opera mea sciens quod non parceres delinquenti. Iob. 9. If thy Iustice punisheth on­ly in this life, then is it fatherly, then mercifull, then is it iustice tempered with mercy: but if it punisheth in the life to come, then is it extreame Iustice; then extreme rigor and reuenge; then is it as a rod of yron, vpon a potters vessell.Psal ▪ 2. The one is among men, and oftentimes by them; the other is in the company and by the office of Deuils.Sicut erudit homo fi [...]ium suū, sic Do­minus Deus crudit te, vt custodias mandata sua. Deut. 8.5. Heb. 12.6. The first is a gentle in­struction, a chasticement, a correction; the last a se­uere and finall execution. This rodde of thy correcti­on I kisse, I embrace thy chasticements vpon my knees; If I were exempt from thy Fatherly chastice­ment, then were I exempt from being thy childe, For thou scourgest euery childe whom thou receiuest. But I feare thy fury, I tremble at thy extreame dis­pleasure. I desire to feele thee as a louing Father, but not as an angry and inflexible Iudge.

III Rebuke me not, O LORD, with thy violent voice, let not thy angry arme beat stiffely vpon me. It will [Page 9] consume me, as a flaming furnace; It will swallow me, as a deuouring gulfe; It will driue me as a torrent, into the headlong descent of eternall death & damnation. What strength can stand vnder thy Almighty arme? What courage can behold thy fierce bended brow, and not bee astonished, not stroke downe with ter­rour? LORD, I now feele thy anger in a moderate measure, I now feele thy temporary and temperate wrath, which I am not able to endure; but heereby I am further led to esteeme the ful charge of thy fury, how vnable I shall be to endure thy eternall indigna­tion. How little a portion haue we of him? Iob 26.14. but who can vnderstand his fearefull power? Assuredly, the gene­rall floud, the destruction of Sodome, all thy punish­ments which haue beene, shall be, or can be inflicted in this life, are to bee deemed but as a few gentle drops, in regard of the full tempest of thy eternall wrath.

In that day of thy wrath, when we shall stand forth at the barre of thy Iudgement; What soule can su­staine thy angrie eye; whose sight will pierce to the very center of our hearts, and rippe vp euery festred corner of our consciences? What other accusers? What other euidence will thy iustice require? cer­tainely if thy voice was terrible when thou gauest thy Law, if thy chosen people were then afraide;Exo. 20.13 how terrible will it bee when thou shalt demand an accompt of thy Law? when thou shalt giue sentence for the breach therof against thine enemies? Depart from me yee cursed. Out alasse! What a punishment IV of losse is this? to be banished from thy face,Poenadam­ni. whose [Page 10] beauty cannot be expressed, which the Angels insatia­bly desire to behold; the sight wherof is the full per­fection of all pleasure and abundance, the true ioy and rest of our soules. What death is so grieuous as this departing? But whither (O LORD) doest thou command to depart? Into euerlasting fire. Out alasse! V This is a cruel curse indeed. Whom wil it not appal? whom will it not astonishwith feare?Poenasen­sus. Isa. 33. What? Into euer­lasting fire? without either intermission or end? Alasse! Who can abide with the deuouring fire? Who can dwell with the euerlasting flames?

This is the very habitation of thy wrath, in this place thy fury doth raigne. Our abhominable sins inflame thy wrath, and thy wrath inflameth this fire against vs. Heere thou hast no presence of compas­sion, none of comfort; none but simply of indigna­tion and wrath. Heere thy wrath will bee so inexo­rable, that if all the Angels, if the whole court of heauen should intreat thee prostrate vpon their faces, for one drop of water, to refresh one part of a tor­mented sinner, for a very short moment of time; they should not obtaine, thou wouldest not bee en­treated. LORD, let me neuer heare this terrible voice, let me neuer feele this weight of thy wrath; albeit I haue iust cause to feare it. For I haue beene ouercome, I haue yeelded to the sway of my sottish sensuality; I haue disobeyed thee, I haue rebelled against thee, I haue deserued, I haue prouoked thy displeasure a­gainst VI mee: And now my conscience quaketh, and formeth many fearefull representations to my soule. Mee thinkes I see thee come furiously vpon me; thy [Page 11] wrath (me thinkes) is euen now ready to strike. But stay, patient LORD, hold thy hand, forbeare a while:VII giue mee leaue to collect my astonished and dispersed thoughts; to erect my soule, and direct it to thee. Before thou commest in iustice to ouerwhelme mee with thy wrath, In Iustice heare what I haue to say for my selfe. Regard the silent sobs which my feeble soule, surprised with feare, sendeth foorth: regard the broken voice, which my trembling tongue ad­dresseth to thee.

VERS. II.

Haue mercy vpon mee O LORD, for I am weake: heale me LORD for my bones are troubled.

  • 1 THe first weakenesse of a sinner.
  • 2 Wherefore the fall of man repaired, and not of Angels.
  • 3 A second weakenesse.
  • 4 A third weakenesse.
  • 5 When misery may sue to Iustice, when to Mercy.
  • [Page 12]6 The minde worketh bodily effects.
  • 7 How the goodnesse of GOD is said to hurt.
  • 8 A prayer.

HAue mercy vpon me, O LORD, Haue mercy vpon mee: Hold thy hand, O mercifull LORD! Oh my GOD! What wilt thou doe? What? Wilt thou make proofe of thy prowesse against my weakenesse? thinkest thou that I am come to combate with thee? to defie thy fury? to wrestle with thy wrath? LORD I am weake; I am wretchedly weake; because my I weakenesse is inclinable to euill.1. Weakenes I am weake in resi­sting outward prouocations, weake in resisting the pleasures of mine owne appetites and desires. This weakenesse is miserable in me, but hath alwaies been II strong to mooue thee to mercy. For wherefore else hast thou repaired the sinne of man, and not of An­gels? Verely because man sinned through weakenes of nature, but the sinne of Angels proceeded meere­ly from malice of will. For with the more frailty a sinne is committed, the lesse doth it participate of will; and the lesse voluntary a sinne is, the readier is thy mercy to relieue. And therefore seeing thou for­gauest Adame, whose nature was entire; forgiue me also I beseech thee, whose nature is corrupt and en­clineable to euill: seeing also thou wert mercifull to him who charged his fault vpon another; be fauou­able, O LORD, to me who accuse and condemne [Page 13] only my selfe.Gen. 18.27. For this cause therefore I will speake vn­to my LORD, albeit I am but dust and ashes.

LORD, thou hast, made me, and thou knowest of what temper I am made: For no man is ignorant of his proper work. Thou hast not made my nature of brasse, my sinewes are not of yron, nor my strength of steele; but thou hast made me of fraile flesh, yeel­dable to all occasions of euill. My soule thou hast placed in this case of clay, as in a boate, driuen with the strong tyde of sensuall appetites; which cannot be caried against that streame, but by great labor, by strong striuing with armes and with Oares. LORD, I do not lay forth this weaknes of mine, to excuse my sin, but to encline thee to mercy. For the LORD is mer­ciful to them that feare him;Psal. 103. because he knoweth wherof we be made, he remembreth that we are but dust. I haue sin­ned indeed, but rather through weaknes, then either malice or proud presumption: rather through a vi­cious and corrupt disposition infused as an inheri­tance from my ancestors, then through hellish either haughtinesse or hate originally in my [...]elfe.Iob 13.24 25. Wherefore then hidest thou thy face and takest me for thine enemie? Wilt thou vse thy strength against a leafe? against dry stubble? Wilt thou pursue a smoke, a shadow, a thing of nothing? Haue mercy vpon me, O LORD, for I am weake. Not only to fall,2. Weaknes. but much more in rising from my fall; in repairing my state, in recouering thy III loue and fauour againe.Perditio tua ex te Is­rael, tan­tummodo in me auxili­um tuum. Hos. 13. This I can no waies doe by my naturall strength, no wayes without thy speciall power. I am able to offend thee, to fetter my feete in the snares of sinne, to bring my selfe into danger of [Page 14] thy wrath; but to appease thee, to free & releeue my selfe, I am altogether vnable. I can cast my selfe in­to the deepe pit of perdition; but come forth and re­turne backe, by my owne forces, I cannot. And therefore I still straine my voyce vnto thee: Haue mercy vpon me, O LORD, for I am weake. Weake in falling; weake in rising; but most weake I am, either to encounter or endure thy wrath.

IIII Gracious GOD, I prostrate my selfe at the feete of thy mercy,3. Weaknes. I creepe vnder the wing of thy com­passion. I deale not with thy iustice, I tremble to thinke of it; It is with thy mercy and compassion that I haue to doe. Correct mee in fauour, but not in furie: to my instruction scourge me, but not to my de­struction. Alas! my weakenesse hath made mee sin­full, and my sinnes haue made me miserable; and my V misery now sueth to thy mercy. If my misery were without sinne, then I would plead it before thy iu­stice, thy iustice would then relieue my case; but for that it proceedeth from my sinne, I lay my plea at the barre of thy mercy. Haue mercy vpon mee, O LORD, for I am weak [...]: I am not able to beare thy iustice, I am not able to behold it; I am so farre vna­ble to endure the force of thy wrath, that the feare thereof hath almost vndone me. It hath possessed e­uery part of my body, It maketh my feeble flesh to VI tremble, it doeth torment my very bones. For vn­fained feare and griefe of minde, will soone worke effects in the body; because the body and the soule are so firmly and familiarly knit together, that what­soeuer ioy or griefe happeneth to the one, it is forth­with [Page 15] communicated to the other:Cor meum & caro mea exultane­runt in De­um vitium. euen as in two roomes ioined together, whatsoeuer motion or stirre is in the one, it is easilie sensible in the other.

Blessed LORD, thou art alwayes good; thou hurtest no man, vnlesse himselfe be in the blame, vn­lesse VII it be through his owne default. For as the Sun beame is cleare and comfortable in it selfe, and so is it to the eye that is sound, yet to a sore eye it is very grieuous: not through any default in the Sunne, but by the diseased disposition of the eye: so albeit thou in thy selfe art perfectly good, and doest nothing but good, yet to a sinner thou art grieuous; thy good­nesse can doe no other then trouble and torment him: not through any euill influence from thee, but by reason of euill disposition in himselfe. And ther­fore, O gracious goodnesse! O mercifull LORD! O louer of mankinde! not onely in pity pardon my weakenesse, but in power remoue it; that I may bee strong and able to enioy thy goodnesse; that thy goodnesse be not greeuous vnto me. LORD! I resort VIII vnto thee, not only as to a Iudge for pardon, but as to a Physitian for cure. My weakenesse hath taken a deepe surfet of sinne, and it is now growne to a de­sperate disease. All the faculties of my soule are in­fected, and the poyson is dispersed through all the members of my body. I can feele no strength, I can feele no quiet: not onely my feeble parts, but they that are most strong are troubled alike. Haue mercy vpon mee, and heale mee. O GOD! Haue mercy vp­on my imperfection, and heale my infection, I humbly entreat thee. Let thy mercie extend not only to par­don [Page 16] mee, but to heale mee: not onely to par­don my sinnes that are past, but to make mee strong and able against sinnes heereafter. For what good will pardon doe mee, if presently I returne to my sinne againe? What will it auaile that I bee washed, if foorthwith I plunge my selfe in the mire? LORD, I present my selfe vnto thee in the lowest degree of humility and griefe; my eies charged with teares, my breast with sighes, my tongue with complaints, my whole bodie with disquiet: Let thine indignation now cease, looke vpon mee with a more calme coun­tenance. Helpe me vp and I will rise, hold me vp and I will stand: comfort and confirme my sin-oppressed sences. Haue mercy vpon me and heale me: giue me thy health and strength, that vnder confidence of thy mercy I may boldly looke thy iustice in the face.

VERS. III.

My soule is also sore troubled; but LORD how long wilt thou delay.

  • 1 THE torments of the soule how great they are.
  • 2 The effects of vnfayned contrition.
  • [Page 17]3 A resort to GOD.
  • 4 How offensiue sin is to GOD.
  • 5 Whe [...]efore sinne is the cause of trouble.
  • 6 A prayer.
  • 7 The cause of GODS delay.
  • 8 The remedie.

AND yet, the trouble of the bodie might bee borne well enough: a mans courage may suffice to beare out any bodily griefe; but who can beare the vexation of the soule? The paine of the body, is but the I body of paine; the sorrow of the soule, is the soule of sorrow. Now thy terrours haue also surprised my soule. Not onely my body is cruelly crushed, both with the sence of my sin, and feare of thy wrath; but my soule also is very grieuously afflicted with the one, and affrighted with the other. This soule which thou hast created to praise thee, is astonished to be­hold thee, astonished to thinke on thee: this soule which is the breath of thy mouth, is vnable to en­dure the breath of thy displeasure: this soule which thou hast created to represent thy likenesse, hath no liking, no power to sustaine thy presence. The loue thereof is extinguished with feare; it hath neither roome nor respite to hope in thee. In thee it dares not rest assured, in any other thing it cannot. For II assuredly, whensoeuer earnest and vnfained contri­tion seazeth vpon the soule, it disturbeth all ioy, it [Page 18] taketh away pleasure in any thing but teares; it per­mitteth not to thinke on any thing but what is terri­ble. And as they who are in danger of shipwracke, cast ouer board their rich and best esteemed Mer­chandises, to saue their liues: so they who are tos­sed with the tempest of GODS anger,Reuertimi­ni ad me in ieiunio▪ [...]letu & planctu; s [...]indite cor­da vestra. &c. Ioel. 2. to saue their soules, doe not onelie abandon, but hate those things which formerly were either most delightfull or deere vnto them.

Out alas! how am I oppressed? into what perple­xities is my poore sorrow-beaten soule plunged? how is it abandoned? how are all the powers there­of laide waste? The vnderstanding is darkened, the will dazled, the memory confounded, the cou­rage broken and beaten downe: dread and amaze­ment haue dulled my sences. But aboue all, my con­science is goared with the sting of sinne. It angui­sheth, it lanceth, it stretcheth, it teareth, it crucifi­eth the very heart of my soule; It stirreth all vpside downe.Cor Impij quasi m [...]re feruens qui­escere non potest. Verely, I finde it to be very true, That the heart of a sinner is as the raging sea, which neuer hath rest: The waues whereof are alwaies in motion, and one alwaies dashing against another. I leade a life e­uer dying, and I feele a death neuer ending: all my choice is concluded in this; whether I will stand still without helpe, or stirre any waies without hope.

And as a fearefull Doue shaketh at the roaring of thunder, and shrinketh into some obscure hole, sup­posing it self most safe when it is least seene: so my a­mazed soule, trembling at the dreadfull sound of thy threats, looketh about for some place of retreit, ei­ther [Page 19] to defend or to hide it from thy furious face. It would flie from thee, but it knoweth not whither: it would be protected against thee, but it knoweth not by whom. O my GOD! I cannot flie from thee, but by flying to thee. And therefore I flie from thee III offended, to thee appeased; I flie from thee through the gate of thy iustice, and I flie to thee thorow the gate of thy mercie; I flie from a iust reuenging Iudge, to a mercifull and indulgent father; whose goodnes is infinite, whose mercie is a spring, a streame, an O­cean that cannot be exhausted: the goodnes no lesse liberall, then the mercie is abundant. O sweetnesse of desi [...]e! O safetie of soules! open to me, thy di­stressed suppliant; Let thy fauour receiue me, run­ning from thy furie; Let thy pitie protect mee, a­gainst thy seueritie; comfort my troubled soule with one gentle cast of thy countenance: for I shall neuer recouer againe either my safetie or my quiet, vntill I recouer thy most louing and louely looke.

For sinne is so offensiue, so odious vnto thee, that IV wheresoeuer thou findest it, thou canst not affoord a kinde countenance; thou must needes turne away thine amiable eies; thou wilt not displaie thy beau­tie vpon so filthie a dunghill.

And this is the cause why wee are so troubled:V For when thou turnest away thy face they shall be troubled. Auertente te faciem tuam tur­babuntur. Assuredlie, the vexation of my soule can haue nei­ther end nor ease, vntill thou turnest to mee thy ap­peased countenance. All other appliancies are as the handling of vlcers and wounds; they doe but draw more humours to my sore; they rather inflame [Page 20] then any waies asswage it.

VI But how long, O LORD! how long will thine indignation? how long, O LORD! shall my anguish endure? how long wilt thou with-hold thy comfort from me? Thou who hast alwaies beene slowe to wrath, art thou slow now to lay downe thy wrath? Thou who hast euer beene patient, art thou now be­come inflexible? Is thine anger no lesse hard to quench now, then heeretofore it hath beene to kin­dle? O desire of my soule! thou knowest my tribu­lations, my thoughts lie naked in thy sight: thou seest how for thee my heart sorroweth, my breast sigheth, mine eie weepeth, my body fainteth, and my soule languisheth. And wherfore tariest thou? wher­fore dost thou prolong my longing? wherefore dost thou martyr me with delay? VVhy sufferest thou me thus long to be vexed? Is the cause heereof in thee? or is it in my selfe? Are thy mercies spent? is thy lo­uing kindnesse at an end? wilt thou no more bee in­treated by sinners? or am I only cancelled out of thy conceit?

VII No, no: I doe not so feelinglie want thee, I doe not so ardentlie desire thee as my case requires. Ve­relie, the cause is in my selfe, and not in thee. There is some trespasse in my teares, my sorrow is seasoned with some sinne: thou seest some cause for which I cannot see thee: else wouldest thou not thus estrange thy selfe; else thus thou wouldest not giue me ouer. I am rather vnworthy to entertaine thee, then thou vnwilling to come vnto mee. VVell then, I will still stir vp the coales of my dull deuotion; I will heape [Page 21] on more fewell; I will not cease blowing vntill it rise to a full and constant flame; I will not entreat onely, but I will importune thee; I will wrestle with thee as Iacob did with the Angel: I will not let thee goe vntill thou blesse me.

VERS. IIII.

Turne thee, O LORD, and deliuer my soule: Oh saue me for thy mercies sake.

  • 1 A Prayer.
  • 2 The pleasures of this life how vnprofitable they are.
  • 3 The great distance betweene GOD and a sinner.
  • 4 How brought together.
  • 5 How grieuous it is to be separate from GOD.
  • 6 An earnest desire of the soule after GOD.
  • 7 The absence of GOD worse then his anger.
  • 8 How GOD is to be desired.
  • 9 What mooueth GOD to pitie and relieue.
  • 10 The great mercy of GOD.
  • [Page 22]11 To whom his mercy is properly due.
  • 12 Mercy to sinners is a due.
  • 13 GOD is most liberall, and wherefore.
  • 14 How wee should desire GOD to turne to vs his face.

I O Come, mercifull LORD! come and turne vpon me thy fauourable face; come exercise vpon me the worke of mercie. Regard me not as sinfull, but as sorrowfull for my sin: punish not my offences, but pity the weaknesse from whence they proceed; pity the distresse where­into they haue cast me: pitifullie regard my weake­nesse and distresse. For I feele my soule plunged in a II vast sea of sinne; I feele how fast it sinketh, how vio­lentlie it is swallowed. I haue greedily grasped at the floating comforts of this life; but I finde no stay in them; I finde they rather pester then releeue me. I finde them like a flash of lightning in a darke stormy night; which serueth to shew the present infelicity, and to increase the horror of ensuing darknesse. And therefore doe I now streine out my voice, and stretch III foorth my hand vnto thee for helpe. Gladlie would I turne to thee, but I am not able: for there is so great a distance betweene a sinner and thee, that by his owne forces he cannot return and come neere thee. Depart from thee, and adhere to euill of our selues we may; but we cannot forsake euill and turne to thee, but by thy speciall power. No man by his proper vertue is able to saue, and consequently to IIII iustifie himselfe; thy grace must alwaies preuent [Page 23] him; thou must first call him, before he be able to IV cal vpon thee.Conuerte me Domine & conuer­t [...]r. Iere. 31. Cecidi in fa­ciem meam, & ingres­fus est in me spiritus, & & posuit me super pe­des meos. Ezech. 3. The beginning of our conuersion must be from thee, from thy preuenting and inciting grace. And therefore turne to me, and then shall I be turned to thee: Turne vnto me, not by any change in thy selfe, for thou art immutable: but turne to me by thy goodnesse and grace: and I will turne to thee by re­pentance and amendment of life.

Oh! how grieuous is it to bee separated and e­stranged from thee? what good can comfort? what euill will not annoy when thou art turned away?V Thou art the rock of my faint faith,Vide quan­tum malum & quan­tum ama­rum est de­reliquisse te Dominum Deum tuū. Ierem. 2. Iob. 13.24 the anchor of my wauering hope, the center of my languishing desire and loue. In thee I trust, vpon thee I relye: I am so VI earnest in desiring thee, that I neither desire nor almost thinke vpon any other thing. But where art thou? In what cloud doest thou hide thy selfe? what meanest thou to suspend thy comfort so long? to punish my desire so much with delay? Wherefore hidest thou thy face and takest me for thine enemie? Al­beit VII thou art angrie with me, yet would not I haue thee depart from me: I had rather enioy thee angrie, then not at all;Deus de re­liquit cum pe [...]sequi­mini & comprehen­dite, quia non est qui eripiat? Psal. 71.9. because thou art most extreamely an­grie when thou turnest from vs. When thou art an­grie and present, then doest thou instruct vs, then reforme vs: but when thou turnest from vs, then thou giuest vs ouer, then thou leauest vs to innumera­ble and vnauoidable euils. Albeit my friends forsake me, albeit my enemies persecute me, albeit all the so­cieties of men and of Diuels tumult against mee, yet doe not thou forsake me, doe not thou depart from [Page 24] me.Hos. 9.12. For woe to them from whom thou departest.

But take heed, O troubled soule! and consider well VIII what thou requirest of the LORD. Art not thou a sinner,Iob. 10.6. a grieuous sinner? is not GOD a searcher of sinnes? a grieuous punisher of grieuous sinnes? Doest thou not pray to him to turne away his face from thy sinnes? Ps. 51. Vbi abscon­dam me a vultu irae tuae, quia peccaui ni mis. Iob. 13 Did not holy Iob say, where shall I hide me from thy countenance because I haue sinned? And wouldest thou haue him turne his face to thee, being a most heynous sinner? Yes, yes: I know well e­nough what I desire. I know that GOD hath more faces then one.Exo. 33.20 He hath a face of Maiestie which no man can see and liue. This face I cannot see. He hath a face of iustice.Vultus Do­mini sure­facientes mola, vt perdat de terra me­moriam eo­ [...]um. ps. 23. Apoc. 1. Ier. 33.5. This face I would not see. It is ter­rible to sinners: this face is vpon them who doe euill, to destroy their memoriall from the earth. But hee hath a­nother face of compassion and mercie. And this face is like the Sunne: exceeding full both of beautie and of vertue. This face hee hideth from sinners. This face I desire to be displayed vpon me, be it neuer so cloudie, neuer so angrie: the anger of this face, is to make sinners pure.Ier. 50.20. Num. 6.25 LORD make this face to shine vp­on mee, and be mercifull to mee. LORD, this face doe I seeke: ps. 27.9.10. oh hide not thou thy face from mee, nor cast away thy seruant in displeasure.

Come, come, gracious LORD: with-hold no lon­ger. O water of life! O shower of our saluation! di­still IX into mee one drop of thy dewe. Seeing I am no­thing without thee, let me taste the benefit of being thine. I desire thee, and not thine: for thy selfe, not for thy gifts. I desire thee onely; not thee for any [Page 25] thing, nothing for thee, nothing with thee, nothing beside thee. Come, deliuer my soule from the chaines of sinne, wherewith I am bound to satisfie the rigour of thy iustice, by eternall death and damnation. De­liuer me from long custome of sinne: deliuer mee both from the pleasures and cares of this world; which are cables to tye me, fetters to hold mee captiue from turning to thee. Deliuer my soule and saue me. First, de­liuer my soule from present distresse, then addresse me in the right way of thy saluation.

It is true, that there is no desert, no goodnes in me,X that should any wayes mooue thee to pitie or relieue mee. For I haue loosely abandoned thee, I haue trayterously conspired against thine honour, I am al­together vnworthy, but in wrath and reuenge to bee regarded of thee. But I entreat thee by thine infinite goodnesse (which is sufficient to abolish all the sinnes in the world) euen in the lowest descent of humilitie, for thy mercies sake I beseech thee, to saue mee. LORD I crie to thee in the confidence of thy mercies, and not of my merits: whereto no saluation, but eternall death and destruction is due. And if thou wilt not absolute­ly be entreated, yet this word mercie is a maine argu­ment to mooue thee, or to assure me at the least that thou wilt saue me.

For thou art merciful, both inwardly in thy selfe, & outwardly to others. It is thy proper nature to beê XI merciful: it is more proper for thee to do good,Misericors & misera­tor Domi­nus. Psal. 115. to im­part thy selfe to al things, then it is for the Sun to en­lighten, then for the fire to giue heat: thou canst not but exercise the actions of mercie. But vpon whom?XII [Page 26] vpon righteous persons? what needeth that? For they haue no miserie, because they haue no sinne, which only is misery, which onely needeth mercie. Is it then vpon small offenders? is it to a certaine de­gree and measure of sinne?Patiens & mu [...]tum misericors. ibid. Why, but thou art excee­ding mercifull; infinite in mercie; no lesse infinite in mercie, then in nature: for thou art mercy. Verely, as XIII the rich man oweth his reliefe to the poore; and the greater his riches are, the greater is his debt: as also the more poore a man is, the more right hee hath to demaund reliefe: euen so, the greater thy mer­cies are, the more must thou exercise the same vpon miserable sinners; and the more miserable and sinfull a man is, the more boldly may he come to thee for mercie. The miserable sinner, ouercharged with sinnes, may confidently make his suit vnto thee; to doe thy duty, to exercise thy action, to take away his misery, to impart to him thy mercie: that where sinne abounds,Vbi abun­dauit de­lictum su­perabun­dauit & gratia. grace also may more then abound.

Men doe therefore giue sparingly, or at the least in some measure, because the more they giue, the lesse they reteine: but thy treasure cannot be either ex­hausted or diminished; thou departest with nothing XIIII by imparting to others; by giuing abundantly, thou hast nothing the lesse. Thou art a fountaine of pitie and mercie, from whence innumerable streames pro­ceede: the waters whereof are infinite, both in quan­titie and in vertue; as well to cure our wounds and in­firmities, as to wash away our filthines, and refresh our weakenesse. O infinite fountaine! how canst thou bee dried? O sweetnesse! O sacietie of desires! [Page 27] what languishing soule came euer to thee, and was not both cured, and clensed and fully refreshed? Doubt­lesse O Lord! thou art exceeding mercifull; and wilt both readily and largely distribute thy mercies a­mong offenders. Thou wilt deliuer them & saue them, if they turne vnto thee; if with penitent hearts they desire thy mercie. Thou art more liberall to giue, then they can be either desirous or willing to receiue.

VERSE. V.

For in death no man remembreth thee: and who will giue thee thankes in the pit?

  • THE wisedome of GOD bindeth our assurance.
  • 2. To what end man was created.
  • 3. The time of life limited for repentance.
  • 4 Paine causeth forgetfulnesse of any thing but of it selfe.
  • 5. As after death repentance is vnprofitable, so at the instant of death it is very doubtfull.
  • 6. The discommodities of late repentance.

[Page 28] AND it is not onely thy mercie which bindeth my reason, but also thy wise­dome. I For I am thy creature, the worke of thy hands; the worke which thy wisedome hath framed to some end. Thy wisedome hath framed nothing in vaine, nothing but to some end; without attayning which end it should not perish. But it is all one if I had beene created for nothing and in vaine, and if I should not attaine to the end for which I was created.

II To what end then did thy Wisedome create mee in this World? Certainely, that I should know thee, and that by knowing thee, I should loue thee; and that in louing thee, I should neuer cease to remember thee, neuer cease to praise thee: neuer cease to sorrow when I offend thee. To this end I was created, and I am desirous to accomplish this end: I am desirous to be an instrument for extolling thy praise, and setting foorth thy glory.

But in case I die thus charged with sinne, before thou turnest thy mercie to me, before I turne to thee by repentance; what honor will thereby rise to thee? III what benefit to my selfe? How shall I then partake of thy goodnesse? How shall I publish and praise the same? For so long as we enioy the benefit of life, We nay repent, we may leaue our sinnes, we may returne to the state of grace. But after death followeth iudge­ment; when no error can be, either repented, or re­paired; but euery man shall suffer according as hee hath done. In this li [...]e we may both dispose our selues, [Page 29] and incite others to blazon thy praise; but in the dun­geon of death, who will thanke thee? who will thinke on thee? who will sing thy praises in the bosome of Hell? This is not a proper place for the sweet har­mony of thy praise, for the ioyfull memoriall of thy name. Thy praise consisteth in a thankefull publi­cation of thy grace, goodnesse and mercie. But this is the house of horror, heere thy full furie and ven­geance inhabite: here can bee neither thankfull nor ioyfull remembrance of thee.

It is familiar to the pleasures of this life (if they be IV great) to cause vs to forget both thee and our selues. But we are far lesse sensible of pleasure then of paine; paines are more sharpe to vs, in a high degree, then pleasures are sweet. Sharpe paines doe so strongly affect the bodie, they doe so viòlently possesse the minde, that it cannot once thinke of any other thing. Who may then remember thee as he should, being vnder the hand of thy terrible wrath? Who shall ei­ther loue thee or laud thee in the ouglie den of death? where the eies are possessed with hideous hurlemēts; the eares, with desperate & fruitles wailings; all the faculties and parts, both with intolerable and endlesse torments. VVhere nothing is either suffered or done, but effects of thine implacable wrath. Assuredlie, they are cursed by thee who are condemned to this place, and heere againe they curse and blaspheme thee.Conuertere ad Dominū & de relin­que peccata tua, & pre­careante fa­ciem domini. Eccles. 17.

For this cause the wiseman exhorteth vs, to turne to thee, to forsake our sinnes, and to make our prayers before thy face. But what is it to do all these things b [...]fore thy [Page 30] face? euen in this life: in which time thy face shineth vpon vs, in which time wee walke before thy face, and may easilie obtaine thy mercie. But the wicked after death are cast behind thy backe, they are drow­ned in perpetuall obliuion neuer to be remembred, ei­ther for pardō or forbearance. They are as the hand­full behind the backe of the Mower, Ier. 9.22. which no man gathe­reth. When hay falleth before the face of the Mower, it maie be gathered vp againe: but when it falleth behind his backe, it is not regarded, it is cast awaie and perisheth. During this life, whilest wee are be­fore thy face, we may easilie be recouered and resto­red to mercie: but afterdeath, no hope of reliefe, no expectation but of iudgment.Leuit. 25. The LORD commanded that if any man had sold a house in a walled city, with­in a yere he should haue power to redeeme it: But after the yere his power to buy it againe was cut off. Now, if for the pleasures of sin we haue sold our eternall ha­bitatiō, Domum ha­bemus non manu fa­ctam eter­nam in coe­lis. 1. Cor. 5. Psal. 88. not made with hands: we haue power to redeem it by repentāce, during the yere of our life: that tearm expired, we haue no abilitie to recouer it again. Then shall that of the Prophet take place, Doest thou shew wonders among the dead? or shall the dead rise againe and praise thee? shall thy louing kindnes be shewed in the graue, or thy faithfulnes in [...]estruction? shall thy wondrous works be shewen in the darke? and thy righteousnesse in the land where all things are forgotten? Assuredlie, as after death teares are fruitlesse, repentance vnprofitable; as after death no mercy is to be expected, nothing but misery, nothing but wrath: so is it doubtful & very dāgerous that our teares, sighes & groanes, are of little force at [Page 31] the verie neere approach of death; whether by age, or by extremities of disease. For at that time, when our powers are either distracted or spent; when wee lie either struggling, or panting vnder the arrest of death; when no part is free, either from the sence or feare of his cruell gripe; we may well be said to be in death; or at least wise in such a condition and state, as doth lesse participate of life then of death. And ther­fore it is doubtfull at the least, lest at that time we shall not remember thee; lest our repentance at that time shalbe too late. A good husband will repaire his house whilest the weather is faire, and not deferre vntill Winter shall approach: a carefull Pilote will furnish his ship whilest the seas are calme, and not staie till tempests are in rage; and a proui­dent man will repent his sinnes in the seasonable time of health and strength, and not protract vntill he be in the very armes and embracements of death; when manie occasions may cut from him, either his mind, or power, or time to repent. For we haue iust cause to feare, that if we would not when we might, we shall not be able when we would: that by our will to doe euill, we maie happilie loose the power to doe good: that in trouble and necessitie we shall not find that helpe, which in prosperitie and peace we did not endeauour to prouide.

This hath our Sauiour declared by a familiar ex­ample:Luke 14. For that no king making warre with one stronger then himselfe, but will indeauour to haue peace whilest his enemie is farre off; And not expect vntill the sword shall threaten his throat. Darest [Page 32] thou, then, O vnfortunate worme! O improuident sinner! Who makest war against the omnipotent LORD, who hath all the powers in heauen earth and hell at his command; darest thou (I say) deferre the making of thy peace with him, vntill the point of his furious approach? Vntill the very houre of his en­counter? How vaine is thy confidence? How sottish thy sence? Wherefore wilt not thou make thy peace in time, whilest he is far off? Wherfore wilt thou not in­treat his mercy before thou cōmest to feele his power. Assuredly,3. Paralip. 18.24. the day will come when thou shalt goe from chamber to chamber (from one auoidance to another) to hide thee, and yet shalt find neither couert nor defence.

VI Alas! who dares trust to the broken reede of ex­treame sickenesse or age? bruised by originall, but altogether broken by our actuall sinnes? Repentance is often vnprofitable, euen in the best time and state of our life, by reason of defect of a right intention: & therefore we haue good cause not to trust to this late and last time of repentance.Heb. 12.17 For if Esau could not finde repentance, albeit hee sought it with Teares; how reasonable may wee suspect our extreame late seeking for repentance? Not because true repentance is euer too late, but because late repentance is seldome true; as proceeding rather from feare, then from loue; from necessitie rather then from willingnesse and desire; rather outwardly pretended, then inten­ded from the heart. LORD turne to me and deliuer my soule; Enlighten my vnderstanding from this grosse darkenesse; free my desires from these massie yron fetters of [...]inne. That I may turne to thee in the sea­sonable [Page 33] time of sanity and strength; and not deferre the waighty worke of my repentance, vntill either by long custome of sinne, or by debilitie of bodie and minde, I shall not be able to thinke on thee.

VERS. VI.

I am weary of my groning, euery night wash I my bed, and water my couch with my teares.

  • 1. ASsurance from the Iustice and power of GOD.
  • 2 Iustice requireth not a double condemna­tion.
  • 3 The arraignment of a conscious soule.
  • 4 When sinnes hurt vs.
  • 5 A true resolution.
  • 6 The vertue of perseuerance.
  • 7 Repentance must be answerable to our fall.
  • 8 Teares a precious liquor, and wherin chiefly to be be­stowed.
  • 9 An incitement for teares.
  • 10 When teares are profitable.
  • 11 A prayer addressed with teares.

[Page 34] NOT onely thy mercy and wise­dome may mooue thee to saue me, not onely doe I relie and rest vp­on them, but I haue found a hony combe in the mouth of a Lion: thy I iustice and thy power, which were so terrible to me, affoord me also great comfort and assurance. For tell mee, if thy iu [...]tice findeth a man condemned and vnder executi­on, what will it then doe? Surely, it will prosecute no further: it will put vp the sword and be at peace. II Thy iustice requireth not a double condemnation; it sufficeth that an offender hath iudgement once: thou neuer iudgest them, whom thou findest iudged. But I am now iudged alreadie:Si nosmet ipsus diju­dicarimus, nen vtique dijudicare­mur. I haue preuented thy iudgement by iudging my selfe. Behold, O searcher of hearts, how my sinfull soule hath beene arraigned at the barre of mine owne iudgement; how by the euidence of my conscience it is found guilty of many III grieuous offences, against thee, against many men, and against it selfe. How it is committed close prisoner to sorrow. How by solemne sentence it is enioined, neuer to cease groaning, neuer to cease wee­ping,In quacun­que hora peccator in­g [...]muerit saluus erit. vntill it hath procured thy pardon. Loe now I am come to thy presence, and put vp my penitent petition to thee. O thou, who hast promised to saue sinners, when they mourne and lament; saue me now, speake comfortablie to my sobbing soule, releeue and release my distressed state. Beholde how I languish [Page 35] vnder this leaden loade of griefe! behold how I sink vnder this sad charge of sorrow! that as sinne is cau­sed by vnlawfull pleasures, so by true and vnfayned sorrow these pleasures may be extinguished, and the sinnes done away. For our sinnes neuer hurt vs, if IIII wee remember them with like sorrow, as with plea­sure we did commit them.

Alas! my soule is torne in pieces with remem­brance of my sinnes; my strength is broken both with the greatnesse and continuance of my griefe. I V am weary of my groning: and yet will I not cease to re­double my groanes. On the one side, these penitent pressures haue vowed neuer to forsake me, vntill they haue reconciled me to thee; On the other side, my earnest prayers haue vowed neuer to leaue thee, vn­till they haue reconciled thee to me. Many streams of teares haue gushed also out of my eyes; and yet will I not close them in one drie sleepe, vntill I haue obtained thy fauour. For in vaine did I begin to re­pent, if I perseuere not in a constant course: In vaine did I attempt to knocke at heauen gates, if I should giue ouer before they be opened.

Perseuerance is so necessary a vertue to all peni­tents; VI that without it they neuer attaine the fruites of their endeuours, they shall neuer haue remission of their sinnes. This is the perfection of all vertues;Qui perse­uerauerit vsque in fi­ne, hic sal­uut erit. the iustice of the righteous, the glory of their suffe­rings, the triumph of their troubles, the accomplish­ment of their hopes. Without this, neither he that sighteth shall haue victory, nor the victorious glory: without this, no action is acceptable to GOD. For [Page 36] where the desire of perfection doth end, there doeth the sinne of defection begin: which not onely defa­ceth, but depraueth all the good that went before: not onely maketh it to be no good, but turneth it to odious euill. A debtor is not discharged by paying much, but by paying all: nor hee crowned who run­neth well, but hee who holdeth out well to the end. They onely shall attaine the end of their endeuours, who turne not their feet backe, like the children of Ephraim;Psal. 78.10 Gen. 19. who turne not their eies backe, like Lots wife; who turne not their thoughts backe, like the people of Israel, Num. 11. Quae retro sunt obliui­scens, ad ea quae priora sunt exten­dens me ip. sum, adde­stinatum persequor branium. Phil. 3. when they departed out of Egypt. Only they shall be crowned, who with a constant courage pursue their designes, and neither faile nor faint vntill attainement.

Well then; I will not remit, not intermit the la­bours of repentance; my wearinesse shall not cause me to giue ouer my groaning; day and night I will not forbeare to weepe. Repentance is a baptisme of teares; and the greater that our fall hath beene, the VII greater must be the torrent of our teares. It is natu­rall to men, that their lamentation bee in some sort answerable to their losse.Quid pro­dest homini si mundum vniuersum lucretur, a­nimae vero suae detri­mentum pattatur. Matth. Cautarizae­tam haben­tes conscien­tiā. 1. Tim. 4 But my losse hath beene so great, that no teares are sufficient to lament them. I haue lost the grace and fauour of GOD; I haue lost his righteousnesse, I haue lost both his feare and his loue, I haue lost GOD himselfe, I haue lost mine owne soule. Out wretch! What can I bee sayd to haue, when I haue lost both GOD and my selfe. How obdurate is my heart? how dull, how dead is my soule? how is my conscience cauterized and sea­red, [Page 37] if for so great losses I cannot weepe? The soule which is sensible of a needels point? shall it not bleed at the strokes of lances and swords? I can weepe for losses in my temporall estate, for losse of worldly kinred or friends I easily fall to immoderat weeping: and can I not open a veine of teares when I haue lost the riches of heauen? when I haue lost both GOD and my selfe? Assuredly, teares are so precious a li­quor,VIII that wee should not spend them for ordinary matters. But if not for other things, if not for GOD, yet am I bound to bestow teares for my selfe.Weep not for mee, but weepe for your selues. Luke 27. If for nothing else I may weepe, yet it is lawfull to weepe for my selfe. For in all other matters teares are lost, in case they be not spent for our selues.

Oh! that I could weepe an Ocean of teares; to IX drowne my sorrow, to drowne my shame. Oh! that I could resolue my bowels into teares. So, so: this is right. Sob, O my heart, vntill thou doest ake: shower downe more plenty of teares, O my eies! set your selues on float in a full tide of teares. As vncleane ves­sels must be first scoured, and then washed; so my impure soyled soule, must bee first well rubbed with griefe, then washed with teares; and so happily it will appeare beautifull and faire. For teares are no­thing X worth, if they proceed from a softnesse and tendernesse of nature, and not from a heart attached with griefe. They must be the sweat of the soule, la­bouring in sorrow: they must bee the bloud of a wounded conscience: they must bee drops from a heart, pierced with griefe.

Fauourable LORD, receiue the groanes which my [Page 38] griefe sendeth to thee; winged with sighes, and poysed with teares. Teares which are able to quench hell fire, let them appease thy fiery fu­rie; thou who art by terrors inuincible, yeeld thy selfe to be vanquished with teares. Ah my GOD! thou hast oftentimes heard my groanes, my teares haue often preuayled with thee: heare now my groanes, bee againe intreated with teares. Let not those faults seeme foule vnto thee, which I haue so often washed with my teares.

VERS. VII.

My beauty is gone for very trouble: and worne away because of all mine enemies.

  • 1 INSVLTING enemies how grieuous they are.
  • 2. Pity in distresse is naturally desired.
  • 3. The malice of enemies mooueth GOD to bee mer­cifull.
  • 4. Sinne is the first cause of hostility and hate.
  • 5 Our sinnes stirre vp store of enemies both without and within vs.
  • 6 Which should draw vs to humility.
  • 7. A defiance to our flesh.
  • 8 Our misery is a good assurance of GODS com­passion.
  • 9 A prayer to that end.

[Page 40] IMmortall and immutable GOD! Thou seest how I am cast downe, how low I am fallen; euen beneath the base condition of contempt. I am as a withered flower, without either beautie or sap; I am so con­sumed with griefe, that there remai­neth in me neither fauour nor forme. For I lie vnder the seuere hand of thy wrath; I am assailed with out­ward calamities, I am disquieted with inward angui­shes. I And herew [...]th my enemies multiply, and tu­mult against me; not so much to ouer beare me (for that is effected to their hands) as to insult ouer mee. Their insolent insulting doth much increase the sense of my miseries; It is no lesse grieuous to mee, then my miseries themselues. Whatsoeuer either heart or hope my miseries haue left, the same by the insolence of mine enemies is beaten downe. To lie prostrate vnder thy heauie hand, is a heauie case; to be depri­ued of the poorest comfort of calamitie, pitie, is a II very pitifull state indeede; naturally we desire, if wee cannot be relieued, yet to be pitied: but to be despi­sed and despited in our miseries, to see men so farre from pitie, that they take pleasure at our deiection, what can be said or suffred more? Assuredlie, not ca­lamities, not death it selfe, is so grieuous to a free in­genuous mind, as is derision and despite.

III Now, this being the condition of my case, What rigour wilt thou further vse? What sad seueritie will [Page 41] thy anger further execute vpon me? What? wilt thou exercise thy strength against so deiected a per­son? Against a worme? against a leafe? against a shadow? against nothing? Will a Giant make proofe of his prowesse against a Gnat? Or if he do, shall he euer attaine glorie by his atchieuement? Consider, O LORD, first my troubles, then both the multitude and malice of mine enemies, and then see in what sort it may best beseeme thy Almightie Maiestie to deale with me.

For, as generallie sinne is the first cause of hostili­tie IV and hate;Gen. 3.15. as enmitie is the curse of sinne [...] as by sinne man hath lost, not onelie the obedience of o­ther creatures, but amitie both among themselues,V and within their owne bosomes: so my particular sinnes haue stirred such s [...]ore of enemies against me, that I account my selfe of all men most forsaken and forlorne. I haue offended the LORD and Creator of all things, and haue thereby incurred the hostilitie of all creatures; all creatures in his quarrell are in Armes against me. Nothing doth take my part, no­thing doth comfort me, all things are violentlie bent to oppresse me. Mine ancient enemies haue doubled, both in malice and in power; manie doe dailie ad­ioine vnto them; my kindred and kinde friendes grow strange. No man but either openlie or se­cretlie setteth himselfe to pursue mee; some with despite, others with derision and scorne, the re­sidue with forgetfulnesse or contempt. Yea, mine owne conscience most sharpelie pursues me, my most secret thoughts mutine within me; abroad and at home I can find no peace.

[Page 42]For this cause I haue composed my voice to the tunes of mourning, I haue cast downe my counte­nance with trembling and shame; all my behauiour is attired in the vnlouelie liuerie of sadnesse. I goe as one vnseene, or vnknowne, or vnregarded; I walke as senslesse of any thing but onely of sorrow. I haue not onely neglected, but euill intreated my filthie flesh, for conspiring to betray my soule to the slauery of sinne; for drawing my soule downe into hell, which should haue soared vp with my flesh in­to heauen.

VII Flesh [...], thou corrupt case of flesh and bloud; wher­in my soule is pent, as a prisoner in a loathsome Iaile. Thou hast shamefully abused and abased that guest, which hath hitherto supported thee, hitherto preserued thee from putrefaction and stincke. I haue therefore challenged the combat of thee, I am fully resolued to beat thee downe. I will also complaine of thee to the omnipotent Iudge, in the high Court of his Starre Chamber; I will prooue thee a deceiuer, a traitor; I will prooue thee a combiner, a riotour with the world and the Deuill: I will proue thee a forger of false assurances.

VIII Alasse! there is left in me, neither beautie to be enuied, nor strength to be feared. I am sunke so low, as there needeth now a strong hand to raise me, great power and goodnesse to restore me. VVhat wilt thou do more against me? VVilt thou also presse me downe with thine Almighty arme? But the noble nature of a Lion will not hurt the beast that falleth prostrate before him. And doublesse, the more a man [Page 43] is endued both with magnanimity and power; the more prone is he, not only to forbeare, but to e­rect and relieue those that are deiected. For true va­lour and compassion are alwaies chained together. And therfore thou who art most magnanimous, must also of ne [...]essity be most compassionate; Thou who art most powerfull and most magnanimious; must also of necessity bee most inclinable, most forward, most desirous to saue.

O my GOD! whose pitie is equall to thy power; IX I am a most miserable forlorne creature: I know it right well, I acknowledge it to thee: Shew now vp­on mee thy pitifull power; not onely in sparing, but in sauing me. In this let thy power be knowen: for this let mee glorifie thy name. Deale with mee as thou diddest with those who did foolishly tempt thee; whom thou diddest saue for thy name, Et salua­uit propter nomen suum, vt notam fato­ret potenti­am suam. that thy power might be knowne. For assuredly, thy power may now be shewn more by relieuing, then by further op­pressing; thy power shall this way work to thy grea­test praise. This will best beseeme thy most excellent Maiestie, this is most agreeable to the greatnesse of thy power; this is most agreeable to the good­nesse of thy will; this will best sort to the glorie of thy Name.

VERS. VIII.

Away from mee all yee that worke vanity: for the LORD hath heard the voice of my weeping.

  • 1. HOW GOD is changed and yet remaines im­mutable.
  • 2. Good drawen from the contrary euill.
  • 3 Societie of the wicked is to bee auoided, and wherefore.
  • 4. A resolution to auoid such societie.
  • 5. The hate of the wicked is empty of harme, and wherefore.
  • 6. The force of Teares.
  • 7. How beautifull they are.
  • 8. A resolution not to giue ouer weeping.

[Page 45] BVT loe, this stiffe storme is sud­denly blowne ouer: the tempest which did driue so bitterlie in my face, is suddenlie turned to a quiet calme: the cloudes of displeasure which were wrapped about my head, are broken and dispersed; and the sweet Sun­shine of mercie hath cleered her comfortable beames vpon me. GOD is now appeased with me; he hath now changed his countenance towards me; and yet remaineth immutable in himselfe. For as naturall causes worke according to the disposition of the sub­iect (as the same Sunne hardeneth Clay, and melteth Waxe; comforteth some bodies, and scorcheth o­thers) So the cause of all causes, being alwaies one, worketh diuerslie in vs, accordingly as wee are dif­ferentlie disposed towards him.

Come hither now all yee that are oppressed with II griefe; I will tell you that which you will hardlie be­leeue. In a darke Dungeon I haue found Paradice; in sorrow, ioy; in trouble, tranquillitie and rest; in want, abundance; in despaire, hope; in trembling and feare, assurance and strength. All this you will hardly beleeue, yet all this hath the sweet hand of the LORD effected for me Loe, he that was once far off, is now present; I embrace him whom once I could not see; he that could not be found, is now dis­couered, hath now approached. He hath comforted me, he hath cured me, he hath ministred strength and courage to me.

[Page 46] III And therefore, Away from me all ye workers of iniqui­tie: I will haue nothing to doe with you: your iniqui­ty is contagious, it shall not come neere me, I am now reconciled to GOD, I am restored to his friend­ship: I will no more bee familiar with you, I can take no pleasure in your societie. I am newly cleansed, I will not defile my selfe with your impure conuersati­on; your wickednesse shall haue no opportunitie to vndermine my weakenes. If a building be weak, and the walls decline, a smal force is su [...]ficient to prostrate it to the ground. But our weake nature detorted from originall Iustice, and much empaired by frequencie of sinne, is alwaies prone and enclinable to euill: the Imagination of mans heart is euill euen from his youth. Gen. 8.21. And therefore I will auoid all outward oc­casions that may attract me to euill; among which, familiar conuersing with euill men is the chiefe.Cum sancto sanctus eris, & cum peruer­so peruer­teris. Psa. 18.25. For if two contraries be applied together, the stronger must necessarilie destroy the weaker. But as we are more enclinable to vice then to vertue; so vice is more strong in the wicked, then vertue in the good: where­by it followeth, that the societie of euill men is most dangerous to the good; and that as an hundred sound men shall sooner take the plague from one infected person,Egredimi­ni de Baby­lone, fugite a Chaldaeis. Es. 48. Ier. 50. Recedite a Taberna­culu im­pi [...]um, Num. 10. then he recouer his health by them; so the good are more often peruerted by the wicked, then the wicked conuerted by the good.

For this cause GOD loueth nor to see his children among the wicked. For this cause hee commanded his people that they should not ioyne in mar­riage with the Gentiles. Exo. 34. For this cause also he [Page 47] commaunded them to destroy the inhabitants of the countrey, which they were to pos­sesse; lest by societie in their conuersation,Num. 33. Psal. 105. they should be drawne into societie of their sinnes; as af­terwards they were indeed. Elihu marueiled at Iob;Iob 31. Phil. 2. and the Apostle at the Philippians, that among the wicked they could liue well. Lot who liued in Sodome,Gen. 19. needed the hand of an Angel to draw him foorth. Saint Peter being in the company of the o­ther Apostles, confessed the LORD to be the Sonne of GOD: but denied him in Caiphas house, when he stood among the wicked by the fire.Matth. 26. GOD comman­ded that no man should touch any creature that was vncleane;Deut. 15. and that whosoeuer touched a dead bo­dy, he shoud be vncleane. But no creature is so vn­cleane as a sinner: no death is like to the death of sinne.

And therefore I will auoid wicked men, as the most vncleane of liuing creatures, and the most loath­some of those that are dead. I will not regard either kindred or kind acquaintance;Semper ali­quid mali propter vi­cinum malū I will esteeme all the wicked alike. I will cast off my neere friends; I will pull out my eyes, I will cut off my hands, rather then they shall draw me to euill.

I will rather liue in desarts and caues,Matth. 26. rather with dragons and vipers,Qui tetige­rit picem in­quinabitur obea. Eccles. 13. then in the society of those that are euill. I will not touch these pitchy companions, I will not in the least matters haue to deale with them. If a small rupture in a bancke be not timelie stopped, it will weare greater, and all the valley will be surrownded thereby.Esay 14. Of the seede of a serpent com­meth [Page 48] the cockatrice: and of small beginnings dange­rous effects may ensue. I will not therefore bee neg­ligent in smallest matters: I will not contemne any enemy: He that despiseth small things, by l [...]ttle and little shall decay. Eccles. 19. Esay 1. The wine (saith the Prophet) is mixed with water. Verely as wine mingled with water, looseth both sweetnes & strength, so the good loose credit & vertue by society with the euill.

But as a man who standeth vpon firme ground will cast foorth boords and lines to saue such as are in danger of drowning, and yet will not approach so neere as to be drowned with them: so I will affoord the wicked what helpes I can, for their safety; but will haue an eie that they fasten not vpon mee, that they draw me not into their destruction.

V Away from me also all yee mine enemies, who in­tend any wickednesse against mee: take away your malice, for your mischiefe is at an end. The LORD is now at peace with me, hee hath put vp the sword of his iustice, he hath giuen to me his mercifull hand. In vaine shall you now either attempt against mee, or insult ouer me: It is not onely vanity, but iniquity which now you shall contriue against me. You shall neuer effect your euill intentions. Hate me you may, but harme me you cannot. You shall neuer preuaile against him, who hath preuailed against the Al­mighty.

VI My teares haue ouercome the Omnipotent, the voice of my teares hath vanquished the inuincible. These luke-warme droppes haue quenched GODS anger, qualified his iustice, recouered his mercy, won [Page 49] his loue. True teares are the language of heauen; they speake strongly to GOD, he heareth them well. No voice hath more free and familiar accesse to him; none is more acceptable, none better vnder­stood. Hee who often regardeth not the voice of the tongue, will alwaies heare the voice of our teares. The voice of the tongue is framed in the mouth, but the voice of teares proceeds from a heart, surprised either with ioy or with griefe. Hee who regardeth onely the heart, doth much regard this language of the heart. Therefore in all the anguishes of my soule, I will vse few words heereafter, but powre forth my sorrow in silent teares; whensoeuer I sin, I will write my supplication for pardon with teares: whensoe­uer I would obtaine any curtesie or fauour from GOD, I will addresse my desire with teares. Teares are too mighty Orators to let any suit fall. When teares crie vnto GOD, when hee is importuned by teares, he will presently grow familiar with vs. They haue so perswading a silence, so conquering a com­plaint; that by entreating they command, by yeel­ding they ouercome. When they seeme most piti­full, then are they most powerfull: when they seeme most forsaken, then are they most victorious.

This dew of deuotion neuer falleth, but it is an VII assured signe of a beautifull day; euen of GODS fa­uour to cleere vpon vs. Vpon what face soeuer it droppeth, it maketh the same amiable in the eies of GOD. I will not therefore giue ouer my weeping,VIII my face must bee still adorned with these liquid pearles, the Angels shall still bathe themselues in [Page 50] these streames of my eies: vntill death damme vp the springs they shall not cease running.

IX But heerein vse some caution (O my soule) for, that thy teares may be profitable, that they may be more acceptable to GOD, they must not proceede from a softnesse and tendernesse of nature:Powre out your hearts be­fore him. Ps. 62.8. but thou must powre foorth thy very heart in teares. They must not proceed from any worldly respect, not from feare of death or of hell, not absolutely from loue of thy selfe: but from loue towards GOD, and from griefe for offending so good a Father, so great a Lord, so pure a perfection and glorie. This loue is the fire, wherwith these siluer drops are melted in the furnace; where­with the flowers of deuotion and grace are distilled into teares. This loue is the sun which resolueth dark pitchie clouds into raine, which resolueth thicke fog­gie mists into dew, and maketh the ayre pleasant and cleere. Without this loue, teares are nothing but ex­crementall water; they are nothing worth if they be not warmed and melted with this heat of loue. For as water taken from pits and welles vpon the earth, is not so fruitfull to make hearbes thriue, as raine wa­ter which falleth from heauen; Insomuch as some plants growing in the middest of waters, will wither and die for want of raine: so teares which proceede from terrene respects, make not the soule so flouri­shing and fruitfull in grace, as teares which fall for the loue of GOD. Such were the teares of the sin­full woman, who watered her masters feet with her teares, who with the teares of her body cleansed her soule. For to her many sinnes were forgiuen, not prin­cipally [Page 51] in regard of her teares, but because shee loued much.

VERS. IX.

The LORD hath heard my peti­tion: the LORD will re­ceiue my prayer.

  • 1 HOW easie GOD is to heare and to par­don.
  • 2. No sooner can wee dispose our selues to aske, but wee receiue from GOD some taste of his fa­uour.
  • 3. Wherefore sometimes GOD deferreth for a time.
  • 4. Inequality betweene GODS disposition and ours.
  • 6. The trophee of repentant Teares.
  • 7. Our miseries turned to medicines.
  • 8. The world how to be esteemed.
  • 9. The experience of GODS liberality and loue, what it worketh.
  • 10. Experience surmounteth reason.
  • [Page 52]11 The condition of our assurance.
  • 12. When GOD cannot be intreated.
  • 13. What giueth wings to our prayers, what weigheth them downe.

I O Incredible clemency and mercy! How commeth it, O LORD, that thou art so ready to heare vs? so easie to pardon vs? did my sorrow sit so neere thy heart? wert thou so stricken with the wounds of my soule, by seeing them bleed so fast at mine eyes? Thou hast now fi­nished my feares, assured my hopes, perfected my ioyes, satisfied my desires. Oh! how good is the LORD? Is any like vnto the most high? who comfor­teth the afflicted, healeth the wounded, reuiueth the dead? Is any other like vnto him? Learne, O ye fee­ble soules! how amiable the LORD is; how merci­full, how mild; how hee visiteth his seruants, how hee neuer disdayneth to impart himselfe to them.

II Scarce, O LORD, can we dispose our selues to craue forgiuenesse, scarce open our lips, scarse ad­dresse our selues to sue to thee for mercy; but we re­ceiue some taste of thy fauour. When we are com­ming to thee slowly and farre off, thou runnest to meete vs; thou embracest vs in the armes of thy loue, thou giuest vs the comfortable kisses of peace. III Or if thou doest deferre thy comfort and consolati­ons for a time, it is to send them in greater abūdance; it is that the long absence thereof, with little hope, [Page 53] and great desire, should make thy presence the more esteemed. O infinite inequality betweene my dispo­sition IV and thine! I am rash in offending thee, and thou art ready to remit mine offences: I runne apace to dishonour thee, and thou hastest more fast to re­ceiue me to grace. I haue searched all places, euen the bottome of the sea, euen the bowels of the earth, to minister foment and food to my sensuall desires: And when these pleasures had poysoned my soule, when I was in a maze of troubles, vnder a Masse of dangers; when I was at the very point to perish, in a moment thou diddest pierce the heauens, and come downe for my deliuerance. Thou diddest not only deliuer me and set me free, but thou diddest comfort and reuiue my languishing soule; euen as a hot Bath refresheth the limbs of a poore tired traueller.

Behold now the Trophee of my repentant teares; VI see how my sorrow triumpheth ouer my sinnes. My hope, which was weighed downe with the leaden plumets of sinne, is now at liberty, now full of liue­ly courage and ioy. The LORD hath heard my petiti­on. I haue not sorrowed and prayed in vaine; I haue obtained pardon, I haue receiued grace; he hath not been strange of his fauour, he hath not been sparing of his mercy towards me. All my former discom­forts VII and miseries are turned to the nature of medi­cines. They haue been like bitter Pils to purge super­fluous and corrupt humors; they haue been like Aloes and VVormewood, to weane me from the tea [...]es of this world. O world! which hast bewitched so ma­ny,VIII blinded so many; Thou wert nothing at thy be­ginning, [Page 52] thy light is but a shadow, thou art but a smoke in thy greatest height; in shew somewhat, but in substance nothing. Thou art sweet to fooles, thou art either bitter, or without rellish to wise men. VVhosoeuer loueth thee, neuer knew thee; whoso­euer knoweth thee, doth either loath or contemne thee.

IX And because now I haue large experience both of the liberality and loue of GOD; I will not hereafter be dismayed, I will not be discouraged: I will assume assurance, that whensoeuer I call vpon him, the LORD will receiue my prayer. Albeit, I see nothing but punishments, and the worst of punishments, feares: albeit I finde no comfort, yet will I hope. I will rather thinke that all my sences are mistaken, then faile in hope; I will first let goe my life, before I will let goe my hope. My reason may be vanqui­shed, but by experience is stronger then reason, my experience cannot be ouercome.

X Approued experience will not be encountered by reason, it prescribeth rules and limits to reason, it is guided by no Law but by it selfe: It hath armed me against all despaires, discouragements, or di­strusts. Albeit reason may discourse, that I haue so often prouoked the wrath of GOD, and wearied his patience, that he cannot but now reiect my prayer; yet experience doth warrant mine infirmity, that the goodnesse of GOD is such, that whatsoeuer petitions and importunities I offer, he will neuer be weary to heare them, neuer vnwilling to grant them: that the more we draw of this fountaine, the fuller are the [Page 55] waters, and the sweeter their taste.

All this is vnder one condition, if wee abandon our XI sinne. For onely our sinne, onely our perseuerance in sinne doeth hinder the approach of our prayers to GOD.

GOD is neuer inexorable, but when man is incor­rigible; XII when man will not be amended, then can­not GOD bee entreated. Wee haue sinned, Though you make many prayers, I will not heare: for your hands are full of blood. Wash you cleane, & though your sins were as crimson, they shall be white as snow. Esay 1.15. &c. and pro­uoked thee to wrath; therefore thou hast couered thy selfe with a cloud, that our prayers should not passe through. Lam. 3. For when we come to entreate him, armed, with those weapons wherewith wee did offend him; when our hearts are bathed in vncleannesse, when our hands smoke with the blood of our sinnes; how should he heare our prayers? how should he not ab­horre them? So long as the broken Iron remaineth in a wound, it is but a vaine labour to applie plaisters to cure it. Of no greater force a [...]e our prayers, and all other religious actions or endeauours, so long as sinne remaineth in the wounds of our will, so long as the pleasure of sinne sticketh fast in our purposes and desires. For as we can neuer qualifie our thirst with drinke, whilest our stomacke is stuffed with such bi­lious humours, as by drinking enflame the greater thirst; so our soules shall neuer bee refreshed with the goodnesse and mercie of GOD, whilest it is full of the poysonous purpose of sinne.

Such a soule is a soile, which the more dewe it recei­ueth, the more weedes it bringeth forth. But if wee be grieued for our sinnes; If we groane vnder their weight, if we wrestle against their malice and power; [Page 56] albeit the clouds were of Iron, and the heauens of brasse, our penitent praiers will pierce them. The XIII LORD will receiue our prayers. Verelie, a religious life giueth spirituall wings to our prayers; It maketh them flie like lightning to the presence of GOD. But [...]inne weigheth them downe; and so much the more, by how much the more our life is reprooueable.

VERS. X.

All mine enemies shall be confounded and sore vexed: they shall be tur­ned backe, and put to shame suddenly.

  • 1 OVR enemies shall bee confounded, and how.
  • 2. The wicked when chiefly vexed at the prosperity of the godly.
  • 3. They shall be extreamely confounded at the mercy of GOD, and wherefore.
  • 4. Delay in sinne, maketh the conuersion to grace more hard.
  • [Page 57]5. GOD turneth to the wicked and to the godly in a different sort.
  • 6. A short prayer.
  • 7. How sinners must seeke.
  • 8. And what they shall finde.
  • 9. A resolution not to stay one houre in sin.

AND what now shall mine enemies I doe? They shall bee altogether con­founded: First, with vexation at my happy estate; afterwards, with shame at their owne repulse, at their sudden ouerthrow, at their perpetuall deie­ction. They shall be anguished to see their hopes and expectations faile; to see my misery changed to feli­city; to see their iniury so much the more cruell, be­cause vniust, turne to my honour; to see him whom they thought to ruinate, whom they had fully desti­ned to death, more highly aduanced then euer hee was before.

They are generally vexed with the prosperous condition of any man; but more especially if hee be II godly, but most grieuously if they professe to prose­cute him with open hate. The prosperity of such a man is more grieuous to them, then their owne cala­mitie. But when they shall further see, that he hath not onely auoided their attempts, but preuailed a­gainst them; that the omnipotent arme of the LORD dasheth them downe; that mountaines of misery do ouerwhelme them; the more apparant their fall shall [Page 58] be to all men, the more shamefull will it bee to them­selues.

III And further, the exceeding mercy and goodnesse of GOD, shall extremely confound them. For the more gracious and mercifull the LORD is, in hearing and receiuing sinners, the more they shall be confoun­ded, if they continue obstinate in their euill, if they will not repent and turne vnto him.

They shall be confounded (I say) because when they nothing doubt of the goodnesse of GOD, yet do they either not esteeme it, or suppose to haue it at pleasure and will. For nothing shall more confound sinners, then that knowing, as well the riches of GODS mercies,Accedite ad me & illu­minamini, & facies vestrae non confunden­tur. Psal. 34. as his gracious goodnesse; which openeth to all, which inuiteth all, which intreateth all to participate therof; Yet they remaine either al­together carelesse, or heauy and dull in comming to him: they either proudly contemne, or with IV false flateries and hopes delay to repent; which the longer they deferre, the more incapable are they made of Grace.

For as a brand newly quenched, will readily take fire, but the longer it remaineth extinguished, the more hardly can it be kindled againe; so in a sinner, the first decaying and dying of grace may easily be quickened; but the longer he continueth dead in sin, the harder will he be reuiued to Grace.

Alas! they ioyed at my griefe, and iested at my groning; they made themselues merry with my mise­ry, and built the trophees of their victory vpon my ruines and disgrace. They did swim in the delights [Page 59] of this world, whilest I bathed my selfe with teares, whilest I chastised and euill entreated my rebellious flesh: But now (Oh shame!) they shall be turned to V another straine. Their ioy shall be turned to smart and sorrow, their pride to contempt, their insolen­cie to ignominie and reproach. And as the LORD hath sodainely turned his fauour to me, so his fury shall sodainely be turned to them. The wrath of the LORD like a sodaine tempest will strike in their faces; It will astonish them, it will cast them downe, it will consume them.

Before thunder goeth lightning (saith the wiseman) and no lesse truely may it be said,Eccles. 22.11. that after lightning commeth thunder. What is lightning but the flashes of pleasure in this life? beautifull, but short. The pleasures of this life are like the momentary flashes of lightning; sodainely gone, and seruing for no­thing but to increase the terrour of ensuing darkenes. And the more bright the lightning is, the more deepe is the darkenesse, the more dreadfull the thunder which is sodainely to ensue.

Assuredly they shall be turned indeed. For if they will not turne vnto thee, thou wilt turne them to confusion and shame.

O most mercifull, most iust GOD! most power­full,VI most prone and ready to helpe. How louing a Father art thou to forsaken Orphanes? how fauou­rable a Iudge to distressed sinners? how sure a friend to those who loue thee, to those who trust in thee? They shall finde thee liberall aboue their deserts, a­boue the highest of their desires: a measurer of thy [Page 60] gifts, not by their worthinesse; but by thine owne goodnesse. Come hither all feeble sinners, whose consciences are afraid of your owne suspicions, who euer thinke you shall be damned: come learne of me what sinners may find, and how sinners must seeke; learne by my affections to obtaine the like effects.

VII Rise earelie in the morning of thy good motions, let them not sleepe too long in sloath: Search thine owne soule diligently; let faith bee thine eye, hope thy guide, loue thy light; search whether thou canst finde the LORD within thee. If thou findest him not there; If thou findest that thy sinnes haue chased him away; laie thy soule vpon the racke of repentance. Wring groanes from thy heart, and teares from thine eyes; stretch it from heauen to earth, vntill perforce thou force it to cry, O GOD! Feare no encounters for GOD, out of GOD desire no comforts: let the desire of him either extinguish or ouerrule the desire of all other things.

VIII Whosoeuer cannot finde GOD; hee doeth not thus seeke him: whosoeuer hath not the like ioy to mine, he neuer had the like sorrow and desire.

IX As for me, who feele my selfe freed from this both pressing and piercing weight, from this loath­some load of sinne; who feele my selfe cheered with the liuelie light of grace; I will not remaine hereaf­ter one houre in sinne, one houre in the hatred of my Creator. I will forget all things, and among them my selfe▪ and thinke of him who thus hath saued me. As the highest heauen draweth all the inferiour with the sway thereof, albeit they haue naturally a [Page 61] contrary course; so my reason enabled by grace, shall draw all my appetites, the whole frame of my inward man; albeit they haue properly a contrary inclination. Gracious GOD! addresse all the instru­ments of my voice to sing praises to thee; instruct all the faculties of my mind to loue thee, to feare thee, to place my full felicitie in the knowledge and obedience of thy will.

Praise, and glorie, and wisedome, and strength, dominion, riches, and power, bee vnto our GOD for euermore.

A SVMMARY PRAYER.

OMnipotent and eternall GOD! whose iustice cannot suffer sinnes vn­punished; whose mercy would not suffer sinnes vnpardoned: I beseech thee, so to moderate thy scourges with mercy, that I may bee able to abide them. For if thou openest the floud-gates [Page 64] of thy fury vpon me, the force ther­of must needes ouer-beare mee, and driue me downe headlong to death. I know, O LORD, that thy cha­stisements are necessary for vs in this life; I decline them not; I craue no forbearance at thy hand; I rather craue that thou wilt not forbeare me. Deale heerein according to thy wisedome, not to my will; not as shall bee most for mine ease, but as thou esteemest best for my good. This onely I desire; that in all thy punishments, I may not finde thee an angry Iudge, but a most kinde and carefull Fa [...]her; that thou wilt correct mee, but not giue mee ouer to death;Ps. 118.18. That I may finde both com­fort and strength in thy stripes: and that as thy rodde doeth chastice me,Thy [...] & thy staffe comfort me. Ps. 23.4. [Page 65] so thy staffe may sustaine mee.

For I am weake, O Almighty GOD I am so weake that I am al­together vnable either not to de­serue thy wrath, or to endure it. My offences haue proceeded from my weakenesse, and they againe haue made mee more weake: they haue made so many mortall woundes in my soule, that I approach neere vnto death. I languish vnder my imminent danger, my owne pu­trefaction is loathsome to my selfe; and the very sight of thy frowne doeth terribly torment mee. My weake soule is so ouercharged, both with feare and with griefe; that it can neither lift vp it selfe, nor qui­etly lie still: neither lift vp it selfe against the power of thy wrath, nor [Page 66] lie still vnder the weight thereof; more horriblie heauie then the fla­ming Mountaine Aetna. But haue mercy vpon mee and heale mee, O gracious LORD! O my GOD! open to me the ouer-flowing Foun­taine of thy euer-flowing mercy; from whence alwayes streame, both the safe, and present, and onely re­medy against the malice and mala­dies of sinne. If thou doe not this, I am vndone; I must presently pe­rish. I am so farre from standing against thy wrath, that my owne weakenesse will draw me downe.

Ah my GOD! wherefore doest thou so long hold backe thy helpe? Wherefore hast thou cut off thy comforts from me? Wherefore art thou so angry? Wherefore so se­uere? [Page 67] Wilt thou turne away thy face foreuer? Returne, O most mercifull Father! for thy infinite mercies sake, I beseech thee, returne to thy accustomed clemency again. Turne to mee the appeased eyes of thy mercy, let mee againe beholde thy gracious & quiet countenance, which my offences haue caused thee to turne away. Deliuer my soule from these miseries; deliuer it from the importable burthen, both of thy seuerity and of my sinnes. Saue me, for I lie quaking vnder the cruell gripes of destruction: Saue mee, LORD, or of necessity I must pe­rish. Which if I doe, if vnseason­able death seaze vpon mee; then shall I no more prayse thy Name, then shall I neuer make a thankefull [Page 68] memoriall of thy blessed benefits. But giue me, O good Father! time to repent: as thou hast giuen mee a purpose to prayse thee, so giue mee power and opportunity for the same. If needes thou wilt exercise the ri­gour of thy Iustice; why then doe it vpon those whose hearts are harde­ned with obstinate impiety, who willingly and wilfully perseuere in their sinnes; who are nothing tou­ched, either with reuerence of thy Maiesty, or with regard of their owne safety. But I heauily labour vnder the load of my sinnes; I re­fuse not to vndergoe the hard taske of repentance for them. It displea­seth me much, that euer I displeased thy Maiesty by my sinnes: my grie­uous sinnes torment and teare the [Page 69] most inward sences of my soule: they are most grieuous, most into­lerable to me. This is not vnknown to thee, who knowest our secrets better then our selues. This appea­reth by the sad groanes which break frō my pained soule: this appeareth by the plenty of teares, which my heart boyling in anguish and griefe, doeth euaporate and distill through the conduicts of my eyes. But espe­cially this appeareth, by the vnloue­ly state of my body; which is be­come like a withered weed; so wa­sted with sorrow, that it hath nei­ther beauty to please others, nor strength to sustaine it selfe.

But howsoeuer it is with me, I will neuer lay downe my hope; I will neuer despaire or distrust in thy [Page 70] mercies. I haue alwaies had so good triall of thy fauourable hea­ring, of thy liberall reliefe; that in all my temptations, in all the anguishes of my soule, I will rest vpon thy goodnesse and grace; with assured confidence, that thou wilt heare my prayer: if not so soone as I desire, yet at such time as shall be most expedi­ent for me. For oftentimes it is more expedient that I should be exercised for a time, then presently eased. I will also rest assured, that my mali­cious enemies, who vniustly work or wish my destruction, shall neuer preuaile against mee. That their Counsailes shall bee confounded, their practises disappointed, and themselues turned to ignominy and reproach.

[Page 71] Prayse, and Glory, and Wisedome, and Strength, Dominion, Ri­ches, and Power bee vnto our GOD for e­uermore.

PSALME XXXII.
DAVIDS TEARES.
PSALME XXXII.

BLessed is he whose vnrighte­ousnesse is forgiuen: and whose sinne is couered.

2 Blessed is the man vn­to whom the LORD imputeth no sin: and in whose spirit there is no guile.

3 For while I held my tongue: my bones consumed away through my daily complaining.

[Page 76] 4 For thy hand is heauy vpon mee day and night: and my moisture is like the drought in Summer.

5 I will acknowledge my sinne vnto thee: and mine vnrighteousnesse haue I not hid.

6 I said, I will confesse my sinnes vn­to the LORD: and so thou forgauest the wickednesse of my sinne.

7 For this shall euery one that is god­ly make his prayer vnto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: but in the great water floods they shall not come nigh him.

8 Thou art a place to hide mee in, thou shalt preserue me from trouble: thou shalt compasse mee about with songs of deliuerance.

9 I will informe thee, and teach thee in the way wherein thou shalt goe: [Page 77] and I will guide thee with mine eye.

10 Bee yee not like to horse and mule, which haue no vnderstanding: whose mouthes must bee holden with bitte and bridle, lest they fall vpon thee.

11 Great plagues remaine for the vn­godly: but who so putteth his trust in the LORD, mercy embraceth him on eue­ry side.

12 Be glad, O ye righteous, and re­ioyce in the LORD: and bee ioyfull all ye that are true of heart.

Of the title and parts of this PSALME.

  • 1 THe title of this Psalme and the reason thereof.
  • 2 All worldly knowledges are both trou­blesome and imperfect.
  • 3 The excellency of the knowledge of GOD.
  • 4 We are most ignorant of our selues.
  • 5 Wherefore this word know thy selfe, was written [Page 78] vpon the gates of Apolloes Temple.
  • 6 How excellent and difficult it is to know our selues.
  • 7 The good which GOD worketh out of our sinnes.
  • 8 He that is sinfull and secure is doubly miserable.
  • 9 Some things are absoultely good, but nothing abso­lutely euill.
  • 10 The LORD is sayd to bee a hard man, and where­fore.
  • 11 The appellation and parts of this Psalme.

THIS is the second penitentiall I Psalme, intitled by some, The vn­derstanding; by others, The instru­ction of Dauid. Partly for that he in­structed others therby, but chiefllie, for that he declared that he had re­ceiued instruction, and was brought to vnderstand both GOD and himselfe: Which is the perfectiō of all other as wel diuine as humane know­ledge. II Other knowledges bring an endlesse labour to the minde; because the more we know, the more we are desirous to know: But they doe not pacifie the debates, they doe not cure the diseases that are within vs. They make a man learned, but not good; skilfull, but not wise. I say more. They doe but make a man know how little he knowes; because all our knowledge consisteth in knowing our ignorance: and the most that a man can know of any Science in this world, is but the least part of that, whereof he is ignorant.

[Page 79]But the knowledge of GOD, is the foundation of our Spirituall building; the first wheele of the clocke; III the first moueable spheare, which causeth the moti­on of all the rest. We are created in this world, to the end that we should serue GOD: But wee cannot serue him, vnlesse we loue him, vnlesse also wee feare him; and we can neither loue nor feare him vnlesse we know him▪ euen as some rurall people haue not onely not honoured, but rudely intreated their Prince, comming by aduenture and vnknowen a­mong them. But it is not sufficient to beleeue that there is a GOD, to haue a confused knowledge of him; vnlesse we know what he is to vs, & what we are to him: vnles we put of our shooes, that is al worldly affections, GOD wil not manifest himselfe to vs.

But this done the knowledge of his goodnes will make vs to loue him; of his Iustice, to feare him; of his Maiestie, to honour him; of his Mercie, to hope in him; of his Wisedome, to obey him. My eye seeth thee (saith Iob) and therefore I repent in dust and ashes. Iob. 42. As the Philistines did first put out Sampsons eyes, and then tooke him forth to sport with him: so the diuell first laboureth, either to extinguish, or to shadow this our Spiritual fight, & then playeth at pleasure with vs.IIII

And now againe, Albeit nothing bee so neere vs as our selues; yet the knowledge of our selues is furthest from vs. There is nothing almost that wee lesse vn­derstand, then our selues. For as our bodily eyes be­hold other obiects, but not themselues; so the eye of our minde, namely our vnderstanding, is apt to ap­prehend other things, but not it selfe. It is nimble to [Page 80] discouer, strong and bold to iudge other matters; but is defectiue both in sight to discerne, and in iudgement to esteeme it selfe: For this cause the ancient Philoso­phers affirme, that this voice [...]; Know thy selfe; V was first sounded from heauen. For this cause it was written in golden letters, vpon the doore of Apollo's Temple; either because it is proper onely to GOD; or because it is the highest wisedome whereto man can aspire; or because it is the onely entrance to the knowledge and seruice of GOD. For albeit GOD may be seene in all his creatures, yet especially in our selues who beare his Image. Thou seekest GOD abroad, but enter the secret chambers of thy soule, and there he may most readily be found. The better thou knowest thy selfe, the better thou knowest GOD; because the knowledge of thy selfe will lead thee to the knowledge of GOD.

VI Assuredly no knowledge is more high, none more hard and hidden then the knowledge of our selues: [...]f I were perfect (saith Iob) yet know I not my owne soule. Iob. 21. Man hath no brighter glasse, no learneder booke to looke on then himselfe. The true studie of man is man: All other knowledge without this is de­fectiue. Hee that spendeth his spirits to attaine the knowledge of other things, and neuer collecteth them to search, know and iudge himselfe, remaines the most sencelesse Sott in the world. Other know­ledge puffeth vp: but this humbleth and pulleth downe. For hum [...]litie is nothing else but a true con­tempt of our selues, which proceedeth from the knowledge of our selues: so as the knowledge of [Page 81] our selues is the forme of humilitie, and conse­quently of all other vertues which are deriued from humilitie.

And this great benefite did the mercie of GOD bring to Dauid, by reason of his sinne; To vnderstand his owne weakenesses and wants; to vnderstand by whom he must be supported in the one, and supplied in the other; To vnderstand (I say) both GOD and himselfe. The fall of Dauid did extinguish in him all puffie pride; it shaked vp his sensuall, or rather sence­lesse securitie; it made him neuer to presume vpon his owne strength; but in all temptations and afflicti­ons, to trust truely to the power and goodnesse of GOD; and to hope for no helpe, no stay, but onely from his all-powerfull grace. Hee that is sinfull and yet secure, is doubly miserable; miserable in his sinne,VIII but more miserable in his securitie. And thus GOD neuer suffereth euill but for some great and secret good; euen as Moses had said:Vt sugeret mel de pe­tra, & oleum de saxo duris­simo. He caused him to sucke honie out of the rocke, and oyle out of the hardest stone. O the infinite wisedome and power of GOD! out of the drie and ragged rocke of our sinnes,Deut. 32.13. hee draweth the sweet sappe of humilitie from vs, and of mercie from himselfe; to the sweet safetie and felicitie of our IX soules. Assuredly, some things may bee so good, as that they haue no mixture of euill: yet nothing can be so absolutely euill, but some good ariseth from it.

And hence it is that the LORD calleth himselfe a X hard-man; who reapeth where he did not sow, and gathe­reth where he did not disperse. But,Quiadurus homo sum, &c. Matth. 25 most righteous and vpright LORD! How standeth this with the square [Page 82] of Iustice? It is hard indeed; but how is it iust? to reap where thou didst not sow, & gather where thou did­dest not disperse? Verely, thou sowest not the seeds of our sinnes; our sinnes are the tares which the Di­uell soweth among the wheate: and yet thou reapest out of them, both good to thy seruants, and glorie to thy selfe. By our sinnes thou doest bring vs to vnder­stand our selues, and to search after thee: to know our owne exceeding weakenesse and miserie, and to acknowledge thine infinite goodnesse, wisedome and power: to abandon and renounce the one, & to trust entirely to the other.

Now this Psalme is most fitly termed a Peni­tentiall XII Psalme: because it treateth chiefe­ly of Repentance. The parts are set forth in the Table next adioyning.

  • [Page]This Psalm declareth
    • The power and dignity of repentance, in that it maketh a man blessed, ver. 1.
    • The ma­ner, namely, that it be
      • without hypocrisie, ver. 2.
      • with
        • trouble, sorrow, and contrition, ver. 3. & 4.
        • confession, ver. 5. & 6.
    • The ef­fects in regard of
      • the godly: namely encouragement to call vpon GOD, ver. 7.
      • the penitents thē ­selues, viz.
        • safety ver. 8.
        • ioy ver. 8.
      • the wicked viz. instructi­on to be guided by vn­derstanding ver. 9. & 10. to whom is also assured
        • great plagues for sinners. ver. 11.
        • mercy for the righteous. ver. 12.
VERS. I.

Blessed is he whose vnrighteousnesse is forgiuen: and whose sinne is couered.

  • 1 RIches, honour, power, &c. make not men hap­py by their owne nature.
  • 2 Because they doe not satisfie.
  • 3 Because they are deceitfull.
  • 4 Because they are inconstant.
  • 5 They make not Blessed in regard of indisposition in our selues.
  • 6 How they are blessings, and to whom.
  • 7 How and to whom they are heauy curses.
  • 8 Worldly matters more often hinder then helpe for attayning felicity.
  • 9 Who onely is blessed in this life.
  • 10 Whether it be not a greater Blessednesse not to sinne, then to haue sinne pardoned.
  • 11 Wherefore happinesse consists in forgiuenesse of sinnes.
  • [Page 86]12 Another reason.
  • 13 The difference betweene the blessednesse of Saints in heauen, and of repentant sinners vpon earth.
  • 14 Forgiuenesse of sinne is no ordinarie blessing, and wherefore.
  • 15 It is a very great blessing to haue our sinnes coue­red, and wherefore.
  • 16 How hard it is to hide sinne, and wherefore.
  • 17 Onely repentance couereth sinne, and wherfore.

I WHom may we esteeme blessed in this life? The rich? the honourable? the mighty? the politicke and wise? Alasse! miserable are they who e­steeme themselues happy, by be­ing any or all of these. There is neither trust nor taste in these false felicities; whether we regard their owne nature, or whether many indispositions in our selues.

II In their proper nature, they doe not satisfie, vntill they cloy; there is alwayes somewhat wanting in them, vntill they ouercharge vs with boysterous a­bundance; and then they satisfie least of all. If any solid goodnesse were in them, then would they in some degree satisfie. All other things giue some sa­tisfaction; drinke quencheth thirst, meat appeaseth hunger, apparell expelleth cold: but these are so far from quieting the desire, that they make it more vn­restfull and stirring. They are a dropsie; they are a dogges appetite; they may fill, but they neuer satis­fie, [Page 87] vntill they haue made vs like drunkards the next day after a riotous feast; dull and heauy, vna­ble to speake or thinke of our surfet without loa­thing.

Againe, they are deceitfull; fayrer in shew, then in III substance they are found; they seeme better to those who want them, then to those who enioy them; they promise many pleasures, but they come clog­ged with innumerable cares. They make vs liue in wishing and in repenting; in wishing the future, and repenting somewhat that is past; in loathing what wee haue tasted, and longing for that which we de­sire; in vaine remembring what is gone, and doubt­full expecting what is to ensue. As for euery present, it is like a waue, one alwayes dashing and driuing forth the other.

Lastly, they are not constant; for they often IIII leaue vs: they are not of continuance, for certainely we must leaue them. Nothing is more certaine, as that wee shall leaue them; nothing more vncertaine, as whether they will not leaue vs first.

In regard of indisposition of our selues, if we bee V attached with sickenesse, if payned in body,Esther 3.5 if dis­quieted in minde; wee can finde no felicity in them. But especially, if wee endure the combate of consci­ence; If our conscience be crushed with the weight, if stung with the malice of sinne; they are so farre from yeelding either comfort or quiet, that they are like oyle cast into the fire, to extinguish or abate the flame: They are like the drinking of hot wines, to qualifie a burning feuer; or like the eating of hony, to [Page 88] asswage the boyling of a chollericke stomacke: a little pleasing in the taste, but much increasing both the paine and danger of the disease.

These are blessings indeed; but not in themselues, VI not for themselues, not indifferently to all. They are blessings in their right vse, they are blessings to a higher end: they are blessings onely to those who should haue beene blessed without them.

VII If they bee not rightly vsed, if not vsed to their true end, if so vsed that they drawe or diuert vs from our true end; then are they heauy curses; then should we haue beene blessed, neuer to haue knowen them. Art thou wicked and yet wise? But GOD ta­keth the wise in their craftinesse, Iob 5.13. Psa. 33.10. and the counsaile of the wicked is made foolish. Doest thou beare thy selfe proud vpon confidence of thy power?Luke 1.51. and 52. GOD scatte­reth the proud, and putteth downe the mighty. Art thou vngodly and yet honourable and rich? But the glory of the wicked turneth to their shame. Phil. 3.19. And what hope hath the hypocrite, when hee hath heaped vp riches, Iob 27.8. if GOD taketh away his soule? Doubtlesse, the riches of the wicked are rackes and torments; their honours, heauie vanities; their power a tempestu­ous puffe; their pleasures, sharp feuers of the mind; their serious exercises, childrens plaies. They da­zel ignorant eies with exernall shewes; but inwardly they endure many grieuous gripes: they are atten­ded and resorted to by manie; but no otherwise then flies flocke to hony, mice to corne, vultures to a carcasse: The multitude pursue their owne prey; they follow the fortunes of men, not their persons.

[Page 89]Well then, let worldly matters goe and come:VIII They may helpe, and they may hinder; they doe more often hinder then helpe vs in attaining felicity. Often times we haue no greater impediment to feli­citie IX in this world, then the world it selfe. He onely is blessed in this life, whose wickednesse is forgiuen, and whose sinne is buried in the tombe of obliuion.

But stay (my soule) and pawse heere a while: ga­ther a flower or two in thy way; pownd these spi­ces X a little more. Is he only blessed, or is he chieflie blessed whose sinnes are forgiuen? Is not hee more blessed who sinneth not at all? Is it not a greater blessing neuer to sinne, then to haue sinnes pardo­ned? Yes verely. But this is beyond the nature of man: It is the cursed condition of man to offend. I will neuer esteeme him blessed, I will neuer beleeue him who saith he hath no sinne:Iam. 3.2. For in many things we offend all. We deceiue our selues, we are sence­lesse of our sinnes (and being senceles we are immoue­able) we are desperatelie sinnefull if we say we haue no sinne. And therefore he onely is blessed whose transgressions are forgiuen, and whose sinne is co­uered. None other in this world can truely and di­rectly be termed blessed.

For this is a principall propertie of true happines,XI to bring quiet and contentment to the soule; to set it aboue the region of wishing and of wants; to free it from the tyrannie of feare or desire. Happie is heon­ly who in soule liues contented; and he most of all vn­happie whom nothing doth content. But this quiet is neuer attained but by remission of sinnes: whoso­euer [Page 90] hath this mouthfull, he is fully satisfied; he doth not hunger after other things; he no more regardeth either the fauours or persecutions of this life, then doth a dead lumpe of flesh. This is both truely and aptly termed A stood of peace. I will send downe vp­on him a flood of peace. Esay There is great peace to them who loue thy Name. Psal. 119. A very flood, indeed; in regard both of the quality, and of the abundance. For it quencheth the flames of our appetites and de­sires; then which we haue none more deadly enemies, none which more torture and teare our hearts; espe­cially if they be of such things, as either possibly or easily we cannot attaine. But these appetites are drowned and extinguished in this flood: they are ei­ther satisfied or silenced by the iustice of this peace. This peace can no man vnderstand,I will giue hidden Manna: which no man knoweth, but he that receiueth it Apoc. 2.17. but he that en­ioyeth it; because it exceedeth whatsoeuer the vnderstanding is able of it selfe to comprehend.

XII Againe, happinesse and miserie are perfect con­traries: But sinners because they are vpon their way to miserie, are already miserable; they are already in hell, or rather haue a hell within them: And therefore it followeth, that penitents, because they are vpon their way to felicitie, are alreadie happie, al­ready in heauen; or rather haue a heauen within them. For there are two wayes out of this world; one, through the pleasures of sinne to eternall mise­rie; the other, through the sorrowes of repentance to eternall glory. Blessed are they who are in this sor­rowfull way, for onely they trauaile to eternall hap­pinesse. They are blessed I say by faith, and by hope. For they haue not the full fruition of felicitie, but they enioy it by faith and by hope; and therfore by [Page 91] faith and by hope they are blessed. This onelie is the difference betweene Saints in heauen, and sinners XIII that repent vpon earth: the one haue their happi­nesse in hand, the other in hope: they are at their iourneyes end, these are vpon their way: they haue their blessed estate in possession, these in election. Ne­uerthelesse they are truely blessed: euen as a Bishop e­lect hath both the title and honour of a Bishop, albe­it he be not stalled in his place.

Verely, as sinne is no small or ordinarie matter, so XIIII is forgiuenesse of sinne no ordinarie blessing. Sinne is so hainous a thing, that it is a lesse euill to destroy all the creatures in the world, then to commit one sinne against GOD. Yet such is the power of repen­tance, that by meanes thereof, GOD will not onely forgiue our sinnes, but he will forget them; Hee will so deale with penitent sinners, either as if hee had ne­uer seene their sinnes, or as if he had perpetually for­got them: Hee will neuer either behold or remember their sinnes to iudge them. Marueilous is the mercy and goodnesse of GOD, towards sinners that repent: The more they remember their sinnes, the more doth he forget them; the readier they are to acknowledge their offences, the readier is he to couer and conceale them.

It is a verie great blessing to haue our sinnes couered; XV because nothing is more hardly kept secret then sinne. Sinne is not couered by cunning contriuance, not with the vaine veile of colourable excuses: the more we en­deauour by these meanes to couer it, the more doth it manifest and bewray it selfe.

[Page 92] XVI Adam did hide himselfe, but his sinne hee could not hide: hee couered his bodie with figge tree leaues, but could finde no couering for his sinne. The more hee endeauored to hide himselfe, the more did his transgression appeare; the very hiding of himselfe did bewray his sinne. For if he had not sinned, hee would neuer haue shrunke aside; he should neuer haue beene attached, either with shame, or with feare. For this cause also GOD said to Cain;Gen. 4.7. If thou doest euill, sinne lieth at the doore. For assuredly, sinne will not keepe house; It will not lie quiet in a corner; It will abroad, It will stand at the doore; It will manifest it selfe to all that goe by. At the first it is discouered by our owne feares, and by our great diligence to con­ceale it: afterward, by our loose carelesnesse: Lastly, by our boldnesse and impudency in committing euill. Besides, it is of nature to multiply and encrease; vntill it cannot be contained in secret; vntill it can no more be hidden then the Sunne; vntill by the tumorous turpitude thereof, it doth first manifest, and then ruine and destroy it selfe.

XVII Onely Repentance is of force to couer sinnes. First, because it cutteth off the encrease, it drieth vp the springs, from whence it swels and ouerflowes, and whereby especially it bewrayes it selfe. Secondly, because it is alwayes accompanied with loue: for Loue couereth the multitude of sinnes. 1. Pet. 4.8. Loue maketh the penitent and the innocent of like condition.

VERS. II.

Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputes no sinne; and in whose spirit there is no guile.

  • 1 IT seemeth that Repentance is a deitie, and where­fore.
  • 2 Wherefore Angels after sinne, cannot be blessed.
  • 3 Man may, and wherefore.
  • 4 The greatest praise and power of Repentance.
  • 5 without Repentance GOD cannot be mercifull, and wherefore.
  • 6 Wherefore GOD imputeth no sinne to the penitent.
  • 7 How a penitent sinner may expostulate with GOD.
  • 8 In what sort we must iudge our selues.
  • 9 Hypocrites the worst of all sinners.
  • 10 Confession, how necessary it is.
  • 11 GOD is mercifull in forgiuing, yet hard and seuere in taking accompts.
  • 12 Dissimulation doubleth our sinne.
  • 13 One sinne sufficient to ensnare vs.
  • 14 A true accompt of our sinnes required.

[Page 94] DIuine Repentance! What shall I say of thee? How shall I worthily either extoll or esteeme thee? Shall I say thou art a vertue? or shall I terme thee some Deitie? Assuredly it seemeth that thou art a Deitie, and that GOD hath imparted a part of his Dominion vnto thee. It seemeth that thou art his Lieutenant vpon earth, and that he hath inuested thee with his owne authoritie: because the same power which GOD exerciseth in heauen, the same doest thou exercise vpon Earth. For as GOD maketh blessed in Heauen,Nisi p [...]ni­tentiam egeritis, om­nes simili­ter peribitis. Luke 13.3 so doth Repentance vpon Earth. Only GOD maketh the iust blessed in Heauen, and Repentance maketh sinners blessed vpon Earth: because after sin, no man is blessed, but by Repentance.

II And therefore the Angels that did sinne, shall ne­uer be blessed; because they cannot repent. Their will is inflexible, they are immoueable from that which once they apprehend:Iob. 41.15 his heart is as strong as stone, and as the Smithes stithe: broken it may bee, but it will neuer bend. That which death is to man, the very same is sinne to Angels: As man after death can­not profitably repent, so cannot Angels repent after III sinne. But the hope of mans blessednesse consisteth in this, that his will is flexible, that his minde may turne to abhorre that which once with pleasure hee IIII did embrace; that he is capable of Repentance. This is a branch of chasticing Iustice; whereto we can at­tribute no greater, either praise or power; then that it worketh the same vpon earth, which GOD himselfe [Page 95] worketh in heauen; by making men happie; by de­liuering them from eternall perdition; and by bring­ing them to vnspeakeable and endlesse ioy.

And herein it is singular, and eminently alone: herein all other vertues are but handmaides to attend it. For albeit loue be exceeding powerfull,Many sins are forgi­uen her for she lo­ued much. Luke 7.47. albeit the fire of loue bee of merueilous force to consume sins; yet doth it neuer attaine this effect, but by vertue of Repentance. In this action of loue, Repentance is the principall worker; loue is a testimonie and declarati­on, not a proper cause of remission of sinnes. Re­mission of sinnes is rather the cause of loue,To whom a little is forgiuen he doth loue a little. Luke 7.47. then loue the cause of remission of sinnes.

It is a very hard thing which GOD cannot doe. But herein hath GOD restrained his power. GOD cannot be mercifull, vnlesse sinners repent: without repentance it is impossible that sinners should be par­doned,V because it is impossible without repentance to abandon euill, and turne to GOD. For sinne is no­thing else but an auersion from GOD, and a conuersion to creatures; an auersion from an inestimable and im­mutable good, and a conuersion to a vaine and variable euill. This sinne is neuer pardoned,Quis est homo qui vult vitam, &c. diuer­te a malo & fac bonum. Psal. 33. but by forsaking creatures, and by applying our selues againe to GOD; by turning againe from euill to good; by inward loa­thing the transitory euill, whereto by pleasure wee did adhere; and by fixing our delight vpon that in­finite good, which will neuer either varie or faile.

But this is a proper worke of repentance, this is repentance it selfe. Whosoeuer is thus conuerted in soule, he is truely penitent; hee is blessed in this life, [Page 96] the LORD will impute no sinne vnto him. And the reason is, because he imputeth sinne to himselfe; hee VI preuenteth the imputation of the LORD, by impu­ting sinne to himselfe: he chargeth, iudgeth, condem­neth himselfe; and therefore he shall neuer be, either condemned, or questioned by the LORD.

For a superiour Iudge will neuer examine that of­fence, which hee knoweth to be both examined and iusticed by his commission. But GOD hath giuen to sinners, not onely commission, but command, to examine and iudge themselues: which if they will vn­partially doe, hee hath promised that hee will neuer iudge them, that hee will neuer impute sinne to their charge. The Iustice of GOD requireth that sinne should be examined, condemned and punished: but the great mercie of GOD hath made sinners their owne Iudges, their owne executioners and tormen­tors: It putteth them in choise, either to iudge and condemne their sinne, or to bee iudged and condem­ned for their sinne: either to put sinne to death in this world, or to die for sinne in the world to come. But blessed is hee who embraceth this mercie; who doeth examine and condemne his sinnes; who doeth impute sinne to himselfe, that GOD may not impute his sinnes vnto him.

VII Blessed is he (I say) who hauing sincerely iudged himselfe may boldly looke GOD in the face, and say vnto him:Iob. 10.2. Condemne me not: tell me wherefore doest thou thus iudge me? Wilt thou proceed against thine owne appointment? Wilt thou violate the direct rule of thy iustice? Thy iustice requireth but one condem­nation; [Page 97] and thy mercy hath giuen me power to con­demne my selfe. This I haue already done; I did daily iudge my selfe before thee, and now I did se­curelie expect thee; I expect not now to bee iudged by thee. For feare of thy iudgment, I haue iudged my selfe; I haue not stayed for thy sentence, I haue preuented it, in giuing sentence against my selfe. Wherefore (then) doest thou thus iudge me? Thou maiest iudge my iudgement, if thou thinkest meet,Iudica iu­dicium me­um. how true­ly and triely I haue examined my cause before thee, and thy causeagainst me; What good I haue recei­ued from thee, and what euill I haue returned to thee: Iudge my iudgement (I say) if thou wilt, but doe not iudge (I pray thee) my sinnes.

For herein especially we must be regardfull, that we iudge vprightlie, that we giue no false sentence, whether by negligence, or by partialitie and selfe-loue: that our iudgement be not either muzled by the one, or misse-led by the other. For he only is in this blessed estate, who maketh a serious search in his soule; who is not deceiued in making his search, who dissembleth not what there he findes: Blessed is he, who deceiueth not himselfe, who dissembleth not with GOD. Who deceiveth not himselfe, in blinding or abusing his owne iudgement; either by a stupendious stupiditie that he hath no sinne, or by a negligent enquirie after them, or by a fauourable estimation of them; or lastly, by a false conceite that he may at leisure and in good time repent. Who dissembleth not with GOD, either in concealing or extenuating any part of his euill; but humbling him­selfe [Page 98] before his presence, laieth open to his view eue­ry vncleane corner within him: and as a poore peti­tioner, as one who beggeth for a piece of bread, as one who sueth for his very life; rather aggrauate then extenuate his wretched condition.

For it is in singlenesse and sinceritie of soule, It is by true sence and acknowledgement of our sinnes, that we must both inuocate and obtaine GODS mer­cy. If we flatter our selues that we are innocent; If knowing our sinnes, we cancell or conceale them, as if we could deceiue GOD, so easilie as we can blinde the world: If (to win opinion) we compose our be­hauiour to an outward fashion of pietie, and not with the most inward sences of our soule, not with the ve­rie heart of our heart acknowledge and bewaile our fault; If we doe not rather seeke after righteousnes, then make shew thereof: If we do not both promise and purpose and endeauour to amend; If our mind IX and our mouth and our outward actions doe not a­gree;Malus vbi bonum esse simulat, tunc pessi­mus. we are but hypocrites, the worst of all sin­ners: VVe increase wrath, we shall neuer come to the presence of GOD. VVolues are neuer more wolues, then when they are apparrelled like sheepe: It is extreame wickednesse to be empty of all good­nesse,The hypo­crite shall not come before God. Iob 13.16. Nu. 5.6.7. Leu 5.5. Le. 18.18.22. X and yet aspire to be esteemed good:

GOD requireth in his Law confession of sinne, be­fore the sinner could be purged: He commanded al­so that the high Priest should confesse his owne sins and the sins of the people vpon the head of a Goare, and then permit it to escape. For assuredlie, albeit XI GOD be exceeding mercifull in forgiuing our debts, [Page 99] yet is he hard & seuere in taking our accompts.Quia du­rus homo sum. That which in deed wee cannot, in desire wee are obliged to performe; we must by acknowledgement make tender of that debt, which otherwise we are vnable to discharge. He that hideth his sins shall not prosper, but he that confesseth and forsaketh them shall obtaine mercy. 1. Ioh. 1.9.

If we dissemble our sinnes, we double our punish­ment,XII because we double our offence: Euen as not onely he that stealeth is an offender, but he also that concealeth a theft. If we dissemble part of our sins, if we keepe backe part, and say that we bring all; we lie to the holie Ghost:Act. 5.3. which is a most fearefull and heauy sinne.

One hooke sufficieth to take the fish; one snare to fetter the soule: But the Deuill is a most cunning angler, a verie expert fowler; he casteth manie baites, he pitcheth manie snares in our pathes. If we XIII remaine intangled in any one, if by sincere repen­tance we free not our selues from all, we shall be sure to be his prey.

If we acknowledge not our sinnes, we acknow­ledge XIIII not GODS mercies in forgiuing our sinnes: we we are vnworthie to haue that debt remitted, which we are vnwilling to confesse. So much as we conceale of our sins, so much do we adde ingratitude to iniurie and despight: Wee double the wrong that wee haue done, if to disability for discharge, we adde falshood in our accompt. Let vs first make our true accompt, & then we shall find GOD so easie, as rather to offer then to be entreated; not only to forbeare what we are not ready, but to forgiue what wee are not able to dis­charge.

VERS. III.

Whilest I helde my tongue, my bones consumed through my dayly complayning.

  • 1. WE cannot be ignorant of our sinnes.
  • 2. Originall sinne the seed of all a­ctuall sinne.
  • 3. Dull sence of sinne makes vs slow and heauy to con­fesse them.
  • 4. Whereby the soule is more deepely soyled.
  • 5. Too much sence of sin makes vs either fearefull or ashamed to confesse them.
  • 6. The sottery of sinners in concealing their sinne.
  • 7. Want of confession how dangerous it is.
  • 8. It draweth variety of punishments vpon vs.
  • 9. Wee often complaine, but not as we should.
  • 10. Punishments to what end they are sent.
  • 11 Wherefore GOD called Adam, and not the Di­uell.
  • 12. GODS violent voyce in calling sinners.
  • 13. Whereto sinners may be compared.
  • [Page 101]14. It is a great mercy of GOD to bee trauayled in this life, and wherefore.
  • 15. Troubles are GODS husbandry, &c.

I MY selfe haue heeretofore beene I either negligent, or ashamed to confesse my sinnes. For I could not bee altogether ignorant; the checke of my owne conscience did often aduertise me, that my soule was drenched in two Stygian streames of corruption, originall and actuall: the one deriued to me by descent, the other proceeding from my proper will. For, by reason of the fall of our II first parent, his bloud was atteint, and corruption was so fast fixed in his nature, that hee transmitted that leprosie to all who euer descended from him. This is the seede of all actuall sinnes, this is in po­wer all sinnes in the world. Not onely if wee act the wicked motions thereof, but if we yeeld con­sent vnto them, if without consent we take pleasure in thinking of them, then they turne to actuall sinnes. But these delights haue so swarmed in my soule, that I could not but feele the viperous brood within me; I haue so often entertayned them with consen [...] ▪ so often eyther in deed or by endeuour brought them foorth into action, that I could not but see the hide­ous heape; And yet I alwayes wanted either remem­brance, or disposition to cast vp my reckoning, and to confesse them.

[Page 102] III Sometimes the Diuell did stupifie and benumme my soule; and then I had little or no feeling of my sinne, then sinne lay concealed in me: then either I entertayned no thought, or else was dull and care­lesse to acknowledge my sinnes. But as how much IIII the longer any filthy liquor standeth in a vessell, so much the more is the vessell fouled and stayned, and so much the more hardly can the foule staines bee rubbed cleane: So the longer time that poysonous sinne remayned in my bosome, with a quiet and vn­controuled custome, the more was my vnhappy soule soyled therewith; the more deepe staines were prin­ted therein, and the more hard to be defaced.

V Sometimes I was so sensible of my sinnes, so ap­prehensiue both of the number & deformity of them, that I became thereby either ashamed or afrayd to confesse them to the LORD; to desplay them before those beautifull eyes, which are much offended with such impure obiects. The shame and the feare which the Diuell tooke away when I committed sinne, hee restored againe when I should confesse them. And as an expert captaine who besiegeth a fort, doeth first blocke vp all passages by which it may receiue any ayd: so the Diuell did in such sort beset and besot my soule, that he stopped all the wayes by which repen­tance might relieue it. I was easily perswaded not to stirre the vnsauory puddle, not to digge the filthy dunghill of my sinnes to the bottome. For who can answer the iust charge? Who dares thinke vpon the iust punishment for his offences? In this life hee may expect whole armies of euils; and death which is to [Page 103] others the port of their tempestuous nauigation, to him will seeme a gulfe both of intolerable and eter­nall torments.

So I sottishly sought to hide my sinnes in my own VI obliuion: I did foolishly flatter my selfe, that thou, O LORD, wouldest neuer remember what I did for­get; that my offences locked vp in my owne silence, should bee close shut from thy knowledge or regard: I vainely thought that by not speaking, or not think­ing of my sinnes, I should most readily extinguish the memory of them.

But as fire, the lesse vent it hath, the more furi­ously it burneth: And as a festred and rotten sore, not opened and cleansed, which the Patient doth not vnfold to the Chyrurgian, and both desire and en­dure his helpe; putrefieth and enflameth the more, and the more doeth the corruption both penetrate and spread: So my sinnes, whilest they were smothe­red within my owne conscience, whilest they were not by confession layd open to thee, did not onely more terribly anguish and torment me, but did deep­ly infect the very substance of my soule. The conta­gion of sinne did spread like a leprosie ouer euery part; the strongest vertues were infected therewith; all the faculties were drawne to a habite of euill. They did not only anguish me, but they did waste and con­sume me, they drew thy heauie iudgements vpon me; the dangers which they brought vpon mee, were no lesse then was the disquiet.

For I felt in my soule, besides the sharpe sting of VIII my conscience, the heauie blowes, and more heauie [Page 104] threats of thine indignation. Many calamities thou didst also cast vpon my body, & vpon the issue of my affaires. And so sharpelie didst thou visit mee, both outwardlie and within; that failing, or at least fain­ting in body and minde, I sunke downe vnder the charge, and melted my languishing soule into moane. My calamities daily encreased, and therewith also my complaints: I complayned dayly, but duly & right­ly I did not complaine. For I saw into what miseries IX I was deiected, I saw to what mischiefe I did bend my pace: but I neither endeuoured nor intended to cut off, either the cause of the one, or course of the other.

I did not search into the state of my soule, I did not vnderstand it, I did not lay it open before thee. I did not blame, I did not accuse my selfe vnto thee. I did not returne to thee, I did not put my selfe into thy hands for helpe. I complayned for my calamities; but not for the cause of my calamities. I complayned for the punishment of my sinnes; but I neuer thought of my sinnes themselues. I had onely so much good left, as to see my present euill, and to languish in my distresse: my consuming encreased my complaints, and my complaints encreased my consuming; but I could not spie any sparke of comfort.

X These calamities didst thou execute vpon mee, to draw me to a higher, to driue mee to a deeper consi­deration of my selfe. For as in diseases, the first de­gree to recouery, is the finding of the originall cause; so in troubles and distresses, there is small hope of helpe, vnlesse we discerne from what fountaine they [Page 105] flow. And therefore thou doest often presse vs with a heauie hand, that we should vnderstand our rebel­lion against thee, that we should both know and con­fesse our offences, that we should disburthen our con­sciences of that loathsome loade, which otherwise would poyson our soules to death. This is the cause of our calamities; and from hence must begin our reliefe.

So thou didst send firie Serpents among thy peo­ple, in their passage through the deserts,Numb. 21. which ceased not to sling them to death, vntill they did confesse their sinnes. And for this cause thou didst call Adam XI in Paradise; not for that thou knewest not where he was, but to giue him occasion to acknowledge his transgression. The Diuell thou didst not call, Thou gauest sentence against the Diuell, vncalled, vnheard; because his will was inflexible, hee could not repent, he would not confesse that hee had done euill. But thou didst call man, because hee could acknowledge his sinne. Because man hath a power to repent his offences, and confesse them to thee, it pleaseth thee still by diuers meanes and occasions to call vs.

But assuredly, the most powerfull meanes, the XII most violent voyce to call vs to thee is by aduersity: more sinners are turned to thee by aduersity, then by prosperity; by feare, then by loue; by shame, then XIII by hope. Sinners, for the most part,I called vpon the Lord in trouble, & hee heard mee at large. Ps. 118. are like to the spring of the Sun in Sicilie, which at midday is very cold, & at midnight exceeding hot. We grow cold by prosperity; but by calamities our deuotion is enfla­med. As much feeding vpon sweet meates, maketh [Page 106] the body drowsie and dull; so the mind pastured with pleasures, becommeth pestered and heauy in the acti­ons of vnderstanding, and yeeldable to the command of sensuality and sloth.

XIIII Hence it followeth, that it is a great mercy of GOD, to be trauailed and euen tired with labour in this life: It is a true token of his loue, it is a sure signe that hee hath not giuen vs ouer, that he is desirous to conuert vs to him. Man is like the earth, which vnlesse it bee torne vp with the plough, vnlesse it bee harrowed, digged and raked, bringeth foorth wilde weeds, and XV little else. Troubles are GODS husbandrie vpon vs. To be spurned by all, to bee a marke whereat all men aime their arrowes, to be pressed with wants, to bee oppressed with wrongs, to haue our life perpetually run in a rugged way; are good assurances, or rather effects, both of his loue and of his care. They are the whips which make madde sinners sober: they are the batterie which enforce obstinate and rebellious hearts, to yeeld to the seruice and subiection of GOD: they are the arrowes which GOD hath taken out of the quiuer of his mercy, and winged with the fire of his Loue. To pierce and to warme our hard icie hearts, he hath tempered his arrowes of tribulation with mercy, and en­flamed them with his Loue.

VERS. IIII.

For thy hand is heauy vpon me day and night: and my moisture is like the drought in Summer.

  • 1 GODS heauy hand vpon sinners.
  • 2 Feare how terrible an enemy it is.
  • 3 Her innumerable forces.
  • 4 Her cruell charge.
  • 5 The sinner vanquished and ready to yeeld.
  • 6 But is releeued by Faith.
  • 7 Her encouragements.
  • 8 Feare not to be feared.
  • 9 Hell fire created not onely for punishment, but for terrour.
  • 10. Who haue greatest cause to feare.
  • 11 The number of the Elect not small.
  • 12 Wherein the workes of Mercy exceede the workes of Iustice.
  • [Page 108]13 The multitude and grieuousnesse of sinnes, no cause to dismay vs.
  • 14 Mercy not only preserueth vs from the harme of sin, but turneth the harme of sinne to our good.
  • 15 Sorrow expelleth feare, and begetteth ioy.
  • 16 A sinner ouercharged with sorrow.
  • 17 Her sad encounter.
  • 18 Ingratitude an odious offence.
  • 19 The sinner ready to sinke vnder sorrow.
  • 20 But is erected by Faith and by Hope.
  • 21 Their comforts.
  • 22 Contrition is the bruising of a soule betweene feare and griefe.
  • 23 The multitude of GODS benefits may much as­sure vs.
  • 24 We must not leaue our repentance vnperfect.
  • 25 Sinnes are like a burning ague.

TO this end didst thou beare a hea­uy hand ouer me; thy punishments did presse me very sore; thou didst multiply many miseries without in­termission I vpon me. Thou diddest cast many rugged rubbes in the smoothest passage of my affaires; thou didst beat vpon my body with variety of infir­mities; but especially thou diddest lay an intolerable load vpon my soule. My soule thou diddest both charge and torment, with a mountanous heape of [Page 109] dolours and feares; whereof I was vnable, either to sustaine the weight or endure the griefe.

Before me were the multitude of my sinnes; be­hind me, the hideous horrour of them; on the one side, feares approaching; on the other, hopes aban­doning; aboue, Iustice threatning; beneath, ven­geance expecting: within, agony and anguish of soule; without, terrours, disconsolation, dread, and almost a hellish darkenesse of despaire. For thou diddest not only enuiron and assaile me with furious feares; but thou diddest heape discomforts vpon me: thou diddest cut off the supply of thy sweet con­solations; thou diddest drie vp or restraine the in­fluence of thy grace, wherby I should haue been both animated and aided in my distresse; thou wouldest not affoord me one beame of fauor.

Oh! what a cruell enemie is feare? Shee march­eth II with inumerable troupes in her traine, ranged in order, armed at all points, and shaking their terrible instruments of death. Iustice carrieth the ensigne be­fore her; despaire soundeth the loud alarme; dis­consolation, trembling, distrust, with all the curses & threats of the Law, with all the examples of GODS weighty wrath, present the first charge. She marshal­leth III al creatures in squadrōs against vs; al our friends she draweth to her part; our secret thoughts she mu­stereth on her side: She hath a thousand treache­rous intelligencies within our owne bosome, which await but hower and occasion to surprise vs. Thus aduancing her selfe in the pride of her power, with a high and horrible voice she cried vnto me;

[Page 110]Come foorth thou fugitiue! Come thou deiected, thou reiected traitour! tell me, Wretch! Where now is thy assurance? Who shall defend thee? whither wilt thou retire? Goe too now; Goe seeke for some mantle to veile thy obscene darkenesse: For thou canst not with any conscience (in case thou hast any) approach into the presence of the LORD. What? expectest thou to be releeued by him? Thinkest thou he will fauour thee? Nay, Is it possible that hee should forbeare thee? Seest thou not that he also is set against thee? That his hand is rigorous vpon thee? And how can it be otherwise? For GOD is iust; a hard dealer; a seuere exacter of accompts. Looke into the examples of his iustice: How he condemned his angels irreuocablie, for one only sinne; how for one only sinne, not onlie Adam but all his po­steritie, and in a manner all creatures were cur­sed.

If thou conceiuest comfort by reason of some mer­cie which followed this iustice; then compare this iustice and mercy together, by the continuall course of their effects. See how in all ages, both the grea­test and most flourishing parts of the world, haue lien buried in infidelity. See how in those few parts, ouer which the light of trueth hath displaied her beames, many millions haue bin blinded, either by ig­norance, or by superstition and errour. See how ma­ny, yea how most of those, who haue receiued true knowledge; either by delicacie, or other viciousnesse of life, reape no benefit thereby. So as it is apparant­lie true, that many are called, and few are chosen: that the [Page 111] way to saluation is so difficult, and the gate so strait, that it is passable for very few.

Few indeed: For how many were in the whole world, when it was ouerwhelmed with waters? How many in Sodome and the cities adioining to it, when they perished with fire? How many among the cho­sen people of GOD, when Elias could not espie one? How many, when they were often captiuated, and finally ruined, and dispersed? Yea, seest thou not the iustice of GOD to be so implacable, that when flourishing nations are vtterly rooted out, infants and innocents, who haue not actually offended, are swallowed in the common calamity, for the offen­ces of their progenitors? Compare (I say) these ef­fects of iustice and mercy together, and thou shalt plainely finde, that the first hath farre exceeded the last; that there are many vessels of the one, and few of the other.

Now if thou hopest to be one of those few; then consult with thine owne conscience, how cleare and vncorrupt thou findest thy actions; how seuerely thou hast restrained thy euill inclinations; how strongly, how violently thou hast endeauoured to mainetaine a vertuous and religious life. No, no; thou art none of those few, who with perpetuall strong striuing shall wrestle through that narrow pas­sage. Thou hast beene vnconstant, both in thy iudge­ment, and in thy actions: like a loose tooth; not one­ly vselesse, but troublesome and painefull. Thou hast beene a slander to the Church, and a staine to thy profession: Thou hast beene a derision to the [Page 112] euill, a shame and sorrow to the good, an offensiue example to the weake. The earth casteth thee vp, hea­uen receiueth thee not; GOD is displeased with thee, and all creatures are bent to oppresse thee. Goe to then, abandon hope, and yeeld thy selfe captiue to de­spaire. Thou hast no other remedie against thy feares but to relinquish hope: Cease to hope, and feare will no longer torment thee; for whosoeuer hopeth for no good, he feareth no euill.

These words she doubled with a terrible voice, and all the hoste cryed aloud, Despaire and Die.

V Woe is me! I am vndone. Alas wretch that I am▪ Which way shall I turne mee? Whither shall I flie? What shall I doe? I am assailed with feares; by feares I am betrayed; my enemies are within and without. Who shall deliuer? who shall defend me? I am as a naked tree in a wide plaine, beaten with many bitter stormes: I am as drie open ground parched with the burning beames of the Sunne: I can finde none to protect mee, none to comfort mee; and my owne strength and courage vtterly faileth. Out alasse! who so liueth in feare, he is daily condemned, daily vnder the executioners hand: No man is assured, whom an euill conscience holdeth in feare. O! who is able to endure these confusions? Who can either resist, or rule the violence of these feares?

VI Thus whilest I was readie to haue yeelded my selfe to the tyrannie of despaire; loe, Faith from heauen did sodainly cast a glorious beame of her beautie vp­on mee; and, with a sober sweetnesse began in this sort, partly to reprooue, and partly to instruct me.

[Page 113]What? (said she) Art thou such a nouice in my Schoole? such a faint and raw souldier in spirituall combate? Hast thou no more dexteritie in handling thy weapons? Come, stand vp, take courage; I will teach thee both thy fence and thy fight. Come, (I say) and looke thy terrour in the face: It seemeth a Serpent to deuoure thee, but be not dismayed, step VIII boldly to it, and take it by the taile, and it will forth­with turne to a rod of correction. What? Art thou so much afraid of feare? which is so highly commen­ded Ps. 103.13 & 128.1. prou 10.27. & 14 27. & 19.23 & 22 4. & 28.14. Ecclus. 1. & 2. & 3. & 40. [...]6.17. Gen 22.? which is so straitely commanded to thee I [...]os. 24.14. Deut. 4.10 & 14.23. Exod. 20.18, [...]c. Phil. 2.12. 2. Pet. 1.17.? God loueth feare Deut. 5.29.; Hee accepteth, Deut. 17.8 19. Act. 10.35. Luk. 1.52 Exod. 9.10. hee preser­ueth Ecclus. 31.1, he honoureth Eccles. 19.20., hee blesseth Ps. 112.1., he neuer for­saketh Ecclus. 2 11 them that feare him. Feare is the beginning of righteousnesse, the first step to wisedome Ps. 111.10. Ecclus. 43.33: It brin­geth with it iudgement and righteousnesse Es 5.7., It ex­pelleth sinnes Leu. 19.14. 1. Sam. 11.7. Ier. 32.40. Ecclus. 21.6. Pro. 1.2. & 14 16. Iob. 1.1, 8.: It is the bridle of sinnes; it is the sword that cutteth in sunder, not onely the sinewes, but the very hartstrings of sinne.

What? deemest thou that GOD hath created hell fire onely to punish damned sinners and the Diuell? No verily: but rather to keepe sinners from dam­nation; to raise them to repentance, and to restraine IX them from sin. For so much as a man feareth the pu­nishment that he hath deserued, so much more care­fully wil he, both repent and auoid those faults which he hath committed.Non cito perjt ruina, qui rui­nam timet. Senec. He that feareth ruine is neither easily nor often oppressed therewith. They haue greatest cause of feare who feare least; who walke in their owne wayes with a sober securitie; who loose­ly and licentiously pursue vanities; who are flintie X [Page 114] hearted, without trembling or touch of the threat­nings of GOD; who perseuere in sinne, either boldly or sencelesly; and then say, What euill haue I done? Let these feare: It is fearefull for these to fall into the hands of the liuing GOD. Ouer the neckes of these hangs a terrible sword, alwayes shaking, alwayes bent and ready to strike; the lesse they feare it, the more sure, the more sore and heauie will it fall. These are obiects to GODS iustice and wrath; these are abiects from his mercie and grace.

But repentant sinners, who rise with feare, and run with griefe to the LORD of mercie and say vnto him; LORD be mercifull to me a sinner: Let such bee confi­dent; For he who hath in mercie called them, will as­suredly in mercy receiue them. They are not a few XI onely, who haue beene receiued; this is a false sur­mise of feare: let heauen, let earth, let hell be search­ed, and there shall not one be found, I confidently say, not any one, who returned to the LORD, and was not receiued. Neuer thinke that the iustice of GOD is greater then his mercie. Nothing can bee sayd in GOD greater or lesser; because whatsoeuer is in him, is his very selfe. There was neuer sinner in this world, who hath not had a sweet taste of his mercy; neither was there euer righteous person, who hath not beene touched with his iustice: His iustice and his mercie are extended to all. For all the wayes of the XII LORD are mercie and trueth. Besides, mercie be­stoweth so many and so great good things vpon the righteous, that her workes farre exceed the workes of iustice. Neuer trouble thy selfe about the small [Page 115] number of the elect: Assuredly they are not a few, but almost innumerable, whom the LORD will receiue to mercy. Mercy will be no lesse milde, then iustice rigorous: mercy will no lesse finde a meanes to saue, then iustice to condemne. As the number of the e­lect is knowne only to GOD, so both the time and maner of their calling must onely be referred to him.

But what mooueth thee to doubt and distrust thine estate? the multitude and grieuousnesse of thy sinnes? Trouble not thy selfe for the multitude and grieuous­nesse XIII of thy sinnes; because the mercy of the LORD doeth infinitely surmount them. Behold, how two contraries applied together, if the one far exceed the other, the greater must needs consume the lesse. But the mercies of GOD infinitely exceed al the sins in the world. All the sinnes of the world are more easily consumed by the mercie of GOD, then is a droppe of water in a hot fiery furnace; then a sparke of fire is extinguished in the sea. Doe but applie now this mer­cie to thy sinnes; and the infinitenes of the one, must needs consume the multitude of the other.

But loe, shee hath already applied her selfe: Shee hasted to meet thee; shee hath already kissed thee; she holdeth thee close in her embracements. Yea, when thou didst fall she was present with thee (albe­it thou diddest not discerne so much) shee layed her hand vnder thee, to keepe thee from harme, and to raise thee againe. Thou art a vessell both brittle and weake; thou must needs haue beene dashed to pieces, or much bruised with thy fall; vnlesse mercie had laid vnder her hand. This is a great signe that thou [Page 116] XIIII art elect; but it is not all. For mercie hath not onely preserued thee from the harme of sinne, but she hath turned thy sinne to thy good: For thereby she hath made both thee more humble in thy opinion, and more heedfull in thy wayes. The fall of the repro­bate is like the fall of an elephant; they rise not a­gaine, but impudently make light esteeme of their sinnes; and sometimes with a flintie forehead boast of them: But though the elect fall into the bottome of the sea, yet the same whale which swallowed them vp, must againe cast them vpon the land.

Arise therefore, and strengthen thy heart: thou hast found how weake thine owne forces are; hum­ble thy selfe vnder the Almighty arme of the LORD. For humility is the foundation of all vertues; the lowest ground-worke of repentance. Humble thy selfe therefore with sorrow for thy sinnes past, and circumspection for thy life to come. If thou canst so XV humble thy selfe with sorrow, then neuer feare; this sorrow is the greatest ioy to a godly mind that can be; the more of this sorrow thou findest within thee, the lesse cause thou hast to feare. And to this examination now I leaue thee, to what degree of sub­misse sorrow thou canst descend; for assuredly, to the same pitch of assurance thou shalt be exalted.

XVI This said, she glanceth gloriously into heauen, lea­uing me well confirmed against feare; but altoge­ther exposed to heauinesse and griefe. For when I presented to my rememberance, either the vaine, or vile and base pleasure of my sinnes, the good which I did loose, the euill which thereby I did incurre; [Page 117] how my most meeke GOD, by the goodnesse of his owne nature was mooued, was prouoked, was infor­ced by my ingratitude to be wroth; I was forth with ouercharged with heauinesse, which did trouble and torment me day and night; which bereaued mee of all ioy, and was extreamely burdensome to me. She rushed vpon me with her sad troupes; she cried out most bitterly and said;

How now! presumptuous wretch, Wither art XVII thou carried? Into what vaine hopes doest thou run? Supposest thou thy selfe to be rapt vp into the third heauen? to be already placed in Abrahams bosome? Alas! deceiued caitiffe; thy faith is but a fantasie; thy hope a proud presumption of spirit; thy com­forts but a dreame of a deluded imagination. Thou conceiuest that GOD is mercifull: it is true; excee­ding mercifull; infinite in his mercies. But knowest XVIII thou not how odious an offence ingratitude is? How it stoppeth the streames? how it drieth vp the dew of mercy? how no mercy hath influence where ingrati­tude abides. Ingratitude is the summary of all sins: no euill, no reproach is left vnsaid, when a man is charged to be vngratefull. No beast is either so fierce or so dull, but hath some sence of gratitude, and will loue those who are carefull for them. The hands which feed the Lions, may safely touch their teeth and their pawes: Elephants for their food, make both their courage and their strength seruile to man. So naturall is this vertue, that those creatures which want vnderstanding, are both apprehensiue and ob­seruant thereof. And so hatefull is ingratitude to [Page 118] the most mercifull GOD, that he hath threatened by his holy spirit,Pro. 17.13. that Euill shall neuer depart from his house, Sap. 16.19. who reward [...]th euill for good: And that the hope of the vnthankefull shall melt away as the winter yee.

Consider then how vngraciously vngratefull thou hast beene: consider this, I say, and if thy owne heart shall condemne thee, thinke what he will doe who is greater then thy heart, and who hath euen al­ready opened his mouth to pronounce his arrest. He hath created thee according to his owne image: he hath placed thee in the paradise of his blessed Church: with the water of baptisme he sanctified thee; he furnished thee with the knowledge of his trueth, putting his word in thy mouth, and his will in thy minde: with many temporall benefits he did enrich thee; not onely for necessitie, but for an or­nament and delight.

But thou in the leuitie and vanitie of thy braine, diddest runne headlong after thine vnbridled lusts, and plunge thy selfe in many deepe sinnes. Many outward callings he bestowed vpon thee; with ma­ny sweet instructions he did aduertize thee; but albe­it all the floore was moistened with his heauenly dew, yet thou (like Gedeons fleece) remainedst drie: thou didst keepe thy selfe (like the riuer Nilus) with­in thy bankes, when all other riuers did ouerflow. He inuited thee, and thou diddest excuse thy selfe; he sent to compell thee, but thou diddest resist. At the last he called thee with a violent voice, and his vnspeakeable goodnesse broke open the gates of thy obstinacy. He raised thee from thy fall by his pow­er; [Page 119] he instructed, he enlightened thee with his wis­dome; he brought thee from the tempestuous sea of this world, to the port of a calme conscience, and planted thee in a land of religious conuersation. Yet thou notwithstanding, either vnmindfull, or vn­kind, hast exalted thy heart, and thereby lost that wisedome, which should haue made thy worship and seruice acceptable to the LORD.

Thou knowing his will, hast beene negligent in performing the same; albeit thou knowest, that, Cursed is hee who doeth the worke of the LORD negli­gently. Yea, thou hast not done it at all; thou hast manifestly and manifoldly transgressed his will; and therefore art most worthy to be beaten with many stripes. Thou hast forsaken his seruice, who is so bountifull, that he rewards a cup of cold water with eternall life; and thou hast serued sinne, which gi­ueth no wages but death, but eternall death. Oh wofull wages! it were far better to goe vnpaid and serue for nothing.

O Lucifer! who saidest in thy heart, I will climbe vp into heauen: Thou must humble thy selfe so low as hell, or else neuer looke to encounter mercy. Knowest thou not that rebellious ingratitude giueth limits to mercy? where else were iustice? Who should receiue iudgement, if mercy did alwaies wait vpon sinners? Goe to then deiect thy selfe, abiect wretch; creepe among moathes and wormes; abase thy self to the very gates of despaire, in regard of this thy obstinate vnkindnesse. Open thy vnderstanding; draw all pensiue conceits greedily into thy soule, and [Page 120] pine away in a consuming langour. Sith thou hast lost thy ioy, make much of thy sorrow; sith thou hast no comfort but in complaints, bestow them largely.

XIX Oh! what a heauie burthen is heauinesse to the soule? It is more ponderous then the whole masse of the earth; It is more poisonous then the breath of the Cockatrice. It murmureth against, GOD; It prouo­keth to blaspheme; It prouoketh to despaire; It tur­neth all matter of solace and ioy into mountaines of lead, to weigh vs downe; It admitteth neither con­tentment nor quiet. But as to many sicke persons all sweet things seeme bitter; so to those who are vnder the arrest of heauinesse, all meanes, either of delight, or of comfort, are turned to matter of torment and disquiet. And verely my miserie did so deepelie drowne my memorie and whole minde in sorrow, that all the remembrance of GODs promises lay o­uerwhelmed with the thicke throng of discomforta­ble XX thoughts; and heauinesse would haue altogether ouerborne and beaten me downe, had not Faith, and her sweet sister Hope come to my reliefe, and with most comfortable countenance and speech thus su­stained me.

XXI So, so: this worketh kindly, and as it should: this working of the medicine giueth very good assu­rance of health. Alasse, weake wretched sinners! how are ye deceiued by your sottish sence? The poisonous pleasures of sinne which bane the soule, you sweetly swallow without distaste; but you can­not rellish feare and sorrow, the principall expellers [Page 121] of this poison. At these you make a sowre face; you can no waies enforce them downe. Whereas a soule once infected with sinne, cannot possibly be recoue­red to the state of Grace, but it must first be bruised XXII and broken betweene feare and griefe, as a graine of corne is grinded betweene two milstones. And this moouing of the soule betweene feare and griefe, re­ferred to GOD, maketh a broken and contrite heart, which he doth neuer despise. And this is that contri­tion which is the first part of true Repentance.

O louely feare! O sweet sorrow! O happy hand which was so heauie vpon thee,Secundum duritiam tuam & cor impoeni­teus thesau­risas tibi i­ram in die irae. & suffred thee not to lie sencelesse in thy sinnes, heaping to thy selfe wrath against the day of wrath. Let it be a comfort, a great ioy vnto thee, that this heauy hand hath rai­sed and pulled thee out of the ordure of thy sinnes. If heretofore thou hast beene vnthankefull, be thank­full now, and thy former vnthankefullnesse shall not be remembred. The multitude of his benefits is so XXIII far from dismaying, that it may much assure thee. For he who hath so loued thee, will not now leaue thee; He who hath begun his worke in thee, will in time expedient expedite the same. VVhat is more v­suall in noble natures, then to follow their owne fa­uours? then to loue those most, vpon whom they haue bestowed greatest benefits? to heape many ho­nours vpon such as haue beene first aduanced by them? And hath not the most noble nature said, that, To them who haue, more shall be giuen?

Againe, what naturall cause beginneth a worke, and leaueth the same vnfinished? The vertue of seed [Page 122] ceaseth not in the leafe, not in the flower, vntill it hath brought foorth seed to a perfect ripenesse. The bird neuer forsaketh her yong, vntill shee see them able both to flie, and to prouide for themselues. Doeth nature compell inferiour causes to perfect their ef­fects, and shall not the cause of all causes bee moo­ued by his most infinite goodnesse and loue, to finish the worke which hee hath begunne? Are not all the workes of the mighty GOD perfect?Dei perfe­cta sunt opera, Deut. 32.4. Hath not the same infinite goodnesse and loue sayd? It is my worke to doe the will of him that sent mee, that I should make perfect his worke. Feare not then: hee who hath begun to loue thee, will neuer change, but will persist to loue thee to the end: the same goodnesse that mo­ued him to conferre many gifts and blessings vpon thee, will mooue him to perfect all by giuing thee euerlasting life. For wherefore did he turne thy heart from sinne? wherefore did hee prouoke thee to Re­pentance? but because hee purposed to make thee cleane?

XXIIII But as thou doest expect, that GOD will not leaue his worke vnfinished in thee; so breake not off thy worke in the middest with him. Thou hast attayned to contrition in a moderate degree: but rest not there; proceed now to confesse thy sinnes; which is the se­cond XXV part of true Repentance. For sinnes are like a burning agu [...], which commonly breaketh foorth at the lippes. So long as the heat remayneth within, it searcheth and anguisheth all the entrailes; but when it breaketh foorth at the lippes, it is an assured signe of health. Goe with vs then, and wee will bring [Page 123] thee before his presence. Acknowledge there thy sinnes; Hide none of thy transgressions from him. Leaue feare behinde; for milde and mercifull is the LORD, hee turneth to those who turne vnto him: but take sorrow with thee, and season thy confession, therewith, Sorrow will make thy confession not only not offensiue, but plea­sing to him.

VERSE. V.

I will acknowledge my sinne vnto thee: and mine vnrighteousnesse haue I not hid.

  • 1 The second forme of Repentance.
  • 2 The cause of GODS seuerity against vs.
  • 3 How we should present our selues to GOD.
  • 4 A Confession.
  • 5 Betweene great and infinite there stands no pro­portion.
  • 6 Faith and hope our guides and companions to GOD.
  • 7 Whereto a sinner is like.
  • 8 How offensiue sin is to GOD.
  • 9 How we must satisfie.
  • 10 How we commonly extenuate our sinnes.
  • 11 How we excuse them.
  • 12 Temptations cannot excuse vs, and wherefore.
  • 13 To whom we are obliged to confesse.
  • [Page 125]14 The conscience of man is GODS Kingdome and Consistorie.
  • 15 We should not be ashamed, that men take knowledge that we haue sinned.
  • 16 Pleasures of the body, what they are like.
  • 17 Our confession must be entire.
  • 18 Our lightest sinnes must be confessed.
  • 19 Our sweetest sinnes must be confessed.
  • 20 One sinne sufficient to vndoe vs.

THen I aduanced my selfe to the se­cond forme of repentance; From I contrition I proceeded to acknow­ledgement and confession of my sinnes. Because I saw it was a chil­dish weakenesse, rather to perish by the disease, then to empty the stomacke of dangerous humours; to suffer sores ra­ther to putrefie and spread, then to endure the clean­sing and curing of them: rather to endure a perpe­tuall toothach, then to haue the tooth pulled foorth. And seeing it was for this cause that GOD was so II seuere against mee, namely for that I would not ac­knowledge my sinnes; seeing by no other meanes I could wrestle out of those difficulties, wherinto his displeasure had cast me; I forthwith resolued to turn to my GOD, and to turne forth my heart vnto him; to powre out all the putrefaction of my soule before his pure eyes; to open my Conscience, and giue a vent to those filthy fumes, which had almost stifeled my [Page 126] soule; which were more loathsome, more infectious, then is the damp of dead putrified bodies: In a word, to say with holy Iob; If I haue hid my sinne, as Adam, concealing my iniquity within my bosome.

III Iob. 31.33So I presented my selfe before his diuine Maiesty, with the same countenance, wherewith a poore di­stressed patient, full of impostumes, Fistulaes, and vg­ly vlcers, presenteth himselfe to an expert Chyrur­gian: And being prepared to endure, both the paine of the corosiue, and point of the lance, I thus addres­sed my speech vnto him.

IIII O LORD my GOD, most rich, most liberall, most mercifull GOD! who sitting aboue the Seraphims, with thy eyes farre brighter then the Sun, piercest all depthes, and discouerest all things naked and open to thy view: Thou, O LORD, who art so powerfull, and yet so pitifull to that which thou hast made, that thou hearest and regardest miserable sin­ners; Graciously behold, be fauourably attentiue to me, I beseech thee. Behold mee thy miserable creature, not in anger, not in iustice, but in compassi­on and mercy; not as a seuere Iudge, but as a skilfull and carefull Physician; not to punish my infirmities, but graciously to cure them. O mercifull GOD! no lesse infinite in Mercy then in Maiestie; In goodnesse and in greatnesse vnmeasurable alike; Behold, my ex­ceeding great miseries; my exceeding great, but not infinite miseries: not such as can beare any propor­tion V against thy mercies. For betweene great and in­finite there standeth no proportion.

[Page 127]O infinite goodnes & mercie! I am in a most miser­able estate, & yet how to better it cānot tel. My doubt­full and perplexed thoughts doe wildely wander in a maze of amazement: And this is nothing else in ef­fect, but to beat out, with what torments I am likest to perish. Alas! O my GOD, wilt not thou relieue mee in these extremities? wilt not thou release me? O in­finite goodnes! With al humilitie I entreate thy ayd, not vpon any cōfidence in my selfe, but faith & hope, two twins of thy brest (who neuer yet haue either let VI fall, or bin denied any suit) haue guided mee hither, and set me before thee: Loe, they remaine still pre­sent with mee. They encourage me, they assure me that the more miserable we feele our selues to be, the more fit we are to receiue thy mercies; and the more standeth it with thy iustice to afford vs the same.

O thou who art both liberall and rich! relieue my pouertie. O most mercifull and powerfull LORD, release my miseries. Heare my distressed soule, full of wretchednesse, but fuller of guiltinesse, groaning at thy gate of mercie: See how fowlie it is defiled with euill: how deepely corruption hath tainted the verie substance thereof: how the stamps of sinne, by rea­son of long custome, are so firmely imprinted there­in, as it is a hard matter to deface them. I am like an vncleane beast, that hath long wallowed in the pro­per VII dung; whereby both the beautie hath beene de­filed, and a loathsome taste is fixed in the flesh. A­lasse! I am plunged in sinne as in a sea, wherein I nei­ther see banke nor feele bottome; & wherin my vaine soule at the same time both floateth with the leuity, [Page 128] and is drawne downe with the leaden weights of sin.

O GOD of my saluation! my impure soule hath hitherto beene much troubled, much endangered, and almost stifeled by enclosing her corruptions, and not giuing a free passage for them to breake foorth. But now I confesse my sinnes, I confesse how grieuously I haue offended thy maiestie. I haue broken all thy commandements, as if they had beene cobwebs; and my verie best thoughts haue beene poysoned with VIII taste of things sensuall. The poysonous breath of my thoughts, euaporated from my sensuall soule, hath beene more offensiue and noysome to thee, then the dampes that arise from bodies halfe putrefied in their graues. Of all thy debtors, I confesse that my ac­compts are greatest, that thou hast most to reckon with mee. but giue mee respite for repentance, and I IX will satisfie, if not thy iustice, by payment, yet thy mercie by acknowledgement. Haue patience a while, and by confession I will pay thee all. LORD, I will not hide my offences, for then wilt thou display them: I will lay them open that thou maiest hide them; I will acknowledge them that thou maiest take no knowledge of them: I will not conceale my miserable defects and defections from thee; lest thereby I loose, first thy pitie, and then thy reliefe.

I will neuer goe about, either to abuse, or to auoid thee, by denying or [...]uppressing my sinnes; I will no X waies extenuate, no waies excuse them. I will not ex­tenuate them, either by fauourable comparing them with the sinnes of other men, or by vnderualuing them in their owne nature. I will not excuse them [Page 129] by casting the blame vpon any other; vpon the ma­lice XI and power of the Diuell; vpon the witchcraft of the world; vpon the soft flatteries of the flesh. These are the vaine veyles which our first parents vsed, The woman gaue it me, the serpent deceiued mee: But they cannot suffice to shadow our sinnes. For XII they are not able to compell the will, they can no wayes enforce the soule: Allure it they may; but en­force it they cānot: they may knock at our gates; but they cānot breake in, vnles we open to entertaine thē.

And therefore I will neuer endeauour to excuse that, which my owne conscience conuinceth. I will sincerely acknowledge my sinnes; I will take the whole blame vpon my selfe; I will not transferre any part thereof to any other. For my conscience is so torne with the bitings of sinne, my soule is so stret­ched vpon the racke of sorrow; that I am enforced to cry nothing else, but, O my sinnes! I charge, I ac­cuse, I condemne onlie my selfe. O my GOD! I haue grieuouslie sinned; my sinnes haue deepelie prouoked thy heauie wrath; I acknowledge them to thee with a free confession. LORD, I appeare be­fore thee no other then I am; euen a most poore de­solate and distressed sinner: I can neither boast nor take comfort in any goodnesse in my selfe; but I lay open before thee my sinnes.

And it is vnto thee that I will confesse my sinnes; XIII vnto thee, against whom onely I haue sinned; vn­to thee, who onelie art able to forgiue my sinnes; vnto thee, who onelie art able to iudge of my confes­sion. For it is not alwaies thy pleasure, that we bla­zon [Page 130] our owne blame, that our sinnes be rung out to the eares of all men; that they be set foorth vpon the stage of the world. If penitentlie we confesse our sinnes vnto thee, thy compassion will couer them. It will couer them from thy iustice, it will couer them both from the scandall and scorne of other men: thou wilt freelie forgiue both the sin and the shame.XIIII Assuredlie the conscience of man is thy little king­dome: It is thy peculiar Consistory and Court. There thou sittest, there thou examinest, there thou iudgest. With this kingdome thou wilt not depart, thou wilt not impart it to any other. None can know the se­crets of the soule; none can absolutely, either discerne or command the inward working thereof but thy selfe. Whosoeuer will presume, either to know, or command the working of the spirit; whosoeuer will determine of the last end and state of soules (further then thou hast plainlie reuealed) he vsurpeth thy throne; he wresteth thy scepter out of thy hand. As thou onely art able to iudge of our confession; as thou onlie both knowest and forgiuest sinnes; so vn­to thee will I euer acknowledge my sinnes.

XV Yet will I not be ashamed that the world also take knowledge, that men also thinke that I haue done amisse. I will not forbeare to abase my selfe by reason of my sinnes, euen in open view; to sorrow, to lament, to be sowre and seuere against my selfe; to abhorre the world and all her sorceries; to loath the poisonous pleasures of the bodie; which are like XVI to moathes, that consume the garment wherein they breed; to chastice and tame my filthy flesh, for re­belling [Page 131] against thee, by whose power it was made, by whole prouidence it doeth consist; for conspi­ring the destruction of my soule, which keepeth it from stincking, from turning to most course and loathsome carrion. I will neuer beare the world in hand, that my offences are either few or light; I will by confession make them knowne to thee; I will by sorrow, and some measure of satisfaction, make them knowne to the world. No shamefastnesse shall retaine me from mourning at any time, from making a sad and seuere reckoning with my body, from holding a sharpe hand vpon it. For assuredlie, either we must lament in this life with profitable teares for a time, or else with fruitlesse and endlesse teares in the life to come: either in this world we must tie our selues to some moderate paine, or else be chained both to in­tolerable and eternall paines in the world to come.

Neither will I acknowledge my offenees in part,XVII but I will make an entire confession, and expose all my transgressions before thee. Not only my great sinnes, but my vnrighteousnesse, which seeme of lesser moment; not onely the euill which I haue done, but the good which in dutie I should haue done: I will discouer all my vnrighteousnesse vnto thee. I will doe XVIII as the lepers were commanded to doe, when they came to be clensed by the Priest; I will not only wash my garments, but will haue all my haire;Leu. 14.8. euen my lightest and loosest offences. That thou who num­brest our haires, when thou shalt take a view of my sinnes, shalt not finde one haire of them, which I haue not runne ouer with the razor of confession.

[Page 132] 1. Sam. 15.I will not doe as Saul did, who being commanded to slay all the Amalekites, and all the cattell that per­tained to them; destroyed all that was vile & nought XIX worth, but saued the King, the great King Agag, and the fattest sheepe and oxen aliue. I will not make away my vulgar and vnprofitable sinnes onely, and saue the principall and aduantageable aliue; but I will set the sword of confession to them all. I will not make reseruation of some sweet sinne, and then say with Naaman the Syrian;2. Reg. 5.18. The LORD bee mercifull to me in this. But I will sweepe the house cleane, or XX else can it neuer be furnished and adorned with thy graces, and thereby made fit to entertaine thee. I will cleanse my conscience of all defilements. One drop of poison tainteth a whole tunne of wine; and one mortall sinne infecteth all the faculties and ver­tues of the soule. One snare is sufficient to entrappe the fowle; one hooke to take the fish; one leake to sincke a ship; one sparke of fire to prostrate a whole City; and one sinne sufficeth to draw both bo­die and soule to destruction. I will ther­fore discharge my selfe by confession of all;Lam. 2.19 I will powre forth my heart as water before thee.

VERS. VI.

I said, I will confesse my sinnes vnto the LORD: and so thou forgauest the wickednesse of my sinnes.

  • 1. PArticular enumeration of our sinnes is impossi­ble.
  • 2 How sharpe sinnes are, and how heauie of digestion.
  • 3 Secret sinnes are most dangerous, and wherefore.
  • 4 The readinesse of GOD to accept our confession.
  • 5 GOD often accepts our purpose for performance.
  • 6 Which maketh our want of repentance vnexcusea­ble.
  • 7 Contrition ioyned with a will to confesse is suffi­cient.
  • 8 The necessity of a contrite heart, and wherefore.
  • 9 For remission of sinnes, what is required from vs, what from GOD.
  • 10 Neither of which require any long trace of time.
  • 11 How plentifull GOD is in mercy.
  • 12 A thankesgiuing for the same.
  • [Page 134]13 The soule cheereth by meanes of confession.
  • 14 The ioyfull effects of sorrow and troubles to peni­tent sinners.
  • 15 A life without aduersities whereto it is like.
  • 16 Many benefits that we receiue by troubles.
  • 17 How ready GOD is to receiue to mercy.

BVT what a maze doe I begin to tread? How shall I euer winde my selfe out of this knotty labyrinth? I Verily if I should make a particu­lar rehearsall of all my sinnes, I should neuer bee able to finish that taske, I should neuer roule the stone ouer that hill: I should no sooner mount it a little, but it would alwaies tumble againe down to the bot­tome: I should euer finde my worke new to begin. I may well say with Iudas, I haue sinned; but either number, or truly estimate my sinnes, I cannot. If I could number the starres of Heauen, or the sands of the earth, or the drops of water that are in the Sea, or the moments of time since time began; yet am I out of hope to enumerate my sinnes: because they are no fewer in variety then they are in number: in number equall to those which I haue sayd, but farre exceeding them in variety. The summe of them is, the manifold breach of euery branch of thy Com­mandements; whereof many of the most haynous II sticke stiffe in my conscience, like sharpe stitches in a sicke mans side; whereof the pleasure lieth heauy in [Page 135] my Soule, like sweet meats of extreame hard digesti­on. The most especiall of these are, either blasphe­mous and prophane, or light and vaine vsing of thy most blessed Name: vile and vaine behauiour and speech, vnthankefulnes, couetousnesse, cruelty, pride, ambition, anger, malice, enuie, riot, sloath, violence, hypocrisie, flatterie, &c.

These particulars I vnfold before thee; in euery of these I haue many times offended; yea, many times whereof I was neuer sensible: For what man know­eth how oft hee offendeth. More also would I ac­knowledge to thee, if more I could call to my remem­brance; and therefore, O cleanse thou me from my secret III sinnes. Which assuredly are so much the more dan­gerous, in that they lurke within mee secret and vn­seene; awaiting aduantage alway to intrap mee, and finally to breake foorth to my destruction.

But see the milde mercies of our GOD; see the greatnesse of his goodnesse towards vs; see how prone he is to pardon our sinnes, how ready to recon­cile vs to his fauour. For I did but say, I will confesse my sinnes; and so he forgaue the wickednesse of my sinne. IIII I had scarce addressed my heart to confesse my sins, scarce let one teare drop from my breast, but I obtai­ned fauour and forgiuenesse of him. I sayd I will con­fesse my sinnes, and thou forgauest the wickednesse of my sinne. Oh! that wee were such seruants to thee, as thou art to vs a LORD; so ready, so willing to con­fesse our sinnes, as thou art fauourable to forgiue V them. Thou regardest not the measure, but the trueth of our repentance; not the extension, but the [Page 136] intension; not how ceremonious it is, but how sin­cere. Our purposes thou takest oftentimes for full performances: oftentimes thou acceptest our design­ments for deeds: thou who art a spirit, regardest on­ly the spirit; the outward actions are many times sup­plied by thy grace.

VI And this especially maketh vs vnexcusable, if we doe not repent; because pardon may be so easily ob­tained; because it requireth so little paines. To ob­taine pardon of all our sinnes, a full confession is not alwaies necessarie, but a full and sufficient griefe is re­quired. If the griefe be sufficient, it is of force to abo­lish VII sinnes. Such is the vertue of a true contrite heart, that if it be ioined onelie with a will and endeuour to confesse, it blotteth out, it wipeth away the guiltines of sinne; so as the sinner shall neuer be damned, if he returne not to his wickednesse againe. But confession of sinnes, with all the workes of satisfaction which a man can either effect or imagine, without a contrite heart; are nothing auaileable, nothing worth. A con­trite VIII heart is so necessarie for the remission of sinnes, that without it, no man hath euer beene saued; no sinnes haue beene euer remitted. For as GOD is offen­ded onely with the heart, so with the heart onelie is he pleased; he desireth nothing but the heart: Sonne giue me thy heart. Nothing offendeth GOD but the heart; take away the will and intention of the heart, and all our actions are indifferent: and therfore from the heart must satisfaction proceed. The medicine must be applied where the disease is setled; the sinner must vse iustice vpon the same part where sinne was [Page 137] first hatched, and where it raignes: Euen as offenders are commonlie punished, or branded vpon the same parts of their bodies, wherewith they did offend. Because we sinne with the heart, GOD requireth the punishment of the heart; which is done by full and true contrition.

To obtaine remission of our sinnes, something is IX required on our part, and something from GOD. From vs, sorrow and detestation of our sinnes; and a liuely Faith in our great SALVATION: from GOD, the imparting of his grace: neither of which require any long trace of time; both of them may be done in an instant. For the sorrow of contrition requireth X no determinate continuance of time; but as a man is damned by one peruerse act of his will, so by one contrarie act of his will hee is made fit on his part to bee iustified. Otherwise it would follow, (which the mercy of GOD will neither allow nor endure) that the way of saluation through shortnesse of time, should bee blocked vp against sorrowfull sinners;In quacun­que hora in­gemueris peccator om­nium ini­quitatum cius ampli­us non re­cordabor. Ez [...]k. 18. and that at what time soeuer a sinner doeth truely mourn, he should not be releeued.

As for the grace which proceedeth from GOD, much lesse doeth it either require or beare the very least protraction of time. For, because his vertue is infinite, it is not included, it is not excluded by any compasse or measure of time. If there bee no de­fect of sorrow in vs, there is neuer defect of grace in him; hee doeth iustifie a sinner, and restore him to his fauour in a very instant, euen whensoeuer hee is rightly disposed by sorrow to receiue his grace. [Page 138] XI GOD is so plentifull in mercies, and so prone to im­part them to vs, that wee neede but to open our hands, and they shall bee filled; euen as wee neede but to open our eyes to enioy the bright beauty of the Sunne.Aperi os tutum, &c. The Grace of GOD is so farre from defect,Ecce ego fio ante ostium, & pulso, si quis au lierit vo [...]em me [...]m, & aperuerit, intrabo ad eum, & cae nabo cum illo & ipse mecum. that it preuenteth our dull desires, it knock­eth at our heauy hearts, it worketh in our sluggish spirits; wee can neuer bee so ready to entertaine it, as that is to enter. When our sinnes expell GOD out of our soules, hee will not goe farre, he will stand at the doore; he will there knock, and hourely expect to be receiued againe.

Blessed bee thou, O omnipotent GOD! who so aboundest in mercie and in loue; who art so XII easie to bee intreated for great offences, so ready to bee receiued of those who did despitefully both driue, and for a long time keepe thee out of their gates. Oh! how vndue on thy part, how vndeser­ued on our is thy goodnesse? how farre beyond all expectation? all hope? Certainely wee can neuer bee left so drie and emptie of thy grace, but out of thy plenty, or rather plenitude and fulnesse, wee may easilie againe be stored.

O searcher of soules! I haue so far as my weak­nesse sufficeth, confessed my sinnes vnto thee; I haue disgorged my stomacke, stuffed with loath­some and dangerous humours; I haue discouered those vnseemely soares, which heeretofore I en­deuoured to conceale. And now (mee thinke) XIII I beginne to reuiue; my feare now beginneth to change into hope. As heeretofore I desired to auoid [Page 139] thee, as a sharpe searcher, as a seuere iusticer of my offences; so now I runne after thee, and cast my selfe into thy armes, as my onely assured refuge and defence. Blessed be the houre wherein I was first en­lightned, first emboldned to acknowledge my sinnes. In this houre haue I receiued a singular testimony, a sweet taste, both of thy loue, and care, and liberality towards me. Let others blesse the time of their birth, the time wherein some prosperous aduenture did befall, the time wherein either they atchieued some great aduantage, or else escaped some disastrous euill: But I will blesse this happie houre, the most happy that possiblie could happen to mee. O my GOD! encrease the pleasure which I haue conceiued, in being displeased with my selfe, for displeasing thee: Let mee take so great contentment and delight in re­pentance, as euer I did in committing sinne. So shall my felicitie approach, if not equall the felicitie of thine Angels: So shall I bee aduanced from the low condition of my griefe, to the high and glorious state of thy grace.

O eternall GOD! O true light of our eies! If this XIIII be the effect of troubles and griefe, if this be the worst of them; I will bow my backe, and set my shoulder to the load: I will not onely endure calami­ties, but I will reioyce in them. I will humbly in­treate GOD, that I may neuer want these assurances both of his loue, and of his care; I will earnestly in­uite them to come vpon me, to affoord me their help, either in returning, or retaining me to GOD. Assured­ly XV a life without aduersities is like a standing puddle, [Page 140] a dead sea: as tempests preserue water and aire from XVI putrefaction; so doe troubles the mind. He that ne­uer tasted of troubles, knoweth not himselfe, and see­meth to be little regarded of GOD. He knoweth not himselfe, because he neuer made proofe what he is a­ble to doe: he seemeth little regarded of GOD, as a person without courage aud heart; vnworthy of combate, vnfit for triall. He that neuer knew aduer­sitie, is ignorant of the greatest part of the affaires of this life: He is exceeding miserable in this, that hee neuer knew what misery meant. Great vertues de­light in trouble, as valiant souldiers doe in warre.

O most louing, most rich, most liberall LORD! How can we be able, I will not say to expresse; but to vnderstand, to imagine thy sweet gentlenesse and loue? I did no sooner thinke to returne vnto XVII thee, but thou were vpon the way to meet me: I did no sooner say that I would confesse my offences, but thou diddest open thine armes to receiue mee to mercie: I did no sooner call to mind the paines which my sinnes did merit, but thou diddest accord to remit the same. I expe­cted thy rebukes, and thy roddes; but I receiued thy kisses: I looked that thou wouldest haue thundered foorth thy threats, that thy angrie arme would haue dashed mee to dust; but thou diddest encounter mee with thy embracements, thou diddest enter­taine mee with a sumptuous feast. Thou diddest more reioice to doe mee good, then I (heauie beast) did to receiue it. O fauourable LORD! How much more ready art thou to pardon, then to punish? How [Page 141] much more ready to grant thy pardon, then wee to desire it? Verelie, no louing father can so graciously receiue his childe, cast downe at his feet, and in the lowest descent of submission crauing his fauor; as thou hast graciously receiued me.

VERS. VII.

For this shall euery one that is godly make his prayer vnto thee in a time when thou mayest bee found: but in the great water floodes they shall not come nigh him.

  • 1 THE effect of Repentance in regard of the godly.
  • 2 All creatures to be entreated to ayde vs in praysing GOD.
  • 3 Especially all the Saints in heauen, who haue beene sinners vpon earth.
  • 4 Also all the godly vpon earth.
  • 5 Who by examples of Mercy, shall bee encouraged to resort to GOD.
  • 6 Remission of sinnes, is a case reserued onely to GOD.
  • [Page 143]7 Remission of the least sinne, requires no lesse vertue, then the creation of the world.
  • 8 Resort to GOD must bee in a seasonable time.
  • 9 The seasonable time in regard of GOD.
  • 10 The great difference betweene the seasonable time, and the time ensuing.
  • 11 The seasonable time in regard of our selues.
  • 12 The dangers which wee incurre by deferring re­pentance.
  • 13 The doubtfull estate of those who repent very late.
  • 14 Late repentance little auailable, not by any change in GOD, but by defects in our selues.
  • 15 It is little better then desperation, to sinne vpon confidence of repentance.

FOR this cause my heart hop­peth I with in mee for ioy; my spi­rit is enflamed, and my blood boi­leth with a holy heat, both to ex­toll and extend thy praise. My soule glorieth onely in thy goodnes and grace. It blameth, it accuseth nothing but it selfe; It complaineth, it crieth out against none but it selfe. It is my will, it is my actions, it is my selfe that I haue lamented: But GOD hath beene gracious to mee, it is in his grace that I will reioyce. Hee hath opened mine eyes, to see my owne deformities and defects; he hath touched my heart with shame and with griefe; hee hath vnlocked my lippes, both to confesse my faults, and to craue compassion: if not so [Page 144] soone as it was requisite, yet before it was altogether too late. Although I haue lost much time, yet hath he not suffered me to lose all; although I did not ap­prehend the first offers of occasion, yet did not hee permit it wholly to slip away. Praise the LORD; O [...]y soule! Psal. 146. whilest I liue will I praise the LORD; yea so long as I haue any being will I sing praises to my God, &c.

II But because I am not able sufficiently to praise thee, I will intreat the ayd of all thy creatures; let them all ioine with mee in the sweet harmonie of thy praise. Let all thy wind instruments tune to this consort: Let euery thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Psal. 150.

III Especially I incite to this holy office, all thy bles­sed Saints in heauen; who did heeretofore in like sort participate of thy grace, and now participate of thy glorie. For so many Saints as are now in heauen, so many sinners haue beene vpon earth; there neuer was, nor shall be any but one who may say, which of you can reprooue me of sin? They all needed thy grace to repent, they all receiued thy gift to be forgiuen. Let them all bee examined, Let them answere freely, by whose power they are saued, they will all acknow­ledge; It was not our sword, and our bow, but thy hand and the strength of thy arme that hath gotten vs the victory.

Also all the godly vpon earth shall praise thee, for this example of thy compassion and loue: For that thou hast declared thy selfe so prone to pardon, so readie to releeue, so rich and plentifull in thy reliefe: For that thou art not onely easilie entreated to remit [Page 145] our sinnes, but prone and bountifull in heaping thy graces and fauours vpon vs. They shall also be en­couraged V heereby, to flie vnto thee, to pray vnto thee. When their sinnes and offences lie heauie vpon them, when they are enuironed and oppressed with distresse; they shall neuer despaire, neuer distrust to bee both released and releeued by thee. Yea, euen the most righteous and iust shall for this cause addresse their prayers to thee. For there is not one among the sonnes of Adam, but his necessities require that hee pray often to thee; both for pardon and reliefe.Ecce quiser­uiunt ei non sunt stabiles & in An­gelis suis reperis prauitatem, quant [...]m magis hi qui habi­tant domos luteas, & terrenum habens fundamen­tum. Iob. 40. Whosoeuer thinketh that he hath no need, deceiueth himselfe, and in very truth stands most in need. Then doe we begin to bee iust, when wee begin to see our owne vnrighteousnesse; and the further wee pro­ceede in the one, the more shall wee encrease in the other.

And they shall pray vnto thee, and onely vnto thee: because thou onely forgiuest sinne. Remission of sinnes is so great a worke, that it is a case reserued one­ly to thee: thou onely forgiuest sinne, who onely art offended by sinne. No creature whether in heauen VI or vpon earth,Ego sum, Ego sum ip­se qui deleo iniquitates tuas propter me. Es. 43. hath priuiledge to pardon the least sinne: the forgiuenesse of the least sinne requireth no lesse vertue, then the creation of all the world. In creation nature is giuen, in iustification grace; which in many degrees exceedeth nature. If no man bee of VII power to giue nature to things,Quis potest facera mun­dum de immundo conceptis semine monne much lesse is any man of ability to giue grace. When the king of Syria sent Naaman his seruant to the king of Israel, that hee should cure him of his leprosie; the king of Israel tore [Page 146] his garments and said: Am I a GOD that I should cure a man of his leprosie? t [...] qui so­lus es? Iob. 14. But assuredly, if no power but of GOD was able to cure a bodily leprosie, no inferiour power can cleanse the loathsome leprosie of the soule: For this cure must all men resort to GOD.

VIII But this they must doe in a seasonable time; they must apprehend occasion, which no wise man, either fearing thee, or louing himselfe, will suffer to escape. For as opportunitie at some times of our life, is faire­ly offered to all; so if it bee not taken when it comes, it can neuer be ouertaken when it is gone. This time is whilest thy treasures are opened, whilest thou maist be approached, whilest thou maiest bee found: whilest thou proclaymest thy pardon, whilest thou repellest no man, whilest thou inuitest all: whilest thou almost entreatest sinners, loaden and perplexed with their heauie charge, to come to thee for releefe. If in this time they pray vnto thee, Iustitia tu [...] sicut gurgi­tes maris Isai. 48. the floud of thy fu­rie shall not inuolue them; they shall not be swallow­ed in the rauenous gulfe of thine indignation.

But if they suffer this time to slippe; if they be so held down with sensual either pleasure or sloath, that they will not awake out of the slumber of sinne; that they will not arise and pray vnto thee: another time shal then succeed; when the full streames and stormes of thy displeasure shall violently breake foorth, and sodainely enwrappe all those, who either through negligence, which is ill; or through obstinacy, which is worse, perseuere in their licentious life. And the longer it be before these flouds come vpon them, with the greater fury will they fall: Euen as riuers, [Page 147] the greater distance they runne from their springs, the more waters they gather, & with the greater vio­lence they run. Or as the longer a man to be drawing a bowe, the neerer he drawes the arrow to the head, and with the greater strength it flieth from his hand.

At that time, they who now may haue easie ac­cesse,X shall not be able to approch thee; they shalbe driuen away, they shall be commanded with a sad bitter curse, to depart from thee. Thou who now kee­pest open house, wil then perpetually shut vp doores: thou who now artfull of pity, plentifull in reliefe; wilt then finally iudge, and afterwards eternally pu­nish. Pharaoh did hardly oppresse and detaine the people of Israel a long time; no intreatie, no punish­ment could mooue him to permit them to depart; he pursued them with an army euen into the sea: But when he saw the waters comming vpon him, he acknowledged the power of GOD, and said:Exod. 14. Let vs flie, for the LORD fighteth for them. Then he repen­ted, then he would haue gone back; but it was too late. The water flouds came vpon him too fast; sentence of death had then passed against him; then GODS wrath and the waters came vpon him together. When the floud-gates of GODS fury are opened vp­on vs, it will so violently driue vs both from his fa­uour and face, that it will be impossible for vs to ap­proach him.

Againe, they who let slip the time of their youth,XI of their health and of their strength; and with vari­etie of delaies driue off to reconcile themselues to GOD, vntill by age or by sickenesse they become [Page 148] weake; vntill they arriue to the last period of their XII liues: they are in danger to deceiue themselues. They are in great danger, that either their hearts will be so hardened with long custome of sin, that true repen­tance cannot sinke into them: or else that the feeble­nesse of age, the paines of sickenesse, the dismaidnes of death, the horrour of sinne, the terrour of iustice, and a thousand like perplexities, as so many floud-gates, will rush vpon their soules, and altogether o­uerwhelme them; so as they shall not be able to ap­proach XIII neere to GOD. For being rowled in these streames, it cannot but be doubtfull at the least; that they who in former times were forgetfull of GOD, should then be forgetfull of themselues; that they who had no will to repent, whilest they had power to sinne; when they are vnable to sinne, should haue a very weake either will or ability to repent: that GOD will then as little regard their cries, as they did for­merly XIIII regard his callings. Not vpon any change in him, but by reason of defect in themselues. Because their complaints and cries at that time; and happi­lie their sobs, sighes, and teares, are not a voluntary motion of the will, but a violent enforcement vpon necessitie. They are rather effects of amazement, or of despaire; then of any liuely and powerfull repen­tance. XV Verely, it is little better then desperation, to sinne vpon confidence of repentance in times to en­sue. There is little, either proofe or thanke in the a­mendement of our will, when we are past, either the pleasure or the power to proceed in sinne.

VERS. IIII.

Thou art a place to hide mee in, thou shalt preserue me from trouble: thou shalt compasse mee about with songs of deli­uerance.

  • 1. THe effects of repentance in regard of the peni­tents.
  • 2 The protection of GODS Mercy.
  • 3 The protection of his power.
  • 4 The protection of his prouidence.
  • 5 As GOD hath manifested himselfe to vs, three of his attributes are most excellent, his goodnesse, his wise­dome and his power.
  • 6 And of these his goodnesse is most excellent and glo­rious.
  • 7 GOD communicates his goodnesse, and where­fore.
  • 8 A thankesgiuing.
  • [Page 150]9 The goodnesse of GOD an assured defence.
  • 10 The debility of humane forces.
  • 11 How sustained
  • 12 The goodnesse of GOD not only defendeth, but ma­keth victorious.
  • 13 A short prayer.
  • 14 The godly are free from the delights of this world.
  • 15 Free also from the dangers.
  • 16 They cannot perish, and wherefore.

I BVT as for me I will speedily and in good time runne vnto thee, as vn­to my assured refuge; against out­ward feares, against inward weak­nesses, against all dangers or disqui­ets. When I haue offended thee, when I haue stumbled, when fal­len into any sinne; I will not basely and beastly lie still; I wil forthwith arise & run vnto thee, as to a place II to hide me in. To hide me vnder thy mercie, both from the stroke, and from the search of thy iustice. When I am assailed by mine own euill inclinations, When my spirituall enemie doth either vrge or al­lure III me to sinne; I will runne to the protection of thy power, as to the onely meanes to preserue me, against the furies and treacheries of these encoun­ters. When humane hatred doth set vpon me; when molestations, troubles, dangers, doe beset me; when entrapments of all sorts are spread abroad, either [Page 151] particularlie against my selfe, or more generallie a­gainst IIII others with me; I will runne to the protection of thy prouidence and wisedome, where I shall bee most assuredly preserued. Let others runne whither they please. Let them trust to their friends, to their riches, to their wisedome, to their power, or to any other thing which in the view of the world seemeth able to defend them: I will shrowd my selfe vnder thee. Thou art my refuge, thou art the place to hide and preserue me: In all my necessities thou art my re­treit. When Sathan assaulteth, when the world en­ticeth, when my owne filthie flesh enclineth and be­traieth me; when temptations, when aduersities and dangers enuiron and oppresse me; this is my onely comfort, that thou art good, and that I may haue re­sort to thy goodnesse; which is the most excellent at­tribute and perfection that thou hast.

True it is, that among all thy perfections, one is not greater or lesse then another: because euery one comprehendeth the most high and simple nature of thy diuinity, whereinto no comparison can fall. Yet as thou doest manifest thy selfe to vs, three of them are most excellent: thy goodnesse, thy wisedome and thy V omnipotent power. These are the three fingers which sustaine the earth. Of these, thy goodnesse mooueth thee to be bountifull to thy creatures; thy wisedome contriueth how this may most beneficially be done: thy power bringeth the worke to effect. And albeit these are equall in thy selfe, comprised together in thy diuine prouidence; yet as thou declarest thy selfe to VI vs, thy goodnesse is most excellent and glorious, from [Page 152] whence thy mercy doeth proceed. This thou most extollest in thy selfe; this thou most expressest in thy workes, whereof alwayes thy goodnesse is the cause. For thy goodnesse draweth thy infinite wisedome and power to concurre with it, in bringing thy benefits to effect.

And because it is the nature of Goodnesse to com­municate and dilate it selfe; thou who art the origi­nall VII Goodnesse, hast imparted many good things to thy Creatures. Not for any necessity to thy selfe, not for any increase of thy glory: for neither art thou de­fectiue in any thing, neither can any thing enlarge thy glorie: but because thou wilt not be good alone. Be­cause thy goodnesse is of nature to extend it selfe, it hath made other creatures to participate therof. Thy goodnesse and thy glorie thou hast imparted to other creatures; that as thou enioyest thine owne essence and beautie, so they also should behold, loue and en­ioy the same: albeit not in the same degree with thy selfe: because they cannot comprehend thee, as thou comprehendest thy selfe. This is the felicitie and glorie which filleth the capacitie of our soules, and maketh them happie. And to this end it pleased thy infinite goodnesse to create, not onlie Angels, but al­so men: That so abiect a creature, in one part neerest to beasts, should sit at thy table, and feede of thine owne dish.

Blessed be this noble Goodnesse, which hath so VIII freelie and mercifullie communicated it selfe to so base creatures. This Goodnesse is the contentment and delight of my heart; this onelie is able, not onely [Page 153] to refresh, but to reuiue the soule with inward conso­lation: There is no solid, either comfort or assurance, but in this Goodnesse.

And therefore whensoeuer I am enuironed and IX euen oppressed with dangers; when infinite euils shall on euery side assaile my body or my soule; with humble haste I will runne to thy Goodnesse: thy Good­nesse shall then be not onely a buckler, but a bulwark to defend me. Vnder the defence of thy Goodnesse, I shall not onely be safe, but secure: Not onely safe from dangers, but secure also and free from feare. Although the earth tremble, and the mountaines be carried into the bosome of the sea; yet vnder this protection I will not feare. For among other things, this is one of thy chiefe endeuours and cares, to de­liuer thy seruants and friends from dangers; to ap­pease their mindes from disquiet; because thou knowest what wee are, and whereof wee are made. Thou knowest how feeble our forces are; feeble by nature, but by often transgressions altogether disa­bled X from releeuing our selues; altogether vnable ei­ther to resist, or to beare the calamities and dangers which presse vpon vs. A man may destroy himselfe,Perditio tua ex te Israel, in me auxili­um tuum. Hos. 13.9. he may cast himselfe into an Ocean of misery with­out thee; but saue and releeue himselfe without thee he cannot; this is a speciall worke of thy goodnesse and grace. In this worke all power without thee is XI weake, with thee no weakenesse but is sufficient: VVithout thee life is dead,Pone me iuxta te & cuiusuis manus pug­net contra me. Iob. 17. with thee death it selfe is aliue. All power is weake against him who is vnder thy power; If thou be at my hand, no hand is of force [Page 154] against me: my weakenesse shall bee supported by thine omnipotent power.

XII And I shall not onely be defended vnder protecti­on of thy goodnesse, I shall not onely be deliuered and preserued against mine enemies; but I shall preuaile and be victorious against them. As I was before be­set with dangers, so shall I bee there enuironed with ioy: I shall not onely bee free from feare, but filled with vnspeakeable ioy. Oh happy soules! who are arriued in so sure custody; who in all the trauerses of this life, are guarded by the puissant hand of GOD. VVhat euill can either assaile or approach you? VVhat good doe you not enioy? No euill can ap­proach you; because you alwaies flie from euill: you enioy all good, because you enioy that goodness which makes you alwaies doing of good.Fly from euill and doe good.

O good GOD! giue mee a taste of the plentifull XIII pleasures wherewith their soules are satiated whom thou hast deliuered, whom thou doest defend; from the strong chaines, from the strait prison, wherin the Diuell would hold them captiue. VVho being full of ioy, full of blessed contentment and quiet, liue like thy selfe: without perturbation, without feare or XIIII hope. O my GOD! how vilelie doe they esteeme the voluptuousnesse of this life? How doe they not onelie forbeare to desire, but loath and abhorre to quaffe off that broken bruage, which the flesh with a harlots hand presenteth to them, in the base and im­pure cup of this world? How little relish haue they in those flashie vnsinewie pleasures, which breake the forces of the soule, and cast it into a drunken dreame?

[Page 155]They soare aboue the sphere of earthly delights; they neuer stoope vpon so course carrion, but aspire to prey vpon Angels food. And they are no lesse XV free from the dangers of the world, then from the delights; no more troubled with the feare of the one, then with desire of the other. They may bee hated, but harmed they cannot bee; they may bee persecu­ted, but they cannot perish. For nothing killeth the soule but sinne; sin only is the sword that killeth the soule: that soule which sinneth shall die. Eze. 18.4. But nothing is sinne vnlesse it be voluntary; Take away the will and all actions are equall: and therefore a soule doth not perish, vnlesse it will, vnlesse voluntarilie it commit­teth euill. So it followeth, that they cannot perish, because they will not: Because they will not returne XVI to their sinnes, they cannot incurre the penaltie of sinne. And this they will not doe, because their spi­rit is gouerned by thy grace; because their will is sub­iect to thy will; because thy will and their will are twisted together, as it were into a fast twined threed.

VERS. IX.

I will informe thee, and teach thee in the way wherein thou shalt goe; and I will guide thee with mine eye.

  • THE effects of Repentance in regard of the wicked.
  • 2 GOD is most intelligible, yet hardest to be vnderstood.
  • 3 GOD directeth the vnderstanding.
  • 4 Correcteth the will.
  • 5 Not only instructeth, but leadeth with his hand.
  • 6 Enlightneth and guideth with his eie.
  • 7 To what end GOD fixeth his eies vpon the righte­ous.
  • 8 The eies of the LORD are working eyes.
  • 9 They make a soule both beautifull and rich.
  • 10 The incredible goodnesse of GOD.
  • 11 The eyes of the LORD not onely teach, but en­able.
  • [Page 157]12 A heauenly voice.
  • 13 Our eyes must also be firmely fixed vpon GOD.
  • 14 But first they must be made cleane.

COME hither now all ye who want I vnderstanding, the very forme and essence of man, and I will instruct you: I will instruct you in that II which is most intelligible, and yet hardest to bee vnderstood. For as nothing is more visible then GOD, yet nothing lesse seene, by reason of his exceeding brightnesse; so no­thing is more intelligible then GOD, yet nothing lesse vnderstood, by reason of his surpassing great­nesse. Come hither, I say, all yee, who know not the trueth; all ye who wander out of the right way, come hither to me: come all ye who are desirous to attaine a happie life, whereto all the passage of our life is no­thing else but a toylesome trauaile. I will enforme you in the pure trueth, which experience of mine owne errours hath taught mee; I will direct you in the right way, which after long wandring I haue bea­ten out; I will point vnto you the cleare Sunne of Life, which after many stiffe stormes hath disclosed to me a most louely light: whose bright beames haue dispelled all darke pitchie cloudes of despaire, and re­duced my thoughts to a quiet calme. All yee who would taste the great goodnesse of GOD, who would be made happie by remission of your sinnes; ye who would obtaine his ayde in your necessities, his com­fort [Page 158] in your distresse; heare mee whom experience hath taught; Or rather heare the LORD himselfe: Listen well what hee saith vnto you, and lodge vp his words carefully in your breasts.

Come vnto me, thou miserable man; If thou hast any care of thine owne estate; If thou hast any loue and desire of thine owne safetie, come vnto me; and thou shalt see what I will doe for thee. I will enforme III thy vnderstanding, in what errours and in what dan­gers thou passest thy life; and how thou maiest in best manner amend the one, and auoid the other. I will instruct thee to know the euill which I hate, and the good which I require; the miseries which awaite the one, and the happinesse which is prepared for the other.

But because men do not commonly offend through want of vnderstanding, but through peruersenesse of will: For that the knowledge may well bee furnish­ed, partly by the benefit of nature, and partly by in­structions from other men; but both these are not of power to rectifie the will and restraine the appetite. They may point out the way, but they cannot giue either appetite or strength to trauaile therein: they may set good meate before thee, but they cannot giue IIII a stomacke to eate: Come therefore vnto mee, and I will not onelie direct thy vnderstanding, but I will correct the appetites and inclinations of thy will: I wil not onely informe thy iudgement to discerne what is best, but I will conforme thy will to embrace and exe­cute what thou doest discerne. I will not onely re­mooue errours from thy knowledge, but disorders [Page 159] also and dulnesse from thy desires.

And because the way which thou pacest is both V difficult and darke; full of intricate turnings, full of rough and broken places, wherein thou maiest easily wander or fall; full of stoppes to impeach thee; full of snares to entangle thy feet; some of pride, some of auarice, some of riot, some of lust and other trum­peries of the world; so as none can escape but by my illustration and aid: I will therefore lead thee vpon my hand, I will both stay and direct thy steppes: I will conduct thee to eternall felicitie and life. I will not commit this charge to my Angels, but as I did lead my people of Israel, in the day by a pillar of a cloud, and in the night by a pillar of fire; so day and night I will be thy guide. In the day of prosperitie, with my grace of moderation; in the night of aduer­sitie, with my grace of comfort: these two pillars shall neuer forsake thee. I will remooue all impedi­ments from before thee: I will make thy passage both streight and smooth.

Let great persons of the world send their harben­gers before them,Thou shalt make e­quall the righteous path of the iust, Psal. 26.7. to make their iournalls both easie and safe. But I my selfe will leuell thy way; I will re­mooue and auoide all hinderances, I will make thy walke both pleasant and plaine. Anchore not thy minde to things of this world;Crooked things shal be made streight, and rough wayes bee made plain, Luk. 3.5. Let not thy thoughts bee troubled either with hope or with feare; Arrest thy selfe wholy vpon mee, and I will take the charge into my hands: I will haue a care ouer thee, as a fa­ther hath ouer his child. I will neuer turne my coun­tenance from thee, thou shalt walke alwayes in my VI [Page 160] sight, I will firmely fixe mine eyes vpon thee: I will watch ouer thee, so as nothing shall faile which may aduance thee to a happy life. Mine eye shall enligh­ten thee, mine eye shall direct thee, mine eye shall fur­nish thee with all supplies; vntill thou arriue at the place, where thou shalt want nothing but what thou wouldest not haue: where thy aboundance shall e­quall thy desires.

O sweete wordes! and what frozen heart can re­ceiue them, and not bee melted into delight? and not bee enflamed with the loue of his creator? What? Wilt thou fixe thine eyes vpon vs indeede? Yes ve­rely;Psal. 34.14 Psal. 33.17 The eyes of the LORD are ouer the righteous: The eyes of the LORD are vpon them that feare him, and put VII their trust in his mercy. But to what end? To deliuer their soules from death, and to feede them in the time of dearth. Psal. 33.18 Good: And so it seemeth, that they shall neither perish nor want. For they shall bee deliuered from death, and fedde in the time of dearth. Thine eye is so fixed vpon them, that whosoeuer toucheth them to harme them, hee toucheth the apple of thine eye. All sweete saciety is plentifully powred from thine eyes.

VIII Assuredly, the eyes of the LORD are working eyes; grace streameth from his eyes, as light and heat streame from the sunne. The sunne doeth not so much both adorne and enrich the earth with his il­lustrous beames, as the eyes of the LORD by their influence both enrich and adorne the soule of man; IX as they make it radiant both in pure beauty, and in plentie of good workes. O mercifull GOD! how [Page 161] sweete is thy Spirit? What comforts and delights breathe hourely from thee? How art thou so ena­moured with our sinnefull soules, that thou wilt not turne the eyes of thy Maiesty from them? How come they so deare vnto thee, that neither danger nor want can seize vpon them? LORD, I am astonished at X this vnmeasurable goodnesse; my thoughts are so ouerwhelmed and confounded therewith, that I am enforced to crie vnto thee;Ps. 141.3. What is man that thou hast such respect vnto him? or the sonne of man that thou so re­gardest him?

I did once goe astray, ouer carried with the com­pany XI of ordinary men. But since the LORD hath vouchsafed to cast his countenance vpon me, since he hath turned to me his amiable eie of compassion and grace; I haue not only beene instructed what to doe, but enabled to performe the same. New forces, new life hath beene infused into me: I haue not only been directed which way to walke, but I haue beene gui­ded and supported in that way. And now (me think) this heauenly voice perpetually soundeth in mine eares.

FEare not, behold, as I haue infused a soule into thy bo­dy,XII so will I infuse my spirit into thy soule; to guide all the actions and motions therof: that as thou hast a naturall life by the one, so thou mayest haue a spirituall life by the other. This spirit shall cleere thy vnderstanding, encline thy will, rule and moderate all thy steps. And further, mine eye shall not be off thee, my hand shall continually sup­port thee: euen as (yea much more then) a carefull mother beareth a vigilant eie and hand ouer her tender childe, [Page 162] going in places, where it is both easie and dangerous to re­ceiue a fall.

XIII When I heare this voice, I fixe likewise mine eies immoueablie vpon my guide: euen as a diligent pi­lot fixeth his eyes vpon the starre whereby hee stee­reth the course of his nauigation. As the moone re­ceiueth her light from the sun, so shall my eyes re­ceiue both their light and their life from those graci­ous XIIII eies. I will first make them cleane, and then turn them like chrystall glasses, to reflect the impression of those glorious lights. I will put my selfe into the conduct of him, who only both is able, and hath promised to guide me to eternall happines. I will carefully obserue those louely and liuely lookes, which doe so care­fully preserue me.

VERS. X.

Bee yee not like to horse and mule, which haue no vnderstanding: whose mouthes must be holden with bitte and bridle, lest they fall vpon thee.

  • 1 OVR nature requires, that wee bee guided by GOD.
  • 2 Other creatures haue some likenesse of GOD, and wherein.
  • 3 Man beareth his image, and how.
  • 4 This should mooue vs to applie our selues to GOD.
  • 5 Wherein we should declare a difference betweene vs and bruit beasts.
  • 6 To be a man to halfes is the worst condition, and wherefore.
  • 7 Foure degrees of Sinne.
  • 8 Contempt not pardonable, and wherefore.
  • [Page 164]9 The first motions of Grace to be embraced.
  • 10 No creatures degenerate from their proper nature, but man.
  • 11 The cause thereof.
  • 12 Wherefore in the creation no mention is made of the goodnesse of man.
  • 13 How man transformeth himselfe into a beast.
  • 14 The deformitie of Sinne, in that it transformeth vs into beasts.
  • 15 What we are if wee vse not reason, and what if wee abuse it.
  • 16 How we may be best transformed.
  • 17 The seruices which commonly we pursue.
  • 18 The loue of our selues should moue vs to goodnesse.
  • 19 The loue of miserie is worse then miserie it selfe.

BE ruled by me then, & doe as I haue done, (O my friend) take it from my experience for the best. Range thy selfe in order, and bee guided by his Grace. Haue recourse to him in due time, whilest hee per­mitteth, whilest he inuiteth, whilest he entreateth thee to come. Now he gently calleth thee into the right-way of saluation, now hee courte­ously offereth both his direction and aide: Heare him, I regard him, obey him. If thou wilt not doe this in respect of him, doe it at least in respect of thy selfe, in respect of thine owne benefit, in respect of the condi­tion of thine owne nature. Doe (I say) accordingly [Page 165] as thou art, and as the nature of thy being requires.

Thou art a man, endued with reason and vnder­standing, wherein GOD hath engrauen his liuely im­age. In other creatures there is some likenesse of him, some footsteps of his diuine nature; but in man, he hath stamped his image. Some things are like to II GOD, in that they are; some, in that they liue; some in their excellent propertie and working. But this is not the image of GOD. His image is onely in that we vnderstand: which is so neere a resemblance of him, that nothing in all his creatures can so cleerely expresse him. For as GOD doeth vnderstand and loue III himselfe; so man by his intellectuall power, is both apt and inclinable to vnderstand and loue him. And the more perfectly man doeth vnderstand and loue GOD, the more liuely doeth he expresse his image.

Seeing then that thou art of so noble a nature, & that thou bearest in thine vnderstanding the image of GOD; so gouerne thy selfe as is fit for a creature of vnderstanding. Bee not a man onely in name, and in outward feature, but in conditions of mind a beast; plunging thy selfe in those brutish pleasures and de­sires, whereby the flesh vanquisheth and destroyeth the spirit. Bee not like the brute beasts which want IIII vnderstanding; either wilde and vnruly, or else hea­uie and dull: the one whereof must alwaies haue the snaffle betweene their teeth, the other the spurre vp­on their side. Be not stiffe necked, be not slow paced; doe not furiously fling after the pleasures, doe not obstinately insist in the customes of a licentious life. Be not caried with the sway of thy appetites, with the [Page 166] tempestuous rage of thy sensuality, without any dis­course, without any rule, or restraint of reason.

Thinke that thou art a more excellent creature, then to be anchored like a beast, to earthly thoughts:V Thinke that thou art bound to declare that difference which nature hath set betweene thee and bruit beasts, not in outward appearance and behauiour, but chief­ly by the disposition of thy mind. Vnderstand thy state, vnderstand thy dangers; and then expresse some iudgement, care, and industry, how to auoid them. For assuredly, thou wantest either faith, if thou doest not beleeue thy danger; or vnderstanding, if with all care and diligence thou doest not endeauour to auoid it.

Aboue all, be not halfe a man, be not carefull and VI regular in thy life to halfes: for such a one liueth most miserably, because he enioyeth neither GOD nor the world. He enioyeth not GOD, because he hath not grace enough to make him his owne: The world he doth not enioy; for that hee hath so much taste of grace, as to discouer the vanitie and iniquity of his pleasures.

Thou mayest happily obserue foure degrees of VII sinne: the desire, the action, the custome, the obsti­nacy or contempt. Desire bringeth forth action; fre­quencie of action, draweth on custome; custome run­neth into habite; habite, into nature; from whence proceedeth obstinate contempt. Whensoeuer ther­fore thou fallest into any degree of sinne, lie not still, beware of custome; for this will soone rise into con­tempt, [Page 167] which is not pardonable; because so long as VIII contempt standeth,Insanabilis est fractura tua. Ier. 30. it is not possible that the sinne should bee remitted. Obstinate impenitencie is said to bee impardonable, for that thereby a sinner dis­esteemeth and despiseth the mercie of GOD: which if he would entertaine and embrace, then is hee not obstinate, then are his sinnes both possible and easie to be forgiuen. For no sinne is vnpardonable with GOD, when with sinceritie and humility of heart, the sinner desireth mercie; which contempt will neuer permit him to doe.

And therefore at the very first summons that GOD IX shall make, range thy selfe readily vnder his obedi­ence. Doe not struggle against his directions, be not slow in performing his pleasure: Doe not either by obstinate rebellion resist, or by cold dulnesse extin­guish the good motions of his grace enspired into thee. Doe not constraine him by afflictions to con­straine thee to his seruice; as a beast is constrained by bridle and whippes to be seruiceable to man. Be not good onely vpon compulsion and feare, neither let compulsion and feare deterre thee from goodnesse: But be like a sure blade, whereof albeit the point bee bowed to the hilts, yet will it not so stand, but re­turne foorthwith to the straightnesse againe. Weigh thine actions with vnderstanding, do them with loue, walke cheerefully in the wayes of the LORD; bee readie, be desirous and ioyfull to be guided by him. For GOD who is a spirit, respecteth the spirit; he de­sireth, he accepteth principally the heart: he is better pleased with the manner of our doing, then with that [Page 168] which we can possible doe.

X Certainely, of all the creatures vnder heauen, which haue receiued being from GOD, none dege­nerate, none forsake their naturall dignity and being, but onely man; Onelie man, abandoning the digni­tie of his proper nature, is changed like Proteus, in­to XI diuers formes. And this is occasioned by reason of the libertie of his will: which is a facultie that transformeth men into so many things, as with vio­lent XII appetite it doth pursue. Hence it proceeded, that in the creation of other things, GOD approoued them and saw that they were good; because he gaue them a stable and permanent nature. But of the good­nesse of man no mention at all. Mans goodnesse was left vnapprooued at the first; because GOD gaue him libertie of will; either to embrace vertue, and be like vnto GOD; or to adhere to sensualitie, and be like vnto beasts.

XIII And as euery kinde of beast is principally inclined to one sensualitie more then to any other; so man transformeth himselfe into that beast, to whose sen­sualitie he principallie declines. For as the first mat­ter is apt to receiue the impression of any forme, so man by reason of his affection and will, is apt to be transformed into any beast. This did the ancient wisemen shadow foorth by their fables, of certaine persons changed into such beasts, whole crueltie, or sottery, or other brutish nature they did expresse. And what else did others signifie, by seeking for a man with a candle, in the greatest assemblies of a most populous city, but that all were degenerated [Page 169] into beasts?Cap. 5.1. Run to and fro (saith the Prophet Ieremie) by the streets of Ierusalem, and behold now, and know and enquire in the open places thereof, if ye can finde a man. And againe the same Prophet saith:Cap. 10. Cap. 21. Euery man is a beast by his owne knowledge. And againe: The Pastors are become beasts, and haue not sought the LORD; there­fore haue they no vnderstanding.

And hereby thou maiest discerne (O man) the de­formitie XIIII of thy most seemely sinnes; which raseth the image of GOD out of thy soule,Psal. 18. alias 19. and transformeth it into the image of beasts. For Man being in honour, and without vnderstanding, is compared to the foolish beasts, and is made like vnto them.

O sonnes of Adam! created after the image of GOD; adorned with many naturall and supernaturall gifts. Doe not abandon your selues, Doe not aban­don reason to embrace sensualitie; doe not cast off the dignitie of your condition and state, to follow the base fashion of beasts. Euery thing naturally lo­ueth the life. You haue no similitude with beasts; but GOD hath created you to his owne image, to the end you should loue him. GOD hath endued you with reason, to make you differ from beasts: vse it, and vse it well. If you doe not vse it, then are you beasts; If you vse it not well, but abuse it, then are you XV worse then beasts; then are you deuills. If it pleaseth you not to be as you are, I will tell you how you XVI shall best transforme your selues: endeauour to resemble GOD, to transforme your selues into him, by imitation (so much as it is possible) of his sanctity and puritie: Euen as he hath said: be ye holy, as I am [Page 170] holy. This is a blessed change; this is the greatest perfection that can be either wrought or wished to a reasonable creature.

XVII What man will desire or endure to serue his ene­mie, his fellow, or his seruant? The Diuell is your enemie; the flesh your fellow; the world your ser­uant. The first seruice is vnprofitable, for it affoor­deth no wages but death: the second vncertaine, for you are alwayes menaced to be turned out of dores: the third is most base and vaine: for suppose you could atchieue all the world, what is it? A needles point, a moat, a mite, a nothing.

You are now in your passage through a wide and wilde forrest, wherein you may be easily lost, where­in easily you may lose the vse of that sunne, which should both enlighten and direct you to your iourneyes end. You are trauersing through an in­tricate labyrinth, out of whose entaglements you can neuer winde, neuer free your feet, vnlesse you follow that pathe which GOD hath lined foorth vnto you. You a [...]e sailingin a dangrous sea; beneath paued with shelues, on euerie side walled with rockes, aboue beaten with terrible tempests. You must be not on­lie skilfull, but carefull of your course; you must al­waies beare your hand on the helme, your eie on the compasse; lest it come to passe that you neuer escape.

XVIII If you doe not this for the loue of GOD, doe it then for the loue of your selues; whereunto by all rules of reason and nature you are stronglie bound. If you doe not loue or regard your good, at lest bee XIX not in loue with your euill: The loue of miserie is [Page 171] farre worse then miserie it selfe. Assuredly, in case you continue in this carelesse course; in case you still beare your selues, either desperate in running from GOD, or dull and heauie in comming to him; in case neither his benefits can allure, nor his chasticements enforce you to a change of life: he will cast his plagues vpon you so thicke as haile; which will make you more mi­serable then you can imagine.

VERS. XI.

Great plagues remaine for the vngodly: but who so putteth his trust in the LORD, mercy embraceth him on euery side.

  • 1. GODS heauie hammers vpon obstinate sinners.
  • 2 The multitude of GODS punishments.
  • 3 The seuerity of them.
  • 4 It is most easie for GOD to pardon sinnes, and wher­fore.
  • 5 It is not possible but that penitent persons should be forgiuen.
  • 6 The confidence of true penitents.
  • 7 Their saciety.
  • 8 Their ioy.
  • 9 Albeit the contray appeares.
  • 10 Penitents enioy most perfect pleasure in this life, and wherefore.
  • 11 The pleasures of the wicked are worse then brutish.
  • 12 Penitents a [...]e blessed in their chasticements.
  • [Page 176]13 The first reason hereof.
  • 14 The second reason.
  • 15 The afflictions of this life are both momentany and light.
  • 16 A short prayer.

CErtainely if you wil not embrace this friendly aduice; If you esteeme these warnings to be of no weight; If blinded, either with dulnesse, or with malice, you perseuere in your sinnes; If neither benefits nor scour­ges can hold you in obedience; If neither promises nor threats can any deale mooue you; If you can be reteined in order, neither by hope nor by feare; If, like vntamed beasts, you still wildlie runne through the thorny thickets of all vices, and esteeme euerie lustfull thing lawfull to be done: hee hath heauier hammers to breake your obstinacie, to bridle your I boldnesse and pride, and to beate downe your rebel­lion against him. Verely not the starres in the firma­ment,II not the sands of the earth, not all the crea­tures in heauen and vpon earth are so manie in num­ber, so vnresistable in force, as are the punishments which the obstinate shall endure. Their infelicity ho­uereth ouer their heads; their curse traceth them step by step, vntill it shall ouertake them in hell.

Here the most pleasant retreits are full of hideous III hurlements: nothing but terrours, torments and teares; without intermission or end. Here is griefe [Page 174] without remedie, complaint without, pity, repen­tance without mercy. Here death alwaies liueth, and life alwaies dieth; death here & life are immortall to­gether: life in dying and death in enduring. Here both body and soule shall eternally liue in eternall death: they shall liue together in a double death, and both eternall: the death of sinne, and the death of punishment due to sinne.

On the other side, they who contemne the vanitie of the world, and apply themselues onlie to GOD; they who repent them of their sinnes, be they neuer so great (if they doe not despaire) shall vndoubtedlie IIII be receiued to pardon and mercy. For this is most ea­sie for GOD to doe, by reason of his goodnesse, and the greatnesse of his mercies; in comparison wherof, all the sinnes of the world are nothing so little, as a point in regard of the largest circumference; as one sparke of fire in comparison of the vast Ocean. So as if the greatest sinner in the world be penitent, If he desire and sue for mercie; all the water in the sea can­not so easilie extinguish one sparke of fire, as the mer­cies of GOD will abolish his sinnes. Verelie if a good man will be mercifull to his beast; our good GOD will much more bee mercifull to his creature, V to his seruant, to his childe. Yea, it is not possible but that mercy should be imparted to them that repent. For the infinite mercies of Almightie GOD abound in all places, they fill all things, if they be not excluded and locked foorth. But nothing ex­cludeth mercie but impenitencie and hardnesse of heart. And therefore, if a man be penitent, mercie [Page 175] will foorthwith enter, because the impediment is re­mooued; because nothing then remaineth in the soule, which may resist or repell mercie. If the win­dow be opened, the roome will be light; and if the floudgates be vnbarred, the streames will presentlie ouerflow.

But they who haue receiued mercy, who are vn­der VI the protection and guard of grace, in what as­surance doe they stand? how boldlie do they walke? with what confidence are they caried in all the passa­ges of their life? Mercy encreaseth confidence, and cōfidence againe encreaseth mercy: As guiltines is the cause of feare, so from mercie proceedeth confidence: As all wickednesse is full of feare;Sap. 5. Prou. 28.1 so the iust is confident as a Lion.

And whosoeuer receiueth mercie, they shall be VII filled therewith: They shall be so filled, as they shall ouerflow; they shalbe enuironed with mercy on euery side. And being vnder the peace & protection of mer­cie, hauing firme trust that their sins are forgiuen; O good GOD! to what felicitie are they aduanced?VIII what treasures are there in heauen, which shall not be opened and imparted to them? They shalbe pla­ced by the side of GOD; they shall be apparrelled and adorned with so great glory; so great happines shalbe heaped vpon them, as the spirit of man is vna­ble to apprehend, much lesse to expresse. The de­sire, the hope, the full faith and assurance hereof, cannot but worke in them incredible ioy, before they attaine the full fruition; euen whilest they are vpon their passage to it. Oh! with what cheerefulnesse, [Page 172] with what delight doe they either remooue or sur­mount all difficulties which lie before them? How­soeuer their trauaile seemeth troublesome and hard, yet the loue of their iourneyes end maketh it, not onely tolerable, but delightfull: The onely thought of the end of their trauaile, seasoneth all the meanes with sweetnesse, through which they are enforced to wrestle to that end.

IX It may be conceiued indeed, that the iust are pla­gued, and that the wicked chiefly flourish in this life: It seemeth to be so, but it is not so. It is so onely in appearance and shew, but in very deed it is not so. They are either blinded with grosse mists of igno­rance, or abused with deceiuable colours and shewes, who thinke it so. It appeareth so only to those who are so rowled vp in flesh and bloud, that they esteeme nothing good or euill, but that which appertaineth to the body. Assuredly, they whose sinnes are forgi­uen, enioy the most perfect pleasure euen in this life: which in this sort doeth plainely appeare.

As the inward vertues and faculties of the soule X are capable of greater pleasure then the outward; partly because they are more noble and diuine, and partly because their obiect is more excellent; which is, GOD himselfe and all goodnesse: So the more per­fect those powers and faculties are, the more perfect pleasure they apprehend in their proper obiects; which is euident by all outward and bodily sences.

But penitent persons whose sinnes are forgiuen, haue the inward capacitie of their soules more per­fect and cleere then other men: Because nothing ei­ther [Page 177] defileth or defaceth the inward vertues of the soule, but onely sinne; neither is there any meanes to purge the one, or repayre the other, but by repen­tance.

Heerehence it followeth, that penitents only en­ioy pure pleasure in this life; as proceeding from the purest and highest faculties of the soule; much cleansed by repentance from corruptions of sinne.

But the pleasures of the wicked proceede onely XI from the outward sences, common to them with bruit beasts; and so much inferiour to the pleasure of beasts, by how much they participate of sinne. It is true indeed that their sensuall appetites present to them a thousand pleasures; but the reckoning being cast, what pleasures are they? pleasures tempered with vice, which hold them still in a restlesse feauer: pleasures sweet for a moment, but leauing a long and loathsome taste behinde them: pleasures onely to co­uer dangerous hookes: pleasures which carry their punishments with them. As for their inward vertues and powers, they are so dulled and dimmed, and sometimes stupefied and benummed with custome of sinne, that they affoord no pleasure at all; But ei­ther lie as sottishlie sencelesse, or else expres [...] life on­ly by vpbrayding the polluted pleasures of the flesh.

It cannot bee denied, that many penitents are al­most XII alwaies vnder correction, that the scourge is al­most alwaies vpon their backes; but heerein also I esteeme them blessed: For, Blessed is the man who is chasticed of the LORD. Iob. 5.7. The reasons whereof are [Page 178] mainelie two. First, for that this correction procee­deth from the loue of GOD; either as a gentle bri­dle, to restraine them from licentiousnesse of sinne: or as a forge, hammer and file, to consume the consu­ming rust of sin. For as a man will file and scoure that instrument or vessell which he regardeth, to make it bright; as beat and brush that garment which he af­fecteth, to make it cleane: So GOD chastiseth that person whom he loueth; either to purge, or to pre­serue him from the soile of sin.Quem lili­git Domi­nus, cast [...] ­gat, flagel las omn [...]m filium quem recipis. Heb. 12.6 If GOD scourgeth the iust; if hee debarreth, if hee depriueth them of health, riches, honour, or any other fauour of the world; it is onely for loue vnto them: It is to make them onely to loue him. For GOD is a iealous GOD, & so loueth those that are his; that he will not endure them to loue any thing but himselfe, vnlesse it be for his sake. GOD esteemeth not himselfe lo­ued enough, if the loue of any other thing be ioyned with the loue of him. The sence of this loue of GOD doth so inflame their loue towards him, as they be­come sencelesse of any worldly accidents or affaires.

XIIII The second reason is, for that albeit they bee ne­uer so much chastised,Tribulatio­nem pati­mur, sed non desti­tuimur, 2. Cor. 4.8. yet are they neuer forsaken: but in the middest of their miseries, mercy shall encom­passe them. They are neuer cast off, neuer cast away; but are alwayes guarded by the mercies of GOD: the mercies of GOD wil defend them for the present, and deliuer them in very good time. For the present it doth enable them, not onely willingly, but ioifully and desirously to suffer the momentany afflictions of this life: For the future it prepareth for them an eter­nall [Page 179] crowne of glory; to which the short afflictions of this life, are an ordinary and almost necessary passage. The afflictions of this life, are both natu­rally XV momentany, and by grace light;Id enim quod in prae senti est momenta­neum, & leue, aeter­num gloriae pondus ope­ratur. 2. Cor. 4.17 but the glory whereto they lead, is both eternall, and of exceeding weight. As the grace of GOD maketh the afflictions of this life light; so without that speciall grace, the nature of man is altogether vnable, either to beare, or to behold the weight of glory which shall succeed. We haue a naturall inclination to it, but all our natu­rall abilities & forces are insufficient, either to attaine, or to sustaine it.

O LORD of this eternall weight of glory! Let XVI me suffer corosiues, cauterizes, cuttings, lancings,Hic vre, [...] seca, bit non parcas, vt in aeter­num par­cas. Aug. and burnings in this life, so that I be both comforted and defended by thy mercy; so that I may bee prepared and guided to thy glory; so that I may bee deliuered from the great plagues which the wicked shall en­dure. The more bitter the potion is, the more medi­cinable and healthfull will it be: the more sharpe the file is, the lesse rust will it leaue behind. The more a garment be brushed and beaten with roddes, the lesse it remaines defi­led with dust.

VERS. XII.

Be glad, O ye righteous, and reioyce in the LORD: and be ioyfull all ye that are true of heart.

  • 1. TO whom it is proper to iudge of the pleasure of the righteous.
  • 2 A true Iudgement touching worldly pleasures.
  • 3 Pleasures of the soule dilated often to the body.
  • 4 They who haue the fauour of GOD, haue GOD himselfe.
  • 5 Who are inuited to reioyce.
  • 6 For what causes.
  • 7 How gloriously the soules of them who loue GOD, sort out of the miseries of this world.
  • 8 Who are forbidden to reioyce.
  • 9 The ioy of the wicked no true ioy, and where­fore.
  • [Page 181]10 The ioy of the righteous must not be placed in world­ly matters, and wherfore.
  • 11 But it must be lodged onely in GOD.
  • 12 No limits to be prescribed to this ioy.
  • 13 Theologicall vertues consist not in a mediocritie, like Morall vertues.
  • 14 The attaining worldly felicities is laboursome, the enioying often loathsome.
  • 15 We cannot ioy in earthly, and in heauenly things to­gether.
  • 16 A short prayer.
  • 17 Feare and ioy, how combined.

I Suppose there are not manie, who haue not often tasted the ioy and pleasure of the soule, after some measure of repentance; but happily not sufficient to arrest a iust Iudge­ment of them. For when two I things are compared together, the difference is best vnderstood by the iudgement of those, who haue had best experience of both. For as a sicke man, whose palate is affected with vicious humours, cannot well iudge of the taste and rellish of meates; so wicked men, whose mindes are infected with the poison of sinne, cannot rightly iudge of the pleasure of the righteous. This is proper to them whose soules haue a true taste, not any wayes depraued.

Now, many haue had good experience of the dis­position and state of the soule, both in fruition of the [Page 182] II world, and in a penitent life: But let them say, in which they tooke the greatest pleasure. The first is tearmed by some a meere Vanitie;Et vili quod hoc quoque esset vani­tas. Eccl. 1.2. by others no better then dunge. All esteeme the felicities of this world, not onely vaine, but exceeding vile and base, in re­gard of the ioyes which succeed and proceed from true repentance.Arbitror vt stercora. Phil. 3.8. Their thoughts being once acquainted with this reall trueth, they neither desire, nor regard the supplie of shadowes: They cannot but bee stran­gers to worldly delights;I haue ta­ken grea­ter plea­sure in the wayes of thy cōmandements, then in all maner of riches. Psal. 119. in which they see nothing but some scattered crummes, and hungry morsels of the heauenly banket. O LORD of hostes! how great are the pleasures which they enioy, who are recon­ciled by repentance to thee? which albeit they be pro­perly receiued into the soule, yet sometimes they are so great; that, as riuers encreased by the fall of raine III ouerflow their bankes, so they cannot be contay­ned within the soule, but are imparted also to the bodie.Anima mea, & caro mea exultaue­ [...]unt, &c. Psal. 83.

I will therefore reioyce in the mercies of my GOD: I will place all my pleasure in the contemplation of those felicities, which he reserueth in his treasurie of heauen, to enrich, to adorne, to crowne the iust. This shalbe the food of my thoughts; the ambition of my highest hopes and desires. Vpon confidence that I am in the fauour of GOD, I will accompt GOD IIII himselfe to be mine; because his loue is mine. For to whomsoeuer he giueth his loue, he giueth himselfe; be­cause loue is no guift, vnlesse the louer be giuen there­with. Yea, loue is no loue, vnlesse he that loueth be no lesse liberall to impart that which hee is, then that [Page 183] which he hath: vnlesse I haue the partie, I can neuer haue his loue.

To this ioy I inuite you all, who stand sworne to V the seruice of the LORD; who loue his goodnesse, who reuerence his iustice. All ye who are vpright, both in action & in hear [...], I inuite you to two things; First, that you reioyce; Secondly, that you reioyce not in your selues,Exulsaslo iusti in Domino. Ps. 32. not in any thing that the world affoords, but onely in the LORD.

You (I say) who walke not in the crooked and craggie wayes of sinne, but in the right path of righ­teousnesse; who in this passage commit your selues altogether to the power and goodnesse of GOD. All you I inuite to reioyce, to power forth your spirits in­to ioy; and that for two causes. First, because you VI enioy a sweet quiet of conscience, which is to you, a perpetuall feast. Secondly, Prou. 15. because you expect both an end, and a reward of all your trauailes. You expect that in short time you shall exchange the thornes and thistles of this wretched life, for the flowers of eter­nall felicitie; that the sweat of afflictions shall bee wiped from your faces; and that you shall bee both clothed and crowned with heauenly honour. Assu­redly,VII gold runneth not so pure out of the flames of the furnace, to be cast into the image of some great Prince, or to serue for the ornament of some rich iewell; as the soule of one who loueth GOD, doth beautifully sort out of the miseries of this world; to behold, to participate, to be fully satisfied with the glorious presence and maiesty of GOD.

But all the wicked I forbid to reioyce; Away VIII [Page 184] hence▪ Noli lata­tari Israel quia forni­catus es a Deo tuo. Prou. 2.14. you may freely depart, because you haue no part in this ioy: you haue time little enough to la­ment. For albeit sinners reioyce in doing ill, and take most delight in worst things; yet is not this the IX ioy that I meane. This is no true ioy, this is no ioy at all; It is only a fained and forced appearance of ioy. It is as the ioy of hypocrites, short and sowre; It is but a flash to lighten them to their death. First, because it proceedeth from an euil conscience, which hath so many thornes as it hath thoughts: alwaies pricking,Sub senti­bus delicias esse compu­tabunt. Iob. 30. sometimes tearing the soule, and crying out in the midst of their mirth. Oh impure pleasure! Oh vnlawful ioy! Oh iust reuenge that must ensue! Secondly, because it is both short, and the symptome of a deadlie disease. For they ioy at their sinnes, which will e­ternally ruine both their bodies and soules; they ioy in that condition of life, for which they cannot sufficientlie lament. Therfore the ioy of sinners is like the witlesse laughter of fooles, when they are lashed; like the sencelesse laughter of mad men, when they either doe or suffer some mischiefe; like the sicke laughter of some diseased persons, euen when they lie at the point of death. When Dolphins leape and plaie in the sea, it is a sure signe of tempests approa­ching; and when the wicked sport and solace in their sins, it is an infallible argument of their ruine at hand. If Epicures reioice, who deny that GOD doth either order or regard the affaires of this world; If Athiests reioice, who are of opinion that the soule and bodie determine together; It maie beare some appearance of ioy: But when they reioice in their sinnes, who [Page 185] beleeue the immortalitie of the soule, who know both the iustice and power of GOD, who know how horrible it is to fall into his hands after separation from him by sinne; It beareth no shadow of ioy; It is a plaine token of a minde, either sencelesse or madde.

So then, it is proper to you onel [...]e (O yee righ­teous)X to bee glad; it is neither lawfull nor possible for any other truely to reioyce. But because this your ioy is the treasure of your soules, you must in any case be carefull to place it well: As treasures must be safe­ly laide vp, so your ioy must bee lodged safe: and that cannot be but onely in GOD. For if you place it in honour, riches, beautie, power, or any other faire fauour of this world, it cannot be safe: because these things are transitory, and subiect to variations and dangers; because they will passe away and perish in a moment. And therefore the ioy that riseth from them is neuer dureable, and many times lesse then the griefe which they cause when they forsake vs. As they who ioy in GOD, need not feare any euill, be­cause all their euils are conuerted to their good: so should they not hope for any good from the world; because the Diuell, GODS professed enemie, is the great Prince of the world; and will endeuour to con­uert that good to their euill.

Goe too then, reioyce onely in GOD, who forgi­ueth your iniquities, who doeth tolerate and con­ceale your weakenesses, who liberally imparteth his XI mercies to you. Settle all your delights vpon him, settle all your pleasures and wishes in the loue of his [Page 186] goodnesse: For hee imbraceth you with a fatherly loue; and will then chiefely stand by you, when all other comforts and supports will forsake you▪ Ioyne no partener with him in the small possession of your ioy: Ioy onely in him, whom you shall alwayes finde, aboue you powerfull, beneath you plentifull, before you watchfull, behinde you carefull, on this side bountifull, on that side mercifull, on all sides won­derfull.

Reioyce not in your owne worthinesse, but in his infinite goodnes, who driueth all dangers from your bodies and soules; who so prouideth for you, that you want nothing necessarie for this life, and doe as­suredly expect blessed abundance in the life to come. Reioice onely in him, who doeth comfort and relieue you in your passage through this world, and will con­duct you to the ioy of his heauenly kingdom, where­of you shall neuer bee disposse [...]sed.Et gaudium vestrum ne­mo tollet a vobis. Reioice I say, in him, who is the very Ocean of ioy, from whom all ioyes of the soule are deriued: who onely giueth true ioy, and full ioy, and perfect ioy; and ioy which shall neither end nor abate.Inebriabun­tur ab v­bertate do­mus tuae, & torrente vo­laptatis suae potabis cos. Psal. 36. Of which ioy, the onely hope is sufficient both to refresh and sustaine vs, in all the trauerses of this life; which incomparably excee­deth, not onely all humane ioy that can be found, but whatsoeuer can be either guessed or imagined.

XII And therefore I will not prescribe any limits to your ioy, because it must not be moderate; it cannot bee contained in any meane compasse. If worldly ioy exceede golden meane, then is it vicious; but it is not so in spiritual ioy, no more then it is in loue, from [Page 187] whence it proceedes. All morall vertues consist in a mediocritie, which is limited by prudence: But it is XIII not so in loue, or in any other diuine vertue. As there is no mediocritie or meane in louing of GOD, so is there not in reioicing in him. The more we loue, the more we reioyce; and the more excessiue our loue and ioy is, the more doe they draw to their perfection.

Wherefore then doe wee not with a holy scorne, cast behinde vs the base vanishing pleasures of this world, and bend all our endeauours after these hea­uenly felicities? Or rather wherefore doe we, with a sleepie sensualitie, cast behind vs these heauenly feli­cities, and bend all our endeuours after the base va­nishing pleasures of this world? Alasse!Me dell que­runt fontem aequae viuae, & foderunt sibi cister­nas: cister­nas dissipa­tas, quae no [...] valent tene­r [...] aquas, Iere 2.13. Wherefore doe wee forsake the liuing springs, and digge broken pits that will hold no water? Is it out of opinion of safetie? or is it for idle ease? Goe wee then to the dead sea of this world, let vs draw of their muddie waters of honour, riches, authoritie, or any other witcherie of the world: Certainely it will bee with great paine, with great care, and many times with great danger. And then what followeth? the attei­ning XIIII of them is not so laboursome,Haurietis [...]quas in gaudio de fontibus Saluatoris, Isa. 12.3. as they are loath­some (many times) when they are atchieued. One­ly out of these liuing springs, out of these sauing wa­ters wee may alwaies draw, both with safetie, and with ioy.

Away then yee painted pleasures of this world: mine eyes are dazeled with the blaze of too bright a Sunne, to admit the beames of your pale light: I am wholly inherited by a higher ioy, which hath taken [Page 188] so absolute a conquest ouer all my powers; that nei­ther my sence can discerne, nor my minde conceiue any other obiect. As a man cannot looke with one eye vpon heauen, and another vpon the earth; so XV can hee not diuide his minde to ioy both in earthly and in heauenly things at once: hee must die to the one, if he intend to liue in the other.

Lord, take from me all pleasure, take away all pa­tience XVI in the flashie felicities of this life. Let nothing stoppe, let nothing hinder me from entring into thy house; to behold thy bright and pure beautie, to be­waile the deformitie of my sinnes, which haue bani­shed mee so farre from thy fauour; to deplore my weakenesse, and to implore thy grace; to compose my behauiour, and d [...]spose all my abilities to doe thee seruice. O my GOD! marshall my vnruly appetites, traine them in thy discipline, binde them vnder the commaund of reason and grace. Let not my soule be chained in me, but let it aspire to thee: For in mee it is but in a prison, in thee it is in paradise.

Reconcile and combine in mee two contrary affe­ctions; XVII feare and ioy. That as a tired trauailer, ran­ging in a wilde desert, reioyceth to see the first cracke of day; and yet is not altogether free from feare of the darkenesse and dangers of the night: so, albeit my errours past bee fearefull to mee, yet let me enter­taine a sweete hope, to enioy those approaching ioyes, whereof there is neither saciety nor end. Thus cleansed by thy mercy, and furnished with thy grace, I renounce my will, I offer it a sacrifice to thee; I yeeld my selfe wholly to thy obedience. O my GOD! doe not refuse mee.

[Page 189] Prayse, and Glory, and Wisedome, and Strength, Dominion, Ri­ches, and Power bee vnto our GOD for e­uermore.

A SVMMARY PRAIER.

O Omnipotent GOD! most manifest and yet most secret and hid: O bountifull Giuer! and yet seuere exa­cter! Thou, O LORD, who sitting aboue the Seraphims seest all things, and in all things mayest bee seene: [Page 192] Thou who art most powerfull, and yet so pitifull, that thou releeuest miserable and vile sinners: O most glorious & incomprehensible GOD! encline thine eye fauourably to my distresse; fauourably regard my poore petition, which breaking from a broken soule, must needs make an vntunable sound.

There is nothing, O LORD, which my soule more desires: no­thing is more due and delightfull to thee, then that I should Loue thee. Thou hast created mee to loue thee, thou hast commanded mee to loue thee; in this loue thou hast placed my felicity and my peace: In this loue consist all good things, which we enioy vpon earth, and the grea­test part of those which we hope for [Page 193] in heauen. But no man can loue thee vnlesse hee know thee: the knowledge of thee is necessary to be­get this loue; because wee cannot truely loue thee, vnlesse wee vnder­stand that all causes of loue are per­fectly in thee. O true delight of our hearts! I cannot liue, vnlesse I loue thee: and I cannot loue thee vnlesse I know thee. What then shall I do to atteine this knowledge.

The knowledge that wee haue comes by our sences; which are as gates, through which the represen­tation of things sensible enter into our vnderstanding. But neither can thy greatnesse enter through so nar­row passages, neither can wee ima­gine any representation, whereby our vnderstanding may apprehend [Page 194] thee. Thou hast formed all crea­tures, in number, weight, and mea­sure; their nature and vertues are li­mited; thou hast giuen them their bounds which they cannot exceed: and therefore our vnderstanding is able to embrace them. But thou art infinite: thy being is boundlesse. Nothing is aboue thee, nothing be­yond thee, nothing wide of thee, no­thing without thee: our vnderstan­ding cannot comprehend the con­fines of thy being. As thou art infi­nite in power, so art thou in nature: thy nature is no lesse infinite in ex­tent, then eternall in continuance.

No man hath hitherto beene able to vnderstand the essence and na­ture of his owne soule, whose of­fices and operations hee dayly di­scernes: [Page 195] and this is because it beareth thy Image. And how then shall I be able to vnderstand thee? If my ignorance bee so dull and heauy in my selfe, how shall I be of capacity to know thee? O noble nature! O infinite essence! O incomprehensi­ble Maiesty! How shal I know thee? For I cannot see thee. My sight is dimme, and thou art a light which canst not be approached. Thou art most high, and so must hee be who­soeuer shall attaine thee. Who then will giue me the eyes of an Eagle, that I may beholde this Sunne? Who will giue mee wings, that as a Doue I may approach this height?

But yet will I not thus giue o­uer the chase: the more hard it is, [Page 196] the more hardly will I pursue it. There is no wisedome but in know­ledge of thee: there is no rest but in louing thee: there is no ioy but from beholding thy beauty. I will not liue without this knowledge, which is the originall both of loue and of ioy. My eyes are dimme, yea darke and blinde: but grace will enlighten me, Grace will effect that which Na­ture cannot. And albeit I know thee very little and obscurely at the first, yet is it better so to know thee, then perfectly to know all things be­sides. Albeit I cannot fully know thee, yet will I aspire to such mea­sure as I may, and this will I loue, and heerewith my soule shall rest content: euen as a bird is content with the water which she taketh in [Page 197] her bill, albeit shee bee not able to take the whole fountaine. Yea, thy grace will assist mee, that if I shall but begin to loue thee a little, thou wilt discouer thy selfe more plainly to my knowledge, euen as thou hast sayd, He that loueth me, shall bee loued of the Father, and I will loue him, and manifest my selfe vnto him.

And to this end thou hast ope­ned two bookes, to the two eyes of my vnderstanding: Faith and Rea­son. To the eye of my Faith thou hast opened the booke of the sacred Scriptures; wherein thou doest ma­nifest thy merueiles, and vnfold thy mysteries; to beget in vs a loue and reuerence of thy Maiestie.

To the eye of my Reason thou hast opened the booke of thy [Page 198] creatures; which in their perfections manifest thy beauty, and thy good­nesse in their vse. For this visible world, this fabricature of creatures is a faire Booke, wherein all men may read, and thereby learne, what thou art; euery creature being so many letters, to declare the excellen­cie of their maker. Some declare thy beauty, some thy greatnes, some thy power, some thy wisedome, some thy prouidence; all with different sweet sounds, in a well tuned harmo­ny, set foorth thy goodnes and glo­ry. They are as a bright glasse, wherein wee may behold thee: that as thou art a glasse in heauen, wher­in all thy creatures are seene, so are thy creatures a glasse vpon earth, wherein we may behold and know thee.

[Page 199]They are trumpets of thy honor, witnesses of thy worth; bellowes of our loue, spurres to our dulnes, and Iudges of our vnthankefulnes. They alwayes beat at our vnderstanding, to instruct vs some part of thy per­fections: and shall we be so senceles, that we cannot behold in them the Maiesty of their Creatour? Shall we be like witlesse children, who turne ouer bookes to please their phantasie, in viewing pictures and colours; but neither can read one letter, nor vnderstand what the pi­ctures represent? O wasters of time! we take pleasure onely in beholding thy signes, but nothing regard what is signified and taught. Assuredly, we haue good cause to feare, that which the Wise man threatneth: [Page 200] that all creatures shall rise in armes a­gainst them who will not vnderstand. Sap. 5.

O Father of light! suffer not, I beseech thee, such an Aegyptian mist to enwrap my head, that in nei­ther of these bookes; that neither by Faith, nor by Reason I can di­scerne thee. Enlighten my eyes that I may see thee; enlarge my heart that I may know thee, loue thee and adore thee: not onely by Faith, as thou hast reuealed thy [...]elfe in thy word; but by euidence of nature, by plaine inuincible demon­stration of Reason, as thou art decla­red by thy workes. That I may praise thee, not only for the vse of thy creatures, but for attayning by them to some knowledge of thee.

We cannot now see thee, but co­uered [Page 201] with the veile of thy greatnes: The dampie fogges of my sinnes wherein hitherto I haue liued, doe altogether obscure thee. No lesse then it hapneth vpon the first erup­tions of fire from the mountaine Aetna; the smoake whereof so dar­keneth the confining countries, that one man cannot see another. But O fountaine of light! dispell these fil­thy fumes, with a gracious cast of thy countenance; and then I shall be both able and desirous to beholde thee. Make mee blessed by forgiue­nes of my offences; Couer my [...]innes, O LORD, and thereby thou shalt Discouer thy selfe.

To this end remooue both from my tongue, and from the most secret retreates of my soule, all odious hy­pocrisie; [Page 202] that by thy grace I may sincerely, without faining or fainting in spirit, repent my sinnes: that I may applie my selfe to thy worship and seruice; not in outward shew of pietie onely, but with all the most inward sences and forces of my soule: that I may not wilfully ende­uour, either to couer my sinnes by dissimulation, or to extenuate them by excuse; whence intolerable an­guishes, tortures, gripes of consci­ence will certainely ensue. But that casting away both vnseasoned pride, and vnseasonable shame (two great impediments to repentance) I may freely lay open the very bowels of my soule, and truely touch euery vntuned string of my heart before thee: knowing right well, that the [Page 203] more ready we are to confesse our of­fences, the more ready thou wilt bee to forgiue them; and the more dili­gent we are to conceale our sinnes, the more powerfull thou wilt de­clare thy selfe, both openly to pub­lish, and sharply to punish them.

In all temptations, inward or outward (wherewith my soule is dayly trauayled) defend mee with thy inuincible ayd; especially when furiously they assaile me, when tem­pestuously they breake vpon mee. Then O LORD, stand firmely by me, then couer me with thy mighty arme; lest ouerflowing the bankes of thy protection, they ragingly op­presse me, and driue me, like water­floods, from all sight and sence of thee. For thou LORD, art my re­liefe [Page 204] in all my necessities: in all my dangers thou onely art able, both powerfully to deliuer, and safely to place me. And therefore so season my soule with thy heauenly Grace, that it settle neither confidence nor delight in any of thy creatures; but that it be fixed onely vpon thee; in whom it shall perpetually find both secure rest, and perfect ioy.

Informe my vnderstanding to know thee; Conforme my wil to obey thee; Confirme my steps in the way of thy Commandements, which will lead me to eternall blessednesse. Set thy eye of fauour vpon me; that by the gracious influence thereof, I may be both directed & strengthe­ned in that way; and neither turne aside, nor make stay vpon any de­sires [Page 205] or delights of the world; like bruit beasts, empty of vnderstan­ding.

Haue mercy vpon all miserable men, who stiffely sticke in the mire, either of ignorance, or of false opi­nions, or else of worldly pleasures or cares; thinking very seldome and little, either of thee, or of their own deplorable estate; and stopping their eares to all aduice, which soundeth against their sensuality. If they will not be guided by thy gentle hand, If thy fatherly benefits or promises can nothing auaile, vse some seueri­ty vpon them. Put a sharpe bitte betweene their teeth; binde their iawes with iron hookes; lay the whippes of chastisement vpon their backes: Tame their vnbrideled [Page 206] wantonnesse, breake their obstinate either fury or dulnesse; that by re­pentance they may turne vnto thee.

Deliuer mee from the innumera­ble & insupportable plagues, which thy Iustice hath addressed for the wicked; partly in this life, but most especially in the life to ensue. And because I haue reposed my confi­dence in thee, enuiron me with thy mercies: that being free both from dangers and feares, I may reioyce onely in thee; and with purity and integritie of heart, adore and prayse thee all the dayes of my life.

[Page 207] Prayse, and Glory, and Wisedome, and Strength, Dominion, Ri­ches, and Power bee vnto our GOD for e­uermore.

PSALME C. XXX.
DAVIDS TEARES.
PSALME CXXX.

OVt of the deepe haue I called vnto thee, O LORD: LORD heare my voice.

2 Oh let thine eares consider well: the voyce of my com­plaint.

[Page 212] 3 If thou LORD wilt bee ex­treame to marke what is done amisse: O LORD, who may abide it?

4 For there is mercy with thee: therefore shalt thou be feared.

5 I looked for the LORD, my soule doeth wait for him: in his word is my trust.

6 My soule fleeth vnto the LORD: before the morning watch, I say, before the morning watch.

7 O Israel trust in the LORD, for with the LORD there is mercy: and with him is plenteous redemption.

8 And hee shall redeeme Israel: from all his sinnes.

[Page 213]Of the title and parts of this PSALME.

  • 1 THe title giuen to this Psalme is common to fif­teene Psalmes together.
  • 2 Wherfore these fifteene Psalmes are enti­tled Psalmes of degrees.
  • 3 The most followed opinion.
  • 4 What was figured by the stepps of the Temple, and consequently by these Psalmes of degrees.
  • 5 Many excellencies of this Psalme.
  • 6 The more deepe we are suncke into sinne, the more forceably we must cry.
  • 7 The degrees or steps of a sinner falling and sincking from GOD.
  • 8 This Psalme conteineth a plaine prophecy of the Messias.
  • 9 It is a Penitentiall Psalme and wherefore.
  • 10 The parts thereof.

[Page 214] I THis Psalme is intitled a Psalme of de­grees, or of ascending. A title not proper to this Psalme alone, but common to fifteene together: whereof the first is the 120. the last the 134. But wherefore they are termed Psalmes of degrees, as writers doe much va­ry in their opinions, so all agree that it is not much materiall to know: for that it pertaineth not to any point of doctrine, but to some ceremonie in singing them, whatsoeuer it was.

II Some are of opiniō that they are so entiled, because the Leuits or Priests did sing them in some conspicu­ous place, wherto the ascent was by steps or degrees. Others, that because they are very short, they are compared to so many degrees. Others, that they tooke that name from the tunes wherwith they were appointed to be sung; which might be in a kinde of graduall ascending. Others, that they serued to di­stinguish the parts of the diuine seruice vsed by the Iewes; and to bring the same as it were by steps to III an end. But the most followed opinion is; that they were so called, [...]ecause they were sung vpon the fif­teen steps of the ascent to the Temple, at such time as the high Priest entred the Sanctum Sanctorum.

Now, because (as Saint Paul saith) all things happe­ned to the Iewes in figures:1. Cor. 10. these steps of the Temple, IIII and consequently these Psalmes of degrees, are a type and shadow of our ascending to the eternall [Page 215] Temple and habitation of GOD: which is not by a start, but by many degrees; rising alwaies from one vertue to another, vntill we arriue at the happy end of our hope; euen to the vision of Almightie GOD. The same also was figured by the ascent to the glori­ous seat of Solomon, which consisted of six steps or de­grees.3. Reg. 10. And likewise by the ladder which the strong wrestler Iacob saw in a vision, extending from earth to heauen,Gen. 28. which could not but consist of very ma­ny steps: wherby we are giuen to vnderstand, that no man can attaine this happy height, no man can climbe the ladder, at the top whereof the LORD doth stand; but by degrees of many vertues, whereof euery one hath many steps. But hereof more shall be said vp­on the sixt verse of this Psalme.V

This is an excellent Psalm for any man who is char­ged with crosses and calamities of this life. For it lea­deth vs to the true cause of our calamities; namely our sins. And therby directeth vs to the true remedy; by crying to GOD. Not vpon trust of any worthines or worth in our selues; but vpon humble acknowledge­ment of our miserable weakenesse; & trusting only in the mercy of GOD (whereof he hath made many li­berall promises) and in the vnmeasurable merits of our Redemption. It further teacheth vs, to expect the LORD patiently; neuer to suspect him, neuer to respect any other thing. And albeit he deferre his reliefe, yet we must still preferre our complaints, and both ear­lie and earnestlie addresse our selues to him: nothing doubting, but that with him is mercy, that his redemp­tion is plenteous, and largly sufficient for all our sins.

[Page 216] VI But the more deepe we are sunke in sin, the more forceably must we cry: euen as the more inueterate a disease is, the more strong must be the medicine. For assuredly, as the righteous approaching daily to GOD aduance into heauē by degrees; so sinners falling from GOD, since downward by degrees, into many deepe dangers: and the deeper he sincketh in sinne, VII the deeper he diues into danger, vntill at last he plung 1 into the horrible pit of hell. The first step of his deep falling, is a deliberate consent to motiues of sinne. 2 Next ensueth his busie endeauour in searching time and opportunitie to accomplish the sinne. And then 3 it is time to cry vnto GOD. After this the act follow­eth; 4 and that requireth a greater crie. Then frequen­cie of acts draweth into custome; and the longer the custome hath beene, the deeper is the descension (al­beit the sinner be not alwaies sensible thereof) and the harder is he to bee raised againe: euen as a beast lying in the mire, although it seemeth to lie at ease, yet the longer it lyeth, the deeper it sinketh, and the more hardly can it struggle foorth: And therefore this degree cryeth for a vehement cry.

5 Now beneath this another followeth, when the sinner reioyceth and boasteth of his sinne; and then he is sunke exceeding deepe, beyond the bounds of feare and of shame: two strong reines against disor­dred desires. When the Diuell hath gained this point of a sinner, hee hath then brought him into a sad and sencelesse securitie, he is then so farre from crying to GOD, that scarce any cry will stirre him.

6 The next ensueth, when the sinner will defend his [Page 217] sinne, and endeauour to make others to be of his man­ner; and whosoeuer falleth into this profunditie, he falleth thereby into contempt. He contemneth GOD;Impius cum in profunc [...] malorum venerit, contemnit. Pro. 18. he contemneth his own soule, he contemneth al reme­dies, he contemneth all meanes of his safetie: he will not suffer on any condition the grieuous sores of his soule to be touched. This sinner the Diuell claspeth close in his armes; he holdeth him fast locked in his power, imprisoned vnder his streight arrest. This sin requireth a hideous cry. Out of this depth the next VII fall is into despaire. This is not onely a very deepe pitt, but a great stone rowled ouer the mouth;Non credit quod de tenel [...]is riuersi pos­sit in lucem, circum­ [...]pectans vn­dique gla­tium. so as any cry can hardly be heard. Of all sins this maketh vs most of the condition of Diuells, who euer de­spaire to be forgiuen. This is the verie mouth of hell: from hence there is no fall but into the inward en­trailes of hell, out of which no crie shall euer be heard.

This Psalme conteineth an euident prophesie of the VIII Messias; in setting foorth his plentifull redemption, and that he should redeeme Israel, that is the Church, from all their sinnes. Which wordes in full sence were vsed by an Angel to Ioseph in telling him,Math. 1. that the childs name should be IESVS: because hee shoul [...] saue his people from their sinnes. It is rightly ranged a­mong the penitentialls; and is fit to be seriously said IX by such, as weakely sincke vnder the weight of their sinnes, as are feeble spirited against the terrour o [...] GODS Iustice, as are either inwardly or outwardly lashed for their euill, and are readie to faint vnde [...] [...]he sad charge of griefe and of feare. Because these can find neither comfort nor hope in rigid and seuere [Page 218] Iudgement; let them out of the depth of their mise­ries, out of the depth of their sinnes, and from the depth of their hea [...]ts implore GODS mercy; without any confiden [...]e in themselues▪ but onely in his good­nesse, and in his plentifull redemption. For albeit the Psalme beg [...]nneth with extreme anguish and anxiety of minde, yet it endeth with cheerefull assurance and trust.

The whole Psalme falleth into two principall parts, and those againe into others, as in the Table following appeareth.

  • [Page]In this Psalme is con­teined
    • a deepe sinking vnder the charge of sinne whence are drawen
      • crying complaints to GOD, ver. 1. & 2.
      • Reasons which should moue GOD to heare and those ta­ken
        • 1. From the generall weakenesse and corruption of man, ver. 3.
        • 2. From the mercy which is with GOD, ver. 4.
    • a rising into confidence and trust; whereby occasioned
      • in the com­playnant
        • patient awaiting with trust in GODS promise, ver. 5.
        • timely and swift resort to GOD, ver. 6.
      • to others
        • an exhortation to trust in GOD, with reasons for the same viz.
          • his mercy, v. 7.
          • his plenteous redemption v. 7.
        • A promise to bee deliuered from sin, v. 8.
VERS. I.

Out of the deepe haue I called vnto thee, O LORD: LORD heare my voice.

  • 1 THE depth of sinne.
  • 2 By impure thoughts.
  • 3 By wicked words.
  • 4 By sinfull actions.
  • 5 What holdeth vs in the depth of sinne.
  • 6 The depth of afflictions and miseries.
  • 7 The depth of astonishment and feare.
  • 8 The depth of humility and sorrow.
  • 9 The depth of the heart.
  • 10 The depths out of which a sinner must crie.
  • 11 The comforts of the world.
  • 12 To whom we must call for comfort.
  • 13 A sinner offendeth GOD.
  • 14 He offendeth other men.
  • 15 He offendeth the Angels and Saints.
  • 16 He offendeth against Hell.
  • [Page 222]17 He offendeth all creatures.
  • 18 Especially he offendeth his owne soule.
  • 19 A prayer.
  • 20 The losse that a sinner incurres.
  • 21 A complaint for the same.
  • 22 An incitement to teares.
  • 23 Godly teares how esteemed by GOD.
  • 24 When we must giue ouer weeping.

O Iust GOD! no lesse terrible in thy iustice, then vnresistible in thy po­wer and will: when I descend into the secrets of my conscience, and call my memory to an accompt; I find my selfe plunged very deepe in sinne, and the yoake of the Diuell so heauy vpon me, that I am not able to lift vp my loaden head; scarce able to aduance my voice vnto I thee. LORD, I haue grieuously sinned against thee; I haue grieuously prouoked thy wrath against mee. I haue not onely foolishly disobeyed thee, but proud­ly rebelled against thee. I haue forsaken thee, and delighted to liue among bruit and sauage beastes; I made my selfe a bed of thornes; I slept among hor­nets and scorpions: amidst these torments and dan­gers I expected rest. I am as one most wretchedly wrecked; who hauing lost all his rich loading, hath hardly escaped naked to the shore.

II My sottish soule poysoned with taste of things sensuall, hath taken pleasure to wallow in impure [Page 223] thoughts day and night, as swine take pleasure to wallow in mire, or dogs in carion: insomuch as no­thing else hath beene delightfull; nothing else easie for me to do. But I haue found this liquerice liquor to resemble milke; which is sweete in taste, but soone groweth sowre, and readily conuerteth into hurtfull humors. These beginnings were neglected, and hap­pily contemned at the first; but since they haue proo­ued the sparkes of that flame wherin I consume, the seedes of all my huge haruest of sinne.

As for my words, I will not say with the Prophet,III Woe is me that I haue beene silent:Vae mihi quia tacui. Es. 6. but woe is me that I haue spoken; because I am a man of vncleane lips. But oh! that a coale, or rather a ball of fire would flame from thy Altar, to scoure the rotten rust which hath deepelie ouergrowne all the instruments of my speech. Alasse! how many vaine and foolish, how many false, how many foule things haue I belched foorth of this vnsauorie mouth, wherewith I now offer to speake vnto thee? How hath my tongue galloped to destruction, euen vpon credite? euen for companie and fellowshippe of others? without any sensible pleasure or profit to my selfe? O my GOD! who will endure the breath from a man, whose sto­macke hath bin stuffed with onions or garlicke? or if it were possible the fountaine were pure, yet the poi­sonous passage must infect the waters. I know not how to speake vnto thee, either pleasinglie or with­out offence; but (me thinkes) I heare thee hourelie thundering against me: Wherefore doest thou presume to assume my Name within thy leprous lips. Psal. 50.

[Page 224] IIII Touching actuall sinnes, I haue so heaped them together; I haue so runne like a blind man, stumbling and tumbling from sinne to sinne; I haue so descen­ded the steps of sinne, from one degree to another; from foolishnesse and leuity, to carelessenesse; from carelessenesse, to boldnesse; from boldnesse, to con­tempt; from contempt, to a brauerie and boasting in my sinne: I am so fallen from frequency of actions, to custome; from custome to habite; from habite, to nature: that I am now plunged in the deepe gulfe of sinne, which hath no bottome, but the bot­tomelesse pit of hell.

V Out of this gulfe it is impossible for mee by the force of my owne armes to wrestle. Flattering Dalilah, euen the whorish daliancies and pleasures of this life, haue cut away the haires of my strength. And now the infernall Philistins haue made me captiue; they haue put out the eyes of my vnderstanding, they haue fettered me with many cords and chaines of wilfull transgressions; they haue throwne me in­to the dungeon of habite and nature; Insomuch as I haue not more naturally desired to eate drinke and rest, then to sinne: they haue made me scornefull and odious to all the world.

VI This depth of sinne hath drawne vpon me ano­ther depth; and that is of afflictions and calamities, the attendants of sinne: For sinne onely prouoketh thy wrath, and thy wrath draweth many punish­ments vpon vs. As sinne is the onely cause, so are pu­nishments the effects of thy wrath. Impiety and im­punitie goe seldome together; thy wrath will not [Page 225] permit them quietly to concurre in one subiect. Punishment is so naturall for sinne, that if sinne bee not smitten with the sword of chasticement in this life, it is in danger to be smitten in the life to come, with the sword which guardeth the passage into pa­radise.

For this cause thy hand hath beene exceeding hea­uy vpon me. My indignity hath stirred thine indig­nation: I haue sinned and thou hast smi [...]en. I am in­uolued in troubles, as in a deluge; the storms of dis­quiet beat stifly vpon me. I am so deeply drowned in aduersities and miseries, that I am scarce either bold or able to looke towards thee.Psal. 42. And yet One depth calleth another.

For these depths of sinne and of calamities, haue VII drawne vpon me another depth of astonishment and trembling. For when I call to my consideration thy infinite hate against sinne, the extreame seueritie of thy iustice and rage of thy wrath; neuer incensed but by sinne; and the greater the sinne is the more incensed. Terrour seazeth vpon my soule, and it faintlie sincketh into the darke and deepe cauernes of anguish, dread and almost despaire. It is no ordinary matter that doeth perplex me, not the crosses and trauerses of this world; but being oppressed with my owne guiltinesse, and sharply assaulted with the ter­rour of despaire; I haue iust cause to feare, that thou hast vtterly forsaken me, that thou hatest and abhor­rest me for my sinne. These troubles are most terri­ble, these touch not my externall affaires, but the in­ternall and eternall state of my soule. Against external [Page 226] calamities some remedies may be found; but against internall biting of vniust sinnes, and expectation of thy iust and eternall reuenge, there can be found nei­ther remedie nor rest. This wound is incurable but by thy hand.

VIII And now againe these depths haue called another depth. For it is not with a lofty looke, not with a care­les & negligent conceit, but out of the depth of humili­ty; & sorrow that I cry vnto thee. A little sorrow is not sufficient for me, my sorrow must be great; so great as it may make a great sound in thy eares Whosoeuer cryeth to thee with great sorrow & griefe, may wel be said to cry, Out of the depth. But this cry must be soft, without noise of words; it must be in the secret retreits ofthe heart; no voice, no soūd in any wise added. Con­trition is an inward griefe, seated in the heart, it neuer breaketh forth before confessiō; confession must open a passage for it. This sorrow hath depressed my sinc­king soule down so low, as it seemes to be led through all the torments which vnrepentant sinners must en­dure: So as out of this depth also I cry vnto thee. Oh! that I could meet thine Angell in this fierie valley, as the children of Israel did in the valley of weeping;I [...]dic. 2. that I might extinguish these flames with my teares, that I might turne them into riuers of teares.

IX Lastly, not onelie from the outward gates of my lips, not onelie from the vnstable wagging messen­ger of my tongue, apt vpon euerie sudden passion to riot (for I am not one of those who honour thee with their lips but their heart is farre from thee) but out of the depth of my heart,Es. 22. from the very bottome of a [Page 227] troubled soule I cry vnto thee. Assuredly,Profundum est cor ho­minus. LORD purge me from my secret sins. Psal. 25. the heart of man is exceeding deepe, it hath many hidden roomes and retreits. It conteineth many secret mat­ters, whereto the vnderstanding can neuer approach; it chambreth many secret sinnes: whosoeuer cry­eth from this depth vnto thee, hee fetcheth his cry farre; he cannot but make a forceable battery against thine eares.

Out of these depths, of sinne, of afflictions, of a­stonishment X and feare; out of the depth of humility and sorrow; and out of the very depth of my heart, I cry vnto thee. As Ionas cryed to thee, not only out of the depth of the sea, but out of the depth of the whales belly; so out of all these depths I stretch forth my voice to thee for helpe. I cry not for helpe to the world, I want no externall comforts; and none can giue internall but thou. Alasse! who will aske an XI almes of a begger? what comfort from confusion; what comfort from them who no more vnderstand one another, then did the builders of Babell? Itis the world which hath betrayed me, it is the world which hath vndone me. It setteth vs to gather strawes, as Pharao did the children of Israel; and scourgeth vs when we haue done. I will not cast the Anchor of my rest in the stormy vnstable sea of the world. It is like a beautifull flower, but stincking: like a faire reede, but of no strength. It is rightly termed an hypocrite: without faire, but within full of corrup­tion and vanitie: In sensuall matters it seemeth good, but all is nothing but painting and lies. Caine who was the first builder of a city vpon earth, was the [Page 228] first man who lost his habitation in heauen.

XII But onely vnto thee doe I call, who art both encli­nable to heare, and able to helpe. Being buried and lost in these bottomlesse depths, I find nothing in the world, but terrours and despaire of reliefe; nothing in my selfe, but trembling and dismay: no hope of help but only from thee. And therfore with all deiection of soule I addresse my spirit to call vpon thee. I be­seech thee most gentle Father, heare my voice: Let my humble prayer ascend, from the low vale of mi­serie and teares, to thy high throne of maiesty and glory: let the secret groanes of my soule, and the o­pen cries of my voice haue accesse to thy presence: heare (I say) the inward sorrow and griefe of my heart, and the outward confession of my mouth.

XIII I haue grieuously offended thee; by shaking off thy subiection, and bearing my selfe rebellious a­gainst thee: by exposing my selfe to all euill, and op­posing my selfe against any good. When thou wert to me as the sunne is to the earth, infusing heat light and life into it; I was to thee as the earth is to the sunne, sending vp grosse vapours, whereby tem­pests XIIII are raised and the sunne obscured. I haue of­fended other men, either positiuely by wronging some in their estates or estimations, and by wringing and inclining others by my example to euill; or else priuatiuelie, in not affoording them that good, which both by actions and examples I might and should. XV I haue offended the blessed Angels and Saints; who are no lesse grieued at sinne, then they ioy at con­uersion from sinne: who as they ioy at the conuersion [Page 229] of sinners, so are they sorrowfull at their conuersa­tion in sinne. I haue (which is strange) offended hell. For the more the multitude of the damned are, the XVI more doe their torments increase. For which cause the rich man intreated Abraham to send Lazarus to conuert his brethren:Luke 16. not for any loue to them, but that his owne torments by their damnation should not be enlarged. I haue offended all creatures, by di­uerting XVII them from their proper end. For when man by sinne is turned from GOD, whilest other creatures serue him, they are also turned with him from GOD. For they were created for the seruice of them who should serue GOD: but they are diuerted from this their proper end, when they are seruiceable to them who serue not GOD. For which cause the Apostle saith; that all creatures expect when the sonnes of GOD shall be reuealed: and that they groane with vs and tra­uaile in paine.

But especially I haue offended against my owne XVIII soule: which being dispoiled by sinne of the grace and fauour of GOD, remaineth blind, naked, woun­ded, poore, pitilesse and miserable. Assuredly, it is true that no man is hurt but by himselfe. For onelie sinne (our owne viperous brood) is properly euill; take away sin, and all externall euills produce good effects. Because when sinne is away, GOD is present: but when the soule is possessed with sinne, all good things perish, all euils flourish and ouergrow. And as sinne is an offence against GOD and against all his creatures, so by sin we incurre the hostility of GOD and of all his creatures: wherof Ismael was a type, [Page 230] of whom it is sayd: that his hand was against all, and the hands of all against him. Gen. 16.

Therfore O LORD, sweet and gentle to all them who call vpon thee, I haue great cause to call to thee alowde: but in vaine shall I call vnlesse thou heare me; vnlesse thou encline thy mercifull eare. Heare mee O LORD,Exo. 22.23. 2. Sam. 22.7. Who hearest the afflicted and troubled calling vpon thee; heare my voice; giue mee strength so to cry to thee, that my voice may be heard. For as all the droppes of raine which fall vpon the earth, are originally drawen out of the sea, which is both the fountaine and receipt of all waters: so all the good­nesse which is in man is deriued from thee; who art the foundation and receipt of all goodnesse. O Infi­nite goodnesse, infuse thy selfe into me: Breath foorth thy spirit, and the waters will flow. LORD, the desi­ring of thy graces is the beginning of obteyning them: and therefore with fie [...]ie and inflamed sighes I entreat thee. Breath foorth thy spirit, to mooue me to send to thee a full flood of boyling teares; and to crie to thee with vnspeakable groanes.

XX Alasse! It is the most bitter part of my misery, that I know how infinite the losse is that maketh mee mi­serable. I haue lost the beauty of the world; the highest marke of a good mans ambition. I haue not only lost him, but incurred his hostility, without whom there is no ioy; the breath of whose fauour is the breath of life: whose presence is the greatest fe­licity in Heauen,Depart from me ye cursed, &c. whose departure is the most grie­uous punishment in Hell. And now, mine eyes tell [Page 231] me, that euery thing is attired in sorrow; mine eares perswade me, that all sounds are tuned to mournfull notes: all things seeme to inuite mee to weepe. If I see any thing that beareth some resemblance of ioy; it is to me like the spoiles of a vanquished kingdome, in the eye of a captiue prince; scornes of his misery, and whetstones of his sorrow.

O my LORD! I cannot hide me from thee, but I haue hid thee from me. Thou seest mee, but I see not thee. Thou seest all my actions, both light, and yet darke; but I see no beame of thy beauty; no spark of thy fauour appeareth to me. O my GOD! Why XXI doest thou leaue me in this distressed case? In how wilde a chase doe my perplexed thoughts wander? My vnderstanding is darke; my will either crooked or weake; my imagination, vnquiet; my appetite, dis­ordered. I feele so many deathes, as I liue dayes. For dayly, yea hourely, my oppressed conscience endi­teth me for many grieuous offences; and my owne knowledge enforceth the euidence to be true: wher­upon my iudgement condemneth mee to eternall death, vnlesse a pardon can be obtayned. To this end my eyes are enioyned to a fresh shower of teares; my breast to a new storme of sighes; and my soule to remaine in the most deepe dungeon of sorrow and griefe; and out of this depth (like a most miserable pri­soner) neuer to cease calling vpon thee, neuer to cease crying and crauing for thy pardon.

O my soule! weepe bloudy teares, if it be possi­ble:XXII fill heauen and earth with cries, groanes and [Page 232] sighes: plunge thy selfe into a sea of teares; to wash thy sinnes, and to extinguish the wrath of GOD a­gainst them: for what anger is so fierie, that teares cannot quench? as Pharao and all his hoste was drow­ned in the waters, so may the Diuell and all thy sins be stifled with teares.Qui dolet delet. The weeping for sinne is the wiping them away. Drie earth bringeth foorth vnprofitable weedes and hurtfull Serpents: and a soule neuer watered with teares, bringeth foorth much vanity and vncleannesse. As raine fructifi­eth the earth, so teares make a barren soule fruit­full.

XXIII Godly teares are of two sorts: some proceed from griefe for our sinnes; others from loue, ioy, and de­sire of GOD. Both which he so highly esteemeth, that he will not suffer one of them to be lost: he pre­serueth them in his treasury with great regard, to water therewith the garden of our good purposes and endeuours. For as good seedes and plants with­out raine, so are good thoughts and endeuours with­out this heauenly dew of deuotion.

But be not satisfied, O my soule, with once or twise weeping; Bee not weary of bewayling thy sinnes, cease not to weepe,Io. 16. Hier. 31. vntill GOD shall wipe away teares from thy eyes. O happy eyes which shall bee wiped with that heauenly hand. Not only their teares shall be perpetually dried, but their sorrow shall bee turned into ioy. And according to the multitude of their sorrows, his comforts will refresh their soules. Ps. 93. Goe too then, vn­fruitfull soule! write all thy sinnes with teares, in the [Page 233] large volume of thy heart, read them ouer againe, and againe: wash them with a few more droppes of deuotion: let thy words be watered with teares, and warmed with sighes: and againe addresse to thy suite, and say.

VERS. II.

Oh let thine eares consider well the voyce of my complaint.

  • 1 INgemination of our prayers often requisite, and wherefore.
  • 2 A complaint.
  • 3 A most cruell combate.
  • 4 How a sinner flattereth himselfe.
  • 5 Vntill he be able to breake loose.
  • 6 A confession.
  • 7 The most miserable state of a sinner.
  • 8 It nothing auayleth that our sinnes are knowen only to our selues.
  • 9 In what sence a man may bee sayd a greater sinner then the Diuell.
  • 10 The sinner deeply deiected.
  • 11 Hee resumeth hope in the LORD.
  • 12 The despaire of Cain was a greater sinne then the murther of his brother.
  • 13 An vnreasonable reasoning with GOD.
  • [Page 235]14 An obiection answered.
  • 15 The crie of our sinnes is the greatest obstacle against the crie of our complaint.
  • 16 The condition whereon we may be heard.
  • 17 An humble complaint and confession.
  • 18 No distance can hinder the hearing of GOD, and wherefore.
  • 19 A resolution to perseuere.
  • 20 How pleasing petitions of sinners are to GOD.

LORD, I do often ingeminate this I petition, because no plenty, no weight of words is sufficient to ex­presse the anguish of my soule. For it is no light either sorrow or dan­ger that is lighted vpon me. I com­plaine not of the malice or fraud of my enemies, not of any wordly losse or euill; which happily may bee either auoyded or well endured. I complaine not also of sinnes esteemed of inferiour nature: not of the slippes of youth, not of imperfe­ctions of age, not of errours and escapes either ordi­nary or vnknowe to my selfe: against which applian­ces are easilie entertained. But my soule being a nest of sinne and goared with the sting of conscience, is now oppressed with such heauie cogitations, with such mortall wounds, and with such terrible assaults of despaire, that I feele that (as it seemeth to mee) which no man feeleth but my selfe: that I can see nothing▪ but that thou hast not onlie couered thy [Page 236] countenance, but cast mee off, and away for euer. Great are my externall oppressions, but these are the terrours which thunder vpon me; this is the loade vnder which I labour, this is the labour wherein I sweate: euen the threats of thy Law, and guiltines of my grieuous sinnes.

II Alasse! I haue lost my selfe in a labyrinth of doubts. I am in such extreame miserie, that I haue not where­with to foster my famished soule. The violence of my greefe hath so oppressed me, that hope can now do no more; It hath done enough, in keeping my III heart from breaking. And herein I susteine the more cruell combate, because my quarrell is against my selfe: because I haue no challenge but against my own soule. Oh! that I could so hate it, as the loue of thee requires. Oh! that I were so angrie therewith, as thou mightest be appeased with me. Sometimes I haue beene desirous to run away, but then (vaine thought) I must runne from my selfe: my disease is fast fixed in my bones.

I haue linked together the chaine of my owne mi­series: I haue voluntarilie run into the awaitments of death. The enemie pitched snares in my pathes: but I despised them, and walked secure: I was vio­lently swaied with the inclination of my appetites. IIII I flattered my selfe, that in youth it was a fault to be without fault: I said with my selfe; why thinkest thou vpon the end, before thou approachest the middest? Euerie part of our age, hath both errours and amendments proper to it. GOD seeth it well, but he doth not regard it: he is most easie to forgiue, [Page 237] and I may heereafter conuert when I will. Thus I thought, vntill custome challenged mee for her slaue. I strugled to breake from her, but shee held me fast: I could not shake off the yoake, which had beene long buckled about my necke: I could not be ridde of the bridle, which I had willingly taken betweene my V teeth: I willingly consented, and therefore am I wor­thily lost.

Whither then shall I flie? for I am fast bound, and my refuge is farre off. How shall I free my selfe from the iawes of death? from the gripes of hel? For,VI alasse! I finde, that there is no sinne which I haue not both seriously and sauourly committed. All my faculties both inward and outward I haue defiled; all my sences I haue feasted, I haue surfetted with plea­sure: All thy benefits I haue either buried, or else abused to thy dishonour; euen as thou diddest com­plaine by thy Prophet,Ezek. 16. The siluer and gold which I haue giuen thee, thou diddest conuert to serue Baal.

What hath beene all the course of my life, but a net of errours, a confused Babylonian building of treasons, pride, auarice, riot, lust, swearing, lying, hate, enuie, murmuring, flattering, detracting, diso­bedience, blasphemie, and other innumerable euils. I haue been ouerborne with the violent storm of my passions, which I haue let loose without any limits: neuer endeuouring either to abate or diuert their fu­ry. I haue beene laced and buckled in the snares of the Diuell. I haue pursued my inordinate appetites in all things like a beast, without respect to the Law of iustice or of reason. I haue liued worse then an [Page 238] Ethnick; as if I were perswaded either that there is no GOD, or that he neither regardeth vs in this pre­sent life, nor rekoneth with vs in the life to come.

VII My trauailing phantasies haue made a long voiage in waies both dangerous and vnknowne. Before me hath gone my aduerse will to that which is good; behind a pleasing remembrance of that which was euill: On this side want of patience in aduersitie: on that side too much hautinesse in prosperitie: On e­uery side, wounds and skarres stamped into the sub­stance of my soule by custome of sinne.

I haue often worne a burthened conscience, and yet felt no tortures within me; and therein was I mi­serable indeed: For therein I was either stupid or dead, I carried a sencelesse soule in a liuing bodie; euen as it must needes be a dead and senceles hand, which can hold fire without feeling any sting of heat. None are more dead then they who can beare fire in their hand or sinne in their conscience without sence of smart. But out wretches! the houre will come, when the remembrance of sinne will so much the more sharpely teare, by how much it was lesse grieuous before. Assuredlie, if we could conceiue the terror of our generall accompt, we would not faile to ac­compt euerie day.

O dead sencelesse soule! where are thy complai­ning cries? where are thy teares, to bath the brui­ses which thy sinnes haue made? wherefore doth not thy leaden heart melt? wherefore doth not thy yron eies breake foorth into riuers of teares, as did the rocke which Moses smote with his rod? O LORD [Page 339] GOD! sweet and gentle to all those who call vpon thee. Remember that I am but dust, and supplie (I beseech thee) my drie defects.Psal. 147.18. Breath forth thy spirit that the waters may flow: that teares of true contrition, accompanied with the saddest groanes of my soule, may plentifully breath foorth. Or if by thy iust iudgement I can finde no passage for teares of my eyes; let me not be depriued of groanes of my heart, let my heart sweat bloudie teares. Or if I bee vn­worthy of that; yet let me loue groanes and teares; let me earnestly desire them; let me ardently sue to thee in my prayers for them.

Alasse! what auaileth it that many of my sinnes are not knowen to others, when they are well knowen to my selfe. Miserable that I am, if I lightly regard this bosome witnesse: this witnesse that can­not keepe counsaile long, but will discouer my se­crets to all the world. The longer time I haue liued the more I finde my life couered and ouergrowen with sinne; euen as a riuer, the further it runneth from the head, the more waters it gathereth and the greater doeth the streame encrease: or as a man ri­ding in dustie waies, the further hee rideth the more dust he gathereth vpon him. I can finde in my selfe no light of goodnesse no calme of righteousnesse. I haue bin so loaden with the yron yoake of the Diuell, the troupes of my sinnes so muster vpon mee; that out of the depth of my miserable estate I am enforced with sighes groanes and teares to cry vnto thee.

Oh! I am a most grieuous sinner. I thinke my selfe the most grieuous sinner in the world: I think my self [Page 240] (which I tremble to speake) a more grieuous sinner IX then the Diuell himselfe. For albeit the Diuell par­ticipateth of all sinnes whereto he draweth miserable men; yet of his owne nature he is not a glutton, not a drunkard, not sloathfull, not libidinous not coue­teous of riches or hono [...]s, or any other worldly thing. For because nothing is affected with that which is not agreeable to the nature thereof, it followeth, that a spirituall substance cannot bee affected with goods properly corporall; but onely with those which are spirituall. But in affecting spirituall goods there can bee no sinne, vnlesse the rule of a superiour be thereby transgressed: and this is by the sinne of pride, in being disobedient to a superiour, and in af­fecting a singular excellencie. But consequently enuie may ensue, by enuying the good of others, whether in GOD or in man, as a hindrance to their proper ends. But so enuy must not be taken for a passion, but for a will wrestling against anothers good. And hereby it appeareth, that the Diuell properly and in his owne nature sinneth onely in pride and in enuie; which onely are pure spirituall sinnes. But besides these, I haue committed so manie other sinnes, that I am both vnable and vnworthy particularlie to con­fesse them; much more vnworthy to receiue par­done for them. I haue made so great ruine and waste in all the faculties of my soule, that it seemeth impos­sible they should be repaired.

X Oh wretch! what haue I done? what did I entend to haue done: The law accompted those beasts vn­cleane which did not chew the cudde: not lesse vn­cleane [Page 241] cleane are they who will not ruminate and consider, either the condition of their present state, or what in future is either necessarie or in aduenture to ensue. But alasse! I neuer thought on my danger, vntill all hope of remedie was past: I neuer regarded my steps, vntill I was in the snares of hell. And now, what death can I feare, when I haue lost the life of my soule? without which any other life is death? and which maketh death a pleasant passage to life? Being deepely wounded with the greatest griefe, what sence can I haue of ordinary euill? my deepe miseries haue drowned both my minde and my memorie in so deepe sorrow, that all hope of reliefe is ouerwhelmed with the thicke throng of present discomforts.

And yet I will not cast downe my hope in the XI LORD, I will not despaire of his gracious helpe. For he hath not cast me downe to cast mee away: hee hath not thus terrified mee, to the end I should abandone all hope, to the end I should be swallowed vp in the monstrous mouth of despaire; but rather he calleth mee to him, to the end that I should call vpon him. The first worke that the LORD did in the conuersion of Saint Paul, was the casting of him to the ground;Act. 9. whereby thou doest instruct vs (O LORD) that our deiection in our selues, is the first step of our aduan­cing to thee. And assuredly, thou wouldest neuer haue giuen me this grace to be sorrowfull, if thou haddest not therewith intended to giue me life.

And therefo [...] albeit I bee cast downe to the verie gates of hell, yet will I call vpon thee to raise mee a­gaine: albeit I bee crushed and broken to pieces, yet [Page 242] will I call vpon thee to heale mee: I can neuer bee so low driuen, neuer so ouercharged with sorrow or with feare, but still I will call vpon thee for comfort. For what other remedie haue wee feeble wretches? tossed in the vaste gustie sea of this world; beaten with most raging tempests; driuen among so many rockes and shelues, so many infernall monsters ga­ping to deuoure vs; what other remedie haue wee I say, but to call and crie to thee with the distressed disciples? awake LORD least wee perish. Assuredly, if out of these depths of danger and distresse we cry not out to thee for helpe, then are we neere the greatest depth that can bee; then are wee slipping into the depth wherein Cain was eternally swallowed: then are wee readie to roare out his cursed complaint: my sinnes are greater then can be forgiuen.

XII It is true, Cain, indeede thy sinne in it selfe was very great: but in comparison of the infinite goodnesse of GOD it was not great. Thy sinne might haue bin pardoned well enough, but thy opinion and conceit that it did exceede the mercies of GOD; that im­pious opinion, so long as it stood, could not be for­giuen. Thy despaire was a greater sinne then the murther of thy brother: thy despaire was the cause wherefore the murther of thy brother could not bee forgiuen. Thy damnable repentance left no place for repentance to life.

The same trace followed they whom the Prophet XIII described to speake in this manner; Our sinnes are vp­on vs, Ezek. 33. and in them we consume, how then should wee liue? But O Omnipotent GOD! is this a good rea­soning [Page 243] with thy goodnesse? My sinnes are vpon me how then shall I liue? Desirest thou then the death of a sin­ner? desirest not thou rather that sinners should liue? I know rightwell that my sinnes are vpon me: But I ex­pect againe thy mercie vpon my sinnes. My iniquities, I know, are gone ouer my head: but they haue not ouer­gone thy goodnesse. Pal. 38. Come to me all ye that are loaden, & I will ease you. They are a burthen too heauie for me to beare: and therefore I resort to thee, who hast promised to ease me. My sinnes shall neuer driue me to despaire, but rather to repaire to thee for reliefe.

But is it not vsuall that GOD listneth not to sinners?XIV that he turneth away his eare, and will not heare them? Yes verelie. But this is by reason of the cry of their sinnes; this is when the cry of their sinnes drowneth the cry of their complaints. Fauorable LORD! stop thine eare, I beseech thee, against the crie of my sinnes; but graciously incline it to the cry of my complaint. Silence my sinnes, LORD, for a while; bid them stand aside vntill I haue fullie con­fessed them to thee; vntill I haue manifested my con­trition for them: and then let them appeare againe if they will; for then they shall not appeare alone. They shall be then accompanied with my teares and my griefe, which will abate if not abolish their crie. They shall not then prouoke thy iustice, but helpe to inuoke thy mercies for me.

Assuredly, O my soule! the crie of thy complaint XV hath no greater obstacle then the cry of thy sinnes, vntill by repentance the barre be remooued. And therefore if thou wouldest haue the LORD to heare the voice of thy complaint, first drowne thy sins with [Page 244] teares of repentance, then cast away their dead carcasses from thee. Away with all the trumperies of the world; away with the vanities of pride, aua­rice, surfet, reuenge; away with all impediments of sinne. For vnlesse thou abandon thy vanities, thou shalt vainely implore the Omnipotent to heare thee. He cannot heare a voice proceeding from a heart and lips loaden with iniquities: he cannot be mercifull XVI vnlesse thou repent. Heare the condition whereup­on thou maiest be heard. Let the wicked forsake his wayes, and the vngodly man his cogitations, and turne to XVII the LORD, and he will haue mercy vpon him.

Why so thē fauorable LORD, So now I here present my selfe before thee; not proudly standing vpon my iustifications; but with a sad broken spirit, from a low deiected heart, I humbly turne, and breath forth my complaints before thee. Hitherto my daies haue I vnprofitably wasted; I haue hitherto spent my time in purposing, but neuer beginning to pursue. But now I turne and come vnto thee, stooping and stag­gering vnder the importable fardage of my flesh: e­uerie where I finde enemies, I am grieuous to my selfe both within and without. I haue many com­plaints to present to thee, and now sue for a fauou­ble hearing. Shut not thine eares, neither hold them as indifferent, but inclineable and fauou­rable to my petitions. LORD I acknowledge to thee all my impurities, and earnestlie entreate both thy comfort & cure. Behold how the necessitie of my miserable estate draweth sighes from my heart, teares from my eies, and complaints from my [Page 245] tongue, Yeeld LORD, a fauorable eare; declare thy selfe so farre from dispising, as attentiuely to listen XVIII to the voice of my complaint. And albeit thou beest in the highest seat of glory, and I in the lowest center of sinne, yet be pleased to heare; for no distance can hinder thy hearing, who by thy goodnesse in all places art present. The prayers of those who call vpon thee with their heart, shall neuer resolue into winde, by reason of any distance of place; be­cause XIX thou art neere to all those who call vpon thee faith­fully.

And if my sinnes still thrust themselues betweene thy hearing and my complaint; If still they step forth to stop thy eares against my voice; if they still make a hideous cry, to awake thy iustice, to quicken thy wrath, to make my prayers not onlie vnacceptable, but hatefull to thee; chase them awhile with one glorious glance of thy eie; close a little thy eie of iu­stice, vntill I haue once againe confessed them to thee, and presented to thy gentle hearing my petiti­on for grace. For I know rightwell, that the petiti­ons XX and confessions of penitent sinners vpon earth, are no lesse pleasing and delightfull to thee, then are the praises of thy blessed Angels in heauen.

VERS. III.

If thou LORD wilt bee extreame to marke what is done amisse: O LORD, who may abide it?

  • 1. GOD is in all places present, and how.
  • 2 How after a singular manner hee is pre­sent.
  • 3 The cordes which hold vs captiue to Hell.
  • 4 A confession.
  • 5 The torments of Hell not sufficient to punish all our sinnes.
  • 6 GOD is not only a Father, but a LORD: and what kinde of LORD.
  • 7 The sinner addresseth himselfe to mercy.
  • 8 To the Father of mercy.
  • 9 All reasonable creatures may sinne, and the reason why▪
  • 10 Wherefore some Angels did not sinne.
  • 11 Wherefore all men are obnoxious to sinne.
  • [Page 247]12 Wherefore man was redeemed rather then Angels.
  • 13 All men are sinners by nature.
  • 14 GODS court of mercy is higher then his court of Iustice.
  • 15 Wherefore a sinner is sayd to be vnprofitable.
  • 16 Two wayes to attaine felicity.
  • 17 Our Sauiour onely hath gone the way of Iustice.
  • 18 No man can passe but by the way of mercy.
  • 19 GOD delighteth to spare sinners.
  • 20 We are enioyned to imitate GOD in his mercy.
  • 21 The readiest way to attaine mercy.
  • 22 A petition for mercy.

HEauenly LORD! Albeit my op­pressed soule lieth buried in the deepe loathsome denne of sin, yet is there no centre so deepe, but thou mayest easily affoord thy hearing. For thou fillest heauen I and earth; in all places thou art present; not onely in regard of thy power, but in re­gard of thy true and reall essence. For wheresoeuer any thing is, that hath a being, there art thou also, who art the cause of that being: for the cause and the effect are necessarily together; they doe necessa­rily cohere: the cause doeth necessarily support the effect. But after a more singular maner thou art pre­sent II with those who pray vnto thee: euen as the great Prophet Moses doeth in these words assure: What na­tion is so great, to whom the GODS come so neere, Deut. 4.7. [Page 248] as the LORD our GOD is neere vnto vs, in whatsoe­uer we call for to him.

What then shall I say now I am in so neere di­stance before thee? Alasse! I am come to speake for my selfe; but I canne speake nothing but that which is against me. If the holy Patriarch Abraham in speaking to thee, did call to mind that hee was but dust and ashes; If hee was so humble, If hee bare such awfull reuerence to thy Maiestie when hee en­treated for others; what shall I poore miserable sin­ner doe, when I am about to entreat for my selfe? III what? Dust and Ashes? Nay, a bottomlesse depth of sinnes and of miseries: to whom delight in sinne, the power of the diuell and the violence of custome, haue beene in stead of three cords, or rather cables, to hold mee captiue to hell.

IIII O most high and powerfull Creator! when I turne my eyes into my selfe, when I make a priuie search in my owne conscience, I finde the multitude and varietie of my sinnes to bee such; that I esteeme my selfe vtterly vnworthy, whom thou shouldest not onely helpe, but heare: because in comparison of my sinnes, the miseries are nothing which I endure. I haue so deepely offended thee, that in reason I can expect no fauour from thee. For what day? what hower hath passed in all my life, wherein I haue not V deserued a world of torments? Insomuch as albeit thou shouldest discharge vpon mee all the horrours of hell, yet should the greatest part of my offences remaine vnpunished.

Thou hast spared mee, but I haue not spared thee: [Page 249] thou hast spared to strike mee with the sword of Iu­stice, but I haue not spared to smite thee with the fist of iniquitie. Thou hast shewed thy selfe a Father to mee; but I haue not behaued my selfe as a child. How shall I looke so good a Father in the face, bee­ing so lewd a child as would disthrone and destroy that good Father if I could? Suppose the Father will bee content to forgiue; yet it is doubtfull that the LORD will not. Hee that forbeareth his vnrulie childe, will he also forbeare his vngracious seruant? But thou art not onely a LORD but a LORD of Ma­iestie.VI A LORD must bee feared, Maiestie must bee reuerenced, both obeyed. If hee who contemneth humane maiestie be guiltie of treason, what shall bee done to him who despiseth and dishonoureth the di­uine omnipotent Maiestie, alwayes iealous of deri­sion and neglect; whose frone no creature is able to endure? Dare vile dust, subiest to dispersion by euery puffe, presume to prouoke a LORD of such terrible Maiestie?

Therefore seeing I haue displeased so good a Fa­ther, so great a LORD, seeing I haue so lewdly wa­sted all the partes of my life, so notably ruined all the powers of my soule, that I am no wayes able ei­ther to recouer the one, or to repaire the other: Whither shall I turne mee? What shall I say? If I looke vpon Mercy I thinke my selfe vnworthy of the least of her fauours: If vpon vpon Iustice, I condemne my selfe to the most seuere sentence that it can pronounce. But then againe I returne to Mercy, and prostrating my selfe at het feete, with sorrow in [Page 250] my heart and teares in my eyes, I thus addresse my desires vnto her.

VII O mild mercy! I acknowledge my self vnworthy of thee; vnworthy either to enioy, or to behold thee. But because I haue iudged and condemned my selfe, pro­tect me that I be not arreigned at the bar of Iustice; answere thou the charge of her accusation, couer me with thy shield against her blowe; stand betweene her and me, I beseech thee. O gentle mercy! my sor­row-beaten soule applieth it selfe to thee, hoping in despaire and perseuering in hope. My sins are such as for number can not, for nature should not be rehear­sed: all my teares are not sufficient to cleanse one spotte of them, or to quench one sparke of the fury which they haue kindled:Paralip. 2. vlt. Alasse! I haue sinned aboue the number of the sandes of the sea. My iniquities are multiplyed, and I am not worthy to behold the height of heauen, by reason of the multitude of my iniquities.

VIII And thou, O Father of Mercy, and LORD of Iustice; whose goodnesse canne neuer bee either ex­hausted or diminished: I doe not intend to contend with thee in Iudgement; but I lay hold vpon the horne of thy Altar of grace. Here I rest, here onely I repose my assurance. For if thou shouldest keepe a true registrie of our sinnes, If thou shouldest exactly examine them according to the seuere law of thy Iustice; If thou shouldest perpetually reteine in mind the offences for which wee are sorrowfull, and which thy goodnesse hath promised to forgiue: If thou shouldest cast them into the ballance of thy Iustice, and weigh them to a graine; or if thou shouldest [Page 251] heape them together against the triall of thy inflexi­ble Iudgement: What then shall become of vs? Who can stand before thee? Who can endure thy heauy charge?

For assuredly, all reasonable creatures, as well IX Angels as men, considered in their proper nature, may sinne: Whatsoeuer creature participating of reason doth not sinne, it is not by condition of nature, but by a speciall gift of grace. The reason is, because sinne is nothing else but a declination from the streight rule whereby an act is to bee performed: and that as well in naturall acts, as in artificiall, and also in morall. But there is no act which is not sub­iect to such deflection, vnlesse the rule thereof de­pends vpon the will of the Agent. And therefore, because the will of GOD only is the rule of what he doeth, as not ordeined to any higher end; onely in the will of GOD there can be no sinne. In other in­feriour wills there may bee; because they giue not the rule to their actes, but are to bee directed by the will of GOD; whereon they should depend, as vp­on their last and highest end.

Now in that some Angels neuer sinned, they had X therein supportance by grace; and besides, they drew no originall eyther weakenesse or corruption from those which fell. But the nature of man is so XI depraued by disobedience of our first parents, that originall sinne inherent in our very substance, makes vs not onely inclineable, but headlong to all actuall sinne. Insomuch as albeit many are preserued by grace from offences of highest quality; yet all are [Page 252] so obnoxious to infinite infirmities, that wee dayly slippe, wee dayly fall; that nothing is more naturall to vs then dayly to fall; that the Iust fall seuen times a day. Yea, if the best of our actions should bee ex­actly examined, they will appeare so full, either of staines or of defectes, that we rather merit reproofe and punishment thereby, then either curtesie or re­ward. All our actions are euill, and the best seeme better then they are.

XII And this was a principall cause, wherefore man was redeemed rather then Angels. For all Angels pe­rished not by the fall of some; the fall of some Angels was no impeachment to those which stood; because no naturall imperfection or infection was deriued from the one to the other. But by the fall of our first parents all mankind was inuolued in destruction; as being Siens of that corrupted tree, Runnells flow­ing from that poysonous spring. If man had not beene redeemed, the whole stocke, race and kinde of man must haue beene damned.

And againe; The Angels fell meerely by malice of their will; but the first man was tempted and pro­uoked, and his posteritie dayly fall by inclination of their Nature. Nothing is imputed to Angels but their proper sinne: but to man is imputed the sinne of another. And therefore O LORD of infinite goodnesse! Let these reasons which mooued thee to redeeme mee, mooue thee also to heare mee; let sinne no more hinder thee from hearing, then it did from redeeming. For if sinne bee an impediment that prayers cannot bee heard, neuer shall any mans [Page 253] prayer approch thine eare.

For we are all borne sinners, wee liue and we shall XIII die sinners, wee cannot contend with thee in iudge­ment, wee cannot dispute our righteousnesse against thee. If thou wilt bee onely a iudge to obserue and examine our actions, if thou wilt call vs to triall at the barre of thy iustice, of necessity we must perish: none can stand before thee and say, I am innocent. Where­fore we decline from thy court of iustice, and desire to be heard in thy court of mercy: wee stand before thy mercy: for if mercy were not with thee, sinners could hope for nothing from thee, which is a higher court then thy court of iustice. For otherwise wee XIIII could not appeale from iustice to mercy, because no appeale can be made but to a higher court. LORD, we appeare before thy high court of mercy; wee ac­knowledge that all of vs are sinners, and that if mercy were not with thee, we could not hope for anything from thee. We humbly acknowledge, that we haue done nothing perfectly well; and our imperfect do­ing of any thing well, is no thanke to vs, it is thy free gift: but if thou close not thy eyes against our offences, we must despaire, we cannot be saued. For our life resteth in remission of our sinnes; that thou hast couered or rather buried them; that thou wilt neuer obiect them against vs. All haue gone out of the way, we are all become vnprofitable: Inutiles fa­cti sunt. ps. 13. there is none that doth good, no not one. XV

But wherefore is a sinner sayd to bee vnprofitable? Verely all things are vnprofitable which serue not to the end for which they were created. Now man [Page 254] was created to the glory of GOD: but a sinner so long as he remayneth in sin, is altogether vnprofitable for that end. And how should man be pure, who spring­eth from a rotten root? How should there not be sin in man, apparelled with filthy flesh, when his seruants were not stable, and when hee charged his Angels with folly. Iob. 4.

XVI All the wayes of the LORD are mercy and Iustice. No other way hath hitherto been knowne to attaine felicity. By the way of iustice our great Sauiour on­ly XVII hath gone: none other but hee could euer say, Which of you could reprooue me of sinne? By the way of Iustice hee hath merited for himselfe and for vs: for himselfe the glory of his humanity; for vs, Grace XVIII heere, and heerafter Glory. But by the way of mer­cy all we must walke; because we haue walked in the wayes of sinne; because by nature we are children of wrath. VVithout mercy and iustifying Grace wee cannot be saued. The doore of the entrance to the Oracle in Salomons temple, [...]. Reg. 6. was made of wood of the Oliue tree: which being a type of mercy, did shadow to vs, that no man can enter the holiest place, but thorow the doore of mercy.

And albeit GOD holdeth in his hand both iustice and mercy, yet by his antecedent will, he desireth all XIX men to be saued. His iudgement is exalted by his mercy;Indulsisti genti Do­mine, indul­sisti: nun­quid glori­ficatus es? Es. 26. Ps. 145.9. he delighteth to spare sinners, hee reioyceth at occasions to shew his mercy; he esteemeth himself more glorious by shewing mercy, then by exercising his power. In his mercy (if I may so speake) hee see­meth to goe beyond himself, for his mercy is ouer all his [Page 255] workes. In mercie hee would haue vs like vn­to him. Bee yee mercifull as your heauenlie Fa­ther is mercifull. Hee enioynes vs not to imitate XX his power, whereto Lucifer proudlie aspiring was deiected into hell. Nor his wisedome;Luc. 6.36. which Adam vainlie affecting, was elected out of Paradise: but his mercie, which wee hum­blie practising may bee erected into heauen. As it is mercie whereof wee stand most in neede, so is mercy chiefly required of vs.

But the readiest way to attaine mercy, is by ac­knowledgement XXI of our sinnes. He that acknowled­geth not his sinnes, acknowledgeth himselfe vnwor­thy of mercy, vnworthy to be acknowledged of GOD He who hideth or excuseth his sinnes, struggleth a­gainst the streames of Grace; and debarreth himselfe of all hope of pardon: he doth vainelie search after GOD, who will not search into himselfe, and freelie confesse what there he findes. Alasse! How manie are held in the yron chaines of sinne and the deuill, who neither bewaile, nor confesse, nor see their mi­serie? who, ignorant of their owne estate, suppose they walke a full pace the right way to heauen? Such were the Israelites whom the Prophet thus reproo­ued for like affected ignorance.Hier. 2.23. How canst thou say that I am not polluted? neither haue I followed Baalim? Behold thy wayes in the valley, and know what thou hast done. O blind and foolish man! who wilt endea­uour to iustifie thy selfe? open thy eyes which the deuill hath closed; and behold thy wayes in the valley of thy life. Assuredly thou shalt finde it full, of con­tempt [Page 256] against GOD, of iniuries against others, of impurities and vanities in thy selfe. Thou shalt es­pie many grieuous sinnes, which others happily haue espied before: thou shalt find many Monsters lurking in thy bosome, which awaite opportunitie, sharpely to assaile thee. Verily, it is a greater fault to conceale or defend a fault, then it is to com­mit it.

XXII And now, (O holy GOD) now I haue confessed to thee my owne sinnes in particular, and generally the sinfulnesse of all: what wilt thou doe? how is it thy pleasure to deale with me? Shall thy wrath still contend with thy mercie against me? shall my sinnes surmount thy goodnesse? shall my sinnes be stron­ger to condemne me, then thy mercies to saue mee? O my hope! Are thy benefits become so chargeable to thee? doest thou loose any thing by giuing to me? Wherefore then withholdest thou thy mercy in dis­pleasure? or tell mee: what els requirest thou from me? Requirest thou griefe? why, that is such, that I would I had died when I did displease thee. Requi­rest thou punishment? Loe here my poore perplex­ed bodie: binde it, scourge it, satisfie thy indig­nation thereon: but so, as thou forbearest not to affoord thy mercie. LORD! I desire not honour, not authoritie, not riches, not any thing created: all these cannot satiate my desire; without thy mercy all is pouertie. I desire only thy mer­cie; giue me thy mercie and I shall be satisfied.

VERSE IIII.

For there is mercy with thee: there­fore shalt thou be feared.

  • 1 THe greatnesse of GODS mercy.
  • 2 He is desirous to pardon.
  • 3 The very thought of mercy hath a pow­erfull operation.
  • 4 The power of hope.
  • 5 Her encouragement to the sinner.
  • 6 The sinners dulnesse.
  • 7 Hope giueth assurance of mercy.
  • 8 Three things most like to hinder mercy.
  • 9 Sinnes can be no impediment.
  • 10 Iustice can be no impediment.
  • 11 The ordinance of the Law is no hinderance to mercy.
  • 12 The goodnesse of GOD assureth his mercy.
  • 13 The same is assured by his Loue.
  • 14 His promise doth binde him to bee mercifull.
  • 15 His power doth also assure his mercy.
  • 16 Albeit wee often sinne, yet GOD is bound by [Page 258] his promise to be mercifull.
  • 17 By reason of our sinnes, we are rather capable, then vnworthy of mercy.
  • 18 Wherefore GOD hath commanded vs to trust in him.
  • 19 A praise of GOD for his mercies.
  • 20 One caution to be respected, if we expect mercy.
  • 21 A second caution.
  • 22 Wherefore GOD is to be feared.
  • 23 Hope and feare how conioyned.
  • 24 Feare a temperature betweene despaire and pre­sumption.
  • 25 A prayer for feare.

O Mild Father! how sweet is thy spirit? who will not loue? who I will not laud thee? Albeit thy displeasure be daily prouoked; yet it is thy pleasure, it is thy glory, not only to forbeare but to forgiue sinners: thy mercie is so great, that thou neuer desi­rest the death of a sinner. Thou knowing how weake we are, how inclineable to euill, wilt not try all our actions by the try touch of thy iustice; but like a gracious Father wilt dissemble many of our imperfections, and powre forth large streames from the euer-flowing and ouer-flowing fountaine of thy mercie, both to cleanse and to cure them. Thy na­ture is goodnesse; thy propertie is to haue mercie; [Page 259] thou art easie, thou art readie, thou art desirous to pardon. No man is so readie to intreat thee, as thou II art easie to be intreated. Thou art alwaies readie to giue and to forgiue; to giue vs thy goodnesse, and for­giue vs our euill. Thou canst not denie vs thy mer­cie, whensoeuer we repent and turne to thee.

This Ocean of mercie hath neither bottome nor bound; it cannot be fathomed, it cannot be sur­mounted. No sooner can a sinner call mercie to his III mind, but he is sencible of the working thereof. For it breaketh and disperseth the hell of remorse, which did chill his heart with astonishment and feare: the dampes of pensiuenesse vanish away; the punish­ment which hung ouer his head, is chased farre off. Or if any punishment be inflicted, it is not the pu­nishment of a iudge, but the chasticement of a Fa­ther; it is both temporall, and tempered with mer­cie; which maketh it not onely tolerable, but easie and sweete. In this Ocean of mercy I will cast the anchor of my hope, & ride securely against al rage of wheather; here hope will hold mee firme and im­moueable against all approaches.

O heauenlie hope! whose face heauinesse cannot IV endure: how wonderfull is thy sweetnesse and thy power? What louely lookes doest thou cast vpon those whom thou encountrest? what vnspeakeable ioyes doest thou kindle in their hearts, who enter­taine thee? Loe, she came vnto me attended with many comforts, and with a diuine countenance and voice vsed these speeches. Come feeble wretch, I V will lead thee into the Sanctuary of the LORD, and [Page 260] place thee before his mercie-seate. Come, I say, en­ter bouldly, I will excuse thee. Thou shalt finde him alone expecting thy comming. Away with all worldly comforts; it is no lesse dangerous for a soule to be pestred with them in time of troubles, then it is for a shippe to be ouerburthened with rich merchan­dise in a tempestuous sea. It is he onely who know­eth how to deliuer thee, how to saue thee: cast thy selfe on him, and he will helpe thee.

VI Thus shee said: but finding me heauie and little moued, her sacred lippes began againe in this man­ner to infuse her selfe into my dull earthy spirit.

VII What? said hee: doest thou any thing doubt of the great mercies of GOD? wilt thou still sucke sor­row out of euery vaine surmise? why, search the Scripture, and thou shalt there finde mercie so much extolled, so faithfully promised, and so often and strangely practised vpon sinners; that he seemeth too obstinate, who will not submit himselfe lowly to em­brace sure confidence therein. But goe too. I see I must take a little more paines: I will therefore de­scend to particulars with thee.

VIII Three things (if any thing) are most like to with­hold GOD from exercising his mercie. 1. The great­nesse of sinnes. 2. His righteousnesse and iustice. 3 The institution and ordinance of his law. But nei­ther any nor all these are able to hinder the forgiue­nes of sins: needs must GOD be merciful notwithstan­ding these impediments, to such as are sorrowfull for their misse-liuing.

IX 1. For thy wickednes cannot either extinguish or a­bate [Page 261] his mercie, in case thou be penitent, and beare a constant mind to amend. Otherwise the condition of all men were dangerous. For when men offend, if GOD were not mercifull, if hee were hard and vn­willing to exercise his mercie, what should they doe? how should they order themselues to auoid despaire? For despaire is nothing else but want of true trust in the mercie of GOD to remit sinnes. But doubt­lesse it is not so: he is mercifull, and alwaies readie to forgiue. Sunes are so farre from being an impe­diment to mercie, that they are the proper obiect thereof, without which mercy hath no action: for take away sinnes, and where then is pardon­ing mercy.Omnes pec­cauerunt & eguerunt gratia & miseri [...]ordia Ion. 4.2. Many glorious Saints in heauen are wit­nesses hereof, who were once grieuous sinners vpon earth. This also did Ionas know rightwell; and for this cause he was vnwilling to bee a messenger from GOD of his wrath against the Nineuites. For I knew (said he) that thou art a gracious GOD and mercifull, slow to anger and of great kindnesse, and repentest thee of the euill. And obserue, weake sinner, whosoeuer thou art, who for the greatnesse of thy sinnes art caried downe to the gates of despaire; obserue how GOD dealt with these condemned Nineuites. Hee sus­pended his sentence of condemnation, and could not proceede to execution thereof, so soone as they mani­fested their repentance. Feare not then the greatnesse of thy sinnes, for they are not neere so great as his mercy: his mercy is farre aboue thy neede.

2. The iustice of GOD can be no impediment. For X iustice requires no more then a recompence for a tres­passe; [Page 262] and forthwith the offence to be forgiuen. But X thy redemption is made, thy reckoning is abundantly paide, there remaineth nothing for thee to discharge. This redemption is of such power and grace that it not onely satisfieth GODS iustice, but winneth him to great fauour and loue. Doe but remember who is the priest and what is the sacrifice, and thou shalt finde the iustice of GOD easily answered: for it was more that GOD died, then all man-kind had perpetually perished. This is such an offering, as if euery houre, euery minute it were newly offered. And therefore it is called an eternall redemption;Epist ad Heb. because by it all true penitents are redeemed for euer. All therefore who are penitent, and haue a full purpose neuer to offend,Ipse est pro­pitiatio pro peecatis nos­tris, non pro nostris tantum, sed & totius mundi. Io. Epist. 1. and a trust by GODS grace to continue in that purpose; may bee assured that by this redemption they shalbe forgiuen. This redemption is the very strength of repentance: hereby the iustice of GOD is no obstacle to his mercie.

3. Now touching his ordinance of the law: Of a XI troth the law was fearefull and seuere; and therefore is termed the law of death: euery soule that sinneth shall die. But this seueritie is past and done. A new law is made; the law of grace, the law of mercie and of life. Repent and the kingdome of heauen is at hand. This is a milde law; but in any case the condition must bee performed. Thou must applie thy selfe to repen­tance in any case: GOD will not bee mercifull, vnlesse sinners repent. Notwithstanding, if at any time through weakenesse thou offend, doe not fall from him into despaire; but trust in him: sticke stiffe­lie [Page 263] and constantlie to him: and so shall thy trust sup­port his mercy in thee, and againe his mercy shall support thy trust: euen like a proppe against a wall, which holdeth vp the wall, and is againe sustained by the wall.

The impediments of mercy being thus remoued, it remaineth plaine, that mercy may easily bee obtai­ned, and that for diuers respects; and especially these:

First, for that the goodnesse of GOD assureth his XII mercy. For to one who is good, nothing is more naturall then to doe good; which is the proper acti­on of goodnesse. But because no greater good can be done to another, then to make him good, it fol­loweth, that it is most proper to one who is good, to make others good: to communicate his goodnesse to others, vntill he hath made them so good as himself. And this is so farre true, that the more goodnesse any one hath, the more is he enflamed with this de­sire, and the greater difficulties will hee vndertake to atchieue it: euen as the greater a fire is, the greater heat it casteth foorth, and the more matter it is able to consume. But GOD is so good, that in compa­rison of him, none other can be said to bee good:Why cal­lest thou me good, &c. all goodnesse is attributed onely to him. And therefore the more hee exceedeth in goodnesse, the more desi­rous is he to communicate himselfe. As he hath made himselfe like vnto thee, so will he make thee like vnto him: hee will not cease to informe, to reforme, con­forme, transforme thee dayly, vntill hee hath vnited thee to him. He communicateth himselfe to all crea­tures [Page 264] in their degree, but in most especiall manner to man. Assuredly, it is not so naturall for light things to mount vpwards, for heauie things to draw down­ward, for the heauens to mooue round; as it is for the goodnesse of GOD to doe good. For the pro­pertie of all creatures is accidentally in them; but the property to good is essentially in GOD. GOD is an essentiall goodnesse. So simple, pure and immu­table is his substance, that no accident can adhere vn­to it: whatsoeuer is in GOD, is GOD.

XIII Againe, his loue may perswade thee that hee will bee mercifull. For hee did not beginne to loue thee when first thou wert borne, not when the world was created: but thou diddest sleepe in his bosome euen from eternitie.In charita­te perpetua dilexite, ideo at­traxi te miserans. His loue to thee is no lesse ancient, then the ancient of dayes; euen then himselfe: Who as hee is from eternitie, so from eternitie hath hee loued his elect. When his naturall Sonne was begot­ten, then wert thou adopted for his Sonne; and e­uer since hee hath cast vpon thee a fatherly eye; al­wayes remembring what glory hee hath appointed for thee. The Scriptures much commend an ancient friend. Loe here is an ancient Friend indeed: a friend who hath loued thee from all eternitie. Verely if im­memoriall possession maketh a right, thou hast now a good title to his loue; thou hast now prescribed it for thine owne: and hereby thou hast a good claime to his mercie. And because likenesse is not onely a signe, but a cause of liking and loue; hee hath for­med thy soule according to his Image: for as no­thing vpon earth resembleth him more, by nothing [Page 265] hee canne more easily bee knowen. And hence it is that the substance or essence of the soule cannot bee vnderstood; because it is like the diuine substance, which no man in this life can vnderstand. Hence also proceedeth the admirable capacity thereof, which all the creatures and riches of this world can no more fill, then a graine of mustard can fill the world.

And further, he hath bound himselfe by his XIIII promise and word,Conuerti­mini & agite poeni. temiam ab om [...]i [...]us in­iquitatibus vestris, & non erit vobis in ruinam in­iquitas. that in case thou conuert and repent; thou shalt neuer bee ruined by thy sinne. And therefore seeing GOD hath made so large a promise, seeing hee is now become a debtor of mercy, seeing hee hath made his gift his debt; Dare any sinner de­spaire? Say, I pray thee: What is the worst that a sin­ner can feare? Eternall damnation. By whose appoint­ment? By the authority and command of Almighty GOD. But the same GOD who inflicteth this paine, hath giuen a supersedeas; hee hath giuen thee his warrant, that if thou repent, thou shalt not be dam­ned. Take heede; they bee his wordes; they are spoken to all sinners, bee they neuer so great. Wilt thou not beleeue them? wilt thou not giue credite to Almighty GOD? verely thou must:Fidelis Do­minus us [...]mnious [...] sui [...]. For GOD is faithf [...]ll in all his wordes.

By these three: by the goodnesse, by the loue, and by the promise of GOD, thou mayest rest assured of XV his will to shew mercy. Adde hereto that hee is om­nip [...]tent, that his will is his power, Quis re­sistit vo­luntati eius. that no man can re [...]ist his w [...]ll, that he can as easily doe as will; and there can bee nothing added to thy assurance. Men [Page 266] do often faile in their word, because they eyther change in will, or are defectiue in power: but be­cause GOD can bee neither changed nor resisted, he will assuredly make good his word.Sc [...]o [...]ui credidi, & certus sum quia potens est, deposi­tum meurn setuar [...].

XVI But happily thou wilt say: I know well that GOD is both mighty and true: and I nothing doubt of the performance of his word. But when hee hath once forgiuen a sinner, it seemeth to be a discharge of his promise: In case the sinner fall againe, is GOD bound againe to forgiue him? Verely yes. For GOD hath commanded vs to forgiue our brother so often as hee shall offend: and hath further added, that If wee forgiue, wee shall bee forgiuen. Whereby it fol­loweth,Remittite & remite­tur vobis, that if wee bee not wearie to forgiue others, GOD will neuer bee wearie in forgiuing vs: that by enioyning reuengfull man to forgiue others, hee hath therereby enioyned himselfe to forgiue them. What? Dost thou thinke that GOD will not be more merci­full then man? Shall man forgiue sooner and oftner then GOD? It cannot bee. For, because mercie proceedeth from goodnesse, and goodnesse is origi­nally in GOD; who can be so mercifull as hee? He who forgaue 10000. talents, what may wee thinke he will not forgiue?

XVII And therefore, Albeit thou hast sinned neuer so grieuously, neuer so often; forgiue others, and aske forgiuenesse meekely, and mercy will follow. For wherefore is remission of sinnes promised, if sinners may not enioy it? Do sinnes make thee vnworthy of mercy? No. But rather by reason of thy sinnes, mer­cie pertaineth to thee. Wherefore neuer distrust, but [Page 267] turne to the LORD, who hath promised mercy, and who hath commaunded thee to trust in his promise.

O the great vertue of hope! As the sunne sprea­deth light and heat to all the earth, so grace strea­meth from her countenance to all who behold her. O sacred hope! to whose presence heauinesse dares not approach. Although the weight of sinne doeth grieuously oppresse mee, yet will I trust in the mer­cie of the LORD, because hope hath emboldned me, and because hee hath commanded me so to doe. But wherefore hath hee so commanded! Verely because XVIII hee desireth to saue mee; for so hee hath sayd: Be­cause he trusted in me, I will deliuer him. Saluabit eos quia speraue­run [...] in eo. Psal. 37. in fine. O most mer­cifull LORD! With what wordes shall I prayse thee for thy exceeding mercies, who doest deliuer vs for no other reason but because wee trust in thee. LORD, thou art in greatnes infinite, in vertue Om­nipotent,XIX in goodnesse chiefe; in wisedome inestima­ble, in counsailes terrible, in iudgements iust; in cogi­tations secret, in word true, in workes holy; in mer­cy plentifull, patient towards sinners, and pitifull when they repent. For such I confesse thee, for such I praise and glorifie thy Name. Powre, I beseech thee, thy light into my heart, and thy words into my mouth; that my thoughts may alwaies meditate on thy mercies, and that my tongue may ouerslow with praises for the same. That I may not only in my selfe be fruitfull of thankes, but stir vp others to doe the like. O giue thankes vnto the LORD, for hee is graci­ous, and his mercy endureth for euer. Ps. Vid. O giue thankes vnto [Page 268] the GOD of all GODS, for his mercy endureth for euer. O thanke the LORD of all LORDS, for his mercy en­du [...]eth for euer: wh [...]ch onely doeth great wonders, for his XX mercy endureth for euer. &c. Ps. 136.

But take heed, O my soule! For reuerence of the dreadfull maiestie of GOD, beware of two things, whereof hope hath not forgotten to giue thee war­ning. One is, that thou expect mercy onely from the LORD: for with him is mercy. Trust not in any worthinesse in thy selfe, who art a dunghill couered with snow; a filthie vessell, which corrupteth all li­quors that are powred into it; a barke set in the gu­stie sea of this world, beaten with all stormes and in­cursions of weather. Trust not in any trumperies of the world: for no quiet can be expected from that which is alwaies in motion and change; which is alwaies busied like the spider, in making artificiall nets to take flies. If thou pursuest the comforts of the world, thou art one of those of whō the Prophet Ieremie speaketh,Ser [...]ietis dijs a [...]ienis qui nec no­cte nec in­terdi [...] pati­ [...]tur te qui [...]scere. that they should serue strange gods, who would not suffer thē to rest day nor night. Assuredlie, the conscience shall neuer find comfort nor rest, but when altogether stripped of all other confidence, it committeth it selfe naked to the mercy of GOD.

XXI The other is, that hereby thou beest not imbold­ned to sinne, but rather held in bridle by feare. Vp­on any condition be not bold to sinne, because the mercy of GOD is readie to forgiue: If therby thou beest imboldned, thy transgressions are the greater. Feare alwaies to offend such inuincible mercy; feare the iustice which will punish the contempt of that [Page 269] mercie. Feare to offend thy iudge: feare to offend him who onely is able to pardon thy offence. Pro­strate thy selfe, and liue in awe of [...]hat maiestie, in whose mercy thou hast placed thy hope; respect him with dutie, from whom thou expectest all thy good. As thy desires are guided by hope, so let them be followed with feare. The more thou ho­pest, feare the more; both at one time, and with­out measure in both. Neither feare abating hope, nor hope enfeebling feare: But maugre all feare, let thy hope mount to the highest pitch; and maugre all hope, let feare stoope to the lowest downe come.

If any other could forgiue sins, then thou mightest XXII happlyappeale to him, and the more lightly esteeme the maiestie of GOD:Qui [...] potest facere mun­dum de im­mundo? tu quisolus [...]? Io [...]. 14. but because this iudiciary power resteth onely in GOD, because he hath shut vp all within mercie; thou must needes feare him, and tremble to offend him. If a souldier hath offended one captaine, he may serue vnder the colours of a­nother: He who hath lost the fauour of his king, may liue vnder protection of another, euen as when the Gentiles conceiued that one of their gods was offen­ded with them, they endeauoured to reconcile the fauor of others. But when thou shalt offend thy only omnipotent GOD, to whom wilt thou resort for re­liefe? Who will not feare the king of nations? who,Hier. 10. albe­it he aboundeth with mercy, yet is not he disarmed of iustice. Albeit grace reigneth with him,Ego sum, e­go sum ipse qui deleo iniquitates tuas propter me. Es. 53. yet is not the law abolished. Thou must liue in feare not to offend the Law, but to trust to be saued only by mer­cie. The Law must continue for a holy obedience, [Page 270] XXIII to those who beleeue to be saued by mercy. By this meanes hope is alwaies accompanied with feare; hope apprehendeth mercie in the end, feare bridleth offence in the passage to the end.

Of the righteousnesse of the Law, nothing can fol­low but either despaire or presumption; in the first whereof the deuill was plunged, but the nature of man is most inclineable to the second: feare is a tem­perature XXIV betweene them both. To this vertue de­spaire is contrary on the one side, and presumption on the other. Despaire hath too much feare, pre­sumption too little: take away both, and feare will remaine, accompanied with hope. If thou fearest without hope, thou sinckest into despaire; and art like some miserable worldling, who forsaking some part of his estate, departeth with his life. If thou hopest without feare, thou mountest like Icarus to thy deadly downefall. To feare GOD is to reuerence and wor­ship him: to acknowledge that he is plentifull in mer­cie and goodnesse. Take away mercie, and take away feare: for he that expecteth not good, feareth no e­uill.

XXV O LORD of all mecy! Grant I beseech thee, that my soule may feare thee; because thou art no lesse worthy of feare then of loue. For as thou art a GOD of mercie, so thou art a GOD of maiestie; as thou art infinitelie mercifull, so art thou infinitely iust: as thy workes of mercie are innumerable, so is there no number of thy workes of iustice: And (which is most fearefull) the vessels of wrath doe farre exceed the vessels of mercy. And therfore (O LORD) so work [Page 271] in my heart, that I may feare thee; for the height of thy iustice, for the depth of thy iudgements, for the glory of thy maiesty, for the immensitie of thy great­nesse and power; for the multitude of my sinnes, for my inconsiderate boldnes in sinning; and aboue all, for my rebellion in resisting thy holy inspirations.

VERS. V.

I looke for the LORD, my soule doth wait for him: in his word is my trust.

  • 1 THe hungry desire of a penitent sinner.
  • 2 A bridle vpon that violent desire.
  • 3 Sodaine repentance not alwayes sin­cere.
  • 4 The causes wherefore GOD deferreth to heare vs.
  • 5 We are often deceiued in thinking GOD slow.
  • 6 How strongly GOD knocketh and calleth.
  • 7 Wherefore he is not heard.
  • 8 How he may be heard.
  • 9 How GOD feasteth those who entertaine him.
  • 10 We must patiently looke and wait for the LORD.
  • 11 To the very last end of our life.
  • 12 Iniuries to be quietly taken.
  • 13 Troubles to be contemned.
  • 14 A short praise of patience.
  • [Page 273]15 It must be ioyned with trust.
  • 16 Trust must be accompanied with faith, and then is it most assured.
  • 17 Whereon this Trust must be grounded.
  • 18 That the word of GOD cannot faile nor deceiue.
  • 19 A Caution what to doe that we may boldly trust.
  • 20 An assured laying hold vpon GODS word.
  • 21 A prayer and resolution for patience and trust.

BVt how long wilt thou suspend thy I mercie and grace? How long shall I bee as if I were, either not re­membred, or little regarded? how long shall this hungry appetite torment my soule? looke vpon me, O LORD, and let me haue some sence of thy mercie. LORD, I desire not the aboundance and dainties of thy children, but will re­maine satisfied with a few cast crummes from thy table. Behold LORD I come to thee, as a poore hun­grie whelpe, to a rich mans table: I see what thou eatest, and how richlie thou feedest thy children. I looke thee in the face, I obserue thy counte­nance, I manifest my desires by all the gestures and behauiours I can; I vse many prouocations to moue thee to bestow some meane morsell vpon me. But when, O LORD, when wilt thou regard me? Now, gracious GOD, euen now I pray thee, to fauour me [Page 274] with some crummes of thy loue, wherto with all my soule I aspire.

II But stay, impatient soule, be not so violent in thy desire: GOD hath long expected thy repentance, and canst thou not a while expect his mercie? As he hath delayed his anger, so it is reason thou shouldest a­waite, albeit he delay his fauour. Hee was slow to wrath, and wouldest thou haue him sodaine in mer­cie? He did not presentlie strike when thou did­dest offend, he did not make payment ouer the naile: and must he needes at the very first presenting thy selfe applie himselfe to thee? He hath a long time bin calling thee to repentance, and thinkest to thou haue his mercy at the very first cal? How often hath his iu­stice taken the whip in hand, to chastice thy sinnes? but mercie hath met her, and wrested away the scourge. If iustice had continued her course, no house of Aegypt, no habitation of sinners, but had rung with loude lamentation for their dead: and wouldest thou haue all his graces at pleasure and command? Iustice hath proceeded slowlie, that sinners might haue time to repent; and must mercie III foortwith gallop to them? Nay, soft; sodaine re­pentance is not alwaies sincere; if it be sincere, it will be of coutinuance: shew the sinceritie of thy repen­tance by thy perseuerance: perseuere, and doubtlesse thou shalt obtaine.

IIII In case GOD deferreth to heare thee, it is for one of these three causes.Hope de­ferred is a fainting to the soule, but when the desire commeth, it is a tree of life. Pro. 13.12. Either to make his gifts more highly esteemed: or else because he delighteth in thy companie; because he taketh pleasure, that [Page 275] thou shouldest conuerse with him, talke with him, sue to him; because he so delighteth in thy resort to him, as hee will not loose it by a speedy dispatch. Or else it is because he entendeth to giue to thee in a larger measure. He stoppeth the streames that the waters may swell: but in the end he will powre them foorth; not as it is fit for thee to aske, but as it is fit for him to giue.

Or happily thou art deceiued (O blinde soule)V he seemeth to delay, when hee doeth but expect the most conuenient time; when he doth but await, vntill thou beest ready to receiue. Assuredly, GOD is so mercifull, that he doeth not onely heare sinners who wait for him; but he calleth vpon them, hee awayteth to be entreated by them. Obserue what hee sayth, Behold, I stand at the doore and knocke; If any man heare my voice and open the gate vnto me, I will enter into him and suppe with him, and he with me. Listen, I pray thee,VI how strongly hee knocketh, how loud hee calleth. Runne; open to him the gates of consent of thy will; open thy doores which the loue of this world hath barred against him. Away for shame. VVhat? woul­dest thou suffer any meane friend to stand thus long wayting at thy doore? List: list. Out vpon thee! there VII is such a hideous noise within thee, that thou canst not heare. Auarice, ambition, pride, enuie, hate and a thousand worldly cares, keepe such a yeelping with their monstrous mouthes, that the sweet voice of the LORD cannot be heard; thy hearing is stopped by their horrible howlings, as if it were with a ring of belles at thy eares. But if thou wilt heare his calme VIII [Page 276] calling, silence these hagges, quiet thy disordered de­sires, banish the choaking cares of this world; re­signe thy will, keepe silence and peace within doores; and then thou maiest say with holy Iob:Vocabis me & ego re­sp [...]ndebo tibi. Iob. 15 Thou shalt call me, and I will answer thee.

Neuer feare that he will proue a chargeable guest; IX he bringeth all his prouision with him; he will richly feede and feast thee of his owne. VVhen thou hast but once tasted of his fare, thou shalt neuer hunger more after the course seruices of this world: his ban­quet only, as well for daintinesse, as for plenty will largely suffice: Open thy mouth wide, and he will fill it. Not the mouth of thy body, for a small thing may fill that: but the mouth of thy soule, namely thy de­sire; which nothing can fill but GOD. VVhen GOD had created man according to his Image, the Scrip­ture sayth, that he rested from his worke; hauing fi­nished his perfectest piece: in whom it seemeth that heauen and earth were knit together. And certainly, a reasonable soule created after the image of GOD, hath no rest but in GOD;Who fil­leth thy mouth with good things, Ps. 103. the appetite thereof will neuer rest in any other thing. The vessell which is capable of GOD cannot be filled with any other sub­stance. A soule is no more satisfied with bodily mat­ters, then a body can be satisfied with winde: because there is no conueniency between the one & the other.

X O my soule! bee content patiently to looke and wait for the LORD, as hee hath looked and waited for thee.4. Reg. 2. Doe not as Heliseus did, when hee smote the waters with the mantle of Elias: and because they deuided not at the very first stroke, hee began to di­strust [Page 277] and sayd, Where is the GOD of Elias? Bee not like the Leopard, which if it taketh not his prey at two or three leapes, giueth ouer the pursuit. This is a common disease of the sonnes of Adam, if they haue not releefe presently from GOD, they resort to the world, and sometimes (with Saul) to the Diuell for helpe. But thou, O my soule, perseuere with pati­ence: fasten thy thoughts vpon the end,Si moram fecerit ex­pecto cum, quoniam veniens ve­niet, & non tardabit, Habbac. 2. without re­gard what happeneth by the way. What auayleth it to haue a goodly hope of haruest in the blade, if it be blasted or otherwise destroyed in the eare? What profit is it that trees blossome fairely, if they neuer atteine perfection in the fruit? The Crabbe is easily taken, because it creepeth forward, and backward, and euery way: so they who sometimes sinne, some­time repent, then sinne againe, are easily made a prey to the Diuell. But they who wayt on the LORD shall renue their strength; they shall mount vp with wings as Eagles: they shall runne and not be weary, they shall walke and not be faint. Esay 40. in fi.

Wait therfore, and looke for the LORD, with con­stancie XI and fortitude, to the end of thy life, to thy ve­ry last breath. VVisedome is the eie of life, patience the staffe. Take this staffe in thy hand and walke on thy way; thou shalt neuer giue ouer, neuer be weary, but cheerefully looke towards heauen, and say: As the eyes of seruants looke vnto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a mayden vnto the hand of her mistresse: euen so our eyes wayt vpon the LORD our GOD, vn­till he haue mercy vpon vs. Ps. 123.

If any man wrong thee, swallow it with pati­ence,XII [Page 278] for vengeance is the LORDS: In case thou re­uenge,Rom. 12. the LORD shall finde nothing to chastice. VVhen Mary Magdalene was vniustlie reprooued by a censorious pharisee; she held silence; but what lost XIII she thereby? The LORD tooke her part, and an­swered for her. If trifling troubles be cast in thy way, neuer regard them: they are but tokens of loue which GOD disperseth amongst his friends. Pitch be it neuer so blacke, beat it to powder and it wil turn white: there is no sinner so Aethiopian blacke, but by the blowes of aduersitie will change his hue. VVhat? knowest thou not that holy men, the anci­ent worthies of the world, sailed for the most part with the winde in their face? And haddest thou ra­ther be euer without GOD, then with aduersity to attaine him? A good rider will exercise his horse dai­ly, to keepe him in breath, and to holde him able to performe good seruice: and so GOD dealeth with those whom hee hath conuerted to his seruice: A Bee drowned in honie, put into vineger reuiueth a­againe: and so GOD dealeth with those whom hee intendes to conuert. Their soules stifled in the pleasures of this world, must with sharpe medicines be reduced to life. Both those must patiently looke and wait for the LORD.

XIIII Patience is a great part of discretion; An impa­tient sicke man maketh a cruell Physition. It is a pre­seruatiue of other vertues: as ashes preserue fire from extinguishing, so patience preserueth other vertues from languishing and decay. Other vertues without patience are like desolate and friendlesse widowes. [Page 279] Patience is a hid treasure, deepely couered with si­lence; It is a most acceptable sacrifice to GOD.Heb. 10.36. with­out patience wee shall not enioy the promises of GOD: without patience wee enioy not our selues:Ye haue need of patience, that yee may enioy the pro­mise. Luke. 21.19 For without it we haue neither dominion nor possessi­on in our owne soules: because by patience we possesse our soules.

But patience must bee coupled with trust: which rightly laide vpon GOD hath euer beene in steade XV of merit. For it giueth both vnderstanding in this present lifeWisd. 3.9.; and the holy mountaine of GOD, Esa. 57.13euen eternall life in the world to come. But this trust is not a naked expectation of somewhat to ensue, it re­steth not onely vpon the verity of the promises of GOD, but vpon the interest that wee haue in them; and so it is accompanied with faith. For as Amber hath no smell of it selfe, but mingled with muske smelleth most sweetly; so trust of it selfe is altogether vnsauoury, but put faith to it, and nothing is either more pleasant or more assured. Who soeuer is well XVI acquainted with this trust, the more violent tempests beat vpon him, the more will he trust: Euen as the more strokes are set with a hammer vpon a naile, the more stiffely doeth it sticke. Albeit he were with Daniel in the Lions denne; albeit with Ionas in the VVhales belly; yet would hee trust. Of this trust the VVise man hath made a kinde of generall Pro­clamation in these words: Be it knowen to all nations and people, that no man euer trusted in GOD, Respicite filij, natio­nes homi­num, & scitote, &c. and was confounded.

O GOD! most faithfull in thy promise. O most [Page 280] mercifull LORD! was neuer man hitherto confounded who trusted in thee? And shall I (most meeke GOD) be the first? It cannot bee. Peraduenture I am not so sorrowfull for my sinnes, as others haue bin; peraduenture I am not so assured in trust: yet my desire is to bee no lesse sorrowfull, no lesse assured then they. My will is good; I would faine bee an vnfained penitent. Blessed LORD! If neither my sorrow, nor my trust be so perfect as they should bee, thy goodnesse may easily either encrease them, or supplie their defect.Humiliatu [...] sum & liberauit me. And therefore most lowly I entreat thee, to sincke my soule more deepe into sorrow, that thereby I may more strongly rise into true trust: and then I shall not be confounded.

XVII Now this trust must not bee grounded vpon any imaginarie or seeming power; not vpon riches, ho­nour or anie other vanishing vanitie of the world; but vpon the word of GOD, which abideth for euer. All things vnder the Moone are like the Moone it selfe,Esa. 40. inconstant and changing euery day: yea, heauen and earth shall passe, but the word of the LORD shall neuer passe. Luk. 20. And therefore O distressed soule! forsake not the veritie to follow vanitie. Trust not to the course comforts of the world, more bitter then the waters of Hiericho. Such bitter waters make bar­ren land, the ground will neuer be fruitfull that is wa­tered with them.Fidelis De­us in verbis su [...]s, & san­ctus in om­u [...]bus operi­bus suis. Ps. 44. But trust in his word; euen in the in­fallible promises of GOD, which will neuer deceiue. So surely as thou findest sanctitie in his wo [...]kes, so surely shalt thou finde veritie in his wordes.

If GODS word could deceiue, then could GOD lie: [Page 281] but this is repugnant to his nature, this he cannot doe. As he cannot die, as he cannot erre, so hee cannot XVIII lye. But haply thou wilt say, that GOD is Omni­potent, and may doe whatsoeuer he will. It is true: GOD is Omnipotent: But I will tell thee what GOD cannot doe. GOD cannot lye, either by himselfe or by his messengers. If GOD could lye by himselfe, then were he not GOD: for GOD is trueth. Neither is he thereby the lesse Omnipotent: it i [...] impotencie and not Omnipotencie to lie. If hee could lye by his messengers, then some contrarietie might be espied in the holy Scriptures, which hitherto could not bee found. Assuredly, the word of the LORD is more immoueable then the poles of heauen, then the centre of the earth. Let the heauens be foulded to­gether, let the earth dissipate into dust, let the nature of all things dissolue: the word of the LORD shall constantly remaine.

O infallible! O vnresistable veritie! without either actiue or passiue deceit? O true GOD! O essen­tiall veritie! who canst no lesse cease to be true, then to bee: whose diuine wordes can neuer fall without effect. As they giue the wounde, so also the salue to cure it, bee it neuer so deadly. LORD thou hast promised remission of sinnes, if vnfainedly wee ab­horre them: thou hast promised thy grace, if by griefe and sorrow we be truely disposed to receiue it. I haue thy word, and that is thy selfe.GOD is the word. Io. 1. I here arrest thy gracious word, and therewith thy selfe. I will neuer release this debt; I will neuer discharge thee without performance.

[Page 282]Wherefore, O redeemed soule! approach with trust to the throne of grace: approach without feare, albeit thou hast offended, albeit thy sinnes haue pro­uoked wrath. Hee hath obliged himselfe by his word; he hath made himselfe thy debter by his pro­mise: neuer doubt but hee will truely discharge his credite; but he will faithfully performe, whatsoeuer XIX he hath mercifully promised. Trust in his word, hope in hi [...] mercie: but take this with thee. Vnlesse thou repent thy sinnes, vnlesse thou cleanse thy heart, vnlesse thou wash it with teares of contrition; thy trust will deceiue thee, thy hope will faile, thou shalt neuer attaine thy expected desire. In vaine doth he trust in the promise of GOD, who doth not repent and forsake his sinnes. The trust of an obstinate sin­ner, who pastureth in his sinnes, and thinkes to bee saued without repentance; is no true trust, but proud presumption.

Offer the sacrifice of righteousnesse, and put thy trust in the LORD. Psa. 4. First offer the sacrifice of righteousnesse; which cannot bee done so long as thou continuest in sinne; and then put thy trust in the LORD. But what is this sacrifice of righteousnesse? It is thus described by the Apostle.Rom. 12. I beseech you brethren, that you giue vp your bodies a liuing sacrifice, holy acceptable vnto GOD: which is your reasonable seruing of GOD. Many per­sisting in sinne doe pray, fast, giue almes, and exercise other workes of deuotion. But those are dead offe­rings, they want the life of grace. These men pre­ferre matters of deuotion, before those which per­teine to obedience and band: a most dangerous and [Page 283] frequent errour in religion. First, offer thy selfe a li­uing sacrifice of righteousnesse, then mayest thou safely trust in the LORD. I will speake this plainely in a word: sacrifice thy will, and trust in the LORD. The will is a most inward facultie of the soule: a mistresse, a Queene. Whosoeuer offereth this, he offereth the best and highest thing in his kingdome. He sacrifi­ceth his sonne Isaac; euen that which he most deerly loueth. This doth the Chaldee paraph [...]ase, in these words declare: Tame your concupiscences, and it shall be reputed to you as a sacrifice of righteousnesse. Doest thou trust in GOD? expectest thou saluation by him? Tame thy concupiscencies, and then thy trust is pure, and truely grounded: then feare nothing, hope then in the great mercies of GOD: this trust will then procure thee present grace and glory in the end. Otherwise, thou hast no true ground of thy trust; otherwise thy trust is a dangerous security: euen as Iob sayth: The hope of the wicked is an abhomination of the soule. Iob. 11

O GOD! faithfull in thy promise, and fearefull XX in thy reuenge; My soule fixeth the eyes of her faith vpon thy word, neuer so soone spoken, as sure to bee performed. Howsoeuer externall matters fall, I will neuer bee pulled from assurance in thy word: my soule shall alwayes confidently expect performance of thy promise: albeit thou seemest slow; albeit thou seemest altogether to abandon me. The mountaines of my misdeedes haue tumbled vpon mee, drawing after them thy importable wrath; which is also fol­lowed with many sad afflictions. I groane vnder my [Page 284] sinnes, I pant and tremble vnder thy wrath; helpe LORD with thy powerfull hand, for I am vnable to stand vnder this heauie charge. But touching my afflictions, according to the measure of stripes which storme vpon my backe, I will looke backe alwayes to thee, and say;

O most mercifull, most Iust GOD! in whom mercie XXI and Iustice is one! I humbly bow, I prostrate my selfe wholly to thy holy will. But equall my forces to my afflictions; giue me patience, proportionable to my paynes; as my troubles encrease, encrease therewith also my courage and my trust. Gentle LORD! I quietly endure thy heauie hand, I pati­ently expect thy fauourable forbearance: I expect vntill, like an expert Phisition, thou shalt wholly re­moue the cause, that is, my sinnes and thy wrath; and then the effects, which are my miseries, will sud­denly vanish. I call to my consideration thy word, I fixe thy promises both liberall and sweet before the eye of my vnderstanding. This is the proppe where­to I leane, this is the pillar whereon I stand; by this all the forces of my soule are sustained. All the for­ces of my soule embrace thy word, euen as the iuie embraceth a tree, by fastning rootes into the body thereof. From hence I will assuredly expect, to bee released from all these euils. I haue no trust but in thy goodnesse and trueth. So long as this anchore holdeth, I shall bee safe from shipwracke, in all the tempests of temptations in this life.

All the reasons which bind mee to loue thee, com­pell mee also to trust in thee. For in whom should I [Page 285] trust, but in him, who so loued mee? in him who hath heaped so manie benefits vpon mee? in him who hath suffered so grieuously for mee? In him who hath so often called, so long expected, so care­fully perswaded mee? In him who is so mercifull, pi­tifull, louing, gentle, patient, and ready to forgiue,? In him who is a Father, an Almighty Father? A Father to loue mee, Almighty to helpe mee? A Father that hee will, Almighty that hee can doe good vnto mee? A Father that hath greater care and pro­uidence ouer his spirituall children, then any Father can haue ouer his carnall? Lastly, in whom should I trust but in him, who hath commanded me to approch to him, to trust in him? And hath promised mee many fauoures and rewardes, if I will so doe?

VERS. VI.

My soule flieth to the LORD before the morning watch, I say before the morning watch.

  • 1 TWO lights of our vnderstanding.
  • 2 Our weakenesse not so great as wee pretend.
  • 3 Our owne indeuour must be added to the working of the LORD, and that in two points.
  • 4 In swiftnesse.
  • 5 In timelinesse.
  • 6 We are not perfect at the first, and wherefore.
  • 7 A prayer.
  • 8 Wherefore we are to resort to GOD.
  • 9 Ioy answereth desire, as rest answereth motion.
  • 10 In afflictions we must especially addresse our selues to GOD, and wherefore.
  • 11 Also whensoeuer we sinne, and wherefore.
  • [Page 287]12 How dangerous it is to perseuere in sinne.
  • 13 Examples and reasons proouing the same.
  • 14 A sinner vpon hope is little better then a sinner vp­on despaire.
  • 15 Times not well imployed are often shortned.
  • 16 Deferring of repentance will hearden our hearts.
  • 17 How GOD may answer late repenting sinners.
  • 18 How fearefull it is to trust to late repentance.
  • 19 It is a long walke to happinesse, and by many steppes.
  • 20 The cause of the fall of Angels.
  • 21 We finde rest onely in GOD, and wherefore.

BVT do not so looke for the LORD, O my soule, that thou remaine without motion in thy selfe; stand not looking like a sencelesse statue, but applie the forces wherewith GOD hath originally endowed thee: for hee that made thee with­out thy selfe, without thy selfe will not saue thee. Thou hast two lights, two eies of thy vnderstanding, faith and reason. Faith is wrought in thee by his word; reason is naturally planted in thee: as he worketh ex­traordinarily by his word, so nature is his ordinary power. But nothing is more comfortable & conten­ting, then when both concur & agree together. Thou doest often complaine of weakenesse: but examine thy selfe well, and thou shalt not finde so great cause to complaine of thy weakenesse, as of thy will; thy [Page 288] weakenesse will not appeare so great, if thy endeuour be an [...]werable to thy power.

III And therefore, O my soule, as thou lookest for the LORD, so looke that thou adde thy owne endeuour. Especially looke that thou bee diligent, and that in two points: in swiftnesse, Flie to the LORD: and in IIII timelinesse, before the morning watch. It was comman­ded in the Law that the Paschall Lambe should bee eaten in haste. Whereby is signified, with what fer­uour of spirit, with what hungry hast, wee must ap­plie our desires to our heauenly repast: otherwise it will neuer either fill or content vs. Doe not linger lazily as Lot did in Sodome: bee not slow paced to for­sake the world; which is no better then a denne of theeues, a stable of beasts, a puddle with swine, a dunghill with snakes; yea, a part of Hell: bee not heauie and dull to resort to GOD. Breake off all V dangerous delayes, whereby the Diuell endeuoureth to deuoure all thy time: but as a Doue hasteth her flight from the pursuit of an Eagle; so earely and in good time begin to take wing, and dispatch thy selfe from the world, to flie to the LORD. Bee not taken sleeping, as was the slothfull seruant; but addresse thy selfe to the LORD. As GOD doth helpe right earely, so right earely seeke for his helpe: euen before the morning watch: Psa. 46.5. I say before the morning watch.

All effects conuert to their cause, to receiue from thence their last perfections. The chicken so soone as it creepeth foorth of the shell, will resort vnder the wings of the hen. The Lambe so soon as it is brought [Page 289] foorth, will apply it selfe to the teats of the damme; it will know her, it will follow her among all the flocke. But tell me, reasonable man; what reason hast thou not to doe that, which thou seest vnreaso­nable beasts performe? Thou art not perfect; thou VI wantest many things. This doth the restlesse appe­tite of thy nature conuince; alwaies desiring some­what, and neuer fully content. GOD would not make thee perfect at the first: not because he was sparing, but because he knew it fittest for thy good; not as denying, but as suspending his plentie; not to make thee poore, but humble; not because thou shouldest alwaies want, but because thou shouldest alwaies depend vpon him. LORD, thy workes are VII perfect, and I am the worke of thy handes: I am fearefully and wonderfully, but not perfectly made. Thy hands haue made me and fashioned me: but stay not here, gracious LORD,Psal. 119. proceede still to perfect thy worke; O giue me vnderstanding, that I may learne thy commandements. I was created vnperfect, like a blind whelpe; but open thou the eyes of my soule, and therewith infuse thy light; that I may discerne my defects, and resort to thee daily, to adde something toward perfecting thy worke. For of whom should I desire that which I want, but of him who hath gi­uen me that which I haue? There is no doubt, but he who hath giuen the beginning, will also knit vp and finish the end.

LORD, If thou beest my beginning and my end,VIII whom else should I desire? If all the good which I either haue or expect floweth from thy most liberall [Page 290] hand, vpon whom else should I depend? if thou beest my Father, my king, my Lord, my creator, my pre­seruer, my gouernour, my redeemer; if I dailie re­ceiue, not my preseruation onely, but some part of perfection from thee; to whom else should I hastily flie? Seruants follow their masters for a small reward; and wherefore am not I diligent and readie both to serue and obserue thee, who hast deserued so much, and reserued farre greater matters for me? O my LORD! since I haue so iust causes and reasons, to resort vnto thee, wherefore is not my soule and all the abilities thereof enflamed with desire of thee? wherefore doe I not take the wings of the morning and flie vnto thee? O my hope! my glory! my delight! O my begin­ning! my perfection! my end! O my GOD! when shall I truely long after thee? when shall I hasten to approach thee? when shall I finde all impedi­ments remooued which hold me from thee? when shall I find all that dead in me, which is not delight­full to thee? when will the houre come, wherein no­thing shall liue in me but thy selfe? when wilt thou violently rauish me? When inebriate me with de­sire of thee? when shall I be whollie thine? when wilt thou transforme mee wholly into thee? when shall I see the day, wherein I shall be one spirit with thee, and neuer after be deuided from thee?

I beseech thee, O my GOD! giue me wherwith to pay that which I owe thee; that albeit I can­not thus enioy thee, yet with all my heart I de­sire thee, and with all my endeauours aspire vnto thee: because, as in no other thing there is perfect ioy, [Page 291] so our desires and endeauours should aime at nothing else. For ioy answereth desire, as rest answereth moti­on; IX as rest is when motion ceaseth, so then is ioy when nothing is desired. But because in matters of this world desire hath no perfect rest,Sa [...]abor cum apparu­eris gloria tuae. Ps. 16. it follow­eth, that it hath in them no perfect ioy: but as thou only fillest our desires, so in thee onely is perfect ioy. And therefore grant to my soule, I humbly in­treat thee, such large proportion of ioy in thee, that my ioy may enflame my desire to be with thee, and my desire may draw my endeauours to flie vnto thee. That my ioy in thee may be such, that I propound nothing interially to my desires, nothing exterially to my endeauoures, but onely to enioy thee.

Especiallie, O my soule, when thou art whipped X with any affliction, addresse thy selfe foorthwih to the LORD. So soone as thou feelest his stripes on thy backe, make no stay, (for this may procure thee a dreadfull, if not a deadly blow) but presently start vp and flie vnto him. For assuredlie, at these times he worketh vpon thee, to aduance thee towards thy per­fection; at these times he contriueth thee to some speciall end for himselfe.1. Pet. 2.5 The godlie are termed liue­ly stones for a spirituall building, but a stone must bee squared and hewen, and by many sad strokes made fit, or else will not serue for a beautifull building. No doubt is made of the saluation of Dauid, who liued alwayes vnder the rode; but of the saluation of Solomon, who liued alwaies in prosperity and peace, much question is made. For doubtlesse as it is more dangerous sailing in fresh waters then in salt, [Page 292] so a prosperous life is more obnoxious to perils, then a life trauersed with many troubles. The more the people of Israel were oppressed, the more they en­creased: the more the waters of the deluge swelled, the neerer was the Arke eleuated towards heauen: and calamities of this life are not only sure signes of the fauour of GOD, but meanes also to procure the same.Tribul [...]tio­nem & do­lorem inve­ni, & invo­cavinomen Domini, Psal. 114. De tribu­latione in­vocani Do­minum, & ex audivit me. Ps. 117 For they stirre men to resort to GOD, and ne­uer to giue ouer their swift pursuite, vntill the daw­ning of diuine comforts open vpon them; aswell to dispell the thicke damps and mists of their mise­ries, as both to enlighten and refresh their soules, ouerclouded with heauinesse, and to erect them by hope to secure quiet and ioy.

XI Also whensoeuer thou fallest into any sin, do not lie still, either pleasuring or sleeping therein, but early a­rise and flie to the LORD: haste thee presentlie; rather cut the knot, then stay to vntie it. Seeke the LORD whi­lest he may be found, Es. 55.6. call vpon him whilest he is neere. But when is he more neere then at the present Novv? When may he more easily be found? when better cal­led vpon, then at the very Novv euen Novv when he calleth to thee. Now is the acceptable time, Now is the day of Saluation. 2. Cor. 6.2.

All agree, that after sinne there is no hope of feli­citie; no hope of eternall life but by repentance. Herein all are agreed, but wherein then lieth the dif­ference? Not in the summe of the debt, but in the dayes of payment. All agree that repentance is due; but most perswade themselues that the payment may be made at leasure. But assuredly there is no [Page 293] time so fit as the present. For what stupendious VII stupiditie is it, to deferre the most weightie worke of repentance to a future time? whereby, besides that the time may bee taken from thee, thou shalt daily growe more vnfit to repent. For by reason of long continuance and frequencie of acts, custome will grow strong and inuincible; whereby, nature is cor­rupted, grace estranged, and the power and tyrannie of the Diuell much confirmed.

Obserue hereof a familiar example. If a childe XIII be brought from a distant country, he will perfectly pronounce our language in a very short time: If hee be a man of yeeres, hee will hardly or neuer rightly pronounce it. What is the cause? confirmed custome, which can hardly be broken: we are hardly drawen either to forget or forsake that, whereto of long time we haue bin enured. And assuredly, change of life is no lesse vneasy then change of language: and there­fore repentance must needs bee so much the harder, by how much it is later. Oh! how many would gladly forsake their wicked liues? but being fast locked and chained in the prison of euill custome, they are not able to breake from themselues.

He who hath a great estate may well endure some wast expence: but he who oweth more then hee is worth, had neede be a good husband of that which he hath. Thou art not well assured to liue one houre, and darest thou make to thy selfe a prodigall pro­mise of manie yeeres?Repromis­sio nequis­sima mulr [...]s perdidit. Eccles. 29. Such promises haue bin [...]he destruction of many: a sinner vpon such hope is lit­tle better then a sinner vpon despaire: for both sinne [Page 294] XIIII alike vpon different reasons. The desperate sinneth because he thinketh hee must bee damned; the pre­sumptuous because he hopeth he may at pleasure re­pent: he sinneth, because he despaireth; this hopeth because he will sinne. Woe to this hope, woe to that presumption; both are fearefull and dangerous alike. GOD hath promised pardon to repentance; but he hath not promised either time, or abilitie, or mind to repent. Hee hath alreadie giuen thee a faire time to repent: but he hath put times and seasons in his owne power;Act. 1.7. and will assuredly shorten them if they XV be not well imployed. For so in the dayes of Noah he gaue 120. yeeres for man to repent; which be­cause they did abuse, he strooke off 20 yeeres, and raised the deluge in the hundreth yeere.

Thou art carefull to cure the least hurts of thy bo­die forthwith: and wilt thou neglect or deferre to re­medie the mortall and immortall woundes of thy soule? When euery day thy miserable soule is hewen, burnt, poisoned, precipitated, torne in pieces; when euery day it perisheth a thousand wayes; wilt thou be no­thing sensible thereof?Exod. 8.10. wilt thou be like Pharao, who when all Aegypt, as wel in the fields, as in the houses, swarmed with frogges, yet would haue prayer de­ferred vntill to morrow. O mad delay! nay verely, To day heare his voice, and harden not your hearts. De­ferre not repentance vntill to morrow:Psa. 2. for this will har­den XVI your hearts indeed.

Et ficus mercenarij dies eius. Iob 14. Our life is compared by Iob, to the day of a hireling. A labourer worketh from morning vntill night, and then taketh his rest. So thou, O sinner, labour hard [Page 295] in the workes of repentance whilest thy day lasteth; suffer not the darkenesse of death, the night of na­ture to steale vpon thee:Veniet nex quando ne­mo potest operari. Io. but earely in the morning of thy health, strength and age, flie to the LORD: at­tend seriously thy worke and doe not loiter, for the night will come when no man can labour. If the world calleth thee aside, to riches, honour, pleasures, or any other of her entising harlotries, tell her thou canst not come; thou hast a great important busines in hand, and but a small time to performe it: thou hast neither leisure nor lust to listen to her.

When Ioab had defeated Abner, 2. Sam. 2. and chased his armie with a long execution, Abner cried to him; Shall the sword deuoure for euer? to whom Ioab answe­red: As GOD liueth, if thou hadst spoken in the morning, the people had gone away, euery one from following his brother. The like may GOD answer to sinners, who XVII all the day of their life beare armes against him, and at the night of their death desire to bee at peace. As I liue, if you had spoke to mee in the mor­ning, if in seasonable time you had desired mercy, I would haue spared you: but now execution is in the heate, you come somwhat late: you must neuer stand to the courtesie of iustice, you come now vpon ine­uitable necessitie, vpon base seruile feare, which neuer iustifieth. Your repentance now is not frō the heart. You are now like merchants, who when their ship is in danger, throw their riches ouerboard; but when the tempest is ouer, search euery shoare to find them againe. Your apprehension of present danger hath perswaded you against your wils to disgorge your [Page 269] consciences, and cast vp your pleasures: but if the feare blow ouer, if you recouer your former estate, you will foorthwith returne to your former life.

Thus may GOD say, and thus for the most part it happeneth. We neuer examine our great accompt, wee neuer addresse our selues to bee at peace with GOD, so long as we haue one vanitie vnspent. But when time hath beaten from vs both youth, pleasure and health; when it hath made vs both insociable to others, and burthensome to our selues; when our attendants are variable sickenesses and paines; when the soule loathes her ruinous and excrementall lod­ging: then looking into our consciences, which plea­sure and sloth had locked before, we behold therein the fearefull images of our actions past, and withall this terrible sentence engrauen: that, GOD will bring XVIII euery worke to iudgement. Eccl. 12.14. But how dare wee trust to our repentance at that time, when the will by long custome is stiffe, and almost inflexible; when the vn­derstanding partly weakened, partly amazed, is vna­ble to behold diuers obiects perfectly. Assuredly, to neglect GOD, to offend him willingly, casting our hopes on the peace which wee trust to make at our parting, is a high presumption, or (which is worse) a scornefull con [...]mpt.

Of all things that can be desired, eternall felicity is the chiefe. No man but doeth naturally desire it. No man with deliberate reason would lose it for the empire of all the world; no merchant is so foo­lish, who would exchange the hope thereof, for any aduantage that can be set foorth: no man vpon any [Page 297] condition would bee quite cast out of that hope. Now the ordinary way which GOD hath appointed to attaine felicitie, is a long and laboursome walke, a great iourney, from vertue to vertue, from strength to strength, vntill wee appeare before GOD in Sion. This was figured by the ladder which Iacob saw in a vision; extending from earth to heauen, and con­sisting (doubtlesse) of many steppes. Signifying, that no man can attaine that happy height, no man can approch him who standeth at the toppe, but by many degrees of vertues, whereof euery one also hath many steppes. Consider with mee but a few of these, and namely the mortifying of all affections, either vicious or impertinent and vaine: then the treading in all the steps of humility, patience, meeke­nesse, mercifulnesse, temperance, obedience, feare, fortitude, true discretion, pure intention, sobrietie, modesty, externall composition, sweetnesse to others, seueritie against our selues, and all other vertues re­quired; and verely thou shalt finde it a long ladder in­deede, and that which will require a long time to climbe. This climbing or walking is otherwise ter­med an edification or building. For as a great buil­ding cannot be mowlded vp in an instant; but first the foundation must bee layde, then the walles erected, and lastly the roofe and floores framed: so in this spirituall building, a sure foundation must bee layd vpon earth, if we intend to raise it to reach into heauen.

And therefore it is a point of extreame either blindnesse or madnesse, to aime at this end, this hap­pie [Page 298] end, this last end, and not to obserue the meanes appointed to attaine it. This is thought to bee the cause of the fall of Angels;Bernh. su­ [...]er Psal. Qui habi­tat in adiu­t [...]io. euen because they aspi­red to their highest end, without due obseruing the meanes. For as sparkes strooke from a flint, if they flie vpward, they extinguish; but if they bee caried downeward, they take fire and burne: so those An­gels which humbled themselues and embraced the meanes, attained to glory; but they who proudly presumed by their owne abilities suddenly to at­taine it, not onely failed thereof, but were deiected into hell. In like maner wee all desire happinesse, there is not any who would not bee happie: but wee regard not the meanes appointed for that end. Wee will not worke, wee will not walke; wee will not addresse our forces to the workes, nor our feete to the waies which bring to happinesse. We will not take either time or paines; but thinke to mount to heauen, at a leape, at a iumpe; at the last time of our age, at the last minute of our life; by a few short wi­shes rather then prayers. But blessed is the man (O LORD) whose strength is in thee, in whose heart are thy wayes. They shall goe from strength to strength, and vn­to the GOD of gods appeareth euery one of them in Sion.

Wherefore, O my soule! howsoeuer others ei­ther linger or giue ouer; betake thou thy selfe spee­dily to the LORD. For to whom else shouldest thou resort? he is thy prefection, thy last end, the rest and satisfaction of all thy desires. Thou doest na­turally desire nothing but him; the desire of worldly things is but a disease. Goe too then, tumble vpon [Page 299] the bed of honour, riches, or pleasure; thou shalt neuer find rest,GOD formed man, and breathed into him the breath of life. because thou cariest thy disease with­in thee: ridde thee of thy sickenesse, and thou shalt finde rest onely in GOD. The reason is plaine. GOD made thee only for himselfe; and therefore being thy last end, thou canst not find quiet, but onely in him. Againe, GOD onely is agreeable to thy nature:Gen. 2.7. thou art his image, thou art breathed from him. No worldly thing hath any proportion with thy na­ture, and therefore can not giue thee true satisfa­ction. A horse is not satisfied with flesh, nor a Lion with grasse; because such foode agreeth not with the nature of those beasts. No lesse can a spirit be satis­fied with corporall things, because they are not con­formable thereto. The gifts and graces of GOD are conformable to thy nature, they only giue thee both nourishment and delight. Pride and enuy are spiri­tuall things; but they no more nourish a soule, then poison nourisheth a body. God only is agreeable to thy Nature, GOD onely filleth thy desire. And yet neither by filling thy desire hee doeth extinguish it; neither by enflaming thy desire he ceaseth to fill it. Wherefore (O my soule) Loose not time, but since he hath created thee: Remember thy maker in the dayes of thy youth. Since thou hast no satisfacti­on but from him, take the wings of the morning, and flie vnto him.

VERS. VII.

O Israel trust in the LORD, for with the LORD there is mercie, and with him is plenteous redemption.

  • 1. THe inuincible force of hope.
  • 2 GOD vseth to lay aduersities on his ser­uants and seemeth little to regard them, and wherefore.
  • 3 It is a fearefull slate to liue free from troubles.
  • 4 The secret thoughts of diuers princes.
  • 5 Worldly things are like shadowes, and where­fore.
  • 6 Whereon our trust must be grounded.
  • 7 How the mercies of GOD may be esteemed.
  • 8 In two respects, mercy in GOD is preferred before Iustice.
  • 9 GOD is most rich in his workes of mercy.
  • 10 Wherefore mercy is said to be naturall and proper to GOD.
  • [Page 301]11 What we shall doe that we may not feare.
  • 12 To whom there is nothing but mercy from GOD.
  • 13 How ready GOD is to impart himselfe to sinners.
  • 14 The plenty and riches of our redemption.
  • 15 The treasure and ransome of sinners.
  • 16 In whom is the default that sinners are damned.
  • 17 The benefits of our redemption.
  • 18 An example of our right to these benefits.
  • 19 What our Sauiour is to vs.
  • 20 Our title to the merits of our redeemer.

O Heauenly hope! there is no la­bour,I no calamitie, albeit daily storming, daily encreasing, but by thee is made tolerable? Without thee, many would faint and fall vnder their heauie burthens: but thou suppliest, not only strength to endure, but courage to beare ouer all extremitie. This was figu­red by the windowe in Noahs Arke, which was made aboue towards heauen; signifying, that in that cruell calamitie, reliefe was to bee expected onely from thence. Death triumpheth ouer all earthly things, but thou triumphest ouer death; thou art more vi­ctorious then death. And therefore albeit Iacob was dying, yet his hope died not when he said:Expectabo tuum salu­tar [...] domine I will looke for thy saluation, O LORD. Here hence holy Iob also in his greatest extremities said:Gen. 40. Iob 19.25 26. I know that my Redeemer liueth: and though wormes destroy this body, [Page 302] yet in my flesh I shall see GOD. Wherfore, O my soule! doe not onely flie to the LORD vpon the wings of thy hope, doe not thou onely rest assured vpon confi­dence in his worde, but perswade all others to do the like.

O my friendes, O all ye of the house and Church of GOD! Trust in the LORD. Attend for succours on­ly from him: for he is both ready and most assured. Albeit your distresse bee great and fearefull; albeit you be not presently heard, albeit you seeme to bee forsaken, yet trust in the LORD. Against all hope, hope in him: euen when your case seemeth desperate and forlorne, euen vnto death stand steadie as a rocke, II and trust in the LORD. It is a familiar fashion with our LORD, to suffer his friends and faithfull seruants to sweat vnder the sad burthens of aduersities, and to seeme as if he neither heard their prayers, nor re­garded their griefes. And this he doth only to exer­cise them; that their faith, patience, constancie, and other vertues may more gloriously appeare: for that which the file is to yron, and fire to gold; the same is trouble to the friends of GOD. Hee loadeth them with labours, because thereby ariseth their reward; which in no case he will suffer them to loose.

If GOD hath not hitherto thus dealt with some, it is because hee knoweth their weakenesse, hee knoweth their cowardice, hee knoweth how vnfitte they are to bee his souldiers; hee will not take them into his pay. they who neuer tasted troubles, haue great cause to feare, that they are vnder no fauourable hand. For it is a propertie of the diuell to blinde men [Page 303] by liuing in prosperity, as men are blinded by wal­king in the snowe. Hee leadeth his seruants like a hangman, by the broad and faire way of false plea­sures and comforts, to the place of their execution: he mounteth them vpon high scaffolds, to the end to dispatch them with the greater griefe and shame. So was the rich man aduanced, when hee boasted of his wealth: but the same night he lost both his riches and his soule. When the deuill most flattereth, then hee hunteth; then you are most in danger of his snares.

And therefore (O my friends) In all your trou­bles trust in the LORD; for this is one of the princi­pall conditions of obtaining your desires. So soone as hee heareth the faithfull crie of his faithfull ser­uants, so soone as he perceiueth their true intention; so soone shall they finde their deliuerance at hand. Turne not from the LORD to put your trust in Prin­ces, or in the sonnes of men. And good cause why?Ps. 146. For when the breath of man goeth foorth, all his thoughts perish. Oh! that wee could discerne the secret thoughts of diuers princes, what stately towers they build in the wind; what walles, what pallaces they frame, as it were by art of Incantation. Such king­domes they will ouercome; such cities they will beat downe; such spoyles their souldiers shall haue; such treasures shall rise to themselues: all which is puffed away with a breath. Euen as when Pharaoh sayd: I will pursue, I will ouertake, Exod. 15. I will diuide the spoyle, I will draw my sword, my hand shall consume them: the winde blew, and the sea couered them.

Trustnot also in worldly things, of which the wise mā saith; that they passe away like a shadow. A shadow is [Page 304] the counterfeit of a body, it representeth a body in e­uery point. It seemeth to haue head, armes, legges; to moue, to rest: when in very truth it is nothing. So all matters of the world are full of deceit. They are som­what in appearance, but in trueth nothing: nothing in the world but a meere aperie. They are presented to our eyes, but they do not continue: they are caried as a shippe vnder sayle, which hath not one moment of rest: as the world turneth round, so are all who trust in it, turned as in a wheele. This raiseth in them a spirit of giddinesse or error, Es. 10.14 which tosseth them for­ward, and backward, and turning, as a man rapt with a whirlewind; or as a drunken man in a daunce. It is a proper name of GOD, to be: He that is (saith Moses) hath sent mee: but nothing is more strange to worldly things then to bee. Exod. 3. And therefore Cursed is hee that trusteth in man, Hier. 17. or any worldly meanes. But, Blessed is hee who trusteth in the LORD. Ps. 84. & 146.

Neuer conceiue that you cannot trust in him, be­cause you are sinners, because you are obnoxious to many infirmities, because you haue not performed obedience to him: Verely, you are most vnworthy to bee regarded of GOD, when you most respect your owne worthinesse and merits. What? would you ground your trust vpon such a false foundation? Nay, it must haue a more firme footing then so. It must rest vpon two steadie stayes. One is, the good­nesse and mercy of GOD: the Other is, the plentifull merittes of our redemption. These are the immoue­able pillars whereon our trust must bee grounded. For with thee there is mercie, and plenteous redemp­tion. [Page 305] And therefore bee not dismayed at your owne vnworthinesse, but direct your thoughts to his vn­measurable mercies, & to his plentifull redemption; and therein aduance your hope to him and say; wee haue sinned and done wickedly, Dan. 9. wee haue rebelled and de­parted from thy Iudgements. O LORD, Righteousnesse belongeth to thee, and vnto vs open shame. O LORD, vnto vs pertaineth open shame, because we haue sinned a­gainst thee: yet compassion and forgiuenesse is with thee, O LORD our GOD; albeit wee haue rebelled against thee.

If you will settle a true iudgement vpon his mer­cie,VII you may make the estimate by the immensitie of his diuine substance: For, as his greatnesse is, Eccl. 2.21 so is his mercie. And therefore as hee is infinitely great, so is hee infinitely mercifull: and as hee hath infinite riches to bee distributed, so is hee infinitely liberall to distribute the same. Otherwise there shall bee a defect and disproportion in the diuine substance; If hauing infinite goods to bee distributed, hee should not haue an infinite mind and will for distribution. This great mercie of GOD was not vnknowen to the idolatrous Philistims;1. Chr. 6.3 who vpon presenting their offerings to him, assured themselues that they should be healed. O the bowels of his mercie! hee so lo­ueth his creatures, that it grieueth him to see them perish: scarce doe his eyes behold their miseries, but he is forthwith mooued to mercy. LORD, they who know thy Name will trust in thee: for thou hast neuer failed them who seeke thee. Psal. 9.10.

There are two perfections in GOD, Mercy and [Page 306] Iustice, both cut by the same measure and compasse: neyther canne bee greater nor lesse then the other, because both are infinite. Yet in two points they dif­fer; in two points mercie is preferred before Iustice. VIII First because GOD by his own nature is more incli­nable to mercy.Indignatio non est mi­hi. Es. 27.4. For his essentiall goodnesse leadeth him to mercy: but hee proceedeth not to vengeance vnlesse hee bee prouoked by our sinnes. And there­fore when hee scourged sinners out of the temple, he brought no whippe with him, but made it of cords which hee found amongst them: he taketh both the cause and the matter of the scourge onely from our selues. The second is because hee offereth his mercie generally to all: but his punitiue Iustice remaineth onely for those who contemne his mercy. All they who embrace his mercy, shall neuer tast the smart of his iustice.

IX Againe, albeit all the diuine perfections are not onely equall, but one in GOD; yet hee is most rich in the workes of mercie, and hath done greater things to demonstrate his goodnesse and mercie, then his other vertues and perfections besides. To mani­fest his wisedome and power, hee created the world; to declare his iustice, hee drowned it: but to shew his mercie, hee died for it. Oh! how inestimable greater is the worke, that GOD suffered for the world, then that hee created it? that GOD died for man, then that all men should haue perished.Exod. 34.6 O! the LORD, the LORD; strong, mercifull and gracious; slow to an­ger, and abundant in goodnesse and trueth: reseruing mercie for thousands, and forgiuing iniquitie and sinne.

[Page 307]And therfore (O distressed men!) whensoeuer you approach to GOD for mercie, neuer distrust: neuer think your importunitie displeasing, or the opportunitie not fit. Neuer think that you offer him a matter, which eyther hee will bee vnwilling, or hath beene vnac­customed to doe; but rather that you present him with occasion of acquiring praise, and to doe that which is most agreeable, both to his glory and to his nature. It is his nature and propertie to haue mercy. X Not that other perfections are not also proper to him: but this hee hath in greatest estimation, for this espe­cially hee will bee praysed. Assuredly if his mercie were not infinite, if it were little and limited, which might receiue diminution or increase, then were something imperfect in GOD: but nothing in him canne bee imperfect; therefore his mercy is infinite, without eyther measure or end. Goe vnto him, any person, at any time, you shall alwayes finde that with him is mercy:

The fountaine of his mercy and grace which springeth from his fatherly heart, can neuer be either stopped or spent: the waters thereof are of singular vertue, not only to cleanse the filthinesse of sinne, but to enrich soules with heauenly beauty. Neuer feare XI that you cannot bee refreshed with these streames. I will tell you what you shall doe, and you neede not feare. Detest your sinnes and trust in the LORD, and his mercies will ouerflow, hee will bee infinitely suc­courable to you. His goodnesse will wipe away all sorrow that you haue beene [...]ners, and make you re­ioyce that euer you fell: as hauing made triall that [Page 308] as your offences surmount all measure, so his mercies and grace exceed your offences: yea, it is not possi­ble that GOD should denie his mercy to penitent sin­ners, who trust in him; for then he should not make good his word, then he should denie himselfe, which is not possible for him to doe. But if they trust with­out repentance, they doe not then trust, but pre­sume.

XII But as I haue tolde you (O yee seruants of the LORD) repent your sinnes and trust in him: and then perswade your selues that with GOD is no anger: nothing but mercy and loue: because he cannot but loue those who beleeue in him. And therefore if any calamity fall vpon you, it is in mercy; endure it pati­ently, and hope to bee deliuered when GOD shall thinke fit. If you haue committed any sinne, yet, with GOD is mercy; trust to this mercy, and you shall neuer be indamaged by your sinnes. Albeit to your sence hee appeareth to bee angrie, regard not your sence, but stedfastly beleeue, that in heauen and vpon earth, there is nothing but mercy: if you should die for it, neuer suffer this trust to be wrested from you. Beleeue not your sence, but beleeue the word which hath sayd, that with the LORD is mercy, for those who trust in him. Write this promise in your heart; that if you truly trust in his mercy, you shall not pe­rish, albeit all sence, reason and experience should perswade the contrary. In your selues you shall find nothing but wrath, in the Diuell nothing but malice, in the world nothing [...]ut either dulnesse or madnesse: but firmely beleeue that with thy LORD there is [Page 309] nothing but mercy.

O mercifull GOD! bee sinners neuer so vngentle,XI neuer so gracelesse; thou art greeued to see them pe­rish. And if at any time they turne towards thee; thy mercy is ready to meet them, thou art ready to impart thy selfe vnto them,Quis inuo­ca [...]t eum & dispexit illum. thou didst neuer despise any who called vpon thee. O comfortable words! Giue me grace (gracious GOD) to taste once againe the sweetnesse of them. Neuer did any call vpon him and was despised. Blessed LORD! is not this thy word? wilt thou not make it good? wilt thou not do as thou hast sayd? LORD, thou hast made vs of nothing, we are feeble flesh. VVe daily sinne, we dayly aske par­don. Shall we now be despised, and neuer any despi­sed before? Our sinnes indeed are great; but thy mercies exceed all greatnesse and measure. Our sinnes are many: but there is no number of thy mercies. Our sinnes after forgiuenesse are many times renued: but thy mercies are not limited either to number or time. For with the LORD IS mercy. At all times mercy; nothing but mercy; mercy neuer either ex­hausted or with held.

The second foundation of your trust must be vp­on the merits of our Redeemer. For with GOD there is not onely mercy, but plenteous redemption. The plen­ty XIV and riches of this redemption is the innocent and precious bloud of IESVS CHRIST: which as it maketh a treasure of innumerable riches, so can wee not doubt, either of his power or of his will to distri­bute the same: His power dependeth vpon his will; and his will is guided by his loue, wherewith he offered his [Page 310] bloud for our redemption. This loue enforceth his will; and his will is alwayes followed by his power. So as being largely assured of his loue, wee must no­thing doubt, either of his will, or of his power. And the better to assure vs heereof, hee was not sparing, but rather seemed prodigall, in expence of his most blessed bloud. Physitions prescribe bleeding in a mo­derate measure; but our redeemer out of his vnmea­surable loue made a profuse effusion of all that hee had. One drop of his bloud in regard of the inesti­mable value thereof, might haue sufficed for redee­ming many worlds: but to make our redemption plentifull, hee did not reserue one drop to himselfe. His bloud, his precious bloud, euery drop of his pre­cious bloud, was poured foorth for our redemption. After that his externall parts were emptied of bloud, by sweating, scourging, crowning and nailing: His internall and vitall parts were also drayned by the stroke of a speare. For in that water flowed foorth, without any tincture of bloud, it was an euident proofe that all the bloud was spent. A little bloud will giue colour to much water: and therefore if any little bloud had remayned, the water must haue been somewhat coloured thereby.

XV This is the treasure, this the ransome wherewith sinners are redeemed. This most precious bloud was shed without measure: to the end, that be our sinnes neuer so grieuous, so many, so often repeated, wee should heere finde a plenteous redemption: when­soeuer with penitent mindes we craue benefit therof. VVho will despaire? who can doubt of his deliue­rance? [Page 311] VVhen GOD of his owne will hath so plen­tifully redeemed vs. VVho can suspect that he will be lesse willing to distribute this treasure, then hee was to amasse it? Assuredly there is no default in XVI GOD if sinners be damned, for hee desireth not the death of a sinner: there is no default in GOD for not giuing, but there may bee default in sinners, for not desiring. GOD desireth that his mercy bee magni­fied aboue his iustice; but sinners desire rather to pro­uoke his iustice, then to inuoke his mercy.

By this redemption wee are not onely deliuered XVII both from the guilt, and eternall punishment of our sinnes; but wee are also enriched with the righteous­nesse of our Redeemer. All the merits of his penury, trauailes, watchings, groanings, sweat, teares, and bloud, are our rich treasure. All his innocence and righteousnesse is ours. For the righteousnesse of the second Adam is no lesse ours, then was the trans­gression of the first Adam: wee no lesse participate of the innocencie and sanctity of the one, for our sal­uation, then of the disobedience of the other for our damnation. And therefore as Iacob being apparelled with the garments of his elder brother Esau, procu­red a blessing which by right of birth was not his due; so if wee bee clothed with the righteousnesse of our Redeemer, wee shall obtaine a blessing, whereto wee can otherwise pretend no right. In offering this sacrifice, and in presenting these merits, what can we feare? GOD is our Redeemer: it is GOD who iustifi­eth, who can condemne? Rom. 8.31. & 33. GOD is our patron and Aduo­cate: If GOD bee on our side who can bee against vs? [Page 312] This is he to whom all the Prophets witnesse:Act. 10. That through his name all that beleeue in him should receiue re­mission of sinnes. Destroy this Tem­ple, &c. Iohn 2.19. Their sa­crifices I wil accept vpon my Altar. This is the true liuing Temple of GOD; of whom the Temple of Salomon was but a figure. This is the Altar, whereon all the prayers which we offer to GOD are acceptable to him. This is our only Priest, our only Sacrifice, our only Tem­ple, our only Altar whereby we are made acceptable to GOD.

XVIII I will make this which I haue said a little more fa­miliar by an example. Albeit a man hath deserued nothing of his Prince whereby he may claime either respect or reward; yet if his father haue performed great seruices, If he hath spent his trauailes, his e­state, his life in his Princes employment; the sonne may no lesse both boldly and iustly sue for reward, XIX then if in his owne person he had deserued it. Our case is not vnlike; for all who are in the state of grace, are the adoptiue sonnes of IESVS CHRIST, hee is their Father, their second Adam; they are his sonnes,Filius? er­go Heres. and consequently his lawfull heires. Not as if hee had died intestate; but by his last will and testament, which hee made the euening before his death, at his last supper, and soone after confirmed it with his blood.Hic est san­guis meus qui pro multis ef­fundetur in remissionem peccatorum. Matth. 26. By this testament he gaue vs his bloud: and thereby hath made vs heires of all the merits for shedding his bloud. Hereby wee haue good right to demand the reward due to all his la­bors, XX and to the losse of his bloud, and that with full assurance; not only in regard of mercy, which drew him so liberally to lay foorth his bloud; but also of [Page 313] Iustice, which thereby is largely satisfied. For what­soeuer he either did or endured in this world, all the sharpe stony steps which he trode, was in no part for himselfe, but altogether for vs. For vs he was in­carnate and borne; for vs he sustained many con­temptible both indignities and wants; for vs hee fa­sted, watched and prayed; for vs hee did groane, weepe and bleed: Lastly, for vs he died,Consumma­tum est. 10.19.30. which was the accomplishment of our redemption. Of all this he hath made vs heires in his last will and testament; and that by his free goodnesse and grace. For he was innocent, and needed not to discharge any thing for himselfe: neither had hee any neede of vs, to encrease by that meanes either his great­nesse or his glory.

VERS. VIII.

And hee shall redeeme Israel from all his sinnes.

  • 1 A contemplation of GOD in his diuine Ma­iestie.
  • 2 A contemplation of him in his humane a­basement.
  • 3 How pleasing the obedience of our Redeemer was to the Father, and for what cause.
  • 4 Two sacrifices obserueable in our Redeemer, and which was most acceptable.
  • 5 The merit of these oblations perteine to vs, and wherefore.
  • 6 Of the Priesthood and intercession of our Redee­mer.
  • 7 Of the narrow capacity of our hearts, and GODS inestimable abundance.
  • 8 Our redemption extendeth to all people, and to all sinnes.
  • 9 How this is true.
  • [Page 315]10 How sinnes are said to be impardonable.
  • 11 How GOD is said to blind men.
  • 12 GOD confineth sinners within certaine limits.
  • 13 How notwithstanding our sinnes, we may be assu­red of pardon.
  • 14 To whom the rich treasure of redemption pertai­neth.
  • 15 Our redemption dischargeth not only from sinne and eternall punishment; but from miseries of this life.
  • 16 GOD conuerteth our miseries to good.
  • 17 How calamities may bee broken and a glorious con­quest obtained.
  • 18 He who commandes his will is more powerfull then many kings, and wherefore.
  • 19 We cannot iustly complaine of externall accidents, and wherefore.
  • 20 A Prayer.
  • 21 An oblation.
  • 22 A thankesgiuing.

COme with me then, and I will carrie you to the toppe of a high watch-tower, where you may behold mar­ueilous things. Here with great hu­militie & reuerence of your soules lift vp your eyes aboue the clouds, and aboue all the heauens, surmount all the compa­nies of Cherubin and Seraphin, and aduance to the highest throne of Maiestie. There fasten your thoughts vpon the most pure diuine substance, which [Page 316] there keepeth state: that beautifull light, that vnap­proachable light, which no mortall eye did euer be­hold. That glorious LORD, in whom are the beau­ties and perfections of all creatures, in farre greater excellencie then in themselues: Him who with the bare inclination of his will created all things: Him whose bright Maiestie as we are vnable to behold, so without the light thereof we are blind: Him whose wisedome, power, beauty, Maiestie, greatnesse, can­not bee expressed, cannot be comprehended. Who remaining vnmoueable giueth motion to all things; who gouerneth all things, yet applieth himselfe to nothing; who vseth all things, and needeth nothing; who changeth his workes, and yet remaineth con­stant in his counsailes: whom all the starres, all the Saints and Angels praise and adore. At whose pre­sence the pillars of heauen tremble,Quis ap­pendit iti bus digitis molem ter­ra? Es. 40. who poiseth the whole masse of the earth with three fingers; and in whose sight all nations are as if they were not. Him whose happinesse is such, that it cannot be either en­creased or diminished: Insomuch as his glory will be nothing the more, if all men should be saued and praise him: nor any deale the lesse, if all should be damned and curse him.

II When thou hast stayed there awhile, and feasted thy desires vpon this high substance; descend againe by the same steps (as if it were vpon Iacobs ladder) and behold the same substance couered and disgui­sed, not onely with humane flesh, but with all the mi­series incident to humane flesh: not onely as a ser­uant, the basest sort of men; but as a most contempti­ble [Page 317] seruant, suffering both such miseries, and such indignities as greater could not be endured; and of­fering himselfe in loue to vs, and obedience to his fa­ther, euen to death; euen to the most painefull and ignominious death of the crosse.

This obedience of the Sonne, was farre more plea­sing III to the Father, then the disobedience of the first man was offensiue: his glory by this obedience, is farre aboue the offence by the sinnes of all men: the odour of this sacrifice, offered with the fire of loue, vpon the altar of the crosse, was more sweete, then the fume of all the sinnes of the world was noisome. To vnderstand this we must conceiue, that as nothing is so hatefull to GOD as vice, so nothing is so preci­ous as vertue and sanctitie. How acceptable then may we thinke this sacrifice to be, wherein so many ver­tues were conspicuous in the highest degree of per­fection? Here was most perfect obedience. Here was most earnest zeale of the glory of the Father, to satis­fie the offence and contempt against his diuine Maiesty. What need I speake of his high humility; by which he would be accounted worse then Barab­bas? what of his most perfect patience, both in iniu­ries and in torments? what of his admirable forti­tude and perseuerance, wherewith as a giant without stop or stay he performed his enterprise? But aboue all his loue was most illustrious; his loue, I say, both of the saluation of man, & of his Fathers glory. This loue made his wil so ready & his desire so great; that he was prepared to endure not onely the crosse, but a thousand deaths beside, in case the iustice of his [Page 318] Father had so required. Hee loued much more then he suffered; and was ready to haue suffered much IIII more then he did, if it had beene so appointed. Wher­fore if we consider a part, what he suffred, & what he was prepared in desire to haue suffred; wee may dis­cern two most acceptable sacrifices: one, partly seen, in that which he suffered: another, altogether inuisi [...]e, which was his will to haue suffered more then he did. And there is no doubt, but that the holy Father who principally respecteth the heart, did more accept the inward sacrifice of his will, then he did the sacrifice of the passion which he did outwardly both act & indure.

V And seeing it is necessary that so great oblations merit a reward, it followeth that the father must re­ward the sonne: Otherwise he should be either vn­able or vniust, both which are impossible. But there can be no recompence, but either in giuing that which one hath not, or in forgiuing that which he oweth; neither of which could bee done to our redeemer. For what could be giuen to him who wanted nothing? what forgiuen him who neuer offended? Therefore it is necessary, seeing a reward is due, and seeing it could not be giuen to himselfe; that it bee giuen to some other for him, to some other for whom hee will require it. But for whom should hee require it; if not for those for whom hee merited it? and to whom hee hath made himselfe an example? wherefore hath he commanded them to imitate his righteousnesse, if they shall not be partakers of his reward? whom should hee more iustly appoint for his heires, then his parents, his brethren, his children; [Page 319] who are grieuous debtors, and for whom hee hath vndertaken payment? Assuredly, the father will driue no man from him, who commeth to him in the glori [...] name of this redeemer: he shall alwayes finde redemption farre aboue his debt. Our redee­m [...]r so loueth [...], that hee maketh perpetuall inter­ce [...]sion for vs: the father so loueth him, that he is ne­uer wearied, neuer molested with his intercession. This is hee to whom the LORD sware and will not re­pent, thou art a Priest for euer.

But stay a while, & pound these spices somwhat more O my soule; dwell a little vpon perusall of this rich VI piece▪ what busines is this which is done with so great solemnitie? wherfore did the LORD sweare? was it not sufficient for him who is truth, to haue giuen his word? wherefore also doth he adde that hee will not repent? can the LORD repent of any thing that hee saith or doeth? Assuredly no. But all this is to con­firme our confidence: that whatsoeuer petitions and importunities are offered in that sacred name, the eternall Father will neuer bee wearie to heare them, neuer vnwilling to grant them. Men doe often re­pent of their promises, when the performance of them is either aboue their power, or to their disad­uantage. But the high wisedome of the father can­not be ouertaken with such ouersight: hee will neuer repent him of his promise; as knowing right well, both what he promised, and for whose sake. Hee hath consecrated his sonne to be a Priest for euer. Hee is alwayes in his sight, hee alwayes sheweth that holy humanitie, those deepe and wide woundes which he [Page 320] receiued for our sake. This is his perpetuall repre­sentation, this the perpetuall intercession which hee maketh for vs: LORD open my mouth to praise thee, who hast opened so many mouthes as thou hast receiued wounds, to pray to thy father for mee.

Blessed be such a redeemer, blessed be such an in­tercessour; blessed bee such prouidence and such power, either to preuent our miseries, or to preuaile against them. Cursed be our distrust, cursed our neg­ligence whereby the benefit of our redemption is of­ten lost. The father hath deliuered the keyes of his infinite treasure to his sonne, and our brother; to our flesh and blood. He hath opened them, he hath power to dispose them so largely as he please, and is pleased to doe it so largely as he can: but wee often faile, either in will to desire, or in capacitie to re­ceiue them.

VII Indeede the capacitie of our hearts is so narrow and straite, that it seemeth a small thing would satis­fie our desires. For when wee pray, wee so pray, that it seemeth a little would content vs: our heaui­nesse is such, that wee know neither how nor what to desire. So they who are in heauinesse, would bee content with a little comfort: they who are in pouer­tie, would be glad but of a little reliefe. But GOD thinketh not this enough: For hee giueth aboue all that wee can aske or receiue: no man either can or dare aske so much, as he is both willing and ready to giue. As wee slenderly beleeue, so wee slenderly aske; but GOD rayneth plentifully vpon the little [Page 321] poore sparkes of our prayers; and if we can awaite the time, will recompence our stay with inestima­ble aboundance. GOD is the first who loueth, and the last who leaueth: he neuer forsaketh vs, vnlesse wee [...]rst giue ouer to trust in him, and pray vnto him. This it is to bee GOD; euen to redeeme and deliuer: and that with greater Maiestie and glory then can bee conceiued. GOD is plenteous in all his workes; but in none so plenteous as in his great worke of re­demption.

It was a merueilous redemption whereby the peo­ple of Israel was freed from the seuere seruitude of Egypt: but it was not like this whereof I speake, it was but a type and figure thereof. This redemption is vniuersall; it hath discharged not one people alone, but all the world: There is no sinne, not onely com­mitted, but possible to be committed, which by this redemption is not discharged. And this is true in re­gard of sufficiencie; but in regard of efficacie it pertei­neth only to the elect; who are the Church, the true house and familie of Israel. But there can bee no of­fences, either for number so great, or for qualitie so grieuous, but this redemption is sufficient for them. Can this redemption which is of infinite value, bee restreined to any limits of offences? Shall not hee whose arme is neuer shortned, be alwayes able to for­giue? Shall not he who forgaue to one debtor 10000. talents, be alwayes willing to forgiue? verely in case that debtor had owed more talents, vpon his sub­mission more had bin forgiuen. Such is the pitie of almighty GOD towards miserable men; that hee ne­uer [Page 322] reiecteth their vnfained repentance: albeit a sin­ner be at the height of euill, let him in singlenesse and sinceritie of soule turne to the LORD, and he shall be embraced.

X If you finde in the Scriptures any sinnes termed vnpardonable; as the sinne against the holy Ghost: the sinne vnto death:1. Iohn 5. for which wee are forbidden to pray: you must not vnderstand it as if they could not bee pardoned,Sect. in 2. d. q. 3. in case the sinner did vnfainedly repent; for this were no better then bitter blasphe­mie.Psal. 65. v. 24. & 28. But such sinnes are said to bee vnpardonable, because they deserue blindnesse and hardnesse of heart, and to bee depriued of the effectuall ayde of Grace: because the sinner neuer either turneth or stoppeth, but alwayes runneth forward, from badde to worse.Psa. 69.24.28. Let their eyes bee blinded that they see not, and euer bowe downe their backes. Let them fall from one wickednesse to another, and not come into thy XI righteousnesse. Not that GOD doeth positiuely blinde any man, or bowe downe their backes; but priuatiue­lie; in that hee doeth not enlighten and direct them. His sufficient ayde hee denieth to none; but by rea­son of some, e [...]ther heinousnesse, or obstinacie in sinne, hee denyeth his most speciall and effectuall ayde to some. Hereupon their sinnes are sayde to bee vn­pardonable; because, albeit they might repent, yet they did not.

XII Wherefore, O man! to bridle thy broad bould­nesse in sinne,Aug. de vita Chri­sti. c. 3. & 4 vnderstand that there are certaine pe­riods and bounds, which when sinners exceede, GOD leaueth them destitute; sometimes by denying his [Page 323] effectuall ayde, sometimes by abridging the terme of their life:Psal. 55. For the bloudie and deceitfull man shall not liue out halfe their dayes. When the number of sinnes prefixed by GOD are once exceeded, when the measure runneth ouer,super tri­bus sceleri­bus Da­m [...]sci, & super qua­tu [...]r non conuertam eum. when the sinner hath dig­ged his owne pitte; Death shall come hastily vpon him, and take from him both the present and future life at once. Verely hee that hath appointed barres for the proud waues of the sea, hath also set limits and termes to thy sinnes: hee hath prefixed limits for his effectuall grace, but his aboundant redemption is al­wayes sufficient.

And therefore (O feeble sinner) albeit thou hast XIII offended the most High, and conspired against his Maiestie; albeit thou hast forsaken his Law, and forgotten his benefits; albeit thou hast harlotted with thy owne humours, and fouled his honour vn­der thy feete; in a word, albeit thou hast merited more torments then hell canne afford, yet neuer de­spaire, neuer bee terrified by thy weake suspicions. But abstaine from thy sinnes, let thy will abhorre them; and then approach with trust to the throne of mercie: and assuredly thou shalt finde grace, not one­ly sufficient but effectuall for all thy sinnes. For then thy Redeemer by his inualuable blood will free thee from the seruitude of sinne, whereto thou haddest voluntary sould thy selfe; then will hee take vpon him the paine which thou haddest incurred; then discharge the obligation which thou haddest for­feited.

But herewith thou must bee incorporate into the XIIII [Page 324] family of Israel, namely the Church of GOD; thou must with Nathaniel be an Israelite indeede, Io. 1. in whom is no guile: for to these onely this redemption pertai­neth. Thou must earnestly endeauour first to bridle thy sensuall appetites, and by degrees to mortifie them. Thou must serue GOD in righteousnesse, and both constantly and closely adhere to him by loue. So shalt thou bee rightly disposed to participate of thy redemption: so shall riuers of heauenly riches flowe into thy soule. But whosoeuer is a stranger to this house of GOD, or liuing therein is no part there­of: whosoeuer (I say) doeth eyther obstinately or carelesly perseuer in sinne, and neuer regard to dis­ingage himselfe by repentance; hee shall neuer participate of the infinite treasure of this redempti­on; the floudes of GODS mercies and of the merits of his Redeemer, shall neuer enter or approach his soule; they are sufficient, but not effectuall for his discharge.

XV And further, so ample and aboundant is this re­demption, that thereby the LORD will deliuer his people, not onely from their sinnes and from eter­nall punishments due to their sinnes; but hee will fi­nally free them, from the miseries and calamities which in this life driue in their faces. Or if hee de­ferre this deliuerance for a time, yea, if hee stay vn­till hee deliuer them at once, from the calamities of the world and from the world it selfe; yet is hee pre­sent with them all the meane time; hee refresheth them with his spirit, he sprinckleth the diuine dewe of his Grace vpon them: which maketh aswell their [Page 325] life, as the calamities of their life, not onely tolera­ble, but sweete. For they who beleeue, although they be faint and feeble hearted; yet they know, that neither death nor the diuell shall preuaile against them; because GOD is their Redeemer. This is the office of GOD, thus will hee haue to doe with sin­ners: to abolish their sinnes, to abolish either their miseries, or the sence of their miseries; and to cre­ate in them rig [...]teousnesse and life.

And furth [...] the LORD doth not only eyther end or ease our miseries, but he doeth more: he conuer­teth XVI them to our good. It is a propertie of the grea­test goodnesse to change the nature of euill, and to conuert it into good. If a vine bee not pruned, it runneth out into superfluous stemmes and branches; and growes feeble and fruitlesse in the end. Bee con­tent therefore, that thy desires be pruned with afflicti­ons: It is painefull to bleede, but it is mortall to wi­ther. In this life (pascimur & patimur) wee are so nourished with the blessings of GOD, that there­with also wee are nurtured with his crosses.

And shall I tell thee, O my friend? shall I ac­quaint XVII thee with an infallible experience, how all the calamities of this life may not onely bee endured, but vtterly broken? how thou mayest obtaine a most glorious conquest? This is worth the knowing, and by assistance of grace not vneasie to bee done. The Apostle findeth in one man two: the spirit and the flesh; the minde and the members; the soule and the body. These are so chained together as they make but one; and yet so contrary, as they make two. [Page 326] They are so contrary, as the life of the one, is the death of the other; the raising vp of the one, is the ruine of the other: whereupon the Scripture saith; that hee who loseth his life shall saue it. That is, hee who loseth his sensuall life, shall saue his spirituall life. Betweene these two men there is such a perpe­tual combate, that therupon the life of man is termed a warfare: betweene these two men, all the maine businesse of this life consistes.

Now then, beate downe this mortall and bodily man, breake thy vnbrideled appetites, set aside thy carnall pleasures and desires; and thou shalt liue peaceably and at sweet content: no worldly troubles shall molest thee. Thou complainest of externall op­positions; but thy enemies are within, thy proper passions make warre against thee: Vanquish these enemies, and thy complaints will cease. He is a great LORD who commandes himselfe; hee who com­mandes, his owne will, is more powerfull then many XVIII great kings. Many great kings cannot make their enemies to be friendes; but this is done by comman­ding thy will. For wherefore are iniuries and aduer­sities troublesome to thee? be [...]ause thou canst not en­dure them: thou esteemest them thy enemies, there­fore they perplexe thee. But bee friendes with them, and loue them, and then they will not molest thee; then they will bee pleasant to thy taste, thou wilt be gladde then and glory in them. If worldly troubles bee grieuous to thee, the fault is in thy selfe, it is in thy power to loue them: doe but cutte off the desires of the world, and thou wilt neuer complaine of any [Page 327] worldly thing. Complaine of thy inward desires XIX thou mayest; but of externall accidents thou canst not iustly complaine, because they cannot hurt thee vnlesse thou wilt. If any thing seemes grieuous to thee, take thy selfe in hand; chastice thy inward ene­mies, and thou shalt bee quiet. As moathes consume the cloath, and wormes the wood wherein they breede; So thy owne concupiscences consume thy heart. They gnawe thy bowels like the vipers broode, and worke out their birth by thy torment and death. It is most infallible, that no man is wrong­ed but by himselfe. Thou art thine owne enemie. Ma­ster thy selfe, and thou shalt haue calme quiet and ioy of spirit. As swine will not wallow in drie clay; so distempered passions will not tumult in a morti­fied mind.

Open my lippes, O LORD my GOD, that XX my voyce may vent foorth those prayses to thee, which the boyling desire of my heart canne possibly frame: that it may exhaust the very spirit of my soule in praysing thee for this inestimable benefit of my redemption. Abase me to the knowledge of my selfe, abase mee in the knowledge of my selfe; to the end that I may aduance to the knowledge of this great misery.

LORD, I haue nothing in my selfe to offer to XXI thee; either in recompence of all the good which thou hast done vnto me, or in satisfaction of all the euill which I haue done against thee: Whatsoeuer I haue is already thine, as flowing from thy plentifull hand▪ wherefore I offer them wholly to thee, to be directed [Page 328] to thy seruice. And not onely all that I haue, but I offer my selfe to bee thy perpetuall seruant. That heereafter I no more bend or binde my selfe to ac­complish my will, but thine: that I seek not my owne pleasure or aduantage, but what is pleasing and ac­ceptable to thee. LORD, I prostrate my selfe be­fore thy feet, I yeeld my selfe wholly into thy holy hands: deale with me as a Lord deales with his vas­sall or slaue, dispose of me euen as thou wilt.

But because all this is no more then nothing, I ap­proach with trust to thy throne of grace, and present to thee the most precious oblation, the most rich trea­sure that can be found in heauen or in earth; namely, the life, death, bloud, labours, vertues, and merits of my Redeemer: which albeit they were proper to him, in regard of his passion; yet in regard of his satisfacti­on, they are more mine then his. I offer to thee, I say, his base birth, his extreme pouerty, his trauailes and banishment, his precious teares, his blessed bloud, his baptisme, his temptation, all the contradi­ctions and rude reuilings of his enemies, all the sowre sorrowes and torments of his passion: the whippes, the crowne of thornes, the nailes, the speare, the crosse and the tombe. I offer to thee his infinite zeale of thy glory, his perfect obedience to thy will, his ardent loue towards vs. I offer to thee, his incredible humility, his inuincible patience and gentlenesse, and all other glorious vertues which sparkled in him, as starres in the firmament, as precious stones in a prin­ces crowne. I offer to thee all his merits; not as a treasure of others, but as my owne riches by inheri­tance. [Page 329] His workes were finite, but the merits of his workes are infinite. I offer him wholly to thee; hee is wholly mine, in that his loue is mine. For when he gaue me his loue, he gaue me himselfe: sith loue is no gift vnlesse the giuer be giuen with it: yea it is no loue vnlesse it be as liberall of that which it is, as of that which it hath.

O holy CHRIST! the repayrer of our life, the XXII sweetnesse of our soule, the refuge against our calami­ties; what flintie heart regarding what thou hast suf­fered, will not be enflamed with the fire of thy loue? will not aduance into hope of thy mercy?

And blessed be thou, O All-powerfull, and All-mercifull GOD! who hast giuen vs such right and interest in him, that wee may make this oblation to thee, both in thankefulnesse for ALL thy benefits, and in full satisfaction for ALL our sinnes. I be­seech thee, O LORD, for his sake, forgiue ALL my sinnes, who for our sake endured ALL the punish­ments of my sinnes. I will not enquire into the depth of this mystery, but I will embrace it with the loue of my will. The more incomprehensible it is, the more worthy is it the LORD who is incompre­hensible; not onely in himselfe, but in his workes. He hath so loued vs, that he hath done many things for vs, which farre exceed the faculty of our vnder­standing: by which hee hath much more de­serued our loue, then by those things which wee are able to vn­derstand.

[Page 330] Prayse, and Glory, and Wisedome, and Strength, Dominion, Ri­ches, and Power bee vnto our GOD for e­uermore.

A SVMMARY PRAYER.

O Almightie GOD! the beginning & the end; in whom the begin­ning and the end are one: when thou did­dest fashion and cre­ate man, his soule thou diddest frame [Page 332] as of a most diuine matter;He brea­thed in his face breath of life. Gen. 2.7. thy pro­per breath; so in a most diuine forme; euen in thy owne Image. For this glo­rious guest, thou diddest prepare the palace of his body,Gen 1.27. not onely com­modious for vse, but curiously both framed, and furnished for delight. But afterwardes by reason of his transgression, this palace was turned to a prison: whereby it was much changed in condition. For as if a man for some offence be committed prisoner to his owne house, hee be­commeth soone weary of the place, wherein hee tooke much pleasure before; especially if not onely in re­gard of himselfe, but in the proper nature his house bee turned to a pri­son: so albeit the body of man was once a pleasant habitation, yet when [Page 333] by sinne it was turned to a prison; the soule findeth therein, many mi­serable molestations.

A prison is a place horrid and vncleane; wherein the companions are theeues, murtherers, and other malefactours: the place commonly a sinke, whither all the filth of a city doth draine. And albeit a childe born [...] and brought vp in a prison, and neuer acquainted with other life, will laugh and desport, and not onely take contentment, but delight in that place; yet if an honest man who knoweth liberty, chance to come there, how is he annoyed with the filth? How with the vile society which he is constrained to endure? What friends, what suit will hee make for his discharge? So they who [Page 334] neuer looked out of their body, are well pleased with the euill qualities thereof. But they who haue con­uersed in a heauenly life, and yet are gayled in this prison of mud, and ti­ed to the society of a thousand disor­dred appetites, as so many malefa­ctors, how vnquiet are they? how wary? how desirous to be at liberty? Heereupon one cried,Psalm. 142 vlt. Bring my soule out of prison, and I will prayse thy name. Philip. 1 And another: I desire to bee dissolued. Rom. 7. And againe: Who shall de­liuer me from this body of death.

Out of the deepest dungeon of this prison (O LORD) I crie vnto thee: deepely couered with naturall corruption, deepely ouerwhelmed with actuall transgressions, deepely charged both with sence and feare [Page 335] of thy wrath, I streine foorth my voice vnto thee. LORD, thou art alwayes farre distant from sinners, and now out of this deepe distance, I doe not weakly desire thee, but with deepe sighes and groanes from the depth of my heart, I call vnto thee. I haue sinned, and thou hast puni­shed: I haue displeased thee, and thou hast disquieted me; according to the greatnesse of my sinnes, thy punishments haue beene great vp­on mee. Out of this depth both of infirmities and of calamities, with an inflamed spirit, I lift vp my voyce, hands, eyes, and soule vnto thee. Heare me (O LORD) who doest no sooner heare then helpe: Oh! let the complaint of my sobbing soule haue accesse to thy gentle audience. [Page 336] Looke not vpon my sinnes and vp­on thy iustice; but looke vpon my miseries, and vpon thy mercies: turn away thy face from me, as I am sin­full, but regard me as I am sorrow­full for my sinnes. Despise not (O LORD!) the worke of thy hands.

For thou knowest of what mettall we are made, thou knowest the bad temper thereof; thou knowest, not only our weakenesse, but our prone inclination to euill. Insomuch as if thou shouldest examine our acti­ons by the exact ballance, and then smite them by the seuere sword of thy Iustice; all must despaire; wee must all bee damned. For there is none so innocent vnder heauen, who canne eyther answere thy Iu­stice or endure it. Not one canne [Page 337] stand before thee in Iudgement; not one canne answere one for a thou­sand.

But thou wilt not bee so rigid and seuere against thy feeble crea­tures. For with thee abideth not onely Iustice, but also Mercie; not onely Iustice, for obstinate sin­ners, but Mercie for the peni­tent. Thou art aboue measure milde and fauourable to all that re­pent; thou canst not deny thy Mer­cie from any who desire it from an humble heart. And therefore albe­it my sinnes presse heauie vpon me, albeit they trouble my soule with many terrours; yet will I worship thee, with a dutifull and obedient feare. I will hope in thee, but not cease to feare: I will hope, but not [Page 338] presume, and therefore must I feare. I will hope, in regard of thy good­nesse; I will feare, in regard of my owne euill: I will hope in thee for thy mercies, and I will feare thee for thy iustice.

Vpon these two wings will I flie vnto thee; with these two eyes will I looke for thee: but my trust addres­seth it selfe especially to thy mercy. [...]f this mercy thy word hath giuen assurance: thy word expresseth much fatherly affection; thy word is full of many sweet promises of remission of sinnes: and therefore my trust laieth hold vpon thy word. For were it not a dishonour to a King? would not people speake shrewdly of him, if hauing promised his pardon, hee would execute men for the same of­fence? [Page 339] Assuredly, whatsoeuer some Kings may doe, thou canst not: thou canst not denie thy word, because thou canst not denie thy selfe. Thy iustice will not suffer thee, either to reuoke, or lightly to regard the pro­mises of thy mercy, in case we appre­hend them in seasonable time.

And therefore I will not be either betrayed by pleasures, or benummed by sluggish sloath: I will not suffer time to passe, vntill time shall be alto­gether past: When there cannot pos­sibly be any harme in haste, I will not aduenture vpon the dangers of delay. O LORD my maker! Quic­ken me with thy inciting grace, that I may with all speed addresse my selfe both to entreat and to embrace thy mercy; that I may timely begin to [Page 340] attend vpon thee. For albeit no part of my life should be either shortned or mispent; Albeit I should be most couetously carefull to imploy euery minute thereof: yet is man too mor­tall to attaine performance of the least part of his duty to thee. And although I bee not presently relee­ued, although for a long time thou with-holdest thy helpe; let not my hope be wearied in wayting for thee; let me both patiently and constantly expect thy pleasure.

And so must all doe who sincere­ly serue thee; who put their trust in thy word: and so they shall neuer be disappointed of their hope. For not only thy Mercy is most faithfully as­sured by thy word; but thy Iustice al­so is plentifully satisfied, by the in­ualuable [Page 341] blood of our Redeemer: which is so noble and precious in thy sight, that there neither are, nor can be any sinnes, for expiation of which it doeth not suffice. It ope­neth the gate of grace to all that re­pent; it excludeth none, it sufficeth for all. Let no man feare the mul­titude of his sinnes; this Mercy and this Redemption doe infinitely sur­mount them: they infinitely ouer­ballance the sinnes of all men, in case they repent. LORD! thou art a great Physition; thou knowest all our sicknesses, and art most expert in all sorts of remedies. Whatsoe­uer our diseases are, neuer so grie­uous, neuer so desperate; thou hast variety of remedies in store, and knowest right well how to applie [Page 342] them: thy Mercie and thy Re­demption thou hast alwayes at hand.

Wherefore with all feare and reuerence which my weakenesse is able to apprehend, I resort now to thy throne of Grace; most humbly entreating thy Mercie, and the benefit of thy plentifull redemption. Repell mee not from thy presence, I beseech thee; vntill I bee reconci­led to thy fauour. For I am no stranger to thy house; I am one of thy people, a citizen and member of that Church, which thou hast so a­boundantly redeemed. Grant mee (O gracious GOD!) a longing desire to be with thee; for whosoe­uer desireth to be with thee, shall be welcome to thee; whosoeuer desi­reth not to be with thee, shall neuer [Page 343] approach thee. Deliuer mee from all my sinnes; deliuer mee from al the calamities which I suffer in this life: and enroll mee for the life to come, among thy blessed elect Citi­zens of Heauen. That as heere with sinners I pray vnto thee, so there with thy Saints I may eternally prayse thee.

AMEN.

[Page 344] Prayse, and Glory, and Wisedome, and Strength, Dominion, Ri­ches, and Power be vnto our GOD for euermore. Amen.

LONDON, ¶ Printed by IOHN BILL. M. DC. XXIII.

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