TWO SERMONS. VPON THE ACT SVNDAY, BEING the 10th of Iuly. 1625. Deliuered at St MARIES in Oxford.

PSAL. 133. 1.

Behold how good, and how pleasant it is, for brethren to dwell together in vnitie.

OXFORD, Printed by I. L. and W. T. for WILLIAM TVRNER. Anno Dom. 1625.

[Page] [Page] DAVID'S ENLARGEMENT. THE MORNING SERMON ON THE ACT SVNDAY.

Preached by HENRY KING, Inceptor in Diuinity, one of his MAIESTIES Chaplaines in Ordinary.

PSAL. 18. 36.

Thou hast enlarged my steps vnder mee, that my feet did not slip.

DAVID'S ENLARGEMENT.

PSAL. 32. VERS. 5.‘I said I will confesse my sinnes [or transgressi­ons] vnto the Lord. And thou forgauest the iniquitie of my sinne.’

THis Text hath two ge­nerall parts. The first records Dauids Repen­tance. The second, Gods mercy to him.

The former part con­taines these seuerall cir­cumstances: 1 A reso­lution, I said. 2 The Act resolv'd vpon, Confession. I will confesse. 3 The Subiect, of that confession; Sinnes, or trans­gressions. 4 Their pluralitie, or the Extent of his confession; not sinne, but sinnes. A terme imply­ing [Page 2] both their generality and number. For al­though the Septuagint read [...], the Hebrew is, sinnes. 5 Their propriety, which he assumes to him­selfe; Mea, my sinnes. 6 He specifies the Confessor, vnto the Lord.

In the latter part, I onely obserue two circum­stances. 1 the Readinesse, and Propension, and speed of Gods mercy. He sayes he will confesse, &c. and presently, Tu remisisti, Thou forgauest. 2 his Bounty set downe in such termes, as may convey vnto him the most liberall pardon: Ini­quitatem peccati, the very formality of the Sin: not my sinne, but the Iniquity of my sinne too; both the Act, and the Obliquity; both the Guilt of the sinne, and the Punishment due vnto it.

1 The contemplation of a religious worke, doth much affect a good man:I said. and howsoeuer the Act onely crownes him, yet the purpose delights him. I was glad (saith Dauid) when men said vnto me, we will go into the house of the Lord. See with what pious Alacrity he vtters his intentions to an Act of Religion; it doth him good but to speake of it. And here you may discerne as much Alacrity in his intended repentance, when he records the very determination, that which at first was either barely design'd by his thoughts, or at most but said, I said.

Words in Gods Method are the Introduction to Deeds; His Fiat, was the Seminary of all be­ing; for he said onely, and it was done. That man who sayes well, is engaged to equall his words; [Page 3] else like a Bankrupt, he forfaits that good opinion, his pretences and speeches had wonne.Aug. Serm. 5. de verb D [...]. St. Augu­stine sayes, Verba sunt folia: Words are as leaues; and in good trees, leaues are the pledges of fruit that ensues. He that onely speakes, and does not, is not a fruitfull Christian; rather he is like a Syco­mor, whose issue is nothing but a lease. This is not enough.Ibid. Fructus quaeritur (saith the same Father) God expects from vs what Dauid here exhibites; fruit, not leafe, or not leafe without fruit. He sayes deuoutly, and from those seeds, a repentance to a new life springs: I said, I will confesse, &c.

Istud di [...]ere nihil aliud est, Marlorat. quam secum delibera­re; It is a Deliberation, L [...]rin [...]. or it signifies as much as Decernere, Constituere, to purpose, or to resolue. Resolutions are the Moulds wherein Actions are cast; and no man can define a Deed better, then to call it the effect of what our purpose had contri­ued. And euery purpose is a silent Dialogue, be­twixt the Soule and her Faculties, by whose con­sent, that which we resolue, is established. For man is a Theater, wherein are many subtile spectators, waiting vpon euery action; He is a short Modell of a Common-wealth. Each Sense is an Agent, each Faculty an Officer; Hee hath his Common-Pleas in his Common sense; his Chancery in the Conscience; he hath his Proiectors, and those as busie, as the State hath any; Thought and Phanta­sie, and the quicke Imagination. The Memory is his Recorder; and lastly, the Tongue is the Speaker in this Assembly, who reports those Acts which [Page 4] which are designed: I said.

But our Intents doe not alwayes come to pub­lication, nay they do not alwayes need it; and then the office of the tongue is not required. A resolu­tion may sometimes speake without the Organs of vtterance;Ambros. offic. lib. 1: cap. 3. it may be intelligible, it may be audi­ble, and yet not vocall: As Saint Ambrose speakes of Susanna, Conscientia loquebatur vbi vox non audiebatur. In religious purposes that determine in God; and in which there is no parties intere­sted but God, and the soule; there is no necessity to vse words. Words are but the Interpreters of our mindes one to another, but as Midwiues that deliuer our thoughts; and howeuer betwixt Man and Man this verball trafficke be necessary: yet betwixt vs and God that sees our thoughts before the tongue hath formed them into syllables, or set the stampe of language vpon them, it is not so. He reades vs in the power of speech, and not onely in the Organs which actuate that power: Hee is the [...], so well acquainted with the heart, that he dictates to it, as it doth to the tongue. And therefore hee that vnderstand our words whilest they are in Principijs, in their concep­on and parentage; whilest they are yet Intra causas, lodged and couched within their causes, (as Saint Augustine expresseth it; Vox mea non­dom in ore erat, & auris Dei iam in Corde erat. He, I say, that knowes our thoughts, not onely be­fore we vtter them in words, but before wee our selues know what we shall next thinke, cannot need [Page 5] a Dixi (I said) to informe him of our purposes: since his intelligence precedes our thoughts, hee cannot but take his information from them, better then from our words; and so the sense of the Text will hold as well in a Cogitavi (as one Translation of ours reades it) I thought I will confesse, as in a Dixi, I said. For in Gods apprehension they are all one, and no way distinguisht, saue in a little Prio­rity of time; for thoughts are words elder Brothers: and the Dialect they speake, is our Mother tongue, the originall language of Mankinde which neuer yet suffered confusion. When the tongues were dispersed at Babel, the thoughts were not; and howsoeuer each Nation be distinguished in his peculiar speech, we all thinke alike; euen as an­ger and laughter haue the same wayes of expressi­on in all parts of the world. So that this Dixi was not so much the language of Dauids Tongue, as of his Heart;Aug. in Psal. 32. Corde pronunciare erat, He spake vnto God in his Thoughts, which are the most con­stant, most vnalterable dialect, and therefore most proper to expresse the certainty of that Act, which followes vpon this Resolution in the next part, His confession, I said I will confesse, &c.

2 Sinne is the weightiest of all sorrowes, the 2 Apostle calls it [...],I will con­fesse. The thing that presseth downe. Heb. 12. 1. 'Tis the heauiest calamity man can suffer vnder:Psal. 33. Iniquitates meae grauatae sunt super me, cryes the Psalmist. Mine iniquities ouer-burden me; Our blessed Sauiour was so sensible of this weight, that in his fearefull conflict in the garden [Page 6] he profest. His soule was heauy vnto death. They were our sinnes, which so deprest his invincible pa­tience, that he sweats, and that vnnaturally, in the bearing of them. And in his complaint, where he puts the sorrowes of the whole world in ballance against his owne,Lament. 1. 12. See all ye that passe by, if euer sor­row were like my sorrow; the reason of that Non sicut, which turned the ballance on his side, was, be­cause the sinne of Mankinde lay in his scale, which like a Mine of Lead (or as Zachary stiles it,Zach. 5. 7. Talen­tum plumbi) out-weighed all the rest. Now as sometimes a sad story lightens the heart of him that told it, and sorrowes finde ease by the relati­on; so doe sinnes.

Est aliquid, fatale malum per verba levare.

He that hath opportunity to vnfold his griefe, hath made the first approach to comfort; and he that hath the Grace to acknowledge his fault, is in a ready way to pardon: There is no affliction so great as his, that wants a tongue to vtter it; and there is no sinne of such a desperate malignity, as the silent sinne; when the Offender is dumbe and speechlesse. A misery lodg'd in the heart, is like an Exhalation inclosed within the Earth, which shakes the foundation of Reason, and Patience; or like a dampe, it ouerlayes the Spirits, Strangulat in­clusus dolor: but when it hath found an issue by the Eye, to weepe out at, or a vent by the tongue, streight it growes tamer. When once a window is opened to giue it Aire, that fume which would [Page 7] haue stifled vs, breathes out, & cleares the roome. Such a Meteore, such a boysterous Exhalation is sinne. What strange convulsions doth it cause within the soule? How doth it contract our hopes of Mercy; and like an East-winde dry vp, and wi­ther our comforts? what stormes, what guilty con­flicts, what blacke cloudes of despaire doth it raise in the Conscience? but so soone as a sinner re­collects himselfe, is brought to a remorse, how calmely is the storme allayed, by a religious con­trition? how sweetly doth this cloud discharge it selfe, when it relents into a showre of penitent teares? For 'tis the most naturall way for sinne to evaporate by the eye, (as Elias Cretensis sayes) Ex peccati fumo ortae sunt la chrymae: Lastly, how gently doth this dangerous vapour breathe out by a devout confession? I said I will confesse.

Our Lawes so farre prejudicate silence in a ma­lefactour, that waues the ordinary and open way of tryall, that they account him a Fellon against him­selfe, a conspiratour against his owne life, and guil­ty of his owne bloud; holding him worthy of no death, but such an one, as like a monument of shame, serues to object his silent contumacy. As if it meant to crush out, and by weighty expressions force the confession of that fact, from the dead bo­dy; which no per [...]wasion could winne from the conscience, whilst the party yet liued.

Dauid himselfe professes, that whilst the remai­ned speechlesse, he found a great abatement in his comforts, a generall consumption, wasting both [Page 8] his body and minde too; when I held my tongue, my bones consumed. verse. 3. Quoniam non protuli ore con­fessionem ad salutem, omnis [...]rmit as mea, Aug. in Psal. 32. 3. in infir­mitate consenuit (so Saint Augustine paraphrases him.) Thus you see his silence corrodes and ina­cerates him euen to the bone; but so soone as he opens his mouth, and disguises not his sinne, straight he findes a spatious enlargement, in the forgiuenesse of all his sinnes.

One sayes righly, that sinne is [...], the disease of the soule; an Epedemicall sickenesse whereof the whole world labours.Ambrosius. Magnus per to­tum mundun iacebat aegrotus. There is nothing so pernicious to this Malady (saith another Father) as silence, [...], Silence soments and cherishes the infirmitie. Therefore by the rules of cure,Origen. nothing can be more medicinable then Con­fession. Which (in Origens phrase) is vomitus sordium, a clearing the Conscience of those vitious obstructions, which nourish the soules diseases: distempering the Complexion of our Faith, so as we grow cold in Religion; and either want appe­tite, to serue God; or capacity to learne his Law; or heate of zeale, to concoct what we haue learned; or palate to taste the comforts, which wee should find in applying Gods mercy vnto vs.

So that there is not such a speedy redresse of Sinne, as a penitent confession. Yet not such a Con­fession as the Church of Rome would submit vs to: which is (to vse Cassanders words) Conscientiae Carnificina, Cassand. Consult. art. 11. quam nemo moderatus approbat; a [Page 9] racking or torturing the Conscience, which no wise man would endure, no reasonable man approue. In­deed those on that side, haue made this, which Christ intended the happy instrument of our peace with God, as the Master-key to open into all the secrets of Christendome: as a Picklock to possesse them of those mysteries of State, whose knowledge hath troubled, nay endangered all parts of the World, where the Romish colours haue bin advan­ced. A tyrannicall way of knowledge, to make the Practitioners feared, and hated at once. 'Tis just­ly theirs.

Iuvenal. Scire volunt secreta domus, at (que) inde timeri. A curious Engine, wherewith they wring out any small designe, that may make against them, vnder paine of Damnation, if it be not declared: but take a libertie to seale vp in secrecy any Deed, though ne­uer so horrid (be it Murther or Treason) so advan­tagious to their cause. And this, though the Con­fessor knowes, being put to his Oathe, he may law­fully sweare he doth not; since he knowes it only as a secret, but not to reueale, Intelligitur se nescire ad revelandum, aut taliter quod possit dicere. They are the very words ofSed quid faciet Confess [...]r cùm in­terrogatur de pe [...]cato, quod au dierit in confessi­one, an possit di­cere se nescire? Respond. Se [...]cun­dum omnes quod sic. Sed quid si cogat [...]r iurare? Dico quod potest & debet i [...]rare se [...]scire, quia intelligitur s [...] nesciro extra con­fessionem, & sic [...]. Sed fac quod iudex vel prealatus ex [...]alitiâ exigat à me [...], an sciam in con­fessione? Respond, quod coactus in­ret se nescire in confessione, quia intelligitur se [...]escire ad rev [...] ­l [...]ndum aut tali­ter quod [...]ossit di­cere. [...]: saera­men: Artic: 184 Pag 96. b. Franciscus à Victoria, I doe not here derogate from the vse of Confession; for by the Churches appointment, we practise a forme of publique Confession in our Liturgie. Nay in this place we finde a Priuate Confession, made by Dauid vnto the Lord, which is no lesse necessary for vs then him. 'Tis against that Auricular Confession of Rome I here speake, which so clogges our Christi­an [Page 10] Liberty, that it layes a necessity vpon vs, to con­fesse vnto the Preist, or else denies vs our saluation. And besides the necessity layed vpon vs, it tyes vs [...]o an impossibility; exacting the particular enumeratiō of all the Sinnes & seueral sorts of Offences where­of we are guiltie. A taske which the Prophet Da­uid vtterlie declines, appealing from this vnjust im­position, in the words of the Psalme, Who knowes how oft he offends? Psal. 19. 12. Lord cleanse me from my secret sinnes.

Let the otherside then for the countenance of their way of Confession, vrge that Embassie addrest to Charles the Fift, from the Gouernours of No­rimberg, touching the reviving and re-establishing of Auricular Confession amongst them: vpon a pretence, that since that custome was left off, their Common-wealth swarm'd with sinne much more then formerly. Which proposition of theirs the Emperour in effect did but scoffe at, and deride, (e­uen by the Confession of Lorinus the Iesuite, Lorinus com. in Psal. 32. who reports it,) Intimating vnto them, that they would neuer haue sought so much at his hands, but that, it seem'd, they wanted a sufficient engine to examine Malefactors: supposing that the Ecclesiasticall Rack, when the Preist should vndertake them in an Au­ricular Confession, would make them discouer more, thē the politicke Rack, or all the tortures, the publicke Executioner could giue them.

Let them object to vs, as Eugenius the Fourth, in the Councell at Florence, did to the Greekes: ur ve­stri sacerdotes & Pontifices non confitentur? Why [Page 11] doe not your Preists exact this Confession? As we refuse not priuate Confession made to God, nay sometimes, a priuate Confession to our ghostly Fa­ther, the Minister: who hath authoritie to divest vs of any scruples, which may arise in our Consciences, and to pronounce an Absolution vpon our hearty Repentance: Yet we will not loose, or betray our Freedome so much, as to do that Act by Constraint, which ought to be as free and voluntary, as Davids resolution in this place. I said, I will confesse. We haue no reason to stand to the courtesie of Rome for that Pardon, which Christ hath freely giuen vs; nor yet to suffer her Merchāts to erect a new Staple, or put an Impost vpon our saluation, which is ex­empt from all Custome, from any acknowledgment, saue onely to Christ, whose worke it was. We haue no cause but to be very well assured, that we may be saued without Auricular Coufession; since in that sacred Booke, which, we beleeue, containes all that may conduce to our saluation, we finde no tracke or mention of it.

Bonaventure grants,Ad sentent. lib. 4. quest. 17. di­stinct. 3. that howeuer the Formall part of Confession, (i.) the power of Absolution, were instituted by Christ; yet the Materiall part, which is the Detection of the sinne, and the necessity of dis­closing it, was not so. For at the most, it was onely insinuated by Christ,Ia. 5. 16. but promulgated by St Iames. Confesse your sinnes one to another. In which place, (as Bullinger well inferres) they that vnderstand aright,Bullinger Dec [...]d. 4. ser. 2. de [...] ­tent. will finde a reciprocall obligation layed vp­on the Preist, to confesse to the People, as well as the [Page 12] People to the Preist. And for any better Evidence then this, to confirme their opinion, out of the Go­spell, I am confident they haue none. We finde when our Sauiour cleansed the Leper, hee bad him goe and shew himselfe to the Priest, and offer the gift which Moses commanded: Mat. 8. 4. but he bad him not confesse to the Priest. And to the adulterous wo­man, he giues a Vade. Goe, but not to any Confessor: Nay, we finde no Confession taken from her by himselfe: the whole Condition of her Absolution in that place is, Vade, & noli ampliùs peccare. Goe, and sinne no more. But Eckius and others answere, that the power of Absolution was not as yet assign'd ouer by Christ; vnto his Church; and there­fore our Sauiour neither practised it himselfe, nor sent them vnto any Priest: which had it been, 'tis likely he would haue done. Well then, graunt him as much as he alleadgeth, that the Commission to Absolue, was not as yet giuen to the Apostles; and it shall appeare, that in those very words, wherein Christ conveyes this Authority to them, Auricular Confession receiues it's deathes wound.

In the Gospell of St. Iohn, Iohn 20. 21. when he tels them, As my Father sent me, so send I you. Hee there giues them authority to remit, or to retaine sinnes, but not to exact any Auricular Confession; Hee doth not there erect any Tribunall for the Priests; where they should sit as Iudges ouer mens Consciences, to acquite or condemne at their pleasure. This is not the meaning of, to Remit and to Retaine. They do not import a Iudiciary power (as the Church of [Page 13] Rome vnwarrantably assumes,) but a Ministeriall power, to publish the mercies of God to repentant Sinners, and to denounce his vengeance against the obstinate and impenitent.Hieron in Mat. 16. 19. This is St. Ieromes Interpretation vpon those words; Quicquid ligave­ris in terris, &c. whatsoeuer thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in Heauen, and whatsoeuer thou shalt loose, &c. Where he sayes, that as the Leviticall Priest is said to make the Leper cleane, or vncleane, because he pronounced him so; euen thus, the Evan­gelicall Priests in the Gospell, Remit or Retaine sinnes, because in their preachings they declare, which sinnes are remitted, and which retained by God. Pro offcio suo, cúm peccatorum audierit va­rietates, scit qui ligandus, qui (que) solvendus. Euen thus Peter Lombard, Pet. Lombard. lib. 4. Dist. 18. distinguishing Gods way of Binding and Loosing, from the Churches, sayes, that God by himselfe remits sinnes, who cleanseth the Soule from all spots, and looseth it from the Debt of eternall Damnation: but he hath not granted this to his Priests; to whom notwithstanding, hee hath giuen power of Binding and loosing, that is, of shewing men to be bound, or loosed.

Thus you may see, by how vniust a Title the Church of Rome would vsurpe a Dominion over mens Consciences (as she pretends a Soueraignty ouer the world;) ayming at Supremacy in all: Ei­ther wilfully, or ignorantly, mistaking our Sauiours Commission for Binding and Loosing▪ Loco citato. (as Hie­rome complaines,) Istum locum Episcopi & Pres­byteri non intelligentes, aliquid si [...]i de Pharisaeo­orum [Page 14] assumunt supercilio, &c.

Let me but mention to you likewise, vpon what slight pretences, they ground their necessity of Au­ricular Confession: cosening the ignorant people; with that smooth and plausible imposture, where­in they say the Priest cannot remit sinnes, vnlesse he know them; and he cannot know them, vnlesse men w [...]ll confesse them vnto him. Then which Pro­position, nothing can be more false. For the Priest may Preach and Publish Remission, or Retention of sinnes to those, whose faults he knowes not: And those men by a faithfull application of what they heare, may receiue the Remission of their sinnes, who neuer reuealed them to the Minister, but confessed them vnto God alone. Sola enim cor­dis confessio, Richardus â Sancto victore de Clauibus. Cap. 7. poenitenti ad salutem animae sufficit veraciter: which way of Confession, is truely and onely necessary vnto Saluation: I said I will con­fesse my sinnes vnto the Lord.

But I vrge this point no farther: Cassanders temperate conclusion shall bring me off; I am of opinion (saith he) There had beene no Contro­versie about this point of Confession, had not some ignorant and importunate Physitians corrupted this wholesome Medicine, Cassand. Consult: Act. 11: with their drugges of Tradition. Est enim multis invtilibus traditiun­culis infecta &c. quibus, conscientijs quas extricare & levare debebant, laqueos iniecerunt, & tanquam tormentis quibusdam excarnificârunt. By which meanes they haue made it onely a snare to entan­gle and involue the simple; and an Engine to tor­ment, [Page 15] not to ease the Conscience of those that seeke vnto them. We, for our parts, hold Con­fession necessary, though we lay no necessity vpon men to confesse to the Priest; nor doe we pro­hibit that in some cases. Nay, we account it an happy discharge of a troubled soule, to impart it selfe to the Minister of Christ, from whose lippes he may receiue such spirituall Comforts, as his Of­fice can minister, and the Scripture allowes. Ever prouided, that this be left indifferent to the peni­tent, to doe, or not to doe, as he thinkes good, that it be not a constrained, but a voluntary Act; as Da­uids here, freely arising from his owne inclination: I said I will confesse.

The Greeke is, [...], I will declare or confesse against my selfe. [...]spsn So that this Act is an Accusation rather then a Confession. 'Tis true, that euery confession of a sinne, is an Inditement of the Sinner; and yet is this such a kinde of tryall, as serues to acquire,Aug. Ser. 8. de Verb. Dom: not to condemne. In Confessi­one, sui accusatio, Deilaudatio est. In the course of our Law, the Malefactors Confession is the strong­est evidence, and casts him without any other ver­dict: but in Gods Courts, to pleade guilty, is the way to procure an Absolution. He that at the Barre of his owne Conscience, arraignes himselfe in this world, 1 Cor. 11. 31. shall neuer be arraigned at the Tribunall of the Great Iudge, in the next. If wee would Iudge our selues, wee should not be iudged. Dorotheus writes of a deuout man, that being [...]skt which was the best course to come vnto God, replyed, [Page 14] [...] [Page 15] [...] [Page 16] [...],Dor [...]t [...]us Doctrin. 7. euer to accuse ones selfe. Let me therefore vse the Prophet Esayes words. [...]; Do thou first declare thine iniquities, Esay 43. 26. that thou mayst be iustifi­ed. He bids thee be so early in the acknowledge­ment of thy faults,Origen. Homil. 3. in Leuit. Vt Ostendat tibi, quòd praeve­nire illum debeas, qui paratus est ad accusandum, (saith Origen:) Id. that thou maist prevent the De­uill, who is euer ready to accuse thee: Praeventus enim Diabolus, vltra nos accusare non poterit, & si ipsi nostri simus accusatores, proficit nobis ad salu­tem: In doing thus, wee disarme our old Enemy, and take away the sting of his malitious accusati­ons, which haue no power to hurt vs: since by con­demning our selues, we haue saued our selues. I end in Saint Augustines words,Aug. in Psal. 29. Confitere quod tu fecisti in Deum, & confiteberis quid tibi fecerit Deus. Confesse what thou hast done against God, and then thou shalt, to thy comfort, confesse, what God hath done for thee. Thou shalt haue cause with Dauid, thankefullie to commemorate Gods fauour, in a Turemisisti, in the forgiuenesse of thy sinnes. I said I will confesse my sinnes.

3 Sinne is a loud argument: which if it want other tongues,Sinnes. will relate it selfe. Should a man bee silent, it would by guilty confessions, betray it selfe. Sinne is the worst secret that can be. I know no bosome where it is safe. There is no creature, no element, no privation, night, nor silence, Iuvenal. but is able to pur­sue, and detect a sinner:—Serui vt taceant, iumen­t [...] loquentur. Beasts haue a verdict to passe vpon [Page 17] wicked men;Ecclesiast. 10. 20. A bird of the aire shall carry the voice, Gen. 4. 10. and tell the matter. Earth will cry Cain guil­tie,Ierem. 20. 27. or if earth doe not, Heauen will reueale the ini­quity. Habac. 2. 10. If both be silent, yet the very stones out of the wall (within which the sin was acted) shall cry a­gainst him, and the beame out of the Tymber (like a double witnes) shall answere it.

Doe not therefore flatter thy selfe, in the close­nes of thy transgressions: What euer disguises night, complying with thy darke purposes, may put vpon thee; there is nothing can disguise thee from thy Maker. Canst thou be so stupified, so besotted in thy sinne, as to suppose, when other eyes behold thee not, God doth not? Thinkest thou, by drawing a Curtaine about thy Bed, or by putting out a candle in thy Chamber, to hide thine incontinencie from God, or darken his knowledge? Foole thou canst not! Thou bearest a Lampe in thine owne brest,Nil [...] Martyr. Paraenes. 199. thy conscience; that is [...] (saith Nilus) a watching Candle, that burnes at midnight: and will light the Iudge to descry thee. Or if that taper burne dimmely, if it haue wasted into a snuffe, so that thou hast no Conscience, or but a seared one, which lies smothering in the soc­ket; and can onely glimmer, not shine; why yet, God is (as Basil: Basil. saith) [...], all eye, to sur­uey thee. Or if thy transgressions haue made thee so loath'd an Obiect, that he will not looke vpon thee; should he examine thy cabinet friends, vpon whose secrecy thou relyest, the silence, and the darkenes of the night; they would turne Traytors [Page 18] to thee, [...] de Quadrag [...]s. and discouer thee to him. Cui obscura [...]la­rent, muta respondent, silentium confitetur. Night would conuert it selfe into a Noone, and Silence proue a speaking euidence against thee. Since therefore thou canst lurke vnder no concealment, why doest thou not confesse that, which it is im­possible for thee to hide? Why deferrest thou to resolue with Dauid, I will confesse my sinnes? If thou confesse not thy sinnes, they will confesse thee the greater sinner: And if thou wilt not owne them here, in a religious acknowledgment; they will owne thee hereafter, in a finall Condemnation.

4 This plurall, sinnes or transgressions, as it im­plies our many alliances to sinne,Their plurality; Sinnes. and the multi­plicitie of our sinnes, Actuall and Intentionall: so it admonisheth vs, to confesse them all. God, as he is a franck pardone [...], so he loues a liberall confession, wherein nothing should be kept back. Yet (not to perplex any man with the strict enu­meration of euery crime as the Papists require) I confesse,Act. 5. 3. the wilfull keeping back of sinnes, may be as dangerous, as Ananias his deteining part of the price; But for all that, thy condition is not damna­ble, (as Rome perswades) though thou hast for­got some sinnes which thou hast done, if so be thou slightest none of those which thou remembrest.

It is the Doctrine of the Church of Rome, that some sinnes are such diminutiues, such Peccadill [...]s, so small, so veniall, they are not worth a mention, nor doe they need a pardon; But doe not thou be­leeue so. This negligent extenuation of faults, is [Page 19] as pernicious a sinne as any. A presumption vn­heard of amongst the Fathers of the [...] Church: Who (if we will credit Dorothe [...]) were wont to keepe a reckoning, [...]. Tanquam ephemeriden Deo tradituri: & to aske God pardon, for the very least and slightest offences, of which they were at any time conscious,Dorotheus do­ctrin. 7. [...]. Dauid in this Psalme, in the prece­ding words, frees himselfe of all suspition of con­cealement,Vers. 5. or palli [...]tion of his faults. Mine ini­quity I haue not hid. Psa. 61. 9. And Psalme the 61: he sum­mons all in a generall exhortation, to powre out, and empty their soules before God. [...], And because he would be sure not to be vnderstoood here short of his mea­ning, he puts sinnes in the plurall, which enwraps all, greater, and lesser. For so Marlorat in his Ecclesiasticall Exposition, renders the word Praeva­ricationes, Praeuarications: which are not onely facts of malice, but collusions too: and may con­taine our intended sinnes, as well as committed: For so he explicates himselfe;Marlorat. Dauid eoram Deo se sistens, sensus omnes suos effudit.

Wilt not thou confesse thy riots, as well as thy Murthers? the pollution of thy thoughts, as well as of thy Actions? Christ thy Sauiour suffered for both; he bled for both. Though thy great sinnes opened the wide Riuer in his side, and the currēts in his hands and feete: thy smallest sinnes scracht him in the thornes, which he wore vpon his head, or at least opened a Pore in his sacred Bodie. For [Page 20] how knowest thou,Esa. 1. 18. but that, as he bled for thy crim­son sinnes (as Esay calls them) through those lar­ger wounds: so he sweat bloud for the sinnes of thy thoughts; that, as he suffered for thy great offences vpon the Crosse, so he suffered for thy lesser crimes in the Garden: that, as he did vndergoe a publique passion for the one; so he had an antepassion for the other in his Agony: that, as for thy foulest transgres­sions he became a red Sea, a true Iordan, a sanguine Riuer the head of which streame began at Mount Caluary; So before his Ascent thither, in a lower place,Ioh. 18. 1. not farre from the Brooke Cedron, he suffe­red his body to become a Marish, when for thy sake the bloud wept out at euery Pore. Take heed therefore, how thou vnderratest any sinne, since in the Inuentory of thy Sauiours passion, they were all rated; He dyed for all. And do not neglect those faults, which are the smallest in thy Catalogue. For euen that sinne which whispers now; and is on­ly peccatum susurrans, carried about in a still re­port, and in the common fame, wounds and tra­duces thee but closelie; will in a litle time become Peccatum clamans a shrill and crying sinne. That which is now a Grane in weight, may proue a Pound; and that which was but a single fault at first, by an vnblest faecundity may multiply into Sinnes. For culpa culpā excutit, one sinne is strooke out of another; like sparkes they conuey fire one to the other. Doe not suffer therefore the Embers of sinne, any loose thoughts, or vitious Imaginati­ons, to lurke within thy bosome; least at length [Page 21] those subterraneous fires breake out like Aet [...], and burne thee in their hot Flames.

Minutae guttae pluuiae, Aug. citat. à Biel Lest. 72. de Missâ. nonne flumina implent & domos deijciunt? Thou seest the raine which cau­ses the land floud, at first onely distills in small drops, take heed then how thou lettest any vice drop in vpon thy senses. If a temptation insinuate into thine eares, or onely beat in at the casements of thy eyes; those litle flawes, those cranies, if not stopt betimes, will make way for the ruine of the whole Fabr [...]ke.Bibli [...]th. Parum Gra Lat. To. 1. Marcus Eremita excellently saies, that Sinne is [...], like a subtile net, consisting of many foulds: which if not warily avoi­ded, will entangle the whole body. Whensoeuer therefore that Fowler, whose taske hath bin to en­snare soules, offers his Net at thee, seekes to fasten a small sinne vpon thee; quit thy selfe betimes, by a Repentance, and in a true confession discharge thy selfe of all thou knowest; euen to thy smallest tres­passe. Remembring that wise saying in Ecclesia­sticus; Ecclesiastic. 19. 1. Qui spernit modica, paulatìm decidet; he that contemnes small faults shall fall insensiblie. And to make this confession of thine more perfect, as thou acknowledgest the Offence, so acknowledge the Offender. Senee. Qui rem non tacuerit, non tacebit au­thorem. If thou confesse the Fact, and yet deny the Author; say thou hast sinned, but blame some others, as an Occasion or Accessory to thy sinne; thou do'st not then accuse thy selfe, but endite ano­ther; thou do'st not make a just confession, but by a Recrimination seeke to excuse thy selfe. Dauid [Page 22] here makes no such [...] or faint confession; He doth not say onely what was done, but who did it: cōfes­ses a Propri [...]ty, My sinnes. & makes title to those sins, My sins.

We are all naturally prone to transfer our sins vpon others. Adam cries, The woman which thou gauest me. And Gabriel Biel mentions some, that vsed to blame the Planets which raigned at their Natiuities, Gen. 3. 12. Lect. 72. de Mis­sâ. for the sinnes vnto which they were en­clined. If they had ill dispositions, Satarne was in fault; if they were Theeues, Mercurie made them so; if incontinent, and amorous Venus was to be blam'd, not they. A folly worthy of no refutation, but laughter, did I not see it possessed some in that high nature; that they do not onely accuse the Influences of Heauen, but pronounce God him­selfe, who gaue motion to those starres, as the Author of their sinne. Most strange and fearefull illusion! that any should imagine God a Plotter for Damnation; that he should combine with the Deuill to s [...]pplant soules; that he should make a Prison, and then make Offenders for that prison; that he should build a Hell, and cause men to sin, that they might be condemned vnto that place of Torment▪ O farre be the thought of this from our hearts! Let God be glorified and all men reputed blasphemous Lyars, that speake or imagine thus: Let vs say with the Psalmist: I haue sinned, and I a­lone; Psal. 51. 4. and in these words acknowledge, I will con­fesse against myselfe, those sinnes which I haue committed against thee; resting vpon that excel­lent conclusion of Fulgentius; Non potest esse illius [Page 23] Author, Fulg [...]. cujas est [...]. It is impossible that God should be an Agent in sinne, whose office is to a­venge sinne, and to punish the sinner. For if thou say, or thinke otherwise, thou wilt proue a deuill to thy God; slander and accuse him to his face of sinne, who is the Confessor to receiue the acknow­ledgement of thy sinne, The Lord. I said I will confesse my sinnes vnto the Lord.

We take a liberty to tell God those things which for 6 shame we dare not communicate vnto men, Multi quod scire hominē nolunt, Vnto the Lord. De [...] mirrant (saith Sene­ca.) He spake in the worst sense; 'tis true in the best. We need not be ashamed to discouer our selues, our Actions, our Thoughts, to God; who, as he de­lights not in the death of a sinner, so neither glo­ries he in the shame of a sinner. When we shrift our selues to men, we aduenture our credits vpon their secrecy; and confesse to our owne disadvan­tage, since it is in their power to betray vs.

If the Conclaue of Cardinals would haue suffered S. Chrysostomes Cauear to haue bin entered a­mongst them, they neuer would in the Laterane Councill haue decreed a necessity of Auricular Confession: Concil. Trident. Sess. 4. [...]n. 5. nor in the Trent Councill haue esta­blished that former Decree. Take heed how thou tellest thy defects to a man, (saith Chrysostom) least he cast thee in the teeth with them: Homil. 4. de La­zaro. and in the very next words he [...]atly prohibits the necessity of such priuate confession; leauing [...] vpon the scope of this text.

Thou art not to confesse to thy fellow ser­uant, [Page 24] least he may divulge it,Chrysost [...]m. ib. but to him that is thy Lord, that careth for thy soule; to him, that is most mild and curteous; to him, that is thy Physitian. I said, I will confesse my sinnes vn­to the Lord.

But doth God need an informer? Did he not know Dauid's sinne before his confession? or can­not he know mine, vnlesse I tell him? Yes surely, he knew them before: But he knew them as my Iudge, not as my Confessor: He knew them, but not that way which most delighteth him, and is best for me, in a repentance: In a word he knew them be­fore, but he knew them to my Condemnation: He knew them not to my Comfort, so as to forgiue them; till he receiued them from mine owne mouth;2 Part. I said, I will confesse my sinnes, and thou 1 forgauest. Thou forga­uest.

Like the tidings of release vnto a Captiue, or a repriue vnto a cōdemned man: so is the sound of this word Tu remisisti, thou forgauest. It is the savour of life vnto life; a reuiuing or recouery from the death of the soule, Sinne; and an earnest of a new-life, both in the Body and the Soule, in the new Ie­rusalem. 'Tis the voice of the Turtle, the true lan­guage of the Gospell deriued from his lippes, that left the blessing of his peace vpon all, that loue the Peace of his Church; that legend of mercy, which Christ commanded his Apostles to divulge in all parts of the world, for the remission of sinnes. This was the end of Christs comming into the world, to saue sinners, his owne peculiar worke, who a­lone [Page 25] as he hath the property to haue mercy, so hath he the sole power to forgiue, Mar [...]. 2. 7. Quis potest peeca [...]ae dimittere nisi solus Deus?

That the Church hath a power to remit sinnes also is true in a subordinate sense, that is a Ministe­riall, a Declaratory power, as our Liturgie fully ex­presses it; and hath giuen power and commande­ment to his Ministers, to Declare and Pronounce to his people being penitent, the Absolution and remission of their sinnes, &c. But he hath giuen them no Iudiciary or Authoritatiue power, to pardon absolutely of themselues. This is Gods pre­rogatiue, he alone doth that act; the Church but re­ports it: he signes the deed; the Church as a witnes testifies it: he hath the originall power to absolue, the Church hath power, not to dispence, but to pronounce his absolution; he grantes and seales the pardon; the Church conveyes and publishes it: he hath the possession, the true inheritance as of the Throne, so of the keyes of Dauid; the Church hath but the vse, and custody of those keyes: by which she opens and shuts, yet not at her owne pleasure, as if she could hang new locks where she listed, or make new dores for sinners to goe out at, but with a limitation: Shee must not presume to goe far­ther, then those Keyes lead her: So many roomes as Christ hath opened by those keyes, she may opē, or she may shut. The Ministers who are his Dorekee­pers should take too much vpō them, if they should presume beyond this. Mistake me not, I doe not in any sense of diminution call the Ministers Dorekee­pers, [Page 26] as if I would inferre their office determined at the Church-doore: No, their keyes open far­ther then so; and by vertue of them they may goe as high, as Gods Presence Chamber, the Church there; to receiue▪ and to deliuer his messages to his people; to signifie his pleasure to them, either for the Remission, or Reteining of their sinnes▪ but be­yond this their keyes will not lead them. They cannot open Gods Priuy Chamber, where all his secret Counsell [...] [...]his Acts of mercy or of iudge­ment, of Pardon or Condemnation are concluded; this is accessible to none, but God himselfe. They are not able with any key in their bunche, to open that doore. And if by violēce they shall attempt to breake it open▪ as the Successors of Peter haue done for many yeares, sitting there as Counsel­lours [...] in Commission with God, nay sitting [...] God [...] [...]aith▪ St. Paul▪ 2 Thess. 2. 4. to condemne or to absolue [...] him; let them know, in this they haue commit­ted a Riot, not lesse then Lucifers; and their aspi­ring insolence mu [...]t expect a Praecipitation as vio­lent and deepe as his.

I haue almost lost my selfe in this Labyrinth of P [...]p [...]ll vsurpation; I retrait to my te [...]t in S. Am­brose his words▪ who hath briefly stated and limi­ted the Power of Preists Absolution. In the forgiue­nesse of sinnes (saith he) men vse their Ministery; but exercise no right of any Authoritie: men aske▪ an men pronounce; but the Deity graunts, Tu re­misisti, Thou forgauest.

Which speech doth not onely intimate his [Page 27] Power, but his readines to forgiue▪ See in what a forward terme Dauid expresses Gods alacri [...] and propension to mercy, setting it downe in the Pr [...] ­terperfect tense, [...] thou hast forgiuen; as a thing past in graunt, before the suit was commen­ced Seneca spake it of the Court, [...] praecip [...]s, beneficia lenta sunt. They were prone and speedy to doe injuries, but their benefit [...] came slowlie from them, and with difficulty: ' [...]is other­wise with God, he is of no [...] Power, nor doth he for slow his fauc [...]s [...] price vpon them by delay▪ 2 Pet. 3. 9. God is not slow or [...] concerning his promise, saith S. Peter: Or if he be slow,Psal. 86. 15. he is slow to nothing but to wrath only. In that Act, which was the swif [...]est exclusion of his vengeance, the Floud, howsoeuer the [...] that sud­daine Inundation surprised the World, came vpon it vnawares, whilst they were eating and drinking; (as our Sauiour saith) yet when it was done,Mat. 24. 38. He is sorrie. Though he repented he had made man, and from that repentance put on a resolution to de­stroy him; Yet after his destruction he relents into mercy, he is sorry he had demolished and annihila­ted his creature by water, though most deservedly; and then makes a Promise and Couenant, Gen. 9. 15. neuer to destroy him so againe. Did he not giue Abraham leaue to dispute,Gen. 18. and argue Sodom's reprieue, to plead a Pardon for it, after his sentence was past▪ and the Executioner ready to giue fire? Yet for all that, he heard him cut, till ha [...] said all he could say; till he had made all his Abatements, [Page 28] from Fiftie euen to the last Ten. And when he sate downe before Niniveh, and had beleaguered it with his Iudgements; yet you see he giues them faire Quarter,Ion. 3. 4. Fourty Dayes to parley, and to make their Composition with Him. Nay he al­lowed Rebellious Israel Fourty yeares;Psal. 95. 10. Fourty yeares long was I grieued with this generation: so slow is he to wrath, so loath to execute his ven­geance.

And yet He is not so slow to punish, but he is by many degrees swifter to shew mercy, and to forgiue:Ambros: Nescit tarda molimi [...]a spiritus sancti gratia (saith S. Ambrose) He that knowes all things, is ignorant only of wayes to delay his Mer­cies; which are as instant as his worke was in the first Creation, Said and Done at once. How doe his winged blessings out-flie our suites? chiding our sluggishnes▪ in that no diligence we can vse is able to keepe pace with him; nor our earliest importu­nity speedy enough to ouertake his bounty: who giues oftner then we can aske, and more then we haue capacity to apprehend. 'Tis not enough, that he tarry till we come vnto him, vnlesse he preuent vs by comming vnto vs, ere we set out: that he suspends his blessings till we seeke him, vn­lesse he first seeke and call vpon vs, as he did vpon Eliah. 1 King. 19 9. What doest thou here Eliah? that he stay till our petitions wooe him, vnles his favours first sol­licite vs, and giue vs cause to thanke him, not to aske. He thinkes his goodnes hath no aduantage, no victory ouer our necessities, if he should onely [Page 29] heare vs when we call; vnles, as he prophesses by his Prophet Esay, Esa. 65. 24. Antequam clametis ego exaudio, he begin to vs, and make our answeare before we speake. He thinkes his mercy would proue tardy, if it expected our suit; vnles he granted it before our motion. Therefore in the 2 Sam: 12. when Nathan admonishes Dauid of two great sinnes; he no soo­ner in a religious humiliation deiects himselfe cry­ing, He had offended; but the Prophet speedily raises him with the comfortable tidings of his Ab­solution; and in such a Phrase, as if God had ante­dated the pardon,2 Sam. 12. 13. before the sinne was committed. For he tells him the Lord hath also put away thy sinne. Not he will, or does, but already he hath put away thy sinne. You may perceiue a gratious hast too in the remission of his sinne in this place: he but confesses and God forgiues him; nay (saith S. Austin) he makes no confession, but a promise onely; Non iam pronunciat, sed promittit se pro­nunciaturum, & ille iam dimittit. He sayes he will confesse, and vpon that promise, God immediatly grants him a large pardon. Turemisisti, Thou for­gauest the iniquity of my sinne.

The extent of his grace is as large,The iniquiry of my sin. as vnlimit­ted,2 as his mercy is sudden. God as he is no slow, dilatory God: so neither is he a sparing close-han­ded God; as he doth not suspend his fauours, or hang long in the deliberation of his pardon to sin­ners: so neither doth he giue them in a lame, imper­fect fashion; but large, and full, and ample as is himselfe. In quo omnis plenit [...]do who is the spring [Page 30] of all bounty.

He doth not veniam dimi [...]iare, distribute his mercy by halfes, keepe men betwixt life and death, panting betwixt hopes and feares, as if he should send a pardon, when the prisoner is halfe hanged; no,Marlorat. Non de dimidiâ, sed perfectâ remissione hîc disserit Propheta.

God doth not lease his pardons for life onely, adiourning the short punishment in this world, with a purpose to inflict it aeternally in the next. His hand is not so scant,Bernard. non arctatur, non claudi­tur fine, nullas habet met [...]s Diuina clementia (saith Bernard.) And Hierome in his translation, dates this remission with a semper to signifie the duration, the continuance of it, which is as long, and lasting, as his goodnes that hath none end.

Nor yet doth he remit the Eternall punishment and retaine a Temporall to be paid in this world, in an imposed pilgrimage, or a purgatory hereafter Non solum excluditur satisfactio sed Purgatori [...]m, boldly saith a writer. Therefore one of our En­glish Translations reads, Thou forgauest the puni­shment of my sinne.

Let those then that list to be abused, commute or sine for their release at Rome, suffer the Pope to pare their saluation, and take fees out of Gods Par­dons, which he bestowes freely; we will receiue our Absolution neerer hand, and lesse wasted in the carriage:Psal. 130. 7. Let our Israel trust in the Lord, for with the Lord there is mercie, and with him is plenteous Redemption: Copiosa Redemptio a boun­teous [Page 31] remission; for he shall wipe out all our sins, neither take vengeance on vs in this life, nor in the life to come.

If he do lay a crosse, a calamity vpon vs in this life, as he did vpon Dauid, for the scandall he brought vpon Israel by Vriahs death,2 Sam. 12. 14. and the adulterating of his wife; afflict vs, as he did him in the losse of a child; or send a Pestilence to scoure the land, as he did his; In which sense Euthymius sayes of him,Euthymius in Psal. 32. Mors remissa est, sed noxa vel dam­num exigebatur per subsecutas calamitates: Yet for all this, God doth not inflict this, Sub ratione poenae, as a vengeance, but a chastisement; not as a puni­shment, but a fatherly Correction; not as a Mini­ster of his wrath, but an euidence of his loue. For he chasteneth the Children, whom he best loues. And so you see he corrects the bitternes of his Iudgements, with intermingling mercy amongst them; Pellit pestem àpeste, (saith one) he takes out all malignity from his iudgements; (as S, Paul saith) he pluckt out the sting of death.1 Cor. 15. 55. O mors vbi aculeus tuus?

Last of all, he doth not onely remit the puni­shment of the sinne, and reteine the Guilt, treasu­ring vp that in diem irae, to presse against vs in the last day: but he forgiues that too; he doth not quench the flame, and leaue a sparke behind to kindle his wrath, or to incense him hereafter; no, Tu remisisti iniquitatem peccati mei, Thou forga­uest the very iniquity of my sinne, the enormity, the Obliquity (as Aquinas calls it:) So that In­tempestiu [...] [Page 32] est hîc Poenae & Culpae distinctio, that distinction of the punishment and of the guilt is friuolous and out of season here: God forgiues the sinne at the very roote. And as Elisha, when he cured the waters,2 King. 2. [...]1. cast salt into the springs: so God to make a perfect cure by his Absolution, heales vs at the heart; because that is the roote of sinne. [...], saith the Septuagint; thou forgauest the iniquity, the impurity of my heart.

Thus you may perceiue, there are no Arrerages left in Gods Audit; he forgiues both the Guilt of the sin, & the punishment; both the suit & the damages. for he requires nothing but a true confession: If we confesse, 1 Ioh. 1. 9. he is faithfull and iust to forgiue vs. This makes a full expiation and attonement for all our sinnes. Therefore he that confesses and repents, as it were Levies a fine with God, to cut off all punish­ment in the present, or in the world to come. For this Remisisti, Chald [...] Para­phras. is [...] remisisti in aeternum, our euerla­sting quietus est; a generall acquittancc, for the breadth and extent of it like his mercy, which is exceeding broad, exceding large; and againe like vnto his mercie for the duration and date of it which endureth for euer.

I am at my farthest, euen lost and confounded in the vast subiect of Gods mercy; which like a deepe sea, through which I cannot wade, stops my passage; so that here I can onely stand vpon the banck, and cry with S. Paul, O altitudo, O the depth of his mercy.

In which deuout extasie I will end; onely bor­rowing [Page 33] a short Gloria Patri, and some sounds, like those which environ the mercy Seat, from the Prophet Dauids song of thanksgiuing. Psal. 103. 2. 3. 4. My soule praise thou the Lord, and forget not all his benefits: which forgiueth all thy sinnes, and healeth all thine infirmties; which redeemeth thy life from the graue,V. [...]. and crowneth thee with mercie and com­passion. To this glorious God, full of com­passion, who crowneth vs here with mercy, & will crowne vs here­after with glory, be ascri­bed all honour and thanksgiuing for euer. Amen.

DAVIDS STRAIT. THE AFTER-NOONES SERMON VPON THE ACT SVNDAY.

Deliuered by IOHN KING, Inceptor in Divinity, one of the Praebendaries of Christ-church. in Oxford.

PSAL. 71. 20.

Thou which hast shewed me great, and sore troubles, shalt quicken mee againe, &c.

DAVID'S STRAIT.

2 Sam▪ 24. 14.‘And Dauid said vnto Gad, I am in a great strait: Let vs fall now into the hand of the Lord (for his mercies are great) and let mee not fall into the hand of man.’

THat Caution giuen here­tofore by the Cryer, to those that were to speak at Athens, that they should presently fall to their matter [...], without Preface or Passion; shall serue me for a Preface to to my ensuing discourse. My subject being so full of straitnes, if I would hold proportion with it, will not giue me the libertie of a larger introduction. Yet before I take the words asunder, you must take along with you, some Praecognita, some presupposi­tions, by which you may looke back from my Text, to the beginning of this Chapter, and haue therein a briefe Epitome of the History here contained. Israel had againe provoked the Lord to anger,Connexion. not­withstanding [Page 2] his former chastisements for their sinnes. Now sinne seldome goes without some pu­nishment attending on it. God was in their debt, and againe his anger was kindled against them. V. 1. In this anger, he permits Dauid their King to add his sinne to theirs; and so to fill vp the measure and number of their transgressions, by his own, in num­bring the people vnnecessarily and vnlawfully. Da­vid commands and preuailes against Ioab and the Princes, that gainesayed it at the first; but after­wards, lest they should loose his fauour, they exe­cute his commands. His sinne was 9 moneths and odd dayes old, before he saw it: and the Lord let him see the deformitie of it, at this growth, by some visitation different from the great pestilence he af­terwards offered him; as some collect out of 1 Chron. 27. 24. wherevpon he recall'd Ioab, (he fini­shed not the numbring, because there fell wrath for it against Israel.) His owne heart hereupon smote him first, & he acknowledged his folly: & present­ly Gad his Seer was sent to let him know, that God would also smite him for this follie: yet with such a mercifull hand, Dauid might conceiue, it was rather for discipline, then destruction, and vpon as easie termes as might stād with his justice. Strike he would; yet so, that Dauid should prescribe in what kinde: whether by famine, sword, or pestilence. And although these conditions seeme hard on man's part, who is the delinquent, because they are all ra­ther to be avoided, then chosen: yet they are easie and moderate, on God the Iudges part: who needed [Page 3] not to haue giuen any at all. Nay any one of them, or all at once, and thousands more, he might with­out injustice haue inflicted. Therefore Dauid thought himselfe mercifully dealt with, and vpon his second wiser thoughts, professeth as much in my text. Dixit autem David ad Gad: Coarctor, &c.

The Text you see is Responsorie; and the Speak­ers Dauid and Gad. Gad had deliuered his message; and it was now Dauid's turne, being instantly vrg'd to it, to giue him an answere. Here it is specified, to whom, and by whom, and what it was. So that you may consider here the Words of the Historian. Diuision. And Dauid said vnto Gad. and the Words of the Historie, in the rest. The words of him that compiled this booke, and his words that are here recorded, the words of King Dauid. The for­mer shew the connexion, and the distinction of per­sons, and the Forme onely: these latter prefent vnto vs the Substance and matter of the Annals.

In the words of the Historian, Subdivision. though they are onely [...], I shall make some short ob­seruations about the Persons of Dauid and Gad, and some other circumstances. In the words of the Hi­storie, which make vp Dauid's answere, there is 1. His Deliberatiō, I am in a great strait. 2 His Resolu­tion, and this twofold: Positiue, Let vs fall now in­to the hand of the Lord: with a Reason, for His mer­cies are great. Negatiue or Exclusiue, and let mee not fall into the hand of man. According to this or­der, your patience and attention is desired: First to [Page 4] the words of the Historian, 1. Generall part. the Penman of the holy Ghost: The words of the Historian. Dixit autem Dauid ad Gad.

Dauid is here the Delinquent, arraigned a little before, v. 12. but by none of his glorious titles: as they are giuen him in the precedent chap. v. 1. The anointed of the God of Iacob: the sweet Psalmist of Israel, &c. But as the Lord instructed Gad, Goe and say vnto Dauid: plaine Dauid. It was the King when he commanded Ioab, to goe and number the people: but it is now Dauid, when he is convented and vnder discipline. But whether we haue him by the title of the King, we are sure it is the Person of the King. And when Great ones sinne, they com­monly doe it, according to the eminencie of their place, with authority, with a high hand. In this par­ticular the King would satisfie his curiositie, & that meerely, in hauing the summe of the people taken; Vt sciam, V. 2. that I may know the number of the people. A knowledge vnfruitfull at the best, and sauouring of infidelity also; being he had a promise from the Lord, that his people should be as the starres for number, or the sands on the sea shore. Yet he was so transported with this humor, that say what Ioab and all the Captaines would, the King's word pre­uailed. Quod libet, licet. There needes no other war­rant to justifie great Potentates bad actions, but their will. Barre them of this libertie, or rather li­centiousnes, this were to streighten their Domini­ons. For greatnes for the most part sweyes more with them then goodnes. Therefore when at any time this goes to curbe or oppose that, they will [Page 5] presently shake hands with virtue, and banish out of their actions Optimus, so they may but retaine Maximus in their titles. Let a suit be neuer so vn­just, yet if it be commenc'd in a great man's name, it were his disgrace to take the foile in it.Sen. l. 3. de irâ, c. 4. In magnis magnae fortunae bonis ponunt vltionem. No Court of iustice but shall ring of his iniustice; and whatso­euer his reputation be with God, what cares he, so he may but keep his reputation amongst men. The ground of all is this. Those Mighties of the earth, that harbour an vnmastered Appetite, an vnrulie will in their bosomes, and are wedded to it, vnlesse they haue from aboue, a speciall restraining and di­recting Grace, shall euer finde it suggesting to them as Iezebel to her husband Ahab (when he was sad because he might not haue Naboth's vineyard) Dost thou now gouerne Israel? 1 King. 21. 7. Arise and be merry, I will giue thee the vineyard. And she carried it with the Kings letter and seale, though the lines were, like Draco's Lawes, written in Naboth's bloud.

But doe the sinnes of Princes keepe within their owne private threshold's? It were well, i [...] so: Nay, they are of a diffusiue, and spreading nature; to the hurt of others also: either by Imitation, or Imputa­tion. How by Imitation is evident enough. Quo grandius nomen, Be [...]. eo grandius scandalum. The vi­ces of Rulers are made the rules of vices to inferiors. And as they are soonest discerned in eminent per­sons; so are they soonest followed from their exam­ples. Plato's crum [...]-shoulder, and Aristotles lis­ping, and Portius [...]Latro's sallow complexion, made [Page 6] sects of their imperfections, as wel as their opinions. And neuer was there a wider gate set open to all villanie, then when Iupiter, Mercurie, and Venus, and the rest of that rabble of Heathen Gods, were made the Authors and Actors of wickednes.

The Romanists are but litle behinde the Heathēs, in some of their Canoniz'd Saints. And if stabbing, massacring, blowing vp, and the like vertues, for which they are deified, bring to Heauen; the Lord keepe vs all from that Heauen, which these deserue. Did not these Politicians perceiue, that many times, the persons of men haue a greater attractiue vertue to their superstition, then their strongest per­swasions: they would not so often attempt to raise vp children to their Father the Pope, out of our de­ceased Orthodox Prelates & Professors of best note. They would certainly ere this haue recall'd that Lying Legacy; Legatum Peregrè missum mentiendi causâ: which of late the envious man sowed vpon stall's and shop-boardes in this place, and else­where in gardens and orchards, whil'st men slept. But the Authour hath long since bequeathed him­selfe with his Legacie, to notable Imposture, and frontles Impudence; In which I leaue him; who I presume made that the Motiue to set forth his Mo­tiues, in an assumed person and name: as well knowing that the greatnes of Ieroboams place, makes his name draw a long traine after it, when he is mention'd in the holy Scripture.1 King. 14. 16. Ieroboam who did sinne, and who made Israel to sinne.

Neither doth this observation hold onely in the [Page 7] highest Offices, but also in the highest Graces. A Pagan life may suit well with a Pagan profession; but sub nomine Christiano vitam agere Gentilem. Hieron. If the life and actions of a Pagan lurke vnder the maske and visor of a Christian name, [...]. Apol. 2. pro Christian. the bad exam­ple may possesse very many. [...], saith Iustine Martyr, from the Heathens owne mouthes: and therefore goodnes was expected from the very name. Let them looke to answere for it, that an­swere not that name.

Among Christians also, the sinnes of the Cler­gie doe farre sooner and more dangerously infect then the same in the Laitie. And their offences are reckoned according to the measure of the Sanctua­ry, double to the ordinary account; so shall their punishments be too. Onely in paying Tithes, that double honour due to them, which the Apostle speakes of, men are content to reduce to single pay. To both I say onely this: majus peccatum habent. And I would we did not giue the occasion. I would it were not too justly taken vp by way of complaint, that Holy Orders of the Church, and Degrees of the Schooles, do too often invest many; who are more guiltie of being Corrupters then Leaders (vnles it be in the worst sense, such as the Pharisees were, blinde Leaders of the blinde, and both fall into the pit, a Taverne or a Tap-house.) May we not feare, that these are the last and worst times, when some that should be the Heads of the people, are become the worst Members? We haue lost the distinction of Degrees, since there hath [Page 8] bin brought in a Confusion of ill Manners. And the highest Graduat's are scarcely to be discerned by a­ny other Habit, then a Habit of vice; that dares obtrude and iustifie to the face of Authority, the most malapert misdemeanour, because it is—fa­cinus maioris Abollae. Iuv.

Mistake me not. I defile not my owne nest: but would let strangers knowe (for I am not ignorant how we are taxed abroad) if any such rowst amōgst vs, they are not of vs. But I haue stoup't to those, that are farre inferior to King David; yet to such as haue sinned [...],Ro. 5. 14. after the similitude of his trangression; not for the mat­ter of it, but the danger. Though some may aske what danger here from this particular sinne of King David? who was moued by it to doe the like?

But say nothing were to be feared from the I­mitation of this his offence, there was eminent pe­rill from the Imputation of it, to no lesse then 70000. men: V. 15. that partly for this were cut off by the sword of the Lord, even the Pestilence. So true is that of the Poets oftentimes.—Delirant Reges plectuntur Achivi. It is not the least punishment to a com­mon-wealth, when Princes and Rulers transgresse the Royall Lawe. They neither stand nor fall to themselues alone. I will giue children to be their Princes, Isa. 3. 4. saith the Lord, by way of commination v­pon Iudah & Ierusalem. Such a child was David here, who in his old age did childishly, and the peo­ple smarted for it. Facit regnare hominem Hypo­critam propter peccata populi. Iob 34. 30. So the Vulgar read [Page 9] it. Our last English with a litle difference: That the Hypocrite raigne not, least the people be ensna­red. Both looke one way, that the subjects haue the worst it, whē the go [...]ernors are bad which the Lord sets ouer them.

Neither are the waies of the Lord herein vnae­quall, to inflict any thing vpon the members of a Politique body, though the Head were in fault; more then if the Iudge should doe wrong, in making the back pay for the theft which the hand committed: It is Iust: Resp. 138. ad Orthodox. Martyrs comparison: such a vnion there is betweene the Prince and the people.

What euill the people of Israel had here done, it will not much profit vs to know: but in the generall, this we may be assured of.Ezek. 18. The Soule that sinneth, it shall dye. God strikes not an innocent partie: and therfore we must be perswaded with St Aug: whensoeuer and how soever he visits, occulta esse Possunt iudicia dei, iniusta nunquam. As for King David did hee not thinke yee, beare his owne burden; Did not the hand of the Lord finde him out, as well as the people? If wee beleeue Greg: and Iust. Martyr, hee had his share of punishment, though in another kind.Greg. [...]. li. 25. cap. 14. Ira saeviens, quae corporali­ter populum perculit, rectorem quo (que) populi intimo cordis dolore prostravit. The people were stricken outwardly with the Pestilence; the King inwardly with sorrow, that his transgression should draw, after it, the losse of so many subiects,Iust. Mar. ibid. * [...]. That King­dome must needes be much shaken, where the [Page 10] number of the subiects is shortened: and it is [...]. Else King David would never haue wished somuch hurt to those to neere him.Ver. 17. Let thine hand be against me, & against my Fathers house.

But this diminution of the people, might bee more tolerable to King David, because it came not vpon him as a theife in the night, suddainely, with­out any praemonition. The Lord sent one of his Prophets rising vp early to giue him notice of his purpose. And David was early vp also, either to goe to heare the word of the Lord, or to haue it come home to him.Ver. 11. For when David was vp in the morning, instructions came from the Lord to Gad to repaire to him.

A thing it seemes not so rare in those daies, as now, for great Personages to rise early; especially vpon such an occasion, to heare a Prophet or a Prea­cher. This were fitt for meaner soules: but Great ones will keepe their state towards God himselfe.Amos. 6. 4. They lie vpon beds of Ivorie and stretch them selues vpon their couches, and that even till No one day many times: not with fewer sinnes then David, but with smaller sense of them, with greater secu­ritie; and therefore the greater danger. The gen­tle voice of a prophet will not be sufficient to rowse or star [...]e such from their ease, but it must bee the voice of thunder; and then perhaps they would be glad, with Caligula, to leaue their beds, and creepe vnder them, for affrightment.

It is likely David slept but little that night. For he [Page 11] had within him the alarme of a troubled conscience still beating.Ver. 10. Percussit cor David eum. He punished himselfe with numbring the houres, or rather the foure watches of the night, for his numbring the people. And we may beleeue, that this night a­mong the rest,Ps▪ 6. 6. he watered his couch with teares, and spent the better part of it, in meditations and con­fessions of his folly. Then (and not til then) when he had his eyes thus open vpō his own transgressions, was his Seer, the Prophet Gad, sent in the morning. which is an argument of the Lords singular benig­nity, who vseth not to send his Prophets, but either to invite sinners to repentance, or to confirme them that haue begunne it (as Dauid here did) in so good and acceptable a worke.

And for what are his denunciations and threat­nings added to his messages, but to sett an edge as it were vpon our turning to him; to be as prickes and goades, to make vs the more eager to desire that wee may decline them.Isa. 3. 8. Thus was Isaiah sent to King Hezekiah; Ion. 3. 4, to bid him set his house in or­der. Thus also was Ionah sent to Nineveh. Yet 40 daies and Niniveh shall be ouerthrown. And in my Text (that I may not multiplie examples) Gad vnto David. That Avenger beares no hostile mind, who giues warning to his Aduersarie, where and how he intendes to wound him. And that partie must be very negligent of his owne safetie, who laboures not either to guard, or to prevent the blowe hee sees comming. The Lord therefore herein dealt with David (and David [Page 12] made that good vse of a praemonition) as sometime he did with Abraham, when he intended to de­stroy Sodom, Gen. 18. 17. shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I doe? to the end that Abraham might make intercession for Sodom, and Dauid for himselfe and his people, as we reade both of them did; and we may goe and doe the like. For this farther fa­vour holy David found in the sight of the Lord, that hee sent the same prophet the second time, who at the first was a messenger of death, to be a director and a counsailor to him, and the paenitent Elders, 1. Chron. 21. 16. who were clad in sackcloth, and fell vpon their faces, what course they should take, to stay the hand of the Angell from striking, and to stopp the iawes of death. It was Gad which came to him both times. To shew, that he who is the minister of the Law, should be the minister of the Gospell also: as he breakes, so he should bind vp againe. An observation which I make the rather, against those indiscrete Teachers, that speak still frō mount Sinai, in thunder & lightening: not at all from mount Sion, in the mild tones of mercy. They are like those Boanerges, Mar. 3. 17. sonnes of thunder calling downe fire from heauen, and calling it vpp from hell too, to affright distressed consciences; but they haue no portion of the spirit of Barnabas, Act. 4. 36. to be the sonnes of consolation. Thus are they farre more terrible Instructers, then the Law itselfe. For Lex paedagogus, Gal. 3, 24. ad Christum: But these bring not their Auditors so farre on their way. They on­ly shewe the Law holding out the rod vnto them, [Page 13] as their adversarie; but they shew not how they must agree with this adversarie in the way, (that is) in Chrst, who hath stil'd himselfe the way, the mediating way betweene God and men, who hath taken away the curse of the Law.

But there is another extreme, as much to be a­voyded by those that will take the prophet Gad for their patterne. As they may not powre into woun­ded consciences altogether vineger: so ought they not to vse nothing but oyle to smooth and supple. That same,Ps. 141. 5. oleum impinguans caput, pretious oyle that breakes the head, is farre more dangerous then the friendly smiting of the righteous by re­proofe. And that pretious oyle of palpable flatterie, or silent conniuence, is too often vsed, to the hurt of those that are the heads of the people. But Gad was armed from aboue with boldnes; and feared o [...] the face of the best man, to acquaint him with the worst of his message. He durst come home to the King's bed-chamber, and tell him that which might make his eares tingle. And happy are those Princes and Nobles, before whom such Prophets dare discharge that part of their thanklesse office.

Gad was said to be Davids Seer; because he saw that which was hidden from David, till he revea­led it to him. Kings in their affaires of state, are forc'd to see many things through other mens eies; but in their spirituall state, they haue more need of their Seers eyes, by which they may looke vpon both their sinnes and punishments. Now Davids Seer was no other then Davids Chaplaine, saith [Page 14] Pet. Martyr; but of a farre different straine from those Trencher Chaplaines of Great men in our times; whose office consists chiefly in reading pray­ers and saying grace▪ As for their preaching, vnles they speake placentia, they were better [...]eepe in their words.Iam. 3. 2. Their Patrones haue a curbe for their mouthes, by which they are able [...] to rule both their tongues, and their whole bodies. And as Balaam said to Balak, Num. 14. 13. They can not goe be­yond the commandement of their Lords, to doe ei­ther good or euill after their owne mindes, but must only speake, what they haue put into their mouthes. If they exceed this commission, they must expect no other then to be degraded from the honour of sitting at the lower end of the Table. But there are enough of Ieroboams Preist's, 1 King 13. 33. of the lowest of the people; that will be ready enough to take their roomes. Many a Micah gets him such a Leuite (but I am sory so many such Levites to the dis­grace of our Ministerie, and Vniuersities, are to be found) for ten shekels of silver by the yeare, a suit of apparell and his victualls; and then vaunts, as Micah did. Iud. 17. Now know I that the Lord will doe me good, seeing I haue a Lev [...]te in my house. But such a Seer as Gad, that knowes the dignitie of his office, and discharges the duty of it, boldly and freely, shall stay for praeferment, till he hath learn'd better mā ­ners, then to tell his betters any thing they would be loath to hea [...]e. Yet King David here kept a bet­ter temper towards his Seer. It was but a harsh message that Gad brought him; you haue your [Page 15] choyce, of sword, pestilence or famine: all so full of horrour, that they might seeme not onely to per­plex, but withall to exasperate David against his person, that was to conuey such an vnwel [...]come option: (as we vse to maligne a Bay [...]iue, that serues vs with a sub paenâ, or other citation to the barre.) But the King laid his owne gui [...]tines against the Prophets words: and his godly sorrow for his errour,2 Cor. 7. 11. wrought in him St Paules [...], indignation and reuenge against himselfe, not against the Prophet. Therefore he neither ex­cuses, nor exten [...]ates, nor justifies his fault, nor falls fowle vpon Gad, 1 King 18. 17. as Ahab did vpon Eliah. Art thou he that troublest Israel? nor puts him in du­rance to try whether his words would come to passe;1 King 22. 72. as the same Ahab vsed the Prophet Michai­ah. But contrary to the ordinary deportment of those that are faultie, who are commonly Moni­toribus asperi; the Mountaines and high ones espe­cially, that will smoake and rea [...]e and fret, & fume, when they are toucht neere the quicke,Ps. 144. 5. Tange montes & fumigabunt. It is onely, Dixit David ad Gad. Dauid said, and he said mildly, he did not storme, nor sweare, nor raue: and he said to the purpose, to the matter that was in hand, punctually and precisely, in answere to that which Gad pro­posed before, Coarctor &c. Iam in a great strait. And so are we fallen vpon my 2d Generall▪ The words of the Historie i [...] selfe:2 Generall [...] and the [...]ein, First Da­vid's Deliberation, Iam in a great strait.

This straitning proceeded from Gads prop [...]sa [...] [Page 16] in the precedent verse. One of the 3. must come, but it was in Davids choyce. Either 7. yeares fa­mine, or 3. moneths flight in persecution, or 3. dayes the fury of the Pestilence. These are the 3. chain'd iudgements of the Lord, that goe for the most part link't together in the holy Scripture. They are his 3. arrowes, which he vsually drawes out of his quiuer, to shoote at the children of men; like those 3. which Ionathan shot, to be Hierogly­phikes to David, 1. Sam. 20. of his safetie or danger. But we will take no warning, neither by those, he hath shot beyond vs in the times past: nor by those that fall short of vs in neighbouring countries: nay scarcely now, when they euen hit vs, and sticke in our owne borders and bosomes. Thus you shall finde them joyn'd like inseparable companions in a league of vengeance as it were.Ier. 34. 17. Ye would not proclaime a liberty euery one to his brother, saith the Lord. Therefore behold I proclaime a liberty for you, to the Sword, to the Pestilence and to the Famine. So also Ier. 29. 17. and many places of that Prophecie. and Ezech: 14. 21. These are 3. of those which the Lord cals there Quatuor iudicia pessima, L. de anim [...] [...]. 4. his 4. sore iudgements. and Tertull: calls them Tonsuras insolescentis generis humani, lop­ping, & pruning of proud mankind, that it growe not too ranke.

Had David bin confin'd in his choyce onely to one of these, it had beene no election. They are but mock-elections, or rather approbations onely, when Titius is absolutely design'd to such, or such a [Page 17] place: yet vnder colour, the choice is devolued vp­on Sempronius and his associates, in whose power it is not left to refuse. There must be somewhat taken and somewhat left, which cannot be in vni­ty but necessarily requires variety of 2. at the least. Yet such was the variety here presented to David: all euills of punishment, all harbingers for death, but vnder diuerse shapes: all distastfull to flesh and bloud, that it wonderfully poses and puzzles him vpon which he should determine. And variety of objects distracts euen in good things. We haue St Paules [...],Phil. 1. 23. strait betweene two, and which to choose, he knew not. He saw it was so happy for his owne good to be with Christ, yet so needfull for the good of others to haue his dissolu­tion differd. We may commonly obserue there are the worst stomacks at the best furnisht tables. When it is Coena dubia, the Guests knowe not what to tast first, and so omit all, hauing full eies, but empty panches. Thus also are many Students more pos'd with the multitude of bookes, then the difficultie of their matter. The Authors of Me­thode are so numerous, that they become to some the Authors of Confusion, who cannot discerne a­mongst so many pathes, what tract is best to fol­low. It was therefore a iudicious obseruation of a graue professour, (though it may seeme a Paradoxe in our Vniversities,) that our rich Libraries, made but meane Scholars. Vpon this ground: because either out of their greedines of knowledge, and inconstant curiositie, they will tast of all Authors, [Page 18] and digest none,Sen. for varia lectio delectat, Eccles. 12. 12. certa pro­dest: or oppressed with such variety (because much reading is wearines to the flesh) and they thinke it too long a taske for so short a life, to turne ouer so much as the Indexes of all, they growe oscitant, & will peruse none. This is like the turning off a Greyhound at the whole Heard: where his game is so plentifull, and he hath so many in chase, that he pinches none.

Now where there is variety, but all are mala culpae, the diuerse waies on the right hand and the left, that lead to destruction, the number may ad­mit of election, but not the matter. Though all sinnes be not aequall, yet all are aequally to be a­voyded and declined. For there are some things of that nature, that a man must not yeeld to, though the Rack, or other most exquisite torments should be vsed, to extort his consent. Therefore it was a noble resolution of one of the Princes of Condee, to whom the French King Charles the 9th made this offer, and bid him make his choice; whe­ther he would heare a Masse, or suffer presēt death, or perpetuall Imprisonment. He was as suddaine, as religious and zealous in his answere, Primum Deo juuante nunquam eligam. As to the first, I detest the Idolatrous Masse: and for the other 2. I leaue them and my selfe to the will of the King; yet hope the Lord will order and dispose these also to the best. With such courage did that mother, happy in the number and constancie of her 7. children, choose rather to vndergoe all torments,Macc: 7. then to prolong [Page 19] their liues by eating swines flesh. And the feruent zeale of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, for the true and liuing Lord, burn't within them, so much hotter then the fierie fornace, Nebuchadnezzar threatned them with; that his golden image wanted worship from them, and himselfe wanted their obediēce in his vnlawfull commands:Dan. 3: 16. Non oportet nos hâc de re respondere: We are not carefull to an­swere thee in this matter. For in all such cases, we are to hold that principle, out of which Peter and Iohn framed their answere to the Iewes. Act. 4. 19. Whether it be right in the sight of God, to hearken vnto you, more then vnto God, iudge yee. We may not hear­ken to men nor Angells; nor suffer freinds to haue any interest in vs, but with subordination to the Lawes of God. [...]. Nay we must not hearken to ourselues, when our owne lusts would tempt vs, and drawe vs away from the Lord, though they whisper in our eares, neuer so many apparant goods, that may accrue vnto vs, for our priuate ends and commodities. But in these, what strait can there be, where it is [...]: the broad way, Matt. 7. 13. into which we should not so much as enter our foote, our affecti­ons, our sensitiue appetite, which are the feet, as it were, and the inferior part of our soules?

There are some, that put themselues vpon straits, where there are none:Gal. 3. such as with those foolish Ga­latians, are bewitched to make question of the well settled truth, and to perplexe themselues, whether they are in the truth or no, and to call Father Les­sius [Page 20] into consultation with them; quae sides capessen­da, whether they should more safely liue still Prote­stants, or be reconciled to the Church of Rome, and dye Papists. I may vse to them the words of Eliah, vpon the like occasiō,1. King. 8. 21. Vs (que) quò claudicatis? How long halt yee betweene two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him; and follow him there, where he is wor­shipped as God, in spirit and truth, without that will worship of carnall, delightfull, pompous cere­monies; which through the eyes of the simpler sort steale away their hearts, to beleeue any thing which is imposd vpon them. Follow him there, where he is still a God, and nothing detracted or derogated frō him. Where true Faith, and good workes as the fruits of faith are preached, yet no merit pleaded in either. Where thou art taught, that thou doest but thy duetie, and receiuest aboue thy reward. Where Christ's satisfaction is thought to be so full, for the co [...]ering of all thy sinnes, that it needes not to be peiced out with any of thi [...]e owne, to help the scan­tines of it. But on the other side, if Baal be God, or God be in that part of the Baalitish religion, that teaches me to fall downe before stockes and stones, that are so much my inferiours, because insensible, and my selfe in doing so, degenerate, and become as insensible as they: or that teaches me to adore my aequals and fellow seruants, Angels or Saints: or that teaches me to nullifie him that is so much aboue me, to eat my God, (nay to giue this priuiledge to a mouse, that shal nibble at the Sacramētal bread) to deface his Image there, with my Canniball [Page 21] like teeth, crucifying him as it were afresh: againe to deface his Image in the King, with a murtherous Assasinate's hand, or bu [...] a bloud [...]e and treacherous heart I say, if God be in such superstition, or rather sacrilege, or such a seditious sect, follow him there.

There is also another straine of strait-lac'd bre­thren, that thinke the comelie garments of our Church, are too full and flaring, and come too neere the meretricious attire of the Whore of Babylon: & therefore they are in a strait, whether they should reach their consciences so farre, as to a conformity and subscription; or suffer a proscription, or suspen­sion, or deprivation to passe vpon them. But Dauid did not vnnecessarily put himselfe vpon any such straites as these. In things absolutelie euill, or in things indifferent, he might soone haue quitted himselfe of all distraction and anxietie of minde. But here, there was an ineuitable necessitie, of choosing one of the three, which were all mala poe­nae. As the Angell tooke Bala [...]m in a narrow place,Num. 23. 26. where he could not turne to the right hād or the left.

But you will aske mee, what choyce can be of those things, of which there can be no desire? And who euer hated himselfe so much, that he should haue any inclination to vndergoe his punishment? Here then must that Vulgar Maxime take place; Emalis 1 minimum. If I must needes smart, that which is least pain [...]full, is most welcome. I would rather be chastised with whips, then (as Rehoboam threat­ned) with scorpions. 1. King. 12. 11. And our great Master Ari­stotle, could answere, that the lighter and more tol­lerable [Page 22] euils compared with the greater, haue the semblance and appearance of good, and therefore may he the objects of election.Greg. L. 8. ep. cap: 41. Plerum (que) genus mor­tis, in alterius mortis consideratione, levamen est. So did Dauid in his resolution, cast himselfe into the hands of the Lord, rather then into the hands of men; As thinking it his best and safest way: For the Vulgar translation reades it comparatiuely. Melius est vt incidam, &c. it is better for me to fall into the hand of the Lord, &c. Although he would by his good will haue escaped the hands of both.

Secondly, these three punishments, proposed to 2 King Dauid, howso [...]uer no way pleasing to flesh & bloud (for no chastening for the present seemeth to be ioyous, but grieuous, saith the Apostle) yet be­cause they belonged to the discipline, Hebr. 12. 11. which the Lord vseth ouer men, and were workes of his iu­stice, therefore in themselues good; and good for vs also, whensoeuer the Lord inflicts any such vpon vs, had we that good consideration of them, which this Kingly Prophet else-where professeth. Bonum mihi quia humiliatus: Ps: 119. 71. It is good for me that I haue beene afflicted, that I might learne thy statutes: a­mongst which, this is one: Statutum omnibus se­mel mori. Hebr. 9. 27. It is a poenall statute, enacted by that high court of Parliament, which made man, that death & the accomitants thereof, should be the wages of sinne which man made.

And I pray obserue here the deceitfullnes of sin. Ro: 6. 23. It promises freedome and liberty, but concludes vs in a prison, in litle [...]ase. Dauids heart was pric­ked [Page 23] at first, & puffed vp with a desire of vain know­ledge, but in the end his heart sm [...]te him [...]onit▪ Thus hath sinne, before it be cōmitted, a comely visage to allure vnto it,Reu. 9. 8. like those Locusts, with mens faces & womens haire, but a taile like a Scorpion & a sting in it; that is, in the end, anguish and anxietie. And A­baddon the King of the Locusts there, is ready to suggest vnto vs with his temptations, that God is mercifull and long suffering, so to make vs runne into praesumption: but afterwards he is as ready to driue vs vpon the rocke of despaire. He labours to keepe from vs the still voyce, wherein God is a God of mercie, with the lowd noise of blustring windes and earthquakes, and fire; still sounding in our eares terrour and iudgement,Ro. 2. 9. Tribulation and anguish vpon euery Soule that doth euill. These are dangerous straites, when, as in a peece of prospect­iue, the neerer the eye, the broader doe things ap­peare, but the farther off they are represented, the more contracted: so when the longer we looke vp­on our sinnes, the greater strait, the greater perplexity shewes it selfe. When we cannot see the end of those feares, that drawe all our hopes of pardon narrower and narrower, till they leaueus in the end, in the disconsolate thoughts of blacknes and vtter darkenes, where there is no glimpse of of light to be seene. But on the contrary, if it be, as we see in a calme water, when a stone, or the like, is cast in to mooue it, it makes a small and nar­row entrance, but from that impression, the circles are multiplied bigger and bigger, till they come to [Page 24] the bankes: so, if amongst all those contractions of heart, and distractions too, vnto which our sinnes haue brought vs; when the waters come vp euen vnto our soulesEt vnda supervenit vndae: and hemme vs in on euery side, we can but perceiue a dilatation and extension of mercie, one mercie o­uertaking another, and our hearts enlarged in the apprehension of those mercies: If when we passe here, through the red sea of many tribulations, where the path is narrow and dangerous, we can but see the land of Promise, abroad and spacious and pleasant place to entertaine vs, at our jor­neys end; we may be assured that this is the way of saluation. For [...], strait is the gate, and nar­row is the way which leadeth to aeternall life: Mat. 7. 14. strait and narrow in the beginning, but faire and capaci­ous the farther we project our sight. Straitnes for a short time, for a moment: but the largenes and vncircumscribed freedome of ioy, shall know no limits of time,Ps: 90. 15. but endure for all aeternity. Not on­ly, as the sweet singer of Israel praies, Make vs glad according to the daies, wherein thou hast afflicted vs, and the yeares wherein we haue seene euill: but without and beyond all comparison with former times,Rev. 21. 4. gladnes for euer. No sorrow, no crying, no paine, no straitnes, God shall wipe away all teares from all eyes. Who sees not that it is a farre more blessed thing, to goe on our way weeping here, which,Ps. 126. 6. although we tread vpon thornes, and with much difficultie get through, brings vs to a caelesti­all Paradise; then to walke in a broadway, strewe [...] [Page 25] with roses and other delicacies, to de [...]ruction and the place of torment: like the foole in the Prou. that goes laughing to the stockes.

Certainly King David was in a better estate, when his way was thus hedged vp with thornes, Hos. 2. 6. that he could not readily find his pathes, then when he walked at libertie vpon his tarras; from whence he had so pleasant & free a prospect vpon a faire wo­man, that it gaue occasion of that foule sinne with the wife of Vriah. 2. Sam. 11. (Mulier longè, libido propè▪) a sinne so soule,Aug. in Ps. 50. that it cloudes and overshadowes all the rest he committed; as if he had beene inno­cent in other transgressions.1. King. 15. 5. He turned not a side save only in the matter of Vriah the Hittite. When Nathan was sent to him for that, and God for this, he called himselfe to a strict account, and imitated that part of the Serpents wisdome: who drawes herselfe through a narrow place, that she may put off her old skinne. Such wisedome was David brought vnto by these straits, to strip himselfe of his former folly, to put off the old man by repen­tance, which is [...], & Resipiscentia, an after wisdome. And from him may we take a patterne, though wee cannot bee innocent as doues, yet in this manner, to be wise as serpents. Neverthelesse in his straites he found the Libertie of the sonnes of God▪ 2. Cor. 4. 8. That I may vse the Apostles words. He was troubled on every side, but not distressed, [...] perplexed but not in despaire. For his Resolution in the next words was cleere, and free 2 from perturba [...]ion.Dauids RESOLV­TION. Let vs fall now into the hands [Page 34] of the Lord &c. 1 Positiue. Therein first consider the positiue Part & the Reason annexed, and you shall find in it that same [...], his singular dexteritie in ad­uising and counsailing himselfe for the best, in so difficult a case, which is the infallible child of emi­nent wisedome.

1 For first, knowing himselfe to be guiltie of the punishments proposed to him, he declines them not; nor complaines of the severitie of them; nor prayes to haue them differed, or diverted from him; but readily accepts of that which he accoun­ted the mildest of the three, Incidā in manus Domi­ni. Whereas otherwise wisedome dictates to the innocent, not to draw so much suspicion vpon themselues, as voluntarilie to vndergoe what they deserue not.

2 Secondly obserue, how in his election he makes the circumstances of the punishment, fitly answere to the circumstances of the transgression, like Eli­sha vpon the Shunammites child, he applyes mouth to mouth, 2. King. 4. eyes to eyes, & hands to hands, & stretches the one vpon the other.

Pride was the mother of his sinne; and in my Text their is a fall for that, Incidamus, a posture of humiliation, he desires to be humbled vnder the mighty hand of God.

Againe this pride and glorying of his, was in the number of his subiects: Therefore he thought it but iust & agreeable to the law of Retaliation which the Lord holds: Per quae quis peccat, per [...]apunitur; that he should suffer by number; not by the increase but [Page 35] the diminution of that number, he so much vaun­ted of.Prou. 13. 28. According to that: In the multitude of people is the Kings honour; but in the want of peo­ple is the destruction of the prince. For Pagnine, Arias Montanus, Iunius, & Tremellius read it plu­rally, as we in our last English tranflate it, Incida­mus. Let vs fall.

And this intimates with all, his impartiallity e­ven to himselfe and his owue house. He would not lay a greivous burden of punishment vpon his peo­ples shoulders (as our Saviour taxes the Lawyers) and himselfe not touchit with one of his fingers; Lu. 11. 46. but submits himselfe to hold aequall proportion with the lowest of his people, who partly drew it all vp­on their heads. And Iosephus is of opinion, that for this reason he chose the Pestilence (howsoeuer we haue another expressed in the Text, from the Lords mercies) Because had it beene a Famine, he might haue made provision before hand a­gainst that. Had it beene the Enemies invasion, he might hauh secured himselfe in his Forts & strong holds. But the Plague is the Lords besome of destruction, which may sweepe away the King as soone as the Peasant; and therefore Incidamus, Let vs fall, I with the rest. I exempt not my selfe from the common calamitie.

Yet their is a particle more, which I may not o­mit. It is good to see the bottome of a danger at the first, and to know the continuance of it. A long and lingring expectation of the worst that may befall, perplexes more oftentimes, then if it [Page 28] came vpon vs presently. The shape of death repre­sented to our phantasies, is more terrible, then the experience of it to the sense. But when we know the heat of an affliction will be soone past over, it addes comfort and courage and resolution to the patients, who hope for release, at the expi­ration of that short time. It was King Davids discretion here, since he could not resolue, which was the most greivous, to choose that which was least tedious. He cast with himselfe, that he had but three daies to reckon vpon, for the furie of the pestilence: wheras he must haue told many long and irksome houres in the seaven yeares famine; or but the three monet'hs pursuite of his eni­mies; and therefore he makes it his request to the Lord, as the sonne of David hastens Iudas in his trecherous designe, that he might instantly enter vpon his passion, Ioh. 13. 27. [...]. Let vs now fall into the hand of the Lord. Now presently, with­out further delay.

And he had his wish: for immediatly the Lord sent a pestilence vpon Israel, Ver. 15. from the morning (that very morning in which Gad & he had this conference) even to the time appointed. Which appointed time; whither it were onely [...], from the morning till dinner time, as the Sep­tuagint render it,Qu. 37. in 2 Reg. and Theodoret and St. Am­brose follow that opinion:In Psal. 37. or till the time of the continuall evening sacrifice: (so the Chaldee Pa­raphase explaines it, and St. Hierome and other moderne interpreters:) or till the time that David [Page 29] sacrificed vpon Araunahs threshing flowre; or till the whole three dayes in the letter of the Scripture, were expired; I may not stād to discusse. But it is ve­ry probable, that David was in hope, by the reason he giues of his choyce, (Multae misericordiae Do­mini;) that the Lord in his great mercie, might contract and shorten, euen that short time of three dayes.

But before I come to recount those consolations and advantages which Dauid forecast, by falling into the hand of the Lord; I must explicate the terme, what is meant here by the hand of the Lord. Some thinke that Dauid excepted onely against the Sword of the Enemie, the hand of man, and left it to the disposition of the Almighty, to inflict ei­ther the Pestilence, or Famine: which come both more immediatly from the hand of the Lord. Or that he did determinately make choice of the Pe­stilence, but in some other words, which are not expressed in the text; as if it could not be euinced sufficiētly out of the text: yet, that he must fixe vpō; because the Prophet Gad, vrg'd him still to a definite answere.V. 12. & 13. Choose thee one of them, that I may doe it vnto thee. So Tostatus inferres. But some later Commentators, could see a determinate choice of the Pestilence, in the very Phrase of the hand of the Lord, here vsed. For in many other places of holy writ, this is more peculiarly call'd the hand of the Lord. As Exod. 9. 3. Behold the Hand of the Lord is vpon thy cattell &c. and v. 15. I will strech forth my hand that I may smite thee and thy people with [Page 38] Pestilence. So also we finde it Ier. 21. 5. 6. I my selfe will fight against you, manu extentâ, with an out stretched hand, and smite the inhabitants, they shall die of a great Pestilence. Hab: 3. 4. And thus doth the Prophet Habb: describe the awfull Matie of God. He had hornes comming out of his hand what were those? Before him went the Pestilence, and burning coales (or burning diseases) went forth at his feet. Nay. 1 Chron. 21. 12. there is a sword put into the hand of the Lord. Gladius Domini & Pestilentia; the Sword of the Lord euen the Pestilence. For al­beit all the creatures are as armes and instruments of vengeance in the hand of the Lord (the starres in their courses fought against Sisera: Iud. 5. 20. Fire came downe from heauen at Eliah's praiers: the Earth swallowed vp Core and his complices: Beares de­voured the 42 children, in Bethel, that mock't E­lisha) yet where we cannot discerne the hand of na­ture, nor the hand of man, as in the Pestilence; of which we cannot giue any naturall cause, neither can humane counsailes or remedies preuent, or re­moue it (and such was this here, which after so strange a manner, and in so short a space, swept a­way so many thousands,7o Antiq: c. 10 as Iosephus excellently describes it,) there we attribute it to a supreame & spirituall and inuisible cause, to the hand, or sword of the Lord. As those Magicians before Pharaoh, when their Art failed them in producing lice, Exod. 8. 19. were forc'd to acknowledge, Digitus Dei est hic. Thus did Dauid make his choice of the Pestilence, agee­able to that denunciation of the Lord; Exod. 30. 12. where it is [Page 39] intimated, that if they did not pay the halfe shekell there commanded, at the taking the summe of the people, there should come a plague vpon them. And the Rabbins (though it be but a fond, and too subtile a conceite of theirs) affirme that Gad prōp­ted Dauid to this particular choice: and according to his ministeriall function, help'd to extricate him out of his perplexity; in that, at the end of the prae­cedent verse, where Gad bids him, aduise and see what answere I shall returne: In the Hebrew it is [...] Dabar, quod verbum: from whence commeth [...] Deber, which signifies the Pestilence, and is the word vsed both before and after my text. But without the helpe of such vaine curiosities, Dauids refusall of the Famine, and the Sword, may be both implied in the negatiue part of his resolution: non in manus hominum. Because many times there may be a Famine caused by the helpe of man; when neither the Heauens are made iron, nor the Earth brasse vnto vs. As when the enemies set fire on the fruits of the land, which was Sampsons stratagem with foxes & firebrandes to burne the Philistimes corne. Or whē they cut off the convoies & block vp a beleaguered towne, so that it cannot take in, new prouisions: (which is the new militarie discipline of these times, when by breaking the staff of bread, and causing cleannes of teeth, the enemies prevaile more, then by their owne courage and force of armes.) Or else, when in times of peace aud plen­tie, our great Corne-masters will make a dearth, by hoording vp their graine, that they may the better [Page 32] enhance the price of it. Suffering the bowells of the poore to be emptie, while their store-houses are full; and with a pittiles eye beholding their nee­dy brethren, whil'st they cannot but knowe, that mise and ratts and other vermine revell in their garners. There are other waies, in which the hand of man may concurre to a famine. Therefore Da­vid refusing those two, vnder that phrase, submits himselfe here to the Pestilence, by submitting him­selfe to the hand of the Lord. And of the Lord alone; that he would visit immediatly, without deputing or substituting any vnmercifull creatures to that worke of vengeance. For he is facile and exorable, slow to conceiue a wrath, and loath to execute it, when it is conceiued,Reason of Dav. choyce. in rigor and strictnes. For his mercies are great. Which is the strong Induce­ment and Reason of Dauids choice, to cast him­selfe vpon the Lord. And obserue his emphaticall expressions. He doth not say mercie, but mercies in the plurall, more then one. Not few mercies but many mercies; nor many litle, but many and great mercies: nor there a stoppe; but [...], very many in their number, very great in their dimensions. Nay they are not onely many and great, but [...], very many, great, and tender mercies; as the Septuagint well render the Origi­nall; (Not by [...];) The very bowells of motherly compassion; for which the Evangelist's oftimes use [...], and [...].

His mercies are extended according to the ex­tension of all our miseries; and elevated according [Page 33] to the elevation of our sinnes.Ps. 145. 9. Be they neuer so ma­ny, neuer so weightie, yet the mercies of the Lord are ouer all his workes, and ouer all those which we may most properly call our workes. It is a high de­gree 1 of mercie, that although I haue offended in many things, yet I might haue fallen into more, and more foule transgressions, had not his mercie re­strain'd me. It is an addition of mercie, that the 2 Lord, who spared not the Angels which kept not their first estate, but presently cast them downe from Heauen, is long suffering towards me, and ex­pects my returne to him,Ber [...]. de 7. Pani [...]. s [...]r. 2. almost at mine owne lea­sure. Non continebam à sceleribus, & tu á verberi­bus abstinebas. He farther enlargeth his mercy,3 when this long expectation and forbearance brings mee to repentance, Rom. 2. 4. and that hee toucheth my heart with compunction and remorse. Againe 4 when his mercie leaues me not in an vnfruitfull repentance, in the bitternesse of my soule; bu [...] accepts of it, and seales vnto me, the comfort of the 5 remission of my sinnes. Yet he followes this with a­nother; giuing me the power to amend my life, and hereafter to walke more cautelously. Nether are his 6 mercies yet shortened,Lam. 3. 23. but new euery morning, nay euery moment & minute in that he giues me con­stancie and perseuerance, that I fall not into a reci­diuation, a relapse. Lastly, there is the height of 7 mercy, when he giues me, a miserable sinner, who am not worthy so much as to lift vp mine eyes to heauen, an assured hope of obtaining heauen.

Here are seauen degrees of mercy, like those [Page 34] seauen loau [...]s, Mat. 15. 32. wherewith thousands were refresh­ed.Loco cita [...]. And I might with St Bernard gather vp many baskets full of the fragments of each of them. But what heart can comprehend, what discourse can containe those many, very great and tender mer­cies, that know no other bounds but aeternitie. The mercie of the Lord is from everlasting to e­verlasting: Psal. 103. 17. ab aeterno per praedestinationem, in ae­ternum per glorificationem.

Great are the mercies of the Lord euen in his 1 executions of Iustice 1 That he will at all shew vs so great a testimonie of his loue, as to correct vs. Quos amo, Reu. 3. 19. arguo. That, Ezech. 16. 42. I will be no more angry, is an euident token of the Lords greatest anger.Bern in Cant. Tunc magis irascitur, cum no [...] irascitur. Serm. 42. Let fauour be shewed to the wicked hee will not learne righteousnes, sayth the Prophet Isa. 26. 10. The presumptiō of impunity will breed im­pudence, in sinning: and that not stay, till it haue brought in most fearefull impenitency. Super om­nem irammiseratio ista, as St. Bernard exclames; such forbearance, such conniuence, is beyond all vengeance. Let then this mercy of the Lord first shew it selfe, that he will be pleased to disciplinate and correct vs: and not leave vs to our owne cor­rupt imaginations: not giue vs ouer to the inuen­tions 2 of our owne hearts: and in the second place he will not forget to be a Father of mercies to­wards vs,Heb. 10. 31. in the measure of his corrections. It is a fearefull thing indeede to fall into the hand of the Lord: but it is then onely, when his left hand of [Page 35] Clemencie doth not know, what his right hand of iustice and seuerity purposeth to inflict. But such iustice without mercy, onely attendes those, that haue reiected and conte [...]ned both. Other­wise, there is euer a hand of mercie, either ready, to stay the hand of the Lords seuerity towards the paenitent, as the Angell held Abrahams hand, when he was striking; or at the least to breake the force of the blowes; to moderate and temper them according to our patience. As the Prophet Hab­bakuk makes it his petition. Habb. 3. 2. In wrath remember mercy (so our last translation hath it) but the vulgar makes it a confident perswasion. Cum iratus fueris, misericordiae recordaberis. Indeede wee haue Gods owne word, nay his oath for it, as Dauid had: Once haue I sworne by my holinesse that I will not lye vnto Dauid. Psal. 89. 32. If his children forsake my law, I will visit their iniquity, with the rod & with stripes. (but it shall be In Plag [...]s filiorum hominum, with no more cruell stripes then humane infirmitie can beare;2 Sam. 7. 14. as we read the same promise repeated.) Misericordiam autem non auferam. Neuerthelesse my mercy & louing kindnesse shall not depart from them.

Behold then what consolations Dauid had in the many mercies of the Lord: & the same are still stret­ched out ouer vs; if as he was a mā after Gods heart, we be after Dauids. What euer calamitie or pressure be vpon vs, we must keepe holy Iobs ae­quanimitie and good temper, to receiue evill, as well as good from the hand of the Lord. But when [Page 36] the visitation is particularly discerned to be the Plague, as Dauid here desired: when we see that the hand of the Lord is vpon those houses, where Domine miserere is set to keepe the doore: Neuer­thelesse as in Samsons riddle,Iud. 14. Out of the eater came meate, out of the strong came sweetenesse: so from the greatest terrours of this deuouring disease, much hony and sweetenesse and comfort may bee extracted; if we first know the causes of the Pesti­lence. The Physicians of the body seeke the causes in nature, and assigne two. An outward, from the contagion of the aire; An inward, from the con­stitution of our bodies. But the Physitians of the Soule, make their search beyond nature: and for the true outward cause, looke aboue nature, to the will and Prouidence of Allmightie God; for the inward cause, looke belowe nature, vpon the corrupt will & Sinne of man. Both these Dauid here acknow­ledged: within him, Peccauivalde; without him and aboue him, it was Manus Domini. Both which he comprehendes Ps. 38. 2. 3. Thine arrowes stick fast in me, & thy hand presseth mee sore: there is no soundnesse in my flesh, nor rest in my bones. Why? because of my sinne. And from both these, wee may take many soueraigne Praeserua­tiues. 1 1 Whatsoeuer befalls vs in the time of Pesti­lence, comes from the hand of the Lord, by his will and permission. Let vs not therefore, like an­gry dogs, which runne after the stone that is throwen at them, behold with impatience and murmure,Ps. 91. the prints of Gods arrow which [...]lyes by [Page 37] day: but looke to that hand, that sent it, and be hū ­bled vnder Gods hand. And in the 2d. place, let vs perswade our selues, that whatsoeuer comes from 2 the Lord, shall tend to our good and saluation. All things worke together for the good of them that feare him. Rom. 8. Peccata quo (que) saith St. Aug. Our sinnes wrought that vnspeakable good, Ro: 8. when they occasio­ned the comming of a Redeemer, who wrought the good of our saluation 30 and odd yeares here vpon earth. And they still worke for our good, in calling for chastisements, which are good for vs. But in the 3d. place. The deserts of our sinnes doe farre goe 3 beyond all our most insupportable sufferings. How much more then are we to magnifie the Father of mercies; that neuer deales with his children accor­ding to the proportion of their transgressions: And if that God of pure eyes did not behold iniquitie in vs, his hand would neuer be heauy vpon vs. There­fore 4thly. If we desire to prevent the infection of 4 the Pestilence, we mnst flye the nfection of our owne concupiscence, and purifie our hearts by faith and vnfained repentance. For it is the first degree of madnes: Greg. ep: Lib. 8. c. 41. Nolle quempiam à malis suis iustè qui­escere, & Deu [...] iniustè a suâ velle vltione cessare. To expect that the Lord should rest from his most just worke of punishing vs, if we will not rest from our owne vniust workes of provoking him. Thus perhaps we may divert the Pestilence from our per­sons. And as our Kingly Prophet cōforts himselfe, and all the godly.Ps. 91. A thousand may fall at our side, & ten thousand at our right hand, yet it shall not [Page 38] come neere vs. But if it be approch't so neere, that we are not neerer to our selues; that it is euen vp­on vs: there is neuerthelesse balme in Gilead, there are remedies at hand. Iob praescribes a cordiall: Hope euen aboue hope.Iob 13. 15. Though he slay me, yet I will trust in him. St Luke, (himselfe being a Physitian, but from the mouth of a greater,) praescribes an excellent diet, Luc. 21: 17. which is Patience. In your patience possesse yee your Soules. St Iames, Prayer, which is a medicine both purgatiue and praeseruatiue. Iam. 5. 13. Is any among you afflicted, let him pray; Is any sicke, let him call others to pray with him. This will either re­mooue the Plague from vs, or vs from the Plague.

What then dost thou feare, O man of litle faith? Doth solitarinesse affright thee, because thou art an vnwilling Heremite in a peopled citie: shut vp frō the society of freinds & acquaintance? Thou foole! Angels will be thy Guardians, and the Lord himself thy Keeper, to make thy bed in all thy sicknes. Doth Death appale thee? Aristotle's [...], and Bildad's, Iob 18. 14 King of Terrors. Why this is thy Debt to Nature, & thy Passage to Glory. And what though the Pestilence be appointed one of Death's Collec­tors, and Tole-gatherers, to gather thee to the rest of thy Fathers? This may separate thy soule from thy body;Ro. 8. 34. but in S. Paul's confidence, What shall bee able to separate thee frō the loue of God in Christ Ie­sus? Let vs therefore willingly & cheerefully, with holy Dauid, submit our bodies to fall into the hand of the Lord, & to fall by his hand, into the mouth of the graue: so long as we may securely with Dauid, [Page 39] commend our spirits into the hands of the same Lord. Ps. 31. 4. But let me not fall into the hand of man. 2

I shall giue you this Negatiue part of his Reso­lution in few words.Negatiue part of Resolution. The hand of man is his power; and his power becomes formidable by his Malice. Why boastest thou in mischeif, Ps. 52. 1. O mightie man? Da­uid had oftentimes the experience of this malicious power of men as in that Psalme he cōplains of Doeg's ealumnies: and elswhere of Saul's furie, and Sheba's treacherie, nay his owne sonne Absalom's conspira­cy, Shimei's cursing and railing, and the like. No wonder then, if he so feelingly except against the hand of man. For in the Originall it is set downe by way of petition with vehemence and importunitie. Incidamus obsecro. Let vs I pray. It shall be a great courtesie, and happines, to fall into the hand of the Lord, but by no meanes into man's hand. Albeit he puts them into the ballance, and this be but the hand of Adam (which is the word in the Originall) weake, [...]. fraile, corruptible, contemptible, vaine man, nay, vanitie it selfe: that, [...]. the hand of Iehova, the Lord of power and strength. But the goodnes of the Lord endures continually, as it followeth in that before-alleaged 52. Ps. This goes hand in hand, as an inseparable companion with his power: whereas man's power is seldome seene in so good company. And did not the Lord set limits to the malice of man, like to the raging sea: thus farre shalt thou goe, and no farther: did not he shorten and direct the power of man, better then he intends it; No flesh could be saued. Doe not we heare S. Paul speake [Page 40] of one man biting and deuouring another? Gal. 5. 15. Doth there not stand vpon record, an encounter of his with beasts at Ephesus? 1. Cor. 15. 32. Homo homini lupus. Man is a Wolfe, a Panther, a Tiger, most vnnaturall to his owne kinde:Plutarch: [...]. When he is once flesht with bloud, he becomes as insatiable as the Horse­leech. He was at the first created milde and gentle, but afterwardes he tooke this ill qualitie from him, who was [...]. a manslayer from the be­ginning.

There is manus Linguae, Prou. 18. 21. the hand, or power of the tongue. Let me not fall into the power of man's tongue. It is a shop, an armorie of hurtfull instru­ments. There are swords, and arrowes, and razours, and poyson of Aspes. He that detracts or backbites, kills three at once; himselfe, his auditors that credit his false calumnies, and their good names, who are traduced. Libels, and that late new way of redu­cing the most serious matters to ridiculous Ballads, and Rimes, are the issues of the power of man's tongue.Bern: Facilè volant, non facile violant. Their words are light of wing, but deepely wounding.

And if the power of man's tongue be so pernici­ous, much more then shall I desire not to fall into the hand or power of man, in his executions. His hatred is immortall, his reuenge barbarous, and not only cruell, but full of opprobrious insultations. As I haue read of an Italian, whose malice was like the Elephant, Bichteri Axi­ [...]. Polit: ten yeares in bringing forth; and see the monstrous birth. Hee fained a reconciliation with that party that had offended him: Takes advantage [Page 41] of his credulous simplicitie, and when he had him at his mercie, promiseth to spare his life, if he wou'd renounce his Faith, and deny his God. This was no sooner yeelded to, but lest that word might be re­call'd, he makes it his last word: and glories of the sweetnes of this reuenge, that he had taken it both vpon body and soule.

Neither doth the hand of m [...]n extend it selfe on­ly to the persons of men: but proceedes farther, to lay waste whole countries, to pervert whole sates and common-wealths, to demolish amongst other houses, the houses of God, to deface Religion. And this was it which Dauid here feared, lest the enemies might take the Arke of the Lord, as formerly they had often done, and so interrupt the seruice, and worship due vnto his holy Name: therefore, not in­to the hand of man.

Simeon and Levi brethren and instruments of crueltie; Gen. 49. 5. In their anger they slew a man, and digged downe a wall: (that is) the Scribes and Priests being of both those Tribes, slew the Man Christ Iesus: and digged downe the walls of that Temple, Iohn: 2. 19. which he promised to build vp in three dayes. And againe, Simeon and Levi; Iesuited Lay-men, and Iesuiticall Priests, sworne brethren in that diuelish conspira­cy of the Powder-plot: They slew a man, 2 Christ, an anointed of the Lord, (in their designe and attempt at least) and not onely the head, but the representa­tiue body of this whole land. They digged downe a wall too,Isa. 19. 15. and digged deepe to hide their counsailes from the Lord. Cursed be their anger for it was [Page 42] fierce: But blessed be the God of Iacob that defea­ted their anger. L [...]vs neuer fall into the barba­rous hands of such men: such vnfortunate gentle­mē, (as they are termed by soē of their adhaerēts;) Vnfortunate in nothing, but that they gaue not the blowe. Nor into the more mercilesse hands of such men, who can slay a man after he is dead; and kill him in his Faith: Make him a [...] Reneg ado, an Apostate, a miraculous Proselyte, a Conuert in the graue. So that, it is not without reason, that the Preacher, after long search and diligent enquiry, re­turnes this verdict.Eccles. 7. 28. One man amongst a thousand haue I found; but a woman among all those haue I not found. There is then neither man, nor woman, not any of all mankinde, of either sexe, in whose hands I may [...]cnrely trust my selfe, but in the hands of that One man, who knew no sinne: yet was made man, nay sinne for me, nay for vs all. His hands were stretched out vpon the crosse, to receiue vs: his hands are still open, to receiue our prayers, and to of­fer them vp to his Father on our behalfes: and him­selfe readie at the right hand of his Father, to make intercession for vs, that his hand may be stayed, which is against vs.

We are already in Araunahs threshing floore, vnder the flail, vnder the rod, and heavy visitation of the Lord. Here then erect an Altar, and prae­pare a Sacrifice. If they be not ready, we neede not be at any greater expense to purchase them, then our Praiers. Deus providebit, God must, and will provide himselfe a sacrifice. Nay Prouidit; I pre­sume [Page 43] he hath prouided both. And that, not A­raunah as a King, but the King of Kings, hath fur­nisht vs with that, which cost vs nothing, of our owne; Hearts for Altars, and (I doubt not) con­trite hearts for Sacrifices. Sacrificia Domini Spi­ritus contribulatus: Ps. 51. 17. which he will not, nay which he cannot despise. We haue the Place, the Altar, the Sacrifice, the Priest. What remaines then? but that we should,V. 25. with our Kingly Prophet Dauid, First offer vp our burnt offerings, the incense of our prayers and supplications, with feruent deuotion; and pray, that they may be accepted in that propi­tiatorie sacrifice Christ Iesus: and next, our Peace offerings, our prayses and thanksgiuings, when we shall perceiue, that the Lord is entreated for the Land, by our Prayers and Fastings: and the Plague, with all other his visitations, stayed in our Israel. He heare vs, in that name aboue all names, of his blessed sonne Iesus Christ, in whom he is well plea­sed. To which Father, and Sonne, with the holy Spirit, God aeternall, be ascribed all honour, and power, by the whole Quire of Angels, and Men, now and euer; Amen.

FINIS.

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