A Sermon Preached at Pauls Crosse September 9. 1621.

BY ROGER LEY Maister of Arts, and Minister of Gods Word in Shoreditch.

GEN. 3.15.

I will put enmity betweene thee and the Woman, and betweene thy seede and her seede: it shall bruise thy Head, and thou shalt bruise his Heele.

LONDON Printed by Iohn Dawson for Nicholas Bourne, and are to be sold at his shop at the Royall Exchange. 1622.

TO THE RIGHT WORSHIPFVLL Mr. ROBERT DVCIE Alderman of London peace and saluation.

YOur eare hath beene partaker of that I nowe present to your eye. In all things vsually one sense maketh way for the other, and the second perfecteth the first: for hea­ring doth render that but farre off, which seeing giueth neerer hand. A speaker is then happiest in his labour, when words are permanent and fixed. And that, ei­ther [Page]in the heart and meditation of the hearer, when the Spirit and finger of God, by zeale and industrious labour printeth them there, as so many engrauen letters: or when to helpe memory, they are exposed to publique view; for sounds doe passe in the aire, this hath the priuiledge of a constant continuance. Sermons deliuered in that audience, are principally for the gouernours of this Honourable Cittie. Therefore I offer it to you by dedication, as I did before in speaking vnto many. Many were ab­sent, you a present hearer in the time of vacation, when your place being Sheriffe required residence. Moreouer, being for a time a labourer in your Parish, as smaller riuers vse not to breake out into seuerall Chanels if one be preserued full: I let this come to you among the rest, as with a greater confluence. Small I terme this gift in respect of the Authour, and his sufficience. The words eminence which may be seene in plannesse, and natiue simplicity; is onely worth the reckoning. God the great guide of this [Page]world hath giuen the smallest starres their influence. And the milky circle in Heauen (so it is called) consisteth of those starres that are scarce discernable, they are not for that excluded from the Fir­mament. For although the great Philo­sopher supposed that circle to be lower, and out of the Heauens: yet the fictions of vnskilfull antiquity made it the way to Paradise, and the caelestiall Court. My desire is, that the word being forcible in the meanest instrument, may moue in the Orbe by this publique passage, to di­rect on earth, and yeeld the way to Hea­uen: For this end, I hold it better to com­mit the prosperous successe of it to him aboue, that committed the deliuerance to me: then to feare the vncertaine cen­sures of a Criticke. This being the in­tent of the Writer, I desire the Readers true practise, and entertainment may make it good.

Your vnfained well-willer, in all obser­uance and due respect. ROGER LEY.

THE BRVISING OF THE Serpents Head. At Pauls Crosse. September. 1621.

LVKE, 11.21.

When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace.

22. But when a stronger then he shall come vpon him and ouercome him, he taketh from him all his Armour wherin he trusted and diuideth his spoiles.

23. He that is not with me, is against me, and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth.

IT is a fault grieuous and yet too common, that good things are least estee­med: but of all errours the basest is to misconster good actions and to depraue the shining worth of excellen­cie. This as it is the basest, so the last shift of men har­dened against goodnesse, for when the desart of others seemeth to touch and wound their insufficience: then they cast blemishes [Page 2]vpon that which was feared to lay some blots vpon their vnworthinesse. The story of our Sauiour affords vs an incomparable example. He came to his owne, and his owne receiued him not. He came not among them empty handed without fauours, nor led an vn­profitable life: but all his workes were witnesses of his loue, and all their wants and miseries euident declarers of an incomparable working, Hauing now cast out a Deuill which made the people wonder, the Pharisees swelling with enuie said he did it by the power of the chiefe Deuill, so to disgrace the worke they could not hinder. Against these men he directs his speech, and sheweth in them their intollerable blasphemie, a sinne against the holy Ghost, neuer to haue pardon. Our pre­sent History then setteth out a double conflict of Christ the King and Sauiour of the world against Satan the enemie of mankind, the Deuill in the body and in the tongue: in the body of a poore man possest, in the tongue of the proud and rebellious Pharisees. The one was a Deuill blind and dumbe, the other a seeing and a slandering aduersary. Because violence doth not make an enemie so dangerous as when craft conueyeth his enterprise by some secret vndermining; the blind and dumbe man soone cured where the enemie shewed himselfe by force, but these cauillers vnder whose lips lay hid the poyson of Asps, were not so soone put to si­lence. These Pharisees seemed holy men, they called the chiefe Deuill Belzebub out of zeale and a deuout pretence in detestation of their ancestours idolatry, who worshipped Baal, and among seuerall kinds of that heathenish idoll (which had many names accor­ding to the places of worship) Baalzebub; whose name they now abhord. And because all things require go­uernment, they supposed Belzebub the chiefe in hel, see­ing withall so many miracles performed by Christ they said he did combine with the chiefe Deuill and by that power cast them out. This calumnie is confuted [Page 3]by sundry arguments. First, out of the seuenteenth verse. Euery Kingdome deuided against it selfe is brought to desolation, and a house deuided against it selfe cannot stand. If Satan also be deuided against himselfe, and Belzebub the chiefe ioyne with Christ a­gainst the lesse; how could that gouernment in dure?

The second argument we haue verse, 19. Their iudg­ment was partiall and with respect of persons, for their children cast out Deuills and had no blame. He mea­neth the Iewish exorcists, who had a power giuen them from aboue by calling vpon Gods name to cast out these vncleane spirits. It is more then probable these Iewes did cast them out by vsing the name of Christ which then was become famous. S. Iohn saith to our Sauiour, Marke 9.38. Maister we saw one casting out Deuills in thy name and he followeth not vs. These then escaped the Iewish hatred, but Christ did not: therefore hee inferreth against them, they shall be your iudges to condemne you, that malice the cause of slander, & that the mother of falsehood haue cast vpon me this iniustimputation. A thir [...] argument is in these words. A strong man keepeth his house and goods vntill a stronger force him out and take possession in his place. I doe this expelling him with my word: therefore his power is subiect vnto mine, and my miracle is true; yee ought then to embrace my saying, and to stand to my cause confirmed with such cleere testimony: or to be scattered in your fond deuises, so to reape the fruite of your owne folly.

In the handling of these words I meane not to stand so much vpon possession of the body, and of Christ the deliuerer: but that the subiect may something sute with the eminence of this place, and the full scope and lati­tude of the words: rather shew a recouering of the soule, a renewing of the world, and a subduing of sinne by the Gospell. For the consent of interpreters extend this saying to this as the full and perfect meaning, ex­pounding [Page 4]pounding it not merely of a bodily dispossession, but of the whole proceeding of Christ in the strength of his Kingdome. The words yeeld the same of necessity, [...] all his armour, the entering his palace, and di­uiding his spoiles, cannot limit this victory to a bodily deliuerance alone. Nos quondam arma eius regnique mi­litiam in [...]s suum redegit saith S. Hilarie. Christ hath ta­ken vs who were once the Deuills armour and force of his Kingdome, and brought vs vnder his owne power. The whole world is the house of Belzebub, so Erasmus. And Caluin, quicquid corporibus praestitit Christus ad ani­mas referri voluit, whatsoeuer Christ performed to the body, he would haue the same referd vnto the soule. It is plainly showne from the 24. Verse. of this Chapter following the Text immediately. He compareth the nation of the Iewes to a man possest as the Deuills house. (S. Mathew maketh it more plaine) Christ did driue him out and clensed the house by his Gospell, but because they entertained his words with scorne and neglected him; the house was empty: then commeth the vncleane spirit with seauen worse then himselfe, who finding the house emptie swept and garnished, he maketh it his habitation, and the end thereof is worse then the beginning. So dangerous a sinne is Apostacy, and so truly did hee threaten that wicked generation being rebels against the truth: for what decayed house, or miserable ruine of any building can compare with those emptie Iewes, that would not acknowledge their Lord?

And that which Esay the Prophet spake of the soule Cap. 53. verse 4. He tooke our infirmities and bare our sicknesses, meaning sinne and the maladies of the mind: S. Mathew chap. 8. verse 17. applieth to casting out of Deuills and curing of diseases. For both are the worke of one Lord, for one and the same end to make vs ac­knowledge him the onely redeemer. As the battering of the walls of a Citty, is but a preparatiue to handy [Page 5]strokes and the ouerthrow of the dwellers: so the cas­ting out of Satan from the body the case and outside of the soule, is a signe of sauing power that cureth both soule and body, and will expell the enemie from all his vsurped places. Dauid reasoned from one good turne to another, 1. Samuel 17.36. Thy seruant slue both the Lyon and the Beare, and this vncircumcised Philistim shall be as one of them seeing he hath defied the armies of the liuing God. Moreouer the Lord that deliuered me from the paw of the Lyon and the beare, he will de­liuer me out of the hand of this Philistim, in like man­ner these words of Christ take occasion from the mira­cle, to expresse his Soueraigne might in redeeming from the paw of hell and destruction. Let vs therefore take the whole world for a haunted house. We find it so Iob 1.7. I come (saith he) from going to and fro in the earth, and from walking vp and downe in it. The greatest strength of it his weapons and munition, the greatest wit and policy of it, if it be foolishnesse with God as the Apostle calls it, it cannot but sauour of the wisdome of this Serpent. 1. Cor. 3. If these places be the prime of our microcosme, the head and glory of all our Iland they cannot but be assaulted. And if the cry of vices be not vntrue, the walking of some dangerous spirit may raise vp our suspition and complaint. Whose puisance to shew, whose dealing to discouer, and to vncase his villanie that lurketh in our presence; as in it selfe is pro­fitable: so more auailable when the power of heauen is showne that ouerthrowes it. In the seeing of both we may doe as the world vsually doth, take part with the stronger side. To one we mustioyne, no staying in the middest. Christ saith so in the last of these verses. He that is not with me is against me. That God is strong­ger: and his quarrell safer, the beginning speaketh eui­dently. Christ entreth into the strong mans Palace, Ouercommeth him, taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and deuideth his spoiles. I find then [Page 6]in this Text that which either is exprest or implyed in euery Sermon, a Doctrine and a Vse: the strength of our Sauiour affirmed, and our obedient seruice enfor­ced. In the first of these a power of vsurpation and a power of iurisdiction. In the vsurped power we find two parts: the strong mans industry. He is armed and keepeth his Palace: and his security, his goods are in peace. The lawfull power hath two parts: Christs vic­tory: But when a stronger then he shall come vppon him and ouercome him: and his gaine: he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted and deuideth his spoiles. The next Verse is a reproofe of vnprofitable seruants which make no vse of this benefit. Hee ope­neth in them two things, a base negligence, and a vaine confidence. First, the negligent stander by that is nei­ther hot nor cold, is cast out as distasted by his palate, he that is not with me is against me. Secondly, his vaine hope. Let him heape, and build, and frame his workes together: all is to be blowne away with the breath of Gods displeasure, hee that gathereth not with me scat­tereth. Of these parts in order.

His industry, when a strong man armed keepeth his Palace.

The beginning hauing dwelt longer vpon the sence of the words to free them from obscurity, each part may be past ouer with better expedition. These first words note vnto vs the power of our enemie called the strong Man, and his diligence, he is armed and kee­peth his Palace. Hard it is to match with one so well prouided. Our Sauiour speaketh of him thus, Now is the Prince of this world cast out, Iohn 21.31. And to shew, we might imagine something aboue the world, and the reach of mortall powers (because the greatest Potentate is but an arme of flesh) he is called the God of the world, 2. Cor. 4.4. In whom the God of this world [Page 7]hath blinded the eies of them that beleeue not. Hee is called the Prince of the power of the aire. Ephes. 2.2. Sunt magnapars corum quae in imperijs geruntur & fiunt saith Peucer. In the busines of Kingdomes they haue a hand and a great stroke. Insidiantur atrocius ijs qui ad gubernaculasedent saith the same Authour: They assault them most dangerously, who sit at the helme of gouern­ment, and he addeth the reason that the disease hauing gotten and possest the head, the infection might spread abroad vpon the body, and destroy all like a common pestilence. It was for some thing he fell to this temp­tation in assaulting Christ whom he felt so impregna­ble. All these things will I giue thee, she wing him the world and glory of it. He had some show for his pro­mise, although his reason was vnsound: saying, it is de­liuered vnto mee, and to whomsoeuer I will I giue it. Luke 4.6. This authoritie is first and principall in the Infidels, who wanting the true guide by an ineuitable fall doe light vpon the false. In them he ruleth and lea­deth them on to his owne ends, and these are of grea­test power, and possesse the chiefe roomes in his house by domineering in the world. That we may not faile of the truth, haue recourse vnto the fountaine and be­ginning which vsually giues the cleerest euidence, wee shall find greatnesse and vngodlinesse grow together. The first Citty that was built had Cain to be the foun­der, called Enoch after his sonnes name. From him came Lamech, Gen. 4. and from that wicked race descended the great men of the earth. Iabal the father of such as dwell in tents, Iubal of skilfull musicians, and Tubal Cain of artificers in brasse and yron. No words of Abel but religion and slaughter together. Of Seth and Enos com­ming at last in Abels roome, it is reported, Gen. 4.26. Then (as if it had beene long looked for before) then beganne men to call vpon the name of the Lord. But time the great friend and enemie to the earth, as it brought about this good turne, did weare out that hap­pie [Page 8]season. Gen. 6.1. For when they beganne to multiply, the sonnes of God, tooke vnto them the daughters of men, and from so bad a copulation, we could not expect but a like progenie: the flood swept away the generation at last, only eight were found fit to be saued in the Arke, and one Cham in the company. After this beginning to relate what followed, though briefely were too tedi­ous. Let vs looke at our owne times, find we not the strong man armed in his Palace? How are the spacious places and gardens of the world inhabited by them that know not the worship of God? And in Christian Kingdomes how hath idolatry preuailed, and prouo­ked the highest? a sinne to states both dangerous and fatall: it often ouerthrew the Iewes, and now hath so exasperated the Iudge of the earth, that Turkish cruel­ty hath cut of the goodliest branches of this Vine, and that Citty which the Tartarian conquerour iudged fit to command the world, is become the chiefe seate of this Mahometant tyrant. Roome the other eye of Europe helpes him forward by hindring a reformati­on, to this effect the Dragon and the Beast ioyne toge­ther their forces. Let none thinke this imputation is iniust, time and euill custome make way to a destroyer by soiling religion with superstition and idolatry. The spirit of God speaketh so much almost in plaine termes, Reuel. 9.20. When the Angels were loosed from the ri­uer Euphrates, to bring so many millions to kill the third part of men; yet the rest of men repented not of the workes of their hands, that they should not worship Deuils, and idols of gold, and siluer, and brasse, and stone, and wood, which neither can see, nor heare, nor walke. Who hath come from the riuer Euphrates, and slaine so many but the Turke? bringing so many mil­lions to destroy. Of whom hath he slaine them but of Christians? and who worship Images but the Christi­ans? the followers of Mahomet hate idoles, and the professors of Christ are in loue with them. By the way [Page 9]then, see how little good Christendome can expect while Antichrist and his Kingdome stand. In the meane time see the strong man armed keeping his Pa­lace, the two imperiall Citties, one rent from the Chri­stians, the other renting in pieces the truth of Christia­nity. Romulus built it at first in blood, and that in the blood of a brother, since hauing got an Empire by the euerie and oppression, now supports it selfe the same way, as if it would ratifie that maxime in Philo­sophy: We are nourished by those meanes from whence we arise and spring vp. For now a Monarchie ouer the conscience, a new priuiledge is that they chal­lenge, cruelty to vphold it, and commodity gleaned in deuotion to vphold themselues: these are the chiefe Pillars to maintaine their state. When Christ came in person to bind this strong man, the Romans had Iury vnder their dominion, Herode an Idumean was their King, religion was corrupted with traditions, the sects of Saducees and Pharisees made a diuision within: and therefore their outward miserie was the greater. And at our Sauiours second comming, this is his owne pre­diction, The Sonne of man shall not find faith vpon the earth, so mightily doth this strong man enlarge his territories. Come vnto Gods owne house his Church, where religion is truly profest, where God hath his Church, he will haue his Chappell, hauing most cause to be stirre himselfe least he be a looser, thether hee con­uerts his greatest forces to worke in all sorts and by all deuises. And that two waies, either to quench the least sparkes that are to aduance the truth, or to depraue and corrupt it by turning matters the wrong way, and mixing euill with the good. Sometimes he is a solicitor to set forwards his owne busines in consultations. Ma­ny times he helpes the Iudge in giuing sentence. He can doe as with Achabs Prophets enter and seduce in the place of sanctity. He aduanceth many men into offices, and specially where money makes the way, for those [Page 10]are his vsuall staires. When hee hath set them vp they must honour their Patron and benefactor, and he a lit­tle direct them in execution. And that no place may want him, in the good actions of many, hee foisteth some lamenesse, and cloggeth the endeauours of honest men.

This strong man is not armed alone, but skill can doe equall mischiefe, 2. Cor. 11.14. Satan is transfor­med into an Angell of light. Not in shape, for the An­gels haue no countenance, or visible forme; but as Zan­chie saith, he counterfeiteth holinesse, that his counsells may be heard. Like a corrupt Tradesman, hee can so­phisticate his vnprofitable commodity, and colour his harmes with guilded pretences. In the Church he can sow faction vnder pretence of zeale, and cherish curio­sity vnder tendernes of conscience. In the common affaires of this life, he can make bribery walke vnder the name of thankfulnes, and gratuitie: oppression vnder thrift, pride vnder commendable fashion and ciuility. These trickes make him dance in a net, gulling the world as it were in laughter, and by his policies he will preuaile. The reason is if vice were seene in his owne apparell, it would scare the beholder with a fearefull and vgly visage, therfore he doth furnish it vp with the choisest ornaments, and paints ouer the deformities with better showes, to make it passe for commendable. What thing is so bad or base, but one cassiering modes­ty, and an honest minde, will by wit and worldly rea­sons iustifie and make good. So when the heart is set vpon pleasure, and the desire beginnes to burne after some particular gaine: politicke resolution perswades either it may be iust, or not so bad as some thinke, either a tollerable or a necessary euill. Heereupon it followeth that among Christians, some for their profit and content will defend those faults, which the wiser Heathen haue detested in their writings. As he could not haue dealt with Saul that came to him in his troubles, but in the [Page 11]shape of Samuel, 1. Sam 28.13. the witch said gods are come out of the earth: so could he not haue the applause of the sim­ple world, but by an earthly diuinity, when new found reasons, and crafty proiects turne matters into another mould, and rob the great theefe, euen sinne of his owne appearance. Neither could we haue among vs so much professing, and little good dealing, except there were this mysterie of hypocrisie. Heere then wefeele him, heere we haue iust cause to feare him; daemon meridianus this Deuill at noone day is most dangerous: As at first in Paradise and vnder the Serpent hee got the day, so doth he in the Church of God, and by his subtilty. S. Bern. super cantica. Ser. 33 Bernard complaind in his times that the Church of God had three aduersaries, then did the night of Pope­ry draw on farre, brought in by the last of the three. The first was the feare of the night, when tyrants did persecute the Martyrs in the primitiue Church. The second was the arrow that flyeth by day, the fond opi­nions of heresie, flying by the inuention of the suppor­ters vpon the feathers of vaine glory. But (saith he) the patience of the Saints ouercame the first, and the wis­dome of the learned destroyed the second. The third was the pestilence in the darkenesse the sinne of hypo­crisie and false appearance that nothing could with stand: they name Christ and serue Antichrist, they pro­fesse God and deny him also. Therefore he taketh vp the complaint of Hezekia, Behold in peace bitternes bitternes: the Church was then worst of all. Amara prius in caede martyrum, amarior post in conflictu haeretieo­rum, amariffima nunc in moribus domesticorum. Bitternes at first in the death of Martyrs, bitternes in corrupted manners. May not reformation renew a complaint, and say the world is alwaies like it selfe. As the hottest weather doth soonest putrifie: so abundance of peace and many blessings; haue not these made the rottenes come neerer to the heart? Let a generall discourse which cannot tarrie, point at the tops of a few ill fruits [Page 12]and easiest discerned. Our women turnd into the shapes of men, our men and especially they of the gal­lants ranke growne effeminate. Drunkenesse so great that to cast out this Deuill were a miracle indeede, to bring in request againe the moderate and temperate li­uing of ancient times. And that euery age may bring vp some new monster, fumum vendunt & fumo pereunt, the selling of fume, immoderate smooking wasteth both the body and the purse; a mischiefe vnheard of in for­mer ages befitting no season but this of the doting and declining world. Garments the memorials of sinne should teach vs our losses and our sorrow, when Adam had forsaken God and his innocence forsaken him, shame and necessity procured a couering for his naked­nes. But now they are not so much remembrancers of the old; Cyp. de discipli­na & habitu. Varg. as actors of new sinnes; and plaine represen­tations of each idle fancie: S. Cyprian complained in his time, that when God had said thou canst not make one haire white or blacke, the women did confute the Scripture, and turnd their haire to yellow; the colour he did mislike as too ominous of hell fire; malo praesagio futurorumcapillos iam tibi flammeos auspicaris, with an ill presage of what was to follow they flamed already. Now this colour is fallen about the necke and other places, that poore whitenes the token of innocence and sincerity weareth out of request. But these follies may plead custome, and it seeme a vaine thing to con­tradict them. This superficiall badnes being so confir­med, and like to hold his owne, cannot but suppose a worse whereon it builds. Where the face of corrupti­on appeareth outwardly any way; it sheweth the in­ward parts to be worse deformed: Yet thus must it be where truth doth shine so cleere, and men loue darke­nesse more then light: if the Church yeeld not good fruit, it must needs ouerflow with weeds, knowledge doth make it ranke and proud. And when the beames of supernaturall direction fall downe in so powerfull a [Page 13]manner, yet obstinacie beateth backe these gracious of­fers, refusing the influence, strange and vnnaturall ef­fects must needs follow. For as the carcasse of a man is more noisome then the putrefaction of fruits and plants, because the temper exceld them in the sound­nesse: so where much good is, and blessednesse it selfe turned into surfeit, those declinations are most perni­cious.

We haue now seene the strong man armed keeping his Palace, within and without the Church, his strength and policy ioyned together: but hitherto we haue one­ly traced him as Prince of the Aire. Now let our dis­course be sub tecto, as well as sub dio, see his mansion and enter his roofe a while: that as his intents are to bring confusion and publique miserie, we may now see the place of residence whence these plots and stratagems haue their hatching. Euery man by nature is the child of wrath, conceiued in sinne and being readiest to in­cline the worst, way easily listeneth to this euill master. He insinuateth himselfe by sweete and pleasant begin­nings, then custome giueth him possession, at last the soule and body become the house, and fall subiect to his gouernment. Witchcraft doth sometimes mani­fest his hatred to the body, when God giueth him leaue to torment the outward part of the creature, in heauen­ly mercy giuing warning to euery spectator, what it is to be vnder this hellish tyranny. Such accidens come among vs for this end to draw vp the mindes loaded with earthly cares to these considerations. These in­stances as strange things haue beene plaid, and made matters of pastime, but may serue for edification. For thereby we learne the truth of eternall life. If a bad spirit come and offer his seruice to torment, we con­clude there is a good spirit to saue, that spirituall pow­ers doe gouerne these earthly affaires, and a Diuine power commandeth all. We learne the loue of God that fuffereth him not to hurt all as well as some few: [Page 14]the truth of religion which his slaues doe first renounce, and then he markes them for his owne; first they denie Baptisme, then his owne Sacraments succeede to make them fast. And why doth hee not sease vpon euery adulterous body? the reason is God holds him in. Or that hee snatcheth not away the soules of such as ima­gine mischiefe, the cause is Gods mercy who suspen­deth execution, not suffering to proceede according to desert, 2. Pet. 3.9. as S. Peter sheweth, the Lord is not slack concer­ning his promise as some thinke, But is long suffering to­wards vs not willing any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. These trialls may come vpon the good because in them some parcell of sinne remaineth, Iobs body was not exempted from this tormentor, but let wicked men be perswaded, he ruleth them and their affaires; perhaps they prosper and therefore beleeue it not: it is a cold comfort when he vseth them for him­selfe, and delighteth in their prosperity. In the minde he can darken the motions of vnderstanding, dazle and possesse the fancie, hinder the outward sences and de­lude them, he can stirre vp the appetite, and inflame the desires of them he tempteth, and suppresse them againe as he thinketh good. De operib. Dei part. 1. lib. 4. cap. 11. Onely as Zanchy saith (who shew­eth all these at large) hee cannot remoue or turne the will, God hath giuen a man his resolution free, Be­cause it is the hinge that moueth all about, & the wheele by which the actions are turned: he may tempt and per­swade he cannot command; in the middest of violent assaults, God hath left a man so much liberty.

I will end this point with a reason why the Lord doth grant him this strength. The wofull cause is the sinne of man. He tempted Eue in the shape of a Ser­pent by outward inuasion, and vttered his meaning to Christ in that temptation by outward dealing. For they were innocent and free from sinne, he could take no footing in the inward affections: but now an euill heart giues him an easie passage to enter and come in, [Page 15]thereupon he is more powerfull and vnresistable. As originall sinne doth giue him entrance, euill practise doth further his dominion. The breaking of Gods commandement is the cause, that the reiecting of one ruler leading to peace and blessednes; causeth subiecti­on to the slauish labour of so vile a commander. For this is Gods order, first to giue a Law, and afterwards to turne ouer him that stubburnly offendeth to this his executioner. S. Paul sheweth this was the reason the In­fidels did fall so fearefully, Rom. 1.21. Because when they knew God they glorified him not as God, neither were thankefull, but be­came vaine in their imaginations, their foolish heart was dar­kened. Therefore God gaue them ouer to a reprobate minde, and to do things not conuenient as the Apostle rehearseth. The light of nature taught them better things then their liues did expresse. Which knowledge is so great, that by it way may be made for Diuine in­struction. Lactantius is bold to affirme so much of the knowledge of Infidels. L. diu. inst. cap. 5 Quod si vel Orpheus vel hi nostri quae natura ducente senserunt in perpetuum defendissent, ean­dem quam nos sequimur doctrinam comprehensa veritate te­nuissent. If Orpheus and such like had constantly main­taind those things which nature taught them, they would at last haue come to the Doctrine which we doe follow. This is the reason, why the power of spirituall tyrannie is so great among the Heathen, because they transgresse the rules of nature and their conscience. Now wherefore hee should scourge the Church, and preuaile so much, there cannot but be greater reason. For where a full hand powreth out benefits in abun­dance, and grosse vnthankfulnes returneth backe to heauen from whence they flow: God may then com­plaine as he did with Esay, Esay 1.2.I haue nourished and brought vp children, and they haue rebelled against me. And except it were for the chosens sake, for Gods glory, and his seruice which must haue an abiding place, how could a Church polluted with impiety expect any mercy or [Page 16]continuance? Besides, the deuils rage doth glorifie God the more by exercising the faithfull, who against the streame of sinne, keepe an euen course, and a sted­fast profession.

This for the reason of his progresse and strength. In this Doctrine obserue yet a limitation: These spirituall powers are not such absolute Lords to doe what they list among any, no not among Infidels, though they be powers of darknesse: but onely so farre as God seeth fit in iust iudgement to execute his iust wrath. God tur­ned the hearts of the Aegyptians to his people, to hasten them out of the land, and furnished them with iewels for their iourney. Christ was at that Counsell which gaue sentence for his owne death, or else it could not haue gone forwards. Well may Hosius alledge euen that for the defence of Counsels, that the iudgement of the Church is not destitute of the holy Spirit. For Cai­phas the high Priest (or Pope of the Iewes if we may so call him, Iohn 11.50. spake by inspiration. It is necessary that one die for the people, and that the whole Nationperish not. There­fore let vs conceiue his dominion very large and emi­nent, [...] as the Text names it, a Hall or a Palace, as if a Cottage or meane dwellings did not containe him: his working is by permission, hee is set on as a mastife, and pulled off againe by Gods appointment and pleasure. Otherwise his owne habitation is the the deepe, as appeareth, Luke 8.31. When the Legion was cast out of the man, they made supplication to Christ not to send them into the deepe, but giue them more imployment by allowing their entrance into the the heard of swine. It is then euident hell is his dwel­ling, except God imploy and suffer him. So in the middest of his working a hand aboue restraineth him from prosecuting his malice with extreamities, this is the worlds comfort, his intents are limited. And so much of the strong mans industry, He is armed and keapeth his Palace, the next part followeth, His goods are in Peace, [Page 17]which is his securitie.

I gather two obseruations from these words. First, none can deliuer himselfe from spirituall bondage, [...] his goods are in peace. When wickednes hath got the vpper hand, and temptation borne the sway: vice groweth into a habite, and cu­stome is a second nature. Hardly can one master it vp­on euen ground, but when these bonds doe fetter a wicked person, and disarme him of his owne right: he doth liue at anothers becke, and how can he then make head againe to purpose, or recouer himselfe by strong resistance? The goods cannot shake of the posses­sor, nor the house expell the master, such are offendors in continuing euill: led as slaues, and dragd along as sheepe vnto the slaughter, fallen into a pit whence they cannot come out, or quit themselues againe. Which should teach euery one not to yeeld at first, least giuing the raines to his managing, their falls grow fearefull, and their dangers almost desperate: yet for them thus hardened in vice, because Diuinity giueth a salue for e­uery sore they must endeauour and distrust their owne power. Now wrestling is able to shake off his yoake, but in vsing the meanes which God hath appointed, whereby they denie themselues: and adding to their labour constant prayer and inuocation: they take vp­on them an easie yoake and a light burden of their Sa­uiour the stronger man. Repentance vndoeth the knot which tied the soule in this captiuity: prayer re­nounceth all power in him that prayeth, euen as among men he that asketh helpe of another, and maketh daily supplication, doth shew how little his owne ability can performe, and how ill the matter goeth with him. Thus sorrow for sinne, repentance, prayer, and stedfast endeauour ioyned: may worke a cure vnder God, and that be done vnder the sasegard of the Almighty, that none of himselfe can compasse Prayer and fasting was able to expell the deuill which the Disciples could not [Page 18]cast out. Let this consideration correct their mistaking, who hope to conquer and shake of their sinnes, not v­sing religious meanes and exercises. No hope to pre­uaile in such combates without a full repentance, with an absolute resignation of the soule into the Sauiours hand. See heere the power of a poore captiue in him­selfe, fastened in the nets of his owne weauing, entang­led in the labarinth of his folly, no way to saue him­selfe.

His goods are in Peace.

Secondly, the words yeeld vs this Doctrine. Satan fighteth not against himselfe to disaduantage or dis­grace his gouernment, but keepeth close together, and tieth his instruments in a strong confederacy that their vniting may make him more inuincible. The words import so much. His goods are in Peace. Sometimes it must needs be otherwise with Christ and his Gospell, for when vngodlines doth glue and cling together, ei­ther among his owne or others; hee commeth often with stir and diuision, and renteth all in peeces for a time. Heere then we find the case variable, sometimes wickednes findeth great disagreement, as experience teacheth; sometimes great league and fellowship, as both experience and this Text doe manifest; so it is in the gouernment of Christ, sometimes diuision and stir, sometimes peace and vnion: we may vse Solomons say­ing in this cause; Eccles. 9.2. All things come alike to all. Therefore in such variety of times and accidents, it is an vncer­taine and groundlesse affirmation to make peace an in­fallible signe of the Church. The Papists say and in some sort truly, Iohn 10.16. we are all called members of one body vn­der one head Christ, Rom. 12. And by our Sauiour, One Shepheard, and one sheepfold, therefore diuersity of opini­on doth argue a false profession. True indeede in the true members of Christs elected congregation, but in the outward fellowship and face of an visible multi­tude [Page 19]not euer true, where many are among vs that are not of vs the Apostle saith. In that one sheepfold where Christ was Shepheard, was not one Iudas found who had warre and treason in his heart and turned a­gainst his Master? yet could the chiefe Priests, and Pha­risees, and Pylate agree well enough in murdering him without traitors among themselues. Outward peace to keepe conformity with others is not in the power of any, but this approcheth neerest to the truth, the true members of Christ are peacable, and full of charitie, and being linked vnder one head by faith doe accord a­mong themselues: but God setteth neere them enemies that loue not peace euen of their owne, to be as thornes in their sides, and to raise them from temporall securi­tie. Harding complaines that before Luther came, the people were vnanimes in dome of one minde in the house, but since how many diuisions haue happened? Concerning their spirituall consent in superstition I will vse the phrase of the Text, The strong man armed kept his Palace and his goods were in peace. Sarcerius an ex­positor maketh it a particular instance, Qualia tempora fuerunt sub Papatu, Of this sort were the Popish times. May we speake of outward peace and temporall, and not find these accusers faulty? Christianity will haue this peace kept with Alients, as an argument of the minde bent to vnitie; that we may be mercifull as our heauenly Father is mercifull and kind to all: that the glory of a quiet and peacable minde may shine forth to confound the censures of each ill willervnto Sion. If by this kind of coniecturing, or rather demonstration; an equall iudge may giue sentence: see whose fingers haue beene oftnest in treasons; whose practises haue beene massacres; who they are that stirre euery cole to fire the states of the world and to raise combustion. This kind of peace as it hath beene hardly seene towards vs, but when necessity made them quiet, and God by pro­uidence tied their hands & confounded their deuises, so [Page 20]hath it beene a stranger among them that talke of peace. To reuiue their vnquietnes by relation, or shew their dissentions out of stories would sooner want time then matter. Or to obserue distractions in the head, the choosing of one Pope against another, and the Church at the same time vnder more heads then one. Whatsoeuer the sheepe were surely then there was not one shepheard. The bones they haue cast a­mong Princes that out of their dissentions they might bring their owne ends about, cannot be vnknowne to him that knoweth any thing. From whence we iustly may collect, the head set vp for vnity did plot dis­agreement, he was not here what he did professe, nei­ther led the members by a Christian-like direction. If to set iarres and prey vpon the flocke be no good signe of a true shepheard, this note of vnity is a poore signi­fication for them. Bell. prefat. in lib. de Sum­mo Pontifice. Bellarmine doth plainly confesse that this state hath beene so shaken with enemies, and bad liues of the Popes, as also with grieuous Schisme: that for the glory of it, it stands not by it selfe, but strangely supported by diuine preseruation manifested in their infirmity. Indeed it often happeneth by a Syncretismus as the ancients cald it, that in bred hatred and dissention weareth out by an enemie abroad, so policy (which the children of this world haue) maketh states and humors otherwise differing among them to accord: lest their walls which beganne to shake should fall downe quite, if they kept not close together. To this cause they haue a second helpe, to mussle mens mouths, and fetter their consciences, that in some places none may dispute; the Scripture which perhaps would raise stirre enough may not be read; they will keepe peace though by taking away Gods weapon. A guilty conscience is betrayed in this, when all aduentures of triall in these conflicts are so debard: and like it is if they had giuen so much liberty to their owne, as we haue giuen both them and ours: their remainder had beene grieuously impoue­rished, [Page 21]and brought to a smaller quantity by this time. As for our writings that turne the word of God spea­king more generally into particular application, they are affraid at their lookes, neither can indure they should come to a publique view. Then which argu­ment fetchd from their depth of their misdoubting conscience, no testimonie against them can be greater. Their feares are more then Panike, moued by great oc­casion, Gods word directed aright, is like the firy tongues wherein the holy Ghost did sit vpon the Apo­stles, which tongues were diuided: being a fire to burne vp the hay and stubble of false tradition, and like enough to make a diuision, whereof they complaine so grieuously. The spirit in them commeth like that mighty wind which fild the house wherein the assem­bly was gathered: But as antiquity fained of Aeolus, he kept the windes vnder huge Mountaines least all should be ouerturned. And the great commander of heauen and earth deputed an inferiour Lord to rule them.

—Regemque dedit qui saedere cert [...],
Et premere, & laxas sciret dare iussus habenas.

That King was appointed to stint their vnrulines: so is the diuine word by a counterfeit shew of a diuine authoritie to be kept vnder: and he below to play fast and loose, expounding all after his owne law and counsell. Thus the candle being put vnder a bushell (as a darke night sometimes preuents a skirmish) may keepe men from quarelsome protestations. Vpon these termes their peace standeth, and they are forced to hold with both hands least it ouergoe them Zanchie relateth a decree made in Italy, Tom. 8. de scriptura. Com­ment. in cap. 1. ad Titum. the Scripture is permitted to be read of the better sort, onely with condition that they expound nothing but with the Church of Rome. Clau­dius Espenceus one of their owne, reports that an Italian Bishop told him, that learned men in Italy were affraid [Page 22]to study the Scriptures, least by them they might be drawne into heresie: and they rather imployed their time vpon the Popes law bookes and the decretals. A franciscan Fryer plainely said the Councell of Trent, the Lutherans did preuaile vpon none so much as them which were exercised in the Scripture. To shew what tyranny keepes their affaires in peace obserue one proofe insted of many. Zanchie relateth it in his booke de Ecclesia, One of the Regular Canons wrot a booke, in which he prooueth the Pope may be called into questi­on, and censured by the Church, the reason is because he is our brother, and Christ saith, If thy brother of­fend thee tell the Church. That he is our brother hee prooueth, for in saying the Lords prayer he calleth God father: if then all be children in respect of God they must be brethren among themselues. The booke for this fault was cald in, an excommunication was sent out, and the Authour had a checke: yet was the argu­ment so strong, that none could answere it so well as one Courtier, who wisht his holines neuer to say our Father, so by not acknowledging a superiour with that Title he might put his greatnes out of question. So strange a slauery is produced by this vsurped power, that an eminence and prorogatiue must be claimed a­boue the nature of man, and the qualitie of a sinfull crea­ture, and a point of beleefe and conscience made not to mooue in it any question. By ignorance then is the peace grounded and maintaind by tyranny, not easie to be discernd whether more barbarous or ridiculous. Well wereit if we could learne wit by their example, that euery ignorant inuention did not forge out a new conceit against the present times. Or that some crasie and misalledging braines, soothed vp by an in bred cu­riositie, did not so much sleight antiquitie and authori­tie, as not care what is generally established, and hath bene vsed many ages in the Church: euen in the purer time before corruption. For vpon any dissention, [Page 23]thoughts in a ceremonie or small ordinance, we know what complaint the aduersarie raiseth. Moreouer a small controuersie in a branch, depends vpon a roote, and adhereth to some question of great moment, the same principles in disputation against an indifferent ce­remonie if they should take place: will ouerthrow whole frames of gouernment. But to come to the last blow with our aduersaries. Let truth be wayed in an euen ballance, though quarrelers see not their owne blemishes so directly as they espy anothers, peace is no such vniuersall blessing among them. All of them or at least the more sober sort allow not the Iesuits practises and positions. In free will and predestination the Do­minicans & the Iesuits consent not, nor the Domini­cans and Franciscans about the originall sinne of the Virgine Mary: to omit the scruples of Thomas and Sco­tus with their followers in more subtile matters. That of the Virgine Maries freedome from originall sinne, was so hotly defended by both parties, that the Coun­cell of Trent durst not decide it for feare of a Schisme. Where knowledge doth abound, and men haue liberty to speake, the corruption of many will abuse it. Nec per se mala est eruditio, sed plerumque gignit factiones & dissi­dia saith Erasmus: learning is not euill in it selfe, but for the most part it ingendereth factions and diuision. If knowledge then haue a freer passage for all sorts a­mong vs, their peace hath some aduantage. Besides when a reformation is published, all cannot haue one consent in clearing things of moment, hid before and now come to more open light. And if among so ma­ny that imbrace the reformed religion, good and bad, wise and foolish, sober and curious had all consented; it had beene a signe of false Doctrine rather then true: for tares spring vp with wheate, and God ioyneth some corrections with his blessings, weeds may grow alone sometimes, and heere our Sauiour speaketh of the deuill, and maketh it one part of his strength, His [Page 24]goods are in peace. But see the face of former times, did not some say at first I am of Pauls, I am of Apollos, and others of Cephas: a new Doctrine came vp, and ignorant people could not keepe a sober course in en­tertaining it. As for the grossest deuisers among vs, they are partly scattered and supprest, but if we speake of setled Churches, see worse then we haue had. The Corinthians doubted of the resurrection. The Gala­thians called for the ceremonies of the law so stiffly, that S. Paul feared his labour had beene lost. This one opinion of retaining ceremonies is called by Muscu­lus perpetuum certamen an euerlasting contention of those times: And the Apostles were enforced to call a generall Councell at Ierusalem to take it vp, and yeel­ding to some infirmities for a time forbade eating of blood a thing in it selfe indifferent. Reu. 2.6. Then came in Si­mon with his deuises, and the sect of the Nicolaitans which God hated. Ebion and Cerinthus denying the eternall God-head of Christ are supposed to haue giuen occasion to S. Iohn to write his Gospell. All this while we find not among the Heathen any notorious brea­ches about the principles of their idolatry. After this when Constantine had giuen peace to the Church, and men might vse more liberty: the Arrians their succes­sors ouerflowed in such a number, that it was sayd of Athanasius, their strong opposer and a great defender of the truth. He against all the world, and all the world a­gainst him. This is the decree of God, and therefore his great wisdome, that by bandying the truth to and fro the substance of it might be gotten out at last, and others raised by the aduersary from sloth to search it, to make it shine more clearely as gold in the furnace, and praise him that keepeth it safe in so many hasards. And if we will make the best of a bad matter, we may say and not altogether vntruly, we are beholden to Heretiques for a great part of the truth: for they haue stird vp the pens of the learned, and occasioned the holy decrees of [Page 25]faithfull and religious Councels. To conclude this point. Arguments from peace and consent, are no certaine or demonstratiue proofe either of a good or a bad cause: Peace among Saints vnder Christ as we con­sider it in the minde, is a spirituall vertue: as we consi­der it a beautifull ornament, or sweete harmony, when multitudes are coupled in a bond of happy society, it is a temporall blessing, for spirituall things are in the minde. Matters of this quality doe ebbe and flow, som­times giuen, and sometimes taken away from the Church. When Gods heritage transgresseth, breaches are often made, and his owne scourged most seuerely. Dauid a man neerest him is extreamely threatned after his offence, The sword shall neuer depart from thy house: 2. Sam. 12.10. although he was so iust and penitent, with his raigne so happy and flourishing. Euery Church hath in it both good and bad, therefore no peace can continue long without some impediment. Our Sauiour saith, I came not to send peace into the world but a sword, this was the reason, some would imbrace him and others re­fuse: so father would be against sonne, and sonne a­gainst father, and a mans enemies would be they of his owne houshold. S. Paul likewise affirmeth, 1. Cor. 11.19. There must be heresies among you that they which are approoued may be made manifest. the light and fantasticall head to vaine deuises fit for him, and the iust against him to manifest himselfe, and expresse his gifts in maintaining the per­fect truth. The deuill as he vseth doth imitate God in part, though in another intent, sometime he setteth dissention among his owne, yet warreth not against himselfe, though his be diuided, he is not. For this is the difference betweene his possession and others, hee keepeth his palace not to defend but to destroy it, and if dissention fit his purpose, hee can scourge his owne with this rod, to please himselfe in their torment. But when occasion requireth vnity, he will not deuide a­gainst himselfe, but keepeth this forces whole to doe [Page 26]greater mischiefe, as Herode and Pylate enemies before were reconciled at the death of Christ: and brethren in euill communicate their counsels. This maketh him stronger, and keepeth his palace in greater security, be­cause His goods are in peace. Hitherto of the vsurped power.

The second part followeth; the lawfull power, first the victory, When a stronger then be shall come vpon him and ouercome him. The particle but noteth a coherence, we must looke for some thing besides the words. Consider it then as the branch of an argument. He is the stron­ger that ouer commeth, but plain it is he yeeldeth to my command: therefore ascribe strength vnto me. The Papists vse this argument to confirme their exercising and adiuring the deuill, and from the fuccesse of their words striue to iustifie a counterfeit miracle, because sometime he goeth backe, and seemeth to yeeld to their holy water, and the signe of the Crosse. We answere the deuill doth delude them, that by leauing the body he may possesse the soule, and establish superstition. They reply, and say this is the Pharisees answere, who sayd casting out and dispossession was by couenant and compact: and did not approue the stronger man by his worke. But this is insufficient, for the Pharisees sayd Christ was not strong enough to worke these mi­racles of himselfe, but Satan was diuided, and gaue him helpe: we call not the strength of Christ into question. As for the aduersary he dissenteth not from his owne party, but seemeth to fly that by a strategem he might deceiue them. Secondly, Antichrist doth worke ly­ing wonders, the Scripture doth prophecy as much, but no lying wonder can be without show of a true and mighty operation: therefore they must worke mira­cles with some notable point of dissembling. Christ had power to cure diseases as well as to dispossesse vn­cleane spirits, his miracles were beyond all exception: one did helpe to confirme another, and both ioyned to [Page 27]confirme his Doctrine. Heerein they faile: They can­not doe as Christ did, heale diseases: therefore their halting betraies their lamenesse, and we may suspect their dealings are vnsound. Thirdly, some of their mi­racles are forged, all the world knows it wel: if then the viewing of them may helpe our iudgementin esteeming these, they come both from one Fountaine, for truth and false-hoode haue no fellowship. To dissemble and giue out is great policy sometimes, and we know they deale with a great politician, who may not refuse to loose a little for the gaining of more: as in Magicke he is content to subiect himselfe, as if words could com­mand him, which cannot be done indeede: but this counterfeit seruice maketh him a master, and the com­mander that calleth him the greater slaue. In the pri­mitiue Church when miracles did last, this exorcising had a diuine power, for which there was great reason, seeing in so dangerous a time the Infidels did worship these powers of darknesse. Christ gaue his followers a gift to shew the truth and strength of his profession, for to encourage his owne, and conuert the obstinate mindes of others. Lactantius speaketh of the efficacy thereof in this manner. 2. Diu. inftit. 16. Cuius nomine adiurati corpori­bus excedunt, quorum verbis tanquam flagris verberati: non modo daemonas se esse confitentur, sed etiam nomina sua edunt. Being adiured by the name of Christ they goe out of bodies, by words as whips they are beaten and tormented, and doe not onely confesse they ate deuils, but tell their names. Likewise Cyprian in his booke to Demetrianus, the Christians great enemie, telleth him what kind of Gods he worshipped. O si audire eos vel­les, &c. O that thou wouldest heare them, when they are adiured by our spirituall stripes, and our tormen­ting words, are cast out of possessed bodies, feeling the power of God, and confessing the iudgment to come. These were testimonies of Christ the stronger man, ha­uing all power in Heauen and Earth subiect to his [Page 28]word. Some suppose that as a testimonie of Christs victorie ouer him, he cannot come to Heauen as hee did before the incarnation. In the old testament when the Angels came before the Lord, a spirit came to offer his seruice to seduce King Achab: 1. Kings 22.21. and make him fall before his enemies in the battell. And when the children of God stood before his presence, Satan was among them, Iob. 1. But they suppose he cannot come thither any more since Christ ascended vpin person, and to that purpose alledge the place, Luke 19.18. I saw Satan as lightening fall from heauen, and Reu. 12.9. Michael expeld the Dragon from thence with his Angels, their place was no more found in heauen, the old Serpent that deceiueth the world was cast out into the earth, and his An­gels with him: and therefore S. Paul calleth him Prince of the power of the Aire, because his ruling is confined within that space, he can goe no higher. These are a vouched with great probability. But sure it is, Christ shooke his Kingdome in the earth, being borne and sent into the world to destroy his workes: that the peo­ple which sate in darkenesse before might see great light, and they be deliuered which sate in the region and shaddow of death. As light which shines from heauen is diffused (nothing in nature hauing a power to spread it selfe more suddenly) illustrating the whole Hemisphere or halfe at once: so did this Sonne of righteousnesse, as was sayd, Psal. 19. Nothing was hid from the heat thereof: but beyond the regions of Iury, his A­postles carried it farre and wide into many Nations. This was the stronger hand of this Conquerour, that by a people scorned as for superstition by others, and then torne by the Romanes, being the weaker side: he gaue lawes vnto the mighty, and cast him out of the world then strongly possest, and kept as his owne house in sinne and ignorance. The Oracles were put downe after his incarnation, where the deuill had long time giuen aduise and answeres. Augustus Caesar inquiring [Page 29]at Delphes who should succeede him in the Empire, had this for an answere. Peucerus de Oraculis, pag. 251. [...]. &c.’

An Hebrew childe, King of the Gods, hath com­manded me to leaue this house and returne to hell: therefore henceforth forsake our Altars. And hee is bound for a thousand yeares, Reuel. 20. Which we may take from the rising of Constantine vntill the raigne of Otoman, or howsoeuer; in that space Christ did greatly confound his Kingdome, and set vp his owne: The successe we haue seene, our Sauiours victory, to open it more fully, note the person called the stronger Man, and the meanes vsed to subdue him.

Christ is God, equall with the Father, his strength is in the World, and beyond, it euery way infinite. God is Almighty, this attribute is prefixed before other Ar­ticles in the beginning of the Creed, for in whō wil any beleeue but one able and potent, least his confidence de­ceiue him. Might then maketh way to all beleefe, and beleefe to all performances, for Faith ouercommeth the world saith S. Iohn. He is called the Lord of Hosts, 1. Iohn 5.4. all power being his army. Let men muster, plot, and la­bour neuer so much: this power commandeth them and theirs, the strength of this huge World is to him but as an arrow in the hand of a Gyant, aimed and shot forth by his owne direction. The spirituall powers are to minister and serue in their stations, ready to attend and execute his precepts. And if one Angell made such a slaughter in Senacheribs army in one night, what was the power of him that sent him. Diuine strength as it animateth faith, so is it the ground of all religion. Men are made to reuerence it, and the end of all acti­ons is to acknowledge: and nothing is more distasted by the Almighty God, then to see arrogant presumpti­on, [Page 30]or negligent obseruance admire strength any o­ther way. Weake creatures liue by it, and the name of a creature hath it ingrauen as the proper stampe. To vse the Prophets words, shall the strong man glory in his strength? or the wise man in his wisdome? or the rich man in his wealth? or any man in any thing, see­ing the earth is weake and the inhabitants therein, hee beareth vp the Pillars of it. Is any good expected? Hope for it hence. Is any enioyed? Giue glory to the founder, all is receiued from this fulnes. Psalme 68. ver. 34. Ascribe yee strength vnto God, his excellencie is ouer Is­srael, and his strength is the Clouds.

Euery good thing is but a gift, and giuing can onely make it prosper: greatest hopes doe sometimes breake in the middest, because the receiuers of fruit respect not the Tree whence they fall. They looke at their owne beginnings, and at their owne ends, and their courses in the proceeding attend their owne desires. And though this strength might say vnto the foole deale not so madly, and to the vngodly set not vp your horne: though promotion come neither from the East, nor the West, nor from the South: a dull desire cannot look so high as heauen, neither acknowledgeth any ruler but one who leadeth by common sense. Hee will sleepe at a Sermon, that can wake at the discourse of a commodity: or a mishap can keepe from sleeping. And sleight the strict aduise of Scripture; when the words of a great man in politique respect make him double diligent. Generally inbusinesse of moment (though liuing being and moouing be from God) who will not more cheerefully rely vpon friends and strong helpers, then on Gods furtherance and promised assis­tance? By this strength vnlikely matters haue come to passe most vsually, great imaginations haue beene dissol­ued with a blast, dying hopes haue beene reuiued from the graue: all which proclaime an vnconquered and inscrutable power of the Lord in working; not ac­knowledged [Page 31]by rash censurers, but easily discerned by the iudgement of truth. Euen when vngodlinesse is grownelofty, it either falleth of it selfe, or by the push of a like aduersary is cast vnder foot; all strength we see wearing out, and this force of Diuine power breaking downe the gate that will not open, that howsoeuer the beginnings goe, at last the stronger man will ouer­come. From hence let euery prosuming enemie bee danted, though fortified in his wickednes. Let euery wearied seruant be encouraged, to passe euen through the valley of the shaddow of death and feare no euill. Iob had complained, and his vncomfortable friends made him sometimes bitter, at last the Lord did chal­lenge him to answere, and cald him hither. Iob 38.4. Where wast thou when I layd the foundations of the Earth, when I shut vp the Sea with doores. Hast thou commanded the morning since thy daies, and caused the day spring to know his place? Nabuchodonosor, in the height of his arrogance boasted of his great Palace, and building: but for his labour had an ill reward, he was made fellow with the beasts of the field, Dan. 4.25. Till he knew the most High ruled in the Kingdome of men, and gaue it to whom he would. S. Peter seeing Christ vnder the burthen of our sinnes, laying a side his ho­nour, and ready to be apprehended, went out of the way to helpe him, and wounded one of the high Priests seruants. This perswasion called him into a right frame. Thinkest thou that I cannot pray to my Father, Matth. 26.58.and he shall presently giue me more then twelue legions of Angels. This one ground-worke of true obedience made Iob know his vilenes, the lofty tyrant his weaknes, the zea­lous Disciple his due compasse: as generall patternes vnto all, to limite their extrauagant humours, and al­waies [...]are to keepe within their bounds. That neither the complaint of natures weakenes should vrge distrust in necessity; nor presumption swell in windy showes, nor busie attempting meddle beyond the rule of Gods direction. Weake is that strength which his arme doth [Page 32]not support, and strong are those endeauours hee bles­seth, though full of weakenesse.

We haue seene the stronger man, able to ouercome by power and greatnes: now see the way of conque­ring, and the strength destroyd that lay against him. All know his force is infinite, but by what conueiance this vertue is exprest, and frames the Creature, is wonder­full: who can trace the footsteps? Semper agens & sem­per quietus, as Austen speaketh, alwaies working, and al­waies quiet. He worketh without change, without la­bour or any difficulty. To speake the neerest to truth is to speake the greatest, his will is his worke, his word his law, he commanded and they were created. Among men words being of small worth are sayd to be but winde, their labours must toile a little in effecting things of moment: but God decreeth, and the Scrip­ture reduceth all to his word, which executeth his sen­tence: By this effectuall meanes all are brought about, and that by a double word, to which hell and Satan and all his enemies yeeld. The word whose sound we heare to teach vs, and his word of prouidence whereby he sustaineth vs, whereof the enemy maketh confession Matth. 4.4. Man shall not liue by bread alone but by euery word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. The first rules within, the second without: and one goeth along with the other to iudge and correct the Worlds courses.

The first commeth and ouercommeth, It is the power of God to saluation, Rom. 1.16. If that power excelleth all which goeth beyond all, nothing can equall it. It subdueth the minde, and comming into the bosome medleth with a mans secrets, with an inuisible controll. It worketh vpon tyrants themselues, and pierceth into that place where neither tyranny nor the whole earth can get an entrance. It bringeth euery high thought into captiuity, and the proudest is brought vpon his knees in lowest submission if hee once be sensible of [Page 33]himselfe. The word of God is quicke, and powerfull and shar­per then any two edged sword, piercing euen to the deuiding assunder of the soule and spirit: and of the ioynts and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts, and intents of the heart, Heb. 4.12. Strong in successe, when God giueth his commandement vpon the Earth it runneth swiftly: and nothing can stop, or cast impediments sufficient in the way. Compared for that end to leauen, hid in three measures of meale till the whole was leauened: to mus­tard-seede a little graine, yet cast into a garden grow­eth into a great Tree, and the foules of the Aire are lodged in the branches. Vpon small and poore be­ginnings it hath taken such roote, and fixed it selfe where it got possession, that no Dominion hath beene larger.

It was at first, and shall be last, though people fall and Kingdomes like to Kings haue their periode. Though nations loose it, and where the day is gone before the night may be expected: though persecution hath made it almost inuisible: yet hath the Sunne risen againe, or shined in another place, it hath beene raised vp against the hope of ill willers, and beyond the reach of humane wisdome and worldly helpers. This word expelleth Satan, and as by saying the word the deuills obeyed and the possessed were set free: so are sinfull hearts gained out of thraldome, by him that came to preach deliue­rance to the captiues, and to set the bruised at liberty. But one may thinke where is this power if we iudge by the successe, so many hearts continue flinty in their sinnes, as if the spirituall weapon wanted power, or the strong man trusting in his Armour were able to beare of the blow. Good fellowship can sometimes wash away the strokes it giueth, bad example can ouer­match it beyond comparison: and custome can seare the conscience, that often hearing careth not if repre­hension beate againe, and againe vpon a knowne fault. Besides it sauours of simplicity, teacheth a man to deny [Page 34]himselfe, to take vp the crosse, to turne out of his belo­ued way, and repent: that the Pillars of strength and policy are here defectiue: and in their roome all points of infirmity.

These manifold supposed wants that arise from the ill speeding, may haue an answere branching out into equall diuersities: for this strength is not alwaies seene, nor alwaies working. If God should let his power and iudgements dwell vpon the conscience of euery repro­bate minde, confusion would fill all places. Many hea­rers are condemned and made euill by the strength of the Word, one that hath no resolution to amend, in hearing taketh truth by the halfe, and snatcheth senten­ces to his purpose. When he heareth of Gods mercy there is an occasion to presume: or of iudgement, when he seeth not the effect at first, there is an occasion of doubt, of negligence, and deferring. The Law being vnfolded, and strict obedience vrged, giueth occasion to reiect that seruice as a seuere taske, or a yo [...]ke too tedious to carry. And the word of God is strong still, as physicke may be strong though it cannot cure: but account it strong as physicke, it either worketh the good or the bad way: either as the sauour of life vnto life, or the sauour of death vnto death, as the Apostle speaketh. Moreouer the word is a sauing instrument, and hath one end and property, for this maketh an instrument more perfect, to execute one sufficient seruice and there rest, seeing nature maketh [...], euery thing for a peculiar end, therefore it may want some orna­ments and perfections which belongeth to other or­dinances. The weaker it is, if stronger effects be pro­duced, the principall agent is more commended, and made manifest, and for this cause God hath kept the glory of all workes to himselfe, imparting onely some portion to the meanes. The word then being an in­strument is weaker, because it aimeth at one end onely, to make way for iudgement, and not to execute it, and [Page 35]because it dependeth vpon God the chiefe worker: but in this regard exceeding mighty, because the hand of God goeth with it, so it can make no shew at all, yet inforce the good and terrifie the bad. As the strongest body is weake, and stirres not without the soule, so are words nothing without him that giues-them efficacy from aboue. Shouting and sound of trumpets were no such engines in military assaults; these by Gods ap­pointment did fell the walls of Iericho. And S. Paul sheweth the scribe and wise man hath no share in this busines, rather shut out.

God (saith he) hath chosen the foolish things of the world to condemne the wise, 1 Cor. 1.27.and the weake things of the world to con­found the mighty: And addeth the reason, that no flesh might glory in his presence. Heerein then consisteth the words glory, that going the more vnlikely way to worke, it speedeth, and where it speedeth not, confusi­on followes immediately. Let any without partiality see, by what meane beginnings, against what heate of persecution, the strength of the Lord subdued hell, and planted religion by the first conuerting of the Gentiles, with the Apostles and their followers: it may turne the Atheist, and raise the most dull and frozen spirits into admiration. In reforming religion we haue seene the like, if the first hopes failed, the second haue sped, and by no power or policy of the earth doth the Gospell in­ioy prosperity. If any intent of persecution, or crafty dealing could haue giuen it a deadly wound, the face of it had not beene left to appeare before this time to make show, [...]or the voice of it to speake for it selfe. This must teach vs to carry a constant hope, let the strong man mooue, and his instruments thunder out their threatnings, and where they thunder least, colour their close deuises to confound all in the end; a vaine expectation must be the fruit of such confidence, and their owne confusion finish vp their labour. This rocke cannot remooue, nor the stronger side fall though it [Page 36]suffer many foiles, 1. Esdras 4.41. and some disaduantage. Let our conclusion goe with the Apocry phall History. Diuers were seuerally conceited where was the greatest strength found, some gaue it to Princes, some to wo­men, and to wine, but truth obtaind it from the rest, she spake for him, that spake for her: so went the iudge­ment of the King, and the cry of others. Magnaest ve­ritas & praeualet, great is the truth and preuaileth. And so much for the first meanes whereby the stronger man subdueth, the power of his word.

The second is his word of prouidence, the mighty voice in operation, at whose command all things moue and obey in Heauen and Earth.

The rising of some, and the falling of others, and in a word the falling of a sparrow: the cariage of great and small meete in this gouernment. Solomon will haue vs know, Eccles. 3.14. What he purposeth shall stand, to it can no man adde, and from it can none diminish; that we might feare before him.

But heere his footesteps are hardly perceiued. The strong Man swaieth so much, and the worlds behauiour appeareth so strange: that his presence seemeth very re­mote, & his Maiesty to keepe retyred and withdrawne. As in the former word of sauing health, the victory stood doubtfull in the eyes of carnall apprehension: the case is heere the very same. Claudian guided by vn­certaine rules, sheweth how they gaue him a halting o­pinion betweene contraries, so many Eclipses doth this light suffer, such thrusting there is against God and godlines, such preuailing of the bad and pride withall: that he meruailed the God of all things should be in the earth, and giue no more proofe of his strength and victory. In these termes hee openeth his doubtfull meaning. When I see the glorious frame of Heauen and Earth, the bounds of the Sea, Summer and Winter fitly dispo­sed in their seasons, the courses of day and night so orderly to succeede: I thought God had giuen these lawes by singular [Page 37]wisdome, and adorned his gifts with such distinction. But when I saw such darkenes vpon the affaires of men, the proud and vngodly flourishing, and the innocent vnder foote: rursus labefacta cadebat religio, religion beganne to faile. Though his owne plaine reason did ground him well in part, Yet did a Heathenish minde thus plunge him in distrac­tion. There is but a haires breadth betweene the prac­tise of many Christians, and this mans opinion, if the best waies be not prosperous they are forsaken, and howsoeuer men haue a meaning, the double dealing is to common.

See then on what ground it stands: Many times the Lord will not shew his might, his enemie gets the vp­per hand, impiety will domineere, no way to crosse it: where is then this victory mentioned in the Text? It appeareth that this obiection may be forcible, because Dauid or the Author of the 73. Psalme, confessed that his feete were almost gone when he beheld the prospe­rity of vngodlinesse.

But going at last into the Sanctuary, hee beheld the slippery place of such doubtfull felicity, and found the glory to be but small which a moment can bring to de­solation, or ioy in a dreame that endeth with the night when one awaketh.

May it not rather amaze the enemie, and con­found vngodlines, when prosperity shall be great, that destruction may be answerable? Nothing can match with his wisdome, that knoweth how to giue way to folly, that he may plucke downe the power of it being growne ripe, and defeat such aduancement in the height. Aristotle truly sheweth a great man may not at all times, declare himselfe, among inferiours, it were [...] to wrestle among the weaker, or dispute among the foolish, 4. Ethic. 3. the world is too weake and base to receiue this strength of God in con­founding the deuill. If the Almighty should striue, what place were left either for good or bad, to finish [Page 38]their owne intentions, or runne out their courses? If his iustice did punish euery sinne who could indure it? if he did reward euery vertue, where were the patience of Saints of glorious in earth, or their reward so great in heauen? The world would too much ingrosse the loues of men, if all things did runne smoothly as they would imagine. See how vainely weake desires striue to fix a rest in the confines of this present State, though such small occasion be giuen, and the waies thereof fild with garboils and confusion. Take one that liues in a troubled place, suppose he be sicke and diseased in his body, his friends leaue him, or faile in their comforts, and age hasten on the remembrance of his departure: we shall often find, the loue of life will make one so qualified, to sticke in this mirie place, and dote vppon these transitorie shaddowes. For this cause the Lord sheweth his scourges rather then his benefits, reseruing the beauty of absolute gouernment in the full lustre till another season, yet here beginnes and layeth the foun­dation of his victory. His workes (although the be­ginning and the end cannot be of one forme) want not to an indifferent beholder. Satan and the malice of his instruments receiue many a grieuous foile, the pro­fessors of his truth many encouragements, and none shall want his ayd that duly craues it. Helpe was pro­mised to S. Paul when it seemed denied, and he buffeted with Satans messenger.

This promisefaild not, 1. Cor. 12.9. being a generall stay in har­dest conflicts: My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weaknes, So strong is the hand of God where it least appeareth. And this much of Christs victory, But when a stronger then he shall come vp­on him and ouercome him.

Now followeth the gaine. Hee taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted and deuideth his spoiles.

The deuill trusteth in his armour, as if he preuailed more by mens weakenesse, then his owne power, a [Page 39]peruerse cariage is made his furniture: yeeld not your members [...] weapons of vnrighteousnes, or armes vnto sinne, Rom. 6.13. Christ trusteth not in his armour, but in himselfe, redeeming by his infinite mer­rit, and sauing by his grace: Satan wins vpon aduan­tage. Christ rather against aduantage; and aboue or­dinary possibility. Hauing conquered his and our ene­mie, the next worke is to disarme the vsurper, and take away his weapon. The body and the soule are the prize gained in this conquest, first possessed by a de­stroyer, and made his instruments: now gained and ho­noured so highly, as to make vp a trophey, to yeeld the Sauiour praise and glory. These then are onely happy, being made the spoiles of Christ, that as shields, or any spoiles in warre, are kept as monuments to posterity, she wing forth his worthines that wonne them to after ages: so the soule and body of one redeemed in glori­fying God for deliuerance, are made partakers of re­demption, and saluation: A proofe we haue here of the soules worthines, that the Sonne of God refused not to enter the lists of opposition for it. It excelleth the whole world, Christ saith the gaine of the world is no­thing to the losse of a mans soule. Matth. 12.29. For as the soule is Gods vessell (for S. Matthew vseth the word [...] no­ting so much) all things are the subiects of the soule, seruing it as so many inferiours. Ioy is in heauen for one soule gained from the clawes of this spirituall de­uourer. From it proceeds religious worship, and from it alone. Die it cannot, so it becommeth an euerlasting heritage, and by consequence a greater purchase. Christ taketh this for himselfe, Yee were as sheepe going astray but are now returned to the Shepheard and Bishop of your soules. 1. Pet. 2.25. The bodies also engaged formerly to the enemy, are partakers in the ransome. Testimonies faile not to giue assurance, blessings exhibited to the soule are sealed, and conueied by ordinances corporall. The body is washed in Baptisme, fed in his Supper, and to [Page 40]be raised vp at the last day. Our Sauiour suffered in both, afflicted in the garden, and fallen into an agonie: and after died for sinne vpon the Crosse. As he suffe­red, he ouercame, and as he ouercame he gained: he sa­ueth both, and maketh his conquest absolute. A seruant is sayd to haue his name a seruando from preseruing. In warre when they had taken prisoners, they vsed not ex­tremities, but those whom by law, they might haue kild, by equity they made their seruants. Christ hauing van­quished the strong Man, is become the absolute Lord. He taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusteth and deuideth his spoiles. In the meane time, poore man that maketh so much estimation of himselfe, see what recko­ning God and the truth make of him. Hee whose thoughts neuer cease almost from domineering, is but anothers vassalat the best, wonne by the law of Armes, and onely happy in being conquered.

The Text maketh him yet lower, armour, goods, weapons, spoiles and a house are things without life, not stirring except they be stird: to these are men re­sembled. We may then well cry out, I nunc superbe. Let pride goe on, Sen. and sinfull arrogance weary out it selfe in boasting. Well may this point conclude with this ob­seruation, the mother of humility, therefore the first step to grace.

All are but instruments, either vnder a good or a bad agent; as goods are onely good for vse, and wea­pons put of and on at anothers pleasure. Tully sayd of Augustus, the common-wealth should make vse of him but no further, onely to destroy a contrary faction Marke Antony and his adhaerents, ornandus laudandus tollendus, he was to be praised, cherished, and after re­mooued out of the way: so are all men, though with great difference but for [...] turne, if they suruay iustly their owne abilities. God may say to the best as he did to them that bare the burden and the heate of the day, may not I doe with mine owne what I list, and as the [Page 41]Prophet in alike busines, Let not the axe boast against him that heweth with it. Esay, 10.15. Blessednes is their re­ward for they fight vnder his Banner, yet not of their owne chusing, their wayes are instrumentall. But of all other a wicked man hath small cause to triumph, where the enemy is his leader, and although no counsell can tame him, this one meditation might coole his courage. If some tormentor of the Common-wealth did consi­der, that onely by Gods permission, and the deuils in­stigation he may or must be a plague to inferiours for a time, because of the vncharitablenes of men, of coue­tousnes, sacriledge, and such incurable sinnes: to take that by rapine, which will be got to no good vses. If the ambitious climber did suppose, God gaue some way to his humours, and if hee serues not him that set him vp, he shall neuerthelesse find true these words of Cyprian, Cui plus dignitatis ascribitur ab eoplus exigetur seruitutis, to whom God alotteth the greatest dignity he requires from him greatest seruice: that either a ru­ine will come heere, or at last a worse fire then Phaeton had, if his chariot keepe not a right course.

If the voluptuous Libertine did consider, though God may let him inioy his delicacy with content, finding him good for nothing else, hating instruction and vn­fit for Discipline, but the end is to fat him against the day of slaughter, that all these are giuen vp as slaues, to him that will correct them as slaues hereafter, if it did not amend them, it might amaze them in their bad proceedings.

But to conclude the point with, the greate [...]t Vniuer­sality, we must account all but [...] and [...] spoiles, instruments, and anothers possession. We may read the characters of obedience in the face of the whole Earth, and the state thereof framed by prouidence to subiection, and euery degree of men appointed to some seruice. The meaner sort subiect to the greater, stirre not without them, and the greater stand not without [Page 42]the meaner. God hath linked one with the other to bridle both, and they either agree or disagree as he in mercy or iudgement shall appoint. Particular orders shew the like, euery sonne subiected to his parent, euery seruant to his master, all Nobility to the Prince, and he to God, and all these by carefull prouision: as the Sonne of man came not to be serued but to serue, and as the Apostle counselleth, let him that hath an office waite vpon his office. That I may call the whole world as Aristotle doth a seruant, instrumentum animatum, a liuing instrument: the great dealers in it are least of all them­selues, the more they are, the greater their debt, the more they stirre, the more they are led and wrought vpon. And so much of the second part of the Text; our Sauiours power. A compendious dispatch shall soone finish the last, which containeth a vse for his Au­ditours.

First, he strike that negligence, He that is not with me is against me. There are Neutralls in the world, some it seemed at that time, stood stedfast neither with Christ, nor the Pharisees: they gaue both the hearing, but did according to their owne pleasures, to shew it were no newes, if after times, and perhaps these of ours swarme with a like company. But if some stay betweene good and bad, how doe these words comprehend all vnder good and bad, admitting none of a middle ranke. Sure­ly, Psalme 69.28 as the Psalmist did pray that his enemies might be blotted out of the Booke of the liuing, when in very truth they were neuer written there, for then their names could not haue beene raced out: onely in pre­suming hypocrisie they had written themselues there, therefore he prayeth God would renounce them open­ly, and proue them to be none of his: so is it here, no Neutralls but in opinion, others may thinke them so, or they themselues, but Christ flatly discardeth all such. Hee that is not with me is against me.

We neede not with S. Ieromie expound it of the de­uill [Page 43]in particularly, but including others with him, re­ferre it to those idle hearers, which heard his words, and saw miracles to no purpose, & so were enemies. Quis­quis non adiuuat quodammodose opponit saith Caluin, hee that doth not helpe, apposeth in a sort, such negligence maketh the enemies more arrogant, and the well wil­lers more discouraged: euen in humane affaires a man is more open for his enemies to play vppon, if his friends faile him, then if he had not any. And what greater enemic hath religion then deuotion without practise: this maketh all the world superficiall, and Ser­mons heard like orations, the vehemency of Gods command is let slip, and this made a busines of the eare. And when faults are commonly taxed, the hearers ac­count all but a wornesubiect, and a beaten theame, whereby the word is become as sounding brasse, or emptie crackes to no end: so these indifferent friends turne grieuous aduersaries. August. 1. de peccatorum meritis, 28. Let vs thinke with S. Austen nec est vlli vllus medins locus, vt possit esse nisi cum diabolo qui non est cum Christo. There is no middle place for any, he must needs be with the deuill that is not with Christ. If then we be not Christs enemies, we must doe two things that we may be with him, maintaine his cause when wee see his commandement: and vindicate his honour, if any disgrace his words and offend him. By the first we make confession of our faith vpon occasi­on, speake his truth and practise it, so we honour him as his followers, saue our selues by the right course, and gaine others to him by example. This benefit is great. Many stand with him, that many doe stand for: And example because it beateth vpon the sences, by an open Oratory proues the strongest mouer. As among plants that grow, the seede lyeth in the fruit: so the fruit of a godly life is as seed, it propagateth religion, and stirreth vp others to godlines. Christ saith, Let yourlight shine before men. S. Austen reasoneth why? Mat. 5.14. seeing else where he commandeth good workes should be done in secret, [Page 44]and answereth, not that any should praise you but con­uersi fiant, quod est, may glorifie your Father which is in heauen, and become worshippers of him by your exam­ple. Secondly, we must reproue sinne, vindicate his ho­nour, account his enemies (considering their wicked­nes) our owne. Nothing is more defaced then godli­nes, one reason whereof is this, men sufferit to rest se­curely vnder their nose, and where sinne is not con­trold it waxeth shamelesse. The Prophet Esay foretold of Christ, Esay 53.2. He should grow vp as a tender plant, and as a roote out of a dry ground, the world should yeeld him small moistures, and his truth would be bended and bowed like a tender sprig of small account. One complained of nature, that man the best creature was brought into the world weakest, naked, destitute, and vnable to help himselfe. So fareth it with the best cause of truth and honesty, hauing plaine dealing for a companion, when vice is armed, and wants not the fence of a guardian and protector. The earth is become a stage, and the cheefe actors egregious hypocrites, it yeelds the show of soundnes when the inward substance is rotten, pre­tending much and performing little. Men will fight rather pro focis then pro aris, for their priuate respects, then Gods glory. Perhaps a religious cause may haue defenders, but if it be opposed, or procure hatred, and crosse other mens humours, that once it become a bur­den or a charge, they cast it off, though they loose Christ and all by the departure. They follow sinne with the swinge of the time, and will goe with the streame though they drowne in the end. Ruffin vpon the Creede sheweth no disgrace can harme one for do­ing good, Christ for vs stooped to infirmities, and was borne of a Virgine, which humiliation was no staine to his Diuinity, or blemish to his person, he prooueth it by a similitude, Si quis vide at paruulum in profundo caeni necari, &c. If a man of worth see a child ready to be choked in the mud, though he get some mire by pluc­king [Page 45]him out, can we account him deformed or pollu­ted: in like case let a man doe good, the aspersions cast vpon him can be no dishonour. And how can he ex­pect the fauour of Christ, that playes the flincher, or if he belong to him not sympathise in his disgrace, Or to speake of conuenient regards, how can he refuse iustly to vndergoe a burden for Christ, that tooke so many loades of heauie cariage before for him. Infinite com­modity might redound to his Kingdome by this spiri­tuall fortitude, the stout reprehension of a sinner might perhaps recall him at last, or make his proceedings more calme, and coole him where it could not saue him. The opposition of the wicked in a bad cause, or the helping of the weaker side in a good may meete with iarres, and rubs in the way, but the end which trieth all, shall crowne those attempts with honour.

But in standing thus firmly with Christ, wisdome and discretion must be guides, when there are apparent testimonies, no good can come, it is in vaine to stirre. One may better spare the labour, then put the Scrip­ture to a swearing man in a drunken fit, or counsaile a man bent to scorne and derision. Deuotion without circumspection betrayes the truth, and counsell then looseth the Maiesty with the successe. To expect a fit time, to feare worse inconueniences in them that are reprehen­ded, or to make them hate weake ones, non videtur cupidi­tatis occasio, sed consilium Charitatis, such forbearance is not an occasion of case and lust, but the counsaile of Charity saith S. Austen. Solomons counsaile puts in this caution, Aug. 1. de Ciu. Dei c. 9. Reproue not a scorner least he hate thee, but rebuke a wise man and he will loue thee Pro. 9.8. Our Sauiour also did charge his Disciples not to giue a holy thing to dogges, nor to cast pearles before swine, One is set to barke against the truth, and the other to wallow in the mire of pollu­tion. But when occasion serueth, euery one is bound to stand with Christ, though it cost him strokes, better to indure them then the blowes of Gods indignation. A [Page 46]white liuerd professor is here disclaimed: Hee that is not with me is against me.

He that gathereth not with mescattereth.

The former point was directed against a sinners negligence, this ouerturnes his confidence. The hypo­crite hath a hope though it proue like a spiders web, he gathereth, but to small purpose. If offenders had not in them this vaine humour, they would not heape so many sinnes, nor treasure vp so much wrath against the day of wrath. As the writers of morall Phylosophie say all vertues doe meete in prudence, that knoweth how to carry things wisely, so all vices seeme vnited in couetousnes. For couetousnes is called the roote of all euill, and too much gathering is the common disease of the times. View then all sinnes comprehended in this, or this for all the rest, their end is gathering, ther­fore can bring no happines. He that is gathering, is la­bouring and still toiling. He is onely happy that leaues gathering, and maketh some vse of his labours which is the true fruition of them. Some there are as men gi­uen ouer to the captiuity of their base affections, which take no pleasure but in raking together, nothing can be wrung away with cheerefulnes but comes like so ma­ny drops of blood, whose mindes none if they were wise would haue for their wealth. For heaping vp wealth is like building, onely to delight in finishing the worke, and making good vse of the possession by imployment, [...] saith Aristotle; Arist. 10. Ethic. 7. Happines is in quiet, presse the word, we shall then find quiet, when we leaue gathering. From that ground the Phylosopher could proue, felicity had no absolute place in any worldly practise, for all things are passed ouer with care and trauell. Eccles. 1.18. The argument indeede is Solomons; when he considered the best gathering which he did wish for as the choifest; euen there, in much wisdome he found griefe, and he that increaseth knowledg, increaseth, sor­row, for care and trouble of the minde is not wanting [Page 47]in those labours; and in the next Chapter he comes to the sweetest gathering, in compassing of pleasures, be­cause a man must bestow some trauell they at last doe tire and weary a man out: he proueth them vanitie and vexation of spirit. Nothing that sauours of this life can be better, therefore no good gathering without Christ. But among all, the couetous toyling for estates, hath bundles to gather vp, fild with thornes and netles, abounding with difficulties and vexation: to remoue if it were possible a griping fist, hunting after commo­dity with too much eagernes. As if God would teach men by the rough and craggy passages, this was not his best way, and that he hath framed men according to his owne Image, & giuen them a diuine soule for some other end then like a mole to dig in the earth, blinded with basenes. Wherefore doe mens affections runne after Mammon in steed of God, or why doe they adore it in his roome? we call that euery ones God vpon which his desires dote and runne, and so here, if wealth drowne all other cares, and possesse the minde as prin­cipall. So bad is couetousnes where it seemeth most harmelesse, what then where it worketh vpon aduan­tage? and grateth vpon the necessities of others? In this age euery one stretcheth out all gaine to the vttermost, and the labours of the meaner sort neuer lesse regarded, one profession striueth to eate vp another. Yet haue we a general complaint of want, as if the curse of scattering went along with this scraping. As fast as the Tennant brings in, or the debter payes, pride and other moths, perhaps an vnthrifty sonne, wast and weare out all a­gaine. Sometimes the labours of one in neede, when they as fertile fields should returne to another, gaine with some aduantage: while too much vse is made of them, ones estate and the others hope doe breake toge­ther. Suppose a miserable gatherer may escape these miseries, a scattering time will come at last, death will scatter the houshold, and diuide the goods, it seuereth [Page 48]the two neere friends soule and body, and for a time sendeth them into remote and distant Countries. Then as Iob saith, Iob 27.8. The hypocrite though hee gaineth where is his hope? Like the chaffe which the winde driueth from the face of the earth, or scattered as our Sauiour pronoun­ceth here.

If then we will gather and gaine too, we must ga­ther with Christ and we shall not scatter, Time imploi­ed in his worship, though it be gone (as all time hath wings) stayeth in the booke of God, and bringeth re­ward. Whatsoeuer labour in his seruice, or cost is be­stowed to maintaine and further it, is layd out safely. The choisest graine lyeth longest in the earth, indures the stormes of Winter, but springeth vp with a gaine­full crop: so the best workes haue their goodnes coue­red, and longest tarry for recompence, but faithfull is he that promiseth, an assured time shall bring them vp. Cast thy bread vpon the waters, Eccles. 11.1.for after many daies thou shalt find it: To teach a worldly minde that seemeth to cast all vpon waters, no benefite redounding backe (and therefore they cast so little) that treasure layd vp in heauen shall neuer be lost. Let vs then gather time by taking opportunity to doe good. Let vs gather the word which Christ disperseth among vs as seede, or the soules Manna, which onely can feede it in the staruing wildernesse of this life: Vse it, or else it will putrifie as Manna did. From the iudgments and plagues of God, gather occasions of admonition and repentance. And by this kind of gathering we shall get all.

Open thy mouth wide and I shall fill it, Psalme 81.10 saith God to his people. His rewards are not like fruits of a cold bene­uolence, or a meane collection: but himselfe, his Sonne, the first fruits of blessednes heere, and eternall glory hereafter in due time. In the naming whereof I may iustly make mine owne period, and yours. Instructions are gathered that we may disperse and publish them for others, to shew by precept and patterne, all gatherings [Page 49]one day must haue a like conclusion. The end of Preaching is practise, and the end of practise is the end of all. Therefore let me winde vp these with our Sauiours counsell here, and S. Pauls in another place. So gather that you may not scat­ter, so runne that yee may obtaine.


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