A Booke of Christian …

A Booke of Christian ex­ercise, appertaining to RE­SOLVTION, that is shew­ing how that we should re­solve our selves to become Christians in deed: by R. P.

Perused, and accompanied now with a Treatise tending to Pacification: by Edm. BVNNY.

Heb. 13, 8.

Iesus Christ yesterday, and to day, and the same for ever.

Imprinted at London by N. New­ton, and A. Hatfield, for Iohn Wight.



Hoc insigne priùs proavis, musísque decorum, Postremò Petri concelebravit honos.

TO THE MOST RE­verend Father in God, his very good Lord and Patron, EDWIN, by the providence of God Archbishop of York, Primate of Eng­land, and Metropo­litan, &c.

MAY it please your Grace to understand, that wheras at the first by a frind of mine, and after by mine own ex­perience, I perceived, that the booke insu­ing was willingly read by divers, for the persuasion that it hath to godlines of life, which notwithstanding in manie points was corruptly set down: I thought good in the end, to get the same published againe in some better manner than now it is come foorth among them; that so the good, that the reading therof might otherwise do, might carrie no hurt or danger withal, so far as by me might be praevented. For this cause I have taken the pains, both to purge it of certain points that carried either some manifest error, or else some other inconvenience with them: and to join another short Treatise withal, to [...]ort those that are not yet persuaded, to join with us likewise in the truth of Religi­on. [Page] For so to accept of our adversaries la­bors so much as is good, may I trust bring to passe with some few of them, that them­selves wil better perceive, that wherin they shal do wel, they may looke to be as readily incouraged by us, as, when they do il, to be admonished, or reprehended either, as the case doth require: and others likewise of their welwillers (yet notwithstanding in this varie from them, that they stand more indif­ferent in the cause of religion, and mean not otherwise to persist in their opinions, but so far as they think they have reason for them) may so be the rather induced to assure them selves (as the truth indeed is) that wherin they have sufficient warrant for the points that they stand on, they are not in any wise misliked by us, but onlie for those, wherin they have no sufficient groundwork to bear them out. I was also very glad, both that some of them had taken pains in that kind of labor: and that others of their profession were somtimes occupied in reading of such. For wheras by their bookes that are of the Controversies, the readers of them that are before smitted with that kind of infestion, are oft times therby the more intangled in their errors, and more kindled likewise with inordinate heat, against al those that more sincerely hold the Christian faith: by this kind of labor it may fal out, that comming [Page] therby to the fear of God, though but after a corrupter maner, yet therin may they pos­sibly finde a readie way, first to draw them somwhat on, to a better advisement of their wais; and then after that, to espie their won­ted errors likewise, and to join with us in the truth of religion. In which course the better to help them, I have added this other Trea­tise withal; so to bring before their eies, how the case for that matter doth stand be­twixt us, and how little cause there is for them so much to be afraid of our profession, as some have born them in hand that they ought: trusting withal, that as they do al­ready agree with us in many points of great importance; so they can be content to con­descend unto us in the rest likewise, if it may appeer unto them, that in so doing they shal do none otherwise, than as of conscience, and dutie they ought.

Both which bookes when I thought to have praesented unto your Grace, I was for a time staied by this, for that I thought them not a praesent woorthie inough, in respect of my labors therin. But when I did more deeply consider, that I might very wel hope of better acceptance, than the strict woor­thines of the thing should deserve, I was then fully resolved to be so bold as to prae­sent your G. with them such as they be: and, for whatsoever wanteth, either in them, or [Page] me, to rest in the good assurance that I have, that your G. wil notwithstanding of your own inclination in good part take them. As also I take it, that I am by good reason indu­ced so to do, both for that the dignitie of your place in the church of God among us, and mine own special dutie besides, doth of right require it, and much more than it, if mine abilitie might accordingly serve: and the nature of the matter in one principal point is such, as that by a certain kind of ne­cessitie it leadeth me therunto. For wheras it may be the persuasion of some, that no such work as is at the first so corrupt in it selfe, should be brought foorth to light by any of us, though never so warily we purged it before (wherin notwithstanding there be many good reasons to ground upon, for those that are otherwise minded:) hence is it, that your Graces censure, especially heer in these parts, is of me and others of the same jurisdiction, especially to be regarded, for the place that God hath given you a­mong us. In which kind of labor, as Castalion first, then also Maister Rogers have done ve­ry wel, in that little booke of Kempicius, that is called The Imitation of Christ, leaving out the corruption of it, and taking onlie that which was sound: so hath Iohn Baptist Fikler been very bold in wresting that which ano­ther had written so wel, of the power of the [Page] magistrate over his subjects, and the dutie of subjects to him again, altogither to the establishing of the Popes supremacie, and to animate their own confoederates against their godlie and lawful princes; changing nothing else (to speak of) but those very ti­tles, and otherwise using the others matter, method, and stile. Nevertheles, as the for­mer of these examples shew us, how such things may rightly be used: so the other likewise may admonish those that would mislike to have their oversights so holpen, that they had need as much to go about to excuse their own fellows, as to impugn any others therfore, that use their freedom more moderately. As for my selfe, having used my libertie so easily as I have done, altering no more than need required, and doing the same in quiet maner, without any greefe against the Author whosoever it were; or disgrace to his doings (so much as might be, not betraieng the truth:) I am the lesse careful (under the protection of your Gra­ces censure) either of the censure, or assalts of others, that are more led by affection than reason. To be short, wheras the former of these two bookes calleth men from the love of the world; and the latter likewise, doth cal men from their woonted errors unto the truth: in both these respects, I thought your G. would so much the rather [Page] accept of them. For having had so long ex­perience of the world as you have, very like­lihood teacheth, that needs you must grow more and more from the love therof: and it is sufficiently known unto al, that having found this mercie your selfe, to be delivered from the former ignorance, & to be brought to the knowledge of the truth, you have in like sort (in this long course that God hath given you) much called on others to do the like. These bookes therfore that treat of the same, I thought should be the rather wel­come. And I beseech almightie God, the fountain and giver of al good things, to give you grace so to consider of the one, and to go on forward in the other, as that more and more departing from the love of the world, and more and more performing the work of the ministerie, you bring the former at length to nothing, and make the other a pollished work for the day of the Lord.

Your Graces most hum­ble in the Lord, EDM. BVNNY.

The Praeface to the Reader.

COncerning the former of these two Bookes (gentle Reader) I have to admonish thee of certain things therunto belonging: and first as touching the Author of it; then as touching the booke it selfe.Of the Au­thor. Who it is that was the Author of it, I do not know, for that the Author hath not put to his name, but only two letters in the end of his praeface: which two letters I have set down under the title of the booke it selfe. But whosoever it is, that was the Author of it, himselfe doth set down, both the occasion wherupon he wrote it; and what was his intent, and purpose ther­in. The occasion of it was, that one Gasper Loart Doctor of Divinitie, and a Iesuit frier,By what oc­casion he wrote. had before written a booke of much like argument in the Italian toong: which a countrie-man of ours at Paris in France had about four yeers since translated into English; and had done (as he thought) much good therby. Wherupon the Author heerof minding to have imprinted that a­gain, and to have inriched it, both with matter, and method: he found the course that he determined, to have this issu in the end, that he thought not good to imprint again that booke of Doctor Loarts, but rather to make another of his own, and to gather in therunto, whatsoever is in that booke, or others such like, to this effect. Which course when he had taken, he thought [Page] good to follow this order therin: first to shew, how to resolve our selves to serve God indeed; then, how to begin to do it; and lastly, how to continu unto the end. And so setting in hand with the work, and having fini­shed the first part, that hath he sent over in the mean season,His intent and purpose. until he shal be able to finish the rest. His intent and purpose was, as himselfe doth witnes, that his countrie-men might have some one sufficient directi­on for matters of life, among so many bookes of con­troversies: for that those (though otherwise he account them needful) do help but little, he saith, oft times to good life; but rather fil the heads of men with a spirit of contradiction & contention, that for the most part hindereth devotion. Insomuch that he much misliketh, that men commonly spend so much of their time so unprofitably, talking of faith, but not seeking to build theron as they ought to do, and so do but wearie them­selves in vain: making much ado, but getting but lit­tle profit therby; much disquieting our selves and others, and yet obtaining but smal reward. Which complaint of his is just indeed, as the matter is han­dled by many. And so having protested his good mea­ning therin, desireth al, though they dissent from him in religion: yet, laieng aside hatred, malice, and wrath­ful contention, to join togither in amendement of life, and in praieng one for another. Which we might have heard in his own words, but that he interlaceth other things withal, that I dare not in conscience and dutie to God commend unto thee.Of the booke it selfe. Concerning the booke it selfe it seemeth to be most of al gathered out of cer­tain of the Schoole-men (as they are termed) that li­ving in the corrupter time of the church, did most of al by that occasion treat of reformation of life; when as others were rather occupied about the controversies, that were most in quaestion among them. And although my selfe have bestowed no great time in them: yet by the little that I have bestowed, I see it to resemble [Page] them so much (especially for the invention of it) that as we finde somtimes a readie help in the face of the childe, to gesse at the father; so in this likewise, me think that we have in the booke it selfe, that which may lead us to this conjecture. But my meaning at this time is no more but this, first to shew thee what it was as it is set foorth by the Author himselfe: and then what is done therunto by me, that so I might get it published to al.In what ma­ner it came foorth at the first. As it is set foorth by the Author him­selfe, if we consider the substance of it, surely it was wel woorth the labor (a few points only excepted) and much of it, of good persuasion to godlines of life. But if we consider the form, or maner of it, therin maiest thou finde, that it was needful for me, before hand to admonish thee of these few things. First, that through­out the whole booke the Author hath used, in those scriptures that he alledgeth, the vulgar translation that was before in common use with them: and some special words praecisely, such as before they have ta­ken upon them to observe, and therin stil to discent from us. The vulgar translation is known wel inough: so that I need to say nothing of it. Those special words that praecisely he useth, are, Our Lord, when it is more agreeable to the text to say, The Lord: iustice, for righteousnes: poenance, for repentance: merit, for good works, or the service of God: and a few others. Then also in divers parts of the booke there were min­gled in withal, certain opinions and doctrines of their own profession, most of them such as are manifest corruptions, and some of them no more but over-ven­turous: and certain places alledged out of others, lit­tle appertaining to the matter,What is don to it since. First in the substance which is approoved. or else more coldly handling the matters propounded, than that wel they could match with the residu that are in the Treatise to that purpose alledged. In this maner came it into my hands: and so it is yet extant among them. Now con­cerning my doings therin, first for the substance of it, [Page] bicause it is, much of it, good, I have so far not only conceived liking of it my selfe: but also have done my best indevor, thus to publish it unto al; that so ma­ny as wil, may take to themselves the benefit of it. In which kind of argument though many others in these our dais have done very commendably likewise? Yet I do specially commend this unto thee, the ra­ther for that it proceedeth from those, that otherwise are for divers points, the greatest adversaries that we have in the cause of religion. And wheras inordi­nate contention is not only unseemly for the church of God, but also hurtful to the cause of religion, a spe­cial point of wisdome it is, when God hath bestowed any good gift on any of us al, that others should so aesteem therof, as that they make the same a mean to moderate the bitternes of their affections towards al those, that gladly would live peaceably with al, so much as they might: as also on the other side it is ve­ry cleer, that those that wil not (so far as the cause of religion it selfe doth permit them) may have just occa­sion to be ashamed; and therby to finde out, what kind of spirit it is that doth lead them. So the substance of the booke is such, as that a minde that is wel dis­posed, may with one, and the selfesame labor, gather out of it, both lessons of godlines unto it selfe: and that which may somwhat occasion some better agreement among certain of us; with such of them I mean, as stand more indifferent, and are content to dissent no further from us, than of conscience they think that they ought. The former of which wil yeeld us this fruit, that we shal addresse our selves to do, in som good measure, our service to God: the other, that we shal do it with a quieter conscience,Then in the form or ma­ner of it, which is amended. our selves desirous to be at peace withal, so far as conveniently may be obteined. On the other side likewise, bicause I found the maner and form so far foorth out of order as I have declared, therfore did I indevor my selfe to help it a little as [Page] need required. But as touching the transsation that they use▪ I have altogither let them alone therwith▪ partly to condescend so far unto them, as to suffer themselves in such case to use what translation they wil, and with good wil to hear them therin; and part­ly for that divers points of the matter were so groun­ded therupon, that the translation might not be amen­ded, unlesse the matter were altered likewise. So far foorth therfore as there was no manifest error taken in withal, I have left it wholy unto them: though o­therwise it might oft times be amended. For which cause also I did the rather omit to meddle with the quotations to alledge the verse of the chapter withal, bicause that in distinguishing of the verses we disagree somtimes: and forbearing to obtrude ours to them, unlesse I thought they would take it in good part; have forborn likewise to use theirs, for that we finde it not so agreeable to the truth it selfe. As for those special words of theirs, that the Author so praecisely useth, I have used my libertie therin: somtimes let­ting them stand as they are; and somtimes altering them, when they were abused, or otherwise the case did so require. Those other points of their proper o­pinions, wherin we dissent from them, and they (no dowt) from the truth it selfe, I have clean left out; and some of those venturous points besides: togither with certain of those places likewise, which he hath alledged out of others, that did not so much apper­tain to the matter that he had in hand; or not so ef­fectually touched the same, as himselfe otherwise hath done. The former of which I therfore left out, for that neither my selfe could allow to leave any such as (to my knowledge) might be any hurt; or else but oc­casion of stumbling to others: neither could I so have gotten it foorth to the use of al, carrieng stil such cor­ruption with it. And this have I done so much the rather, for that most of those things seem rather to be [Page] added by some that had the perusing of the booke, be­fore it might be allowed among them to come to the print, than by the proper Author therof: they do so little oft times agree with the argument that there he hath in hand, nor with the maner of hand­ling of it. As for example, in the first part of the booke and third chapter, setting down the end of mans life, which he saith is the service of God, eight or nine times in that chapter is joined withal the gai­ning of heaven: which notwithstanding is not agree­able to the maner of the Authors handling of that point, as it may appeer in the whole discourse there, and namely by his place of Zacharie in the beginning of the third, and by his division in the beginning of the fourth chapter, where notwithstanding the gaining of heaven is very odly put in again. The other sort like­wise I thought good to leave foorth, for that being im­pertinent, they might discredit some part of the rest, or else but weaker than the rest, might so let down the affections again which were stirred up before by the other. And truly the spirit in these dais doth proceed a great deal more effectually, both in doctrine and ex­hortation, than it did in the dais of divers of those that were heer alledged. Wherin, if there shal be any that shal think, either on the one side, that I have put out too much, or on the other, that I have put out too little, neither am I desirous to overrule their judge­ments, nor very careful to maintain mine own, if any shal come with better matter: contenting my selfe only with this, that I have done what seemed to me to be most expedient to the glorie of God, and to the be­nefit of his people heer. And so without any further defence of my doings therin, now (gentle Reader) I send thee over to the booke it selfe: where if thou shalt bestow a little pains (though it be no more, but once with advisement to read it over) I dowt not, but that thou wilt confesse thy labor to be wel bestowed. Which [Page] when thou shalt finde, then descending to the Author of it, seeing himselfe desireth to be holpen by thy prai­ers, thou shalt do wel, both to thank God for him for this which is done, and to solicite him with thy prai­ers, on behalfe of him and the rest, that it would please him to give them a further knowledge of the truth in Christ, so far as his wisdome hath thought expedient, to the setting foorth of his own glorie, and to the salvation of those that are his. And God give us al (so many as do appertain to his kingdome) his grace in that measure, that both we may agree togither in the truth of religion, and altogither imploy our selves in his service heer, in peace and quietnes one with another. And so I bid thee hartily farewel. At Bolton-Percy, in the ancientie or liberties of York, the 9. of Iulie. 1584.

Thy hartie wel-willer in Christ, EDMVND BVNNY.

The booke of Christian exer­cise, appertaining to Re­solution.

The first part.The contents of the first part of this booke, touching the helps of resolu­tion to serve God.

1 The first Chapter. Of the end and parts of this booke: with a necessarie advertisement to the Reader.
  • How necessarie a thing it is, for a man to re­solve, to leave vanities, and to serve God.
  • What argument the devil useth to draw men from this resolution.
  • How wilful ignorance doth-increase, and not excuse sin.
  • What mind a man should have that would read this Treatise.
2 The second Chapter. How necessarie it is to enter into earnest con­sideration and meditation of our estate; wherin is de­clared:
  • That inconsideration heerin is a great enimie to resolution.
  • What inconveniences grow therby.
  • The nature, and commoditie of consideration.
  • Of the exact maner of meditating the particu­lars of religion in the fathers of old: and the fa­shion of beleeving in grosse at this day.
The third Chapter. 3 Of the end (in general) why man was created, and placed in this world; wher­in is handled:
  • How, du consideration of this end helpeth a man to iudge of himselfe.
  • What mind a man should have to creatures.
  • The lamentable condition of the world by want of this du consideration.
  • And the mischeefe therof at the last day.
The fourth Chapter. 4 Of the end of man more in particular: and of two special parts of the same, required at his hands in this life; wher­in is discussed:
  • How exactly both these parts are to be exer­cised.
  • The description of a Christian life.
  • The lamentable condition of our negligence heerin.
  • The care and diligence of many of the fathers touching the same.
  • The remedies that they used, for the one part: & what monuments of pietie they left behind, tou­ching the other.
  • The indifferent estates of good, and evil men: as wel praesently, and at the day of death; as in the life to come.
5 The fift Chapter. Of the severe account that we must yeeld to God, wherin is declared:
  • A principal point of wisdome in an accoun­tant, for viewing of the state of his account before hand.
  • The maiestie of ceremonies, and circumstan­ces used by God at the first publication of his law in writing: and his severe punishment of offenders.
  • The sharp speeches of our savior against sinners.
  • Why two iudgements are appointed after death.
  • The sudden comming of them both.
  • The demands in our account, at the general iudgement.
  • The circumstances of horror and dread before, at, and after the same.
  • What a treasure a good conscience wil then be.
  • The pittiful case of the damned.
  • How easily the dangers of those matters may be praevented in du time.
6 The sixt Chapter. A consideration of the nature of sin, and of a sin­ner: to shew the cause why God justly useth the rigor before mentioned: wher­in is described:
  • Gods infinite hatred to sinners.
  • The reasons why God hateth them.
  • That they are enimies to God, & to themselves.
  • How God punisheth sinners: as wel the penitent, [Page] as the obstinate: and of the bitter speeches in scrip­ture against sinners.
  • Of the seven miseries and losses which come by sin.
  • The obstinacie of sinners in this age.
  • Two principal causes of sin.
  • Of the danger to live in sin.
  • How necessarie it is to fear.
The seventh Chapter. 7 Another consideration for the further justifieng of Gods judgements, and declaration of our demerit, taken from the majestie of God and his benefits to­wards us; wherin is shewed:
  • A contemplation of the maiestie of God: and of his benefits.
  • Of the several uses of sacraments.
  • Divers complaints against sinners in the per­son of God.
  • Our intollerable contempt and ingratitude a­gainst so great a maiestie and benefactor.
  • Of great causes we have to love God, beside his benefits.
  • How he requireth nothing of us but grati­tude.
  • That it resteth in du resolution to serve him.
  • An exhortation to this gratitude, with a short praier for a penitent sinner in this case.
8 The eight Chapter. Of what opinion and feeling we shal be touching these matters, at the time of our death; wherin is expressed:
  • The induration of some harts, kept from resolu­tion by worldly respects.
  • Of the matters of terror, pain, and miserie, that principally molest a man at his death.
  • A contemplation of the terrors, speech, or cogi­tation of a sinner at the hour of death.
  • Of divers apparitions and visions to the iust and to the wicked lieng a dieng.
  • How al these miseries may be praevented.
9 The ninth Chapter. Of the pains appointed for him after this life, and of two sorts of them; wherin is declared:
  • How God useth the motive of threats to in­duce men to resolution.
  • Of the everlasting pain in hel, reserved for the damned, and common to al that are there.
  • Of the two parts therof: that is, pain sensible, and pain of losse.
  • Vehement coniectures touching the severitie of those pains.
  • Of the several names of hel in divers toongs.
  • Of the particular pains for particular offenders, peculiar in qualitie & quantitie to the sins of ech offender.
  • Of the woorm of conscience.
The tenth Chapter. 10 Of the rewards, benefits, and commodities provided for Gods servants; wher­in is declared:
  • How God is the best pay-master.
  • Of his infinite magnificence.
  • The nature, greatnes, and valu of his rewards.
  • A description of paradise.
  • Of two parts of felicitie in heaven.
  • A contemplation of the commodities of the said two felicities ioined togither.
  • The honor wherunto a Christian man is born by baptism.
  • An admonition against securitie in this life.

The contents of the second part of this booke:The se­cond part. touching impedi­ments of resolution.

The first Chapter. 1 Of the first impediment: which is the difficultie, that manie think to be in vertuous life; wherin is declared:
  • Nine special privileges and helps, wherwith the vertuous are aided above the wicked.
    • 1 The force of Gods grace for easing of vertuous life, against al temptations.
    • 2 Of what force love is heerin. And how a man may know, whether he have love towards God, or no.
    • [Page] 3 Of a peculiar light of understanding pertaining to the iust.
    • 4 Of internal consolation of mind.
    • 5 Of the quiet of a good conscience in the iust.
    • 6 Of hope in God which the vertuous have. And that the hope of the wicked, is indeed no hope, but meer presumption.
    • 7 Of freedom of soul and bodie, which the vertu­ous have.
    • 8 Of the peace of mind in the vertuous, towards God, their neighbor, and themselves.
    • 9 Of the expectation of the reward, that the ver­tuous have.
  • Of the comfort that holie men have, after their conversion: And how the best men have had grea­test conflicts therin.
  • Of Saint Austens conversion, and four annota­tions therupon.
The second Chapter. 2 Of the second impediment: which is tribu­lation; wherin are handled four special points:
  • 1 First, that it is an ordinarie means of salvation to suffer some tribulation.
  • 2 Secondly, that there be thirteen special conside­rations of Gods purpose, in sending afflictions to his servants: which are laid down and declared in particular.
  • 3 Thirdly, what special considerations of comfort a man may have in tribulation.
The third Chapter. 3 Of the third impediment: which is love of the world; which is drawn to six points:
  • 1 First, how, and in what sense the world and com­modities therof are vanities: and of three general points of worldly vanities.
  • 2 Secondly, how worldly commodities are meer deceits.
  • 3 Thirdly, how the same are pricking thorns.
  • 4 Fourthly, how the same are miserie & affliction.
  • 5 Fiftly, how they strangle a man. With a description of the world.
  • 6 Sixtly, how a man may avoid the danger therof, and use the commodities therof to his own benefit.
The fourth Chapter. 4 Of the fourth impediment: which is too much praesuming of Gods mercie; wher­in is declared:
  • That prolonging of our iniquities, in hope of Gods mercie, is to build our sins on Gods bak.
  • Of the two feete of our Lord: that is, mercie and truth.
  • Of two dangers of sinners: and how Gods good­nes helpeth not them, that persevere in sin.
  • Whether Gods mercy be greter than his iustice.
  • The description of tru fear.
  • Of servile fear, and of the fear of children: and how servile fear is profitable for sinners.
5 The fift Chapter. Of the fift impediment: which is, delay of reso­lution upon hope to do it better, or with more ease afterward; wherin a declaration is made:
  • Of seven special reasons, why the devil moo­veth us to delay: and of six principal causes, which make our conversion harder by delay.
  • How hard it is to repent in old age, for him that is not accustomed to some hardnes before: & what charge a man draweth to himselfe, by delay.
  • That the example of the theefe saved on the crosse, is no warrant to such as defer their con­version.
  • Of divers reasons, why conversion made at the last hour is insufficient.
6 The sixt Chapter. Of three other impediments: that is, sloth, negligence, and hardnes of hart; wherin is declared:
  • The four effects of sloth: and the means how to remoove them.
  • The cause of Atheism, at this day. And the way to cure careles men.
  • Of two degrees of hardnes of hart.
  • How hardnes of hart is in al persecutors.
  • The description of an hard hart: and the dan­ger therof.
  • The conclusion of the whole booke.


CHAP. I. Of the end and parts of this Booke: with a necessarie advertisement to the Reader.

THIS first booke hath for his proper end,The end of this bóoke. to persuade a Christian by name to become a tru Christian in deede▪ at the least, in resolution of mind. And for that there be two principal things necessary to this effect: therfore this first booke shal be divided into two parts.Two parts of this booke. In the first shal be declared im­portant reasons and strong persuasions, to pro­voke a man to this resolution: In the second shal be refuted al the impediments, which our spiritual enimies (the flesh, the world, and the diuell) are wont to lay for the stopping of the same: knowing very wel, that of this resoluti­on dependeth all our whole seruice of GOD. For he that never resolveth himselfe to doo [Page 2] wel, and to leave the dangerous state of sin wherin he liveth, is far of from ever doing the same. But he that somtimes resolveth to do it, although by frailty he performeth it not at that time:The necessi­tie of resolu­tion. yet is that resolution much accep­table before God; and his mind the redier to return after to the like resolution again, and by the grace of God, to put it manfully in exe­cution. But he that wilfully resisteth the good motions of the holie Ghost,Acts. 7. and vncurteously contemneth his Lord, knocking at the doore of his conscience, greatly prouoketh the indig­nation of GOD against him,Apoc. 3. and commonly groweth harder and harder daily, vntil he be given over into a reprobate sense,Rom. 1. which is the next doore to damnation it selfe.

An adver­tisement.2 One thing therefore I must advertise the Reader before I go any further, that he take great heed of a certaine principal deceit of our ghostly adversarie, whereby he draweth many millions of soules into hel daily: which is, to fear & terrifie them from hearing or reading any thing contrarie to their present humor or resolution. As for example, an usurer, from rea­ding books of restitution: a lecherer, from rea­ding discourses against that sin: a worldling, from reading spiritual books or treatises of deuotion. And he useth commonly this argu­ment to them for his purpose:The divels argument. Thou seest, how thou art not yet resolved to leave this trade of life, wherin thou art: and therfore the reading [Page 3] of these books wil but trouble and afflict thy conscience, and cast thee into sorrow and me­lancholie, and therefore read them not at al▪ This (I saie) is a cunning sleight of Satan, wher­by he leadeth many blindfolded to perdition: euen as a faulkener carieth manie hawks qui­etly being hooded, which otherwise he could not do, if they had the vse of their sight.

3 If ignorance did excuse sin, then this might be some refuge for them that would live wic­kedly:Wilful ig­norance in­creaseth sin. But this kind of ignorance (being vo­luntarie and wilful) increaseth greatly both the sin, and the sinners euil state. For of this man the holie Ghost speaketh in great disdain. Noluit intelligere vt bene ageret. Psal. 35. He would not vn­derstand to do well. And again: Quia tu scientiam repulisti, repellam te. Ose. 4. For that thou hast reiected knowledge I will reiect thee. And of the same men in another place the same holy Ghost saith: They do lead their lives in pleasure, Iob. 21. and in a moment go down vnto hell, which say to God, Go from vs, we will not have the knowledge of thy wais. See S. Au­sten of this sin De gra. & lib. arb. chap. 3. & S. Chrisostom hom. 26. in epist. ad Rom. Let euery man therfore beware of this deceit, and be content at the least, to read good bookes, to frequent devout company, and other like good means of his amendment, albeit he were not yet re­solved to follow the same: yea although he should find some greefe and repugnance in himselfe to do it. For these things can never do him hurt, but may do him very much good: and it may be, that the very contrarictie and [Page 4] repugnance which he beareth in frequenting these things against his inclination, may move the merciful Lord, which seeth his hard case, to give him the victorie over himselfe in the end, and to send him much more comfort in the same, than before he had dislike. For he can easily do it, only by altering our tast with a litle drop of his holie grace, and so make those things most sweet and pleasant, which before tasted both bitter and vnsaverie.

What mind a man shuld bring to the reading of this booke.4 Wherfore as I would hartily wish everie Christian soule, that cometh to read these con­siderations following, should come with an in­different mind laid down wholy into Gods hands, to resolve and do, as it should please his holy spirit to move him unto, although it were to the losse of all worldlie pleasures whatsoe­ver (which resignation is absolutely necessarie to everie one that desireth to be saved) so, if some can not presently win that indifferencie of themselves, yet would I counsel them in any case to conquer their minds to so much pa­tience, as to go through to the end of this booke, and to see what may be said at least to the matter, although it be without resolution to follow the same. For I doubt not, but God may so pearse these mens harts before they come to the end, as their minds may be alte­red, and they yeeld themselues unto the hum­ble and sweet service of their Lord and Savi­our,Luc. 15. and that the Angels in heaven may rejoice [Page 5] and triumph of their regaining, as of sheepe most dangerously lost before.

CHAP. II. How necessarie it is to enter into earnest consideration and meditation of our estate.

THE prophet Ieremie af­ter a long complaint of the miseries of his time, fallen upon the Iewes by reason of their sins, vtte­reth the cause thereof in these words: Al the earth is fallen into utter desolation, Iere. 12. for that there is no man which considereth deeply in his hart. Signifieng hereby, that if the Iewes would haue entered into deepe and earnest consideration of their liues and estate, before that great desolation fel vpon them, they might haue escaped the same, as the Niniuites did by the fore-warning of Ionas:Ionas. 3. albeit the sword was now drawen, and the hand of God stretched out, within fortie daies to destroy them. So important a thing is this considera­tion. In figure wherof, al beasts in old time, which did not ruminate, or chew their cud, were accounted vnclean by the law of Moises:Leu. 11. Deut. 14. as no dowt, but that soule in the sight of God must needs be, which resolveth not in hart, nor [Page 6] cheweth in often meditation of minde, the things required at hir hands in this life.

2 For, of want of this consideration, and du meditation, all the foul errors of the world are committed, and many thousand Christians do find themselves within the verie gates of hel, before they mistrust any such matter towards them: being caried thorough the vale of this life blindfolded with the veile of negligence and inconsideration, as beasts to the slawghter hows, and never suffered to see their own dan­ger, vntil it be too late to remedie the same.

3 For this cause the holy scripture doth re­commend vnto us most carefully, this exercise of meditation, and diligent consideration of our duties, to deliver us thereby from the pe­ril, which inconsideration leadeth us unto.

4 Moises hauing delivered to the people his embassage from God, touching al particulars of the law, addeth this clause also from God, as most necessarie: These words must remain in thy hart, Deut. 6. thou shalt meditate vpon them, both at home, and abroad, when thou goest to bed, and when thou risest again in the morning. Deut. 11. And again, in another place: Teach your children these things, that they may me­ditate in their harts upon them. The like comman­dement was given by God himselfe,Iosu. 1. to Iosua at his first election to govern the people: to wit, that he should meditate vpon the law of Moises both day & night, to the end, he might keepe and perform the things written therein. [Page 7] And God addeth presently the commoditie he should reap thereof. For then (saith he) shalt thou direct thy way aright, and shalt vnderstand the same. Signifieng, that without this meditation a man goeth both amisse and also blindly, not knowing himselfe whither.

5 Saint Paul having described vnto his schol­ler Timothie, the perfect dutie of a Prelate, ad­deth this advertisement in the end: Haec medi­tare. Meditate▪ ponder and consider vpon this. 1. Tim. 4. And fi­nally, whensoever the holy scripture describeth a wise, happie, or iust man (for all these are one in scripture, for that justice is only tru wisdome and felicitie:) one cheefe point is this:Psal. 1. Pro. 15. Eccl. 14. He wil meditate upon the law of God, both day and night. And for examples in the scripture, how good men did use to meditate in times past, I might here reckon vp great store, as that of Isaac,Gen. 24. who went foorth into the feelds towards night to meditate: also that of Ezechias the king, who (as the scripture saith) did Esai. 38. meditate like a dove that is, in silence, with his hart only,Or moorn: for it was in the way of sorrow­ing or la­mentation without B noise of words. But above al other, the exam­ple of holie David is singular, herein, who eve­ry where almost, maketh mention of his conti­nual exercise in meditation, saieng to God: I did meditate upon thy cōmandements which I loved. Psal. 118. And again:Psal. 62. Psal. 118. I wil meditate vpon thee in the mor­nings. And again: O Lord how have I loved thy law? It is my meditation al the day long. And with what fervour and vehemencie he used to make these [Page 8] his meditations, he sheweth when he saith of himselfe:Psal. 38. My hart did wax hot within me, and fire did kindle in my meditations.

6 This is recorded by the holy Ghost of these ancient good men, to confound vs which are Christians, who being far more bound to fer­vour than they, by reason of the greater bene­fits we have received: yet do we live so lazily (for the most part of us) as we never almost en­ter into the meditation and earnest considera­tion of Gods laws and commandements; of the mysteries of our faith; of the life, and death of our Saviour; or of our dutie towards him: and much lesse do we make it our daily studie and cogitation, as those holie kings did, not­withstanding al their great busines in the cō ­monwealth.

7 Who is there of vs now adaies, which ma­keth the laws and commandements or justifi­cations of God (as the scripture termeth them) his daily meditations as king David did?Psal. 118. Nei­ther only in the day time did he this,Psal. 76. but also by night in his hart, as in another place he te­stifieth of himselfe. How many of vs do passe over whole dais, and months without ever en­tring into these meditations? Nay, God grant there be not many Christians in the world, which know not what these meditations do mean. We beleeve in grosse the mysteries of our Christian faith,Beleefe in grosse. as that there is an hel; an heaven; a reward for vertu; a punishment for [Page 9] vice; a judgement to come; an accompt to be made; and the like: but for that we chew them not wel by deepe consideration, and do not di­gest them wel in our harts, by the heat of me­ditation; they helpe vs little to good life, no more than a preservative put in a mans pocket can helpe his health.

8 What man in the world would adventure so easily vpon sin (as commonly men do,Marvelous effects of in­considera­tion. which drink it up as easily as beasts drink water) if he did consider in particular the great danger and losse of grace; the losse of Gods favour, and purchasing his eternal wrath; also the death of Gods own son sustained for sin; the inaesti­mable torments of hel for the everlasting pu­nishment of the same? Which albeit everie Christian in summe doth beleeve: yet bicause the most part do never consider them with du circumstances in their harts: therefore they are not moved with the same, but do beare the knowledge thereof locked vp in their breasts, without any sense or feeling: even as a man ca­rieth fire about him in a flint stone without heat; or perfumes in a pommander without smel, except the one be beaten, and the other be chafed.

9 And now to come nere our matter, which we mean to handle in this booke) what man living would not resolve himselfe thorowly to serve God in deed, and to leave al vanities of the world, if he did consider as he should do, [Page 10] the waightie reasons he hath to moove him thereunto: the reward he shal receive for it; and his infinite danger if he do it not? But bi­cause (as I have said (scarce one among a thou­sand doth enter into these considerations, or if he do, it is with lesse attention, or continuance, than so great a matter requireth, herof it com­meth, that so many men perish daily, and so few are saved: for that, by lack of consideration, they neuer resolve themselves to live as they should do, and as the vocation of a Christian man requireth. So that we may also complain with holie Ieremie, alledged in the beginning, that our earth also of Christianitie,Iere. 12. is brought to desolation, for that men do not deeply con­sider in their harts.

10 Consideration is the key which openeth the dore to the closet of our hart,The nature of conside­ration. where al our bookes of account do lie. It is the looking glasse, or rather the very eie of our soule, wher­by she seeth hir selfe, and looketh into al hir whole estate: hir riches; hir good gifts; hir de­fects; hir safetie; hir danger; hir waie she wal­keth in; hir pase she holdeth: and finally, the place and end which she draweth unto. And without this consideration, shee runneth on blindly into a thousand brakes and briers, stumbling at every step, into some one incon­venience or other, and continually in peril of some great & deadlie mischief. And it is a won­derful matter to think, that in other busines [Page 11] of this life, men both see and confesse, that no­thing can be either begun, prosecuted, or wel ended, without consideration: and yet in this great busines of the kingdome of heaven, no man almost vseth or thinketh the same neces­sarie.

11 If a man had to make a journey but from England to Constantinople,A fit simili­tude. albeit he had made the same once or twise before, yet would he not passe it over without great and often consideration: especially, whether he were right, and in the way or no; what pase he held; how neere he was to his wais end; and the like. And thinkest thou (my deer brother) to passe from earth to heaven, and that, by so manie hils, and dales, and dangerous places, never passed by thee before, and this without any consideration at al? Thou art deceived if thou thinkest so, for this journey hath far more need of consideration, than that, being much more subject to bypaths and dangers: every plea­sure of this world; every lust; every dissolute thought; every alluring sight▪ and tempting sound; every divel vpon the earth, or instru­ment of his (which are infinite) being a theefe, and lieng in wait to spoil thee, and to destroy thee vpon this way towards heaven.

12 Wherfore I would give counsel to every wise passenger, to looke wel about him, and at least wise once a day, to enter into considerati­on of his estate, and of the estate of his treasure [Page 12] which he carieth with him, in a brickle vessel, as Saint Paul affirmeth,2. Cor. 4. I mean his soule, which may as soone be lost by inconsideration, as the smallest, and nicest jewell in this world, as part­ly shall appeer by that which heerafter I have written for the help of this consideration, wherof both I my self and al other Christians do stand in so great need in respect of our ac­ceptable service to God. For surely if my soul, or any other did consider attentievly but a few things of many which she knoweth to be trew: she could not but speedily reform hir self, with infinite mislike and detestation of hir former course. As for example, if she considered tho­roughly that hir only comming into this life was to attend to the service of God;Deut. 6. Luc. 1. and that she notwithstanding attendeth only, or the most part, to the vanities of this world: that she must give account at the last day of every idle word;Mat. 12. and yet that she maketh none account, not only of words, but also, not of evil deeds: that no fornicator,1. Cor. 5. Eph. 5. no adulterer, no vsurer, no couetous, or vnclean person shal ever enjoy the kingdome of heaven, as the scripture saith; and yet she thinketh to go thither, living in the same vices:Gen. 6. Gen. 19. that one only sin hath ben suffici­ent to damn many thousands togither; and yet she being loden with many, thinketh to escape: that the way to heaven is hard, strait, and pain­ful,Mat. 7. by the affirmation of God himself; and yet she thinketh to go in, living in pleasures and [Page 13] delites of the world: that al holie saints that ever were (as the Apostles,Acts. 1. 1. Cor. 4. 2. Cor. 1. Cor. 9. Phili. 2. 1. Cor. 2. & mother of Christ hir self, with al good men since) chose to them selves to live an austere life (in painful labour, profitable to others, fasting, praieng, punishing their bodies, and▪ the like) and for al this, lived in feare and trembling of the judgements of God; & she, attending to none of these things, but folowing hir pastimes, maketh no doubt of hir own estate: If (I saie) my soule or anie o­ther did in deede, and in earnest consider these things, or the least part of a thousand more that might be considered, and which our Chri­stian faith doth teach vs to be tru: she would not wander (as the most part of Christian souls do) in such desperate peril thorough want of consideration.

13 What maketh theeves to seeme mad vn­to wise men,A compa­rison. that seing so manie hanged dailie for theft before their eies wil yet notwithstan­ding steal again, but lak of consideration?Mat. 7. Luc. 12. Rom. 1. 1. Cor. 1. 2.3. Gal. 3. And the verie same cause maketh the wisest men of the world to seeme verie fooles, and worse than frantiks vnto God and good men, that knowing the vanities of the world, and the danger of sinful life, do folow so much the one, and feare so litle the other. If a law were made by the authoritie of man, that whosoever shuld adventure to drink wine, should without de­laie hold his hand but half an hour in the fire, or in boiling lead, for a punishment: I thinke [Page 14] manie would forbear wine, albeit naturallie they loued the same, and yet a law being made by the eternal maiestie of God, that whosoe­ver committeth sin, shal boile everlastinglie in the fire of hel, without ease or end: manie one for lack of consideration, do commit sin, with as litle fear, as they do eat or drink.

The conclu­sion of this chapter.14 To conclude therfore, consideration is a most necessarie thing to be taken in hand, especiallie in these our daies, wherin vanitie hath so much prevailed with the most, as it se­meth to be tru wisdome, and the contrarie therof, to be meere follie, and contemptible simplicitie. But I doubt not by the assistance of God, and help of consideration, to discover in that which foloweth, the error of this mat­ter unto the discreet Reader, which is not wil­fullie blinded, or obstinatelie given over unto the captivitie of his ghostlie enimie (for some such men there be:) of whom God saith as it were pitieng and lamenting their case, They haue made a leag with death, Esai. 28. and a couenant with hel it self: that is, they wil not come out of the danger wherin they be, but wil headlong cast themselves into everlasting perdition, rather than by consideration of their estate, recover to themselves eternal life and glorie, from which deadlie obstinacie the Lord of his mercie deliver us all, that belong unto him.

CHAP. III. Of the end for which man was created, and placed in this world.

NOw then, in the name of almightie God, and with the assistance of his holie spirit, let the Christian man or woman desirous of salvation, first of al consider attentivelie, as a good marchant-factour is wont to do, when he is arrived in a strange countrie; or as a captain sent by his prince to some great exploit is ac­customed when he commeth to the place ap­pointed: that is, to think for what cause he came thither; why he was sent; to what end; what to attempt; what to prosecute; what to perform; what shalbe expected and required at his hands vpon his return by him that sent him thither! For these cogitations (no doubt) shal stir him vp to attend to that which he came for, and not to emploie himself in im­pertinent affaires. The like (I saie) would I have a Christian to consider, and to aske of himself, why and to what end was he crea­ted of God, and sent hither into this world, what to do, wherein to bestow his daies, he shal finde, for no other cause or end, but on­lie [Page] [Page] [Page 16] to serve God in this life. Deut. 6. Iosu. 22. Gen. 14. This was the con­dition of our creation, and this was the onlie consideration of our redemption, prophesied by Zacharie before, That we being delivered from the hands of our enimies, Luc. 1. might serve him in holines and righteousnes al the daies of our life.

2 Of this it followeth first, that seing the end and final cause of our being in this world,The first consequence. is to serve God in this life, that whatsoever we do, or endevour, or bestow our time in, either contrarie, or impertinent to this end, which is only to the service of God, though it were to gain al the kingdoms of the earth: yet is it meere vanitie, follie, and lost labour; and wil turn vs one day to greefe, repentance, and confusion; for that it is not the matter for which we came into this life, or of which we shal be asked account at the last day, except it be to receave judgement for the same.

3 Secondlie, it foloweth of the premisses, that seing our only end and busines in this world,The second consequence. is to serve God, and that al other earth­ly creatures are put here to serve vs to that end; we should (for our parts) be indifferent to al these creatures, as to riches or povertie; to health or sicknes; to honour or contempt: and we should desire only so much, or litle of the same, as were best for vs to our said end that we intend; that is, to the service of God, for whosoever desireth or seeketh the crea­tures more than this, runneth from his end [Page 17] for the which he came hither.

4 By this now may a careful Christian take some scantling of his own estate with God, & make a conjecture whether he be in the right way or no. For if he attend only or principally to this end, for which he was sent hither, that is, so serve God, if his cares, cogitations, stu­dies, endevours, labours, talk, and other his actions, run upon this matter, and that he ca­reth no more for other creatures, as honor, ri­ches, learning, and the like: then they are ne­cessarie vnto him for this end, which he pre­tendeth: if his daies and life (I say) be spent in this studie of the service of God, then is he dowtles a most happy and blessed man, and shal at length attain to the kingdom of God.

5 But if he find himself in a contrarie case, that is, not to attend to this matter for which only he was sent hither, nor to haue in his hart and studie this service of God, but rather some other vanitie of the world, as promotion, wealth, pleasure, sumptuous apparel, gorgious buildings, bewtie, or any other thing els that pertaineth not to this end: if he spend his time (I say) about these trifles, having his cares and cogitations, his talk and delight, more in them than about the other great busines for which he was sent: then is he in a perilous course, [...]eading directly to perdition, except he alter [...]nd change the same. For most certain it is, that whosoever shal not attend vnto the ser­vice [Page 18] he came for, shal never attain to there­ward promised to that service.

6 And bicause the most part of the world, not only of infidels, but also of Christians, do amisse in this point, and do not attend to this thing for which they were only created and sent hither:Luc. 13.23. thence it is that Christ and his holy saints have alwais spoken so hardly of the smal number that are in state of salvation even a­mong Christians, and have uttered some spee­ches which seeme very rigorous to flesh and blood, and scarce trew, albeit they must be fulfilled:Mat. 19. Mar. 10. as, that It is easier for a camel to go tho­rough a nedels eie, than for a rich man to enter into heaven. The reason of which saieng (and many mo) standeth in this, that a rich man or world­ling attending to heap riches can not attend to do that which he came for into this world, and consequently never attain heaven, except God work a miracle, and so cause him to con­temn his riches, and to vse them only to the service of God: as som times he doth, and we haue a rare example in the Gospel of Zacheus, who being a very rich man,Luc. 19. presently vpon the entering of Christ into his house, and much more into his hart by faith, gave half his goods vnto the poore, and offered withal, that whom soever he had injuried, to him he would make four-times so much restitution.The lamen­table state of men of the world.

7 But hereby now may be seene the lamen­table state of manie thousand Christians in [Page 19] the world, which are so far of from bestowing their whole time and travel in the service of God, as they never almost think of the same; or, if they do, it is with very little care or atten­tion. Good Lord, how many men and women be there in the world, which bearing the name of Christians, scarce spend one hour of fower and twentie in the service of God! How many do beat their brains about worldlie matters; and how few are troubled with this care! How manie find time to eate, drink, sleepe, disport, deck, and paint themselues out to the world; and yet have no time to bestow in this greatest busines of all other! How many spend over whole daies, weeks, months, and yeers, in hau­king, hunting, & other pastimes; without ma­king account of this matter! What shall be come of these people? What wil they say at the day of judgement? What excuse wil they have?

8 If the marchant factor (which I spake of before) after many yeers spent beyond the seas returning home to geeve accounts to his mai­ster,A compa­rison. should yeeld a reconing of so much time spent in singing, so much in daunsing, so much in courting, and the like: who would not laugh at his accounts? But being further asked by his maister, what time he bestowed on his mar­chandise which he sent him for; if he should answer, none at all, nor that he ever thought or studied upon that matter: who would not [Page 20] think him woorthie of all shame, and punish­ment? And surely with much more shame and confusion shall they stand at the day of judg­ment, who being placed here to so great a bu­sines, as is the service of almightie God, have notwithstanding neglected the same, bestow­ing their studies, labors, and cogitations in the vain trifles of this world: which is as much from the purpose, as if men being placed in a course to run at a golden game of infinit price, they should leave their mark, and some step a­side after flies, or fethers in the aire; and some other stand still gathering up the dung of the ground. And how were these men woorthie (trow you) to receave so great a reward as was proposed to them?

9 Wherfore (deer Christian) if thou be wise, consider thy case while thou hast time, follow the Apostles counsel:Gal. 6. examin thy own works, & wais, & deceave not thy self. Yet maist thou have grace to reform thy self, bicause the day time of life yet remaineth.Iohn. 9. The dreadful night of death wil overtake thee shortly, when there wil be no more time of reformation. What wil al thy labour and toil in procuring of worldly wealth, profit or comfort thee at that hour, when it shal be said to thee, as Christ said to thy like in the gospel, when he was now come to the top of his worldly felicitie:Luc. 12. Thou foole, this night shal they take away thy soul: and then, who shal have the things, which thou hast gotten togither? [Page 21] Beleeve me (deer brother) for I tel thee no un­truth, one hour bestowed in the service of God, wil more comfort thee at that time, than an hundred yeeres bestowed in advauncing thy selfe and thy house in the world. And if thou mightest feele now the case, wherin thy poore hart shal be then, for omitting of this thing, which it should most have thought up­on: thou wouldest take from thy sleepe, and from thy meat also, to recompence thy negli­gence for the time past. The difference betwixt a wise man & a foole is this, that the one pro­videth for a mischeef while time serveth: but the other, when it is too late.

10 Resolve thy self therfore good Christian while thou hast time. Resolve thy self without delay, to take in hand presently and to apply for the time to come, the great and weightie busines for which thou wast sent hither▪ which only in deed is weightie and of importance; and al others are meere trifles and vanities, but only so far forth as they concern this. Be­leeve not the world, which for running awrie in this point, is detested by thy saviour;Ioh. 7.8.2. 1. Iohn. 2. and every frend therof, pronounced an enimy to him by his Apostle. Say at length unto thy sa­viour, I do cōfesse unto thee O Lord,A praier. I do con­fesse & can not deny, that I have not hitherto attended to the thing for which I was created, redeemed, and placed here by thee: I do see my errour, I can not dissemble my greevous [Page 22] fault: & I do thank thee ten thowsand times, that thou hast given me the grace to se it, while I may yet by thy grace amend it: which by thy holy grace I mean to do, and without delay to alter my course: beseeching thy divine maje­stie, that as thou hast given me this light of un­derstanding to see my danger, and this good motion to reform the same; so thou wilt con­tinew towards me thy blessed assistance, for performance of the same, to thy honor and my souls health. Amen.

CHAP. IIII. Of the end of man in particular: and of two spe­cial things required at his hands in this life

HAving spoken of the end of man in general in the former chap­ter, & shewed that it is to serve God: it seemeth convenient (for that the matter is of great and singular importance) to treat somwhat more in particular, wherin this service of God doth consist: that therby a Christian may iudge of himself, whether he perform the same or no; and consequently, whether he do the thing for which he was sent into this world.

Two parts of our end in this life.2 First therfore it is to be understood, that the whole service which God requireth at a [Page 23] Christian mans hands in this life, consisteth in two things: the one, to fly evil; & the other to do good. And albeit these two things were required of us also before the coming of Christ (as appeareth by Dauid whose cōmandement is general; Decline from evil, and do good: Psal. 36. and by Esay the prophet whose words are; Leave to do perversly, and learn to do wel. Esai. 1.) Yet much more particularly, and with far greater reason are they demaunded at the hands of Christian people, who by the death and passion of their Redeemer, do receave grace and force to be a­ble in some measure to perform these two things, which the law did not give, albeit it commanded the same.

3 But now we being redeemed by Christ, & receaving from him not only the renewing of the same cōmandement,Rom. 6. for the performance of these two things, but also force and abilitie by his grace wherby we are made somwhat a­ble to do the same: we remain more bound therto in reason and dutie than before, for that this was the fruit and effect of Christ his holy passion as Saint Peter saith, That we being dead to sin, should live vnto righteousnes. 1. Pet. 2. Or as Saint Paul more plainly declareth the same when he saith,Tit. 2. The grace of God our Saviour hath appea­red to al men, instructing vs to this end, that we re­nouncing al wickednes, and worldly desires, should live soberly, iustly, and godly in this world.

4 These two things then are the service of [Page 24] God, for which we were sent into this world: the one to resist sin;Two parts of the service of God. the other to folow good works. In respect of the first we are called sol­diers,Iohn. 7. 2. Cor. 10. 1. Tim. 1. 2. Tim. 2. Phil. 1. Heb. 10. and 12. Matt. 9.10.20. Luk. 10. 1. Tim. 5. Psa. 125. Mat. 13. & our life a warfare upon the earth: for that as soldiers do alwais lie in wait to resist their enimies: so ought we to resist sin and the temptations therof. And in respect of the se­cond, we are called labourers, stewards, fer­mers, and the like, for that as these men attend diligently to their gain and increase of sub­stance in this life, so should we to good works, to the glorie of God, and benefit of others here in this life.

5 These therfore are two special points which a Christian man should meditate upon; two special exercises wherin he shuld be occupied: two special legs wherupon he must walk in the service of God: and finally two wings wherby he must flie and mount up unto a Christian life. And whosoever wanteth either of these, though he had the other: yet can he not as­cend to any tru godlines, no more than a bird can fly lacking one of hir wings. I say, that nei­ther innocencie is sufficient without good works: nor good works any thing available, where innocencie from sin is not. The later is evident by the people of Israel, whose sacrifi­ces, oblations, praiers, and other good works commended and commanded by God him­self, were oftentimes abhominable to God: for that the dooers thereof lived in sin and [Page 25] wickednes, as at large the prophet Esay decla­reth?Esai. 1. The former also is made apparant by the parable of the foolish virgins, who,Mat. 25. albeit they were innocent from sin, yet bicause they gave not attendance, they were shut out of the doores.Luc. 13. Mat. 25. And at the last day of judgment Christ shal say to the damned, bicause you clothed me not, fed me not, and did not other deedes of charitie appointed to your vocation: ther­fore go you to everlasting fire, &c. Both these points then are necessarie to a Christian to the service of God: and so necessarie, as one with­out the other availeth not, as I have said.How we ought to resist sin. And touching the first, which is resisting of sin, we are willed to do it even unto death, and with the last of our blood (if it were need) and in di­vers places of scripture,Heb. 12. Eph. 5. Iaco. 4. 1. Pet. 5. the holy ghost willeth vs most diligently to prepare our selves, to re­sist the divel manfully which tempteth vs to sin: and this resistance ought to be made in such perfect maner as we yeeld not wittingly and willingly to any sin whatsoever, either in work, word, or consent of hart, insomuch that whosoever should give secret consent of mind to the performance of a sin, if he had time,Matt. 5. place, and abilitie therunto,Exo. 12. Deut. 5. is condemned by the holy scripture in that sin, even as if he had cōmitted the same now in act. And touching the second, which is good works,How we must do good works. we are wil­led to do them abundantly, diligently, joiful­ly, and incessantly, for so saith the scripture. [Page 26] Whatsoever thy hand can do, Eccl. 9. do it instantly. And a­gain:Eccl. 1. Gal. 6. Walk worthy of God, fructifieng in every good work: And again Saint Paul saith: Let us do good works unto al men. And again in the very same place;1. Cor. 15. Let us never leave of to do good, for the time wil come when we shal reap without end. And in a­nother place he willeth vs To be stable, immovea­ble, and abundant in good works, knowing that our la­bor shal not be unprofitable.

A descripti­on of a chri­stian.6 By this it may be seen (deer brother) what a perfect creature is a good Christian, that is, as Saint Paul describeth him, The hand work of GOD, and creature of Christ to good works, wherin he hath prepared that he should walk. Eph. 2. It ap­peareth (I say) what an exact life the tru life of a Christian is: which is a continual resistance of al sin, both in thought, word, and deed, and a performance or exercise of al good works, that possibly he can devise to do. What an An­gelical life is this? Nay more than Angelical, for that angels being now placed in their glo­ry, have neither temptation of sin to resist, nor can do any work (as we may) for to encrease their further glorie.

The perfe­ction of a christian life.7 If Christians did live according to this their duty, that is in doing al good that they might, & never consenting to evil: what nee­ded there almost any temporal laws? What a goodly common wealth were Christianitie? Who wil not marvel at the rare examples of many good forefathers of ours, wherin such [Page 27] simplicitie, such truth, such conscience, such almsdeeds, such sinceritie, such vertu, such re­ligion and devotion, is reported to have been. The cause was, for that they studied upon these two points of a Christian mans duty, and la­bored for the performance therof, every man as God gaue him grace. And we bicause we look not into these matters, are become as loose and wicked in life, as ever the Gentils, or infidels were. And yet is God the same God stil, and wil accept at our hands no other ac­count, than he did of those forefathers of ours, for the performance of these two parts of our duty towards him. What then shal become of us, which do not live in any part as they did? And to enter yet somwhat more into the par­ticular consideration of these things, who is there now a daies amongst common Christi­ans (for no doubt there be in secret many ser­vants of God which do it) but of those which beare the name of Christians, and most stur abroad in the world, who is there (I say) that taketh any pain about the first point, that is, touching the resisting of the concupiscence of sin? Which concupiscence, or natural moti­on of sin, remaining in us,Augu. lib. 2. cont. Iulian. & lib. 1. de peccat. mer. cap. vlt. Io. Cassian. 1.5. ca. 12. & de­inceps. as a remnant of our natural maladie in punishment of the sin of our first father Adam, is left in us now after baptisme, ad agonem, that is, to strive withal, & to resist. But alas how many be there which do resist (as they should) these evil motions of [Page 28] concupiscence? Who doth ever examine his conscience of the same? Who doth not yeeld cōmonly consent of hart, to every motion that commeth, with pleasure: of covetousnes, of anger, of revenge, of pride, of ambition, and (above al) of lecherie, and other filthie sins of the flesh: knowing notwithstanding (by the protestation of our Saviour Christ himselfe) that every such consent of hart,Mat. 5. is as much in substance of sin, as the act, and maketh the soul guiltie of eternal damnation!

8 It is a woonderful matter to consider, and able to make a man astonied to think, what great care, fear, diligence, and labor, good men in old times did take about this matter of re­sisting sin, and how litle we take now. Iob the just,Iob. 9. having lesse cause to fear than we, saith of himselfe: I did fear al my doings (ô Lord) conside­ring that thou doost not pardon such as offend thee. But the good king David which had now ta­sted Gods heavy hand for consenting to sin before, sheweth himselfe yet more careful and fearful in the matter,Psal. 76. when he saith: I did medi­tate in the night time together with my hart, and it was my whole exercise, and I did brush or sweep mine own spirit within me. What a diligent examinati­on of his conscience, thoughts and cogitati­ons was this in a king! And al this was for the avoiding and resisting of sin: as also it was in Saint Paul, who examined his conscience so narrowly, & resisted al temptations with such [Page 29] diligence, & attention, as he could pronounce of himselfe,1. Cor. 4. that to his knowledge he was in his ministerie guiltie of nothing: albeit he doth confesse in another place, that he had most vile and strong temptations of the flesh laied upon him of the devil by Gods appoint­ment.2. Cor. 12. Yet by the grace of Christ he resisted and overcame al. For the better performance wher­of it is likely that he used also these external helps and remedies of tru fasting, earnest prai­eng, diligent watching, and severe chastising of his body, by continual and most painful la­bour in his vocation,2. Cor. 6. and 11. 1. Tim. 1. 1. Cor. 9. wherof he maketh men­tion in his writings. As also al godly men (by his example) have used the like helps since, for the better resisting of sinful temptations when need required, and the like. Wherof I could here recite great store of examples out of the holy fathers:Remedies used by the ancient fa­thers for re­sisting of sin. which would make a man to woonder, and afeard also (if he were not past fear) to see what extream pain and dili­gence those first Christians tooke, in watching every little sleight of the devil, and in resisting every little temptation or cogitation of sin: wheras we never think of the matter, nor make account either of cogitation, consent of hart, word, or work: but do yeeld to al, whatsoever our concupiscence moveth us unto; do swalow down every hook laid vs by the devil; and most greedily do devour every poisoned pleasant bait, which is offered by the enimy for the de­struction [Page 30] of our souls: and thus much about resisting of sin.

How much we fail in doing good works.9 But now touching the second point, which is continual exercising our selves in good works, it is evident in itselfe, that we utterly fail (for the most part of us) in the same. I have shewed before how we are in scripture cōman­ded to do them, without ceasing, and most di­ligently whiles we have time of day to do them in:Iohn. 6. for as Christ saith; The night wil come when no man can work any more. I might also shew how certein of our forefathers the saints of God, were most diligent and careful in doing good works in their dais, even as the husbandman is careful to cast seed into the ground whiles fair weather lasteth, and the merchant to lay out his mony whiles the good market endureth.Gal. 6. Phil. 2. They knew the time would not last long which they had to work in: and therfore they bestir­red themselves whiles opportunitie served: they never ceased, but came from one good work to another, wel knowing, what they did, and how good and acceptable service it was unto God.

B 10 If there were nothing els to proove their wonderful care and diligence herein: yet the infinite Although many such things wer doon to superstitious and very il uses: yet even then also were they somtimes sufficient testimonies of a great care to do wel (so far as their knowledge served them) in so manie as did not wilfully er; but were de­sirous to know the truth, and to do accordingly. And so may those also be (in such a sense) examples to us. monuments of their almes-deeds, yet [Page 31] extant to the world, are sufficient testimonies of the same: to wit, the infinite churches buil­ded, and indued with great & abundant main­tenance for the ministers of the same: so manie schooles, colledges, vniversities: so many brid­ges, highwais, and publik commodities. Which charitable deeds (and a thousand mo both pri­vate and publik; secret and open, which I can­not report) came out of the purses of our good ancesters: who oftentimes not only gave of their abundance, but also saved from their own mouths, and bestowed it upon deeds of chari­tie, to the glorie of God; and benefit of others. Wheras we are so far of from giving awaie our necessaries, as we wil not bestow our very su­perfluities: but wil imploy them rather, upon hawks and dogs, and other brute beasts, and somtimes also upon much viler uses, than to the releefe of our poore brethren.

11 Alas (deer brother) to what a carelesse and senseles estate are we come, touching our own salvation and damnation! S. Paul crieth out unto us;Phil. 2. Work your own salvation with fear and trembling: and yet no man (for that) maketh ac­count therof. S. Peter warneth us gravely and earnestly;2. Pet. 1. Brethren take you great care to make your vocation and election sure by good works: and yet who (almost) wil think upon them! Christ him­selfe thundereth in these words; I tel you, Luc. 16. make your selves frinds (in this world) of uniust mammon, that when you faint they may receive you into eternal [Page 32] tabernacles: And yet for al that we are not moved herewithal: so dead we are, and lum­pish to al goodnes.

12 If God did exhort us to good deeds for his own commoditie, or for any gain that he is to take therby: yet in reason we ought to pleasure him therin, seing we have receaved al from his only liberalitie before. But seing he asketh it at our hands for no need of his own, but only for our gain, & to pay us home again with advantage: it is more reason we should harken unto him. If a common honest man upon earth should invite us to do a thing, promising us of his honestie a sufficient re­ward, we would beleve him: but God making infinit promises unto us in scripture of eternal reward to our wel doing (as that we shal eat with him;Luc. 22. Mat. 13. Rom. 8. Apoc. 22. drink with him; raigne with him; possesse heaven with him; and the like) can not move us notwithstanding to works of charitie. But bicause those forefathers of ours were moved herewithal, as having harts of sof­ter metal than ours are of; therfore they brought foorth such abundant fruit as I have shewed.

13 Of al this then that I have said, the god­ly Christian may gather, first, the lamentable estate of the world at this day, when amongst the smal number of those which bear the name of Christians, so many are like to perish, for not performing of these two principal [Page 33] points of their uocation. Secondly, he may ga­ther the cause of the infinit difference of re­ward for good and evil in the life to come,The diffe­rent state of a good and evil man at the day of death. which some men wil seeme to marvel at: but in deed is most just and reasonable, considering the great diversitie of life in good and evil men whiles they are in this world. For the good man doth not only endevor to avoid sin: but also by resisting the same, daily and hourly en­creaseth in the fauor of God. The loose man by yeelding consent to his concupiscence, doth not only lose the favor of God, but also dou­bleth sin upon sin without number. The good man, besides avoiding sin doth infinit good works, at the least wise in desire and hart, wher greter abilitie serveth not. But the wicked man neither in hart nor deed doth any good at al, but rather seeketh in place therof to do hurt. The good man imploieth al his mind, hart, words, and hands, to the service of God, and of his servants for his sake. But the wicked man bendeth al his force and powers both of body and mind, to the service of vanities, the world, & his flesh. Insomuch, that as the good man increaseth hourly in the favor of God, to which is du increase of grace and glory in hea­ven: so the evil from time to time, in thought, word, or deed, or in al at once, heapeth up sin and damnation upon himself; to which is du vengeance, and increase of torments in hel: and in this contrarie course they passe over [Page 34] their lives for twentie, thirtie, or fortie yeeres, and so come to die. And is it not reason now, that seeing there is so great diversitie in their estates: there should be as great or more diversitie also, in their reward? Especially see­ing God is a great God, and rewardeth smal things with great wages, either of everlasting glorie or everlasting pain. Thirdly and lastly, the diligent and careful Christian may gather of this, what great cause he hath to put in prac­tise the godly counsel of Saint Paul, which is; That every man should prove and examine his own works. Gal. 6. And so be able to judge of himselfe, in what case he standeth: and if upon this exami­nation he find himselfe awry, to thank God of so great a benefit, as is the revealing of his danger, whiles yet there is time and place to amend. No dowt, many perish daily by Gods justice in their own grosse ignorance, who if they had receaved this special favor, as to see the pit before they fel in, it may be they would have escaped the same. Vse Gods mercie to thy gain then (gentle brother) and not to thy fur­ther damnation. If thou see by this examina­tion, that hitherto thou hast not led a tru Christian life: resolve thy self to begin now, and cast not away wilfully that pretious soul of thine, which Christ hath bought so deerly; and which he is most readie to save, and to in­du with grace and eternal glorie, if thou wouldest yeeld the same into his hands, and be [Page 35] content to direct thy life according to his most holy, easie, and sweet commandements.

CHAP. V. Of the severe account that we must yeeld to God of the matters aforesaid.

AMongst other points of a prudent servant this is to be esteemed on prin­cipal,A principal point of wis­dome in a servant. to consider in eve­rie thing committed to his charge, what account shalbe demanded touch­ing the same: also what maner of man his maister is: whether gentle, or rigorous; milde or stern; carelesse or exqui­site in his accounts: also whether he be of abi­litie to punish him at his pleasure, finding him faultie: and finally, how he hath dealt with o­thers before in like matters: for according to these circumstances (if he be wise) he wil go­vern himselfe and use more or lesse diligence in the charge committed.

2 The like wisdome would I counsel a Chri­stian to use, in the matters before recited:A necessarie considera­tion. to wit, touching our end for which God sent us hither, & the two principal points therof, en­joined for our exercise in this life: to consider (I say) what account we shal be demanded for the same; in what maner; by whom; with what [Page 36] severitie; with what danger of punishment, if we be found negligent and rechlesse therin.

3 For better understanding wherof, it is to be noted first, with what order, and with what ceremonies and circumstances God gave us this charge, or rather made and proclaimed this law of our behaviour and service towards him. For albeit he gave the same commande­ment to Adam in his first creation, and im­printed it afterwards by nature into the harts of ech man before it was written (as Saint Paul testifieth) yet for more plain declarations sake,Rom. 2. Rom. 7. and to convince us the more of our wickednes (as the same Apostle noteth) he published the same law in writing tables,Gal. 3. upon the mount Synay: but with such terror, and other cir­cumstances of majestie (as also the Apostle no­teth to the Hebrues) as may greatly astonish the breakers therof.Heb. 12. Let any man read the nineteene chapter of Exodus, & there he shal see what a preparation there was for the pub­lishing of this law.Exo. 19. First, God calleth Moises up to the hil,The dredful publication of the law. and there reckoneth up many of the benefits which he had bestowed upon the people of Israel: and promiseth them many mo, if they would keepe the law which he was then to give them. Moises went to the people, and returned answer again, that they would keepe it. Then caused God the people to be sanctified against the third day, to wash al their garments, and that no man should companie [Page 37] with his wife: also to be charged that none upon pain of death should presume to mount up to the hil but Moises alone, and that who­soever should dare but to touch the hil should presently be stoned to death. When the third day was come,Acts. 7. the Angels (as Saint Steeven in­terpreteth it) were readie to promulgate the law. The trumpets sounded mightilie in the aire: great thunder brake out from the sky, with fearce lightenings, horrible clouds, thick mists, and terrible smoke rising from the mountain. And in the midst of al this ma­jestie, and dreadful terror, God spake in the hearing of al:Exo. 20. Deut. 5. I am thy Lord God which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt: me only shalt thou serve: and the rest which foloweth, contei­ning a perfect description of our dutie in this life, cōmonly called the ten commandements of God.

4 Al which terror and majestie,Heb. 12. the apostle himselfe as I have said, applieth to this mea­ning, that we should greatly tremble to break this law, delivered us with such circumstances of dread and fear: signifieng also hereby, that the exaction of this law, must needs be with greater terror at the day of iudgment, seeing that the publication therof, was with such a­stonishment and dread. For so we see alwais great princes laws to be executed upon the offenders with much more terror than they were proclaimed. And this may be a forcible [Page 38] reason to move a Christian to looke unto his dutie.

Gods pu­nishments.5 Secondly, if we consider the sharp executi­on used by God upon offenders of this law, both before it was written, and since; we shal find great cause of fear also: as the wonderful punishment upon Adam,Gen. 3. & so many millions of people besides, for his one fault: the drow­ning of al the world togither:Gen. 7. the burning of Sodom and Gomorra with brimstone:Gen. 19. 1. Re. 28. 2. Re. 12. the reprobation of Saul: the extreame chastise­ment of David: and the like. Which al being done by God with such rigor, for lesse and fewer sins than ours are, and also upon them, whom he had more cause to spare than he hath to tollerate us: may be admonishments what we must looke for at Gods hands, for breach of this law of serving him in this life.

Christs spee­ches.6 Thirdly, if we consider the speeches and behaviour of our Lord and maister Christ in this matter, we shal have yet more occasion to dowt our owne case: who albeit he came now to redeeme us, and to pardon al, in al mildnes, humilitie, clemencie, and mercie: yet in this point of taking accounts, he is not woont to shew but austeritie and great rigor: not onlie in words, and familiar speeches with his Apo­stles; but also in examples and parables to this purpose.Mat. 25. For so in one parable he damneth that poore servant to hel (where should be we­ping and gnashing of teeth) only for that he [Page 39] had not augmented his talent delivered him. And Christ confesseth there of himselfe, that he is a hard man, reaping where he sowed not, and gathering where he cast not abroad: expe­cting also advantage at our hands,Mat. 24. for the ta­lents lent us, and not accepting onlie his own again. And consequently threatning much more rigor to them which shal mispend his ta­lents, as the most of us do. Again, he damneth the servant whom he found asleepe:Mat. 22. he dam­ned the poore man, which was compelled to come into the wedding,Mat. 25. onlie for that he came without a wedding garment: he damned the five foolish virgins, for that they had not their oile with them, and were not readie (jump at the very hour) to go in with him, and would not know them when they came after: and fi­nally he promiseth to damn al those (without exception) which shal work iniquitie,Mat. 13. as S. Ma­thew testifieth.

7 Moreover, being asked by a certain ruler on a time, how he might be saved: he would geeve him no other hope (so long as he sought salvation by his works) though he were a prince, but only this; If thou wilt enter into life, Luc. 18. Mat. 19. keepe the commandements of God. And talking with his disciples at another time of the same matter, he geeveth them no other rule of their life, but this; If ye love me, keepe my commande­ments. As who should say,Ioh. 14. if you were never so much my disciples, if ye break my commande­ments, [Page 40] there is no more love nor frindship be­twixt us. And S. Iohn (which best of al others knew his meaning herein) expoundeth it in this sense, when he saith; If a man (saith he) knoweth God, Iohn. 2. and yet keepeth not his commandements he is a liar, and the truth is not in him. And more yet (to take away al hope or expectation from his disciples of any other way pleasing him than by keeping his commandements) he saith in another place,Mat. 5. that He came not to take away the law, but to fulfill it, and streight way he infer­reth upon the same; Whosoever therfore shal break one of the least of these commandements shal be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. For which cause at his departure out of the world, the verie last words that he spake to his Apostles were these, that They should teach men to observe al his comman­dements whatsoever. Mat. 28.

8 By which appeereth the severe meaning that Christ had touching our account for the keeping of his commandements in this life. The which also may be gathered by that being asked whether the number were smal of them that should be saved:Luc. 13. he counseleth men to strive to go into the strait gate: for that many should be shut out, yea even of them, which had eaten and drunken with him, and had en­joied the corporal presence of his blessed bo­die, but had not regarded to live as he com­manded them. In which case he signifieth that no respect or frindship must take place, with [Page 41] him at the last day: for which cause he said to the man whom he had healed at the fish pools side in Ierusalem, Behold now thou art hole, Ioh. 5. see thou sin no more, least worse come to thee than before. And generally he warneth vs in Saint Mathews gos­pel, that we agree with our adversaries,Mat. 5. and make our accounts streight in this life: other­wise we shal pay the uttermost farthing in the life to come. And yet more severely he saith in another place: That we shal render account at the day of iudgment, Mat. 12. for every idle word which we have spoken.

9 Which day of judgement he warneth us of before, and foretelleth the rigor and dan­ger in sundrie places of holie scripture to the end we should prevent the same: and so direct our lives while we have time in this world; as we may present our selves at that day without fear and danger, or rather with great joy and comfort; when so manie thousands of wicked people shal appeer there, to their eternal con­fusion.

10 And bicause there is nothing which so fit­ly sheweth the severitie of Christ in taking our account at the last day,Of the day of iudge­ment. as the order and maner of this judgement described most diligently by the holy scripture it selfe: it shal make much for our purpose, to consider the same.Two iudge­ments after death. And first of al, it is to be noted, that there be two judge­ments appointed after death; wherof the one is called particular; wherby ech man presently [Page 42] upon his departure from this world, receaveth particular sentence,Iohn. 5. Mat. 25. and 16. either of punishment, or of glorie, according to his deeds in this life (as Christs own words are) wherof we have exam­ples in Lazarus, and the rich glutton, who were presently caried the one to pain,Luc. 16. the other to rest, as Saint Luke testifieth? And to dowt of this, were obstinacie as Saint Austen affirmeth. The other judgment is called general,Lib. 2. de a­nima. ca. 4. for that it shal be of al men togither in the end of the world, where shal a final sentence be pronoun­ced (either of reward or punishment) upon al men that ever lived, according to the works which they have done,2. Cor. 5. good or bad, in this life: and afterward never more question be made of altering their estate: that is, of easing the pain of the one, or ending the glorie of the other.

The parti­cular iudge­ment. Aug. trac. 49. in Io.11 Now as touching the first of these two judgements, albeit the holy ancient fathers, especiallie Saint Austen, do gather and consi­der divers particulars of great severitie and feare (as the passage of our soul from the body to the tribunal seat of God, under the custody both of good and evil angels: the fear she hath of them: the sodain strangenes of the place where she is: the terror of Gods pre­sence; the strait examination she must abide; and the like) yet for that the most of these things are to be considered also in the second judgement which is general; I wil passe over [Page 43] to the same, noting only certain reasons yeel­ded by the holy fathers, why God after the first judgement,Why there be two iudg­ments ap­pointed. wherin he had assigned to ech man according to his deserts in particu­lar, would appoint moreover this second ge­neral judgment. Wherof the first is, for that 1 the body of man rising from his sepulchre, might be partaker of the eternal punishment, or glorie of the soul: even as it hath beene partaker with the same, either in vertue, or vice in this life. The second is, that as Christ 2 was dishonored and put to confusion here in the world publikly: so much more he might shew his majestie and power, at that day in the sight of al creatures, and especially of his eni­mies. The third is, that both the wicked and 3 good might receave their reward openly, to more confusion, & hart greefe of the one, and to the greater joy and triumph of the other, who commonly in this world have been over­born by the wicked. The fourth is, for that evil 4 men when they die, do not commonly carie with them al their demerit and evil: for that they leave behind them either their evil ex­ample; or their children,Consider wel this reason good reader. and familiars corrup­ted by them; or els books and means which may in time corrupt others. Al which being not yet done, but comming to passe after their death, they cannot so conveniently re­ceave their judgement for the same presently: but as the evil falleth out, so their pains are to [Page 44] be increased. The like may be said of the good. So that (for examples sake) Saint Pauls glorie is increased daily, and shalbe unto the worlds end, by reason of them that daily profit by his writings and example: and the pains of the wicked are for the like reason daily augmen­ted. But at the last day of judgment, shal be an end of al our dooings, & then it shal be seene evidently, what ech man is to have in the ju­stice, and mercie of God.

Of the gene­rall day of iudgment.12 To speak then of this second judgement general, and common for al the world, wherin as the scripture saith, God shal bring into iudgment everie error which hath beene committed. Eccl. 12. There are divers circumstances to be considered, and di­vers men do set down the same diversly: but in mine opinion, no better, plainer, or more effe­ctual declaration can be made therof, than the very scripture maketh it selfe, setting forth un­to us in most significant words, al the maner, order, and circumstances, with the preparati­on therunto as followeth.

Luc. 21. Mat. 24. Mar. 13.13 At that day, there shal be signes in the sun, and in the moone, and in the stars: the sun shal be darkened: the moone shal geeve no light: the stars shal fal from the skies: and al the powers of heaven shal be mooved: the fir­mament shal leave his situation with a great violence: the elements shal be dissolved with heat: and the earth, with al that is in it, shal be consumed with fire: the earth also shal moove [Page 45] off hir place, and shal fly like a little deere or sheepe. The distresse of nations upon the earth shal be great,Esai. 13. by reason of the confusion of the noise of the sea and fluds, and men shal wither away for fear and expectation of these things, that then shal come upon the whole world. And then shal the signe of the Son of man ap­peer in the skie, and then shal al the tribes of the earth moorn and wail: and they shal see the Son of man comming in the clouds of heaven, with much power and glorie,1. Cor. 13. great au­thoritie, and majestie. And then in a moment in the twinkling of an eie,Mat. 25. he shal send his An­gels with a trumpet and with a great crie at midnight, and they shal gather together his elect from the fower parts of the world, from heaven to earth. Al must be presented before the judgement seat of Christ,2. Cor. 5. who wil bring to light those things which were hidden in dark­nes,1. Co. 4.a. and wil make manifest the thoughts of mens harts: and whatsoever hath beene spo­ken in chambers in the eare,Luc. 12. shal be preached upon the house top. Account shal be asked of every idle word, & he shal judge our very righ­teousnes it selfe.Psal. 74. Then shal the just stand in great constancie, against those which have af­flicted them in this life: and the wicked seeing that, shal be troubled with an horrible fear,Sap. 5. & shal say to the hils, fal upon us,Luc. 23. and hide us from the face of him that sitteth upon the throne, and from the anger of the lambe,Apoc. 6. for [Page 46] that the great day of wrath is come. Then shal Christ separate the sheepe from the goats,Mat. 25. and shal put the sheepe on his right hand and the goats on the left, and shal say to those on the right hand, come ye blessed of my father, pos­sesse the kingdome prepared for you, from the beginning of the world: I was hungry; & you gave me to eat: I was a stranger, and you gave me harbor: I was naked, and you clothed me: I was in prison, and you came to me. Then shal the just say, O Lord, when have we done these things for thee? And the King shal answer: truly when you did them to the lest of my bro­thers you did it to me. Then shal he say to them on his left hand; Depart from me (you accur­sed) into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry, and ye fed me not: I was a stranger, and you harbored me not: I was naked, and you clothed me not: I was sick, and in prison, and you visited me not. Then shal they say, O Lord, when have we seen thee hungrie, or thirstie, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison & did not minister unto thee? And he shal answer, verily I tel you, seeing you have not done it to one of these lesser, you have not done it to me. And then these men shal go into eternal punishment; and the just into life everlasting.

14 Tel me what a dreadful preparation is here laied down? How many circumstances of fear and horror? It shal be (saith the scripture) [Page 47] at midnight, when commonly men are asleep: it shal be with hideous noise of trumpets; sound of waters; motion of al the elements: what a night wil that be trowest thou, to see the earth shake; the hils & dales mooved from their places; the moone darkened; the stars fal down from heaven; the whole element shi­vered in peeces; and al the world in a flaming fire.

15 Can any tong in the world expresse a thing more forcibly than this matter is expressed by Christ, the Apostles, and Prophets themselves? What mortal hart can but tremble in the mid­dest of this unspeakable terror? Is it marvel if the very just men and the Angels themselves are said to fear it? And then (as S. Peter reaso­neth;) If the iust shal scarce be saved; 1. Pet. 4. where shal the wicked man, and sinner appeer? What a dread­ful day wil it be for the careles and loose Chri­stian (which hath passed his time pleasantly in this world) when he shal see so infinite a sea of fears and miseries to rush upon him?

16 But besides al these most terrible and fearce preparations, there wil be many other matters, of no lesse dreadful consideration: as to see al sepulchres open at the sound of the trumpet, and to yeeld foorth al their dead bo­dies, which they have received from the begin­ning of the world: to see al men, women and children, kings and Queens, princes and poten­tates, to stand there naked in the face of al [Page 48] creatures: their sins revealed, their secret offen­ces laid open, done and committed in the clo­sets of their pallaces, and they constrained and compelled to geeve accounts of a thousand matters, whereof they would disdain to have beene told in this life: as, how they have spent the time; how they have imploied their welth; what behavior they have used towards their brethren;The de­mands at the last day. how they have mortified their senses; how they have ruled their appetites; how they have obeied the inspirations of the holy ghost; and finally how they used al good gifts in this life?

17 Oh (deare brother) it is unpossible to expresse what a great treasure a good consci­ence wil be at this day: it wil be more worth, than ten thousand worlds: for wealth wil not help: the judge wil not be corrupted with money: no intercession of worldly frinds shal prevail for us at that day, no not of the angels themselves: whose glorie shal be then as the prophet saith; To bind kings in fetters, and no­ble men in iron manacles, Psa. 149. to execute upon them the iudgement prescribed, and this shal be glorie to al his saints. Alas, what wil al those wise people do then, that now live in delites, and can take no pain in the service of God? What shift wil they make in those extremities? Whether wil they turn them? Whose help wil they crave? They shal see al things crie vengeance about them; al things yeeld them cause of feare and terror▪ [Page 49] but nothing to yeeld them any hope or com­fort.A pitiful case. Anselm. Above them shal be their judge offended with them for their wickednes: beneath them hel open, and the cruel fornace readie boiling to receave them: on the right hand shal be their sins accusing them: on the left hand the devils ready to execute Gods eternal sentence upon them: within them; their conscience gnawing: without them, al damned soules be­wailing: on everie side the world burning. Good Lord what wil the wretched sinner do, invironed with al these miseries? How wil his hart sustain these anguishes? What way wil he take? To go back is impossible: to go forward is intollerable. What then shal he do, but (as Christ foretelleth) he shal drie up for very fear:Mat. 24. Apoc. 6. Apoc. 9. seeke death, and death shal fly from him, cry to the hils, to fal upon him, and they refusing to do him so much pleasure, he shal stand there as a most desperate forlorne, and miserable caitife wretch, until he receave that dreadful and irrevocable sentence;Mat. 25. Go you accursed into everlasting fire.

18 Which sentence once pronounced,The last sen­tence pro­nounced. con­sider what a doleful cry and shout wil streight follow. The good rejoising and singing praises in the glorie of their saviour: the wicked be­wailing, blaspheming, and cursing the day of their nativitie. Consider the intollerable up­braieng of the wicked infernal spirits, against these miserable condemned souls, now delive­red [Page 50] to them in pray for ever. With how bitter scofs and taunts wil they hale them on, to tor­ments. Consider the eternal seperation that then must be made: of fathers & children; mo­thers & daughters; frinds and companions: the one to glorie, the other to confusion, with out ever seeing one the other again: and (that which shal be as great a greefe as any other: if it be tru that some conceave, that our knowledge one of another here on earth shal so far remain) the son going to heaven shal not pitie his own father or mother going to hel, but shal rejoice at the same, for that it turneth to Gods glorie, for the execution of his justice. What a separation (I say) shal this be? What a farewel? Whose hart would not break at that day, to make this separation, if a hart could break at that time, & so end his pains? But that wil not be. Where are al our delites now! Where are al our pleasant pastimes be­come? Our bravery in apparel; our glistering in gold; our honor done to us with cap and knee; al our delicate fare; al our musik; al our wanton daliances and recreations we were wont to have; al our good frinds and merie companions, accustomed to laugh, and to dis­port the time with us? Where are they be­come? Oh (deere brother) how sower wil al the pleasures past of this world seeme at that hour? How doleful wil their memorie be unto us? How vain a thing wil al our digni­ties, [Page 51] our riches, our possessions appeere? And on the contrarie side, how joiful wil that man be, that hath attended in this life to live vertu­ouslie, albeit with pain, and contempt of the world? Happy creature shal he be, that ever he was born, & no toong but Gods can expresse his happines.

19 And now to make no other conclusion of al this,The conclu­sion. but even that which Christ himselfe maketh: let us consider how easie a matter it is now for us (with a little pain) to avoid the danger of this day, & for that cause it is fore­told us by our most merciful judge and Savi­our, to the end we should by our diligence a­void it. For thus he concludeth after al his for­mer threatnings; Videte, vigilate, &c. Mar. 13. Looke a­bout you, watch and praie ye, for you know not when the time shal be. But as I say to you, so I say to al, be watchful. And in another place, having recko­ned up al the particulars before recited, least any man should dowt that al should not be fulfilled, he saith; Heaven and earth shal passe, Mat. 24. but my words shal not passe. And then he addeth this exhortation; Attend therfore unto your selves, A goodly ex­hortation of Christ. that your harts be not overcome with banquetting, and dronkenes, & with the cares of this life, and so that day come upon you sodenly. For he shal come as a snare upon them which inhabite the earth: be you therfore watch­ful, and alwais pray, that you may be woorthy to escape al these things which are to com, & to stand confident­ly before the Son of man at this day. What a frind­ly [Page 52] and fatherly exhortation is this of Christ? Who could desire a more kind, gentle, or ef­fectual forewarning? Is there any man that can plead ignorance hereafter? The verie like con­clusion gathered Saint Peter out of the premi­ses,2. Pet. 3. when he saith; The day of the Lord shal come as a theefe: in which the elements shal be dissolved, &c. Seeing then al these things must be dissolved: what maner of men ought we to be in holy conversation, and pietie, expecting and going on to meete the comming of that day of the Lord, &c. This meeting of the day of judgement (which Saint Peter speaketh of) is an earnest longing after it, which never is had until first there go before a du examinati­on of our estate, and speedy amendment of our life past. Therfore saith most notably the wise man;Eccl. 18. Provide thee of a medicine before the sore come, and examine thy selfe before iudgement: and so shalt thou find propitiation in the sight of God. To which Saint Paul agreeth when he saith; If we would iudge our selves, 1. Cor. 11. we should not be iudged. But bicause no man entreth into du judge­ment of himselfe, and of his own life: therof it commeth, that so few do prevent this latter judgement; so few are watchful, and so many fal a sleepe in ignorance of their own danger. Our Lord give us grace to looke better about us.

CHAP. VI. A consideration of the nature of sin, and of a sin­ner: for the iustifieng of Gods severitie shewed in the Chapter before.

TO the end that no man may justly complain of the severe account which God is to take of us at the last day, or of the se­veritie of his judgement set down in the chapter before: it shal not be a­misse to consider in this chapter the cause why God doth shew such severitie against sin and sinners; as both by that which hath been said doth appeer, and also by the whole course of holie scripture; where he in every place al­most denounceth his extreme hatred, wrath, & indignatiō against the same:Gods hatred to sinners. as where it is said of him; That he hateth al those that work iniqui­tie. And that both the wicked man and his wickednes, Psal. 5. Psal. 14. Pro. 15. Iob. 11. Esai. 1. Psal. 13. Psal. 49. Eccl. 15. are in hatred with him. And finaly that the whole life of sinners, their thoughts, words & works, yea and their good actions also, are abhomi­nations in his sight, whiles they live in sin. And that (which yet is more) he cannot abide nor permit the sinner to praise him, or to name his testament with his mouth, as the holy Ghost [Page 54] testifieth: and therfore no marvel if he shew such rigor to him at the last day, whom he so greatly hateth and abhorreth in this life.

2 There might be many reasons alledged of this: as the breach of Gods commande­ments; the ingratitude of a sinner in respect of his benefits, and the like: which might justifie sufficiently his indignation towards him.The reason why God so hateth a sinner. But there is one reason above the rest, which ope­neth the whole fountain of the matter: and that is, the intollerable injurie don unto God, in everie sin that wittingly we do commit; which in deed is such an opprobrious injurie, and so dishonorable, as no mean potentate could beare the same at his subjects hands: and much lesse God himselfe (who is the God of majestie, may abide to have the same so of­ten iterated against him, as commonly it is by a wicked man.

3 And for the understanding of this inju­rie, we must note, that every time we commit such a sin, there doth passe thorough our hart (though we mark it not) a certein practik discourse of our understanding (as there doth also in everie other election) wherby we lay be­fore us, on the one side, the profit of that sin, which we are to commit, that is, the pleasure that draweth us to it: and on the other part, the offence of God, that is, the leesing of his frindship by that sin if we do it: and so having as it were the balances there before us, and [Page 55] putting God in one end, and in the other the aforesaid pleasure:The iniurie done to God by sin. we stand in the midst deli­berating and examining the waight of both parts, and finally, we do make choise of the pleasure, and do reject God: that is, we do choose rather to leese the frindship of God, with his grace, and whatsoever he is worth be­sides, than to lose that pleasure and delectati­on of sin. Now what thing can be more horri­ble, than this? What can be more spiteful to God, than to prefer a most vile pleasure before his majestie? Is not this worse than intollera­ble injurie of the Iewes,Mat. 17. Mar. 15. who chose Barrabas the murderer, & rejected Christ their Saviour? Surely how heinous soever that sin of the Iewes were, yet in two points this doth seeme to exceede it: the one, in that the Iewes knew not whom they refused in their choise, as we do; the other in that they refused Christ but once, and we do it often, yea daily, & hourly, when with advisement we give consent in our harts unto sin.

4 And is it marvel then, that God dealeth so severely and sharply in the world to come with wicked men, who do use him so opprobriously & contemptuously in this life? Surely the ma­lice of a sinner is great towards God, & he doth not only dishonor him by contempt of his cō ­mandements,The malice of a sinner towards God. & by preferring most vile crea­tures before him: but also beareth a secret ha­tred & grudge against his majestie, & would (if [Page 56] it lay in his power) pul him out of his seat, or (at the leastwise) wish there were no God at al to punish sin after this life. Let every sinner ex­amine the bottom of his conscience in this point, whether he could not be content, there were no immortalitie of the soule; no recko­ning after this life; no judge; no punishment; no hel; & consequently no God, to the end he might the more securely enjoy his pleasures?

5 And bicause God (which searcheth the hart and reins, seeth wel this traiterous affec­tion of sinners towards him, lurking within their bowels,Sapi. 1. Rom. 8. Psal. 7. Rom. 5. Iaco. 4. 1. Ioh. 3. how smooth soever their words are: therfore he denounceth them for his eni­mies in the scripture, and professeth open war and hostilitie against them. And then suppose you, what a case these miserable men are in, (being but seely wormes of the earth) when they have such an enimy to fight against them, as doth make the very heavens to trēble at his looke. And yet that it is so, heare what he saith, what he threatneth, what he thūdreth against them. After he had by the mouth of Esay the prophet repeated many sins abhominable in his sight (as the taking of bribes,Sinners eni­mies to God, and God to them. oppressing of poore people, and the like) he defieth the doo­ers therof, as his open enimies, saieng; Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Such like al­so. Isa. 26.11 the strong Lord of hosts of Is­rael: Behold I wil be revenged upon my enimies, and wil comfort my selfe in their destruction. And the prophet Dauid, as he was a man in most high [Page 57] favor with God, and made very privie to his secrets: so he very much doth utter this severe meaning and infinite displeasure in God a­gainst sinners, calling them his enimies, vessels of his wrath, and ordained to eternal ruin and destruction: and complaineth that the world wil not beleeve this point; An unwise man (saith he) wil not learn this, Psal. 90. neither wil the foole vnderstand it. What is this? How sinners after they be sprong up, and workers of iniquitie (after they have appeered to the world) do perish everlastingly? And what is the reason of this? He answereth immediately; Bicause thy enimies (ô Lord) behold, ô Lord, thine enimies shal perish, and al those that work iniquitie shal be consumed. By this we see, that al sinners be enimies to God, and God to them, and we see also upon what ground and reason. But yet (for the further justifieng of Gods severitie) let us consider in what measure his hatred is to­wards sin: how great; how far it proceedeth; within what bounds it is cōprehended; or if it hath any limits or boūds at al, as indeed it hath not, but is infinite,Gods hatred infinite a­gainst sin­ners. that is without measure or limitation. And (to vtter the matter as in truth it standeth) if al the toongs in the world were made one tong; & al the understandings of al creatures (I mean of Angels and men) were made one understanding: yet could neither this tong expresse, nor this understanding cō ­ceave the great hatred of Gods hart towards [Page 58] every sin, which we do wittingly commit. And the reason hereof standeth in two points. First, for that God by how much more he is better than we are; by so much more he loveth good­nes and hateth sin, than we do: and bicause he is infinitely good; therfore his love to goodnes is infinite, as also his hatred to evil, and conse­quently his rewards to them both are infinite, the one in hel, the other in heaven.

Why every sin deserveth infinite pu­nishment.6 Secondlie we see by experience, that how much more great and worthie the person is, against whom an offence is committed, so much greater the offence is: as the selfesame blow geeven to a servant, and to a prince diffe­reth greatly in offence, and deserveth different hatred and punishment. And for that every sin which we advisedly commit, is done directly against the person of God himselfe, as hath beene declared before, whose dignitie is infi­nite: therefore the offence or guilt of everie such sin is infinite, and consequently deserveth infinite hatred, and infinite punishment at Gods hands. Hereof foloweth the reason of divers things both said and done by God in the scriptures,Rom. 8. 1. Cor. 1. and taught by Divines touching the punishment of sin, which seeme strange unto the wisdome of the world, and in deede scarce credible. As first of al, that dreadful pu­nishment of eternal and irrevocable damnati­on of so manie thousands,The punish­ment of An­gels. yea millions of An­gels created to glorie, with almost infinite per­fection, [Page 59] and that for one onely sin, once com­mitted, and that only in thought, as Divines do hold. Secondly, the rigorous punishment of our first parents Adam and Eve,Of Adam and Eve. and al their posteritie, for eating of the tree forbidden: for which fault, besides the chastising of the offen­ders themselves, & al the creatures of the earth for the same, and al their children & ofspring after them, both before the incarnation of Christ, & since (for albeit we are delivered from the guilt of that sin yet temporal chastisements remain upon us for the same: as hunger, thirst, cold, sicknes, death, and a thousand miseries mo) besides also the infinite men damned for the same: besides this (I say, which in mans reason may seeme severe inough) Gods wrath and justice could not be satisfied except his own son had come downe into the world; and taken our flesh upon him, and by his pains satisfied for the same. And when he was come down and had in our flesh subjected himselfe unto his fathers justice, albeit the love his fa­ther bare him, were infinite: yet that God might shew the greatnes of his hatred and ju­stice against sin,Esai. 53. he never left to lay on up­on his own blessed deere son: no not then when he saw him sorrowful unto death, and bathed in a sweat of blood and water, and cri­eng; O Father mine, Mat. 26. Mar. 14. Luc. 22. if it be possible let this cup passe from me. And yet more pitifully after upon the crosse; O my God, why hast thou forsaken me. Not­withstanding [Page 60] al this (I say) his father delivered him not,Mat. 27. Psal. 21. Esai. 53. but laid on stripe upon stripe, pain upon pain, torment after torment, until he had rendred up his life and soul into his said fa­thers hands: which is a wonderful and dread­ful document of Gods hatred against sin.

The sin of Esau.7 I might here mention the sin of Esau in sel­ling his inheritance for a little meat: of which the Apostle saith;Gen. 25. & 27. Heb. 12. Of Saul. 1. Re. 15. and 16. 1. Re. 9. & 15. & 16. He found no place of repentance after, though he sought the same with teares. Also the sin of Saul who (his sin being but one sin, and that only of omission, in not killing Agag the king of Amalek, and his cattel, as he was willed) was utterly cast off by GOD for the same (though he were his annointed and cho­sen servant before) and could not get remission of the same, though both he, and Samuel the prophet did greatly lament and bewail the same sin, or at least, that he was rejected.

2. Reg. 9. Psal. 2. Re. 12.8 Also I might alledge the example of king David, whose two sins, albeit (upon his hartie repentance) God forgave: yet notwithstan­ding al the sorrow that David conceaved for the same, God chastised him with marvelous severitie: as with the death of his son; and o­ther continual affliction on himselfe as long as he lived. And al this to shew his hatred against sin, and therby to terrifie us from committing the same.

9 Of this also do proceed al those hard and bitter speeches in scripture touching sinners, [Page 61] which comming from the mouth of the holie Ghost (and therfore being most tru and cer­tein) may justly geeve al them great cause of fear which live in sin, as where it is said; Death, Eccl. 40. bloud, contention, edge of sword, oppression, hunger, con­trition, and whips: al these things are created for wic­ked sinners. And again;Psal. 10. Psal. 9. God shal rain snares of fire upon sinners, brimstone with tempestuous winds, shal be the portion of their cup. Again, God wil be kno­wen at the day of judgment upon the sinner, who shal be taken in the works of his own hands: many whips belong unto a sinner:Psal. 3. Psal. 9. Psal. 36. Psa. 144. let sinners be turned into hel: God shal scatter al sinners: God shal dash the teeth of sinners in their mouths: God shal scoff at a sinner,Psal. 57. Psal. 36. Psa. 103. when he seeth his day of destruction commeth on: the sword of sinners shal turn into their own harts: thou shalt see when sinners shal perish: the arms of sinners shal be crushed and bro­ken: sinners shal wither from the earrh:Psa. 140. desire not the glorie and riches of a sinner, for thou dost not know the subversion which shal come upon him:Eccl. 2. Psal. 71. Esai. 13. God hath given him riches to de­ceave him therwith: behold, the day of the Lord shal come (a cruel day and ful of indigna­tion, wrath and furie) to make desolate the earth, and to crush in peeces hir sinners within hir.Psal. 57. The just man shal rejoice seeing this re­venge, and then shal he wash his hands in the blood of sinners. These and a thousand such sentences more of scripture, which I omit, ut­tered [Page 62] by the holy Ghost against sinners, may instruct us of their pittiful estate, and of the unspeakable hatred of God against them, as long as they persist in sin.

10 Of al these considerations the holy scrip­tures do gather one conclusion greatly to be noted and considered by us: which is; Miseros facit populos peccatum: Pro. 14. Psal. 10. Sin bringeth men to miserie. And again; Qui diligit iniquitatem, odit animam suam: He which loveth iniquitie, hateth his own soul. Or as the Angel Raphael uttereth it in other words;Tob. 12.) They which commit sin, are open enimies to their own soules. Wherfore they lay down to al men, this general, severe, and most necessarie commandement, upon al the pains before re­cited. Quasi á facie colubrifuge peccata. And a­gain;Eccl. 21. Cave ne aliquando peccato consentias. Beware thou never consent to sin,Tob. 4. for howsoever the world doth make litle account of this matter, of whom (as the scripture noteth;) The sinner is praised in his lusts, Psal. 9. and the wicked man is blessed. Yet most certain it is, for that the spirit of God a­voucheth it;1. Ioh. 3. Qui facit peccatum ex diabolo est: He which committeth sin is of the divel. And ther­fore is to receave his portion among devils at the latter day.

11 And is not al this sufficient (deer bro­ther) to make us detest sin,The obsti­nacie of sin­ners. and to conceave som fear in committing therof? Nay is not al this strong inough to batter their harts, which live in state of sin, and do commit the [Page 63] same daily, without consideration or scruple? What obstinacie and hardnes of hart is this? Surely we see the holy Ghost prophesied truly of them when he said; Sinners alienated from God, Psal. 57. are possessed with a fury like a serpent, and like a deafe cocatrice which stoppeth hir eares to the inchanter. This fury (I say) is the fury or madnes of wilful sinners, which stop their eares like serpents, to al the holy inchantments that God can use unto them for their conversion: that is, to al his internal motions and good inspirations; to al remorse of their own consciences; to al threatnings of holy scriptures; to al admo­nishments of Gods servants; and to al the o­ther meanes which God doth use for their sal­vation.

12 Good Lord,The losses that came by sin. who would wittingly com­mit any sin, for the gaining of ten thousand worlds, if he considered the infinite damages, hurts, inconveniences, and miseries which do come by the committing of one sin? For first, he that in such sort sinneth,Isa. 11. & Ier. ibid. leeseth the grace of God, which was given him: which is the grea­test gift that God can give to a creature in this life, & consequently he leeseth al those things which did accompany that grace: as the ver­tues and gifts of the holy Ghost, wherby the soul was beautified in the sight of hir spouse, and armed against the assaults of hir enimies. Secondly, he leeseth the favor of God, and consequently his fatherly protection, care and [Page 64] providence over him, & gaineth him to be his professed enimie. Which, how great a losse it is, we may esteem by the state of a worldly cour­tier, which should leese the favor of an earthly prince, and incur mortal hatred by the same. Thirdly, he leeseth al inheritance, claime, & ti­tle to the kingdome of heaven, which is du on­ly by grace, as S. Paul noteth: and consequent­ly depriveth himselfe, of al dignities and com­modities folowing the same in this life:Rom. 6. as the condition and high priviledge of a son of God; the communion of saints; the protecti­on of Angels, and the like. Fourthly, he leeseth the quiet, ioy, and tranquillitie of a good con­science, and al the favors, cherishments, conso­lations, and other comforts, wherewith the holy Ghost is woont to visit the minds of the just▪ Fiftly, he leeseth the reward of al his good works done since he was born, and whatsoever he doth or shal do while he standeth in that state. Sixtly, he maketh himselfe giltie of eter­nal punishment, and ingrosseth his name in the booke of perdition, and consequently bin­deth himself to al those inconveniences, wher­to the reprobate are subiect: that is, to be inhe­rit or of hel fire; to be in the power of the de­vil, and his angels; to be subiect to al sin and temptation of sin; and his soul (which was be­fore the temple of the holy Ghost; the habita­tion of the blessed Trinitie, and place of repose for the Angels to visite) now to be the nest of [Page 65] scorpions, and dungeon of devils, and himselfe a companion of the miserable damned. Lastly, he abandoneth Christ, and renounceth the portion he had with him, making himselfe a persecuter of the same by treading him under his feete. And crucifieng him again,Heb. 10. Heb. 6. and defi­ling his blood (as the Apostle saith) in sinning against him, which died for sin,Rom. 6. and therfore the same Apostle pronounceth a marvelous heavie sentence against such in these words; If we sin wilfully now after we have receaved know­ledge of the truth: Heb. 10. Rom. 16. there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but rather a certain terrible expectation of iudgement, and emulation of fire which shal consume the adversaries. To which Saint Peter agreeth, when he saith;2. Pet. 2. It had beene better not to have knowen the way of iustice, than after such knowledge to slide back again from the holie commandement which was given.

13 Now then let our worldlings go and so­lace themselves with sin as much as they wil:Excuse of sin. let them excuse and pleasantly defend the same, saieng; Pride is but a point of gentrie; gluttonie, good felowship; lecherie, and wan­tonnes, a trik of youth; and the like: they shal finde one day, that these excuses wil not be receaved; but rather that these pleasant de­vises, wil be turned into teares. They shal prove that God wil not be jested with, but that he is the same God stil,Gal. 6. and wil aske as severe ac­count of them, as he hath done of others be­fore: [Page 66] although it please not them now to keep any account of their life at al: but rather to turn al to disport and pleasure, perswading themselves, that howsoever God hath dealt with others before, yet he wil forgive al to them: but the holie scripture reasoneth after another maner, which I would have every wise Christian to consider.

14 Saint Paul comparing the Iewes sins with ours,Rom. 11. maketh this collection; If God spared not the natural boughs, take heed least he spare not thee. And therupon he inferreth this admonition; Noli altum sapere, sed time; Be not too high minded, but fear. Again, the Apostle reasoneth thus upon the old and the new law: he that broke the law of Moises, being convicted by two or three witnesses,Heb. 10. dieth for the same without commiseration or mercie: & how much more greevous punishment doth he deserve which breaking the law or Christ by wilful sin, trea­deth the Son of God under his feet; polluteth the blood of the new testament; and reproch­eth the holie Ghost? In like maner reasoneth Saint Peter and Saint Iude touching the sin of Angels,2. Pet. 2. Ep. Iud. and ours. If God spared not the An­gels when they sinned; but did thrust them down to hel, there to be tormented, and to be kept unto judgement with eternal chaines under darknes: how much lesse wil he spare us?2. Pet. 2. And again: If the Angels which passe us in power and strength, are not able to bear [Page 67] Gods execrable judgement against them, what shal we do? Again in another place, he reasoneth thus: If the just man shal hardly be saved, where shal the wicked man and sinner appeere?2. Pet. 4. By which examples we are instructed to reason in like sort:A good ma­ner of reaso­ning. if God have punished so severelie one sin in the Angels, in Adam, and in others before recited: what shal I look for, which have committed so many sins against him? If God have damned so many for lesser sins than mine be: what wil he do to me for greater? If God hath born longer with me, than he hath done with many other, whom he hath cut off without geving them time of repentance: what reason is there, that he should bear longer with me? If David and o­thers after their sins forgeeven them, were ne­vertheles so sharply chasticed, what punish­ment remaineth for me either here or in the world to come; for so many, and so greevous sins committed?Mat. 7. Luc. 13. If it be tru that our Savior saith, that the way is hard, and the gate narrow wherby men go into heaven, and that they shal answer for every idle word before they enter there: what shal become of me,Mat. 12. which do live so easie a life, and do keepe no account of my deedes, and much lesse of my words? If good men in old time did take such pains in the way of their salvation, and yet (as Saint Peter saith) the very just were scarce saved: what a state am I in which take no pain at al, but do live in al [Page 68] kind of pleasure and worldly delites?

15 These kinds of consequents were more tru and profitable for us, wherby we might en­ter into some consideration of our own dan­ger, and into some fear of the judgements of God, for want wherof the most part of sins a­mongst Christians are committed: for so the holy scripture describing divers causes of wic­kednes among men, putteth these two for principal. First, the flatterie of the world; Quo­niam laudatur peccator in desiderijs animae suae: Psal. 9. For that the sinner is praised in his lusts. And secondly; Quia auferuntur indicia tua a facie eius: For that thy iudgements (ô Lord) are not before his face. And on the contrarie side speaking of himselfe he saith;How necessa­rie it is to fear. I have kept the wais of the Lord, and have not behaved my selfe impiously towards God. And he geeveth the reason therof immediatly; For that al his iudgements are in my sight. And again; I have feared thy iudgements, Psa. 118. ô Lord. And again; I have beene mindful of thy iudgements. And how profita­ble this fear is, he sheweth in the same place, demanding this fear most instantly at Gods hands: for so he praieth; Strike my flesh thorough with thy fear, ô Lord. And S. Paul (after he had shewed to the Corinthians, that We must al be presented before the iudgement seat of Christ) ma­keth this conclusion;2. Cor. 5. We knowing therfore these things, do persuade the fear of the Lord unto men. And Saint Peter after a long declaration of the majestie of God, and Christ now raigning in [Page 69] heaven, concludeth thus; If then you cal him fa­ther, 1. Pet. 1. which doth iudge everie man according to his works without exception of persons: do you live in fear, during the time of this your habitation upon earth. A necessarie lesson (no dowt) for al men, but specially for those which by reason of their sins and wicked life, do remain in displeasure and hatred of God, and hourly subject (as I have shewed) to the furie of his judgements: which if they once fal into, they are both irre­vocable, and intollerable: and they may be fal­len into as easily, and by as manie wais, as a man may come to death, which are infinite, es­pecially to them, who by their wickednes have lost the peculiar protection of God, and so consequently of his angels too (as I have shew­ed) & have subjected themselves to the feends of darknes, who do nothing else but seeke their destruction both of bodie and soul, with as great diligence as they can. What wise man then would but fear in such a case?The danger of them which live in sin. Who could eat, or drink, or sleepe quietly in his bed until by tru and hartie repentance, he had dischar­ged his conscience of sin? A little stone falling from the hows upon his head; or his horse stumbling under him as he rideth; or his eni­mie meeting him on the high way; or an agew comming with eating or drinking a little too much; or ten thousand means besides (wher­of he standeth daily and hourly in danger) may rid him of this life, and put him in that case, as [Page 70] no creature of this world, nor any continu­ance of time shal be able to deliver him thence again. And who then would not fear? Who would not tremble?

16 The Lord of his mercie geeve us his holy grace, to fear him as we should do, and to make such account of his justice, as he by threatning the same would have us to do. And then shal not we delay the time, but resolve our selves to serve him whiles he is content to accept of our service, and to pardon us al our offences, if we would once make this resolution from our hart.

CHAP. VII. Another consideration for the further iustifieng of Gods iudgements and declaration of our de­merit taken from the maiestie of God, and his benefits to­wards us.

ALbeit the most part of Christians throgh their wicked life arrive not to that estate wherin holie David was, when he said to God;Psa. 118. Thy iudgements ô Lord are pleasant unto me, as indeed they are to al those that live vertuously, and have the testimonie of a good conscience: yet at least­wise, [Page 71] that we may say with the same prophet; The iudgements of the Lord are tru and iustified in themselves: And again; Thou art iust ô Lord, Psal. 18. and thy iudgement is right. I have thought good, to ad a reason or two mo in this chapter, wherby it may appeer how great our offence is to­wards God, by sinning as we do, & how righ­teous his judgments and justice are against us for the same.

2 And first of al is to be considered the ma­jestie of him against whom we sin:The maiestie of God. for most certain it is (as I have noted before) that every offence is so much the greater, and more gree­vous, by how much greater and more noble the person is against whom it is done, and the partie offending more base and vile. And in this respect God (to terrifie us from offen­ding him) nameth himselfe often, with certain titles of majestie, as to Abraham;Gen. 17. Esai. 66. I am the al­mightie Lord: And again; Heaven is my seat, and the earth is my footstoole. And again, he comman­ded Moises to say to the people in his name, this ambassage; Harden not your necks any longer, Deu. 10. for that your Lord and God, is a God of gods, and a Lord of lords, a great God, both mightie and terrible, which accepteth neither person nor bribes.

3 First then I say, consider (gentle Christian) of what an infinite majestie he is, whom thou a poore woorm of the earth, hast so often and so contemptuously offended in this life. We see in this world, that no man dareth to offend [Page 72] openly, or say a word against the majestie of a prince within his own dominions: and what is the majestie of al the princes upon earth, com­pared to the thousandth part of the majestie of God,Psa. 148. who with a word made both heaven and earth, and al the creatures therin, and with halfe a word can destroie the same again: whom al the creatures which he made, as the Angels, the heavens, and al the elements be­sides, do serve at a bek and dare not offend? Only a sinner is he which imboldeneth him­selfe against this majestie,Iob. 9. and feareth not to offend the same, whom the Angels do praise, the dominations do adore, the powers do tremble, and the highest heavens togither, with Cherubins and Seraphins do daily honor and celebrate.

4 Remember then (deer brother) that eve­rie time thou dost commit a sin, thou givest as it were a blow in the face, to this God of great majestie,1. Tim. 6. who (as Saint Paul saith;) Dwelleth in an unaccessible light: which no man in this world can abide to look upon: As also it appeereth by the ex­ample of Saint Iohn evangelist,Apoc. 1. who fel down dead for very fear at the appearance of Christ unto him, as himself testifieth. And when Moi­ses desired to see God once in his life, & made humble petition for the same: God answered, that no man could see him and live: but yet (to satisfie his request, and to shew him in part what a terrible and glorious God he was) he [Page 73] told Moises, that he should see some peece of his glorie: but he added,Exo. 35. that it was needful he should hide himselfe in the hole of a rock, and be covered with Gods own hands for his defence, while God (in some measure of his majestie) did passe by in glorie. And when he was past, God tooke away his hand, and suffe­red Moises to see his hinder parts only, which was notwithstanding, most terrible to behold.

5 The prophet Daniel also describeth the majestie of this God shewed unto him in visi­on, in these words;Dan. 7. I did see (saith he) when the thrones were set, and the old of many dais sate down: his apparel was as white as snow: his haire like unto pure wool, his thron was of a flame of fire, & his chari­ots were burning fire, a swift flud of fire came from his face: a thousand thousands did serve him, and ten thousand hundred thousands did assist him, he sate in iudgement, and the books were opened before him. Al this and much more is recorded in scrip­ture, to admonish us therby what a prince of majestie he is whom a sinner offendeth.

6 Imagin now (brother mine) that thou se­est this great king sitting in his chaire of maje­stie;A contem­plation of the maiestie of God. with chariots of fire; unspeakable light; and infinite millions of Angels about him, as the scripture reporteth. Imagin further, (which is most tru) that thou seest al the creatures in the world stand in his presence, and trembling at his majestie, and most carefully attending to do that for which he created them: as the hea­vens [Page 74] to move abovt: the earth to bring foorth sustenance: and the like. Imagin further that thou seest al these creatures (how big or little soever they be) to hang and depend only of the power and vertu of God: wherby they stand, move, and consist: and that there passeth from God, to ech creature in the world, yea to everie part that hath motion or being in the same some beam of his vertu: as from the sun, we see infinite beams to passe into the aire. Consider (I say) that no one part of any crea­ture in the world (as the fish in the sea, the grasse on the ground, the leaves of the trees, or the parts of man upon the face of the earth) can grow, moove, or consist, without some litle stream of vertu, and power come to it conti­nually from God. So that thou must imagin God to stand as a most glorious sun in the midst: and from him to passe foorth infinite beams or streams of vertu to al creatures that are, either in heaven, earth, the aire, or the wa­ter, and to every part therof: and upon these beams of his vertu, al creatures to hang: and if he should stop but any one of them, it would destroy and annihilate presentlie some crea­ture or other. This I say, if thou shalt consider touching the majestie of God, and the infi­nite dread that al creatures have of him, ex­cept only a sinner (for the devils also do fear him,Iac. 2. as Saint Iames saith:) thou wilt not mar­vel of the severe judgement of God, appointed [Page 75] for his offence. For sure I am, that very shame of the world maketh us to have more regard in offending the poorest frind we have in this life, than a wicked man hath in offending God: which is an intollerable contempt of so great a majestie.

7 But now if we adjoin to this contemplati­on of majestie,A conside­ration of the benefits of God. another consideration of his benefits bestowed upon us: our default wil grow to be far greater, for that to injurie him who hath done us good, is a thing most de­testable even in nature it selfe. And there was never yet so fearce an hart, no not amongst brute beasts, but that it might be woon with curtesie & benefits: but much more amongst reasonable creatures doth benificence prevail, especially if he come from great personages, whose love and frindship (declared unto us but in smal gifts) doth greatly bind the harts of the receavers to love them again.

8 Consider then (deer Christian) the infi­nite good turns and benefits which thou hast receaved at the hands of this great God, ther­by to win thee to his love, & that thou shoul­dest leave of to offend and injurie him, and al­beit no toong created either of man or An­gel, can expresse the one halfe of these gifts which thou hast receaved from him, or the va­lew of them, or the great love and hartie good wil wherwith he bestowed them upon thee: yet for som memorie sake, I wil repeat certain [Page 76] general and principal points therof, wherunto the rest may be referred.

The benefit of creation.9 First then he hath bestowed upon thee, the benefit of thy creation, wherby he made thee of nothing to the likenes of himselfe, and appointed thee to so noble an end, as is to serve him in this life, and to reign with him in the life to come, furnishing thee for the present with the service and subjection of al creatures. The greatnes of this benefit may partly be conceaved, if thou do imagin thy selfe to lak but any one part of thy bodie, as a leg, an arm, an eie, or the like: and that one should freely geeve the same unto thee: or if thou wantest but any one sense, as that thou were deafe or blind, and one should restore sight or hearing unto thee: how wouldest thou esteeme of this benefit? How much wouldest thou professe thy selfe beholding unto him for the same? And if the gift of one of these parts only would seeme such a benefit unto thee: how great oughtest thou to esteeme the free gift of so manie parts together?

10 Ad to this now (as I have said) that he hath created thee to the likenes of no other thing, but of himselfe; to no other end, but to be his honorable servant in this world, and his compartener in kingly glorie for al eternitie to come: and this he hath done to thee, being only a peece of dirt or clay before. Now ima­gin thou of what maner of love proceeded [Page 77] this. But yet ad further, how he hath created al this magnificent world for thee, and al the creatures therof to serve thee in this busines: the heaven to distinguish times and seasons, and to geeve thee light: the earth, and aier, and water, to minister most infinit varietie of crea­tures for thy use and sustinance: & hath made thee lord of al, to use them for thy comfort and his service. And what magnificent gifts are these? And what shameful ingratitude is it, to turn the same to the dishonor and injurie of so loving a geever as thou dost, by using them to serve thee in sin.

11 But yet consider a little further,The benefit of redemp­tion. the be­nefit of thy redemption, much greater than al the former: which is, that thou having lost al those former benefits again, and made thy self guiltie by sin of eternal punishment, wherto the Angels were now delivered for their sin committed before:1. Pet. 2. God chose to redeeme thee, and not the Angels, and for satisfieng of thy fault, to deliver his own only Son to death for thee. O Lord, what hart can conceave the greatnes of this benefit? Imagin thy selfe (be­ing a poore man) hadst committed a greevous crime against a kings majestie, together with some great man of his cheefest nobilitie, and that the king being offended highly with you both, should notwithstanding pardon thee, and put the noble man to death: and further also (being no other way to save thy life) shuld [Page 78] lay the pains of death du to thee, upon his on­lie son and heir, for thy sake: how much woul­dest thou think, that this king loved thee? How greatly wouldest thou esteeme thy selfe beholding and bounden to that yong prince, which should offer himselfe to his fathers ju­stice to die for thee a poore worm (and not for the noble man, as he would not die for the An­gels) and to put his head in the halter for thine onlie offences? Couldest thou ever have the hart to become enimie to this man after, or willingly and wittingly to offend him? And yet, such is our case, and much more bounden towards Christ and his father, whom the most of us notwithstanding do daily offend, disho­nor, and injurie by sin.

The benefits of vocation and iustifi­cation. 12 But yet there follow on mo benefits of God unto us, as our vocation and justificati­on: vocation, wherby he hath called us from infidelitie, to the state of Christians; and ther­by made us partakers of this our redemption, which infidels are not. For albeit he paid the ransom for al in general: yet he hath not im­parted the benefit therof to al, but to such on­ly as best it pleased his divine goodnes to be­stow it upon.Rom. 8. 1. Cor. 1. After which followed our justifi­cation wherby we were not only set free from al our sins committed before, and from al pain and punishment du to the same: but also our souls beutified and inriched with his holie grace,Rom. 5. 1. Co. 13. Esai. 11. accompanied with the vertues theolo­gical, [Page 79] as faith, hope and charitie, and with the gifts of the holie Ghost: and by this grace we are made just and righteous in the sight of God, and intitled to the most blessed inheri­tance of the kingdome of heaven.

13 After these do insu a great number of benefits togither (as to us being now made the children and deer frinds of God) and eve­rie one of them, of infinite price and valu.The benefit of the sa­craments. As the gift of the holie sacraments, left for our comfort and preservation, being nothing else but conduits to convey Gods grace unto us, especially these two which appertain to al, to wit, the sacrament of Baptism, and of his bles­sed bodie and blood, wherof the first, is to purge our souls from sin, the second to feed and comfort the same after she is purged. The first is a bath made of Christ his own blood,The use of sacraments. to wash and bath our wounds therin: the second as a most comfortable and rich garment, to cover our soul withal after she is washed. In the first, Christ hath substituted in his place his spouse the church, to pronounce in his name remission of sins: in the second he hath left himselfe, and his own flesh and blood Sacra­mentally to be a precious food, to cherish hir withal.

14 Besides al these,The benefit of preserva­tion and in­spiration. there is yet another gift named our preservation, wherby God hath preserved us from so many dangers into which others have fallen, and wherin we had [Page 80] fallen also; if Gods holie hand had not staied us: as from superstition, heresie, and infidelitie, and many other greevous sins: and especially from death and damnation, which long ago by our wickednes we deserved to have beene executed upon us. Also there are the benefits of godlie inspirations and admonitions, wher­by God hath often both knocked inwardly at the doore of our conscience,Apoc. 3. and warned us outwardly by so many wais and meanes: as are good books; good sermons; good exhor­tations; good companie; good example of others; and a hundred means else, which he at divers times hath and doth use, therby to gain us & our souls unto his eternal kingdome, by stirring us to abandon vitious life, and to be­take our selves to his holie and sweet service.

15 Al which rare and singular benefits being measured, either according to the valu of themselves, or according to the love of that hart, from which they do proceed, ought to move us most vehemently, to gratitude to­wards the giver: which gratitude should be, to resolve our selves at length to serve him unfai­nedly, and to prefer his favor before al world­ly or mortal respects whatsoever. Or if we can not obtain so much of our selves; yet at least­wise not to offend him any more by our sins and wickednes.

16 There is not so fearce or cruel a nature in the world (as I noted before) but is mollified, [Page 81] allured, and woon by benefits: and stories do make report of strange examples in this kind, even among brute beasts, as of the gratitude of lions, dogs, and the like, towards their mai­sters and benefactors. Only an obstinate sin­ner is he,Aelian in hist. animal. among al the savage creatures that are, whom neither benefits can move; nor cur­tesies can mollifie; nor promises can allure; nor gifts can gain to the faithful service of God his Lord and maister.

17 The greatest sinner that is in the world,The intolle­rable ingra­titude of a sinner. if he give his servant but twentie nobles a yeere, or his tenant some litle farm to liue up­on, and if for this they serve him not at a bek; he crieth out of their ingratitude: and if they should further maliciously seek to offend him, and to joine with his professed enimie against him; how intollerable a matter would it seem in his sight? And yet he himself, dealing much more ingratefully and injuriously with God, thinketh it a matter of no consideration, but easily pardonable. I say, he dealeth more in­gratefully with God, for that he hath receaved a thousand for one, in respect of al the bene­fits that a mortal man can give to another: for he hath receaved al in al from God: the bread which he eateth; the ground which he trea­deth; the light which he beholdeth; togither with his eies to see the sun; and finally what­soever is within, or without his body: as also the mind, with the spiritual gifts therof, wher­of [Page 82] ech one is more woorth than a thousand bodies: I say also, that he dealeth more injuri­ously with God, for that notwithstanding al these benefits, he serveth Gods open enimie the devil, and committeth daily sin and wic­kednes, which God hateth more than any hart created can hate a mortal enimie, being that in very deed which persecuted his Son our savior,Sin persecu­ted Christ unto death. with such hostilitie, as it tooke his most pretious life from him, and nailed him fast to the wood of the crosse.

Gods com­plaint a­gainst sin­ners.18 Of this extreem ingratitude and injurie, God himselfe is inforced to complain in di­vers places of the scripture, as where we saith; Retribuebant mihi mala pro bonis. They returned me home evil for good. Psal. 34. And yet much more vehe­mently in another place, he calleth the hea­vens to witnes of this iniquitie,Iere. 2. saieng; Obstu­pescite coeli super haec. O you heavens be you astoni­shed at this. As if he should say by a figurative kind of speech, go out of your wits you hea­vens with marvel, at this incredible iniquitie of man towards me. For so he expoundeth the whole matter more at large in another place;Isai. 1. Audite coeli & auribus percipe terra: Harken ye hea­vens, and thou earth bend hither thine eares: Filios enutrivi & exaltavi, ipsi autem spreuerunt me: I have norished up children and have exalted them, and now they contemn me. What a pitiful complaint is this of God against most vile and base worms of the earth? But yet God amplifieth this ini­quitie [Page 83] more by certain examples and compa­risons; The oxe (saith he) knoweth his owner, and the asse knoweth the manger of his Lord and maister: but yet my people know not me: wo be to the sinful na­tion, to the people loden with iniquitie, to this naugh­tie seed, to wicked children. What complaint can be more vehement than this? What threat­ning can be more dreadful than this wo, com­ming from the mouth of him which may pu­nish us at his pleasure?

19 Wherfore (deer brother) if thou have grace, cease to be ungrateful to God any lon­ger: cease to offend him which hath by so ma­nie wais prevented thee with benefits: cease to render evil for good; hatred for love; con­tempt, for his fatherly affection towards thee. He hath done for thee al that he can:Isai. 4. he hath given thee al that thou art: yea and (in a cer­tain maner) al that he is woorth himselfe: and meaneth besides to make thee partaker of al his glorie in the world to come, and requireth no more for al this at thy hands, but love and gratitude. O (deer brother) why wilt thou not yeeld him this? Why wilt thou not do as much to him, as thou wouldest haue another man to do to thee, for lesse than the ten thousand part of these benefits which thou hast receaved? For I dare wel say, that if thou hadst given a man but an almes at thy dore, thou wouldest think him bound to love thee for it, albeit thou hadst nothing in thee woorth love be­sides. [Page 84] But now thy Lord (besides these his gifts) hath infinite causes to make thee love him, that is, al the causes which any thing in the world hath to purchase love, and infinite more besides: for, if al the perfections of al things created in heaven and in earth (which do pro­cure love) were put togither in one,Causes of love in God besides his benefits. as al their beautie; al their vertu; al their nobilitie; al their goodnes, and the like: yet thy Lord and Savior whom thou contemnest, doth passe al this, and that by many and infinite degrees: for that he is not only, al these things togither; but also he is very beautie it selfe; vertu it selfe; wisdom it selfe; sweetnes it selfe; nobilitie it selfe; goodnes it selfe; and the very fountain and welspring where hence al these things are derived by litle peeces and parcels unto his creatures.

20 Be ashamed then (good Christian) of this thy ingratitude, to so great; so good; & boun­tiful a Lord: and resolve thy selfe for the time to come, to amend thy course of life and beha­vior towards him. Say with the prophet, which had lesse cause to say so than thou;A praier. Domine pro­pitiare peccatomeo: Psal. 24. multum est enim. O Lord pardon me mine offences: for it is great in thy sight. I know there is nothing (O Lord) which doth so much displease thee, or dry up the fountain of thy mercy, and so bindeth thy hands from dooing good, as ingratitude in the receavers of thy benefits, wherin hitherto I have exceeded al [Page 85] other: but I have done it (O Lord) in mine ig­norance, not considering thy gifts unto me, nor what account thou wouldest demaund a­gain of the same. But now seeing thou hast vouchsafed to make me woorthy of this grace also, wherby to see and know mine own state and default: I hope hereafter by direction of the same grace of thine, to shew my selfe a bet­ter child towards thee. O Lord, I am overcome at the lenth with consideration of thy love: and how can I have the hart to offend thee hereafter, seeing thou hast prevented me so many wais with benefits, even when I deman­ded not the same? Can I have hands ever more to sin against thee which hast given up thine own most tender hands, to be nailed on the crosse for my sins heretofore? No, no, it is too great an injurie against thee (O Lord) and wo woorth me that have done it so often here­tofore. But by thy holy assistance, I trust not to return to such iniquitie for the time to come: to which (O Lord) I be­seech thee for thy mercy sake, from thy holie throne of heaven, to say, Amen.

CHAP. VIII. Of what opinion and feeling we shal be, touching these matters, at the time of our death.

The indu­ration of som harts. THe holie scriptures do teach us, and experience maketh it plain, that du­ring the time of this life, the commodities, prefer­ments, and pleasures of the world, do possesse so strongly the harts of ma­nie men, and do hold them chained with so forcible inchauntments, being forsaken also upon their just deserts of the grace of God: say and threaten what a man can, & bring against them al the whole scripture, even from the be­ginning of Genesis to the end of the Apoca­lips (as indeed it is al against sin and sinners) yet wil it prevail nothing with them, being in that lamentable case, as either they beleeve not, or esteem not, whatsoever is said to that purpose, against their setled life and resolution to the contrary. Of this we have infinite exam­ples in scripture: as of Sodom and Gomorra, with the cities about,Gen. 19. which could not heare the warnings that good Lot gave unto them. Also of Pharao,Ex. whom, al that ever Moises could do, either by signes or saiengs, mooved [Page 87] nothing. Also of Iudas, who by no faire means or threatnings, used to him by his maister,Matth. 26. would change his wicked resolution. But espe­cially the prophets, sent from God, from time to time, to dissuade the people from their naughtie life, and consequently from the plaegs hanging over them, do give abundant testimonie of this: complaining everie where, of the hardnes of sinners harts, that would not be mooved with al the exhortations, prea­chings, promises, and thunderings that they could use. The prophet Zacharie shal testifie for al in this matter,Zach. 7. who saith of the people of Israel a litle before their destruction; Hoc ait Dominus exercituum, &c. This saith the Lord of hosts: iudge iustly: And so foorth. And present­lie he addeth; And they would not attend, but tur­ning their baks went away, & stopped their ears, to the end they might not heare, and they did put their harts as an adamant stone, to the end they might not heare the law and the words which God did send in his spi­rit, by the hands of the former prophets, wherby Gods great indignation was stirred up.

2 This then is, and alwais hath been the fa­shion of worldlings, & reprobate persons, to harden their harts as an adamant stone, a­gainst any thing that shal be told them for the amendement of their lives, and for the saving of their souls. Whiles they are in helth & pro­speritie they wil not know God. As in another place he complaineth yet, as the prophet saith; [Page 88] God wil have his day, Esai. 1. with these men also when he wil be known. And that is; Cognoscetur dominus iudicia faciens. Psal. 9. God wil be known when he beginneth to do iudgment. And this is at the day of death, which is the next dore to judgement, as the Apostle testifieth,Heb. 9. saieng; It is appointed for al men once to die, and after that ensueth iudgement.

Esai. This I say is the day of God, most terrible, sorrowful, and ful of tribulation, to the wic­ked, wherin God wilbe known, to be a righte­ous God, and to restore to every man accor­ding as he hath done while he lived: as Saint Paul saith,2. Cor. 5. or as the prophet describeth it; He wil be known then to be a terrible God, Psal. 75. and such a one, as taketh away the spirit of princes, a terrible God to the kings of the earth. The great change of things at the day of death. At this day, as there wil be a great change in al other things, as mirth wil be turned into sorrow; laughings, into weepings; pleasures, into paines; stoutnes, into fear; pride, into dispaire; and the like: so especially wil there be a strange alteration in judgement and opinion: for that the wis­dom of God, wherof I have spoken in the for­mer chapters, & which (as the scripture saith) Is accounted holy of the wise of the world;1. Cor. 2. wil then appeere in hir likenes, and as it is in very deed, wil be confessed by hir greatest enimies to be only tru wisdom: and al carnal wisdom of worldlings,Rom. 8. 1. Cor. 1. to be meer folly, as God calleth it.

4 This the holie scripture setteth down cleerly when it describeth the verie speeches [Page 89] and lamentations of the wise men of this world at the last day, saieng, touching the ver­tuous whom they despised in this life.Sap. 5. Nos in­sensati, &c. We senseles men did esteem their life to be madnes, and their end to be dishonora­ble: but look how they are now accounted a­mong the children of God, and their portion is with the saints? We have erred from the way of truth; and the light of righteousnes, hath not shined before us; neither hath the sun of understanding appeered unto us. We have wearied out our selves in the way of ini­quitie and perdition, and we have walked craggy paths: but the way of the Lord we have not known. Hitherto are the words of scrip­ture: wherby we may perceave, what great change of judgement there wil be at the last day, from that which men have now of al such matters: what confessing of follie; what ac­knowledging of error; what hartie sorrow for labor lost; what fruitles repentance for having run awry. Oh that men would consider these things now; We have wearied out our selves (say these miserable men) in the way of iniquitie and perdition, and we have walked craggie paths. What a description is this of lamentable worldlings, who beat their brains daily, & weary out them­selves in pursuit of vanitie, and chaf of this world, for which they suffer notwithstanding more pains oftentimes, than the just do in pur­chasing of heaven? And when they arrive to, [Page 90] at the last day wearied and worn out with tro­ble and toile, they finde that al their labor is lost, al their vexation taken in vain: for that the litle pelfe which they have gotten in the world, and for which they have strugled so sore, wil helpe them nothing, but rather greatly afflict and torment them: for better understanding wherof, it is to be considered, that three things wil principallie molest these men at the day of their death, and unto these may al the rest be referred.

Of the souls parting from the bodie the first matter of miserie in death.5 The first is the excessive Those paines in death are especially to be re­streined to the death of the worldlie: for the godlie have for the most part a sin­gular com­fort therin. pains which com­monly men suffer in the separation of the soul and bodie, which have lived so long together as two deer frinds, united in love and pleasure, and therfore most loth to part now, but onlie B that they are inforced therunto. This pain may partly be conceaved by that, if we would drive out life, but from the least part of our bodie (as for example, out of our little finger, as surge­ons are woont to do, when they wil mortifie any place, to make it break:) what a pain doth a man suffer before it be dead? What raging greefe doth he abide? And if the mortifieng of one little part onlie, doth so much afflict us; imagin what the violent mortifieng of al the parts together wil do. For we see that first the soul is driven by death to leave the extreeme parts, as the toes, feet and fingers: then the legs & arms, and so consequently one part dieth af­ter another, until life be restrained onlie to the [Page 91] hart, which holdeth out longest, as the princi­pal part, but yet must finally be constrained to render it selfe though with never so much pain and resistance: which pain how great & strong it is, may appeer by the breaking in peeces of the very strings and holds wherwith it was en­vironed, through the excessive vehemencie of this deadly torment. But yet before it come to this point, to yeeld, no man can expresse the cruel conflict that is betwixt death and hir, and what distresses she abideth in time of hir agonie. Imagin that a prince possessed a good­ly citie in al peace, wealth and pleasure, and greatly frinded of al his neighbors about him, who promise to assist him in al his needs and affairs: and that upon the sudden, his mortal enimie should come and besiege this citie,A similitude expressing the pains of death. and taking one hold after another; one wal after another; one castel after another; should drive this prince only to a little tower, and besiege him therin, al his other holds being beaten down, and his men slain in his sight: what fear, anguish, and miserie would this prince be in? How often would he look out at the windows and loope holes of his tower, to see whether his frinds and neighbors would come to help him or no? And if he saw them al to abandon him, and his cruel enimie even ready to break in upon him, would he not be in a pitiful plight trow you? And even so fareth it with a poore soul, at the hour of death. The bodie wherin [Page 92] she raigneth like a joly princesse in al pleasure, whiles it florished, is now battered and over­thrown by hir enimy, which is death: the arms, legs, and other parts wherwith she was fortifi­ed, as with wals & words during time of helth, are now surprised and beaten to the ground, and she is driven only to the hart, as to the last and extreemest refuge, where she is also most fearcely assailed in such sort, as she cannot hold out long. Hir deer frinds which soothed hir in time of prosperitie, and promised assi­stance, as youth, physik, and other humane helps, do now utterly abandon hir: the enimie wil not be pacified or make any leag, but night and day assaulteth this turret wherin she is, and which now beginneth to shake and shi­ver in peeces, and she looketh hourly when hir enimie in most raging and dreadful maner, wil enter upon hir. What think you is now the state of this afflicted soul? It is no marvel if a wise man become a foole, or a stout worldling most abject, in this instant of extremitie as we often see they do in such sort, as they can dis­pose of nothing wel, either towards God or the world at this hour: the cause is the extre­mitie of pains, oppressing their minds, as Saint Austen also proveth (or some other under his name) and giveth us therwithal a most ex­cellent forewarning,Ser. 48. ad frat. in ere­mo. if men were so gracious as to folow it: When you shal be in your last siknes deer brother (saith he) O how hard [Page 93] and painful a thing wil it be for you to repent of your faults committed? And why is this, but only for that, al the intention of your mind wil run thither, where al the force of your pain is? Manie impediments shal let men at that day: as the pain of the bodie; the fear of death; the sight of children (for the which their fa­thers shal oftentimes think themselves often damned; the weeping of the wise; the flatterie of the world; the temptation of the devil; the dissimulation of physitions for lucre sake; and the like. And beleeve thou (O man) which rea­dest this, that thou shalt quickly proove al this tru upon thy selfe, and therfore I beseech thee that thou wilt repent before thou come unto this last day: dispose of thy house, and make thy testament while thou art thine own man: for if thou tary until the last day, thou shalt be led whether thou wouldest not. Hitherto are the Authors words.

6 The second thing,The second matter of miserie in death. which shal make death terrible and greevous to a worldly man is the sudden parting (and that for ever and ever) from al the things, which he loved most deerly in this life: as, from his riches, possessions, ho­nours, offices, faire buildings, with their com­modities, goodlie apparel with rich jewels; from wife and children; kindred, and frinds; and the like: wherwith he thought himselfe a blessed man in this life, and now, to be plucked from them upon the sudden, without ever [Page 94] hope to see or use them again, oh what a greef, what a torment wil this be? For which cause the holie scripture saith;Eccl. 41. O mors, quam amara est memoria tua, homini pacem habenti in substantijs suis: O death, how bitter is thy memorie unto a man that hath peace & rest in his substance & riches? As who would say: there is no more bitternes or greefe in the world to such a man, than to re­mēber or think on death only, but much more to go to it himselfe, & that out of hand, when it shal be said unto him, as Christ reporteth it was to the great wealthy man in the Gospel, which had his barns ful, and was come now to the highest top of felicitie;Luc. 12. Stulte, hac nocte ani­mam tuam repetent à te, quae autem parasti, cuius e­runt? Thou foole, even this night they wil take thy soule from thee, and then who shal have al that thou hast scraped together?

The sorrow of leaving al.7 It is unpossible I say, for any toong to ex­presse the doleful state of a worldly man in this instant of death, when nothing that ever he hath gathered togither, with so much labor and toil, and wherin he was woont to have so much confidence, wil now do him good a­ny longer, but rather afflict him with the me­morie therof, considering that he must leave al to others, and go himselfe to give account for the getting and using of the same (perhaps to his eternal damnation) whiles in the mean time other men in the world do live merilie and pleasantly upon that he hath gotten, litle [Page 95] remembring, and lesse caring for him, which lieth perhaps burning in unquenchable fire, for the riches left unto them. This is a woful and lamentable point, which is to bring manie a man, to great sorrow and anguish of hart at the last day, when al earthly joies must be left, al pleasures and commodities for ever a­bandoned. Oh what a doleful day of parting wil this be! What wilt thou say (my freend) at this day, when al thy glorie, al thy wealth, al thy pomp is come to an end? What art thou the better now to have lived in credit with the world? In favor of princes? Exalted of men? Feared, reverenced, and advanced: seeing now al is ended, and that thou canst use these things no more?

8 But yet there is a third thing which more than al the rest wil make this day of death to be troublesom and miserable unto a worldlie man, and that is,The third matter of miserie in death. the consideration what shal become of him, both in bodie and soul. And for his bodie, it wil be no smal horror to think,Eccl. 10. that it must inherit serpents, beasts, & worms, as the scripture saith: that is, it must be cast out to serve for the food of vermins: that bodie I mean, which was so delicately handled before, with varietie of meats, pillows, and beds of down, so trimly set forth in apparel, and other ornaments, wherupon the wind might not blow, nor the sun shine: that bodie (I saie) of whose beutie there was so much pride taken, [Page 96] and wherby so great vanitie and sin was com­mitted:The cogita­tion of the bodie. that bodie, which in this world was accustomed to al pampering, and could abide no austeritie or discipline, must now come to be abandoned of al men, and left onlie to be devoured of worms. Which thing albeit it can not but breed much horror in the hart of him that lieth a dieng: yet is it nothing in respect of the dreadful cogitations, which he shal have touching his soul: as, what shal become of it? Whither it shal go after hir departure out of the bodie? And then considering that it must go to the judgment seat of God, & there to re­ceive sentence, either of unspeakable glorie, or insupportable pains: he falleth to cōsider more in particular, the danger therof, by comparing Gods justice and threats (set down in scripture against sinners) with his own life: he beginneth to examin the witnes, which is his conscience, and he findeth it readie to lay infinite accusa­tions against him, when he commeth to the place of justice.

9 And now deer (brother) beginneth the miserie of this man. For scantly there is not a severe saieng of God in al the scripture, which commeth not now to his mind, to terrifie him withal at this instant:Mat. 19. as; If thou wilt enter into life, keepe the commandements. He that saith he knoweth God, 1. Ioh. 2. and keepeth not his commande­ments, is a liar. Manie shal saie unto me at that day, Lord, Matt. 7. Rom. 2. Lord, &c. Not the hearers of the law, but the [Page 97] doers of the law shal be iustified. Luc. 13. Go from me al wor­kers of iniquitie into everlasting fire. De not you know, 1. Cor. 6. that wicked men shal not possesse the kingdome of God? Be not deceived, for neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor unclean handlers of their own bo­dies, nor Sodomites, nor theeves, nor covetous men, nor dronkards, nor bakbiters, nor extortioners, shal ever possesse the kingdome of God. Rom. 8. If you live according to the flesh, you shal die: and the works of the flesh are manifest, as fornication, uncleannes, wantonnes, Gal. 5. luxu­rie, poisonings, enmities, contentions, emulations, ha­tred, strife, dissentions, sects, envie, murder, dronkenes, gluttonie, and the like. Wherof I foretel you, as I have told you before, that they which do these things shal never attein to the kingdome of God. 2. Cor. 5. Iere. 2. Apo. 20. We must al be presented before the iudgment seat of Christ, & eve­ry man receive particularly, according as he hath done in this life, good or evil: every man shal receive ac­cording to his works. 2. Pet. 2. God spared not the Angels when they sinned. You shal give account of everie idle word at the day of iudgement. 1. Pet. 4. If the iust shal scarce be sa­ved, where shal the wicked man and sinner appeer? Few are saved, Mat. 19. and a rich man shal hardly enter into the kingdome of heaven.

10 Al these things (I say) and a thousand mo touching the severitie of Gods justice, and the account which shal be demanded at that day, wil come into his mind that lieth a dieng, and our ghostly enimie (which in this life labored to keep these things from our eies, therby the easier to draw us to sin) wil now lay al & more [Page 98] too, before our face; amplifieng and urging everie point to the uttermost; alledging alwais our conscience for his witnes. Which when the poore soul in dieng cannot denie, it must needs terrifie hir greatly: for so we see that it doth daily, even many good & vertuous men. Saint Ierom reported of holie Saint Hilarion, whose soul being greatly afeard, upon these considerations, to go out of the bodie, after long conflict, he took courage in the end, and said to his soul;Ierom in vi­ta Hilario­nis abba. Go out my soul, go out: why art thou afeard: thou hast served Christ almost threescore and ten yeeres, and art thou now afeard of death? But if so good a man was so afeard at this passage, yea, such an one as had served God with al puritie of life, and perfect zeale for threescore and ten yeeres to­gither: what shal they be, which scarce have served God truly one day in al their lives, but rather have spent al their yeeres in sin and va­nitie of the world? Must not these men be needs in great extremitie at this passage?

11 Now then (deer Christian) these things being so, that is, this passage of death being so terrible, so dangerous, and yet so unavoydable as it is: seeing so many men perish, and are overwhelmed daily in the same, as it cannot be denied but there do: and both holie scriptures and ancient fathers do testifie it by examples and records unto us: what man of discretion would not learn to be wise by other mens dan­gers? [Page 99] Or what reasonable creature would not take heed, and look about him, being warned so manifestly, and apparantly, of his own pe­ril? If thou be a Christian, and dost beleeve indeed the things which Christian faith doth teach thee: then dost thou know and most cer­tainly beleeve also, that of what state, age, strength, dignitie, or condition soever thou be now, yet that thou thy selfe (I say) which now in health and mirth readest this, and thinkest that it litle pertaineth to thee, must one of these dais (and it may be shortlie after the reading hereof) come to prove al these things upon thy selfe, which I have here writ­ten: that is, thou must with sorrow and greefe be inforced to thy bed, and there after al thy struglings, with the darts of death, thou must yeeld thy bodie which thou lovest so much, to the bait of worms, and thy soul to the trial of justice, for hir dooings in this life.

12 Imagin then (my frind) thou I say which art so fresh and frolik at this day, that the ten,A very pro­fitable consi­deration. twentie, or two yeeres, or (it may be) two mo­neths, which thou hast yet to live, were now ended, and that thou were even at this pre­sent, stretched out upon a bed, wearied and worn with dolor and pain, thy carnal frinds about thee weeping and howling, the phisiti­ons departed with their fees, as having given thee over, and thou lieng there alone mute and dum in most pitiful agonie, expecting [Page 100] from moment to moment, the last stroke of death to be given thee. Tel me, in this instant, what would al the pleasures and commodities of this world do thee good? What comfort would it be to thee, to have beene of honor in this world, to have beene rich, and purchased much, to have born office, & been in the prin­ces favor? To have left thy children or kindred wealthy, to have troden down thine enimies, to have sturred much, and born great sway in this life? What ease (I say) or comfort would it be to thee, to have been fair, to have been gallant in apparel, goodly in personage, glitte­ring in gold? Would not al these things rather afflict than profit thee at this instant? For now shouldest thou see the vanitie of these trifles: now would thy hart begin to say within thee; O follie and miserable blindnes of mine!The cogita­tion & spech of the soul at the day of death. Lo, here is an end now of al my delites & prospe­rities: al my joies, al my pleasures, al my mirth, al my pastimes are now finished: where are my frinds, which were woont to laugh with me? My servants woont to attend me; my children woont to disport me? Where are al my coches and horses, wherwith I was woont to make so goodlie a shew, the caps and knees of people woont to honor me, the troups of suters fol­lowing me? Where are al my daliances and triks of love; al my pleasant musik; al my gorgeous buildings; al my costly feasts and banquetings? And above al other, where are [Page 101] my deer and sweet frinds, who seemed they would never have forsaken me? But al are now gone, and have left me here alone to answer the rekoning for al, and none of them wil do so much as to go with me to judgement, or to speak one word in my behalfe.

13 Wo worth to me, that I had not foreseen this day sooner, and so have made better pro­vision for the same: it is now too late, and I fear me I have purchased eternal damnation, for a litle pleasure, and lost unspeakable glorie, for a floting vanitie. Oh how happie and twise happie are they which so live, as they may not be afeard of this day? I now see the difference betwixt the ends of good & evil, and marvel not though the scriptures say of the one;Psa. 115. The death of saincts is precious. And of the other; The death of sinners is miserable. Psal. 33. Oh that I had lived so vertuously as some other have done, or as I had often inspirations from God to do; or that I had done the good deeds I might have done: how sweet and comfortable would they be to me now in this my last, and extreemest distres?

14 To these cogitations and speeches (deer brother) shal thy hart be inforced, of what estate soever thou be, at the hour of death, if thou do not prevent it now by amendment of life, which only can yeeld thee comfort in that sorrowful day. For of good men the judge him selfe saith; His autem fieri incipientibus, Luc. 21. respicite & [Page 102] levate capita vestra, quoniam appropinquat redemptio vestra: When these things begin to come upon other men, do you lift up your heads, for that your re­demption commeth on, from the labors and toils of this world. And the holie prophet saith of the vertu­ous man which hath done good works in this life, that he shal be at this time; Beatus vir: An happie man: And he giveth the cause; Quia in die mala liberabit eum dominus, Psal. 4. & opem feret illi su­per lectum doloris eius: For that God wil deliver him in this evil day, and wil assist him upon the bed of his sorrow. Which is ment (no dowt) of the bed of his last departure especially, for that of al o­ther beds, this is the most sorrowful, as I have shewed, being nothing else but an heap of al sorrows togither, especially to them which are drawn unto it before they are readie for the same, as commonly al they are, which defer their amendement from day to day, and do not attend to live in such sort now, as they shal wish they had done when they come to that last pas­sage.

CHAP. IX. Of the pains appointed for sin af­ter this life.

AMongst al the means, which GOD useth to­wards the children of men, to moove them to this resolution, wherof I intreat, the strongest and most forcible (to the common sort of men) is, the consideration of punishments prepared by him for rebellious sinners, and transgressors of his commandements. Wherfore he useth this consideration often, as may appeer by al the prophets, who do almost nothing else, but threaten plaegs and destruction to offenders, And this mean hath oft times prevailed more than any other that could be used,The force of fear. by reason of the natural love which he bare towards our selves: & consequently the natural fear which we have of our own danger. So we read that nothing could moove the Ninivites so much as the foretelling them of their imminent de­struction. And Saint Iohn Baptist,Ioh. 5. although he came in a simple and contemptible maner,Mat. 3. Mar. 1. Luc. 3. yet preaching unto the people. The terror of ven­geance to come, and that the ax was now put to the tres, to cut down for the fire al those which repented [Page 104] not: He mooved the verie publicans and soldi­ers to fear (which otherwise are people of verie hard metal) who came unto him upon this ter­rible embassage, and asked what they should doo to avoid these punishments?

2 After then that we have considered of death, and of Gods severe judgement, which insueth after death, and wherin everie man hath to receave according to his works in this life,2. Cor. 5. as the scripture saith: it followeth that we consider also of the punishments which are appointed for them that shal be found faultie in that account, hereby at lestwise (if no other consideration wil serve) to induce christians to this resolution of serving God. For, as I have noted before, if every man have naturally a love of himselfe, & desire to conserve his own ease: then should he also have fear of peril, wherby he is to fal into extreme calamitie.In serm. de primordijs. This expres­seth saint Bernard excellently according to his woont. O man (saith he) if thou have left al shame (which apperteineth to so noble a crea­ture as thou art) if thou feele no sorrow (as carnal men do not) yet lose not fear also, which is found in verie beasts. We use to load an asse, and to wearie him out with labor, & he careth not bicause he is an asse: but if thou woul­dest thrust him into fire, or fling him into a ditch, he would avoid it as much as he could, for that he loveth life, and feareth death. Fear thou then, and be not more insensible than a [Page 105] beast: fear death; fear judgement; fear hel. This fear is called the beginning of wisdom,Prou. 9. and not shame or sorrow, for that the spirit of fear is more mightie to resist sin, than the spirit of shame or sorrow, wherfore it is said; Remem­ber the end, and thou shalt never sin: That is,Eccl. 7. re­member the final punishments appointed for sin, after this life. Thus far Saint Bernard.

3 First therfore to speak in general of the pu­nishments reserved for the life to come, if the scriptures did not declare in particular their greatnes unto us: yet are there manie reasons to persuade us, that they are most severe, dolo­rous, and intollerable. For first, as God is a God in al his works, that is to say, great,Gods ma­iestie. woon­derful, and terrible: so especiallie he sheweth the same in his punishments,Psal. 71. Deu. 10. Psal. 4. Psal. 93. being called for that cause in scripture; Deus iustitiae: God of iu­stice: As also; Deus vltionum: God of revenge. Wherfore seeing al his other works, are ful of majestie and exceeding our capacities: we may likewise gather, that his hand in punishment must be woonderful also. God himselfe tea­cheth us to reason in this maner, when he saith; And wil ye not then fear me? Iere. 5. And wil ye not tremble before my face, which have put the sand as a stop unto the sea, and have given the water a com­mandement never to passe it, no, not when it is most trobled, and the floods most outragious? As who would say: If I am woonderful, and do passe your imagination, in these works of the sea, & [Page 106] others which you see daily: you have cause to fear me, considering that my punishments are like to be correspondent to the same.

Gods mercie.4 Another conjecture of the great and severe justice of God, may be the consideration of his infinite and unspeakable mercie: the which as it is the very nature of God, and without end or measure, as his Godhead is; so is also his ju­stice. And these two are the two arms (as it were) of God, imbracing and kissing one the other,Psal. 84. as the scripture saith, therfore as in a man of this world, if we had the mesure of one arm, we might easily conjecture of the other: so seeing the woonderful examples daily of Gods infinite mercie towards them that re­pent: we may imagin by the same, his severe justice towards them, whom he reserveth to punishment in the next life, and whom for that cause, he calleth in the scriptures; Vasa furoris: vessels of his furie, Esai. 13. Psal. 7. or vessels to shew his furie upon.

5 A third reason to persuade us of the great­nes of these punishments,Gods pati­ence. may be the marve­lous patience, and long suffering of God in this life: as for example, in that he suffereth divers men from one sin, to another; from one day, to another; from one yeere, to another; from one age, to another; to spend al (I say) in dishonor and dispite of his majestie, adding offence to offence, and refusing al persuasi­ons, allurements, good inspirations, or other [Page 107] means of frindship, that his mercie can devise to offer for their amendement. And what man in the world could suffer this? Or what mor­tal hart can shew such patience? But now if al this should not be requited with severitie of punishment, in the world to come, upon the obstinate: it might seeme against the law of justice and equitie, and one arm in God might seeme longer than the other. Saint Paul tou­cheth this reason in his epistle to the Romans, where he saith; Dost thou not know that the benig­nitie of God is used to bring thee to repentance? Rom. 2. And thou by thy hard and impenitent hart dost hoord up vengeance unto thy selfe, in the day of wrath, and ap­peerance of Gods iust iudgements which shal restore to everie man according to his works? He useth here the words of Hoording up of vengeance, to signifie that even as the covetous man, doth hoord up monie to monie dailie, to make his heap great: so the unrepentant sinner doth hoord up sin to sin: and God on the contrarie side hoordeth up vengeance to vengeance, un­til his mesure be ful, to restore in the end; Mea­sure against measure; As the prophet saith, and to pay us home; According to the multitude of our own abhominations. Esai. 27. This God meant when he said to Abraham;Iere. 16. Gen. 15. That the iniquities of the Amor­rheans were not yet ful up. Also in the revelations unto Saint Iohn the Evangelist, when he used this conclusion of that book; He that doth evil, Apoc. 21. let him do yet more evil: and he that lieth in filth, let [Page 108] him yet become more filthy: for behold, I come quikly, and my reward is with me, to render to everie man according to his deeds. By which words God sig­nifieth that his bearing & tollerating with sin­ners in this life, is an argument of his greater severitie in the life to come, which the prophet David also declareth, when talking of a care­lesse sinner he saith; Dominus irridebit eum quo­niam prospicit quòd veniet dies eius. Psal. 36. The Lord shal scof at him, foreseeing that his day shal come. This day (no dowt) is to be understood the day of account and punishment, after this life, for so doth God more at large declare himselfe in another place in these words; And thou son of man, Ezec. 7. this saith thy Lord God: the end is come, now (I say) the end is come upon thee. And I wil shew in thee my furie, and wil iudge thee according to thy wais. I wil lay against thee al thy abhominations, and my eie shal not spare thee, neither wil I take any mercie upon thee, but I wil put thine own wais upon thee, and thou shalt know that I am the Lord. Behold, affliction commeth on, the end is come, the end (I say) is come: it hath watched against thee, and behold it is come: crushing is now come upon thee: the time is come: the daie of slaughter is at hand. Shortlie wil I poure out my wrath upon thee, and I wil fil my furie in thee, and I wil iudge thee according to thy wais, and I wil laie al thy wickednes upon thee: my eie shal not pittie thee: neither wil I take any compassion upon thee, but I wil laie thy wais upon thee, and thy abho­minations in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know [Page 109] that I am the Lord that striketh. Hitherto is the speech of God himselfe.

6 Seeing then now we understand in gene­ral,Of pains in particular. that the punishments of God in the life to come are most certain to be great and severe, to al such as fal into them (for which cause the Apostle saith;Heb. 10. Horrendum est incidere in manus Dei viventis: It is an horrible thing to fal into the hands of the living God) let us consider somwhat in particular what maner of pains and punish­ments they shal be.

7 And first of al,Of the name of hel in di­vers toongs. touching the place of pu­nishment appointed for the damned, com­monly called hel, the scripture in divers lan­guages, useth divers names, but al tending to expresse the greevousnes of punishment there suffered. As in Latin it is called Infernus, Esa. 5. & 38. a place beneath or under ground (as most of the old fathers do interpret.) But whether it be under ground, or no, most certain it is, that it is a place most opposite to heaven, which is said to be above. And this name is used to signifie the miserable suppressing and hurling down of the damned, to be troden under the feet,Mala. 4. not only of God, but also of good men for ever. For The mat­ter in hand is not by this place substanti­ally proo­ved. so B saith the scripture. Behold, the day of the Lord commeth burning like a fornace, and al proud and wicked men shal be straw to that fornace, and you that fear my name shal tread them down, and they shal be as burnt ashes under the soles of your feet in that day. And this shal be one of the greatest miseries [Page 110] that can happen to the prowd and stout po­tentates of the world, to be thrown down, with such contempt, and to be troden under feet of them, whom they so much despised in this world.

Esai. 14. Mat. 14. Apo. 14. Apo. 11. Mat. 11.8 The Hebrew word which the scripture useth for hel, is Seol, which signifieth a great ditch or dungeon. In which sense it is also cal­led in the Apocalyps; Lacus irae Dei: The lake of the wrath of God. And again; Stagnum ardens igne & sulphure: In com. supra verba vive­latenter. A poole burning with fire and brim­stone. In Greek the scripture useth three words for the same place.2. Pet. 4. Iob. 10. Mat. 22. and 25. 2. Pet. 4. The first is, Elades, used in the Gospel, which (as Plutarch noteth) signifi­eth a place where no light is. The second is Zo­phos, in Saint Peter, which signifieth darknes it selfe. In which sense it is called also of Iob; Ter­ra tenebrosa & operta mortis caligine: A dark land, and overwhelmed with deadly obscuritie. Also in the Gospel; Tenebrae exteriores: Vtter darknes. The third greek word is Tartaros: used also by Saint Peter: which word being derived of the verb Tarasso (which signifieth to terrifie, troble, and vex) importeth an horrible confusion of tormentors in that place: even as Iob saith of it;Iob. 10. Ibi nullus ordo, sed sompiternus horror inhabitat: There dwelleth no order, but everlasting horror.

Matt. Mark. 9. Luc. 12.9 The Chaldie word, which is also used in He­brew, and translated to the Greek, is Gehenna, first of al used by Christ for the place of them which are damned, as Saint Ierom noteth [Page 111] upon the tenth chapter of Saint Mathews gos­pel. And this word being compounded of Gee & Hinnom signifieth a vally nigh to Ierusalem, called the vally of Hinnom,The valley Hinnom. in which the old idolatrous Iews, were woont to burn alive their own children in the honor of the devil, and to sound with trumpets, timbrels, and other loud instruments, whiles they were do­ing therof, that the childrens voices and cries might not be heard: which place was after­ward used also for the receit of al filthines, as of doong, dead carions, and the like. And it is most probable, that our Savior used this word above al other for hel, therby to signifie the miserable burning of souls in that place, the pitiful clamors and cries of the tormented; the confuse and barbarous noise of the tor­mentors; togither with the most lothsom fil­thines of the place, which is otherwise descri­bed in the scriptures, by the names of adders, snakes, cocatrices, scorpions, and other vene­mous creatures, as shal be afterwards declared.

10 Having declared the names of this place, and therby also in som part, the nature: it re­maineth now, that we consider, what maner of pains men suffer there.The pains of hel univer­sal. For declaration wherof, we must note, that as heaven and hel are contrarie, assigned to contrarie persons, for contrarie causes: so have they in al respects contrarie properties, conditions, and effects, in such sort, as whatsoever is spoken of the fe­licitie [Page 112] of the one, may serve to infer the con­trarie of the other. As when Saint Paul saith; that No eie hath seene, nor eare heard, nor hart con­ceived the ioies that God hath prepared for them that shal be saved. 1. Cor. 2. We may infer, that the pains of the damned must be as great. Again, when the scripture saith, that the felicitie of them in hea­ven is a perfect felicitie,Exo. 33. containing Omne bo­num: Al goodnes. So that no one kind of plea­sure can be imagined which they have not: we must think on the contrarie part, that the mi­serie of the damned, must be also a perfect mi­serie, containing al afflictions that may be, without wanting any. So that, as the happines of the good is infinite, and universal; so also is the calamitie of the wicked infinite, and uni­versal. Now in this life al the miseries & pains which fal upon man, are but particular, and not universal. As for example: we see one man pained in his eies; another in his bak: which particular pains notwithstanding somtimes are so extreme, as life is not able to resist them; and a man would not suffer them long for the gaining of many worlds togither. But suppose now a man were tormented in al the parts of his bodie at once, as in his head, his eies, his toong, his teeth, his throte, his stomak, his bel­lie, his back, his hart, his sides, his thighs, and in al the joints of his bodie besides: suppose (I say) he were most cruelly tormented with ex­treme pains in al these parts togither, without [Page 113] ease or intermission: what thing could be more miserable than this? What sight more lamen­table? If thou shuldest see a dogly in the street so afflicted: I know thou couldest not but take compassion upon him. Wel then, consider what difference there is between abiding these pains for a week, or for al eternities; in suffe­ring them upon a soft bed, or upon a burning grediron and boiling fornace; among a mans frinds comforting him, or among the furies of hel whipping and tormenting him. Consi­der this (I say gentle reader) and if thou woul­dest take a great deal of labour, rather than a­bide the one, in this life: be content to sustain a little pain, rather than to incur the other in the life to come.

11 But to consider these things yet further,Peculiar torments to every part. not onlie al these parts of the body which have been instruments to sin, shal be tormented to­gither, but also every sense both external & in­ternal for the same cause shal be afflicted with his particular torment, contrarie to the object wherin it delited most, & took pleasure in this world. As if for example, the lascivious eies were afflicted with the uglie & fearful sight of devils: the delicate eares, with the horrible noise of damned spirits: the nise smel, with poi­soned stench of brimstone, & other unsuppor­table filth: the daintie taste, with most raven­ous hunger and thirst: & al the sensible parts of the bodie with burning fire. Again, the imagi­nation [Page 114] shal be tormented, with the apprehen­sion of pains present, and to come; the memo­rie, with the remembrance of pleasures past; the understanding, with consideration of the felicitie lost, and the miserie now come on. O poore Christian, what wilt thou do amidst the multitude of so greevous calamities?

The pains of hel exercised for torment, not for cha­stisement.12 It is a woonderful matter, and able (as one father saith) to make a reasonable man go out of his wits, to consider what God hath re­vealed unto us in the scriptures, of the dredful circumstances of this punishment, and yet to see, how little the rechlesse men of the world do fear it. For first, touching the universalitie, varietie, and greatnes of the pain, not only the reasons before alleaged, but also divers other considerations in the scriptures do declare. As where it is said of the damned;Apo. 20. & 14. Apo. 18. Luc. 16. Cruciabuntur die & nocte: They shal be tormented day and night. And again; Date illi tormentum: Give hir torment, speaking of Babylon in hel, by which is signi­fied, that the pains in hel are exercised, not for chastisement, but for torment of the parties. And torments commonly we see in this world to be as great and as extreme, as the wit of a man can reach to devise. Imagin then, when God shal lay his head to devise torments (as he hath done in hel) what maner of torments wil they be?

The fearce nature of the fire of hel.13 If creating an element here for our com­fort (I mean the fire) he could create the same [Page 115] so terrible as it is, in such sort as a man would not hold his onlie hand in it one day, for to gain a kingdom: what a fire think you hath he provided for hel, which is not created for com­fort, but onlie for torment of the parties? Our fire hath many differences from that, & ther­fore is truly said of the holie fathers, to be but a painted and fained fire in respect of that. For our fire was made to comfort (as I have said) and that, to torment. Our fire hath need to be fed continuallie with wood, or else it goeth out: that burneth continuallie, without fee­ding. Ours giveth light: that giveth none. Ours is out of his natural place, and therfore shifteth to ascend, and to get from us, as we see: but that is in the natural place, where it was created, & therfore it abideth there perpetual­ly. Ours consumeth the matter laid in it, and so quiklie dispatcheth the pain: that tormen­teth, but consumeth not, to the end the pain may be everlasting. Our fire is extinguished with water, and greatlie abated by the coldnes of the aire about it: that hath no such abate­ment, or qualification. Finallie, what a strange and incredible kind of fire that is, appeereth by these words of our savior so often repeated;Mat. Luc. 13. There shal be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Wee­ping is to be referred to the effect of extreme burning in that fire, for that the torment of scalding and burning inforceth teares soo­ner than any other torment, as appeereth in [Page 116] them, which upon the sudden do put an hot thing into their mouth, or scald any other B part of their bodie. And Gnashing and chat­tering of the teeth are not al one; and proceed of divers cau­ses. gnashing of teeth or chattering at least (as everie man know­eth) proceedeth of great and extreme cold. Imagin then what a fire this is, which hath such extreme effects, both of heat, and cold. O mightie Lord what a strange God art thou! How woonderful and terrible in al thy works and inventions? How bountiful art thou to those that love and serve thee? And how se­vere to them which contemn thy commande­ments? Hast thou devised a waie how they which lie burning in a lake of fire and brim­stone,Apo. 21. shal also be tormented with extreme cold? What understanding of man can con­ceave how this may be? But thy judgements (O Lord) are a depth without bottom, and therfore I leave this to thy onlie providence,Psal. 35. praising thee eternally for the same.

Particular pains for particular offenders.14 Besides these general pains common to al that be in that place, the scripture signifieth also that there shal be particular torments, pe­culiar both in quality & quantity to the sins & offences of ech offender. For to that end saith the prophet Esai to God;Esai. 17. Esai. 28. Ierem. 2. Apo. 20. Ps. 27.98. Eze. 24. Osee. 12. Zach. 1. Thou wilt iudge in mea­sure against measure. And God saith of himself; I wil exercise iudgement in weight, and iustice in mea­sure. And that is the meaning of al those threts of God to sinners, where he saith that he wil pay them home according to their particular [Page 117] works, & according to the inventions of their own harts. In this sence it is said in the Apoca­lyps, of Babylon now thrown down into the lake; Looke how much she hath glorified hir selfe, Apo. 18. and hath lived in delites: so much torment & affliction give hir. Li. de veri. Pan. ca. 2. Wherof the holie fathers have gathered the varietie of torments that shal be in that place. As there be differences of sins: so shal there be varietie of torments (saith old Ephraem) as if the adulterer should have one kind of tor­ment; the murderer, an other; the theefe, an­other; the drunkard, another; the liar another. As if the proud man should be troden under feet, to recompence his pride: the glutton, suf­fer inestimable hunger: the drunkards, extreme thirst: the delicious mouth filled up with gaul: and the delicate bodie, seared with hot bur­ning irons.

15 The holie Ghost signifieth such a thing, when he saith in the scriptures, of the wicked worldling;Iob. 20. His bread in his belly shal be turned in­to the gaul of serpents: A marve­lous descrip­tion used by the scrip­ture. he shal be constrained to spu out again the riches which he hath devoured: nay, God shal pul them out of his belly again: he shal be constrained to suk the gauls of cocatrices, and the tong of an adder shal kil him: he shal pay sweetlie for al that ever he hath done: and yet shal he not be con­sumed, but shal suffer according to the multitude of al his devises: utter darknes lieth in wait for him: and fire which needeth no kindling shal eat him up: this is the wicked mans portion from God. By which words [Page 118] and such like, it is plainlie shewed, that world­lings shal receive as it were particular and pro­per torments for their gluttonie, for their de­licate fare, for their extortion, and the like. Which torments shal be greater than any mor­tal toong can expresse: as may appeer by the vehement and horrible words, which the holie Ghost here useth to insinuate the same.

The strait­nes of pains in hel.16 Beside this, the scripture sheweth unto us, not onlie the universalitie, particularitie, and severitie of these pains, but also the straitnes therof, without aid, help, ease, or comfort, when it saith;Mat. 22. We shal be cast in bound both hand & feete: For it is some kind of comfort in this world, to be able to resist or strive against our afflictions: but here we must lie stil and suffer al. Again, when it saith;Mat. 25. Clausa est ianua: The gate is shut: That is, the gate of al mercie, of al pardon, of al ease, of al intermission, of al comfort, is shut up from heaven, from earth, from the creator, and from creatures: insomuch as no consolation is ever to be hoped for more: as in al the miseries of this life there is alwais some. This straitnes is likewise most livelie ex­pressed in that dreadful parable of the rich glutton in hel: who was driven to that neces­sitie;Luc. 16. as he desireth that Lazarus might dip the top of his finger in water to coole his tong, in the mids of that fire wherin he saith he was:The wonder­ful example of the rich glutton. and yet could not he obtain it. A smal refresh­ing (it seemeth) it would have been unto him, [Page 119] if he had obtained the same. But yet to shew the straitnes of the place, it was denied him. Oh you that live in the sinful wealth of the world, consider but this one example of Gods severitie, and be afeard. This man was in great roialtie a litle before, and nothing regarded the extreme miserie that Lazarus was in: but now would he give a thousand worlds (if he had them) for one drop of water to coole his tong. What demand could be lesse than this? He durst not ask to be delivered thence, or to have his torments diminished, or to ask a great vessel of water to refresh his whole bodie therin: but onlie so much as would stik on the top of a mans finger, to coole his tong. To what need was this rich man now driven? What a great imagination had he of the force of one drop of water? To what pitiful change, was his tong now come unto, that was woont to be so diligentlie applied with al kinds of pleasant liquors? Oh that one man can not take example by another; either this is tru, or else the Son of God is a liar. And then, what men are we, that seeing our selves in danger of this miserie, do not seek with more diligence to avoid the same?

17 In respect of these extremities and strait dealings of God, in denieng al comfort and consolation at this day, the scripture saith,Apo. 16. Eze. 23. Apo. 13. that men shal fal into rage, furie, and utter impati­ence, blaspheming God, and cursing the day [Page 120] of their nativitie, with eating their own tongs for greefe,Luc. 3. & desiring the roks and mountains to come and fal on them, to end their pains.

The eternity of the pains.18 Now if we ad to this, the eternitie, and everlasting continuance of these torments: we shal see that it increaseth the matter greatlie. For in this world there is no torment so great, but that time either taketh awaie, or diminish­eth the same. For either the tormentor, or the tormented dieth, or some occasion or other happeneth, to alter, or mitigate the matter. But here is no such hope or comfort: but Cru­tiabuntur (saith the scripture) in secula seculorum, Apo. 21. in stagno ardente igne & sulphure: They shal be tor­mented for ever, in a poole burning with fire & brim­stone. As long as God is God, so long shal they burn there: neither shal the tormentor nor the tormented die, but both live eternally, for the eternal miserie of the parties to be pu­nished.

19 O (saith one father in a godly meditation) if a sinner damned in hel did know,A wonderful saieng. that he had to suffer those tormēts there, no mo thousands of yeres than there be sands in the sea, and gras piles in the ground; or, no mo thousand milli­ons of ages, than there be creatures in heaven, & in earth: he would greatly rejoice therof, for he would cōfort himselfe at the least with this cogitation, that once yet the matter wold have an end. But now (saith this good man) this word Never, breaketh his hart, when he thin­keth [Page 121] on it, and that after a hundred thousand millions of worlds there suffered, he hath as far to his end as he had at the first day of his en­trance to these torments. Consider (good Christian) what a length one hour would seem unto thee, if thou hadst but to hold thy hand in fire and brimstone, onlie during the space therof. We see, if a man be greevouslie sik, though he be laid upon a verie soft bed, yet one night seemeth a long time unto him. He turneth and tosseth himselfe from side to side, telling the clok, and counting everie hour, as it passeth, which seemeth to him a whole day. And if a man should say unto him, that he were to abide that pain but seven yeeres togither: he would go nigh to dispair for greefe. Now if one night seem so long and tedious to him that lieth on a good soft bed, afflicted onlie with a litle agu: what wil the lieng in fire and brimstone do, when he shal know evidentlie, that he shal never have end therof? Oh (deer brother (the sacietie of cōtinuance is lothsom, even in things that are not evil of themselves. If thou shouldest be bound alwais to eat one onlie meat: it would be displeasant to thee in the end. If thou shouldest be bound to sit stil al thy life in one place without moving: it would be greevous unto thee; albeit no man did tor­ment thee in that place. What then wil it be to lie eternally, that is, world without end, in most exquisite torments? Is it any way tollera­ble? [Page 122] What judgement then, what wit, what dis­cretion is there left in men, which make no more account of this matter than they do?

Darknes in hel.20 I might here ad another circumstance which the scripture addeth; to wit, that al these torments shal be in darknes:Mat. 8.22. a thing dreadful of it self unto mans nature. For there is not the stoutest man in the world, if he found himselfe alone, & naked in extreme darknes, & should hear a noise of spirits comming towards him, but he would fear, albeit he felt never a lash from them on his bodie.Derision. I might also ad ano­ther circumstance, that the prophet addeth; which is,Psal. 36. that God & good men shal laugh at them that day, which wil be no smal affliction. For as to be mooved by a mans frind in time of adversitie, is some comfort: so to be laugh­ed at, especiallie by him who onlie may help him, is a great and intollerable increase of his miserie.

21 And now al this that I have spoken of hi­therto, is but one part of a damned mans pu­nishment onlie, called by Divines; Poena sensus: The pain of sense or feeling; that is, the pain or punishment sensibly inflicted upon the soul and bodie. But yet besides this, there is ano­ther part of his punishment, called Poena damni: The pain of losse or dammage:Pains of damnage which the damned suffer. which by al ler­ned mens opinion) is either greater, or no lesse than the former. And this is the infinite losse which a damned man hath, in being excluded [Page 123] for ever and ever from the sight of his creator, and his glorie. Which sight only, being suffici­ent to make happie and blessed al them that are admitted unto it, must needs be an infinite miserie to the damned man to lak that eter­nallie. And therfore this is put as one of the first and cheefest plaegs to be laid upon him; Tollatur impius, ne videat gloriam dei: Let the wic­ked man be taken away to hel, Esai. 26. to the end he may not see the glorie of God. And this losse conteineth al other losses and damages in it: as the losse of eternal blisse, and joy (as I have said (of eter­nal glorie, of eternal societie with the Angels, and the like: which losses when a damned man considereth (as he can not but consider them stil) he taketh more greef therof (as Divines do hold) than by al the other sensible torments that he abideth besides.

22 Wherunto apperteineth the worm of conscience: in scripture so called, for that,The worm of conscience. as a worm lieth eating and gnawing the wood wherin she abideth:Mar. 9. Esai. 66. Eccle. 7· Iudit. 6. so shal the remorse of our own conscience lie within us, griping and tor­menting us for ever. And this worm or re­morse shal principallie consist in bringing to our minds, al the means and causes of our pre­sent extreme calamities: as our negligences, wherby we lost the felicitie which other men have gotten. And at everie one of these consi­derations, this worm shal give vs a deadly bit,The cogita­tions of the damned. even unto the hart. As when it shal lay before [Page 124] us al the occasions that we had offered to a­void this miserie, wherin now we are fallen, & to have gotten the glorie which we have lost: how easie it had been to have done it: how nigh we were oftentimes to resolve our selves to do it; and yet how ungratiously we left of that cogitation again: how manie times we were foretold of this danger, and yet how lit­tle care and fear we took of the same: how vain the worldlie trifles were, wherin we spent our time, and for which we lost heaven, & fel into this intollerable miserie: how they are exalted whom we thought fooles in the world: and how we are now prooved fooles and laughed at, which thought our selves wise. These things (I saie) and a thousand mo being laid before us by our own conscience, shal yeeld us infinite greef; for that it is now too late to amend thē. And this greef is called the worm or remorse of our own conscience: which worm shal more inforce men to weep and houl, than any tor­ment else, considering how negligentlie, foo­lishlie, and vainlie, they are come into those so insupportable torments, and that now there is no more time to redresse their errors.

23 Now only is the time of weeping and la­menting for these men: but al in vain. Now shal they begin to fret and fume, and marvel at themselves, saieng: Where was our wit? Where was our understanding? Where was our judgement, when we followed vanities, [Page 125] and contemned these matters? This is the talk of sinners in hel (saith the scripture;Sap. 5.) What hath our pride, or what hath the glorie of our riches profited us? They are al now vanished like a shadow: we have wearied out our selves in the way of iniquitie and per­dition, but the way of the Lord we have not known. This (I say) must be the everlasting song of the damned worm-eaten conscience in hel: eter­nal repentance, without profit. Wherby he shal be brought to such desperation (as the scripture noteth) as he shal turn into furie a­gainst himselfe, tear his own flesh, rent his own soul (if it were possible) and invite the feends to torment him, seeing he hath so beastlie beha­ved himselfe in this world, as not to provide in time, for this principal matter, onlie (indeed) to have been thought upon. Oh if he could have but another life to live in the world a­gain, how would he passe it over? With what diligence? With what severitie? But it is not lawful: we onlie which are yet alive have that singular benefit, if we know it, or wold resolve our selves to make the most of it. One of these dais, we shal be past it also, and shal not recover it again, no not one hour, if we would give a thousand worlds, for the same, as indeed the damned would do, if they might. Let us now therfore so use the benefit of our present time, as when we are past hence, we have not need to wish our selves here again.

24 Now is the time we may avoid al: now [Page 126] is the time we may put our selves out of dan­ger of these matters: now (I saie) if we resolve our selves out of hand. For we know not what shal become of us to morrow: it may be to morrow our harts wil be as hard and carelesse of these things, as they have been heretofore, and as Pharao his hart was, after Moises depar­ture from him. Oh that he had resolved him­selfe thoroughlie while Moises was with him, how happie had he been? If the rich glutton had taken the time while he was in prosperitie, how blessed a man had he been? He was fore­told of his miserie (as we are now) by Moises and the prophets,Luc. 16. as Christ signifieth: but he would not hear. Afterward he was in such admiration of his own follie, that he would have had Lazarus sent from Abrahams bo­som unto his brethren to warn them of his successe. But Abraham told him, it was boot­lesse, for they would not have beleeved Laza­rus, but rather have persecuted him as a liar, and defamer of their honorable brother dead, if he should have come and told them of his torments. Indeed so would the wicked of the world do now, if one should come & tel them, that their parents or frinds are damned in hel, for such and such things: and do beseech them to look better to their lives, to the end by their comming thither, they do not increase the o­thers pains, for being some cause of their dam­nation (for this is onlie the cause of care which [Page 127] the damned have towards the living, and not for any love they now bear them) if (I saie) such a message should come from hel, to the flori­shing sinners of this world, would they not laugh at it? Would they not persecute eagarlie the parties that should bring such news: what then can God devise to do for the saving of these men? What waie, what means may he take, when neither warning, nor example of others, nor threats, nor exhortations wil do anie good? We know, or may know, that lea­ding the life which we do, we can not be saved. We know, or ought to know, that manie be­fore us have been damned for lesse matters. We know, and can not choose but know, that we must shortlie die, and receave our selves, as they have receaved living as they did, or woorse. We see by this laid down before, that the pains are intollerable, and yet eternal, which do expect us for the same. We confesse them most miserable, that for anie pleasure or commoditie of this world, are now fallen into those pains. What then shuld let us to resolve, to dispatch our selves quiklie of al impedi­ments? To break violentlie from al bonds and chains of this wicked world, that do let us from this tru and zealous service of God? Why should we sleep one night in sin, seeing that night may chance to be our last, and so the everlasting cutting off, of al hope for the time to come?

[Page 128]25 Resolve thy selfe therfore (my deer bro­ther) if thou be wise, and cleer thy selfe from this danger, while God is willing to receive thee, and mooveth thee therunto by these means, as he did the rich man by Moises and the prophets while he was yet in his prosperi­tie. Let his example be often before thine eies, and consider it throughly, and it shal do thee good. God is a wonderful God, and to shew his patience and infinite goodnes, he wooeth us in this life, seeketh unto us, and laieth him­selfe (as it were) at our feet, to moove us to our own good, to win us, to draw us, and to save us from perdition. But after this life he altereth his course of dealing: he turneth over the leaf, and changeth his stile. Of a lamb, he becometh a lion to the wicked: and of a saviour, a just and severe punisher. What can be said, or don more to moove us? He that is forewarned, and seeth his own danger, before his face, and yet is not stirred, nor made the more warie or fearful therby, but notwithstanding wil come or slide into the same: may wel be pitied, but surely by no means can he be helped, making himselfe incapable of al reme­dies, that may be used.

CHAP. X. Of the most honorable and munificent rewards proposed to al them that truly serve God.

THE reasons and consi­derations laid down be­fore, in the former chap­ters might wel suffice, to stir up the hart of any reasonable Christian, to take in hand this resolu­tion, wherof we talk, and wherunto I so much covet to persuade thee (for thy only good and gain) gentle reader. But for that al harts are not of one constituti­on in this respect, nor al drawn and stirred with the same means: I purpose to adjoin heer a consideration of commoditie, wherunto commonly, ech man is prone by nature. And therfore I am in hope it shal be more forcible to that we go about, than any thing else that hitherto hath beene spoken. I mean then to treat of the benefits which are reaped by ser­vice of God, of the gain drawn thence, and of the good pay and most liberal reward which God performeth to his servants,God the best pay maister. above al the maisters created, that may be served. And though the just fear of punishment (if we serve him not) might be sufficient to drive us to this [Page 130] resolution: and the infinite benefits alreadie received, induce us to the same, in respect of gratitude (of both which somwhat hath been said before:) yet am I content so far to inlarge this libertie to thee (good reader) that except I shew this resolution, which I crave to be more gainful and profitable than any thing else in the world that can be thought of: thou shalt not be bound unto it for any thing that hitherto hath beene said in that behalfe. For as God in al other things is a God of great majestie, ful of bountie, liberalitie, and prince­ly magnificence; so is he in this point above al other: in such sort, as albeit whatsoever we do, or can do, is but du det unto him, and of it selfe deserveth nothing: yet of his munificent ma­jestie, he letteth passe no one jot of our service unrewarded,Mat. 10. Mark. 9. no not so much as a cup of cold water.

2 God commanded Abraham to sacrifice unto him his only son Isaac,Gen. 22. which he loved so much: but when he was ready to do the same, God said; Do it not: it is inough for me that I see thine obedience. And bicause thou hast not refused to do it, I swear to thee (saith he) by my selfe, that I wil multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and the sands of the sea: and among them also one shal be Christ, the Saviour of the world. Was not this a good pay for so little pains?2. Reg. 7. King David one night, began to think with himselfe, that he had now an house of [Page 131] Cedar, and the Ark of God lay but under a tent, and therfore resolved to build an house for the said Ark. Which onlie cogitation God took in so good part, as he sent Nathan the prophet unto him presentlie, to refuse the thing, but yet to tel him, that for so much as he had determined such a matter: God would build an house, or rather a kingdome, to him, and his posteritie, which should last for ever,Psal. 88. and from which he would never take away his mercie, what sins or offences soever they com­mitted. Which promise we see now fulfilled, in Christ his church, raised out of that familie. What should I recite manie like examples? Christ giveth a general note hereof, when he calleth the workmen and paieth to ech man his wages, so dulie:Mat. 20. Apo. 22. as also when he saith of himselfe; Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me. By which places is evident, that God suffereth no labor in his service to be lost or unpaid. And albeit (as after in place convene­ent shal be shewed) he paieth also, and (that a­bundantly) in this life: yet (as by those two ex­amples appeereth) he deferreth his cheefe pay, unto his comming in the end of the day, that is, after this life, in The resurrection of the iust:Luc. 14. as himselfe saith in another place.

3 Of this paiment then reserved for Gods servants in the life to come, we are now to con­sider; what, and what maner a thing it is, and whether it be woorth so much labor and tra­vel, [Page 132] as the service of God requireth or no. And first of al,Mat. 25. 2. Tim. 4. 2. Pet. 1. Luc. 14. if we wil beleeve the holie scripture, calling it a kingdome, an heavenly kingdome, an eternal kingdome, a most blessed king­dome: we must needs confesse it to be a mar­velous great reward? For that worldly princes do not use to give kingdoms to their servants for recompence of their labors. And if they did, or were able to do it: yet could it be neither heavenly nor eternal, nor a blessed kingdome. Secondly, if we credite that which S. Paul saith of it;1. Cor. 2. Esai. 64. That neither eie hath seen, nor eare heard, nor hart of man conceived. How great a matter it is: then must we yet admit a greater opinion therof, for that we have seen manie woonderful things in our dais; we have heard more woonderful; we may conceive most woonderful, and almost infinite. How then shal we come to understand the greatnes and valu of this reward? Surely no tong created, either of man or Angel, can expresse the same: no imagination conceive; no understanding com­prehend it,Apoc. 2.20. Christ himselfe hath said; Nemo scit, nisi qui accipit: No man knoweth it, but he that enioieth it. And therfore he calleth it Hidden manna, in the same place. Notwithstanding, as it is reported of a learned Geometrician, that finding the length of Hercules foot, upon the hil Olympus, drew out his whole bodie, by the proportion of that one part: so we by some thing set down in scripture, and by som other [Page 133] circumstances agreeing therunto, may frame a conjecture of the matter, though it come far behind the thing it selfe.

4 I have shewed before how the scripture calleth it an heavenly, an everlasting, & a most blessed kingdom: wherby is signified, that al must be kings that are admitted thither. To like effect it is called in other places, A crown of glorie, a throne of maiestie, a paradise, Apo. 2. & 3. Mat. 16. Luc. 10. or place of plea­sure, a life everlasting. Saint Iohn the Evangelist being in his banishment, by special privilege, made privy to som knowledge & feling therof, as wel for his own comfort, as for ours, taketh in hand to describe it, by comparison of a ci­tie: affirming, that the whole citie was of pure gold,Ap. 21. & 22 The descrip­tion of para­dise. with a great and high wal of the pretious stone, called Iaspis. This wal had also twelve foundations, made of twelve distinct pretious stones, which he there nameth: also twelve gates made of twelve rich stones, called Mar­garits; and every gate was an entire margarit. The streets of the citie were paved with gold, interlaid also with pearls and pretious stones. The light of the citie was the cleernes and shi­ning of Christ himselfe, sitting in the middest thereof: from whose seat proceeded a river of water, as cleer as cristal, to refresh the citie: and on both sides of the banks, there grew the tree of life, giving out continual and perpetual fruit: there was no night in that citie, nor any defiled thing entered there: but they which [Page 134] are within shal reign (saith he) for ever & ever.

5 By this description of the most rich and pretious things that this world hath, S. Iohn would give us to understand the infinite valu, glorie, and majestie of this felicitie, prepared for us in heaven: though (as I have noted be­fore) it being the princely inheritance of our Saviour Christ,Heb. 1. Mat. 13. the kingdom of his father, the eternal habitation of the holie Trinitie prepa­red before al worlds, to set out the glorie, and expresse the power of him that hath no end or measure, either in power or glorie: we may ve­ry wel think with Saint Paul, that neither tong can declare it, nor hart imagin it.

6 When God shal take upon him to do a thing for the uttermost declaration (in a cer­tain sort) of his power, wisdome, and majestie: imagin you, what a thing it wil be. It pleased him at a certain time,The creation of Angels. to make certain crea­tures to serve him in his presence, and to be witnesses of his glorie: and therupon with a B word, created the Angels, both for number, and Great ex­cellency of gifts may be ascribed unto them: but not perfection. perfection, so strange and woonderful, as maketh mans understanding astonished to think of it. For as for their number they were almost infinite, passing the number of al the creatures of this inferior world, as divers lear­ned men, and som ancient fathers do think: though Daniel (according to the fashion of the scripture) do put a certain number for an un­certain,Dan. 1. when he saith of Angels; A thousand [Page 135] thousands did minister unto him (that is, unto God) & ten thousand times an hundred thousand, Psa. 113. did stand about him to assist. And for their perfection of nature, it is such (being, as the scripture saith, spirits, and like burning fire) as they far surpas al inferior creatures, in natural knowledge, power, and the like. What an infinite majestie doth this argu in the creator?

7 After this,The creation of the world, to expresse the power of God. when many of these Angels were fallen: it pleased God to create another crea­ture, far inferior to this, for to We may not wel re­strein the purpose of God only to this: be­sides that, it may be dowted likewise, by what warrant that opi­nion doth stand. fil up the pla­ces of such as had fallen: and therupon created man of a peece of clay, as you know, appoin­ting B him to live a certain time in a place distant from heaven, created for this purpose, which is this world: a place of intertainment and tri­al for a time, which afterward is to be destroied again. But yet in creating of this transitorie world (which is but a cottage of his own eter­nal habitation) what power, what magnifi­cence, what majestie hath he shewed? What heavens, & how woonderful hath he created? What infinite stars and other lights hath he devised? What elements hath he framed? And how marvelouslie hath he compast them togi­ther? The seas tossing and tumbling without rest, and replenished with infinite sorts of fish: the rivers running incessantly thorough the earth like veins in the bodie, and yet never to be emptie nor overflow the same: the earth it selfe so furnished with al varietie of creatures, [Page 136] as the hundred part therof, is not imploied by man, but only remaineth to shew the ful hand, and strong arm of the creator. And al this (as I said) was done in an instant, with one word on­lie: and that for the use of a smal time, in re­spect of the eternitie to come. What then shal we imagin that the habitation prepared for that eternitie shal be? If the cottage of his meanest servant (& that made onlie for a time, to bear off as it were a shower of rain) be so princely, so gorgeous, so magnificent, so ful of majestie, as we see this world is: what must we think that the kings pallace it selfe is, appoin­ted for al eternitie; for him and his frinds, to raign togither? We must needs think it to be as great, as the power and wisdome of the ma­ker could reach unto, to perform: and that is, incomparable, and above al measure infinite. The great king Assuerus,Ester. 1. which raigned in Asia over an hundred twentie and seven provinces, to discover his power and riches to his sub­jects, made a feast (as the scripture saith) in his citie of Susa, to al princes, states, and poten­tates, of his dominions, for an hundred and fourscore daies togither.Esai. 25. Esay the prophet saith, that our God and Lord of hosts, wil make a solemn banket to al his people upon the hil and mount of heaven, and that an harvest ban­ket of fat meats, and pure wines. And this banket shal be so solemn,Luc. 12. as the verie Son of God himselfe cheefe Lord of the feast, shal be [Page 137] content to gird himselfe, and to serve in the same, as by his own words he promiseth. What maner of banket then shal this be? How mag­nificent? How ful of majestie? Especiallie see­ing it hath not onlie to endure a hundred and fourscore dais (as that of Assuerus did) but more than a hundred and fourscore millions of ages: not served by men (as Assuerus feast was) but by Angels and the verie Son of God himselfe: not to open the power and riches of a hundred twentie and seven provinces, but of God himself, King of kings, and Lord of lords, whose power and riches are without end, and greater than al his creatures togither can con­ceive? How glorious a banket shal this be then? How triumphant a joy of this festival day? O miserable and foolish children of men, that are born to so rare and singular a dignitie, and yet can not be brought to consider, love, or esteme of the same!

8 Other such considerations there be to shew the greatnesse of this felicitie: as that,The plea­sures and commodities of this life. if God hath given so many pleasures and comfortable gifts in this life (as we see are in the world) be­ing a place notwithstanding of banishment, a place of sinners, a vale of miserie, and the time of repenting, weeping, and wailing: what wil he do in the life to come, to the just, to his frinds, in the time of joy,Apo. 19. and mariage of his Son?In soliloquijs animae ad Deum. This was a most forcible consideration with good Saint Augustine, who in the secret [Page 138] speech of his soul with God, said thus: O Lord if thou for this vile bodie of ours, give us so great and innumerable benefits, from the fir­mament, from the air, from the earth, from the sea: by light, by darknes, by heat, by shadow: by dews, by showers, by windes, by rains: by birds, by fishes, by beasts, by trees: by multitude of herbs, & variety of plants, and by the ministery of al thy creatures. O sweet Lord what maner of things, how great, how good, and how innu­merable are those which thou hast prepared in our heavenly countrie, where we shal see thee face to face? If thou do so great things for us in our prison: what wilt thou give us in our pallace? If thou givest so many things in this world, to good & evil men togither: what hast thou laid up for onlie good men in the world to com? If thine enimies & frinds togither are so wel provided for in this life: what shal thy only frinds receive in the life to come? If there be so great solaces in these dais of tears: what joy shal there be in that day of mariage?Apo. 19. If our jail contein so great matters: what shal our countrie and kingdome do?Psal 30. O my Lord and God, thou art a great God; And great is the multitude of thy magnificence and sweetnes. And as there is no end of thy greatnes, nor number of thy wisdome, nor measure of thy benignitie: so is there neither end, number, nor measure of thy rewards, towards them that love and fight for thee. Hitherto Saint Augustine.

[Page 139]9 Another way to conjecture of this felicitie is,How much God hono­reth man. to consider the great promises which God maketh in the scriptures, to honor and glorifie man in the life to come;1. Reg. 2. Psa. 138. Whosoever shal honor me (saith God) I wil glorifie him. And the pro­phet David as it were complaineth joifullie, that Gods frinds were so much honored by him. Which he might with much more cause have said, if he had lived in the new testament, and had heard that promise of Christ wherof I spake before, that his servants should sit down and banket,Luc. 12. and that himselfe would serve and minister unto them in the kingdome of his father. What understanding can con­ceive, how great this honor shal be? But yet in some part it may be gessed, by that he saith,Mat. 19. Luc. 22. that they shal sit in judgement with him: and (as Saint Paul addeth) shal be judges not onlie of men, but also of Angels.1. Cor. 6. It may also be con­jectured by the exceeding great honor, which God at certain times hath done to his ser­vants, even in this life.Mat. 10. Wherin notwithstan­ding they are placed to be dispised, and not to be honored. What great honor was it that he did to Abraham in the sight of so many kings of the earth, as of Pharao, Abimelech,Gen. 12.14.20. Exod. Melchi­sedech, and the like? What honor was that he did to Moises and Aaron in the face of Pharao and al his court, by the woonderful signes that they wrought? What excessive honor was that he did to holie Iosue,Iosu. 10. when in the sight of [Page 140] al his armie, he staied the sun and moone in the midst of the firmament, at Iosue his appoint­ment, obeing therin (as the scripture saith) to the voice of a man? What honor was that he did to Esay in the sight of king Ezechias,Esai. 38. when he made the sun to go bak ten degrees in the heavens? What honor was that he did to Helias in the sight of wicked Achab,3. Re. 17. when he yeelded the heavens into his hands, and per­mitted him to say, that neither rain, nor dew should fal upon the ground (for certein yeres) but by the words of his mouth onlie? What honor was that he did to Elizeus in the sight of Naaman the noble Syrian,4. Reg. 5. whom he cured onlie by his word from the leprosie: and his bones after his death,4. Re. 13. raised (by onlie tou­ching) the dead to life? Finallie (not to alledge mo examples herein) what singular honor was that, he gave to al the Apostles of his Son, that as many as ever they laid hands on,Acts. 5. Acts. 19. were hea­led from al infirmities, as Saint Luke saith? Nay (which is yet more) the verie girdles and napkins of Saint Paul did the same effect; and yet more than that also, as many as came within the onlie shadow of Saint Peter were healed from their diseases.Act. 5. Is not this marvei­lous honor, even in this life? Was there ever monarch, prince, or potentate of the world, which could vaunt of such points of honor? And if Christ did this, even in this world to his servants,Iohn. 18. wherof notwithstanding he saith his [Page 141] kingdome was not: what honor shal we think he hath reserved for the world to come,2. Tim. 4. Apoc. 4. where his kingdome shal be, and where al his servants shal be crowned as kings with him?

10 Another declaration yet of this matter is laid down by Divines for opening of the greatnes of this beatitude in heaven:The three places wher­to a man is appointed. and that is, the consideration of three places, wherto man by his creation is appointed. The first is his mothers womb, the second this present world, the third is Coelum Empireum, which is, the place of blisse in the life to come. Now in these three places, we It is ra­ther a con­jecture, thā grounded upon any sufficient warrant, to set down so just a pro­portion herin. must hold the propor­tion B (by al reason) which we see sensiblie to be observed between the first two. So that look in what proportion the second doth differ from the first: in like measure must the third differ from the second, or rather much more: seeing that the whole earth put togither, is by al Phi­losophie, but as a prik or smal point in respect of the marveilous greatnes of the heavens. By this proportion then we must say, that as far as the whole world doth passe the womb of one private woman: so much in al beautie, delites, and majestie doth the place of blisse passe al this whole world. And as much as a man living in the world doth passe a child in his mothers bellie, in strength of bodie, beautie, wit, under­standing, learning, and knowledge: so much and far more, doth a Saint in heaven passe men of this world, in al these things, and manie mo [Page 142] besides. And as much horror as a man would have, to turn into his mothers womb again: so much would a glorified soul have, to return into this world again. The nine months also of life in the mothers womb, are not so little in respect of mans life in the world, as is the lon­gest life upon earth, in respect of the eternal in heaven. Nor the blindnes, ignorance, & other miseries of the child in his mothers womb, are any way comparable to the blindnes, ig­norance, and other miseries of this life, in re­spect of the light, cleer knowledge, and other felicities of the life to come. So that by this al­so, some conjecture may be made of the mat­ter which we have in hand.

Two parts of felicitie in heaven.11 But yet to consider the thing more in particular, it is to be noted, that this glorie of heaven shal have two parts: the one belonging to the soul; the other belonging to the bodie. That which belongeth to the soul, consisteth in the vision of God, as shal be shewed after: that which belongeth to the bodie,That which concerneth the bodie. consisteth in the change and glorification of our flesh, af­ter the general resurrection, that is, wherby this corruptible bodie of ours, shal put on in­corruption (as Saint Paul saith) and of mortal,1. Cor. 15. become immortal. Al this flesh (I say) of ours, that now is so combersom,Sap. 9. Eph. 4. and greeveth the mind; that now is so infested with so many in­conveniences; subject to so many mutations; vexed with so many diseases; defiled with so [Page 143] many corruptions; replenished with so infi­nite miseries and calamities, shal then be made glorious, and most perfect to endure for ever, without mutation, and to raign with the soul, world without end. For it shal be delivered from this lumpish hevines, wherewith it is pe­stered in this life: from al diseases likewise and pains of this life, and from al trobles and in­combrances belonging to the same, as sin, ea­ting, drinking, sleeping, and such like. And it shal be set in a most florishing estate of health, never deceaveable again. So florishing, that our Savior Christ saith;Mat. 15. that At that daie shal the iust shine as the sun in the kingdom of their father. A mar­velous saieng of Christ, and in humane sense almost incredible, that our putrified bodies should shine and become as cleer as the sun. Wheras in the contrarie part, the bodies of the damned shal be as blak and uglie, as filth it selfe. So likewise al the senses togither, finding then their proper objects, in much more excel­lencie than ever they could in this world (as shal be shewed after) even everie part, sense, member, & joint, shal be replenished with sin­gular comfort, as the same shal be tormented in the damned. I wil here alledge Anselmus his words; for that they expresse lively this matter. Al the glorified bodie (saith he) shal be filled with abundance of al kind of pleasure, the eies,Cap. 57. the eares, the nose, the mouth, the hands, the throte, the lungs, the hart, the stomak, the bak, [Page 144] the bones, the marrow, the entrals, themselves, and everie part therof shal be replenished with such unspeakable sweetnes and pleasure, that truly it may be said, that The whole man is made to drink of the river of Gods divine pleasures, Psal. 35. and made dronken with the abundance of Gods house. Be­sides al which, it hath perpetuitie; wherby it is made sure now, never to die, or alter from his felicitie, according to the saieng of scripture, that The iust shal live for ever. Which is one of the cheefest prerogatives of a glorified bodie;Sap. 5. for that by this, al care and fear is taken away, al danger of hurt and noiance remooved from us.

That which concerneth the soul.12 But now to come to that point of this felicitie, which pertaineth to the soul, as the principal part, it is to be understood, that al­beit there be many things that do concur in this felicitie, for the accomplishment and per­fection of happines: yet the fountain of al is but one only thing, called by divines; Visio Dei beatifica: The sight of God that maketh us happie? Haec sola est summum bonum nostrum, saith Saint Augustine: This only sight of God, is our happinesse.Aug. 1. de Tri. ca. 13. Which Christ also affirmeth, when he saith to his father; This is life everla­sting, Iohn. 17. that men know the tru God, and Iesus Christ whom thou hast sent. Saint Paul also putteth our felicitie,1. Cor. 13. In seeing God face to face. And S. Iohn, In seeing God, as he is. And the reason of this is, for that al the pleasures and contentations in [Page 145] the world, being only sparkles & parcels sent out from God: they are al contained much more perfectly and excellently in God him­selfe, than they are in their own natures crea­ted: as also al the perfections of his creatures are more fully in him, than in themselves. Wherof it followeth, that whosoever is admit­ted to the vision and presence of God, he hath al the goodnes and perfection of creatures in the world united togither, and presented unto him at once. So that whatsoever deliteth either bodie or soul, there he enjoieth it wholy knit up togither as it were in one bundle, and with the presence therof, is ravished in al parts both of mind and bodie: as he cannot imagin, think, or wish for any joy whatsoever, but there he findeth it in his perfection: there he findeth al knowledge, al wisdom, al beautie, al riches, al nobilitie, al goodnes, al delite, and whatsoe­ver beside either deserveth love and admirati­on, or worketh pleasure or contentation. Al the powers of the mind shal be filled with this sight, presence, & fruition of God: al the senses of our bodie shal be satisfied: God shal be the universal felicitie of al his saints, containing in himselfe al particular felicities, without end, number, or measure. He shal be a glasse, to our eies; musik, to our ears; honie, to our mouths; most sweet and pleasant balm, to our smel; he shal be light, to our understanding; contenta­tion, to our wil; continuation of eternitie to [Page 146] our memorie. In him shal we enjoy al the vari­etie of times, that delite us heer; al the beautie of creatures that allure us heer; al the plesures and joies that content us heer.Hug. lib. 4. de anima, cap. 15. In this vision of God (saith one Doctor) we shal know; we shal love; we shal rejoice; we shal praise. We shal know the very secrets and judgements of God, which are a depth without bottom. Also the causes,Knowledge. natures, beginnings, ofsprings, and ends of al creatures.Psal. 35. We shal love incom­parablie,Love. both God (for the infinite causes of love that we see in him) and our companions as much as our selves, for that we see them as much loved of God as our selves: and that al­so for the same, for which we are loved. Wherof insueth, that our joy shal be without measure: both for that we shal have a particular joy for every thing we love in God (which are infi­nite) and also for that,The great­nes of ioy in heaven. we shal rejoice at the fe­licitie of everie one of our companions, as much as at our own, & by that means we shal have so many distinct felicities, as we shal have distinct companions in our felicitie: which be­ing without number, it is no marvel though Christ said;Mat. 25. Go into the ioy of the Lord. And not, let the Lords joy enter into thee: for that no one hart created can receive the fulnes and greatnes of this joy. Heerof it followeth lastly, that we shal praise God without end or weari­nes, with al our hart; with al our strength; with al our powers; with al our parts: accor­ding [Page 147] as the scripture saith; Happie are they that live in thy house (O Lord) for they shal praise thee eternally without end. Psal. 83.

13 Of this most blessed vision of God,Tra. 4. in ep. Ioh. the holie father Saint Austen writeth thus; Happie are the clean of hart: Mat. 5. for they shal see God (saith our Savior) then is there a vision of God (deer brethren) which maketh us happie: a vision (I say) which neither eie hath seen in this world, nor eare hath heard, nor hart conceived. A vi­sion, that passeth al the beautie of earthly things, of gold, of silver, of woods, of fields, of sea, of air, of sun, of moon, of stars, of Angels: for that al these things have their beauty from thence;1. Cor. 3. We shal see him face to face (saith the A­postle) And we shal know him, as we are known. Aug. c. 36. soliloq. We shal know the power of the Father: we shal know the wisdom of the Son,1. Cor. 13. we shal know the goodnes of the holie Ghost: we shal know the indivisible nature of the most blessed Trinitie. And this seeing of the face of God▪ is the joy of angels, & al saints in heaven. This is the reward of life everlasting; this is the glorie of blessed spirits; their everlasting pleasure; their crown of honor; their game of felicitie; their rich rest; their beautiful place; their inward and out­ward joy; their divine paradice; their heaven­ly Ierusalem; their felicitie of life; their fulnes of blisse; their eternal joy; their peace of God, that passeth al understanding.Psal. 4. This sight of God, is the ful beatitude, the total glorifica­tion [Page 148] of man, to see him (I say) that made both heaven and earth, to see him that made thee, that redeemed thee, that glorified thee. For in seeing him, thou shal possesse him; in possessing him, thou shalt love him; in loving him, thou shalt praise him. For he is the inheritance of his people; he is the possession of their feli­citie; he is the reward of their expectation. I wil be thy great reward (saith he) to Abraham.Gen. 15. O Lord, thou art great, and therfore no marvel if thou be a great reward. The sight and fruiti­on of thee therfore is al our hire, al our re­ward, al our joy and felicitie, that we expect: seeing thou hast said, that This is life everla­sting, Iohn. 17. to see and know thee our tru God, and Iesus Christ whom thou hast sent.

14 Having now declared the two general parts of heavenly felicitie, the one appertai­ning to our soul, the other to our bodie: it is not hard to esteem, what excesse of joy, both of them joined togither shal work, at that hap­pie day of our glorification. O joy above al joies,Cae. 35. soli loquiorum. passing al joy, and without which there is no joy, when shal I enter into thee (saith Saint Austen) when shal I enjoy thee to see my GOD that dwelleth in thee?Phil. 4. O everlasting kingdome; O kingdome of al eternities; O light without end; O peace of God that pas­seth al understanding, in which the souls of saints do rest with thee; And everlasting ioy is upon their heads, Esai. 51. Esai. 35. they possesse ioy and exultation: and [Page 149] al pain and sorrow is fled from them. O how glori­ous a kingdome is thine (O Lord) wherin al saints do raign with thee; Adorned with light, Psa. 103. Psal. 20. as with apparel; and having crowns of pretious stones on their heads? O kingdome of everlasting blisse, where thou, O Lord, the hope of al saints art, and the diadem of their perpetual glorie, re­joising them on everie side, with thy blessed sight. In this kingdome of thine, there is infi­nite joy, and mirth without sadnes; health, without sorrow; life, without labor; light, without darknes; felicity, without abatement; al goodnes, without any evil. Where youth flo­risheth that never waxeth old: life, that kno­weth no end: beautie that never fadeth: love, that never cooleth: health, that never dimi­nisheth: joy, that never ceaseth. Where sorrow is never felt; complaint, is never heard; matter of sadnes, is never seen; nor evil successe is o­verfeared. For that they possesse thee (O Lord) which art the perfection of their feli­citie.

15 If we would enter into these considera­tions, as this holie man, and other his like did: no dowt but we should more be inflamed with the love of this felicitie, prepared for us, than we are: and consequently should strive more to gain it than we do.A comforta­ble conside­ration. And to the end thou maist conceive som more feeling in the mat­ter (gentle reader) consider a little with me, what a joiful day shal that be at thy house, [Page 150] when having lived in the fear of God, and at­chived in his service the end of thy peregrina­tion, thou shalt come (by the means of death) to passe from miserie and labour to immorta­litie: and in that passage (when other men be­gin to fear) thou shalt lift up thy head in hope, according as Christ promiseth, for that the time of thy salvation commeth on.Luc. 21. Tel me, what a day shal that be, when thy soul, step­ping foorth of prison, and conducted to the tabernacle of heaven, shal be received there, with the honorable companies and troups of that place? With al those blessed spirits men­tioned in scripture,Eph. 1. Colos. 1. 1. The. 1. Esai. 6. as principalities, powers, vertues, dominations, thrones, Angels, Archangels, Cherubins, and Seraphins: also with the holie Apostles and disciples of Christ, Patriarches, Prophets, Martyrs, Innocents, Confessors, and Saints of God? Al which shal triumph now at thy coronation and glorifica­tion.Luc. 15. B What joy wil thy soul receive in that day, when she shal be presented, in the presence of al those states, before the seat and majestie of the blessed Trinitie, with This must needs be warily ta­ken: other­wise, with the com­fort that is sought therby, there may be danger of error also. recital and declara­tion of al thy good works, and travels suffered for the love and service of God? When there shal be laid down in that honorable con­sistorie, al thy vertuous deeds, al the labors that thou hast taken in thy calling; al thy almes; al thy praiers; al thy fasting; al thy in­nocencie of life; al thy patience in injuries; al [Page 151] thy constancie in adversities; al thy tempe­rance in meats; al the vertues of thy whole life? When al (I say) shal be recounted there, al com­mended, al rewarded: shalt thou not see now the valure and profite of vertuous life? Shalt thou not confesse, that gainful and honorable is the service of God? Shalt thou not now be glad, and blesse the hour, wherin first thou re­solvest thy selfe to leave the service of the world, to serve God? Shalt thou not think thy selfe beholding to him or hir, that persuaded thee unto it? Yes verilie.

16 But yet (more than this) when as being so neer thy passage heer,The ioy of securitie. thou shalt consider into what a port and haven of securitie, thou art come, and shalt look bak upon the dangers which thou hast passed, and wherin other men are yet in hazard: thy cause of joy shal great­ly be increased. For thou shalt see evidentlie how infinite times thou were to perish in that journey, if God had not held his special hand over thee. Thou shalt see the dangers wherin other men are; the death & damnation wher­into many of thy frinds and acquaintance have fallen; the eternal pains of hel incurred by many, that used to laugh, and be merie with thee in the world. Al which shal augment the felicitie of this thy blessed estate. And now for thy selfe, thou maist be secure, thou art out of al danger for ever and ever.Ios. 21.22. There is no more need now of fear, of watch, of labor, or of care. [Page 152] Thou maist lay down al armor now, better than the children of Israel might have done,Gen. 3. Sap. 17. when they had gotten the land of promise? For there is no more enimy to assail thee; there is no more wilie serpent to beguile thee: al is peace; al is rest; al is joy; al is securitie. Good Saint Paul hath no more need now to labor in the ministerie of the word,1. Cor. 9. neither yet to fast, to watch, or to punish his bodie: Good old Ie­rom,Ierom ep. 22. ad Eust. may now cease to afflict himselfe both night and day,Apo. 19. for the conquering of his spiri­tual enimie. Thy onlie exercise must be now to rejoice, to triumph, to sing Halleluias to the lamb, which hath brought thee to this felici­tie, and wil keep thee in the same, world with­out end.Mat. 2. What a comfort wil it be to see that lamb sitting on his seat of state? If the wise men of the east, came so far off, and so rejoiced to see him in the manger: what wil it be to see him sitting in his glorie? If Saint Iohn Baptist did leap at his presence in his mothers belly:Luc. 1. what shal his presence do in this his roial and eternal kingdome? It passeth al other glo­rie that saints have in heaven (saith Saint Au­sten) to be admitted to the inestimable sight of Christ his face,Serm. 37. de sanctis. and to receive the beams of glorie, from the brightnes of his majestie. And if we were to suffer torments every day, yea to tollerate the verie pains of hel for a time, ther­by to gain the sight of Christ, and to be joined in glorie to the number of his saints: it were [Page 153] nothing in respect of the reward. O that we made such account of this matter, as this holy and learned man did: we would not live as we do, nor leese the same for such trifles as most men do.

17 But to go forward yet further in this con­sideration: imagin besides al this,Meeting with our frinds in heaven. what a joy it shal be unto thy soul at that day, to meet with al hir godly frinds in heaven, with There be divers of this mind: but seeing that the knowledge of father, & mother, & such like is earthlie knowlege; & al earth­ly know­ledge shal then be a­bolished: I see not how it may be warran­ted that we shal then have re­mēbrance or knowledge of any such; saving only as they are members of one bo­die, and not as our father, kinsman, or frind. father, with mother, with brothers, with sisters: with wife,B with husband, with maister, with schollers: with neighbors, with familiars, with kindred, with acquaintance: the welcoms, the mirth, the sweet imbracements that shal be there, the joy wherof (as Cyp. lib. de mortalitate. noteth wel Saint Cyprian) shal be unspeakable. Ad to this, the daily feasting, and inestimable triumph, which shal be there, at the arrival of new brethren and sisters comming thither from time to time, with the spoils of their enimies, conquered and van­quished in this world. O what a comfortable sight wil it be to see those seats of Angels fal­len, filled up again with men and women from day to day! To see the crowns of glorie set up­on their heads, and that in varietie, according to the varietie of their conquests. One 2. Tim. 4. Apoc. 2.3.4. for martyrdom or confession, against the persecu­tor: another for chastitie, against the flesh: an­other [Page 154] for povertie or humilitie, against the world: another for many conquests togither, against the divel. There the glorious companie of Apostles (saith holy Cyprian) there the num­ber of rejoising prophets,Lib. de mor­talitate. there the innume­rable multitude of martyrs shal receive the crowns of their deaths and sufferings. There triumphing virgins, which have overcom con­cupiscence with the strength of continencie: there, the good almers, which have liberally fed the poore, and (keeping Gods commande­ments) have transferred their earthly riches to the store-house of heaven, shal receive their du and peculiar reward. O how shal vertu shew hir selfe at this day? How shal good deeds con­tent their doers? And among al other joies and contentations, this shal not be the least, to see the poore souls that come thither on the sudden from the miseries of this life, how they (I say) shal remain astonished, and as it were, beside themselves, at the sudden mutation, and excessive honor done unto them. If a poore man,A compa­rison. that were out of his way, wandering alone upon the mountains in the midst of a dark and tempestuous night, far from companie, destitute of money, beaten with rain, terrified with thunder, stif with cold, wearied out with labor, almost famished with hunger and thirst, and near brought to despair with multitude of miseries, should upon the sudden, in the twinkling of an eie, be placed in a goodly [Page 155] large and rich pallace, furnished with al kind of cleer lights, warme fire, sweet smels, daintie meats, soft beds, pleasant musik, fine apparel, and honorable companie: al prepared for him, and attending his comming, to serve him, to honor him, and to annoint and crown him a king for ever: what would this poore man do? How would he look? What could he say? Sure­ly I think he could say nothing, but rather would weepe in silence for joy, his hart being not able to contain the sudden and excee­ding greatnes therof.

18 Wel then, so shal it be, and much more with these twise happie souls, that come to heaven. For never was there cold shadow so pleasant in a hot burning sunnie day; nor the welspring to the poore traveller in his grea­test thirst of the sommer; nor the repose of an easie bed to the wearied servant after his labor at night: as shal be this rest of heaven to an afflicted soul which commeth thither. O that we could conceave this, that we could im­print this in our harts (deer brother) would we follow vanities as we do? Would we neglect this matter as we do? Surely our coldnes in seeking after these joies doth proceed of the smal opinion we do conceive of them. For if we made such account and estimate of this je­wel,The great account that saints made of heaven. as other merchants before us (more skil­ful, and wiser than our selves) have done: we would bid for it as they did, or at leastwise [Page 156] would not let it passe so negligently, which they sought after so carefully. The Apostle saith of Christ himselfe;Heb. 12. Proposito sibi gaudio susti­nuit crucem: He laieng before his eies the ioies of heaven, susteined the crosse. A great estimation of the matter, which he would buy at so deer a rate. But what counsel giveth he to other men about the same? Surely none other, but to Go and sel al that ever they have, Mat. 13. to purchase this treasure. Saint Paul of himselfe, what saith he? Verelie,Phil. 3. that He esteemed al the world as dung: in respect of the purchasing of this jewel. Saint Pauls scholer Ignatius,Ierom in ca­talogo. what biddeth he? Hear his own words. Fire, galows, beasts, breaking of my bones, quartering of my members, cru­shing of my body, al the torments of the de­vil togither, let them come upon me, so I may enjoy this treasure of heaven.Ser. 31. de sanctis. Saint Austen that learned bishop, what offereth he? You have now heard before, that he would be con­tent to suffer torments every day, yea the verie torments of hel it selfe to gain this joy? Good Lord, how far did these holie saints differ from us? How contrary were their judgements to ours in these matters? Who wil now marvel of the wisdome of the world,1. Cor. 1. judged follie by God, and of the wisdome of God, judged foly by the world? Oh children of men (saith the pro­phet) why do ye love vanitie, 2. and 3. Psal. 4. and seeke after a lie? Why do you imbrace straw, & contemn gold? Straw (I say) and most vile chaf, and such as [Page 157] finally wil set your own house on fire, and be your ruin and eternal perdition?

19 But now to draw towards an end in this matter (though there be no end in the thing it selfe) let the Christian consider wherto he is born, and wherof he is in possibilitie, if he wil.Wherto a Christian is born by baptism. He is born heir apparant to the kingdome of heaven, a kingdome without end,Gal. 3. & 4. Eph. 1. & 5. Colos. 3. Titus. 3. Rom. 8. Iaco. 2. Heb. 19. a kingdome without measure, a kingdome of blisse, the kingdome of God himselfe: he is born to be joint heir with Iesus Christ the Son of God, to raign with him: to triumph with him: to sit in judgement of majestie with him: to judge the verie Angels of heaven with him. What more glorie can be thought upon, except it were to become God himselfe? Al the joies, al the riches, al the glorie,1. Pe. 1.3. 2. Pet. 3. Apo. 1. Mat. 19. Luc. 22. 1. Cor. 6. that heaven contei­neth shal be powred out upon him. And to make this honor yet more, the glorious lamb that sitteth on the throne of majestie, with his eies like fire, his feet like burning copper, and al his face more shining than precious stone: from whose seat there proceedeth thunder and lightning without end: and at whose feet the four & twentie elders lay down their crowns:Ap. 1. & 4. Luc. 12. this lamb (I say) shal rise and honor him with his own service. Who wil not esteme of this roial inheritance? Especially seeing that now we have so good opportunity to the obteining therof, by the benefite of our redemption, and grace purchased to us therin.

[Page 158]20 Tel me now (gentle reader) why wilt thou not accept of this his offer? Why wilt thou not account of this his kingdome? Why wilt thou not buy this glorie of him for so lit­tle a labor as he requireth;Apo. 3. Suadeo tibi emere a me aurum ignitum probatum, vt locuples fias (saith Christ) I counsel thee to buy pure & tried gold of me, to the end thou maist be rich. Why wilt thou not follow this counsel (deer brother) especially of a merchant that meaneth not to deceive thee? Nothing greeveth this our Savior more, than that men wil seek with such pains to buy straw in Egypt,Exod. 5. wheras he would sel them fine gold at a lower price: and that they wil purchase puddle water, with more labor, than he would require for ten times as much price liquor out of the verie fountain it selfe.Iere. 2. Apo. 21. There is not the wickedst man in the world; but taketh more travel in gaining of hel (as after shal be shewed) than the most painful servant of God in ob­teining of heaven.

21 Follow thou not their follie then (deer brother) for thou shalt see them suffer gree­vously for it one day,The vanitie of worldly men. when thy hart shal be ful glad thou hast no part among them. Let them go now and bestow their time in vanitie, in pleasures, in delites of the world. Let them build pallaces, purchase dignities, ad peeces and patches of ground togither: let them hunt after honors, and build castels in the aire: the day wil come (if thou beleeve Christ himselfe) [Page 159] wherin thou shalt have smal cause to envie their felicitie.Luc. 6. Luc. 12. Mat. 26. If they talk basely of the glorie and riches of saints in heaven, not esteeming them indeed, in respect of their own, or con­temning them, for that carnal plesures are not rekoned therin: make little account of their words,1. Cor. 2. Ep. Iud. A simili­tude. for that The sensual man understandeth not the things which are of God. If horses were pro­mised by their maisters, a good banket, they could imagin nothing else but provender and water, to be their best cheer, for that they have no knowledge of daintier dishes: so these men accustomed to the puddle of their fleshly pleasures, can mount with their mind no high­er than the same. But I have shewed thee be­fore (gentle reader) some wais and considera­tions, to conceive greater matters, albeit as I have advertised thee often, we must confesse stil, with Saint Paul,1. Cor. 2. that no humane hart can conceive the least part therof: for which cause, also it is not unlike,2. Co. 12. that Saint Paul himselfe was forbidden to utter the things which he had seen and heard, in his miraculous assump­tion unto the third heaven.

22 To conclude then, this game & gole is set up for them that wil run, as Saint Paul noteth:1. Cor. 6. Phil. 3. 2. Ti. 2.1. Titus. 6. Heb. 12. Mat. 7.19.25. and no man is crowned in this glorie, but such onlie as wil fight, as the same Apostle teacheth. It is not every one that saith to Christ Lord Lord, that shal enter into the kingdome of hea­ven: but they onlie which do the wil of Christ his [Page 160] father in heaven. Though this kingdome of Christ be set out to al: yet every man shal not come to raign with Christ;Rom. 8. Mat. 11. Mat. 7. and 19. Iohn. 14. Luc. 14. but such onlie, as shal be content to suffer with Christ. Thou art therfore to sit down, and consider according to thy Saviors counsel, what thou wilt do, whether thou have so much spiritual money, as is sufficient to build this tower; and make this war or no: that is, whether thou have so much good wil and holie manhood in thee, as to bestow the pains of suffering with Christ (if it be rather to be called pains than pleasure) that so thou maist raign with him in his king­dome. This is the question, this is the verie whole issue of the matter, & hitherto hath ap­pertained whatsoever hath been spoken in this book before, either of thy particular end, or of the majestie, bountie, and justice of God; and of the account he wil demand of thee; also of the punishment or reward laid up for thee. Al this (I say) was meant by me to this only end, that thou measuring the one part, and the other) shouldest finaly resolve what thou woul­dest do, and not to passe over thy time in care­les negligence, as many do, never spieng their own error, until it be too late to amend it.

23 For the love of God then (deer brother) and for the love thou bearest to thine own soul, shake off this dangerous securitie, which flesh and blood is woont to lul men in: and make som earnest resolution, for looking to [Page 161] thy soul for the life to come. Remember often that woorthy sentence; Hoc momentum, A saieng to be remem­bred. unde pendet aeternitas. This life is a moment of time, wherof al eternitie of life or death, to come, dependeth. If it be a moment, and a moment of so great importance: how is it passed over by wordly men, with so little care as it is.

24 I might have alledged heer infinite other reasons and considerations to move men unto this resolution, wherof I have talked: and surely no measure of volume were sufficient to contein so much as might be said in this mat­ter. For that al the creatures under heaven, yea and in heaven it selfe, as also in hel: al (I say) from the first to the last, are arguments and persuasions unto this point: al are books and sermons, al do preach and crie (som by their punishment; som by their glorie; som by their beutie; and al by their creation) that we ought without delay, to make this resolution: and, that al is vanitie; al is folly; al is iniquitie; al is miserie, beside the only service of our maker and redeemer. But yet notwithstanding (as I have said) I thought good only to choose out these few considerations before laid down, as cheefe and principal among the rest, to work in any tru Christian hart. And if these cannot enter with thee (good reader) little hope is there that any other would doo thee good. Wherfore heer I end this first part, reserving a few things to be said in the second, for remoo­ving [Page 162] of som impediments, which our spiritual adversarie is woont to cast against this good work, as against the first step to our salvation. Our Lord God and Savior Iesus Christ, which was content to pay his own bloud for the pur­chasing of this notable inheritance unto us, give us his holy grace, to esteeme of it as the great weight of the mat­ter requireth, and not by negligence to leese our portions therin.

The end of the first part.


CHAP. I. Of impediments that let men from this resolution: and first, of the difficultie or hardnes, which seemeth to manie to be in vertuous life.

NOtwithstanding al the reasons and considera­tions before set down, for inducing men to this necessarie resolu­tion of serving God: there want not manie Christians abroad in the world,Ep. Iud. Rom. 1. whose harts either intangled with the pleasures of this life, or given over by God to a reprobate sense, do yeeld no whit at al to this batterie, that hath been made, but shewing themselves more hard than adamant, do not only resist & contemn,Pro. 18. and 20. Psa. 140. but also do seeke excuses for their sloth and wickednes, and do alledge reasons to their own perdition. Reasons I cal them, according to the common phrase, though indeed there be no one thing more against reason, than that a man should becom enimie to his own [Page 164] soul,Tob. 12. Pro. 29. as the scripture affirmeth obstinate sin­ners to be. But yet (as I say) they have their ex­cuses: and the first and principal of al is, that vertuous life is painful and hard, and therfore they cannot indure to follow the same: especi­ally such as have been brought up delicately, & never were acquainted with such asperitie, as (they say) we require at their hands. And this is a great, large, and universal impediment, which staieth infinite men from imbrasing the means of their conversion, for which cause it is fully to be answered in this place.

2 First then supposing that the way of vertu were so hard indeed, as the enimie maketh it seem: yet might I wel say with Saint Iohn Chrysostom, that seeing the reward is so great, and infinite,Lib. de com­punct. cordis. as now we have declared: no la­bor should seem great for obteining of the same.Hom. 16. ex So. Again, I might say with holie S. Austen; That seeing we take daily so great pain in this world, for avoiding of smal inconveniences, as of siknes, imprisonments, losse of goods, and the like: what pains should we refuse for avoi­ding the eternitie of hel fire set down before? The first of these considerations Saint Paul used,Rom. 8. when he said; The sufferings of this life are not woorthy of the glorie which shal be revealed in the next. The second Saint Peter used, when he said;2. Pet. 2. Seeing the heavens must be dissolved, and Christ come to iudgement to restore to every man according to his works: what manner of [Page 165] men ought we to be, in holie conversation? As who would say: No labor, no pains, no travel ought to seem hard or great unto us, to the end we might avoid the terror of that day. Saint Austen asketh this question: what we think the rich glutton in hel would do,Luc. 16. if he were now in this life again? Would he take pains or no? Would he not bestir himselfe, ra­ther than turn into that place of torment a­gain? I might ad to this, the infinite pains that Christ took for us; the infinite benefits he hath bestowed upon us; the infinite sins we have committed against him; the infinite examples of saints, that have troden his path before us: in respect of al which, we ought to make no bones at so little pains and labor, if it were tru that Gods service were so travelsome as many do esteem it.

3 But now in very deed the matter is no­thing so,The way of vertu is not hard. and this is but a subtil deceit of the enimie for our discouragement. The testimony of Christ himselfe is cleer in this point;Mat. 12. Iugum meum suave est, & onus meum leve: My yoke is sweet, and my burden light. And the deerly belo­ved disciple Saint Iohn, who had best cause to know his maisters secret herein, saith plainly; Mandata eius gravia non sunt: His commande­ments are not greevous. What is the cause then,1. Ioh. 5. why so many men do conceive such a difficulty in this matter? Surely,The cause of pretended difficultie. one cause is (beside the subtiltie of the devil, which is the cheefest) [Page 166] for that men feele the disease of concupiscence in their bodies, but do not consider the strength of the medicine given us against the same.Ibidem. They cry with Saint Paul, that They find a law in their members repugning to the law of their mind (which is the rebellion of concupiscence left in our flesh by original sin:) but they con­fesse not, or consider not with the same Saint Paul; That the grace of God, by Iesus Christ, shal deliver them from the same. 2. Cor. 12. They remember not the comfortable saieng of Christ to Saint Paul, in his greatest temptations; Sufficit tibi gratia mea: My grace is sufficient to strengthen thee against them al. 4. Reg. 6. These men do as Helizeus his disciple did, who casting his eies only upon his eni­mies, that is, upon the huge armie of the Siri­ans ready to assault him, thought himselfe lost, and unpossible to stand in their sight, until by the praiers of the holie prophet, he was per­mitted from God, to see the Angels that stood there present to fight on his side, and then he wel perceived that his part was the stronger.

The force of grace, for the easing of vertuous life.4 So these men, beholding only our miseries and infirmities of nature, wherby daily tenta­tions do rise against us: do account the battel painful, and the victory unpossible, having not tasted indeed, nor ever prooved (through their own negligence) the manifold helps of grace, and spiritual succors, which God alwais sen­deth to them, who are content (for his sake) to take this conflict in hand. Saint Paul had wel [Page 167] tasted that aid, which having rekoned up al the hardest matters that could be, addeth; Sed in his omnibus superamus propter eum qui dilexit nos: But we overcome in al these combats, Rom. 8. by his assi­stance that loveth us. And then falleth he to that woonderful protestation: that neither death, nor life, nor Angels, nor the like, should sepa­rate him: and al this upon the confidence of spiritual aid from Christ,Phil. 4. wherby he sticketh not to avouch; That he could do al things. David also had prooved the force of this assistance, who said; I did run the way of thy commandements, Psa. 118. when thou didst inlarge my hart. This inlargement of hart, was by spiritual consolation of in­ternal unction, wherby the hart drawn togi­ther by anguish, is opened and inlarged when grace is powred in: even as a dry purse is sof­tened and inlarged by annointing it with oil. Which grace being present, David said, he did not only walk the way of Gods commande­ments easilie, but that he ran them: even as a cart wheel which crieth and complaineth, un­der a smal burden being dry, runneth merilie and without noise, when a little oil is put un­to it. Which thing aptly expresseth our state and condition: who without Gods help, are able to do nothing, but with the aid therof, are able to do whatsoever he now requireth of us.

5 And surely I would ask these men that imagin the way of Gods law to be so hard and [Page 168] ful of difficultie, how the prophet could say; I have taken pleasure (O Lord) in the way of thy com­mandements as in al the riches of the world. Psa. 118. And in another place;Psal. 18. That they were more pleasant and to be desired, than gold or pretious stone, and more sweeter than hony, or the hony comb? By which words he yeeldeth to vertuous life, not only du estimation above al treasures in the world; but also pleasure, delite, and sweetnes: therby to confound al those that abandon and for­sake the same, upon idle, pretensed, and fained difficulties.Ioh. 10. Rom. 5. Heb. 6. And if David could say thus much in the old law: how much more justly may we say so now in the new, when grace is given more abundantly, as the scripture saith? And thou poore Christian which deceivest thy selfe with this imagination: tel me, why came Christ into this world? Why labored he, and why took he so much pains here? Why shed he his blood? Why praied he to his father so of­ten for thee: Why appointed he the sacra­ments as conduits of grace? Why sent he the holie Ghost into the world? What signifieth this word Gospel or good tidings? What meaneth the word grace, and mercy brought with him? What importeth the comfortable name of Iesus?Mat. 1. Is not al this to deliver us from sin? From sin past (I say) by his only death: From sin to come, by the same death, and by the assistance of his holie grace, bestowed on us more abundantly than before, by al these [Page 169] means? Was not this one of the principal ef­fects of Christ his comming, as the prophet noted; That craggy wais should be made straight, Esai. 40. Esai. 11. & vide Ier. ibid. and hard wais plain? Was not this the cause why he indued his church with so many blessed gifts of the holie Ghost,Amb. lib. 1. de sp. 5. c. 20. and with divers speci­al graces, to make the yoke of his service sweet; the exercise of good life, easie;Mat. 5. Luc. 6. Acts. 4. 2. Cor. 4. the walking in his commandements, pleasant; in such sort, as men might now sing in tribulations; have con­fidence in perils; securitie in afflictions; and assurance of victory in al temptations? Is not this the beginning, middle, & end of the Gos­pel? Were not these the promises of the pro­phets; the tidings of the Evangelists; the prea­chings of the Apostles; the doctrine, beleefe,Esai. 10. and practise of al Saints? And finally is not this Verbum abbreviatum: The word of God abbre­viated: wherin do consist al the riches and treasures of Christianitie?

6 And this grace is of such efficacie and force in the soul where it entereth,Of the force of grace. that it altereth the whole state therof: making those things cleer, which were obscure before; those things easie, which were hard and difficult before. And for this cause also it is said in scripture, to make a new spirit, and a new hart. As where Ezechiel talking of this matter, saith in the person of God; I wil give unto them a new hart, and wil put a new spirit in their bowels, Eze. 11. and 36. that they may walk in my precepts, and keep my commandements. [Page 170] Can any thing in the world be spoken more plainly? Now for mortifieng and conquering of our passions, which by rebellion do make the way of Gods commandements unplea­sant. Saint Paul testifieth cleerly, that abundant grace is given to us also by the death of Christ, to do the same:Rom. 6. for he saith; This we know that our old man is crucified also, to the end that the bodie of sin may be destroied, and we serve no more unto sin. By the old man and the bodie of sin Saint Paul understandeth our rebellious appetite and concupiscence, which is so crucified and de­stroied by the most noble sacrifice of Christ, as we may by the grace purchased us in that sacrifice,So prooveth S. Aust. li. 2. de pecca. me­rit. cap. 6. in some good measure resist and conquer this appetite, being freed so much as we are, from the servitude of sin. And this is that noble and entire victorie (in this world begun, & to be finished in the world to come) which GOD promised so long ago to every Christian soul by the means of Christ, when he said:Esai. 41. Be not afraid, for I am with thee; step not aside, for I thy God have strengthened thee, and have assisted thee; and the right hand of my just (man) hath taken thy defence. Behold, al that fight against thee shal be confounded and put to shame: thou shalt seek thy rebels, and shalt not find them: they shal be as though they were not, for that I am thy Lord and God.

7 Lo here a ful victory promised upon our [Page 171] rebels, by the help of the right hand of Gods just man, that is upon our disordinate passions, by the aid of grace from Iesus Christ. And al­beit these rebels are not here promised to be taken clean away, but only to be conquered and confounded: yet is it said; That they shal be as though they were not. Wherby is signified, that they shal not hinder us of our salvation, but ra­ther advance and further the same. For as wild beasts, which of nature are fearce,A simili­tude. and would rather hurt than profit mankind; being maistered and tamed, become very commodi­ous and necessarie for our uses: so these rebel­lious passions of ours, which of themselves would utterly overthrow us, being once sub­dued and mortified by the grace of God, do stand us in singuler stead to the practise and exercise of al kind of B vertues:The use of passions mo­derated. as A special point to be con­sidered, for the rectifieng of one point of philosophie: which is; that the soul doth follow the temperature of the bodie. And this do they hold, for that by experience it is commonly seen, that the disposition of men is such, as the nature of their complexion doth seem to import. For cōmonly those that are sanguine, are plea­sant; those that are flegma­tik, slow; those that are cho­lerik, earnest; and those that are melancholie, soli­tarie: and such like. And yet the truth is, that the soul doth not follow, but ra­ther doth use such tempe­rature as the bodie hath: & that very wel, and to good use, if the soul be good; but otherwise abuseth it il. For the complexions are indif­ferent: neither good, nor il of themselves; but as they are used. But bicause that most mens souls are il (as we are al by original cor­ruption) therfore do most men abuse their complexi­ons to il: as bloud, to wan­tonnes; fleam, to slought; choler, to anger; and me­lancholie, to secret practi­ses of deceit, or naughtines. Wheras notwithstanding, those souls that are good, do use them wel: as blood, to be valiant, and cheerful in goodnes; fleam, to mo­derate their affections with sobrietie; choler, to be ear­nest in the glorie of God; and melancholie, to stu­die and contemplation. Which point notwithstan­ding might easily be pardo­ned to philosophers (that hold many things els as wrong as it) but that this one point of error with them, is the cause of some others besides in weightie matter. For out of this have som of our Divines taken their opinion, that the fountain of sin is originally in the bodie, and from it deri­ved to the soul: and were the rather induced to think that the blessed Virgin was hir self also conceived with­out sin, for that otherwise they did not so plainly see, how Christ taking flesh of hir, should have the same in himselfe without stein of sin. And of thēselves there be that have dowted of the immortalitie of the soul, for that supposing the soul to hang upon the tempera­ture of the bodie, they did not see how it could be im­mortal, when as the tempe­rature and bodie it selfe are known to be mortal. choler or anger, to the inkinde­ling of zeal; hatred, to the pursuing of sin: an hautie mind, to the re­jecting of the world; love to the imbracing of al great and heroi­cal attempts, in consi­deration of the bene­fits received frō God. Beside this, the verie conflict and combat it [Page 172] selfe, in subduing these passions is left unto us for our great good: that is, for our pati­ence, humility, and vi­ctorie in this life; and for our glory, & crown in the life to come: as Saint Paul affirmed of himselfe,2. Tim. 4. and confir­med to al others, by his example.

8 Now then let the slothful Christian go Put his hands under his girdle, Prou. 26. as the scripture saith: and say; There is a lion in the way, Prou. 20. and a lionesse in the path readie to devour him, that he dare not go foorth of the doores. Let him say; It is cold, and ther­fore he dareth not go to plow. Prou. 24. Let him say; It is uneasie to labor, & ther­forè he cannot purge his vineyard of nettles and thistles, nor build any wal about the same. That is, let him say his passi­ons [Page 173] are strong, and therfore he can not conquer them: his bo­die is delicate, & ther­fore he dare not put it to travel: the way of vertuous life is hard and uneasie, and ther­fore he cannot apply himselfe therunto. Let him say al this, and much more, which i­dle and slothful Chri­stians do use to bring for their excuse: let him alledge it (I say) as much and as often as he wil: it is but an excuse, and a false ex­cuse, & an excuse most dishonorable and de­tractorie to the force of Christ his grace, purchased us by his bitter passion:Mat. 11. that now his yoke should be unplea­sant, seeing he hath made it sweet: that now his burden should be heavie, seeing he hath made it light:1. Ioh. 5. Iohn. 8. that now his commandements should be greevous, seeing the holie Ghost af­firmeth the contrarie: that now we should be in servitude of our passions, seeing he hath by his grace delivered us, and made us truly free.Rom. 7. [Page 174] If God be with us, Rom. 8. Ps. 26.27. who wil be against us (saith the Apostle.) God is my helper and defender (saith holy David) whom shal I fear, or at whom shal I tremble? If whole armies should rise against me: yet wil I al­way hope to have the victorie. And what is the reason? For that thou art with me (O Lord) thou fightest on my side: Psal. 22. thou assistest me with thy grace; by help wherof I shal have the victorie: though al the squadrons of my enimies, that is, of the flesh, the world, & the devil, should rise against me at once: and I shal not only have the victo­rie, but also shal have it easily, & with pleasure and delite. For so much signifieth Saint Iohn, in that (having said that the commandements of Christ are not greevous) he inferreth pre­sently,1. Ioh. 5. as the cause therof; Quoniam omne quod natum est ex deo vincit mundum: For that al which is born of God, conquereth the world. That is, this grace & heavenly assistance sent us from God, doth both conquer the world, with al difficul­ties and temptations therof: and also maketh the commandements of God easie, and vertu­ous life most pleasant and sweet.

An obiecti­on answered.9 But it may be you wil say Christ himselfe confesseth it to be a yoke and a burden: how then can it be so pleasant & easie as you make it. I answer, that Christ addeth, that it is a sweet yoke, & a light burden. Wherby your objecti­on is taken away: and also is signified further, that there is a burden which greeveth not the bearer, but rather helpeth and refresheth the [Page 175] same: as the burden of feathers upon a birds bak beareth up the bird, and is nothing at al greevous unto hir. So also, though it be a yoke, yet is it a sweet yoke; a comfortable yoke; a yoke more pleasant than hony, or hony comb,Psal. 118. as saith the prophet. And why so?1 We draw with Christ. Bicause we draw therin, with a sweet companion, we draw with Christ: that is, his grace at one end, and our The re­generate have an in­devor fra­med in them by grace: but otherwise the natural children of Adam have none such of thēselves but only to evil. endevor at the other. And bicause when B a great ox and a little do draw togither, the waight lieth al upon the greater ox his nek, for that he beareth up quite the yoke from the other: therof it commeth, that we drawing in this yoke with Christ, which is greater than we are: he lighteneth us of the whole burden, and only requireth that we should go on with him comfortably, and not refuse to enter under the yoke with him, for that the pain shal be his, and the pleasure ours. This he signifieth expreslie, when he saith; Come you to me al that labor and are heavie loden, and I wil refresh you. Heer you see that he mooveth us to this yoke, only therby to refresh and disburden us:Mat. 11. to disburden us (I say) and to refresh us: and not any way to load or agreeve us: to dis­burden us of the heavy lodings and yokes of this world: as from the burden of care; the burden of melancholy; the burden of en­vie, hatred, and malice; the burden of pride; the burden of ambition; the burden of covet­ousnes; the burden of wickednes; and hel [Page 176] fire it selfe. From al these burdens and misera­ble yokes, Christ would deliver us, by covering our neks only with his yoke and burden, so lightened and sweetned by his holy grace, as the bearing therof is not travelsome, but most easie, pleasant, and comfortable, as hath been shewed.2 Love ma­keth the way pleasant.

10 Another cause why this yoke is so sweet, this burden so light, and this way of Gods commandements so pleasant to good men, is love: love (I mean) towards God, whose commandements they are. For every man can tel, and hath experienced in himselfe, what a strong passion the passion of love is, and how it maketh easie the verie greatest pains that are in this world.The force of love. What maketh the mother to take such pains in the bringing up of hir child, but only love? What causeth the wife to sit so attentive at the bedside of hir sik husband, but only love? What mooveth the beasts and birds of the air, to spare from their own food, and to indanger their own lives, for the fee­ding and defending of their little ones, but only the force of love?Ser. 9. de verbis Do­mini. Saint Austen doth pro­secute this point at large by many other exam­ples: as of merchants, that refuse no adven­ture of sea, for love of gain: of hunters, that refuse no season of evil weather, for love of game: of soldiers, that refuse no danger of death, for love of the spoil. And he addeth in the end: that if the love of man can be so great [Page 177] towards creatures heer, as to make labor easie, and indeed to seem no labor, but rather plea­sure: how much more shal the love of good men towards God make al their labor com­fortable, which they take in his service?

11 This extreme love was the cause,The love of Christ to his saints: and of his saints to him. why al the pains and afflictions which Christ suffered for us, seemed nothing unto him. And this love also was the cause, why al the travels and torments, which many Christians have suffe­red for Christ, seemed nothing unto them. Imprisonments, torments, losse of honor, goods, & life, seemed trifles to divers servants of God, in respect of this burning love. This love drove many virgins, and tender children to offer themselves, in time of persecution, for the love of him which in the cause was perse­cuted. This love caused holie Apollonia of Alexandria,Euseb. li. 6. cap. 34. being brought to the fire to be burned for Christ, to slip out of the hands of such as led hir, and joifully to run into the fire of hir selfe. This love mooved Ignatius,Ierom in catalogo. the ancient martyr to say (being condemned to beasts, and fearing least they would refuse his bodie, as they had done of divers martyrs be­fore) that he would not permit them so to do, but would provoke and stir them to come up­on him, and to take his life from him, by tea­ring his body in peeces.

12 These are the effects then of fervent love, which maketh even the things that are most [Page 178] difficult and dreadful of themselves, to appeer sweet and pleasant:Psa. 6. & 18. Matt. 11. 1. Iohn. 5. and much more the laws and commandements of God, which in them­selves are most just, reasonable, holie, and easie. Da amantem (saith Saint Austen, speaking of this matter) et sentit quod dico: Tract. 26. in Iohan. Si autem frigido loquor, nescit quid loquar: Give me a man that is in love with God, & he feeleth this to be tru, which I say: but if I talk to a cold Christian, he understandeth not what I say. And this is the cause, why Christ talking of the keeping of his commandements, repeateth so often this word love, as the surest cause of keeping the same: for want wherof in the world, the world keepeth them not, as there he sheweth. If you love me, Iohn. 14. keep my commandements, saith he. And again. He that hath my commandements and kee­peth them he is he, that loveth me. Again; He which loveth me, wil keep my commandements. In which last words,Mark this observation. is to be noted, that to the lover he saith His commandement in the But a lit­tle before he useth the plural number in that case also. viz. Ioh. 14.15. singular number,Rom. 13. for that to such an one al his com­mandements B are but one commandement, according to the saieng of Saint Paul; That love is the fulnes of the law: for that it comprehen­deth al. But to him that loveth not, Christ saith his commandements in the plural num­ber: signifieng therby, that they are both ma­ny, and heavie to him: for that he wanteth love, which should make them easie. Which Saint Iohn also expresseth, when he saith; This [Page 179] is the love of God, when we keep his commandements, 1. Ioh. 5. and his commandements are not heavie. That is, they are not heavy to him which hath the love of God: otherwise no marvel though they be most heavie. For that every thing seemeth hea­vie, which we do against our liking. And so by this also (gentle reader) thou maist gesse, whe­ther the love of God be in thee, or no.

13 And these are two means now, wherby the vertuous life of good men is made easie in this world. There follow divers others,3 Peculiar light of un­derstanding to the end that these negligent excusers may see, how unjust and untru this excuse of theirs is, con­cerning the pretended hardnes of vertuous living: which in very deed is indued with infi­nite privileges of comfort, above the life of wicked men, even in this world. And the next after the former, is a certain special and pe­culiar light of understanding, pertaining to the just, and called in scripture;Prou. 9. Prudentia san­ctorum: the wisdome of saints; which is nothing els, but a certain sparkle of heavenly wisdome, bestowed by singular privilege upon the ver­tuous in this life: wherby they receive most comfortable light, and understanding in spiri­tual matters, especially touching their own salvation, and things necessarie therunto. Of which the prophet David ment, when he said; Notas mihi fecisti vias vitae: Psal. 16. Thou hast made the wais of life known to me. Also when he said of him­selfe; Super senes intellexi: Psa. 118. I have understood more [Page 180] than old men. And again in another place; Incer­ta & occulta sapientiae tuae manifestasti mihi: Psal. 50. Thou hast opened to me the unknown and hidden secrets of thy wisdome. This is that light wherwith Saint Iohn saith,Iohn. 1. that Christ lighteneth his servants: as also that unction of the holie Ghost, which the same Apostle teacheth to be given to the godlie,1. Ioh. 2. to instruct them in al things be­hooveful for their salvation. In like wise this is that writing of Gods law in mens harts, which he promiseth by the prophet Ieremie:Ier. 31. as also the instruction of men immediately from God himselfe,Esai. 54. promised by the prophet Esay. And finally, this is that sovereign understanding in the law, commandements, and justifications of God, which holy David so much desired, & so often demanded in that most divine psalm, which beginneth;Psa. 118. Blessed are the unspotted in the way: that is, in this life.

14 By this light of understanding, and su­pernatural knowledge and feeling from the holie Ghost, in spiritual things, the vertuous are greatly holpen in the way of righteousnes, for that they are made able to discern for their own direction in matters that occur, accor­ding to the saieng of S. Paul; Spiritualis omnia iudicat: 1. Cor. 2. A spiritual man iudgeth of al things. Ani­malis autem homo non percipit quae sunt spiritus Dei: But the carnal man conceiveth not the things which appertain to the spirit of God. Doth not this greatly discover the privilege of a vertuous life? The [Page 181] joy, comfort, and consolation of the same; with the exceeding great miserie of the contrarie part? For if two should walk togither, the one blind, and the other of perfect sight, which of them were like to be wearie first? Whose jour­ney were like to be more painful? Doth not a little ground, wearie out a blind man? Consi­der then in how wearisom darknes the wicked do walk? Consider whether they be blind or no.1. Cor. 2. Saint Paul saith in the place before alled­ged, that they cannot conceive any spiritual knowledge: is not this a great darknes? A­gain, the prophet Esay describeth their state further, when he saith in the person of the wic­ked; We have groped like blind men after the wals, Esai. 65. & have stumbled at midday, even as if it had been in darknes. And in another place the scripture de­scribeth the same, yet more effectuously, with the painfulnes therof, even from the mouths of the wicked themselves, in these words; The light of iustice hath not shined unto us, Sap. 5. and the sun of understanding hath not appeered unto our eies: we are wearied out in the way of iniquitie and perditi­on, &c. This is the talk of sinners in hel. By which words appeereth, not only that wicked men do live in great darknes; but also that this darknes is most painful unto them: and con­sequently that the contrarie light, is a great easement to the way of the vertuous.

15 Another principal matter,4 Internal consolation. which maketh the way of vertu easie and pleasant to them [Page 182] that walk therin, is a certain hidden and secret consolation, which GOD powreth into the harts of them that serve him. I cal it secret; for that it is known, but of such only as have felt it: for which cause, Christ himselfe calleth it; Hidden manna, Apoc. 2. known only to them that receive it. And the prophet saith of it; Great is the multi­tude of thy sweetnes (O Lord) which thou hast hidden for them that fear thee. Psal. 30. And again in another place;Psal. 67. Thou shalt lay aside (O Lord) a special chosen rain or dew for thine inheritance. And another pro­phet saith in the person of God, talking of the devout soul that serveth him; I wil lead hir aside into a wildernes; Osee. 2. and there I wil talk unto hir [...]. By al which words of Wildernes, separating, choise and hidden, is signified, that this is a secret privi­lege bestowed only upon the vertuous, and that the carnal harts of wicked men, have no part or portion therin. But now, how great and inestimable the sweetnes of this heavenlie consolation is, no tong of man can expresse: but we may conjecture by these words of Da­vid, who, talking of this celestial wine, attribu­teth to it such force,Ps. 35. & 64. as to make al those dron­ken that tast of the same: that is, to take from them, al sense and feeling of terrestrial mat­ters, even as Saint Peter, having droonk a little of it upon the mount Thabor,Mat. 17. Mark. 9. Luc. 9. Psal. 35. forgat himselfe presently, and talked as a man distracted, of building tabernacles there, and resting in that place for ever. This is that Torrens voluptatis, [Page 183] that sweet stream of pleasure, as the prophet calleth it,Esai. 29. which comming from the moun­tains of heaven, watereth (by secret wais and passages) the harts and spirits of the godlie, & maketh them droonken with the unspeaka­ble joy, which it bringeth with it. This is a lit­tle tast in this life of the very joies of heaven bestowed upon good men, to comfort them withal, and to incourage them to go forward. For as merchants desirous to sel their wares,A simili­tude. are content to let you see and handle, and somtimes also to tast the same therby to in­duce you to buy: so God almightie,Apoc. 3. willing (as it were) to sel us the joies of heaven, is content to impart a certain tast before hand to such as he seeth are willing to buy: therby to make them come off roundly with the price, and not to stik in paieng so much, and more, as he re­quireth. This is that exceeding joy and jubile in the harts of just men, which the prophet meaneth, when he saith; The voice of exultation and salvation is in the tabernacles of the iust. And again; Blessed is that people that knoweth iubilation: Psa. 117. that is, that hath experienced this extreme joy & pleasure of internal consolation. S. Paul had tasted it when he wrote these words, amidst al his labors for Christ; I am filled with consolati­on, I overflow or exceedingly abound in al ioy, 2. Cor. 7. amidst our tribulations. What can be more effectually said or alledged, to proove the service of God pleasant, than this? Surely (good reader) if [Page 184] thou haddest tasted once, but one drop of this heavenly joy, thou wouldest give the whole world to have another of the same, or at the leastwise, not to leese that one again.

The way to come to spi­ritual conso­lation.16 But thou wilt ask me? Why thou be­ing a Christian as wel as other, hast yet never tasted of this consolation? To which I answer, that (as it hath been shewed before) this is not meat for every mouth: but A chosen moisture laid aside for Gods inheritance only. Psal. 67. This is wine of Gods own seller, Cant. 1. laid up for his spouse; As the Canti­cle declareth. That is, for the devout soul de­dicated unto Gods service. This is a teat of comfort, only for the child to suk, and fil him­selfe withal,Esai. 66. as the prophet Esay testifieth. The soul that is drowned in sin and pleasures of the world, cannot be partaker of this benefit: neither the hart replenished with carnal cares and cogitations. For as Gods Ark, and the idol Dagon could not stand togither upon one altar:1. Reg. 5. Ioh. 1. Ioh. 2. Exo. 16. so cannot Christ and the world stand togither in one hart. God sent not the pleasant Manna unto the people of Israel, as long as their flower & chibals of Egypt lasted: so neither wil he send this heavenly consolati­on unto thee, until thou have rid thy selfe of the cogitations of vanitie. He is a wise mer­chant, though a liberal: he wil not give a tast of his treasure, where he knoweth there is no wil to buy. Resolve thy selfe once indeed to serve God, and thou shalt then feele this joy [Page 185] that I talk of, as many thousands before thee have done, and never yet any man was herein deceived. Moises first ran out of Egypt,Exod. 2. to the hils of Madian, before God appeered unto him: and so must thy soul go out of worldly vanitie, before she can look for these consola­tions. But thou shalt no sooner offer thy selfe thoroughly to Gods service, than thou shalt find intertainment above thy expectation. For that his love is more tender indeed upon them that come newly to this service, than up­on those which have served him of old: as he sheweth plainly by the parable of the prodigal son:Luc. 15. whom he cherished with much more daliance and good cheere,Beginners cheefly che­rished with spiritual consolation. than he did the el­der brother, which had served him of long time. And the causes hereof are two: the one, for the joy of the new gotten servant, as is ex­pressed by Saint Luke in the text: the other lest he finding no consolation at the beginning, should turn bak to Egypt again: as God by a figure in the children of Israel declareth mani­festly in these words;Exo. 13. When Pharao had let go the people of Israel out of Egypt; God brought them not by the country of the Philistines, which was the nee­rest way, thinking with himselfe that it might repent them if they should see wars, streightway rise against them, and so should return into Egypt again. Vpon which two causes thou maist assure thy selfe of singular consolations and comforts in the ser­vice of God (if thou wouldest resolve thy selfe [Page 186] therunto) as al other men have found before thee: and by reason therof have prooved the way not hard,Mat. 11. as worldly men imagin it; but most easie, pleasant, and comfortable, as Christ hath promised.

5 The quiet of consci­ence.17 After this privilege of internal consola­tion insueth another, making the service of God pleasant, which is the testimonie of a good conscience, wherof Saint Paul made so great account, as he called it His glorie. And the holy Ghost saith of it further,2. Cor. 1. by the mouth of the wise man;Pro. 15. Secura mens quasi iuge convivi­um: A secure mind, or a good conscience is a perpe­tual feast. Of which we may infer, that the ver­tuous man having alwais this secure mind, and peace of conscience, liveth alwais in festival glory, and glorious feasting. And how then, is this life hard or unpleasant, as you imagin? In the contrarie side, the wicked man having his conscience vexed with the privitie of sin, is al­waies tormented within it selfe: as we read that Cain was,Gen. 4. 1. Mac. 6. Matt. 27. Acts. 1. Mark. 9. having killed his brother Abel; and Antiochus, for his wickednes done to Ie­rusalem; and Iudas for his treason against his maister: and Christ signifieth it generally of al naughtie men, when he saith; that They have a worm which gnaweth their conscience within. The reason wherof the scripture openeth in ano­ther place,Sap. 7. when it saith; Al wickednes is ful of fear, giving testimony of damnation against it self: & therfore a troubled conscience alway suspecteth cruel [Page 187] maters. That is, suspecteth cruel things to be imminent over it selfe, as it maketh account to have deserved. But yet further, above al other, holie Iob most lively setteth foorth this mise­rable state of wicked men, in these words; A wicked man is prooved al the dais of his life, Iob. 15. though the time be uncertain how long he shal play the ty­rant: the sound of terror is alwais in his eares, The trouble of an evil conscience. and although it be in time of peace, yet he alway sus­pecteth some treason against him: he beleeveth not that he can rise again from darknes, to light: expec­ting on everie side the sword to come upon him. When he sitteth down to eat, he remembreth that the day of darknes is readie at hand for him: tribulation terrifi­eth him, and anguish environeth him, even as a king is environed with soldiers, when he goeth to war.

18 Is not this a marvelous description of a wicked conscience, uttered by the holie Ghost himselfe? What can be imagined more mise­rable than this man, which hath such a bou­cherie, and slaughter house within his own hart? What feares, what anguishes are heer touched? S. Chrysostom discourseth notably upon this point;Hom. 8. ad Pop. Antio­cheman. Such is the custom of sinners (saith he) that they suspect al things; dowt their own shadowes; they are afeard at every little noise; & they think every man that com­meth towards them, to come against them. If men talk togither, they think they speak of their sins. Such a thing sin is, as it bewraieth it self, though no man accuse it: it condemneth it [Page 188] selfe, though no man bear witnes against it: it maketh alwais the sinner fearful, as justice doth the contrarie. Heare how the scripture doth describe the sinners fear, & the just mans libertie;Prou. 28. The wicked man flieth, though no man pur­su him (saith the scripture.) Why doth he flie if no man do pursu him? For that he hath within his conscience an accuser pursuing him, whom alwais he carrieth about him. And as he cannot flie from himself; so can he not fly from his accuser within his conscience: but wherso­ever he goeth, he is pursued & whipped by the same, and his wound incurable. But the just man is nothing so;Prou. 28. The iust man (saith Salo­mon) is as confident as a lion. Hitherto are the words of Saint Chrysostom.

6 The hope of vertous men.19 Wherby, as also by the scriptures al­ledged, we take notice yet of another preroga­tive of vertuous life, which is hope or confi­dence, the greatest treasure, the richest jewel, that Christian men have left thē in this life. For by this we passe through al afflictions, al tribu­lations,Iacob. 1. & adversities, most joifully, as S. Iames signifieth. By this we say with Saint Paul; We do glorie in our tribulations, Rom. 5. knowing that tribu­lation worketh patience; and patience, proofe; and proofe, hope; which confoundeth us not. This is our most strong and mightie comfort, this is our sure ankor in al tempestuous times, as Saint Paul saith;Heb. 6. We have a most strong solace (saith he) which do flie unto the hope proposed, to lay hands on [Page 189] the same; which hope, we hold as a sure and firm ar­mor of our soul. This is that noble Galea salutis, Eph. 6. 1. The. 1. the head-peece of salvation, as the same apostle calleth it, which beareth off al the blowes that this world can lay upon us. And finally, this is the only rest set up in the hart of a vertuous man; that, come life, come death; come health, come siknes; come wealth, come povertie; come prosperitie, come adversitie: come never so tempestuous storms of persecution, he sit­teth down quietly, and saith calmly with the prophet; My trust is in God, Psal. 55. and therfore I fear not what flesh can do unto me. Nay, further with holie Iob amidst al his miseries, he saith;Iob. 13. Si occiderit me, in ipso sperabo: If God should kil me, yet would I trust in him. And this is (as the scripture said be­fore) to be as confident as a lion. Whose pro­pertie is to shew most courage, when he is in greatest peril, and neerest his death.

20 But now as the holie Ghost saith;Psal. 1. Non sic impij, non sic. The wicked cannot say this: they have no part in this confidence, no interest in this consolation; Quia spes impiorum peribit. Saith the scripture;Pro. 10. The hope of wicked men is vain, and shal perish. And again;Pro. 11. Praestolatio impi­orum furor: The expectation of wicked men is furie. And yet further; Spes impiorum abhominatio ani­mae: The hope of wicked men is abhomination, Iob. 11. and not a comfort unto their soul. And the reason heerof is double. First, for that in verie deed (though they say the contrarie in words) wic­ked [Page 190] men do not put their hope and confi­dence in God: but in the world, and in their riches; in their strength; frinds and authority; and finally in the Deceaving arm of man. Even as the prophet expresseth in their person,Iere. 17. when he saith;Esai. 28. We have put a lie for our hope. That is, we have put our hope in things transitorie, which have deceived us; & this is yet more ex­pressed by the scripture,Sap. 5. saieng; The hope of wic­ked men is as chaf, which the wind bloweth away, and as a bubble of water which a storm disperseth: & as a smoke, which the wind bloweth abroad: and as the re­membrance of a ghest that staieth but one day in his In. By al which metaphors, the holie Ghost ex­presseth unto us, both the vanity of the things, wherin indeed the wicked do put their trust, and how the same faileth them after a little time, upon every smal occasion of adversitie that falleth out.

Isai. 30. and 36.21 This is that also which God meaneth, when he so stormeth and thundereth against those which go into Egypt for help, and do put their confidence in the strength of Pharao, ac­cursing them for the same: and promising that it shal turn to their own confusion: which is properly to be understood of al those, which put their cheefe cōfidence in worldly helps:Ier. 17 48. as al wicked men do, whatsoever they dissemble in words to the contrarie. For which cause al­so of dissimulation, they are called hypocrites by Iob: for wheras the wise man saith; The [Page 191] hope of wicked men shal perish. Iob saith;Pro. 10 Iob. 8. The hope of hypocrites shal perish. Calling wicked men hypocrites, for that they say, they put their hope in God, wheras indeed they put it in the world. Which thing beside scripture, is evi­dent also by experience. For with whom doth the wicked man consult in his affairs and dowts? With God principally, or with the world? Whom doth he seeke to, in his afflic­tions? Whom doth he cal upon in his siknes? From whom hopeth he comfort in his adversi­ties? To whom yeeldeth he thanks in his pro­sperities? When a worldly man taketh in hand any work of importance, doth he first consult with God about the event therof? Doth he fal down of his knees, and aske his aid? Doth he refer it wholy and principally to his honor? If he do not: how can he hope for aid therin at his hands? How can he repaire to him for assistance, in the dangers and lets that fal out about the same? How can he have any confi­dence in him, which hath no part at al in that work? It is hypocrisie then (as Iob truly saith) for this man to affirm that his confidence is in God: wheras indeed, it is in the world; it is in Pharao; it is in Egypt; it is in the arm of man; it is in a lie. He buildeth not his house with the wise man, upon a rok: but with the foole up­on the sands: and therfore (as Christ wel assu­reth him;) When the rain shal come,Matt. 7.and fluds de­scend, and winds blow, and al togither shal rush upon [Page 192] the house (which shal be at the hour of death) then shal this house fal, and the fal of it shal be great. Great, for the change that he shal see: great, for the great horror which he shal conceive: great, for the great miserie which he shal suffer: great, for the unspeakable joies of heaven lost: great, for the eternal pains of hel fallen into: great every way, assure thy selfe (deer brother) or else the mouth of God would never have used this word great, and this is sufficient for the first reason, why the hope of wicked men is vain: for that indeed they put it not in God, but in the world.

Wicked men cannot hope in God.22 The second reason is, for that albeit they should put their hope in God (yet living wic­kedly) it is vain, and rather to be called pre­sumption than hope. For understanding wher­of, it is to be noted; that as there are two kinds of faith recounted in scripture (the one a dead faith without good works, that is which, be­leeveth al you say of Christ,Iaco. 2. Matt. 7. 1. Co. 13. and 15. Rom. 1. Gal. 3. Eph. 2. but yet observeth not his commandements; the other, a lively, a justifieng faith, which beleeveth not only, but also worketh by charitie, as Saint Pauls words are. So are there two hopes following these two faiths: the one of the good, proceeding of a good conscience, wherof I have spoken before; the other of the wicked, resting in a guiltie conscience, which is indeed no tru hope, but rather presumption. This Saint Iohn prooveth plainly,1. Ioh. 3. when he saith; Brethren, [Page 193] if our hart reprehend us not, then have we confi­dence with God. That is, if our hart be not guil­tie of wicked life. And the words immediately folowing do more expresse the same, which are these; Whensoever we aske we shal receive of him, for that we keep his cōmandements, & do those things which are pleasing in his sight. The same confir­meth Saint Paul, when he saith,1. Tim. 1. that The end of Gods commandements is charity from a pure hart, and a good conscience. Which words, Saint Austen expounding in divers words, and in divers pla­ces of his works, prooveth at large, that with­out a good conscience, there is no tru hope that can be conceaved.Saint Au­sten lib. de doct. Chr. cap. 37. Saint Paul (saith he) addeth (from a good conscience) Bicause of hope: for he which hath the scruple of an evil conscience, despaireth to attain that which he beleeveth. And again;Saint Au­sten in pre­fat. Psa. 31. Every mans hope is in his own cōscience, according as he feeleth him selfe to love God. And again, in another book, the apostle putteth a good cōscience for hope: for he only hopeth which hath a good consci­ence: and he whom the guilt of an evil consci­ence doth prik, retireth bak from hope, & ho­peth nothing but his own damnation. I might heer repeat a great many more privileges and prerogatives of a vertuous life, which make the same easie, pleasant, and comfortable, but that this chapter groweth to be long: and therfore I wil only touch (as it were in passing by) two or three of the other points of the most prin­cipal: [Page 194] which notwithstanding would require large discourses to declare the same, according to their dignities.7 Libertie of the soul. And the first is the inesti­mable privilege of libertie and freedom, which the vertuous do enjoy above the wicked, ac­cording as Christ promiseth in these words. If you abide in my cōmandements, Iohn. 8. you shal be my schol­lers indeed, and you shal know the truth, and the truth shal set your free. Which words Saint Paul as it were expounding,2. Cor. 3. saith; Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedome. And this freedome is ment, from the tyrannie and thraldome of our corrupt sensualitie & concupiscence, wherun­to the wicked are so in thraldome, as there was never bondman so in thraldome to a most cru­el and mercilesse tyrant. This in part, may be conceaved by this one example. If a man had maried a rich,An example to expresse the bondage of wicked men to their sensualitie. beautiful, & noble gentlewoman adorned with al gifts and graces, which may be devised to be in a woman: and yet notwith­standing, should be so sotted and intangled with the love of some soul and dishonest beg­ger, or servile maid of his house, as for hir sake to abandon the company and frindship of the said wife: to spend his time in daliance and service of his base woman: to run, to go, to stand at hir appointment: to put al his living and revenues into hir hands, for hir to con­sume and spoil at hir pleasure: to denie hir no­thing, but to wait and serve hir at hir bek: yea, and to compel his said wife to do the same: [Page 195] would you not think this mans life miserable and most servile? And yet surely, the servitude wherof we talk, is far greater, and more intol­lerable than this. For no woman or other crea­ture in the world, is, or can be of that beautie or nobilitie, as the grace of Gods spirit is, to whom man by his creation was espoused, which notwithstanding we see abandoned, contemned, and rejected by him, for the love of sensualitie hir enimie, and a most deformed creature in respect of reason: in whose love notwithstanding, or rather servitude, we see wicked men so drowned, as they serve hir day and night with al pains, perils, and expenses, and do constrain also the good motions of Gods spirit to give place at every bek & com­mandement of this new mistres For wherfore do they labor? Wherfore do they watch? Wherfore do they heape riches togither, but only to serve their sensualitie, and hir desires? Wherfore do they beat their brains, but only to satisfie this cruel tyrant and hir passions?

23 And if you wil see indeed how cruel and pittiful this servitude is:The miserie of a man ru­led by sensu­alitie. consider but some particular examples therof. Take a man whom she overruleth in any passion: as for example, in the lust of the flesh, and what pains taketh he for hir? How doth he labor, how doth he sweat in this servitude? How mightie & strong doth he feele hir tyrannie? Remember the strength of Samson, the wisdome of Salomon,2. Re. 11. Iud. 14. [Page 196] the sanctitie of David overthrown by this ty­rannie.3. Re. 11. Iupiter, Mars, and Hercules, who for their valiant acts otherwise were accounted gods of the painims: were they not overcome and made slaves by the inchantment of this tyrant? And if you wil yet further see of what strength she is, and how cruelly she executeth the same upon those that Christ hath not deli­vered from hir bondage: consider (for ex­amples sake in this kind) the pittiful case of some disloial wife, who, though she know that by committing adulterie, she runneth into a thousand dangers and inconveniences (as the losse of Gods favor; the hatred of hir husband; the danger of punishment; the offence of hir frinds; the utter dishonor of hir person (if it be known, and finally the ruin and peril of bodie and soul) yet to satisfie this tyrant, she wil ven­ture to commit the sin, notwithstanding any dangers or perils whatsoever.

24 Neither is it only in this one point of carnal lust, but in al other, wherin a man is in servitude to this tyrant,An ambiti­ous man. and hir passions. Look upon an ambitious or vain glorious man: see how he serveth this mistresse: with what care and diligence he attendeth hir commande­ments, that is, to follow after a little wind of mens mouthes: to pursu a little feather flieng before him in the air: you shal see that he o­mitteth no one thing; no one time; no one circumstance for gaining therof. He riseth be­time; [Page 197] goeth late to bed: trotteth by day; stu­dieth by night: heer he flattereth; there he dissembleth: heer he stowpeth; there he loo­keth big: heer he maketh frinds; there he pre­venteth enimies. And to this only end he re­ferreth al his actions, and applieth al his other matters: as, his order of life; his cōpany keping; his sutes of apparel; his house; his table; his horses; his servants; his talk; his behavior; his jests; his looks; and his very going in the street.

25 In like wise he that serveth his ladie in passion of covetousnes:A covetous man. what a miserable slave­rie doth he abide? His hart being so walled in prison with money, as he must only think ther­of, talk therof, dream therof, and imagin only new wais to get the same, & nothing else. If you should see a Christian man in slavery under the gret Turk, tied in a galley by the leg with chains there to serve by rowing for ever: you could not but take compassion of his case. And what then shal we do of the miserie of this man, who standeth in captivitie to a more base creature than a Turk, or any other reasonable creature that is, to a peece of mettal, in whose prison he lieth bound, not only by the feete, in such sort as he may not go any where against the com­moditie and commandement of the same: but also by the hands, by the mouth, by the eies, by the eares, and by the hart, so as he may nei­ther do, speak, see, hear, or think any thing, but the service of the same? Was there ever [Page 198] servitude so great as this? Doth not Christ say truly,Iohn. 8. Rom. 6. 2. Pet. 2. now; Qui facit peccatum servus est pec­cati: He that doth sin, is a slave unto sin? Doth not S. Peter say wel; A quo quis superatus est, huius & ser­vus est: A man is slaue to that, wherof he is cōquered.

26 From this slaverie then are the vertuous delivered, by the power of Christ, and his assi­stance: insomuch, as they rule over their passi­ons in sensualitie, and are not ruled therby. This God promised by the prophet Ezechiel, saieng;Eze. 34. And they shal know, that I am their Lord, when I shal break the chains of their yoke, and shal deliver them from the power of those that over-ruled them before. And this benefit holie David ac­knowledged in himselfe, when he used these most effectuous words to God; O Lord, I am thy servant, Psal. 90. I am thy servant, and the child of thy handmaid: thou hast broken my bonds, and I wil sa­crifice to thee a sacrifice of praise. This benefit also acknowledgeth Saint Paul, when he saith; that Our oldman was crucified, Rom. 6. to the end the bodie of sin might be destroied, and we be no more in servitude to sin: understanding by the old man, and the bo­die of sin, our concupiscence, mortified by the grace of Christ in the children of God.

Peace of mind.27 After this privilege of freedom follow­eth another of no lesse importance than this, and that is, a certain heavenly peace, and tran­quillitie of mind, according to the saieng of the prophet; Factus est in pace locus eius: His place is made in peace. Psal. 75. [...] And in another place; Pax [Page 199] multa diligentibus legem tuam: There is great peace to them which love thy law. And on the contrarie side, the prophet Esay repeateth this sentence often from God;Esa. 48.57. Non est pax impijs dicit Domi­nus: The Lord saith; There is no peace unto the wic­ked. And another prophet saith of the same men; Contrition and infelicitie is in their wais, Psal. 13. and they have not known the way of peace. The reason of this difference hath been declared before in that, which I have noted of the diversitie, of good and evil men touching their passions. For the vertuous, having now (by the aid of Christ his grace) subdued the greatest force of their said passions, do passe on their life most sweetly and calmly, under the guide of his spi­rit, without any perturbations that much tro­ble them, in the greatest occurrents of this life. But the wicked men,Rom. 11. not having mortified the said passions, are tossed and troubled with the same, as with vehement and contrarie winds. And therfore their state and condition is com­pared by Esay to a tempestuous sea,Esai. 57. that never is quiet: and by Saint Iames, to a citie or coun­try,Iaco. 3. where the inhabitants are at war and sedi­tion among themselves. And the causes heerof are two: first, for that the passions of concupis­cence,Two causes of disquiet­nes in wic­ked men. being many and almost infinit in num­ber, do lust after infinit things, and are never satisfied, but are like those blood-suckers which the wise man speaketh of, that cry alwais Give, give, and never ho. As for example:Pro. 30. when [Page 200] is the ambitious man satisfied with honor? Or the incontinent man, with carnalitie? Or the covetous man with money? Never truly: and therfore, as that mother cannot but be great­ly afflicted, which should have many children crieng at once for meat, she having no bread at al to break unto them: so the wicked man, be­ing greedily called upon, by almost infinit pas­sions, to yeeld them their desires, must needs be vexed and pittifully tormented; especially, being not able to satisfie any one of their sma­lest demands.

28 Another cause of vexation is, for that these passions of disordinate concupiscence, be oftentimes on contrary to the other, & do de­mand contrary things, representing most lively the confusion of Babel:Gen. 11. where one tong spoke against another, and that in divers, and contra­rie languages. So we see oftentimes, that the desire of honor saith; Spend heer: but the pas­sion of avarice saith; Hold thy hands. Lecherie saith; Venture heer: but pride saith; No, it may turn to thy dishonor. Anger saith; Re­venge thy selfe heer: but ambition saith; It is better to dissemble. And finally, heer is fulfil­led that,Psal. 54. which the prophet saith; Vidi iniquita­tem, & contradictionem in civitate: I have seen ini­quitie, and contradiction in the selfesame citie. Ini­quitie, for that al the demands of these passi­ons are most unjust, in that they are against the word of God. Contradiction, for that one cri­eth [Page 201] against the other in their demands. From al which miseries God hath delivered the just, by giving them his Peace, which passeth al under­standing, as the apostle saith,Phil. 4. Io. 14.17. Mat. 10. and which the world can never give, nor tast of, as Christ him­selfe affirmeth.

29 And these many causes may be alledged now (besides many others, which I passe over) to justifie Christs words, that his yoke is sweet and easie: to wit, the assistance of grace; the love of God; the light of understanding from the holie Ghost; the internal consolation of the mind; the quiet of conscience; the confi­dence therof proceeding; the libertie of soul and bodie; with the sweet rest of our spirits, both towards God, towards our neighbour, and towards our selves. By al which means, helps, privileges, and singular benefits, the ver­tuous are assisted above the wicked, as hath been shewed: and their way made easie, light, and pleasant. To which also we may ad as the last, but not the least comfort,Expectation of reward. the expectation of reward: that is, of eternal glorie and felici­tie to the vertuous; and everlasting damnati­on unto the wicked. O how great a matter is this, to comfort the one, if their life were pain­ful in godlines: and to afflict the other, amidst al their great pleasure of sin! The laborer, when he thinketh on his good pay at night,An example. is incou­raged to go thorough, though it be painful to him. Two that should passe togither towards [Page 202] their country, the one to receive honor for the good service done abroad; the other as priso­ner to be arraigned of treasons, committed in forrain dominions against his soveraign, could not be like merrie in their In upon the way, as it seemeth to me: and though he that stood in danger, should sing, or make shew of cou­rage and innocencie, and set a good face upon the matter: yet the other might wel think, that his hart had many a cold pul within him: as no dowt but al wicked men have, when they think with themselves of the life to come. If Ioseph & Pharaos baker had known both their distinct lots in prison (to wit,Gen. 40.41.43. that on such a day one should be called foorth to be made Lord of Egypt, and the other to be hanged on a paire of gallows) they could hardly have been equally merry: whiles they lived togither in time of their imprisonment. The like may be said, and much more truly, of vertuous and wicked men in this world. For when the one doth but think upon the day of death (which is to be the day of their deliverance from this prison) their harts cannot but leap for very joy, considering what is to insu unto them after. But the other are afflicted, and fal into melancholy, as often as mention or remem­brance of death is offred: for that they are sure that it bringeth with it their bane, according as the scripture saith;Pro. 12. The wicked man being dead, there remaineth no more hope unto him.

[Page 203]30 Wel then (deer brethen) if al these things be so, what should stay thee now at length to make this resolution, which I exhort thee un­to? Wilt thou yet say (notwithstanding al this)B that the matter is hard, and the way unplea­sant? Or wilt thou beleeve others that tel thee so, though they know lesse of the matter than thy selfe? Beleeve rather the Mat. 11. word and promise of Christ, which assureth thee the con­trary: beleeve the reasons before alledged, which do proove it evidently: beleeve the te­stimony of them which have experienced it in themselves (as of king David, Saint Paul, and Saint Iohn the Evangelist, whose testimonies I have alledged before of their own proofe) be­leeve many hundreds, which by the grace of God, are converted daily in Christendome from vicious life, to the tru service of God: al which do protest themselves to have found more, than I have said, or can say in this matter.

31 And for that thou maist replie heer, & say, that such men are not The soūd­lier that the Gos­pel is any where re­ceived, the mo exam­ples of sound con­uersion are there to be found: and yet on the other side, it is not to be denied, but that a kind of re­morse and sorrowing (especially for the ex­ternal, or grosser of­fences) is oft to be found, not only amōg counterfet Christians but among the heathē also. where thou art, to give this testimony of their experience: I can, & do assure thee, upon my conscience before God, that I have talked with no smal number of such my selfe, to my singular comfort, in be­holding the strong hand, and exceeding boun­tifulnes of Gods sweetnes towards them in this case. Oh (deer brother) no toong can expresse, what I have seen heerin: and yet saw [Page 204] I not the least part of that which they felt. But yet this may I say, that those which are known to be skilful, and to deal so sincerely withal, that others disburden their consciences unto them for their comfort or counsel, are some part of those,Psa. 106. wherof the prophet saith; That they work in multitudes of waters, and do see the mar­vels of God in the depth. In the depth (I say) of mens consciences, uttered with infinite multi­tudes of teares, when God toucheth the same, with his holie grace. Beleeve me (good reader) for I speak in truth before our Lord Iesus, I have seen so great and exceeding consolations, in divers great sinners after their conversion, as no hart can almost conceave: and the harts which received them, were hardly able to con­tein the same: so abundantly stilled down the heavenly dew, from the most liberal and bountiful hand of God. And that this may not seeme strange unto thee, thou must know, that it is recorded of one holie man called Effrem, that he had so mervelous great consolations after his conversion, as he was often constrai­ned to cry out to God; O Lord retire thy hand from me a little, for that my hart is not able to receive so extreme joy.Gosr. in vita Bern. And the like is written of Saint Barnard: who for a certein time after his conversion from the world, re­mained as it were deprived of his senses by the excessive consolations he had from God.

32 But yet if al this cannot moove thee, but [Page 205] thou wilt stil remain in thy distrust, hear the testimonie of one, whom I am sure thou wilt not discredit, especially speaking of his own experience in himselfe. And this is the holie martyr & doctor Saint Cyprian,Lib. ep. 1. who writing of the very same matter to a secret frind of his, called Donatus, confesseth, that he was before his conversion of the same opinion that thou art of: to wit, that it was impossible for him to change his manners, and to find such comfort in a vertuous life as after he did: being accu­stomed before to al kind of loose behavior. Therefore he beginneth his narration to his frind in this sort; Accipe quod sentitur antequam discitur. Take that which is felt, before it be learned: and so followeth on with a large dis­course, shewing that he prooved now by ex­perience, which he could never beleeve be­fore his conversion, though God had promi­sed the same.Lib. 6. conf. cap. 12. The like writeth Saint Austen of himselfe in his books of confession: shewing that his passions would needs persuade him before his conversion, that he should never be able to abide the austeritie of a vertuous life, especially touching the sins of the flesh (wherin he had lived wantonly, until that time) it see­med impossible that he could ever abandon the same, and live chastly: which notwithstan­ding he felt easie, pleasant,Lib. 8. conf. and without diffi­cultie afterward. For which he breaketh into these words: My God,Psal. 34. let me remember and [Page 206] confesse thy mercies towards me: let my verie bones rejoice and say unto thee;Psa. 115. O Lord, who is like unto thee? Thou hast broken my chains and I wil sacrifice to thee a sacrifice of thankesgiving. These chains were the chains of concupis­cence, wherby he stood bounden in captivitie before his conversion, as he there confesseth: but presently therupon he was delivered from the same, by the help of Gods most holie grace.

33 My counsel should be therfore (gentle reader) that seeing thou hast so many testimo­nies, examples, reasons, and promises of this matter, thou shouldest at least proove once by thine own experience, whether this thing be tru or no: especially seeing it is a matter of so great importance, and so worthy thy trial: that is, concerning so neer thy eternal salvation as it doth. If a mean fellow should come unto thee, and offer, for hazarding of one crown of gold, to make thee a thousand by Alchimie, though thou shouldest suspect him for a cou­soner: yet the hope of gain being so great, and the adventure of so smal losse; thou woul­dest go nigh for once to proove the matter. And how much more shouldest thou do it in this case, where by proofe thou canst leese no­thing: and if thou speed wel, thou maist gain as much as the everlasting joy of heaven is woorth.

34 But yet heer by the way, I may not let [Page 207] passe to admonish thee of one thing, which the ancient fathers and saints of God that have passed over this river before thee (I mean the river dividing between Gods service and the world) do affirm of their own experience:Resistance at the begin­ning. and that is, that assoone as thou takest this work or resolution in hand, thou must expect as­saults, combats, and open war within thy selfe, as Saint Cyprian, Saint Austen, Saint Gregory,Cyp. li. 1. ca. 1 Aug. lib. 1. doct. c. 23. Greg. l. Mor. 4. c. 24. li. 30. cap. 18. Bar. in. ps. 90 Cir. li. de ora. Or. hom. 3. in Ex. & Leu. & 11. Iosue. Hi. in ps. 118 and Saint Barnard do affirm, and upon their own proofe. This do Cyril, and Origin shew in divers places at large. This doth saint Hilary proove by reasons & examples. This doth the wise man forewarn thee of, willing thee; When thou art to come to the service of God, to prepare thy mind unto temptation. And the reason of this is, for that the devil possessing quietly thy soul before, lay stil, and sought only means to con­tent the same,Eccl. 2. by putting in new and new de­lites, and pleasures of the flesh. But when he seeth thou offerest to go from him: he begin­neth straight to rage, and to moove sedition within thee, and to tosse up and down both heaven and earth, before he wil leese his king­dome in thy soul. This is evident by the exam­ple of him whom Christ comming down from the hil, after his transfiguration,Mark. 9. delivered from a deafe and dum spirit. For albeit the devil would seem neither to hear nor speak, while he possessed that bodie quietly: yet when Christ commanded him to go out, he both [Page 208] heard,Gen. 31. and cried out, and did so tear and rent B that poore bodie before he departed, as al the standers by thought him indeed to be dead. This also in figure was shewed by the storie of Laban, who He was very gree­vous unto him be­fore: but he did not follow af­ter him in hostile ma­ner til he departed from him. never persecused his son in law Iacob, until he would depart from him. And yet more was this expressed in the doings of Pharao, who after once he perceaved that the people of Israel ment to depart from his king­dome, never ceased greevously to afflict them (as Moises testifieth) until God utterly delive­red them out of his hands, with the ruin and destruction of al Egypt their enimies.Exod. 5. Which event the holie doctors & saints of the churh,The conversion of S. Aust. have expounded to be a plain figure of the de­liverie B of souls from the tyranny of the devil.

35 And now, if thou wouldest have a lively example of al this that I have said before, I could alledge thee many: but for brevitie sake, one only of Saint Austens conversion shal suffice, testified by himself in his books of con­fession. It is a mavelous example, and contai­neth many Yet some points of the storie at large are such, as that a man may aswel dowt the readi­nes of sa­tan to il­lude & de­ceive: as behold to our cōfort the good­nes of God in his con­version. notable and comfortable points. And surely whosoever shal but read the whole at large, especially in his sixt, seventh, & eight books of his confessions, shal greatly be moo­ved and instructed therby. And I beseech the reader that understandeth the Latin toong, to view over, at least but certein chapters of the eight book, where this Saints final conversion (after infinite combats) is recounted. It were [Page 209] too long to repeat heer, though indeed it be such matter as no man need to be wearie to hear it. There he sheweth how he was tossed and troubled in this conflict between the flesh and the spirit, between God drawing on the one side, and the world, the flesh, & the divel,Lib. 8. confes. cap. 1. & 2. hol­ding bak on the other part. He went to Simpli­cianus a learned old man, & devout Christian: he went to S. Ambrose, bishop of Millan: & af­ter his cōference with them, he was more tro­bled than before. He consulted with his cōpa­nions, Nebridius, & Alipius: but al would not ease him. Til at the length a Christian courtier & captain, named Pontition, had by occasion B told him and Alipius of the vertuous life that Saint Anthonie led, who a little before had professed This kind of mona­stical or private life was very ancient, & such as the time and estate of the church▪ required then: but that which after in place therof sprang up among us, was of later time, and being at the first far unlike to the other, the longer it stood did notwithstanding stil degenerate more & more til at the length it grew intollerable. a private & a solitarie life in Egypt: as also others (he then heard) did even in Mil­lan it selfe, where then he was. Which when he had heard, then with-drawing himselfe aside, he had a most terrible combat with him­selfe. Wherof he writeth thus; What did I not say a­gainst my selfe in this con­flict? How did I beat and whip mine own soul,Cap. 7. to make hir follow thee (O Lord?) But she held bak, she refused and excused hir selfe: and when al hir arguments were convicted, she re­mained trembling and fearing as death to be [Page 210] restrained from hir loose custom of sin. Wher­by she consumed hir selfe even unto death. Af­ter this he went into a garden with Alipius, his companion: and there cried out unto him; Quid hoc est? Cap. 8. Quid patimur? Surgunt indocti & coe­lum rapiunt, & nos cum doctrinis nostris, sine corde, ecce ubi volutamur in carne & sanguine. What is this? (Alipius) what suffer we under the tyran­nie of sin? Vnlearned men (such as Anthonie and others; for he was altogither unlearned) do take heaven by violence: and we with al our learning, without harts, behold how we lie graveling in flesh and bloud. And he goeth for­ward in that place, shewing the woonderful and almost incredible tribulations that he had in this fight that day. After this he went forth into an orchard: and there he had yet a grea­ter conflict. For there al his pleasures past re­presented themselves before his eies, saieng; Demittes ne nos, Mark this gentle rea­der. & à momento isto non erimus tecum ultra in aeternum, &c. What, wilt thou depart from us? And shal we be with thee no more for ever, after this moment? Shal it not be law­ful for thee to do this or that, no more heeraf­ter? And then (saith Saint Austen) O Lord, turn from the mind of thy servant, to think of that, which they objected to my soul. What filth, what shameful pleasures did they lay before mine eies.Cap. 10. At length he saith, that after long and tedious combats, a marvelous tempest of weeping came upon him: and being not able [Page 211] to resist, he ran away from Alipius, and cast himselfe on the ground under a fig-tree, and gave ful scope unto his eies, which brought foorth presently whole fluds of tears. Which after they were a little past over, he began to speak to God in this sort; Et tu Domine, Lib. 8. c. 12. usque­quo? Quam diu, quam diu, cras & cras? Quare non modo? Quare non hac hora finis est turpitudinis meae? O Lord, how long wilt thou suffer me thus? How long, how long shal I say, to-morow, to-morow? Why should I not do it now? Why should there not be an end of my filthie life, even at this hour? And after this followeth his final and miraculous conversion, togither with the conversion of Alipius, his cōpanion, which bicause it is set down breefly by himselfe, I wil recite his owne words, which are as followeth, immediately upon those that went before.

36 I did talk this to GOD, and did weep most bitterly, with a deep contrition of my hart: and behold, I heard a voice,S. Austens final con­version, by a voice from heaven. as if it had been of a boy or maid singing from som house by, and often repeating; Take up and read, take up and read. And straightway I changed my countenance, and began to think most ear­nestly with my selfe, whether children were woont to sing any such thing, in any kind of game that they used: but I never remember, that I had heard any such thing before. Wher­fore repressing the force of my tears: I rose, in­terpreting no other thing, but that this voice [Page 212] came from heaven, to bid me open the book that I had with me (which was Saint Pauls epi­stles) and to read the first chapter that I should find.S. Anthonies conversion. Athanasius in vita An­thonij. For I had heard afore of Saint Anthonie, how he was admonished to his conversion, by hearing a sentence of the Gospel, which was read, when he by occasion came into the church:Mat. 19. and the sentence was; Go, and sel al thou hast, and give to the poore: and thou shalt have a trea­sure in heaven: and come, and follow me. Which sai­eng B Saint Anthonie taking as spoken to him in particular; was presently converted to In such things as are peculiar or proper to som (as this was) there can be no general rule drawn unto o­thers, that can stand by undowted warrant, without some special calling besides: and so may it wel be dowted, whether S. Anthonie had on that place sufficient ground-work of those his doings, unlesse he had som special motion besides. It was otherwise with Saint Augustine, whose conversion was not, but to such things as we are al bounden unto, and upon such a place as speaketh to al. thee (O Lord.) Wher­fore I went in haste to the place where Alipius sate, for that I had left my booke there when I departed: I snat­ched it up, and o­pened it, and read in silence the first chapter that offered it selfe unto mine eies: and therin were these words; Not in banketings, Rom. 13. or in dronkennes: not in wanton­nes, and chamber works: not in contention and emu­lation: but do you put on the Lord Iesus Christ: and do you not perform the providence of the flesh in con­cupiscence. Further than this sentence I would not read, neither was it needful. For presently with the end of this sentence, as if the light of securitie had been powred into my hart, al the [Page 213] darknes of my dowtfulnes fled away. Wher­upon putting in my finger, or som other signe (which now I remember not) upon the place, I closed the book, and with a quiet countenance opened the whole matter to Alipius. And he by this means uttered also that which now wrought in him (which I before knew not) he desired that he might see what I had read: and I shewed him. He marked it al, and went fur­ther also than I had red. For it followeth in Saint Paul (which I knew not;Rom. 14.) Take unto you him that is yet weak in faith. Which Alipius appli­ed unto himselfe, and opened his whole state of dowtfulnes unto me. But by this admoni­tion of Saint Paul, he was established, and was joined to me in my good purpose: but yet calmly, and without any troublesom cunctati­on according to his nature and maners, wher­by he differed alwais greatly from me, in the better part.

37 After this we went to my mother:Hir name was Moni­ca: a very holy woman as he shew­eth. li. 9. ca. we tel hir the matter: she rejoiceth: we recite un­to hir the order of the thing: she exulteth and triumpheth, and blessed thee (O Lord, which art more strong and liberal, than we can aske or understand) for that she saw now much more granted to hir from thee, touching me, than she was woont to aske with hir pittiful and lamentable sighs. For thou hadst so con­verted me now to thee, that I neither sought for wife, nor any other hope at al of this world: [Page 214] living and abiding in that Which was but a more careful endevor in the way of godlines, such as was not used of the common sort. And so is this exam­ple of his, no patronage to any of our latter monasteries or rules, that were laden with loosenes and super­stition: which notwithstanding som would gladly defend by this rule of his. rule of faith, in B which thou didst reveal me unto hir so manie yeers before. And so thou didst turn hir sorrow now into more abundant joy than she could wish: and into much more deer and chaste joy, than she could require by my chil­dren hir nephewes, if I had taken wife. O Lord, I am thy servant, I am now thy servant, and child of thy handmaid, thou hast broken my chains, and I wil sacrifice to thee therfore a sacrifice of praise.Lib. 9. c. 1. Let my hart and toong praise thee, and let my bones say to thee; O Lord, who is like unto thee. Let them say it (O Lord) and do thou make answer (I beseech thee) and say to my soul; I am thy salvation. Hitherto are Saint Austens words.

Annotations upon this conversion.38 In this marvelous example of this fa­mous mans conversion, there be divers things to be noted, both for our comfort, and also for our instruction. First is to be noted the great conflict he had with his ghostly enimie before he could get out of his possession and domini­on. Which was so much the more (no dowt) for that he was to be so great a piller after­ward in Gods church. And we see, Alipius found not so great resistance: for the enimie saw there was much lesse in him, to hurt his kingdome than in Austen. Which ought great­ly [Page 215] to animate them, that feele great resistance,Those that are to be best men, have greatest con­flict in their conversion. and strong temptations against their vocati­on: assuring themselves, that this is a sign of grace and favor, if they manfully go thorough. So was Saint Paul called (as we read) most vio­lently being striken down to the ground,Acts. 9. and made blinde by Christ before his conversion: for that he was a chosen vessel, to bear Christs name unto the gentils.

39 Secondly it is to be noted, that although this man had most strong passions before his conversion, & that in the greatest, and most in­curable diseases, which cōmonly afflict world­ly men: as in ambition, covetousnes, & sins of the flesh, as himselfe before confesseth:Lib. 6. c. 6. & 15. which maladies possessed him so strongly indeed, as he thought unpossible (before his conversion) ever to subdu and conquer the same: yet af­terward he prooved the contrary by the help of Gods omnipotent grace. Thirdly also is to be noted, that he had not only a good victorie over these passions, but also found great sweet­nes in the way of vertuous life.Lib. 9. c. 6. For a little af­ter his conversion he writeth thus; I could not B be satisfied (O Lord) in those dais, with the marvelous sweetnes which thou gavest me: how much did I weep inWhen the people of God did sing their psalms of thanksgi­ving and praises to God. thy hymns and can­ticles, being vehemently stirred up with the voices of thy church singing most sweetly? Those voices did run into mine eares, and thy truth did melt into mine hart, and thence [Page 216] did boil out an affection of pietie, and made tears to run from me, and I was in most hap­pie state with them.

S. Austens diligence in trieng out his vocation.40 Fourthly is to be noted for our instruc­tion and imitation, the behavior of this man about his vocation. First in searching and tri­eng out the same by his repair to Saint Am­brose, Simplicianus, and others: by reading the word of God, frequenting of good com­panie, and the like: which thou oughtest also (good reader) to do, when thou feelest thy selfe inwardly mooved: and not [...]olie dead as ma­ny are woont, resisting openly the holie Ghost, with al good motions, and not so much as once to give eare to the knocking of Christ, at the doore of their consciences. Moreo­ver, Saint Austen as we see, refused not the means to know his vocation,Apoc. 3. but praied, wept, and oftentimes retired himselfe alone from companie to talk with God in that matter. Which many of us wil never do: but rather do detest and flie al means that may bring us into those cogitations of our conversion. Finally Saint Austen after he had once seen cleerly the wil and pleasure of God: made no more stay of the matter, but brake of strongly frō al the world and vanities therof:Lib. 9. c. 2. gave over his Re­torik lecture at Millan: left al hope of promo­tion in the court, and betook himselfe to serve God thoroughly: and therfore no marvel if he received so great consolation and advance­ment [Page 217] from God afterward, as to be so worthy a member in his church. Which example is to be followed of al them that desire to keep a good conscience, so far foorth as ech mans condition and state of life permitteth.

41 And heer by this occasion,Violence to be used at the begin­ning of our conversion. I may not let passe to advertise thee good reader, and also by Saint Austens example to forewarn thee, that whosoever meaneth to make this resolu­tion thoroughly, must use some violence at the beginning. For as fire if you rush in upon it with force, is easilie put out; but if you deal softlie, putting in one hand after another, you may rather hurt your selfe than extinguish the same: so is it with our passions, who require manhood and courage for a time at the be­ginning, which whosoever shal use, togither with the other means therunto appertaining, he shal most certeinlie find that thing easie, which now he thinketh heavie, and that most sweet, which now he esteemeth so unsaverie. For proofe wherof, as also for conclusion of this chapter, I wil alledge a short discourse out of Barnard: who after his fashion prooveth the same fitly out of the scriptures. Christ saith unto us; Take my yoke, you shal find rest. Barn. in ver­ba evangelij; Ecce nos re­liquimus omnia, &c. This is a marvelous noveltie: but it com­meth from him which maketh al things new. He that taketh up a yoke findeth rest: he that leaveth al, findeth an hundred times so much. He knew wel this (I mean that man [Page 218] B according to the hart of God) which The place being bet­ter consi­dered, it doth not appeere that David so said. Ne­vertheles, that which Barnard doth ga­ther out of it doth stand very wel with those words of Christ that therwithal he allegeth of the light burden & easie yoke. said in his psalm; Doth the seat of iniquitie cleave to thee (O Lord) which feignest a labor in thy com­mandements? Is not this a feigned labor (deer brethren) in a commandement? I mean, a light burden, an easie yoke, an annointed crosse. So in old time he said to Abraham; Take thy son Isaac whom thou lovest, and offer him unto me a sa­crifice. This was a feigned labor in a comman­dement: for Isaac being offered he was not killed, but sanctified therby. Thou therfore, if thou hear the voice of God within thy hart, willing thee to offer up Isaac (which signifieth joy or laughter) fear not to obey it faithfullie and constantly: whatsoever thy corrupt affec­tion judgeth of the matter, be thou secure. Not Isaac, but the ram shal die for it: thy joy shal not perish, but thy stubburnes only, whose horns are intangled with thorns, and cannot be in thee without the prickings of anxietie. Thy Lord doth but tempt thee as he did Abraham,Psal. 93. Gen. 22. to see what thou wilt do. Isaac (that is, thy joy in this life) shal not die, as thou ima­ginest, but shal live: only he must be lifted up upon the wood, to the end thy joy may be on high, and that thou maist glorie not in thine own flesh, but only in the crosse of thy Lord, by whom thy selfe also art crucified:Gal. 3. crucified (I say) but crucified to the world: for unto God thou livest stil, and that much more than thou didst before.

CHAP. II. Of the second impediment, which is persecution, affliction, and tribulation, wherby many men are kept from the ser­vice of God.

MAnie there are in the world abroad, who ei­ther upon these conside­ratiōs before laid down: or for that, they see some good men to live as me­rilie as themselves, are content to yeeld thus much, that in verie deed they esteem vertuous life to be pleasant inough, to such as are once entered in therun­to: and that in good sooth, for their own parts, they could be content to follow the same, if they might do it with quiet and peace of al hands. But to request them unto it in such time or place, or with such order and circum­stances, as tribulation, affliction, or persecuti­on may fal upon them, for the same: they think it a matter unreasonable, to be demanded, and themselves verie excusable; both before God and man, for refusing it. But this excuse is no better, than the other going before, of the pretended difficultie: for that it standeth upon a false ground, as also upon an unjust illation, [Page 220] made upon that ground. The ground is this, that a man may live vertuously, and serve God truly, with al worldly ease, and without any affliction, tribulation, or persecution: which is false. For that, albeit external contradicti­ons, and persecutions be more in one time than in another; more in this place, than in that: yet can there not be any time or place without some, both external, and internal. Which although (as I have shewed before) in respect of the manifold helps and consolati­ons sent from God in counterpoize of the same, they seem not heavie nor unpleasant un­to the godlie: yet are they in themselves both great and waightie, as would appeer if they fel upon the wicked and impatient. Secondly, the illation made upon this ground, is unjust: for that it alledgeth tribulation, as a sufficient reason to abandon Gods service, which God himselfe hath ordained for a mean to the con­trarie effect: that is, to draw men therby unto his service.Four points to be hand­led in this chapter. For better declaration wherof (the matter being of very great importance) I wil handle in this chapter, these four points. First, whither it be ordinarie for al that must be sa­ved, to suffer some kind of persecution, tribu­lation, or affliction. Secondlie, what are the causes why God (so loving us as he doth) would chose and appoint so to deale with us heer in this life. Thirdlie, what principal rea­sons of comfort, a man may have in tribulati­on. [Page 221] Fourthlie, what is required at his hands in that state. Which four points, being declared, I dowt not but great light shal appeer in this whole matter, which seemeth to flesh and blood to be so ful of darknes and improbabi­lities.

2 And touching the first,Whether al good men must suffer tribulation or no. there needeth little poofe: for that Christ himselfe saith to his dis­ciples, and by them to al other his servants; In mundo pressuram sustinebitis: In the world you shal sustain affliction. And in another place;Iohn. 16. In your patience shal you possesse your souls? That is, by suffering patientlie in adversities: which Saint Paul yet uttereth more plainly when he saith; Al those that wil live godlie in Iesus Christ, shal suf­fer persecution. If al, then none can be excepted.Luc. 11. 2. Tim. 3. And to signifie yet further the necessitie of this matter, both Paul and Barnabas also did teach (as Saint Luke reporteth) That we of necessitie must enter into the kingdome of God, Acts. 14. by many tribu­lations. Vsing the word Oportet, which signifieth a certein necessitie. And Christ himselfe yet more revealeth this secret, when he saith to Saint Iohn the Evangelist; That he chastiseth al those whom he loveth. Which words,Apoc. 3. the apostle as it were expounding to the Hebrews, saith; Flagellat omnem filium quem recipit: He whippeth every child whom he receaveth. Heb. 12. And the apostle urgeth this matter so far in that place, as he affirmeth plainly, al those to be bastards, & no children of God,verse. 8. which are not afflicted by [Page 222] him in this life. The same position Saint Paul holdeth to Timothy;2. Tim. 2. Si sustinemus, & conregna­bimus: If we suffer with Christ, we shal reign with Christ; and no otherwise. Wherin also concur­reth holie David,Psal. 33. when he saith; Multae tribula­tiones iustorum: The iust are appointed to many tri­bulations.

3 The same might be prooved by many other means,Mat. 10. as by that, Christ saith; He came not to bring peace, but the sword into the world. Also by that Saint Paul saith;2. Tim. 2. That no man can be crowned except he fight lawfullie. But how can we fight, if we have no enimie to oppugn us? The same signifieth Christ in the Apocalips,cap. 2. & 3. when he repeateth so often, that heaven is only for him that conquereth. The verie same is signi­fied by the ship,Mat. 8. wherinto Christ entered with his disciples, which was tossed & tumbled, as if it would have been drowned: this (I say) by the ancient fathers exposition, was a figure of the trobles and afflictions, that al those should suf­fer, which do rowe in the same with Christ our savior. The same also is prooved by that the life of man is called a warfare upon earth:Iob. 7. Iob. 5. and by that he is appointed to labor and travel, while he is here: also by that, his life is reple­nished with many miseries,Iob. 13. even by the ap­pointment of God after mans fal. The same al­so is shewed by that, that God hath appointed every man to passe through the pains of death, before he come to joy: also, by the infinit con­tradictions [Page 223] and tribulations, both within and without, left unto man in this life: as for ex­ample, within are the rebellions of his concu­piscence and other miseries of his mind, wher­with he hath continually to make war, if he wil save his soul. Without, are the world, and the devil, which do never cease to assalt him, now by fair means, and now by fowl; now by flatterie, and now by threat; now alluring by pleasure and promotion, now terrifieng by af­fliction and persecution. Against al which the good Christian hath to resist manfully, or else he leeseth the crown of his eternal salva­tion.

4 The verie same also may be shewed by the examples of al the most renowned saints from the beginning:The exam­ple of saints. who were not only as­salted internally with the rebellion of their own flesh; but also persecuted and afflicted outwardly: therby to confirm more mani­festly this purpose of God. As we see in Abel,Gen. 4. persecuted and slain by his own brother, as­soon as ever he began to serve God: also in Abraham,Gen. 22. afflicted diversly after he was once chosen by God: and most of al by making him yeeld to the killing of his own deer and only child. Of the same cup drank al his children & posteritie that succeeded him, in Gods favor:Iudith. 8. as Isaac, Iacob, Ioseph, Moises, and al the pro­phets: of which Christ himselfe giveth testi­monie,Mat. 5.23. Luc. 13. how their blood was shed most cruelly [Page 224] by the world. The affliction also of Iob is woonderful, seeing the scripture affirmeth it to have come upon him by Gods special ap­pointment,Iob. 1. he being a most just man. But yet more woonderful was the affliction of holie Tobias,Tob. 2. who among other calamities, was stri­ken blind by the falling down of swallows dung into his eies:Tob. 12. of which the angel Raphel told him afterward; Bicause thou wert a man acceptable to God, it was of necessitie that this tenta­tion should proove thee. Behold the necessitie of afflictions to good men. I might ad to this the example of David & others: but that the apo­stle giveth a general testimonie of al the saints of the old testament, saieng; That some were racked, Heb. 11. some reproched, some whipped, some chained, some imprisoned: others were stoned, cut in peeces, tempted, and flain with the sword: some went about in hair-cloth, in skins of goats, in great need, pressed and afflicted: wandring and hiding themselves in wilder­nesses, in hils, in caves, and holes under ground, the world not being woorthy of them. Of al which he pronounceth this comfortable sentence, to be noted of al men. Non suscipientes redemptionem; vt meliorem invenirent resurrectionem: That is; God would not deliver them from these afflictions in this life, to the end their resurrection and reward in the life to come, might be more glorious. And this of the saints of the old testament.

5 But now in the new testament, founded expressedly upon the crosse, the matter stan­deth [Page 225] much more plain, & that with great rea­son.Luc. 24. For if Christ could not go into this glorie but by suffering, as the scripture saith: then by the most reasonable rule of Christ affirming, that The servant hath not privilege aboue his mai­ster. It must needs follow,Mat. 10. Luc. 6. Mat. 10. that al have to drink of Christs cup, which are appointed to be par­takers of his glory. And for proofe herof; look upon the deerest frinds that ever Christ had in this life, and see whether they had part therof or no. Of his mother, Simeon prophesied and told hir at the beginning;Luc. 2. That the sword of tri­bulation should passe hir hart. Signifieng therby, the extreme afflictions that she felt afterward in the death of hir son, and other miseries heaped upon hir. Of the apostles it is evident, that beside al the labors, travels, needs, suffe­rings, persecutions, and calamities which were infinite, and in mans sight in tollerable (if we beleeve S. Paul,1. Cor. 4. 2. Cor. Acts. 20. Rom. 8. Iohn. 21. recounting the same) beside al this (I say) God would not be satisfied, except he had their blood also: and so we see that he suffered none of them to die naturally, but on­ly Saint Iohn: albeit, if we consider what Iohn also suffered in so long a life as he lived, being banished by Domitian to Pathmos;Tert. lib. de prescrip. he­retic. Ierom. lib. cont. Ia. vin. & at ano­ther time, thrust into a tun of hot oil at Rome (as Tertullian and Saint Ierom do report) we shal see that his part was no lesse than o­thers in this cup of his maister. I might rekon up heer infinite other examples: but it nee­deth [Page 226] not. For it may suffice, that Christ hath gi­ven this general rule in the new testament; He that taketh not up his crosse and followeth me, Mat. 10. is not worthy of me. By which is resolved plainly, that there is no salvation now to be had, but only for them that take up (that is, do bear wil­lingly) their proper crosses, and therwith do follow their captain, walking on with his crosse on his shoulders before them.

An obiecti­on answered.6 But heer some man may say: If this be so, that no man can be saved without a crosse, that is, without affliction, and tribulation, how do al those that live in peaceable times and places, where no persecution is, no trou­ble, no affliction, or tribulation? To which I answer: first, that if there were any such time or place, the men living therin, should be in great danger; according to the saieng of the prophet; They are not in the labor of other men, nor yet whipped and punished as others are: Psal. 72. and therfore pride possessed them, and they were covered with ini­quitie and impietie: and their iniquitie proceeded of their fatnesse, or abundance. Secondlie I answer; that there is no such time or place so void of tribulation, but that there is alwais a crosse to be found, for them that wil take it up. For ei­ther is there povertie, sicknes, slander, enmi­tie, injurie, contradiction, or some like afflicti­on offered continually. For that, those men never want in the world, wherof the prophet said;Psal. 37. These that do render evil for good, did detract [Page 227] from me, for that I followed goodnes. At the least wise, there never want those domestical eni­mies, of which Christ speaketh: I mean,Matt. 7. either our kinred and carnal frinds, which common­ly resist us, if we begin once throughly to serve God: or else our own disordinate affections, which are the most perilous enimies of al: for that they make us war upon our own ground. Again, there never want the temptations of the world, & devil: the resisting wherof is much more difficult in time of peace and welth,Time of peace more dangerous, than of per­secution. than in time of external affliction and persecution: for that these enimies are stronger in flatterie, than in force: which a godly father expresseth by this parable. The sun and wind (saith he) a­greed on a day to prove their several strengths,A parable. in taking a cloke from a waifairing man. And in the forenoon the wind used al violence that he could to blow off the said cloke. But the more he blew, the more fast held the travailer his cloke, and gathered it more closelie about him. At afternoon the sun sent foorth his plea­sant beams, and by little and little so entered into this man, as he caused him to yeeld and put off, not only his cloke, but also his cote. Wherby is ment (saith this father) that the al­lurements of pleasure are more strong & har­der to be resisted, than the violence of perse­cution.2. Reg. 11. The like is shewed by the example of David, who resisted easilie many assaults of ad­versitie: but yet fel dangerouslie in time of [Page 228] prosperitie. Wherby appeereth that vertuous men have no lesse war in time of peace, than in time of persecution: and that never there wan­teth occasion of bearing the crosse, and suffe­ring affliction, to him that wil accept of the same. And this may suffice for this first point, to proove that every man must enter into hea­ven by tribulation, as Saint Paul saith.

The cause why God sendeth af­fliction to the godly.7 Touching the second, why God would have this matter so: it were sufficient to an­swer, that it pleased him best so, without see­king any further reason of his meaning heer­in: B even as it pleased him There was great reason in it, for that, seing man had sinned by mā was the justice of God to be satisfi­ed, which notwith­standing no man, but he a­lone, could do. Wherby it may seem, that although God hath given to this our Au­thor a very good gift in persuading to godlines of life (for which we have to aesteem of him accordingly:) yet hath he not given him ther­withal so ful a knowlege of the mysterie of our redemption in Christ. So it is lesse marvel, that he is in matters of controversie further to seek, than otherwise by his godly disposition, we may think that he should. without al reason in our sight, to abase his Son so much as to send him hither into this world, to suffer and die for us. Or if we wil needs have a reason heerof, this one might be sufficient for al: that seeing we look for so great a glory as we do, we should labor a little first for the same, and so be made somwhat woorthy of Gods favor, & exaltation. But yet for that it hath pleased his divine ma­jestie, not only to open unto us his wil and de­termination for our suffering in this life; but also divers reasons of his most holie purpose and pleasure therin, for our further encou­ragement and consolation which do suffer: [Page 229] I wil in this place repeat some of the same, for declaration of his exceeding great love, and fatherly care towards us.

8 The first cause then, and the most principal,1 Increase of glorie. is to increase therby our glorie in the life to come. For having appointed by his eternal wis­dome and justice, that none shal be crowned there,2. Tim. 2. Apoc. 2. but such as endure (in some good mea­sure) a fight in this world: the more and grea­ter combats that he giveth (togither with suf­ficient grace to overcome therin) the greater crown of glorie prepareth he for us at our re­surrection. This cause toucheth the apostle in the words alledged of the saints of the old testament, to wit,Heb. 11. that they received no deli­verance from their miseries in this world, to the end they might find a better resurrection in the world to come. This also ment Christ expresly when he said;Matt. 5. Happie are they which suf­fer persecution, for theirs is the kingdome of heaven: happie are you when men speak evil, and persecute you, &c. Reioice and be glad (I say) for that your reward is great in heaven. Hither also do apper­tain al those promises; Of gaining life, Mat. 10. Mat. 19. Esai. 56. by leesing life: of receiving a hundred for one, and the like. Heerhence do proceed al those large promises to mortification, and newnes of life. In both which are great conflicts against the flesh, world, and our own sensualitie, and cannot be performed but by sufferings and affliction. Finally, Saint Paul declareth this matter fully; [Page 230] when he saith; That a little and short tribulation in this life worketh a weight of glorie above al mea­sure in the hight of heaven.

2 Hate of the world.9 The second cause why God appointed this, is to draw us therby from the love of the world, his professed enimie: as in the next chapter shal be shewed at large. This cause Saint Paul uttereth in these words;1. Cor. 11. We are pu­nished of God, to the end we should not be damned with this world. Even then, as a nurse, that to wean hir child from the liking of hir milk, doth annoint hir teat with alloes, or some other such bitter thing: so our merciful father, that would retire us from the love of worldly delites, wherby infinite men do perish daily, useth to send tribulation: which of al other things hath most force to work that effect: as we see in the example of the prodigal son,Luc. 15. who could by no means be staied from his plea­sures, but only by affliction.

3 A medicin to cure our diseases.10 Thirdly, God useth tribulation as a most present and sovereign medicin, to heal us of many diseases, otherwise almost incurable. As first, of a certain blindnes, and carelesse negli­gence in our estate, contracted by wealth, and prosperitie. In which sense the scripture saith; that Affliction giveth understanding. Eccl. 28. Pro. 29. Iohn 12. [...] 4. [...]. And the wise man affirmeth, that The rod bringeth wisdom: as also the sight of Toby was restored by the bit­ter gall of a fish. And we have cleer examples in Nabuchodonosor, Saul, Antiochus, and Ma­nasses: [Page 231] al which came to see their own faults by tribulation; which they would never have done in time of prosperitie. The like we read of the brethren of Ioseph, who falling into som affliction in Egypt,Gen. 42. presently entered into their own conscience, and said; We suffer those things woorthily, for that we sinned against our brother. And as tribulation bringeth this light, wherby we see our own defects: so helpeth it greatly to remoove and cure the same: wherin it may be wel likened unto the rod of Moises. For as that rod striking the hard rocks,Exo. 17. Deut. 8. Psa. 77. brought foorth water, as the scripture saith: so, this rod of affliction falling upon stonie harted sinners, mollifieth them to contrition, and oftentimes bringeth foorth the fluds of tears to repen­tance. In respect wherof,Tobi. 3. holie Toby saith to God; In time of tribulation thou forgivest sin. Iob. 23. Pro. 17. Eccl. 2. Esai. 1. Ierem. 9. And for like effect, it is compared also to a file of iron, which taketh away the rust of the soul: also to a purgation that driveth out corrupt humors: and finally to a goldsmiths fire, which consumeth away the reffuse metals, and fineth the gold to his perfection. I wil try thee by fire to the quik (saith God to a sinner by Esay the pro­phet) and I wil take away al thy tin, and reffuse me­tal. And again by Ieremie; I wil melt them; and try them by fire. This he ment of the fire of tri­bulation, whose propertie is (according as the scripture saith) to purge and fine the soul, as fire purgeth and fineth gold in the fornace.Sap. 3. Zac. 13. [Page 232] For besides the purging and remooving of greater sins, by consideration, and contrition (which tribulation worketh, as hath ben shew­ed:) it purgeth also the rust of infinit evil pas­sions, appetites, and humors in man: as the humor of pride, of vain glorie, of sloth, of cho­ler, of delicate nisenes, and a thousand mo, which prosperitie ingendereth in us. This God declareth by the prophet Ezechiel, saieng of a rustie soul;Eze. 24. Put hir naked upon the hot coles, and let hir heat there, until hir brasse be melted from hir, and until hir corruption be burned out, and hir rust consumed. There hath been much labor and sweat taken about hir, and yet hir over-much rust is not gone out of hir. Iob. 33. This also signifieth holy Iob, when having said, that God instructeth a man by discipline (or correction) to the end he may turn him from the things that he hath done, and deliver him from pride: (which is understood of his sinful acts) he addeth a little after,verse. 25. the maner of this purgation, saieng; His flesh being consumed by punishments, let him return again to the dais of his youth. That is, al his fleshly humors and passi­ons, being now consumed by punishments and tribulations, let him begin to live again in such puritie of soul, as he did at the beginning of his youth, before he had contracted these evil humors and diseases.

4 A preser­vative.11 Neither only is tribulation a strong me­dicin to heal sin: and to purge away the ref­fuse metals in us of brasse,Eze. 22. tin, iron, lead, and [Page 233] drosse, as God by Ezechiel saith: but also a most excellent preservative against sin for the time to come: according as good king David said;Psal. 17. Thy discipline (O Lord) hath corrected me for evermore. That is, it hath made me warie, and watchful, not to commit sin again, according as the scripture saith in another place; Agree­vous infirmitie or affliction maketh the fool sober. Eccl. 31. For which cause the prophet Ieremie calleth tribu­lation; Virgam vigilantem: A watchful rod. Ierem. 1. That is, as Saint Ierom expoundeth it, a rod that maketh a man watchful. The same signifi­ed God, when he said by Ose the prophet;Osee. 2. I wil hedge in thy way with thorns. That is, I wil so close thy life on every side with the remem­brance and fear of affliction, that thou shalt not dare to tread awry, lest thou tread upon a thorn. Al which, good David expresseth of himselfe in these words;Psal. 18. Before I was humbled and brought low by affliction, I did sin and offend thee (O Lord) but after that time, I have kept thy com­mandements.

12 Of this also appeereth another cause,5 A preventi­on of punish­ment. why God afflicteth his elect in this life: and that is, to prevent his justice upon them, in the world to come. Touching which, Saint Barnard saith thus;Serm. 55. in Cantic. Oh would to God some man would now beforehand, provide for my head abundance of waters, and to mine eies a fountain of teares: for so happily the burning fire should take no hold, where running teares [Page 234] had clensed before. And the reason of this is, (as that holie man himselfe noteth after) for that God hath said by Naum the prophet;Naum. 1. I have afflicted thee once, & I wil not afflict thee again: there shal not come from me a double tribulation.

6 To prove us.13 Sixtlie, God sendeth tribulation upon his servants, to proove them therby, whether they be faithful and constant or no: That is, to make themselves and other men see and confesse, how faithful or unfaithful they are. This after a sort was figured, when Isaac would grope & touch his son Iacob,Gen. 27. before he would blesse him. And this the scripture expresseth plainly, when talking of the tribulations laid upon Abraham. It addeth; Tentavit Deus A­braham: Gen. 22. God tempted Abraham. By these means to proove him. And Moises said to the people of Israel;Deut. 8. Thou shalt remember how thy God led thee fortie yeers about the desert to afflict thee, and tempt thee: to the end it might appeer what was in thy hart: whether thou wouldest keepe his comman­dements or no. And again, a few chapters after; Your God and Lord doth tempt you to the end it may be manifest whether you love him or no, Deu. 13. with al your hart, and with al your soul. In which sense, also the scripture saith of Ezechias, after many praises given unto him; That God left him for a time to be tempted, 2. Par. 32. that the thoughts of his hart might therby be made manifest. And that this is Gods fashion towards al good men, king David sheweth in the person of al,Psal. 63. when he saith; Thou hast proo­ved [Page 235] us (O Lord) thou hast examined us by fire: thou hast laid tribulation upon our baks, and hast brought men upon our heads. And yet how wel he liked of this matter, he signifieth, when he calleth for more therof in another place, saieng;Psal. 25. Try me (O Lord) and tempt me: burn my reins and hart within me. That is, try me by the way of tribulation and persecution, search out the secrets of my hart and reins: let the world see, whether I wil stick to thee in adversitie or no. Thus said that holie prophet, wel knowing that, which in another place the ho­lie Ghost uttereth;Eccl. 2. that As the fornace trieth the potters vessels, so tribulation trieth men. For as the sound vessels only do hold when they come to the fornace, and those which are cra­sed do break in peeces: so in time of tribulati­on and persecution, the vertuous only stand to it, and the counterfet bewray themselves: according to the saieng of Christ; In tempore tentationis recedunt; Luc. 8. They depart from me in time of temptation.

14 The seventh reason,7 To make men run to God. why God laieth tri­bulation upon the vertuous, is, therby to make them run unto him for aid and help: even as the mother, to make hir child more to love hir, and to run unto hir, procureth the same to be made afraid and terrified by others. This, God expresseth plainly by the prophet Ose, saieng of those that he loved; I wil draw them unto me, in the ropes of Adam, in the chains of love, Ose. 11. and wil seem [Page 236] unto them as though I raised a yoke upon their iaw bones. By the ropes of Adam, he meaneth afflic­tion, wherby he drew Adam to know himselfe: as also appeereth by that he addeth of the hea­vie yoke of tribulation, which he wil lay upon the heads and faces of his servants, as chains of love, therby to draw them unto him. This chain had drawn David unto him, when he said; O Lord, Psal. 31. thou art my refuge from the tribulation of sin­ners. Esai. 26. As also those wherof Esay saith; They sought thee out (O Lord) in their affliction. Also those of whom David said; Infirmities were multiplied up­on them, Psal. 15. and after that, they made haste to come. And God saith generally of al good men;Ose. 6. They wil rise betimes in the morning, and come to me in their tribulation. Wherfore holy king David, desiring to do certain men good, and to win them to God, saith in one of his psalms; Fil their faces (O Lord) with shame and confusion, Psal. 82. and then wil they seek unto thy name. And this is tru (as I said) in the elect and chosen servants of God: but in the reprobate, this rope draweth not; this yoke holdeth not; neither doth this chain of love win them unto God. Wherof God him­selfe complaineth,Ierem. 2. saieng; In vain have I stricken your children; for they have not received my disci­pline. Ierem. 5. And again the prophet Ieremie saith of them to God; Thou hast crushed them, and they have refused to receive thy discipline: they have har­dened their faces even as a rok, and wil not return to thee. Behold, they have rent the yoke, and broken the [Page 237] chains.

15 Of this now ensueth an eight reason,8 To manifest Gods power and love in delivering. why God bringeth his servants into affliction: to wit, therby to shew his power and love in delivering them. For as in this world a prince­ly mind desireth nothing more, than to have occasion wherby to shew his abilitie and good wil unto his deer frind: so God, which hath al occasions in his own hands, and passeth al his creatures togither in greatnes of love, and no­bilitie of mind, worketh purposely divers oc­casions and opportunities, wherby to shew and exercise the same. So he brought the three children into the burning fornace, therby to shew his power and love in delivering them.Dan. 3.6.13. Iob. 1.2. Gen. 31. Tob. 2.12. So he brought Daniel, into the lions den; Susan­na, unto the point of death; Iob, into extreme miserie; Ioseph, into prison; Toby, unto blind­nes: therby to shew his power and love in their deliverance. For this cause also did Christ suf­fer the ship to be almost drowned,Matt. 8. Mat. 14. before he would awake: and Saint Peter to be almost under water, before he would take him by the hand.

16 And of this one reason,9 The ioy of deliverance. many other rea­sons and most comfortable causes do appeer of Gods dealing heerin. As first, that we being delivered from our afflictions, might take more joy and delite therof, than if we had never suf­fered the same. For as water is more grateful to the waifaring man, after a long drith; and a [Page 238] calm more pleasant unto passengers after a troublesom tempest: so is our deliverie more sweet after persecution or tribulation: accor­ding as the scripture saith; Speciosa misericordia Dei in tempore tribulationis: Eccl. 35. The mercie of God is beautiful and pleasant in time of tribulation. This signified also Christ,Iohn. 16. when he said; Your sorrow shal be turned into ioy: that is, you shal rejoice, that ever you were sorrowful. This had David proo­ved,Psal. 22. when he said; Thy rod (O Lord) and thy staff have comforted me: that is, I take great comfort that ever I was chastised with them. And again; According to the multitude of my sorrows, thy conso­lations have made ioiful my mind: Psal. 93. that is, for every sorrow that I received in time of affliction, I receive now a consolation after my delive­rance. And again, in another place; I wil exult and reioice in thy mercie, O Lord. And wherfore (good king) wilt thou so rejoice? It followeth immediately;Psal. 30. For that thou hast respected mine a­basement, and hast delivered my soul from the necessi­tie wherin she was, and hast not left me in the hands of mine enimie. This then is one most gracious meaning of our loving and merciful father, in afflicting us for a time; to the end, our joy may be the greater after our deliverance, as no dowt but it was, in al those whom I have na­med before, delivered by Gods mercy▪ I mean, Abraham, Ioseph, Daniel, Sidrach, Misach and Abdenago; Susanna, Iob, Tobias, Peter, and the rest: who took more joy after their delive­rance, [Page 239] than if they had never been in affliction at al. When Iudith had delivered Bethulia, and returned thither with Holofernes head:Iudit. 6.14.15. there was more hartie joy in that citie, than ever there would have been, if it had not been in distresse.Acts. 12. When S. Peter was delivered out of prison by the angel: there was more joy for his deliverance in the church, than could have been, if he had never been in prison at al.

17 Out of this great joy resulteth another effect of our tribulation,10 Thanks gi­ving for our deliverance. much pleasant to God, and comfortable to our selves: and that is, a most hartie and earnest thanksgiving to God for our deliverance: such as the prophet used, when he said, after his deliverance;Psal. 58. I for my part wil sing of thy strength, and wil exalt thy mercy betimes in the morning, for that thou hast been my aider and refuge, in the day of my tribulation. Such hartie thanks and praise did the children of Israel yeeld to God for their deliverance, when they were passed over the red sea in that no­table song of theirs, which beginneth;Exo. 15. 1. Reg. 2. Iudic. 5. Iudit. 12. Can­temus Domino. And is registred by Moises in Exodus. From like hartie affect came also those songs of Anna, Debora, and Iudith, mooved therunto by the remembrance of their affliction past. And finally, this is one of the cheefest things that God esteemeth and desireth at our hands: as he testifieth by the prophet, saieng; Cal upon me in the day of tribula­tion: I wil deliver thee, and thou shalt honor me. Psal. 49.

[Page 240] 11 Embolde­ning us in Gods ser­vice.18 Besides al these, God hath yet further rea­sons of laieng persecution upon us: as for ex­ample; for that by suffering, and perceiving indeed Gods assistance & consolation therin, we come to be so hardie, bold, and constant in his service, as nothing afterward can dismay us:Exod. 4. even as Moises, though he were first afeard of the serpent made of his rod, and fled away from it: yet, after by Gods commandement he had once taken it by the tail, he feared it no more. This the prophet David expresseth no­tablie,Psal. 45. when he saith; God hath been our refuge, and strength, and helper in our great tribulations: and therfore we wil not fear, if the whol earth should be trouble, & the mountains cast into the midst of the sea. What greater confidence can be imagined than this?

12 The exercise of al the ver­tues.19 Again, by persecution and affliction God bringeth his children to the exercise of many of those vertues that do belong to a Christian man, and to enter into some reasonable posses­sion of them.Faith. As for example; Faith is exerci­sed in time of tribulation, in considering the causes of Gods exercising of us, and beleeving most assuredly the promises he hath made for our deliverance.Hope. Hope is exercised in concei­ving and assuring hirselfe of the reward promi­sed to them that suffer patience.Charitie. Charitie is exercised in considering the love of Christ suf­fering for us, and therby provoketh the afflic­ted to suffer again with him.Obedience. Obedience is [Page 241] exercised in conforming our wils to the wil of Christ. Patience in bearing quietly.Patience. Humilitie. Humilitie in abasing our selves in the sight of God. And so likewise al other vertues, belonging to a good Christian, are stirred up, and established in man by tribulation, according to the saieng of S. Peter; God shal make perfect, confirm, 1. Pet. 5. and esta­blish those, which have suffered a little for his name.

20 Finally, Gods meaning is,13 To make us like un­to Christ. by laieng per­secution and affliction upon us, to make us perfect Christians: that is, like unto Christ our captain, whom the prophet calleth; Virum do­lorum, & scientem infirmitatem: A man of sorrows, Esai. 53. and one that had tasted of al maner of infirmities. Therby to receive the more glorie at his return to heaven, and to make more glorious al those that wil take his part therin. To speak in one word:Crucified Christians. God would make us by tribulation crucified Christians: which is the most hono­rable title that can be given unto a creature: crucified (I say) and mortified to the vanities of this world; to the flesh; & to our own concu­piscence and carnal desires: but quik and ful of al lively spirit, to vertu, godlines & devotion. This is the heavenly meaning of our soveraign Lord & God, in sending us persecution, tribu­lation, & affliction: in respect wherof holy Iob dowteth not to say;Iob. 5. Blessed is the man that is af­flicted by God. And Christ himselfe yet more ex­presly; Happie are they which suffer persecution. Mat. 5. If they are happie and blessed therby: then are [Page 242] the worldly greatly awry, which so much abhor the sufferance therof: then is GOD but un­thankfully dealt withal by many of his chil­dren, who repine at this happines bestowed upon them: wheras indeed they should accept it with joy and thanksgiving. For proofe and better declaration wherof; I wil enter now in­to the third point of this chapter, to examin what reasons & causes there be, to induce us to this joifulnes and contentation of tribulation.

21 And first, the reasons laid down alreadie of Gods merciful,The third part of this chapter, why tribulations should be re­ceived ioi­fully. and fatherly meaning in sending us affliction, might be sufficient for this matter: that is, to comfort and content any Christian man or woman, who taketh de­lite in Gods holie providence towards them. For if God do send affliction unto us, for the increase of our glorie in the life to come; for drawing us from infection of the world; for opening our eies, and curing our diseases; and for preserving our souls from sin heerafter (as hath been shewed, who can be justly displea­sed therwith, but such as are enimies unto their own good? We see that for the obtai­ning of bodilie health we are content, not only to admit many bitter and unpleasant medi­cins: but also (if need require) to yeeld wil­lingly some part of our blood ro be taken from us. And how much more should we do this, to the end that we hazard not the eternal health and salvation of our soul? But now fur­ther; [Page 243] if this medicin have so many mo com­modities besides, as have been declared: if it serve heer for the punishment of our sin, du otherwise at another place, in far greater quantitie and rigor of justice: if it make a trial of our estate, and do draw us to God: if it pro­cure Gods love towards us; yeeld matter of joy by our deliverance provoke us to thankfulnes; embolden and strengthen us: and finally, if it furnish us with al vertues, and do make us like to Christ himselfe: then is there singular great cause, why we should take comfort and conso­lation therin: for that, to come neer and to be like unto Christ, is the greatest dignitie and preeminence in the world. Lastlie, if Gods eternal wisdome hath so ordained and appoin­ted, that this shal be the badge and liverie of his Son; the high way to heaven, under the standard of his crosse: then ought we not to refuse this liverie; nor to flie this way, but ra­ther with good Peter and Iohn to esteem it a great dignitie,Acts. 5. to be made woorthy of the most blessed participation therof. We see, that to wear the colors of the prince, is thought a prerogative among courtiers in this world: but to wear the robe or crown it selfe, were to great a dignitie for any inferior subject to receive. Yet Christ our Lord and king is content to impart both of his with us. And how then ought we (I pray you) to accept therof.

22 And now (as I have said) these reasons [Page 244] might be sufficient, to comfort and make joi­ful al those that are called to suffer affliction and tribulation.Special con­siderations of comfort in affliction. But yet there want not some more particular considerations besides. Wher­of the first and most principal is, that this mat­ter of persecution commeth not by chance or casualitie, or by any general direction from higher powers: but by the special providence and peculiar disposition of God: as Christ sheweth at large in Saint Mathews Gospel:Mat. 10. that is, this heavenly medicin or potion is made unto us, by Gods own hand in particu­lar. Which Christ signifieth, when he saith; Shal I not drink the cup which my father hath given me? Ioh. 16. That is, seeing my father hath tempered a potion for me, shal I not drink it? As who would say, it were too much ingratitude. Se­condly, is to be noted, that the very same hand of God, which tempered the cup for Christ his own Son, hath done the same also for us, according to Christ his saieng; You shal drink of my cup. Mat. 10. That is, of the same cup which my fa­ther hath tempered for me. Heerof it follow­eth; that, with what hart and love God tempe­red this cup unto his own Son; with the same he hath tempered it also to us: that is, altogi­ther for our good, and his glorie. Thirdlie, is to be noted, that this cup is tempered with such special care (as Christ saith) that what trouble or danger soever it seem to work:Luc. 21. Mat. 10. yet shal not one hair of our head perish by the same. Nay [Page 245] further is to be noted, that which the pro­phet saith; O Lord, Psal. 79. thou shalt give us to drink in tears, in measure. That is, the cup of tears and tribulation shal be so tempered in mea­sure by our heavenly physition, as no man shal have above his strength. The dose of aloes, and other bitter ingredients shal be qualified with manna, and sufficient sweetnes of heaven­lie consolation; God is faithful (saith Saint Paul) and wil not suffer you to be tempted above your abi­litie. This is a singular point of comfort,1. Cor. 10. and ought alwais to be in our remembrance.

23 Beside this, we must consider that the ap­pointing and tempering of this cup, being now in the hands of Christ our Savior, by the ful commission granted him from his fa­ther:Mat. 28. and he having learned by his own suffe­rings (as the apostle notifieth) what it is to suf­fer in flesh and blood:Heb. 5. we may be sure that he wil not lay upon us more, than we can bear. For, as if a man had a father or brother, a most skilful physition, and should receive a purgati­on from them, tempered with their own hands, he might be sure it would never hurt him; what rumbling soever it made in his bel­lie for the time: so and much more may we be assured of the potion of tribulation ministred us, by the hand of Christ:Heb. 12. though as the apo­stle saith) it seem unto us unpleasant for a time. but above al other comfortable cogitations, this is the greatest and most comfortable, to [Page 246] consider, that he divideth this cup only of love, as himselfe protesteth, and the apostle prooveth: that is, he giveth out portions of his crosse (the richest jewel that he maketh ac­count of) as worldly princes do their treasure,Apoc. 3. Heb. 12. unto none,Gods mea­sure of tri­bulation go­eth accor­ding to the measure of his love. but unto chosen and picked frinds: and among them also, not equally to ech man, but to everie one a measure, according to the measure of good wil, wherwith he loveth him. This is evident by the examples before set down of his deerest frinds, most of al afflic­ted in this life: that is, they received greater portions of this treasure, for that his good wil was greater towards them. This also may be seen manifestly in the example of Saint Paul: of whom after Christ had said to Ananias; Vas electionis est mihi: Acts. 9. He is a chosen vessel unto me. He giveth immediatly the reason therof; For I wil shew unto him, what great things he must suffer for my name. Lo heer: for that he was a chosen vessel, therfore he must suffer great mat­ters. Doth not the measure of suffering go then according to the measure of Gods love unto us? Surely Saint Peter knew wel how the mat­ter went,1. Pet. 2. and therfore he writeth thus; If you living wel, do suffer with patience, this is a grace (or privilege) before God. And again a little after; If you suffer reproch in the name of Christ, 1. Pet. 4. you are hap­pie: for that the honor, and glorie, and power of God, and of his holie spirit, shal rest upon you.

24 Can there be any greater reward pro­mised, [Page 247] or any more excellent dignitie, than to be made partaker of the honor, glorie, and po­wer of Christ? Is it marvel now if Christ said; Happie are you when men revile and persecute you? Mat. 5. Is it marvel though he said; Gaudete in illa die, & exultate: Reioice and triumph ye at that day? Luc. 6. Is it marvel though Saint Paul said; I take great plea­sure, and do glorie in mine infirmities, or afflictions, in my reproches, in my necessities, in my persecutions, 2. Cor. 12. in my distresses for Christ? Is it marvel if Peter and Iohn, being reproched and beaten at the judg­ment seat of the Iewes,Acts. 5. went away rejoicing that they were esteemed woorthy to suffer con­tumelie for the name of Iesus? Is it marvel though Saint Paul accounted this such a high privilege given to the Philippians, when he said; It is given to you, not only to beleeve in Christ, Philip. 1. but also to suffer for him, and to have the same com­bat, which you have seen in me, and now hear of me? Al this is no marvel (I say) seeing that suffering with Christ, and bearing the crosse with Christ, is as great preferment in the court of heaven, as it should be in an earthly court, for the prince to take off his own garment, and to lay it on the bak of one of his servants.

25 Of this now followeth another conse­quent of singular consolation,Tribulation a signe of predesti­nation. in time of afflic­tion: and that is, that tribulation (especially when grace is also given to bear it patiently) is a great conjecture of predestination to eternal life (for, so much do al those arguments before [Page 248] touched insinuate:) as also in the contrarie part, to live in continual prosperitie, is a dred­ful sign of everlasting reprobation. This point is marvelously prooved by the apostle unto the Hebrews,Heb. 12. Luc. 6. Luc. 16. Ps. 27. & 73. Psal. 73. verse. 18. and greatly urged. And Christ giveth a plain signification in S. Luke, when he saith; Happie are you that weep now, for you shal laugh. And on the other side; Wo unto you that laugh now, for B you shal weep: wo unto you rich men, which have your consolation heer in this life. And yet more vehe­mently than al this, doth the saieng of Abra­ham to the rich man in hel (or rather Christs words parabolically attributed unto Abra­ham) confirm this matter: for he saith to the rich man, complaining of his torment; Remem­ber child, that thou receivedst good in thy life time. He doth not say (as Saint Barnard wel noteth) Rapuisti, thou tookest them by violence, but Recepisti, thou receivedst them. And yet this now is objected against him as we see. Da­vid handleth this matter in divers places, but purposely in two of his psalms, and that at large, and after long search and much admira­tion, his conclusion of wicked men prospered above other in the world is this; Veruntamen In this they vary from S. Ie­rom, who translateth (according to the He­brew) In lu­brico posui­sti eos: that is thou hast set them in slipperie places. So in this al­so the old translation followeth not the he­brew nor Ierom, but the Greek translation of the Seuentie interpreters: saving that it doth omit Kaca, Mala: & so maketh the sense obscure. But so much as therin it swerveth from the purity of the text: so much doth that which heeron they build, want sufficient warrant in this place, which notwith­stāding (being soberly understood) is agreeable to the justice of God, & standeth by warrant of other places. In appendice Tom. 8 Hie. in eodem psal. propter dolos posuisti eis, deiecisti eos dum alleva­rentur. [Page 249] Thou hast given them prosperitie (O Lord) to deceive them withal: and thou hast indeed thrown them down, by exalting them. That is, thou hast thrown them down to the sentence of damnation, in thy secret and in­scrutable determination. Heer the compari­son of Saint Gregorie taketh place:Com. in Iob. that as the oxen appointed to the slaughter, are let run a fatting at their pleasure, and the other kept un­der daily labor of the yoke: so fareth it with evil and good men. In like maner, the tree that beareth no fruit, is never beaten (as we see) but only the fruitful:Mat. 3.7. Ep. Iude. and yet the other (as Christ saith) is reserved for the fire. The sik man that is past al hope of life, is suffered by the physici­an to have whatsoever he lusteth after: but he whose helth is not despaired, cannot have that libertie granted. To conclude, the stones that must serve for the glorious temple of Salomon were hewed, beaten,3. Reg. 6. and pollished without the church, at the quarrie side: for that no stroke of hammer might be heard within the temple. Saint Peter saith,1. Pet. 2. that the vertuous are cho­sen stones, to be placed in the spiritual buil­ding of God in heaven,Apo. 21. where there is no bea­ting, no sorrow, no tribulation. Heer then must we be pollished, hewed, and made fit for that glorious temple: heer (I say) in the quarrie of this world: heer must we be fined, heer must we feel the blow of the hammer, and be most glad when we hear or feel the same: for that it is a [Page 250] signe of our election, to that most glorious house of Gods eternal mansion.

Tribulation bringeth the companie of God himself.26 Beside this matter of predestination and election, there is yet another thing of no smal comfort to the godlie afflicted, founded on these words of God;Psal. 90. Cum ipso sum in tribulatione: I am with him in tribulation. Wherby is promised the companie of God himselfe in affliction and persecution. This is a singular motive (saith S. Barnard) to stir men up withal to imbrace tri­bulation, seeing in this world for good compa­ny, men adventure to do any thing. Ioseph was carried captive into Egypt, and GOD went down with him (as the scripture saith:) yea more than that, he went into the dungeon, and was in chains with him.Gen. 37. Sidrach, Misac, and Abdenago were cast into a burning fornace,Sap. 10. and presently there was a fourth came to bear them companie, of whom Nabuchodonosor saith thus;Can. 3. Did we not put three men only bound into the fire? And his servants answe­red; Yea verily. But behold (saith he) I see four men unbound walking in the midst of the fire: and the shape of the fourth is like the Son of God. Christ restored, as he passed by, a certain begger unto his sight, which had been blind from his nativitie.Iohn. 9. For which thing, the man being called in question, and speaking some­what in the praise of Christ,Note this example. for the benefit re­ceived, he was cast out of the synagog by the Pharisies. Wherof Christ hearing, sought him [Page 251] out presently, and comforting his hart besto­wed upon him the light of mind, much more of importance than that of the bodie, given him before. By this and like examples, it ap­peereth, that a man is no sooner in affliction and tribulation for justice sake, but streight­way Christ is at hand to bear him companie: and if his eies might be opened, as the eies of Elizeus his disciple was,4. Reg. 16. to see his compani­ons, the troups of Angels (I mean) which at­tend upon their Lord in this his visitation: no dowt but his hart would greatly be comforted therwith.

27 But that which the eie cannot see,The assi­stance of Gods grace in tribula­tion. the soul feeleth: that is, she feeleth the assistance of Gods grace amidst the depth of al tribula­tions. This he hath promised again and again: this he hath sworn: and this he performeth most faithfully to al those that suffer meekly for his name. This Saint Paul most certainly as­sured himselfe of, when he said, that he did glo­rie in al his infirmities and tribulations, to the end that Christ his vertu might dwel in him: that is, to the end that Christ should assist him more abundantly with his grace; Cū enim infir­mor, tunc potens sum: For when I am in most infirmi­ty, then am I most strong, saith he: that is, the more tribulations and afflictions are laid upon me, the stronger is the aid of Christs grace unto me. And therfore the same apostle writeth thus of al the apostles togither;2. Cor. 4. We suffer tribu­lation [Page 252] in al things; but yet we are not distressed: we are brought into perplexities; but yet we are not for­saken: we suffer persecution; but yet we are not aban­doned: we are flung down to the ground; but yet we perish not. This then ought to be a most sure and secure staff in the hand of al Christians af­flicted; that, whatsoever befal unto them: yet the grace of God wil never fail to hold them up, and bear them out therin: for in this case most tru and certain is that saieng of Saint Au­sten,Serm. 88. de temp. & de nat. & gra. cap. 26. so often repeated by him in his works; that God never forsaketh any man, except he be rejected and first forsaken by man.

28 For the last reason of comfort in afflicti­on, I wil join two things togither of great force and efficacie to this matter. The first wherof, is the expectation of reward; the other is the shortnes of time wherin we haue to suffer: both are touched by Saint Paul in one sentence, when he saith;2. Cor. 4. That a little, and momentain tribu­lation in this world, worketh an eternal weight of glo­rie in the height of heaven. By momentain he sheweth the little time we have to suffer: and by eternal weight of glorie, he expresseth the greatnes of the reward prepared in heaven for recompence of that suffering. Christ also joi­neth both these comforts togither, when he saith;Apo. 22. Behold, I come quikly, and my reward is with me. In that he promiseth to come quikly, he signifieth, that our tribulation shal not endure long: by that he bringeth his reward with [Page 253] him, he assureth us that he wil not come emp­tie handed, but readie furnished, to recom­pence our labor thoroughly. And what great­er means of incouragement could he use than this? If a man did bear a verie heavy burden: yet if he were sure to be wel paid for his labor, and that he had but a little way to bear the same: he would strain himselfe greatly, to go through to his wais end, rather than for spa­ring so short a labor, to leese so large, and so present a reward. This is our Lords most mer­ciful dealing, to comfort us in our affliction, and to animate us to hold out manfully for a time, though the poize seem heavie on our shoulders: the comming of our Lord is even at hand, and the judge is before the gates,Iaco. 5. Mat. 11. Ap. 7.21. Gal. 6. who shal refresh us, and wipe away al our teares, and place us in his kingdome to reap joy without fainting. And then shal we proove the saieng of holie Saint Paul to be tru; that The sufferings of this world are not woorthy of that glory which shal be revealed in us. Rom. 8. And this may be sufficient for the reasons left us of comfort in tribulation and affliction.

29 And thus having declared the first three points promised in this chapter:4 The fourth part of this chapter. there remai­neth only to say a word or two of the fourth: that is, what we have to do for our parts in time of persecution and affliction. And this might be dispatched in saieng only, that we have to conform our selves to the wil and mea­ning [Page 254] of God, uttered before in the causes of tribulation. But yet for more ease and better remembrance of the same, I wil briefly run over the principal points therof. First then we have to aspire to that (if we can) which Christ counselleth; Gaudete & exultate: Reioice and triumph. 1 To reioice in tribulation: or at least­wise to have patience. Or if we cannot arrive to this perfecti­on: yet to do as the apostle willeth; Omne gau­dium existimate cum in varias tentationes incideri­tis: Esteem it a matter woorthy of al ioy, when we fal into divers temptations. That is, if we cannot re­joice at it indeed: yet to think it a matter in it selfe woorthy of rejoicement:Luc. 6. Iac. 1. reprehending our selves, for that we cannot reach unto it. And if we cannot come thus high neither (as indeed we ought to do) yet in any case to re­member,Heb. 10. what in another place he saith; Pati­entia vobis necessaria est, vt reportetis promissionem: You must of necessitie have patience, if you wil receive Gods promise of everlasting life.

2 To come to God by fer­vent praier.30 Secondlie, we ought to do as the apostles did, when they were in the most terrible tem­pest of the sea (Christ being with them, but a­sleepe) that is,Mat. 8. we must go and awake him: we must cry unto him with the prophet; Exurge, quare obdormis Domine: Psat. 43. O Lord arise, why dost thou sleep in our miserie? This wakening of Christ doth please him woonderfully if it be done, with that assured confidence, and of tru affec­tioned children,Mark. 4. wherwith Saint Mark descri­beth the apostles to have awakened Christ. For [Page 255] their words were these; Maister, doth it not ap­pertain unto you, that we perish heer? As who would say; Are not we your disciples and servants? Are not you our Lord and maister? Is not the cause yours? Is not al our trust and hope in you? How chanceth it then, that you sleep, and suffer us to be thus tossed and tumbled, as if we appertained nothing unto you? With this affection praied Esay, when he said; Attend (O Lord) from heaven: Esai. 63. look hither from the holie habitation of thy glorie: where is thy zeale? Where is thy fortitude? Where is the multitude of thy mer­ciful bowels? Have they shut themselves up now to­wards me? Thou art our father: Abraham hath not known us, and Israel hath been ignorant of us: thou art our father (O Lord) turn thy selfe about for thy servants sake, for love of the tribe of thine inheri­tance. Thus I say we must cal upon God: thus we must awake him, when he seemeth to sleep in our miseries, with earnest, with devout, with continual praier: alwais having in our mind that most comfortable parable of Christ, wher­in he saith,Luc. 11. that if we should come to our neighbors door, and knock at midnight to borrow some bread, when he were in bed with his children, and most loth to rise: yet if we persevere in asking, and beating at his door stil, though he were not our frind, yet would he rise at length, & give us our demand, therby at least to be rid of our crieng. And how much more wil God do this (saith Christ) who both [Page 256] loveth us, and tendereth our case most merci­fully.

An impor­tant note.31 But yet heer is one thing to be noted in this matter: and that is, that Christ suffered the ship almost to be covered with waves (as the Evangelist saith,Mat. 8. before he would awake, therby to signifie that the measure of tempta­tions is to be left only unto himselfe: it is suffi­cient for us to rest upon the apostles words; He is faithful, 1. Cor. 10. and therfore he wil not suffer us to be tempted above our strength. We may not examin or mistrust his doings: we may not inquire why doth he this? Or why suffereth he that? Or how long wil he permit these evils to reign? God is a great God in al his doings: and when he sendeth tribulation, he sendeth a great deal togither, to the end he may shew his great pow­er, in delivering us, and recompenseth it after, with as great measure of comfort. His temp­tations oftentimes do go very deep, therby to try the very harts and reins of men. He went far with Elias, when he caused him to fly into a mountain, and there most desirous of death, to say;3. Reg. 19. They have killed al thy prophets (O Lord) and I am left alone, and now they seeke to kil me also. He went far with David, when he made him cry out;Psal. 30. Why dost thou turn thy face away from me, O Lord? Why dost thou forget my povertie and tribula­tion? And in another place again, I said with my selfe in the excesse of my mind: I am cast out from the face of thine eies, O Lord. God went far with [Page 257] the apostles, when he inforced one of them to write;2. Cor. 1. We wil not have you ignorant (brethren) of our tribulation in Asia, wherin we were oppressed a­bove al measure, & above al strength: insomuch as it lothed us to live any longer. But yet above al o­thers, he went furthest with his own deer Son, when he constrained him to utter those pitti­ful, & most lamentable words upon the crosse; My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Who can now complain of any proofe or temptati­on whatsoever, laid upon him,Mat. 22. Psal. 21. seeing GOD would go so far with his own deer & only Son?

32 Heerof then insueth the third thing, necessarie unto us in tribulation: which is,3 Magnani­mitie with a strong faith. magnanimitie, grounded upon a strong and invincible faith of Gods assistance, and of our final deliverance, how long soever he delay the matter, and how terrible soever the storm do seem for the time. This God requireth at our hands, as may be seen by the example of the disciples, who cried not; We perish, before the waves had covered the ship,Mat. 8. Luc. 8. as Saint Mathew writeth: and yet Christ said unto them; Vbi est fides vestra: Where is your faith? Saint Peter also was not afeard until he was almost under water, as the same Evangelist recordeth: and yet Christ reprehended him, saieng; Thou man of little faith, why diddest thou dowt? Mat. 14. What then must we do in this case deer brother? Surely we must put on that mightie faith of valiant king David, who upon the most assured trust he had [Page 258] of Gods assistance,Psal. 17. said; In Deo meo transgrediar murū: In the help of my God I wil go through the wal. Of which invincible faith Saint Paul was also, when he said;Phili. 4. Omnia possum in eo qui me confortat: I can do al things in him that comforteth and streng­theneth me. Nothing is unpossible, nothing is too hard for me, by his assistance. We must be (as the scripture saith) Quasi Leo confidens absque terrore: Pro. 28. Like a bold and confident Lion, which is without terror. That is, we must not be astonied at any tempest, any tribulation, any adversitie. We must say with the prophet David experi­enced in these matters; I wil not fear many thou­sands of people that should inviron or besiege me togi­ther. Psal. 3. Psal. 21. If I should walk amidst the shadow of death. I wil not fear. If whole armies should stand against me, yet my hart should not tremble. Psal. 26. My hope is in God, and therfore I wil not fear what man can do unto me. Psa. 117. God is my aider, and I wil not fear what flesh can do unto me: God is my helper and protector, and therfore I wil despise and contemn mine enimies. Psal. 55. And ano­ther prophet in like sense; Behold, God is my sa­vior, Esai. 12. and therfore wil I deal confidently, and wil not fear. These were the speeches of holie pro­phets: of men that knew wel what they said, and had often tasted of affliction themselves: and therfore could say of their own experience how infallible Gods assistance is therin.

33 To this supreme courage, magnanimitie, and Christian fortitude,Christian fortitude. the scripture exhor­teth us, when it saith; If the spirit of one that is in [Page 259] authoritie, do rise against thee: Eccl. 10. Eccl. 4. see thou yeeld not from thy place unto him. And again, another scrip­ture saith; Strive for iustice, even to the losse of thy life: and stand for equitie unto death it selfe: and God shal overthrow thine enimies for thee. And Christ himselfe, yet more effectually recom­mendeth this matter in these words;Luc. 12. I say unto you my frinds, be not afraid of them which kil the body, and afterward have nothing else to do against you. And S. Peter addeth further; Ne (que) conturbemini. that is; Do not only not fear them, 1. Pet. 3. but (which is lesse) do not so much as be troubled for al that flesh and blood can do against you.

34 Christ goeth further in the Apocalips, and useth marvelous speeches to intise us to this fortitude. For these are his words;Apoc. 2. Those ten dais some think to have been the ten gene­ral persecu­tions within the first 300. yeers after Christ. He that hath an eare to hear, let him hear what the spirit saith unto the churches. To him that shal conquer, I wil give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the para­dise of my God. This saith the first and the last: he that was dead, and now is alive: I know thy tribulati­tion, and thy povertie: but thou art rich indeed, and art blasphemed by those that say they are tru Israe­lites,B and are not: but are rather the synagog of sa­tan. Fear nothing of that which you are to suffer: be­hold, the devil wil cause some of you to be thrust into prison, to the end you may be tempted: and you shal have tribulation for But o­thers ra­ther think that ten doth heer signifie many (as in some other places of scripture) and dais, as they are broken of by the nights that come betwixt, so to signifie such times of trial as shuld now & then have times of breathing likewise; that so the faithful may be refeshed, & gather their strength against a fresh assalt ensuing. ten daies. But be faithful unto [Page 260] death, and I wil give thee a crown of life. He that hath an eare to hear, let him hear what the spirit saith unto the churches: he that shal overcome, shal not be hurt by the second death. Cap. 3. And he that shal overcome and keep my works unto the end: I wil give unto him authoritie over nations, even as I have received it from my father: and I wil give him besides, the mor­ning star. He that shal overcome, shal be appareled in white garments: and I wil not blot his name out of the booke of life, but wil confesse his name before my fa­ther, and before his angels. Behold, I come quikly: hold fast that thou hast, lest another man receive thy crown. He that shal conquer, I wil make him a pil­ler in the temple of my God, & he shal never go foorth more: and I wil write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the citie of my God, which is new Ie­rusalem. He that shal conquer, I wil give unto him to sit with me in my throne: even as I have conquered, and do sit with my father in his throne.

35 Hitherto are the words of Christ to Saint Iohn. And in the end of the same book, after he had described the joies and glorie of hea­ven at large, he concludeth thus; And he that sat on the throne said to me; Write these words, for that they are most faithful and tru. Qui vicerit possi­debit haec, Cap. 21. & ero illi Deus, & ille erit mihi filius: timi­dis autem, & incredulis, &c. pars illorum erit in stagno ardenti, igne, & sulphure, quod est mors secunda: He that shal conquer, shal possese al the ioies that I have heer spoken of: and I wil be his God, and he shal be my son. But they which shal be fearful to fight, or [Page 261] incredulous of these things that I have said: their portion shal be in the lake burning with fire and brim­stone, which is the second death.

36 Heer now we see both allurements, and threats; good, and evil; life, and death;Eccl. 15. the joies of heaven, and the burning lake, proposed unto us. We may stretch out our hands unto which we wil. If we fight and conquer (as by Gods grace we may) then are we to enjoy the promises laid down before. If we shew our selves either unbeleeving in these promises, or fearful to take the fight in hand, being offered unto us: then fal we into the danger of the contrarie threats: even as Saint Iohn affirmeth in another place, that certain noble men did,Iohn. 12. among the Iewes, who beleeved in Christ, but yet durst not confesse him, for fear of perse­cution.

37 Heer then must insu another vertu, in us, most necessarie to al those that are to suffer tribulation and affliction; and that is,A firm re­solution. a strong and firm resolution, to stand and go through, what opposition or contradiction soever we find in the world, either of fawning flatterie, or persecuting crueltie. This the scripture teacheth, crieng unto us; Esto firmus in via Do­mini: Be firm, Eccl. 9. and immooveable in the way of the Lord. And again; State in fide: viriliter agite: Stand to your faith, and play you the men. 1. Co. 16. And yet further; Confide in Deo, & mane in loco tuo: Trust in God and abide firm in thy place. And finally;Eccl. 11. [Page 262] Confortamini & non dissolvantur manus vestrae: 2. Par. 15. Take courage unto you, and let not your hands be dis­solved from the work you have begun.

38 This resolution had the three children, Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago, when having heard the flattering speech, and infinit threats of cruel Nabuchodonosor, they answered with a quiet spirit;Dan. 3. O king, we may not be careful to an­swer you, to this long speech of yours. For behold, our God is able (if he wil) to deliver us from this fornace of fire, which you threaten, and from al that you can do otherwise against us. But yet if it should not please him so to do: yet you must know (Sir king) that we do not worship your gods, nor yet adore your golden idol, which you have set up.

39 This resolution had Peter and Iohn, who being so often brought before the councel, and both commanded, threatened, and bea­ten, to talk no more of Christ: answered stil; Obedire oportet Deo magis quam hominibus: Act. 4.5. We must obey God, rather than men. The same had Saint Paul also, when being requested with teares of the Christians in Caesarea,Acts. 21. that he would forbear to go to Ierusalem, for that the holie Ghost had revealed to many the trobles which expected him there: he answered; What mean you to weep thus, and to afflict my hart? I am not only ready to be in bonds for Christs name in Ierusa­lem: but also to suffer death for the same. And in his Epistle to the Romans, he yet further expres­seth this resolution of his,Rom. 8. when he saith; What [Page 263] then shal we say to these things? If God be with us, who wil be against us? Who shal separate us from the love of Christ? Shal tribulation? Shal distresse? Shal hunger? Shal nakednes? Shal peril? Shal persecution? Shal the sword? I am certain, that neither death, nor life, nor an­gels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor strength, nor height, nor depth, nor any creature else, shal be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Iesus Christ our Lord. B

40 Finally, this was the resolution of al the holie martyrs and confessors, and other ser­vants of God: wherby they have withstood the temptations of the devil, the allurements of flesh and blood, and al the persecutions of ty­rants, exacting things unlawful at their hands. I wil alledge one example out of the Which book is not any part of canonical scripture: neverthe­les this ex­ample may wel be tru, for that such con­stancie is oftē found in the chil­dren of God. second book of Maccabes, and that before the com­ming of Christ, but yet nigh unto the same, and therfore no marvel (as the fathers do note) though it took some heat of Christian fervor and constancie towards martyrdome. The example is woonderful, for that in mans sight it was but for a It was a manifest breach of the law of God: and so no smal matter to them that knew it. smal matter required at B their hands, by the tyrants commandement: that is, only to eate a peece of swines flesh, which then was forbidden. For thus it is re­corded in the book aforesaid.

41 It came to passe that seven brethren were apprehended togither in those dais, & brought (with their mother) to the king Antiochus,2. Mac. 7. and there compelled with torments of whip­ping, [Page 264] and other instruments, to the eating of swines flesh against the law.A marve­lous con­stancie of the seven Machabees and their mother. At what time one of them (which was the eldest) said; What dost thou seeke? Or what wilt thou learn out of us, O king? We are readie heer rather to die, than to break the ancient laws of our God. Wherat the king being greatly offended, commanded the frieng pans and pots of brasse to be made burning hot: which being readie, he caused the first mans toong to be cut of, with the tops of his fingers, and toes, as also with the skin of his head, the mother and other brothers looking on, and after that to be fried until he was dead. Which being done, the second bro­ther was brought to torment, and after his hair plukt off from his head, togither with the skin, they asked him whether he would yet eat swines flesh or no, before he was put to the rest of his torments? Wherto he answered; No: and therupon was (after many torments) slain with the other. Who being dead, the third was taken in hand, and being willed to put foorth his toong: he held it foorth quikly togither with both his hands to be cut off, saieng confi­dently;A woorthie saieng. I received both toong and hands from hea­ven, and now I despise them both for the law of God, for that I hope to receive them al of him again. And after they had in this sort tormented and put to death six of the brethren, every one most constantly protesting his faith, and the joy he had to die for Gods cause: there remained [Page 265] only the yongest, whom Antiochus (being a­shamed that he could pervert never a one of the former) endevored by al means possible to draw from his purpose, by promising and swe­ring, that he should be a rich and happie man, and one of his cheef frinds, if he would yeeld. But when the youth was nothing moved ther­with: Antiochus called to him the mother, and exhorted hir to save hir sons life, by per­suading him to yeeld: which she faining to do, therby to have libertie to speak to hir son: made a most vehement exhortation to him in the Hebrew toong, to stand to it, and to die for his conscience: which speech being ended, the youth cried out with a lowd voice, and ut­tered this noble sentence woorthy to be re­membred; Quem sustinetis? Non obtempero prae­cepto regis, sed praecepto legis: Whom do you stay for? I do not obey the commandement of the king, but the commandement of the law of God. Wherupon both he and his mother were presently (after many and sundry tor­ments) put to death.

42 This then is the constant and immovea­ble resolution which a Christian man should have in al adversitie of this life. Wherof Saint Ambrose saith thus;Lib. 8. off. 38. Gratia preparandus est ani­mus, exercenda mens, & stabilienda ad constantiam: vt nullis perturbari animus possit terroribus, nullis frangi molestijs, nullis supplicijs cedere. Our mind is to be prepared with grace, to be exercised, and [Page 266] to be so established in constancie, as it may not be troubled with any terrors, broken with any adversities, yeeld to any punishments or tor­ments whatsoever.

How a man may come to an invinci­ble resolu­tion.43 If you ask heer how a man may come to this resolution: I answer, that Saint Ambrose in the same place, putteth two wais: the one is to remember the endles and intollerable pains of hel, if we do it not; and the other is to think of the unspeakable glorie of heaven, if we do it, Wherto I wil ad the third, which with a noble hart, may prevail as much as either of them both: and that is, to consider what others have suffered before us, especially Christ himselfe, and that only of meer love and affection to­wards us. We see that in this world, loving sub­jects do glorie of nothing more, than of their dangers or hurts taken in battel for their prince, though he never took blow for them again. What then would they do, if their prince had been afflicted voluntarily for them, as Christ hath been for us. But if this great example of Christ seem unto thee too high for to imitate: look uppon some of thy brethren before thee, made of flesh & blood as thou art: see what they have suffered before they could enter into heaven: think not thy selfe hardly delt withal, if thou be called to suffer a litle also.

2. Cor. 4.44 Saint Paul writeth of al the apostles to­gither;The suffe­rings of the apostles. Even unto this hour we suffer hunger and thirst, and lak of apparel: we are beaten [Page 267] with mens fists: we are vagabonds, not having where to stay: we labor & work with our own hands: we are cursed, and we do blesse: we are persecuted, and we take it patiently: we are blasphemed, and we pray for them that blas­pheme us: we are made as it were the very outcasts and purgings of this world, even unto this day: that is, though we be apostles, though we have wrought so many miracles, and converted so many millions of people: yet even unto this day are we thus used. And a little after, describing yet further their lives, he saith;2. Cor. 6. We shew our selves as the mi­nisters of God, in much patience; in tribu­lations; in necessities; in distresses; in bea­tings; in imprisonments; in seditions; in labors; in watches; in fastings; in chastitie; in longa­nimitie; in sweetnes of behavior.2. Cor. 11. And of him­selfe in particular, he saith; In laboribus pluri­mis, &c. I am the minister of God in many la­bors, in imprisonments more than the rest, in beatings above measure, and oftentimes in death it selfe.The parti­cular suffe­rings of S. Paul. Five times have I been beaten of the Iewes, and at everie time had fortie lashes lacking on: three times have I been whipt with rods: once I was stoned: three times have I suffered shipwrak: a day and a night was I in the bottom of the sea: oftentimes in jour­neies, in dangers of fluds: in dāgers of thevees: in dangers of Iewes: in dangers of gentils: in dangers of the citie: in dangers of wildernes: [Page 268] in dangers of sea: in dangers of false brethren: in labor and travel: in much watching: in hunger and thirst: in much fasting: in cold and lak of cloths: and beside al these external things, the matters that daily do depend upon me, for my universal care of al churches.

45 By this we may see now, whether the apostles taught us more by words, than they shewed by example, about the necessitie of suf­fering in this life. Christ might have provided for them if he would, at leastwise things neces­sarie to their bodies, & not have suffered them to come into these extremities of lacking cloths to their baks: meat to their mouths, and the like. He that gave them authoritie to do so many other miracles, might have suffe­red them at lest to have wrought sufficient maintenance for their bodies, which should be the first miracle that worldly men would work, if they had such authoritie. Christ might have said to Peter, when he sent him to take his tri­bute from out of the fishes mouth: Take so much more, as wil suffice your necessarie ex­pences,Mat. 17. as you travel the country: but he would not, nor yet diminish the great afflictions which I have shewed before, though he loved them as deerly, as ever he loved his own soul. Al which was done (as Saint Peter interpreteth) to give us example,1. Pet. 2. what to follow; what to look for; what to desire; what to comfort our selves withal, in amidst the greatest of our tri­bulations.

[Page 269]46 The apostle useth this,Heb. 12. as a principal con­sideration, when he writeth thus to the He­brews,A notable exhortati­on of the apostle. upon the recital of the sufferings of other saints before them; Wherfore we also (brethren) having so great a multitude of wit­nesses (that have suffered before us) let us lay off al burdens of sin hanging upon us) and let us run by patience unto the battel offered us; fixing our eies upon the author of our faith, and fulfiller of the same, Iesus: who put­ting the joies of heaven before his eies, sustai­ned patiently the crosse; contemning the shame, and confusion therof: and therfore now sitteth at the right hand of the seat of God. Think upon him (I say) which sustained such a contradiction against himselfe, at the hands of sinners: and be not wearie, nor faint in courage. For you have not yet resisted against sin unto blood: and it seemeth you have for­gotten that comfortable saieng, which spea­keth unto you as unto children; My son, Prou. 3. do not contemn the discipline of the Lord, and be not wearie when thou art chastened of him. For whom God loveth he chasteneth, & he whippeth every son whom he receiveth. Persevere therfore in the correction laid upon you.Iob. 5. Apoc. 3. God offereth him­selfe to you as to his children. For what child is there whom the father correcteth not? If you be out of correction (wherof al his children are made partakers) then are you bastards, and [Page 270] not children. Al correction for the present time when it is suffered, seemeth unpleasant and sorrowful: but yet after, it bringeth foorth most quiet fruit of justice unto them that are exercised by it. Wherfore strengthen up your wearie hands, and loosed knees: make way to your feet, &c. That is, take courage unto you, and go forward valiantly under the crosse laid upon you. This was the exhortation of this holie captain unto his countrie men, soldiers of Iesus Christ, the Iewes.

Iac. 5.47 Saint Iames the brother of our Lord u­seth another exhortation to al tru Catholiks,The exhor­tation of S. Iames. not much different from this in that his epi­stle, which he writeth generally to al. Be you therfore patient my brethren (saith he) until the comming of the Lord. Behold, the hus­bandman expecteth for a time the fruit of the earth so pretious unto him, bearing patiently until he may receive the same in his season: be you therfore patient, and comfort your harts, for that the comming of the Lord wil shortly draw neere. Be not sad, and complain not one of another. Behold, the judge is even at the gate. Take the prophets for an example of la­bor and patience, which spake unto us in the name of God. Behold, we account them blessed which have suffered. You have heard of the suf­ferance of Iob, and you have seen the end of the Lord with him: you have seen (I say) that the Lord is merciful and ful of compassion.

[Page 271]48 I might heer alledge many things more out of the scripture to this purpose, for that the scripture is most copious heerin: and in verie deed, if it should al be melted and powred out, it would yeeld us nothing else almost, but touching the crosse, and patient bearing of tri­bulation in this life. But I must end, for that this chapter riseth to be long, as the other be­fore did: and therfore I wil only, for my con­clusion, set down the confession, and most excellent exhortation of old Mathathias unto his children in the time of the cruel persecuti­on of Antiochus against the Iews. Now (saith he) is the time that pride is in hir strength:1. Mac. 2. now is the time of chastisement towards us: of ever­sion and indignation come. Now therfore (O children) be you zealous in the law of God: yeeld up your lives for the testament of your fathers: remember the works of your ance­stors, what they have done in their generati­ons, and so shal you receive great glorie, and e­ternal name. Was not Abraham found faithful in time of temptation,Gen. 12. and it was reputed unto him for justice. Ioseph in time of his distresse,Gen. 41. kept Gods commandements, and was made Lord over al Egypt. Phinees our father,Num. 25. for his zeal towards the law of God, received the te­stament of an everlasting preesthood.Iosu. 1. Iosue for that he fulfilled Gods word, was made a cap­tain over al Israel.Iudg. 14. Caleb for that he testified in the church, received an inheritance.2. Reg. 2. David [Page 272] for his mercie obtained the seat of an eternal kingdom.4. Reg. 1. Elias for that he was zealous in zeal of the law, was taken up to heaven. Ananias, Azarias,Dan. 3. and Misael, through their beleef, were delivered from the flame of the fire. Daniel for his simplicitie was delivered from the mouth of lions.Dan. 9. And so do you run over, by cogitati­on, al generations, and you shal see that al those that hope in God shal not be vanquished. And do you not fear the words of a sinful man: for his glorie is nothing els but dung and worms: to day he is great and exalted, and to morrow he shal not be found: for he shal return unto his earth again, and al his fond cogitations shal perish. Wherfore take courage unto you (my children) and play the men in the law of God. For therin shal be your honor and glorie. Hitherto are the words of Mathathias, which shal suffice, for the end of this chap­ter.

CHAP. III. Of the third impediment that letteth men from resolution: which is, the love of the world.

AS the two impediments remooved before, be in­deed great staies to many men from the resolution we talk of: so this that now I take in hand, is not only of it selfe a strong impediment, but also a great cause and common ground (as it were) to al the other impediments that be. For if a man could touch the very pulse of al those, who re­fuse, or neglect, or defer this resolution: he should find the foundation therof to be the love of this world, whatsoever other excuse they pretend besides. The noble men of Iewrie, pretended, fear to be the cause why they could not resolve, to confesse Christ openly: but Saint Iohn that felt their pulse, uttereth the tru cause to have been; For that they loved the glory of men, Iohn. 12. more than the glory of God. Demas that forsook Saint Paul in his bands, even a little before his death, pretended another cause of his depar­ture to Thessalonica, but Saint Paul saith it was; Quia diligebat hoc seculum: 2. Tim. 4. For that he loved [Page 274] this world. So that this is a general and univer­sal impediment, and more indeed dispersed, than outwardly appeereth: for that it bringeth foorth divers other excuses, therby to cover hir selfe in many men.

Mat. 13. Marc. 4. Luc. 8.2 This may be confirmed by that most excel­lent parable of Christ, recorded by three Evan­gelists, of the three sorts of men which are to be damned, & the three causes of their damna­tion: wherof the third and last, and most ge­neral (including as it were both the rest) is, the love of this world. For the first sort of men, are compared to a high way, where al seed of life that is sown, either withereth presently, or else is eaten up by the birds of the aire: that is (as Christ expoundeth it) by the devil in carelesse men,The exposi­tion of the parable of the seed. that contemn whatsoever is said un­to them: as infidels, and al other obstinate and contemptuous people. The second sort are compared to rocky grounds, in which for lak of deep roote, the seed continueth not: wherby are signified, light and unconstant men, that now chop in, and now run out: now are fervent, and by and by key-cold again: and so in time of temptation, they are gon. The third sort are compared to a field, where the seed groweth up, but yet there are so many thorns on the same (which Christ expoundeth to be the cares, troubles, miseries, & deceveable vanities of this life) as the good corn is choked up; and bringeth foorth no fruit. By which last [Page 275] words our savior signifieth, that whersoever the doctrine of Christ groweth up, & yet brin­geth not foorth du fruit: that is, whersoever it is received and imbraced (as it is among al Christians) and yet bringeth not foorth good life: there the cause is, for that it is choked with the vanities of this world.

3 This is a parable of marvelous great im­portance, as may appeer, both for that Christ,The impor­tance of this parable. after the recital therof, cried out with a lowd voice; He that hath ears to hear, let him hear: Mat. 13. as also for that he expounded it himselfe in secret only to his disciples: and principally, for that before the exposition therof, he useth such a solemn preface, saieng; To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdome of heaven, but to others not: for that they seeing do not see, and hearing do not hear, nor understand. Wherby Christ signifieth, that the understanding of this parable, among others, is of singular importance, for concei­ving the tru mysteries of the kingdome of hea­ven: & that many are blind, which seem to see; and many deaf and ignorant, that seem to hear and know: for that they understand not wel the mysteries of this parable. For which cause also, Christ maketh this conclusion be­fore he beginneth to expound the parable; Happy are your eies that see, and blessed are your ears that hear. After which words, he beginneth his exposition, with this admonition; Vos ergo au­dite parabolam: Do you therfore hear and under­stand [Page 276] this parable.

4 And for that this parable doth contain and touch so much indeed, as may, or needeth be said, for remooving of this great and dan­gerous impediment of worldly love: I mean to stay my selfe only upon the explication therof in this place, and wil declare the force & truth of certain words heer uttered by Christ of the world and worldly pleasures: and for some or­der and methods sake, I wil draw al to these six points following. First, how, and in what sense 1 al the world and commodities therof are vani­ties,The parts of this chapter. & of no valu (as Christ heer signifieth) and consequently, ought not to be an impediment, to let us from so great a matter, as the king­dome of heaven, and the serving of God is. 2 Secondly, how they are not only vanities, and trifles in themselves; but also, deceptions, as Christ saith: that is, deceits, not performing to us indeed, those little trifles which they do 3 promise. Thirdly, how they are Spinae, that is, pricking thorns, as Christ saith, though they seem to worldly men to be most sweet and 4 pleasant. Fourthly, how they are aerumnae, that is, miseries and afflictions, as also Christs words 5 are. Fiftly; Quomodo suffocant; how they stran­gle 6 or choke us, as Christ affirmeth. Sixtly, how we may use them notwithstanding, without these dangers, and evils, and to our great com­fort, gain, and preferment.

5 And touching the first, I do not see how it [Page 277] may be better prooved,1 The first part: how al the world is vanitie. that al the pleasures and goodly shewes of this world are vanities, as Christ heer saith: than to alledge the testi­monie of one, which hath prooved them al: that is, of one which speaketh not of speculati­on, but of his own proofe and practise: and this is king Salomon;2. Par. 9. of whom the scripture reporteth woonderful matters,The worldly prosperitie of king Salo­mon. touching his peace, prosperitie, riches, and glorie, in this world: as that al the kings of the earth desired to see his face, for his wisdome and renowmed felicitie: that al the princes living besides, were not like him in wealth: that he had six hundred, sixtie and six talents of gold (which is an infinite sum) brought him in yeerly, be­sides al other that he had from the kings of Arabia, and other princes: that silver was as plentiful with him as heaps of stones, and not esteemed, for the great store, and abundance he had therof: that his plate and jewels had no end: that his seat of majestie, with stooles, li­ons to bear it up, and other furniture, was of gold, passing al other kingly seats in the world: that his pretious apparel, and armor was infi­nite: that he had al the kings, from the river of the Philistians, unto Egypt, to serve him: that he had fortie thousand horses in his stables to ride, and twelve thousand chariots, with horses and other furniture readie to them, for his use: that he had two hundred spears of gold, born before him, and six hundred crowns of gold, [Page 278] bestowed in everie spear;3. Reg. 4. as also three hundred buklers,30. Cori similae, & 60. Co­ri farinae: & every corus is For 21. I think he ment but 11. for a Coras according to Iosephus is rekoned to be 738. of our gallons: which make of our measure 11. quarters, four bushels, one pek. So 900. being taken out of the total sum, the residu that re­maineth doth agree wel to this ac­count: for it maketh 1037. quar­ters, six bushels, two peks. But of this kind of measure the judgment of the learned doth vary much, and it would aske a long discourse to beat out the more likely opinion, by conference of places and mea­sures togither. By the account of Saint Ierom it commeth far short: that is, but to 232. quarters, six bu­shels, and a halfe. 21. quar­ters and od. & three hundred crowns of gold, be­stowed in the gilding of everie bukler: that he spent everie day in his house, a thousand, nine hundred, thirtie and seven quarters of meal, & flower; thirtie oxen; with an hundred we­thers;3. Reg. 11. Eccles. 1. beside al other flesh: that he had seaven hundred wives, as queenes, and three hundred B others, as concubines. Al this, and much more doth scripture report of Salomons worldly wealth, wisdome, riches, and prosperitie: which he having tasted, and used to his fil, pronounced yet at the last, this sentence of it al; Vanitas vanitatum, & omnia vanitas: Vanitie of va­nities, and al is vanitie. By vanitie of vanities, mea­ning (as Saint Ierom in­terpreteth) the greatnes of this vanitie, above al o­ther vanities that may be devised.

6 Neither only doth Sa­lomon affirm this thing,Salomons saieng of himselfe. but doth prove it also by examples of himself. I have been king of Is­rael in Ierusalem (saith he) and I purposed with my selfe,Eccl. 1. to seek out by wisdome al things: & I have seen, that al under the sun, are meer vani­ties, & affliction of spirit. I said in my hart, I wil [Page 279] go and abound in delites, and in every pleasure that may be had? And I saw that this was also vanitie. I tooke great works in hand, builded houses to my selfe, planted vineyards, made or­chards and gardens, and beset them with al kind of trees: I made me fish ponds to water my trees: I possessed servants and hand-maids, and had a great familie, great herds of cattel, above any that ever were before me in Ierusa­lem: I gathered togither gold and silver, the riches of kings and provinces: I appointed to my selfe singers, both men and women, which are the delites of the children of men: fine cups also to drink wine withal: and whatsoever my eies did desire, I denied it not unto them: nei­ther did I let my hart from using any pleasure, to delite it selfe in these things which I prepa­red. And when I turned my selfe to al that my hands had made, and to al the labors, wherin I had taken such pains and sweat: I saw in them al, vanitie, and affliction of the mind.

7 This is the testimonie of Salomon, upon his own proof in these matters: and if he had spoken it upon his wisdome only (being such as it was:) we ought to beleeve him; but much more, seeing he affirmeth it of his own experi­ence. But yet, if any man be not mooved with this: let us bring yet another witnes out of the new testament, and such a one, as was privie to the opinion of Christ heerin: that is, Saint Iohn the evangelist, whose words are these; [Page 280] Do not love the world, 1. Ioh. 2. nor those things that are in the world: if any man love the world, the love of God the father, is not in him. For that, al which is in the world, is either concupiscence of the flesh, or concupiscence of the eies, or pride of life. In which words, S. Iohn beside his threat against such as love and fol­low the world, reduceth al the vanities therof, unto three general points or branches:Three gene­ral points of worldly va­nities. that is, to concupiscence of the flesh (wherin he comprehendeth al carnal pleasures) to concu­piscence of the eies (wherin he containeth al matters of riches:) and to pride of life, wher­by he signifieth the humor, & disease of world­ly ambition. These then are the three general & principal vanities of this life, wherin world­ly men do wearie out themselves: ambition, covetousnes, and carnal pleasure: wherunto al other vanities are addressed, as to their superi­ors. And therfore it shal not be amisse to consi­der of these three, in this place.

8 And first to ambition or pride of life, be­longeth vainglorie:Vain glorie. that is, a certain disordi­nate desire to be wel thought of, wel spoken of, praised, and glorified of men: and this is as great a vanitie (though it be common to ma­ny) as if a man should run up and down the streets, after a feather, flieng in the air, tossed hither and thither, with the blasts of infinite mens mouths. For as this man might wearie out himselfe before he gat the thing which he followed, and yet when he had it, he had got­ten [Page 281] but a feather: so a vain glorious man may labor a good while, before he attain to the praise which he desireth; and when he hath it, it is not woorth three chips, being but the breath of a few mens mouthes, that altereth upon every light occasion, and now maketh him great, now little, now nothing at al. Christ himselfe may be an example of this: who was tossed to and fro in the speech of men: some said he was a Samaritan, and had the divel:Mat. 27. Iohn. 8. o­ther said he was a prophet: other said he could not be a prophet, or of God; for that he kept not the sabboth day: others asked, if he were not of God, how he could do so many mira­cles? So that there was a schism or division a­mong them, about this matter,Iohn. 9. as Saint Iohn affirmeth. Finally, they received him into Ieru­salem, with triumph of Hosanna, Mat. 21. Mar. 11. Mat. 27. Luc. 23. casting their apparel under his feet. But the friday next en­suing, they cried Crucifige against him, and pre­ferred the life of Barrabas, a wicked murderer, before him.

9 Now my frind, if they delt thus with Christ, which was a better man, than ever thou wilt be: and did more glorious miracles, than ever thou wilt do, to purchase thee name and honor with the people: why dost thou so la­bor, and beat thy selfe about this vanitie of vain glorie? Why dost thou cast thy travels in­to the wind of mens mouthes? Why dost thou put thy riches in the lips of mutable men, [Page 282] where every flatterer may rob thee of them? Hast thou no better a chest to lok them up in? Saint Paul was of another mind, when he said; I esteem little to be iudged of you, 1. Cor. 4. or of the day of man: and he had reason surely. For what ca­reth he that runneth at tilt, if the ignorant peo­ple give sentence against him, so the judges give it with him? If the blind man, in the way to Iericho,Luc. 18. had depended of the liking and ap­probation of the goers by, he had never recei­ved the benefit of his sight: for that, they dis­suaded him from running, and crieng so vehe­mently after Christ. It is a miserable thing for a man to be a windmil, which maketh no meal, but according as the blast endureth. If the gale be strong, he surgeth about lustily; but if the wind slake: he relenteth presently. So praise the vainglorious man, and ye make him run: if he feel not the gale blow, he is out of hart: he is like the Babylonians, who, with a little sweet musik were made to adore any thing whatsoever.Dan. 3.

Pro. 27.10 The scripture saith most truly; As silver is tried in the fire by blowing to it: so is a man tried in the mouth of him that praiseth. For as silver, if it be good, taketh no hurt therby: but if it be evil, it goeth al into fume: so a vain man, by praise and commendation. How many have we seen puffed up with mens praises, and almost put beside themselves, for joy therof: and yet af­terward brought down, with a contrarie wind, [Page 283] and driven ful neer to desperation by con­tempt?Psal. 9. How many do we see daily (as the pro­phet did in his dais) commended in their sins, and blessed in their wickednes? How many palpable and intollerable flatteries do we hear both used, and accepted daily, and no man cri­eth with good king David; Away with this oile, and ointment of sinners, let it not come upon my head? Psa. 140. Is not al this vanitie? Is it not madnesse, as the scripture calleth it?Psal. 39. The glorious angels in heaven seek no honor unto themselves, but al unto God: and thou poore worm of the earth desirest to be glorified? The four and twentie elders in the Apocalips took off their crowns, and cast them at the feet of the lamb:Apoc. 4. and thou wouldest pluk fortie from the lamb to thy self, if thou couldest. O fond creature! How truly saith the prophet; Homo vanitati similis factus est: A man is made like unto vanitie. That is,Psa. 143. like unto his own vanitie: as light as the verie va­nities themselves, which he followeth. And yet the wise man more expresly; In vanitate sua ap­penditur peccator: Eccl. 23. The sinner is weighed in his vani­tie. That is, by the vanitie, which he followeth, is seen how light and vain a sinner is.

11 The second vanitie that belongeth to am­bition, is desire of worldly honor, dignitie,Worldly ho­nor and pro­motion. and promotion. And this is a great matter in the sight of a worldly man: this is a jewel of rare price, and woorthy to be bought, even with a­ny labor, travel, or peril whatsoever. The love [Page 284] of this, letted the great men, that were Christi­ans in Iewrie,Iohn. 11. from confessing of Christ open­ly. The love of this, letted Pilat from delive­ring Iesus,Iohn. 19. according as in conscience he saw he was bound. The love of this letted Agrippa, & Festus, from making themselves Christians, albeit they esteemed Pauls doctrine to be tru.Acts. 26. The love of this letteth infinite men daily from imbracing the means of their salvation. But (alas) these men do not see the vanitie heerof. Saint Paul saith not without just cause; Nolite esse pueri sensibus: 1. Cor. 14. Be you not children in understan­ding. It is the fashion of children, to esteem more of a painted bable, than of a rich jewel. And such is the painted dignitie of this world: gotten with much labor; maintained with great expenses; and lost with intollerable greefe, and sorrow. For better conceiving wherof, ponder a little with thy selfe (gentle reader) any state of dignitie that thou wouldest desire: and think how many have had that be­fore thee. Remember how they mounted up, & how they descended down again: and ima­gin with thy selfe, which was greater, either the joy in getting, or the sorow in leesing it. Where are now al these emperors, these kings, these princes, and prelates, which rejoiced so much once, at their own advancement? Where are they now, I say? Who talketh or thinketh of them? Are they not forgotten, and cast into their graves long ago? And do not men bold­ly [Page 285] walk over their heads now, whose faces might not be looked on without fear, in this world? What then have their dignities done them good?

12 It is a woonderful thing to consider the vanitie of this worldly honor.The vanitie of worldly honor. It is like a mans own shadow, which the more a man runneth after, the more it flieth: and when he flieth from it, it followeth him again: and the only way to catch it, is to fal down to the ground upon it. So we see, that those men which desire honor in this world, are now forgotten: and those which most fled from it, and cast them­selves lowest of al men, by humilitie, are now most of al honored: honored (I say) most, even by the world it selfe, whose enimies they were, while they lived. For who is honored more now, who is more commended and remem­bred, than Saint Paul, and his like, which so much despised worldly honor in this life, according to the saieng of the prophet;Psa. 138. Thy frinds (O Lord) are too too much honored. Most vain then is the pursuit of this worldly honor, and promotion: seeing it neither contenteth the mind, nor continueth with the possessor, nor is void of great dangers, both in this life, and in the life to come, according to the saieng of scripture; Most severe iudgment shal be used upon those that are over others: Sap. 6. the mean man shal obtain mercy; but the great and strong shal suffer torments strongly.

[Page 286] Worldly no­bilitie.13 The third vanitie that belongeth to am­bition, or pride of life, is nobilitie of flesh and blood: a great perle in the eie of the world: but indeed in it selfe, and in the sight of God, a meer trifle and vanitie. Which holie Iob wel understood,Iob. 17. when he wrote these words; I said unto rottennes, thou art my father: and unto worms, you are my mother and sisters. He that wil behold the gentrie of his ancestors: let him look in­to their graves, and see whether Iob saith truly or no. Tru nobilitie was never begun, but by vertu: and therfore, as it is a testimonie of ver­tu to the predecessors: so is it another of ver­tu unto the successors. And he which holdeth the name therof by descent, without vertu, is a meer monster, in respect of his ancestors: for that he breaketh the limits of the nature of no­bilitie. Of which sort of men, God saith by one prophet;Ose. 9. They are made abhominable, even as the things which they love: their glorie is from their nati­vitie, from the bellie, and from their conception.

14 It is a miserable vanitie to go beg credit of dead men, when as we deserve none our selves: to seek up old titles of honor from our ancestors, we being utterly uncapable therof, by our own base maners and behavior. Christ cleerly confounded this vanitie; when being descended himselfe of the greatest nobilitie, that ever was in this world: and besides that, being also the son of God: yet called he him­selfe ordinarily, the son of man: that is, the son [Page 287] of the virgin Marie (for otherwise he was no son of man) and further than this also,Mat. Iohn. 10. called himselfe a shepheard, which in the world is a name of contempt. He sought not up this and that old title of honor, to furnish his stile with­al, as our men do. Neither when he had to make a king first in Israel, did he seek out the ancientest blood: but took Saul,1. Reg. 9. 1. Re. 16. of the basest tribe of al Israel: and after him David the poo­rest shepheard of al his brethren. And when he came into the world: he sought not out the noblest men to make princes of the earth; that is, to make apostles: but took of the poorest,Mat. 4. Psal. 44. 1. Cor. 1. and simplest, therby to confound (as one of them saith) the foolish vanitie of this world; in making so great account of the preemi­nence of a little flesh and blood, in this life.

15 The fourth vanitie that belongeth to am­bition, or pride of life, is worldly wisdom,The vanitie of worldly wisdome. wherof the apostle saith; The wisdom of this world is folly with God. If it be folly,1. Cor. 3. then great vanitie (no dowt) to delite so in it, as men do. It is a strange thing to see, how contrarie the judge­ments of God are to the judgements of men. The people of Israel would needs have a king (as I have said) and they thought God would have given them presently some great mightie prince to rule over them: but he chose out a poor felow, that sought asses about the coun­try. After that,1. Reg. 9. when God would displace this man again for his sin: he sent Samuel to an­noint [Page 288] one of Isai his sons: and being come to the house, [...]. Reg. 16. Isai brought foorth his eldest son, Eliab, a lustie tall felow, thinking him indeed most fit to govern: but God answered; Respect not his countenance, nor his tallnes of personage: for I have reiected him: neither do I iudge according to the countenance of man. After that, Isai brought in his second son Abinadab: and after him Samma, and so the rest, until he had shewed him seven of his sons. Al which being refused by Samuel, they marveled, & said, there was no mo left but only a little red headed boy, that kept the sheep, called David: which Samuel caused to be sent for. And assoon as he came in sight: God said to Samuel, this is the man that I have chosen.

16 When the Messias was promised unto the Iewes to to be a king: they imagined present­ly, according to their worldly wisdom, that he should be some great prince: and therfore they refused Christ, that came in povertie. Iames and Iohn being yet but carnal, seeing the Samaritans contemptuously to refuse Christs disciples sent to them, and knowing what Christ was, thought streightway that he must in revenge have called down fire from heaven to consume them: but Christ rebuked them,Luc. 9. saieng; You know not of what spirit you are. The apostles preaching the crosse, and necessi­tie of suffering, to the wise gentils, and philoso­phers,1. Cor. 1. were thought presently fooles for their [Page 289] labors. Festus the emperors lieftenant, hea­ring Paul to speak so much of abandoning the world, and following Christ, said, he was mad.Acts. 36. Finally, this is the fashion of al worldly wise men: to condemn the wisdom of Christ, and of his saints. For so the holie scripture repor­teth of their own confession, being now in place of torment;Sap. 5. Nos insensati vitam illorum aestimabamus insaniam: We fond men, esteemed the lives of saints as madnes. Wherfore, this is also great vanitie (as I have said) to make such ac­count of worldly wisdom: which is not only follie, but also madnes, by the testimonie of the holie Ghost himselfe.

17 Who would not think, but that the wise men of this world, were the fittest to be cho­sen to do Christ service in his church? Yet Saint Paul saith; Non multi sapientes, 1. Cor. 1. secundum carnem: God hath not chosen many wise men accor­ding to the flesh. Who would not think, but that a worldly wise man might easily also make a wise Christian? Yet Saint Paul saith no: except first he become a fool; Stultus fiat, 1. Cor. 3. vt sit sapiens: If any man seem wise among you, let him be­come a fool, to the end he may be made wise. Vain then, and of no account is the wisdom of this world, except it be subject to the wisdom of God.

18 The first vanitie belonging to pride of life, is corporal beautie:The vanitie of beautie. wherof the wise man saith; Vain is beautie, Pro. 31. and deceivable is the grace [Page 290] of countenance. Wherof also king David under­stood properly,Psa. 118. when he said; Turn away my eies (O Lord) that they behold not vanitie. This is a sin­gular great vanitie, dangerous and deceitful; but yet greatly esteemed of the children of men:Psal. 4. whose propertie is; To love vanitie: as the prophet saith. Beautie is compared by holie men, to a painted snake, which is fair without, and ful of deadly poison within. If a man did consider what infinite ruins, and destructions have come, by our light giving credite therun­to: he would beware of it. And if he remem­bred what foul drosse lieth under a fair skin: he would little be in love therwith, saith one father. God hath imparted certain sparks of beautie unto his creatures: therby to draw us to the consideration, and love of his own beautie; wherof the other is but a shadow: even as a man finding a little issu of water, may seek out the fountain therby: or happening upon a smal vain of gold, may therby come to the whole mine it selfe. But we like babes, delite ourselves only with the fair cover of the book, and never do consider what is written therin. In al fair creatures,A lesson to be read in the beautie of al crea­tures. that man doth behold, he ought to read this, saith one father; that If GOD could make a peece of earth so fair and lovely, with imparting unto it some little spark of his beautie: how infinite fair is he himselfe, and how woorthy of al love and admiration? And how happie shal we be, [Page 291] when we shal come to enjoy his beautiful pre­sence, wherof now al creatures do take their beautie.

19 If we would exercise our selves in these maner of cogitations: we might easily keep our harts pure and unspotted before God, in beholding the beautie of his creatures. But for that we use not this passage from the crea­ture to the creator; but rest only in the eternal appeerance of a deceitful face: letting go the bridle to foul cogitations, and setting wilfully on fire our own cōcupiscences; hence it is, that infinite men do perish daily by occasion of this fond vanitie. I cal it fond, for that every child may descrie the deceit and vanitie therof.The vanitie of beautie. For take the fairest face in the world, wherwith in­finite foolish men fal in love, upon the sight: and rase it over but with a little scrach, and al the matter of love is gone: let there come but an agu, and al this goodly beautie is destroied: let the soul depart but one halfe hour from the bodie, and this loving face is uglie to look on: let it lie but two dais in the grave, and those which were so hot in love with it before, wil scarse abide to behold it, or come neer it. And if none of those things happen unto it: yet quikly commeth on old age, which riveleth the skin, draweth in the eies, setteth out the teeth, and so disfigureth the whole visage, as it be­commeth more contemptible now, than it was beautiful and alluring before. And what then [Page 292] can be more vanitie than this? What more madnes, than either to take pride of it, if I see it my selfe: or to indanger my soul for it, if I see it in others?

The vanitie of apparel.20 The sixt vanitie belonging to pride of life, is the glorie of fine apparel: against which the wise man saith;Eccl. 11. In vestitu ne glorieris vnquam: See thou never take glorie in apparel. Of al vanities this is the greatest, which we see so common among men of this world. If Adam had never fallen: we had never used apparel: for that ap­parel was devised to cover our shame of naked­nes, and other infirmities contracted by that fal. Wherfore, we that take pride and glorie in apparel, do as much as if a begger should glorie and take pride of the old clouts that do cover his sores. Saint Paul said unto a bishop; If we have wherwithal to cover our selves, 1. Tim. 6. let us be content. And Christ touched deeply the danger of nice apparel, when he commended so much S. Iohn Baptist for his austere attire:Mat. 3.11. Luc. 7. adding for the contradictorie; Qui mollibus vestiuntur in domibus regum sunt: They which are apparelled in soft and delicate apparel are in kings courts. In kings courts of this world, but not in the kings court of heaven. For which cause in the de­scription of the rich man damned, this is not omitted by Christ;Luc. 16. That he was apparelled in pur­ple and silk.

21 It is a woonderful thing to consider the different proceeding of God and the world [Page 293] heerin. God was the first that ever made appa­rel in the world:Gen. 3. and he made it for the most noble of al our ancestors, in paradise: and yet he made it but of beasts skins. And Saint Paul testifieth of the noblest saints of the old testa­ment,Heb. 12. that they were covered only with goats skins, and with hairs of camels. What vanitie is it then for us, to be so curious in apparel, and to take such pride therin, as we do? We rob and spoil al creatures almost in the world, to cover our baks, and to adorn our bodies with­al. From one, we take his wool: from another,The extreme vanitie and povertie of man. his skin: from another, his fur: and from som other, their very excrements; as the silk, which is nothing els, but the excrements of woorms. Nor content with this, we come to fishes, and do beg of them certain pearls to hang about us. We go down into the ground for gold and silver: and turn up the sands of the sea, for pretious stones: and having borrowed al this of other creatures, we jet up and down, provo­king men to look upon us: as if al this now were our own. When the stone shineth upon our finger, we wil seem (forsooth) therby to shine. When the silver and silks do glister on our baks, we look big, as if al that beauty came from us. And so (as the prophet saith) we passe over our dais in vanitie,Psal. 77. and do not perceive our own extreme folly.

22 The second general branch, which Saint Iohn appointeth unto the vanitie of this life,2 [Page 294] is concupiscence of the eies:Concupis­cence of the eies. wherunto the an­cient fathers have referred al vanities of riches and wealth of this world. Of this Saint Paul writeth to Timothie; Give commandement to the rich men of this world, 1. Tim. 6. not to be high minded, nor to put hope in the uncertaintie of their riches. The reason of which speech is uttered by the scrip­ture in another place, when it saith; Riches shal not profit a man in the day of revenge. Pro. 11. That is, at the day of death and judgement: which thing, the rich men of this world, do confesse themselves, though too late, when they crie; Divitiarum ia­ctantia quid nobis contulit? Sap. 5. What hath the braverie of our riches profited us? The vanitie and peril of worldly wealth. Al which evidently decla­reth the great vanitie of worldly riches, which can do the possessor no good at al, when he hath most need of their help.Psal. 75. Rich men have slept their sleep (saith the prophet) and have found nothing in their hands: that is, rich men have pas­sed over this life, as men do passe over a sleep, imagining themselves to have golden moun­tains, and treasures: and when they awake (at the day of their death) they find themselves to have nothing in their hands. In respect wherof, the prophet Baruch asketh this question; Where are they now, which heaped togither gold and silver, Cap. 3. and which made no end of their scraping togi­ther? And he answereth himselfe immediately; Exterminati sunt, & ad inferos descenderunt: They are now rooted out, and are gone down unto hel. To like effect saith Saint Iames;Iac. 5. Now go to, you rich [Page 295] men: weep, and howl in your miseries, that come upon you: your riches are rotten, and your gold and silver is rustie: and the rust therof shal be in testimonie against you: it shal feed on your flesh as fire: you have hoorded up wrath for your selves in the last day.

23 If wealth of this world be not onlie so vain, but also so perilous as heer is affirmed: what vanitie then is it for men to set their minds upon it, as they do? Saint Paul saith of himselfe; that He esteemed it al but as doong. And he had great reason surely to say so,Phil. 3. seeing in­deed they are but doong: that is, the verie ex­crements of the earth, and found only in the most barren places therof:Iob. 28. as they can tel which have seen their mines. What a base mat­ter is this then for a man to tie his love unto? God commanded in the old law,Levi. 11. that whatso­ever did go with his breast upon the ground, should be unto us in abhomination. How much more then a reasonable man, that hath glewed his hart & soul unto a peece of earth? We came in naked unto this world, Cap. 1. and naked we must go foorth again, saith Iob. The mil-wheel stirreth much about, and beateth it selfe from day to day, and yet at the yeers end it is in the same place, as it was in the beginning: so rich men, let them toil and labor what they can, yet at their death must they be as poore, as at the first day wherin they were born.Iob. 27. When the rich man dieth (saith Iob) he shal take nothing with him, but shal close up his eies, and find nothing. Povertie shal lay [Page 296] hands upon him, and a tempest shal oppresse him in the night: a burning wind shal take him away, and a whirl wind shal snatch him from his place: it shal rush upon him, and shal not spare him: it shal bind his hands up­on him, and shal hisse over him. For that it seeth his place whither he must go.

24 The prophet David in like wise forewar­neth us of the same, in these words; Be not afraid when thou seest a man made rich, and the glorie of his house multiplied. For when he dieth, he shal take no­thing with him, nor shal his glorie descend to the place whither he goeth: he shal passe into the progenies of his ancestors (that is, he shal go to the place where they are, who hath lived as he hath don) and world without end he shal see no more light.

25 Al this and much more is spoken by the holie Ghost, to signifie the dangerous vanitie of worldly wealth: and the folly of those men, who labor so much to procure the same, with the eternal peril of their souls, as the scripture assureth us. If so manie physicians, as I have heer alledged scriptures, should agree togither, that such, or such meats were venomous & pe­rilsom: I think few would give the adventure to eat them, though otherwise in tast they ap­peered sweet and pleasant. How then com­meth it to passe, that so many earnest admoni­tions of God himselfe, cannot stay us from the love of this dangerous vanitie? Nolite cor appo­nere, saith God by the prophet: that is; Lay not your hart unto the love of riches. Psal. 61. Eccl. 31. Qui diligit aurum [Page 297] non iustificabitur, saith the wise man: He that lo­veth gold shal never be iustified. I am angrie greatly upon rich nations, saith God by Zacharie.Cap. 1. Mat. 19. Christ saith; Amen dico vobis, quia dives difficile intrabit in regnum caelorum: Truly I say unto you, that a rich man shal hardly get into the kingdom of heaven. And again; Wo be to you rich men, Luc. 6. for that you have re­ceived your consolation in this life. Finally, Saint Paul saith generally of al, and to al;1. Tim. 6. They which wil be rich, do fal into temptation, and into the snare of the divel, and into manie unprofitable and hurtful desires, which do drown men in destruction and per­dition.

26 Can any thing in the world be spoken more effectually, to dissuade from the love of riches, than this? Must not heer now the cove­tous men, either denie God, or cōdemn them­selves in their own consciences. Let them go, and excuse themselves, by the pretence of wife and children, as they are woont, saieng; They mean nothing els, but to provide for their suf­ficiencie. Doth Christ, or Saint Paul admit this excusation? Ought we so much to love wife,The pretence of wife and children re­fused. or children, or other kindred, as to endanger our souls for the same? What comfort may it be to an afflicted father in hel, to remember, that by his means, his wife and children do live wealthily in earth? Al this is vanitie (deer brother) and meer deceit of our spiritual eni­mie. For within one moment after we are dead, we shal care no more for wife, children, [Page 298] father, mother, or brother, in this matter, than we shal for a meer stranger: and one penie gi­ven in alms while we lived (for Gods sake) shal comfort us more at that day, than thousands of pounds bestowed upon our kin, for the na­tural love we bare unto our own flesh and blood: the which, I would to Christ worldlie men did consider. And then (no dowt) they would never take such care for kindred, as they do: especially upon their death-beds: whence presently they are to depart to that place, where flesh and blood holdeth no more privi­lege: nor riches have any power to deliver; but only such, as were wel bestowed in the service of God, or given to the poore for his names sake. And this shal be sufficient for this point of riches.

3 Of the vani­tie of worldly pleasure.27 The third branch of worldly vanities is called by Saint Iohn, concupiscence of the flesh: which conteineth al pleasures and car­nal recreations; as banketing, laughing, plai­eng, and the like, wherwith our flesh is much delited in this world. And albeit in this kind, there is a certain measure to be allowed unto the godly, for the convenient maintenance of their health (as also in riches it is not to be re­prehended) yet, that al these worldly solaces, are not only vain, but also dangerous, in that excesse & abundance, as worldly men seek and use them, appeereth plainly by these words of Christ;Iohn. 16. Wo be unto you which now do laugh for you [Page 299] shal weep. Wo be unto you that now live in fil, & sacie­tie: for the time shal com, when you shal suffer hunger. And again, in Saint Iohns Gospel, speaking to his apostles, and by them to al other, he saith; You shal weep and pule: but the world shal reioice. Iohn. 16. Making it a sign distinctive between the good and the bad: that the one shal mourn in this life, and the other rejoice, and make them­selves merie.

28 The verie same doth Iob confirm, both of the one, and the other sort: for of worldlings he saith;Iob. 21. That they solace themselves with al kind of musik, and do passe over their daies in pleasure, and in a verie moment, do go down into hel. But of the godly he saith in his own person;Iob. 3. That they sigh before they eat their bread. And in another place; That they fear al their works, Iob. 9. knowing that God spa­reth not him which offendeth. The reason wherof the wise man yet further expresseth, saieng; That the works of good men are in the hands of God: Eccl. 9. and no man knoweth (by outward things) whether love or hatred, at Gods hands: but al is kept uncertain for the time to come. And old Tobias insinuateth yet another cause, when he saith;Tob. 5. What ioy can I have or receive, seeing I sit heer in darknes? Speaking li­terally of his corporal blindnes, but yet lea­ving it also to be understood of spiritual and internal darknes.

29 These are then the causes (beside exter­nal affliction,Why good men are sad in this life. which God often sendeth) why the godly do live more sad and fearful in this [Page 300] life,1. Cor. 2. 2. Cor. 7. Phil. 2. Iob. 3. Iohn. 16. than wicked men do, according to the counsel of Saint Paul: and why also they sigh often and weep, as Iob & Christ do affirm: for that they remember often the justice of God: their own frailtie in sinning: the secret judge­ment B of Gods predestination Calling and justifieng, are verie plain and infal­lible tokens therof. Rom. 8.30. And so far is it not uncertain unto the faithful. uncertain to us: the vale of miserie & desolation, wherin they live heer: which made even the apostles to grone,Rom. 8. Eph. 4. Mat. 24. 2. Cor. 5. and 7. as Saint Paul saith, though they had lesse cause therof than we. In respect wherof we are willed to passe over this life in carefulnes, watchfulnes, fear, and trembling, and in respect wherof also, the wise man saith;Eccl. 7. It is better to go to the house of sor­row, than to the house of feasting. And again; Where sadnes is, there is the hart of wise men: but where mirth is, there is the hart of fools. Finally, in respect of this, the scripture saith; Beatus homo qui sem­per est pavidus: Pro. 28. Happie is the man which alwais is fearful. Which is nothing els, but that which the holie Ghost commandeth everie man, by Micheas the prophet;Mich. 6. Sollicitum ambulare cum Deo: To walk careful and diligent with God; thin­king upon his commandements; how we keep and observe the same; how we resist, and mor­tifie our members upon earth, and the like. Which cogitations, if they might have place with us, would cut off a great deal of those worldly pastimes, wherwith the carelesse sort of sinners are overwhelmed: I mean of those [Page 301] good fellowships of eatings, drinkings, laugh­ings, singings, disputings, and other such vani­ties that distract us most.

30 Heerof Christ gave us a most notable ad­vertisement, in that he wept often: as at his nativitie; at the resuscitation of Lazarus;Iohn. 10. Luc. 19. upon Ierusalem; and upon the crosse. But he is never read to have laught in al his life. Heerof also is our own nativitie and death a signification: which being both in Gods hands, are appoin­ted unto us, with sorrow and greefe, as we see. But the middle part therof, that is, our life, be­ing left in our own hands (by Gods appoint­ment) we passe it over with vain delites, never thinking whence we came, nor whither we go.

31 A wise traveler passing by his In,A simili­tude. though he see pleasant meats offered him: yet he for­beareth, upon consideration of the price, and the journey he hath to make: and taketh in nothing, but so much as he knoweth wel, how to discharge the next morning at his depar­ture: but a fool laieth hands on every delicate bait that is presented to his sight, and plaieth the prince, for a night or two. But when it commeth to the rekoning: he wisheth that he had lived, only with bread and drink, rather than to be so troubled as he is for the paiment. The custome of many churches yet is, to fast the even of every feast, and then to make mer­rie the next day, that is, upon the festival day it selfe: which may represent unto us, the ab­stinent [Page 302] life of good men in this world, and the mirth that they have in the world to come. But the fashion of the world is contrarie: that is, to eat and drink merrily first, at the tavern: and after, to let the host bring in his rekoning. They eat, drink, and laugh: and the host scoreth up al in the mean space. And when the time commeth, that they must pay: many an hart is sad, that was pleasant before.

32 This the scripture affirmeth also, of the pleasures of this world;Prou. 14. Risus dolore miscebitur, & extrema gaudij luctus occupat: Laughter shal be mingled with sorrow, and mourning shal insu at the hinder end of mirth. The devil that plaieth the host, in this world, and wil serve you with what delite or pleasure you desire, writeth up al in his book: and at the day of your departure, (that is, at your death) wil he bring the whole rekoning, and charge you with it al: and then shal follow that, which GOD promiseth to worldlings,Amos. 2. Tob. 2. by the prophet Amos; Your mirth shal be turned into mourning and lamentation. Yea, and more than this, if you be not able to dis­charge the rekoning: you may chance to hear that other dreadful sentence of Christ, in the Apocalips;Apoc. 18. Quantum in delicijs fuit, tantum date illi tormentum: Look how much he hath been in his delites, so much torment do you lay upon him.

33 Wherfore, to conclude this point, and therwithal this first part, touching vanities: truly may we say with the prophet David, of a [Page 303] worldly minded man; Vniversa vanitas omnis homo vivens: Psal. 38. The life of such men containeth al kind of vanitie. That is, vanitie in ambition; vanitie in riches; vanitie in pleasures; vanitie in al things which they most esteem. And therfore I may wel end with the words of God, by the prophet Esay; Vae vobis, Esai. 59. qui trahitis iniquitatem in funiculis vanitatis: Wo be unto you, which do draw wickednes in the ropes of vanitie. These ropes are those vanities of vain glorie, promotion,The ropes of vain glorie. dig­nitie, nobilitie, beautie, riches, delites, and other before touched: which alwaies draw with them some iniquitie and sin. For which cause, David saith unto God;Psal. 3. Thou hatest (O Lord) observers of superfluous vanities. And lastly, for this cause the holie Ghost pronounceth generally of al men;Psal. 39. Beatus vir qui non respexit in vanitates, & insanias falsas: Blessed is that man, which hath not respected vanities, and the false mad­nesse of this world.

34 Now come I then to the second part proposed in this chapter:2 How worldly vanities are also deceits. to shew how this world, with the cōmodities therof, are not on­ly vanities, but also deceits (as Christ termeth them) for that indeed,Mat. 13. they perform not unto their followers, those idle vanities which they do promise. Wherin the world may be com­pared to that wretched and ungrateful decei­ver Laban:Gen. 29. who made poor Iacob to serve him seaven yeers for fair Rachel,False pro­mises of the world. and in the end de­ceived him with foul Lia. What false promi­ses [Page 304] doth the world make daily? To one it pro­miseth long life and health: and cutteth him off in the midst of his daies. To another it pro­miseth great wealth, and promotion: and af­ter long service, performeth no part therof. To another it promiseth great honor by large expences: but under-hand it casteth him into contempt by beggerie. To another it assureth great advancement by marriage: but yet never giveth him abilitie to come to his desire. Go you over the whole world: behold countries; view provinces; look into cities; harken at the doores & windows of private houses; of prin­ces pallaces; of secret chambers: and you shal see, and hear nothing, but lamentable com­plaints: one, for that he hath lost; another for that he hath not woon; a third, for that he is not satisfied; ten thousand for that they are de­ceived.

The false promise of renowm.35 Can there be a greater deceit (for exam­ples sake) than to promise renowm, and me­morie, as the world doth to hir followers: and yet to forget them assoon as they are dead? Who doth remember now one of fortie thou­sand jollie fellows in this world, captains, sol­diers, counsellers, dukes, earls, princes, pre­lats, and emperors: kings, and queenes; lords, and ladies? Who remembreth them I say? Who once thinketh or speaketh of them now? Hath not their memorie perished with their sound,Psal. 9. as the prophet saith? Did not Iob [Page 305] promise truly,Iob. 13. Psal. 1. that Their remembrance should be as ashes troden under foot? And David that They should be as dust blown with the wind? Divers men there have been ere this, that have been very mean in common account: and yet bicause they have labored to be unknow to the world, therfore the rather the world both remem­breth, & honoreth now the memorie of them. But many a king and emperor have strived and labored al their life, to be known in the world, and yet are now forgotten. So that the world is like in this point (as one saith) unto a covetous and forgetful host,A compa­rison. who if he see his old ghest come by in beggerly estate, al his money being spent: he maketh semblance not to know him. And if the ghest marvel therat, and say, that he hath come often that way, and spent much money in the house: the other an­swereth; it may be so, for there passe this way so many, as we use not to keep account therof. But what is the way to make this host to re­member you (saith this Author.) The way is to use him ill as you passe by: beat him wel, or do some other notable injurie unto him, and he wil remember you, as long as he liveth, and many times wil talk of you, when you are far off from him.

36 Infinite are the deceits,What the deceits of the world are. and dissimulati­ons of the world. It seemeth goodly, fair, and gorgeous, in outward shew: but when it com­meth to handling, it is nothing but a fe­ther: [Page 306] when it commeth to sight, it is nothing but a shadow: when it commeth to waight; it is nothing but smoke: when it commeth to opening, it is nothing but an image of plaister work, ful of old rags and patches within. To know the miseries of the world, you must go a little out from it. For, as they which walk in a mist,A simili­tude. do no see it so wel, as they which stand upon an hil from it: so fareth it, in discerning the world: whose propertie is, to blind them that come to it, to the end they may not see their own estate: even as a raven, first of al striketh out the poore sheeps eie, and so brin­geth to passe, that she may not see the way to escape from his tyrannie.

37 After the world hath once bereft the worldling of his spiritual sight, that he can judge no longer, between good and evil; vani­tie, and veritie; then, it rocketh him asleep, at ease and pleasure; it bindeth him sweetly; it deceiveth him pleasantly; it tormenteth him in great peace and rest: it hath a prowd spirit straightwais,Mat. 4. to place him in the pinacle of greedy ambition, and therhence, to shew him al the dignities, and preferments of the world: it hath twentie false merchants, to shew him in the dark, the first and former ends, of fair and pretious cloths. (But he may not look into the whole peeces, nor carrie them to the light.) It hath four hundred false prophets to flatter him as Achab had,3. Reg. 22. which must keep him from [Page 307] the hearing of Micheas his counsel: that is, from the remorse of his own conscience, which telleth him truth: it hath a thousand cunning fishers, to lay before him pleasant baits, but al furnished with dangerous hooks within: it hath infinite strumpets of Babylon, to offer him drink in golden cups, but al mingled with most deadly poison: it hath in every door an alluring Iahel,Apo. 17. Iudic. 4. to intise him into the milk of pleasures and delites, but al have their ham­mers and nails in their hands, to murder him in the brain, when he falleth asleep. It hath in everie corner, a flattering Ioab,2. Reg. 20. to imbrace with one arm, and kil with the other. A false Iudas, to give a kisse, and therwith to betray.Luc. 22. Finally, it hath al the deceits, al the dissimula­tions, al the flatteries, al the treasons, that pos­sibly may be devised. It hateth them, that love it: deceiveth them, that trust it: afflicteth them, that serve it: reprocheth them, that honor it: damneth them, that follow it: and most of al forgetteth them, that labor and travel most of al for it. And to be breefe in this matter, do you what you can for this world, and love it, and adore it, as much as you wil: yet in the end you shal find it a right Nabal: who after many benefits received from David, yet when David came to have need of him, he answered; Who is David? Or who is the son of Isai, that I should know him? 1. Reg. 25. Vpon great cause then said the pro­phet David; O you children of men, Psal. 4. how long wil you [Page 308] be so dul harted? Why do you love vanitie, and seek after a lie? He calleth the world not a lier, but a lie it selfe: for the exceeding great fraud and deceit, which it useth.

38 The third name or propertie that Christ ascribeth unto the pleasures and riches of the world,3 How plea­sures of the world are thorns. is, that they are thorns: of which Saint Gregorie writeth thus; Who ever would have beleeved me, if I had called riches thorns, as Christ heer doth, seeing thorns do prik, and ri­ches are so pleasant?Hom. 15. in evang. And yet surely they are thorns; for that, with the priks of their careful B cogitations, they tear, and make bloody the minds of worldly men. By which words, this holie father signifieth, that even as a mans But the words of Christ de­clare, that it is another thing that he did specially respect therin: that is, the cho­king or destroieng of such corn as was sown among them; and the utter extin­guishing, or great hindering of al good motions of the spirit of God, in al those that are worldly minded. na­ked bodie, tossed and tombled among ma­nie thorns, cannot be but much rent and torn, and made bloo­die with the pricks therof: so a worldly mans soul beaten with the cares and cogitations of this life, cannot but be vexed with restles pricking of the same, and wounded also with manie temptations of sin, which do occur. This doth Salomon (in the places before alledged) signifie, when he doth not only cal the riches and pleasures of this world;Ecc. Vanitie of vanities, that is, the grea­test vanitie of al other vanities: but also Affli­ction of spirit: giving us to understand, that [Page 309] where these vanities are, and the love of them once entered: there is no more the peace of God, which passeth al understanding:Phil. 4. there is no longer rest, or quiet of mind: but war of desires; vexation of thoughts; tribulation of fears; pricking of cares; unquietnes of soul: which is indeed a most miserable and pittiful affliction of spirit.

39 And the reason heerof is,A compa­rison. that as a clok can never stand stil from running, so long as the peazes do hang therat: so a worldly man, having infinite cares, cogitations, and anxie­ties hanging upon his mind, as peazes upon the clok, can never have rest, or repose day or night, but is inforced to beat his brains, when other men sleep, for the compassing of those trifles, wherwith he is incombred. Oh, how manie rich men in the world do feel to be tru, that I now say? How many ambitious men do proove it daily, and yet wil not deliver them­selves out of the same?

40 Of al the plaegs sent unto Egypt,Exod. 8. that of the flies was one of the most troublesome, and fastidious. For, they never suffered men to rest; but the more they were beaten off, the more they came upon them. So, of al the miseries, and vexations, that God laieth upon world­lings, this is not the lest, to be tormented with the cares of that, which they esteem their grea­test felicitie: and cannot beat them off, by any means they can devise. They rush upon them [Page 310] in the morning, as soone as they awake; they accompanie them in the day; they forsake them not at night; they follow them to bed; they let them from their sleep; they afflict them in their dreams: and finally, they are like to those importune and unmerciful tyrans, which God threateneth to wicked men, by Ieremie the prophet;Iere. 16. Qui nocte ac die non dabunt requiem: Which shal give them no rest, either by day or night: and the cause heerof, which God alledgeth in the same chapter, is; Quia abstuli pacem meam à populo isto (dicit Dominus) misericordiam, & misera­tiones: for that I have taken away my peace from this kind of people (saith God) I have taken away my mercie, and commiserations: a very heavy sentence to al them, that lie under the yoke, and bon­dage of these miserable vanities.

Esai. 59.41 But yet the prophet Esay hath a much more terrible description of these mens estate; They put their trust in things of nothing, and do talk vanities: they conceive labor, and bring foorth iniqui­tie: they break the egs of serpents, and weave the webs of spiders: he that shal eat their egs shal die: and that which is hatched thence, shal be a cocatrice: their webs shal not make cloth, to cover them: for that, their works are unprofitable: and the work of iniqui­tie is in their hands. The expli­cation of the words of Esay. These are the words of Esay, declaring unto us by most significant simili­tudes, how dangerous thorns the riches and pleasures of this world are. And first he saith; They put their hope in things of nothing, and do talk [Page 311] vanities: to signifie, that he meaneth of the va­nities, and vain men of this world: who com­monly do talk of the things which they love best, & wherin they place their gretest affiance. Secondly he saith; They conceive labor, and bring foorth iniquitie. Alluding heerin, to the child­birth of women, who first do conceive in their womb; and after a great deal of travel, do bring foorth their infant: so worldly men, af­ter a great time of travel, and labor in vanities, do bring foorth no other fruit, than sin and iniquitie. For that is the effect of those vani­ties, as he speaketh in the same chapter, cri­eng out to such kind of men; Wo be unto you, which do draw iniquitie in the ropes of vanitie.

42 But yet to expresse this matter more forcibly, he useth two other similitudes, saieng; They break the egs of serpents, and do weave the webs of spiders. Signifieng by the one, the vani­tie of these worldly cares: and by the other, the danger therof. The spider we see, taketh great pains and labor many dais togither, to weave hir selfe a web: and in the end, when al is done, commeth a puff of wind, or some other little matter, and breaketh al in peeces. Even as he in the Gospel, which had taken great tra­vel and care,Luc. 12. in heaping riches togither in plucking down his old barns, building up of new: and when he was come to say to his soul; Now be merry. That night his soul was taken from him, and al his labor lost. Therfore Esay [Page 312] saith in this place, that The webs of these weavers shal not make them cloth to cover them withal: for that their works are unprofitable.

43 The other comparison containeth mat­ter of great danger and fear. For as the bird that sitteth upon the egs of serpents, by brea­king and hatching them, bringeth foorth a perilous broode, to hir own destruction: so those that sit abroode upon these vanities of the world (saith Esay) do hatch at last their own destruction. The reason wherof is (as he saith) For that the work of iniquitie is in their hand. Stil harping upon this string, that a man cannot love and follow these vanities, or intangle him­selfe with their ropes (as his phrase is) but that he must indeed draw on much iniquitie ther­with: that is, he most mingle much sin and offence of God with the same: which effect of sin, bicause it killeth the soul, that consenteth unto it: therfore Esay compareth it unto the broode of serpents, that killeth the bird which bringeth them foorth to the world. And final­ly Moises useth the like similitudes, when he saith,Deu. 32. of vain and wicked men; Their vineyard is the vineyard of Sodomites, their grape is the grape of gall, and their clusters of grapes are most bitter: their wine is the gall of dragons, and the poison of cotatrices uncurable. By which dreadful and lothsome comparisons, he would give us to understand, that the sweet pleasures of this world are indeed deceits, and wil proove them­selves, [Page 313] one day, most bitter and dangerous.

44 The fourth point that we have to consi­der, is, how this word aerumna, that is,4 The fourth part, how the world is mi­serie. miserie and calamitie, may be verified of the world, and the felicitie therof. Which thing, though it may appeer sufficiently by that, which hath been said before: yet wil I (for promise sake) discusse it a little further in this place, by some particulars. And among many miseries which I might heer recount; the first, and one of the greatest, is,Brevitie. the brevitie and uncertaintie of al worldly prosperitie. Oh, how great a miserie is this unto a worldly man, that would have his pleasures, constant and perpetual; O death, how bitter is thy remembrance (saith the wise man) un­to a man that hath peace in his riches? Eccl. 41. We have seen many men advanced, & not endured two moneths in their prosperitie: we have heard of divers married in great joy, and have not lived six daies in their felicitie: we have read of strange matters in this kind; and we see with our eies no few examples daily. What a greefe was it (think you) to Alexander the great,1. Mac. 1. that having subdued in twelve yeers, the most part of al the world, should be then inforced to die, when he was most desirous to live: and when he was to take most joy, and comfort of his victories? What a sorrow was it to the rich man in the Gospel, to hear upon the sudden;Luc. 12. Hac nocte: Even this night thou must die? What a mise­rie wil this be to many worldlings, when it [Page 314] commeth? Who now build pallaces; purchase lands; heap up riches; procure dignities; make marriages; join kindreds, as though there were never an end of these matters? What a doleful day, wil this be to them (I say) when they must forgo al these things, which they so much love? When they must be turned off, as princes mules are woont to be, at the journeis end: that is, their treasure taken from them, and their gauld backs only left unto them­selves?A compa­rison. For as we see these mules of princes go, al the day long, loden with treasure, and cove­red with fair cloths, but at night shaken off, in­to a sorrie stable, much brused & gauled, with the carriage of those treasures: so rich men that passe through this world, loden with gold, and silver; and do gaul greatly their souls in cariage therof, are despoiled of their burden at the day of death; and are turned off, with their wounded consciences, to the lothsome stable of hel and damnation.

45 Another miserie joined to the prosperi­tie of this world,Discontent­ment. is the greevous counterpeaze of discontentments, that everie worldly plea­sure hath with it. Run over everie pleasure in this life, and see what sawce it hath adjoined? Aske them that have had most proofe therof, whether they remain contented, or no? The possession of riches is accompanied with so many fears, and cares, as hath been shewed: the advancement of honors is subject to al misera­ble [Page 315] servitude that B may be devised: the It selfe is not so called: but it is said, that those that marrie should have tribulation in the flesh: which is in respect of the cares & molestations that cō ­mōly hang (or specially at that time, as the case stood with them) on the married estate. plesure of the flesh, though it be lawful and honest; yet is it called by Saint Paul Tribulation of the flesh: 1. Cor. 7.28. but if it be with sin, ten thousand times more is it environed with al kind of miseries.

46 Who can reckon up the calamities of our bodie? So manie diseases;Miseries of bodie. so manie infir­mities; so many Wheras chance and fortune are used of us in much like sense, though the sense & mea­ning of those that are instruc­ted in the faith be good, refer­ring al to the providence of God: yet seeing that Saint Au­gustine long since was sorie, that he had so much used such words (as appeereth, Retr. 1. c. 1.) it were good that we also should more warily decline such words, as others have so prophanely abused. And bet­ter were it a great deal to say, that such things are of the hand of God. B mischances; so ma­nie dangers? Who can tel the passions of our mind that do afflict us,Of mind. now with anger; now with so­row; now with en­vie; now with furie? Who can recount the adversities, and miseries, that come by our goods?Of goods. Who can nūber the hurts and discontentati­ons, that daily insu upon us,Of neigh­bors. from our neigh­bors? One calleth us into law for our goods: another pursueth us for our life: a third, by slander impugneth our good name: one afflic­teth [Page 316] us by hatred; another by envie; another by flatterie; another by deceit; another by re­venge; another by false witnes; another by open arms. There are not so manie dais, nor hours in our lives, as there are miseries and contrarieties in the same. And further than this, the evil hath this prerogative above the good, in our life; that one defect only over­whelmeth and drowneth a great number of good things togither: as if a man had al the felicities heaped togither, which this world could yeeld, and yet had but one tooth out of tune: al the other pleasures would not make him merrie. Heerof you have a cleere example in Aman, cheefe counceller of king Assuerus: who,Hester. 5. for that, Mardocheus the Iew did not rise to him when he went by, nor did honor him, as other men did: he said to his wife & frinds, that al his other felicities were nothing, in re­spect of this one affliction.

The miserie of blindnes.47 Ad now to this miserie of darknes and blindnes, wherin worldly men live (as in part I have touched before) most fitly prefigured by the palpable darknes of Egypt,Exo. 10. wherin no man could see his neighbor; no man could see his work; no man could see his way: such is the darknes wherin worldly men walk. They have eies, Mat. 13. but they see not, saith Christ: that is, though they have eies to see the matters of this world: yet they are blind, for that they see not the things they should see indeed. The children of [Page 317] this world are wiser in their generation, Luc. 16. than the chil­dren of light. But that is only in matters of this world, in matters of darknes, not in mat­ters of light, wherof they are no children: For that the carnal, 1. Cor. 2. man understandeth not the things which are of God. Walk over the world, and you shal find men as sharp eied as egles in things of the earth: but the same men as blind as beetles in matters of heaven. Therof ensu those lamentable effects, that we see daily of mans laws so carefully respected, and Gods commandements so contemptuously rejected: of earthly goods sought for, and heavenly goods not thought upon: of so much travel taken for the bodie, and so little care used for the soul. Finally, if you wil see in what great blindnes the world doth live, remember that Saint Paul comming from a worlding to be a good Christian,Acts. 9. had scales taken from his eies by Ananias, which covered his sight before, when he was in his pride, and ruff of the world.

48 Beside al these miseries,Temptati­ons and dan­gers. there is yet ano­ther miserie, greater in some respect, than the former; & that is, the infinit number of temp­tations, of snares, of intisements in the world, wherby men are drawn to perdition daily. Athanasius writeth of Saint Anthonie the her­mite, that God revealed unto him, one day,Athan. in vita An­thonij. the state of the world, and he saw it al hanged ful of nets in every corner, and divels sitting by, [Page 318] to watch the same. The prophet David to sig­nifie the very same thing; that is, the infinite multitude of snares in this world, saith; God shal raign snares upon sinners. Psal. 10. That is, God shal permit wicked men to fal into snares: which are as plentiful in the world, as are the drops of rain, which fal down from heaven. Every thing almost is a deadly snare, unto a carnal, and loose harted man. Every sight that he se­eth; every word that he heareth; every thought that he conceiveth: his youth; his age; his frinds; his enimies; his honor; his disgrace; his riches; his povertie; his companie keeping; his prosperitie; his adversitie; his meat that he eateth; his apparel that he weareth: al are snares, to draw him to destruction, that is not watchful.

49 Of this then, and of the blindnes decla­red before,Facilitie of sinning. doth follow the last, and greatest miserie of al, which can be in this life: and that is; the facilitie wherby worldly men do run in­to sin. For truly saith the scripture; Miseros fa­cit populos peccatum: Prou. 14. Sin is the thing that maketh people miserable. And yet, how easily men of the world do commit sin, and how little scruple they make of the matter, Iob signifieth, when talking of such a man, he saith; Bibit quasi aquam iniquitatem: Iob. 15. He suppeth up sin, as it were water. That is, with as great facilitie, custome, and ease, passeth he down any kind of sin, that is offered him, as a mā drinketh water, when he is a thirst. [Page 319] He that wil not beleeve the saieng of Iob: let him prove a little, by his own experience, whe­ther the matter be so or no: let him walk out in to the streets, behold the doings of men, view their behavior, consider what is done in shops; in hals; in consistories; in judgement seats; in pallaces; and in common meeting places a­broad: what lieng; what slandering; what de­ceiving there is. He shal find, that of al things, wherof men take any account, nothing is so little accounted of, as to sin.The sinful state of the world. He shal see justice sold; veritie wrested; shame lost; and equitie despised. He shal see the innocent condemned; the giltie delivered; the wicked advanced; the vertuous opressed. He shal see many theves flo­rish; many usurers bear great sway; many mur­derers & extortioners reverenced & honored; many fools put in authoritie; and divers, which have nothing in them but the form of men, by reason of money to be placed in great digni­ties, for the government of others. He shal hear at every mans mouth, almost, vanitie, pride, detraction, envie, deceit, dissimulation, wantonnes, dissolution, lieng, swearing, per­jurie, and blaspheming. Finally, he shal see the most part of men, to govern themselves abso­lutely, even as beasts do, by the motion of their passions, not by law of justice, reason, religion, or vertu.5 The fift part of this chap­ter.

50 Of this doth insu the fift point that Christ toucheth in his parable, and which I [Page 320] promised heer to handle: to wit, that the love of this world choketh up, and strangleth every man, whom it possesseth, from al celestial and spiritual life; for that it filleth him with a plain contrarie spirit, to the spirit of God. The apo­stle saith;Rom. 8. Si quis spiritum Christi non habet, hic non est eius? If any man hath not the spirit of Christ, this fellow belongeth not unto him. Now, how contrarie the spirit of Christ, and the spirit of the world is, may appeer by the fruits of Christs spirit re­koned up by Saint Paul unto the Galathians: to wit;Gal. 5. Charitie, which is the root and mother of al good works:The effects of the spirit of Christ. Ioy, in serving God: Peace, or tranquillitie of mind in the storms of this world: Patience, in adversitie: Longanimitie, in expecting our reward: Bonitie, in hurting no man: Benignitie, in sweet behavior: Gentlenes, in occasion given of anger: Faithfulnes, in per­forming our promises: Modestie, without arro­gancie: Continencie, from al kind of wickednes: Chastitie, in conserving a pure mind in a clean and unspotted bodie.Gal. 5. Against these men (saith Saint Paul) there is no law. The effects of the spirit of this world. And in the very same chapter he expresseth the spirit of the world by the contrarie effects, saieng; The works of flesh are manifest, which are, fornication, uncleannes, wantonnes, lecherie, idolatrie, poisonings, enmities, con­tentions, emulations, wrath, strife, dissention, sects, en­vie, murder, droonkennes, gluttonie, and the like: of which I foretel you, as I have told you before, that those men which do such things shal never obtain the [Page 321] kingdome of heaven.

51 Heer now may every man judge of the spirit of the world, and the spirit of Christ:Two rules of S. Paul to know our spirit. and (applieng it to himselfe) may conjecture whe­ther he holdeth of the one, or of the other. Saint Paul giveth two pretie short rules in the very same place to trie the same. The first is; They which are of Christ, have crucified their flesh, Gal. 5. with the vices, and concupiscences therof. That is, they have so mortified their own bodies, as they strive against al the vices & sins repeated before, and yeeld not to serve the concupiscen­ces or temptations therof. The second rule is; If we live in spirit, then let us walk in spirit. That is, our walking and behavior is a sign whether we be alive or dead. For if our walking be spiri­tual, such as I have declared before by those fruits therof: then do we live & have life in spi­rit: but if our works be carnal, such as S. Paul now hath described: then are we carnal and dead in spirit, neither have we any thing to do with Christ, or portion in the kingdome of heaven. And for that al the world is ful of those carnal works, and bringeth foorth no fruits indeed of Christs spirit, nor permitteth them to grow up or prosper within hir: thence is it, that the scripture alwais putteth Christ,Christ and the world enimies. Iohn. 14. and the world for opposite and open enimies.

52 Christ himselfe saith, that The world cannot receive the spirit of truth. And again, in the same Evangelist he saith; that Neither he, Ioh. 15.17. nor any of his [Page 322] are of the world, though they live in the world. And yet further, in his most vehement praier unto his father;Iohn. 17. Pater iuste, mundus te non cognovit: Iust father, the world hath not known thee. For which cause S. Iohn writeth;Iohn. 2. If any man love the world, the love of the father is not in him. And yet further Saint Iames,Iaco. 4. that Whosoever but desireth to be frind of this world, is therby made an enimie to God. What wil worldly men say to this? Saint Paul affirmeth plainly,1. Cor. 11. that this world is to be dam­ned. And Christ insinuateth the same in Saint Iohns Gospel:Iohn. 12. but most of al, in that wonder­ful fact of his, when praieng to his father, for other matters, he excepteth the world by name;Iohn. 17. Non pro mundo rogo, saith he: I do not aske mercie, and pardon for the world; but for those which thou hast given me out of the world. Oh, what a dreadful exception is this, made by the savior of the world;Iohn. 1. Luc. 23. by the lamb, that taketh away al sins; by him that asked pardon, even for his tormentors, and crucifiers, to except now the world by name from his mercie? Oh that worldly men would consider but this one point only: they would not (I think) live so void of fear as they do.

53 Can any man marvel now why Saint Paul crieth so carefully to us;Rom. 12. Nolite conformari huic saeculo: Conform not your selves to this world? And again;Titus. 2. That we should renounce utterly al worldly desires? Can any marvel why Saint Iohn, which was most privie, above al others, to Christs ho­lie [Page 323] meaning heerin, saith to us in such earnest sort: Nolite diligere mundum, 1. Ioh. 2. neque ea quae in mun­do sunt: Do not love the world, nor any thing that is in the world. If we may neither love it, nor so much as conform our selves unto it, under so great pains (as are before rehearsed) of the en­mitie of God and eternal damnation: what shal become of those men that do not only conform themselves unto it, and the vanities therof: but also do follow it; seek after it; rest in it; and do bestow al their labors, and tra­vels upon it.

54 If you ask me the cause why Christ so ha­teth and abhorreth this world:Why Christ hateth the world. Saint Iohn tel­leth you; Quia mundus totus in maligno positus est: For that al the whole world is set on naughtines;1. Ioh. 5. for that it hath a spirit contrarie to the spirit of Christ, as hath been shewed; for that it tea­cheth pride, vain glorie, ambition, envie, re­venge, malice, with pleasures of the flesh, and al kind of vanities: and Christ on the contrarie side, humilitie, meeknes, pardoning of enimies, abstinence, chastitie, sufferance, mortification, bearing the crosse, with contempt of al earthly pleasures: for that it persecuteth the good, and advanceth the evil: for that it rooteth out ver­tu, and planteth al vice: and finally, for that it shutteth the doores against Christ when he knocketh,Apoc. 3. and strangleth the hart that once it possesseth.

55 Wherfore to conclude this part, seeing [Page 324] this world is such a thing as it is:A descrip­tion of the world. so vain, so de­ceitful, so troublesom, so dangerous: seeing it is a professed enimie to Christ, excommunica­ted and damned to the pit of hel: seeing it is (as one father saith) an ark of travel; a schoole of vanities; a feat of deceit; a labirinth of er­ror: seeing it is nothing els but a barren wil­dernes; a stonie feeld; a dirtie stie; a tempe­stuous sea: seeing it is a grove ful of thorns; a medow ful of scorpions; a florishing garden without fruit; a cave ful of poisoned and dead­ly basilisks: seeing it is finally (as I have shew­ed) a fountain of miseries; a river of tears; a feined fable; a delectable frensie: seeing (as Saint Austen saith) the joy of this world hath nothing els but false delite;Au. ep. 39. tru asperitie; cer­tain sorrow; uncertain pleasure; travelsom la­bour; fearful rest; greevous miserie; vain hope of felicitie: seeing it hath nothing in it (as saint Chrysostom saith) but tears,Hom. 22. ad pop. Antioc. shame, repen­tance, reproch, sadnes, negligences, labors, ter­rors, siknes, sin, and death it selfe: seeing the worlds repose is ful of anguish; his securitie without foundation; his fear without cause; his travels without fruit; his sorrow without profit; his desires without successe; his hope without reward; his mirth without continu­ance; his miseries without remedies: seeing these and a thousand evils more are in it, and no one good thing can be had from it: who wil be deceived with this visard, or allured with [Page 325] this vanitie heerafter? Who wil be staied from the noble service of God by the love of so fond a trifle as is the world? And this, to a reasona­ble man may be sufficient, to declare the insuf­ficiencie of this third impediment.

56 But yet for the satisfieng of my promise in the beginning of this chapter:The last part of this chap­ter, how we may avoid the evil of the world. I have to ad a word or two in this place, how we may a­void the danger of this world; and also use it unto our gain and commoditie. And for the first to avoid the dangers, seeing there are so manie snares and traps, as hath been declared: there is no other way but only to use the re­fuge of birds, in avoiding the dangerous snares of fowlers: that is, to mount up into the air, and so to fly over them al. Frustra iacitur rete ante oculos pennatorum, saith the wise man:Prou. 1. that is, The net is laid in vain before the eies of such as have wings, and can flie. The spies of Hiericho, though manie snares were laid for them by their enimies: yet they escaped al, for that they walked by hils saith the scripture:Hom. 1. in Iosue. wherunto Origin alluding, saith; that There is no way to B avoid the dangers of this world, Though the matter be good: yet hard­ly doth it stand by these pla­ces. but to walk upon hils, and to imitate David, that said; Le­vavi oculos meos ad montes, unde veniet auxiliū mi­hi: I lifted up mine eies unto the hils, whence al mine aid and assistance came, for avoiding the snares of this world. And then shal we say with the same David; Anima nostra sicut passer erepta est de la­queo venantium: Psa. 120. Psa. 123. Our soul is delivered as a sparrow [Page 326] from the snare of the fowlers. We must say with Saint Paul;Phil. 3. Our conversation is in heaven. And then shal we little fear al these deceits, and dan­gers upon earth. For as the fowler hath no hope to catch the bird, except he can allure hir to pitch and come down, by some means: so hath the divel, no way to intangle us, but to say as he did to Christ; Mitte te deorsum: Throw thy selfe down: Mat. 4. that is, pitch down upon the baits, which I have laid: eat and devour them: enamor thy selfe with them: tie thine appetite unto them, and the like.

57 Which grosse and open temptation he that wil avoid, by contemning the allurement of these baits: by flieng over them; by pla­cing his love and cogitations in the mountains of heavenly joies and eternitie: he shal easily es­cape al dangers and perils. King David was past them al,Psal. 72. when he said to God; What is there for me in heaven, or what do I desire besides thee upon earth? My flesh and my hart have fainted for desire of thee. Thou art the God of my hart, and my portion (O Lord) for ever.

58 Saint Paul also was past over these dan­gers,Gal. 6. Phil. 3. 2. Cor. 10. when he said; that Now he was crucified to the world, & the world unto him: and that He estee­med al the wealth of this world as meer doong: and that albeit he lived in flesh, yet lived he not ac­cording to the flesh. Which glorious example if we would follow, in contemning and despi­sing the vanities of this world, and fixing our [Page 327] minds, in the noble riches of Gods kingdome to come: the snares of the divel would prevail nothing at al against us in this life.

59 Touching the second point:How to use worldly wealth to our advan­tage. how to use the riches and commodities of this world to our advantage: Christ hath laid down plainly the means; Facite vobis amicos de Mammona ini­quitatis: Make unto you frinds of the riches of ini­quitie. Luc. 16. The rich glutton might have escaped his torments, and have made himselfe an happie man by help of worldlie wealth, if he would: and so might manie a thousand which now live, and wil go to hel for the same.Luc. 16. Oh that men would take warning, and be wise whiles they have time. Saint Paul saith;Gal. 4. 2. Cor. 9. Deceive not your selves: looke what a man soweth, and that shal he reap. What a plentiful harvest then might rich men provide themselves, if they would: which have such store of seed, and so much ground offered them daily to sow it in? Why do they not remember that sweet harvest song;Mat. 25. Come ye blessed of my father, enter into the kingdome prepa­red for you: for I was hungrie, and you fed me: I was thirstie, and you gave me to drink: I was naked, and you appareled me. Or if they do not care for this: why do they not fear at least the blak Sanctus that must be chaunted to them for the contra­rie; Agite nunc divites, plorate, Iaco. 5. ululantes in miserijs vestris quae advenient vobis: Go to now you rich men, weep, and howl in your miseries, that shal come upon you?

[Page 328] Dam. in hist. Barlaam & Josapha [...]. 1 A parable.60 The holie father Iohn Damascen repor­teth a parable of Barlaam the hermite, to our purpose. There was (saith he) a certain citie, or common welth, which used to choose them­selves a king from among the poorest sort of the people, and to advance him to great honor, wealth, and pleasures for a time: but after a while, when they were wearie of him, their fa­shion was to rise against him, and to despoile him of al his felicitie, yea, the very cloths of his bak, and so to banish him naked into an iland of a far country: where bringing nothing with him, he should live in great miserie, and be put to great slaverie for ever. Which practise one king at a certain time considering, by good advise (for al the other, though they knew that fashion, yet through negligence, and pleasures of their present felicitie cared not for it) took resolute order with himselfe how to prevent this miserie: which was by this means; He sa­ved every day great sums of money from his superfluities, and idle expenses, and so, secretly made over before hand a great treasure unto that iland, wherunto he was in danger daily to be sent. And when the time came that in­deed they deposed him from his kingdom, and turned him away naked, as they had done the other before: he went to the iland with joy and confidence, where his treasure lay, and was received there with exceeding great triumph, and placed presently in greater glory than ever [Page 329] he was before.

61 This parable (drawing somwhat neer to that which Christ put of the evil steward,The applica­tion of this parable. tea­cheth as much as at this present needs to be said in this point. For the citie or common wealth is this present world, which advanceth to authoritie, poore men: that is, such as come naked into this life, and upon the sudden when they look least for it, doth it pul them down again & turneth them naked into their graves, and so sendeth them into another world: where bringing no treasure with them, they are like to find little favor, and rather eternal miserie. The wise king that prevented this cala­mitie, is he, which in this life (according to the counsel of Christ) doth seek to lay up treasure in heaven, against the day of his deth,Luc. 12. when he must be banished hence naked, as al the prin­ces of that citie were. At which time if their good deeds do follow them (as God promi­seth) then shal they be happie men;Apo. 14. Mat. 25. and placed in much more glorie than ever this world was able to give them. But if they come without oil in their lamps: then is there nothing for them to expect; but Nescio vos: I know not you. And when they are known; Ite maledicti in ignem eternum: Mat. 25. Go you accursed into fire everlasting.

CHAP. IIII. Of the fourth impediment: which is, too much presuming of the mercie of GOD.

THere are a certain kind of people in the world, who wil not take the pains to think of, or to allege any of the said impediments before; but have a shor­ter way for al, and more plausible, as it semeth to them: and that is, to lay the whole matter upon the bak of Christ himselfe, and to answer what soever you can say against them, with this on­ly sentence; God is merciful. Of these men may Christ complain with the prophet, saieng; Su­pra dorsum meum fabricaverunt peccatores, Psa. 128. prolon­gaverunt iniquitatem: Sinners have built upon my bak, Building on Gods bak. they have prolonged their iniquitie. By which B words we may account our selves charged, that prolonging of iniquities,Though it stand not on the na­tural sense of this place: yet is it that in effect, which is rebuked, Rom. 6.1. in hope of Gods mercie, is to build our sins on his bak. But what followeth? Wil God bear it? No verily: for the next words insuing are; Dominus iustus, concidet cervices peccatorum: God is iust, he wil cut in sunder the neks of sinners. Heer are two cooling cards, for the two warm imaginations before. Mean you (Sir) to prolong your iniquitie, for that God is merciful? Remember also, that he [Page 331] is just, saith the prophet. Are ye gotten up, up­on the bak of God, to make your nest of sin there? Take heed: for he wil fetch you down again, and break your nek downward, except ye repent: for that indeed there is no one thing which may be so injurious to God, as to make him the foundation of our sinful life, which lost his own life for the extinguishing of sin.

2 But you wil say; And is not God then merciful?How God is both merci­ful and iust. Yes truly (deer brother) he is most merciful, and there is neither end, nor measure of his mercie. He is even mercie it selfe: it is his nature and essence: and he can no more leave to be merciful, than he can leave to be God. But yet (as the prophet heer saith) he is just also. We must not so remember his mer­cie, as we forget his justice. Dulcis & rectus Do­minus: Our Lord is sweet, but yet upright and iust too, saith David: and in the same place;Psal. 24. Al the wais of the Lord are mercie & truth. Ser. 52. par­vorum. Which words holie Barnard expounding in a certain sermon of his, saith thus; There be two feete of the Lord, wherby he walketh his wais: that is,The two feet of God. mer­cie, and truth; and God fasteneth both these feete upon the harts of them, which turn unto him. And every sinner that wil truly convert himselfe, must lay hand fast on both these feet. For if he should lay hands on mercie only, let­ting passe truth and justice: he would perish by presumption. And on the other side, if he shuld apprehend justice only, without mercie: he [Page 332] would perish by desperation. To the end ther­fore that he may be saved: he must humbly fal down and kisse both these feet: that in respect of Gods justice he may retain fear: and in re­spect of his mercie,Serm. 6. in Cant. he may conceive hope. And in another place; Happie is that soul, upon which our Lord Iesus Christ hath placed both his feet. I wil not sing unto thee judgement alone, nor yet mercie alone (my God;) but I wil sing unto thee,Psa. 101. Psa. 148. with the prophet David, mercie and judgement joined togither. And I wil never forget these justifications of thine.

Tract. 33. in Iohn.3 Saint Austen handleth this point most ex­cellently in divers places of his works. Let them mark (saith he) which love so much mer­cie and gentlenes in our Lord: let them mark (I say) and fear also his truth. For (as the pro­phet saith) God is both sweet and just.Psal. 24. Dost thou love that he is sweet? Fear also that he is just. As a sweet Lord, he said; I have held my peace at your sins: but as a just Lord, he addeth; And think you that I wil hold my peace stil? Psa. 102. God is merciful, and ful of mercies, say you: it is most certain: yea ad unto it, that He beareth long. But yet fear that, which commeth in the verses end; Et verax: that is, He is also tru and iust. Two dangers of sinners. There be two things, wherby sinners do stand in danger: the one, in hoping too much (which is presumption:) the other, in hoping too little, which is desperation. Who is decei­ved by hoping too much? He which saith un­to [Page 333] himselfe; God is a good God; a merciful God: and therfore I wil do what pleaseth me. And why so? Bicause God is a merciful God; a good God; a gentle God. These men run in­to danger by hoping too much. Who are in danger by despair? Those, which seeing their sins greevous, and thinking it now unpossible to be pardoned, say within themselves; Wel, we are once to be damned: why do not we then, whatsoever pleaseth us best in this life? These men are murdered by desperation; the other by hope. What therfore doth God for gaining of both these men? To him which is in danger by hope, he saith; Do not say with thy selfe; The mercie of God is great, Eccl. 5. he wil be merciful to the multitude of my sins: for the face of his wrath is upon sinners. To him that is in danger by des­peration, he saith;Eze. 18. At what time soever a sinner shal turn himselfe to me, I wil forget his iniquities. Thus far S. Austen, beside much more which he addeth in the same place, touching the great peril and follie of those, which upon vain hope of Gods mercie do persevere in their evil life.

4 It is a very evil consequent, and most un­just kind of reasoning, to say; That forsomuch as God is merciful and long suffering, therfore wil I abuse his mercie, and continu in my wic­kednes. The scripture teacheth us not to rea­son so, but rather quite contrarie; God is mer­ciful, and expecteth my conversion, and the longer he expecteth, the more greevous wil be [Page 334] his punishment when it commeth, if I neglect this patience. And therfore I ought presently to accept of his mercie. So reasoneth S. Paul, which saith;Rom. 2. Dost thou contemn the riches of his long suffering, and gentlenes? Dost thou not know that the patience of God towards thee, is used to bring thee to repentance? But thou through the hardnes of thy hart and irrepentant mind dost hoord up to thy selfe wrath, in the day of vengeance, at the revelation of Gods iust iudgement. In which words Saint Paul signifieth, that the longer that God suffe­reth us with patience in our wickednes, the greater heap of vengeance doth he gather a­gainst us, if we persist obstinate in the same. Wherto Saint Austen addeth another conside­ration of great dread and fear:Tract. 33. in Ioan. and that is; If he offer thee grace (saith he) to day: thou kno­west not whether he wil do it to morrow or no. If he give thee life and memorie this week: thou knowest not whether thou shalt enjoy it the next week or no.

Gods good­nes nothing helpeth those that perse­vere in sin.5 The holie prophet beginning his seven­tith and second psalme of the dangerous pros­peritie of worldlie men, useth these words of admiration; How good a God, is the God of Israel unto them that be of a right hart! Psal. 72. And yet in al that psalme, he doth nothing els but shew the heavie justice of God towards the wicked, even when he giveth them most prosperities and worldlie wealth: and his conclusion is; Behold (O Lord) they shal perish which depart from thee: [Page 335] thou hast destroied al those that have broken their faith of wedlok with thee. By which is signified, that, how good soever God be unto the just: yet that pertaineth nothing to the releefe of the wicked, who are to receive just vengeance at his hands, amidst the greatest mercies, be­stowed upon the godlie.Psal. 33. The eies of the Lord are upon the iust (saith the same prophet) and his ears are bent to hear their praiers: but the face of the Lord is upon them that do evil, to destroy their memo­rie from out the earth.

6 It was an old practise of deceiving pro­phets, resisted strongly by the prophets of God, to crie; Peace, peace, unto wicked men:Ier. 6.8. when indeed there was nothing towards them but danger, sword, and destruction, as the tru prophets foretold, and as the event prooved.Eze. 13. Wherfore, the prophet David giveth us a no­table and sure rule, to govern our hope and confidence withal; Sacrificate sacrificium iusti­tiae, & sperate in Domino: Do you sacrifice unto God the sacrifice of righteousnes, and then trust in him. Wherwith Saint Iohn agreeth, when he saith; If our hart or conscience do not reprehend us for wic­ked life: then have we confidence with God: 1. Ioh. 3. as who would say; If our conscience be giltie of lewd and wicked life, and we resolved to dwel and continu therin: then in vain have we confi­dence in the mercies of God, unto whose just judgement we stand subject for our wicked­nes.

[Page 336] The severi­tie of Gods punishment upon sin.7 It is most woonderful and dreadful to con­sider, how God hath used himselfe towards his best beloved in this world, upon offence given by occasion of sin: how easily he hath changed countenance; how soon he hath broken off frindship; how streightly he hath taken ac­count; and how severely he hath punished. The Angels that he created with so great care and love,The Angels. and to whom he imparted so singular pri­vileges, of al kind of perfections, as he made them almost very gods (in a certain maner) committed but only one sin of pride,Esai. 14. against his majestie, and that only in thought, as Di­vines do hold: and yet presently, al that good wil and favor was changed into justice: and that also so severe, as they were thrown down to eternal torments,2. Pet. 2. Ep. Iud. without redemption, chained for ever, to abide the rigor of hel fire and intollerable darknes.

Adam and Eve.8 After this, God made himselfe another new frind of flesh and blood, which was our father Adam in paradise; where God conver­sed with him, so frindly and familiarly, as is most woonderful to consider: he called him; he talked with him; he made al creatures in the world subject unto him: he brought them al before him, to the end that he, and not God, should give them their names: he made a mate and companion for him: he blessed them both: and finally, shewed al possible tokens of love, that might be. But what insued? Adam [Page 337] committed but one sin: and that, at the in­tisement of another: and that also a sin not of so verie great importance (as it may seem to mans reason) being but the eating of the tree forbidden, and yet the matter was no soo­ner done, but al frindship was broken be­tween God and him: he was thrust out of pa­radise, condemned to perpetual miserie, and al his posteritie to eternal damnation, togither with himselfe, if he had not repented. And how severely this greevous sentence is execu­ted, may sufficiently appeer by this, that infi­nite millions of people, even the whole race of mankind, is for it, cast down unto the unspeak­able torments of hel: excepting those few, that since are ransomed by the comming down of Gods own son, the second person in Trinitie, into this flesh; and by his intollerable sufferings, and death in the same.Moises and Aaron.

9 The two miracles of the world; Moises and Aaron were of singular authoritie and favor with God:Num. 20.27.33. Deut. 10.32.34. insomuch as they could obtain great things at his hands for other men: & yet when they offended God once themselves, at the waters of contradictiō in the desart of Sin, for that they dowted somwhat of the miracle promised to them from God, & therby did dis­honor his majestie before the people, as he saith: they were presently rebuked most sharply for the same: & though they repented hartily that offence; and so, obtained remission of the [Page 338] fault or guilt: yet was there laid upon them a greevous chastisement for the same: and that was, that they shuld not enter themselves into the land of promise: but should die when they came within the sight therof. And albeit they intreated God most earnestly for the release of this penance: yet could they never obtain the same at his hands: but alwais he answered them; Seeing you have dishonored me before the peo­ple, you shal die for it, and shal not enter into the land of promise.

10 In what special great favor was Saul with God,Saul. when he chose him to be the first king of the peple:1. Reg. 10. and 11. Acts. 13. caused Samuel the prophet so much to honor him; and to anoint him prince upon Gods own inheritance, as he calleth it? When he commended him so much, and took such tender care over him? And yet afterward, for that he brake Gods commandement,1. Reg. 13.15.16. in reser­ving certain spoils of war, which he should have destroied: yea, though he reserved them to honor God withal, as he pretended: yet was he presently cast off by God; degraded of his dignitie; given over to the hands of an evil spirit;1. Reg. 16. 1. Reg. 31. brought to infinite miseries (though he shifted out for a time) and finally, so forsa­ken and abandoned by God,1. Par. 10. as he slew him­selfe:2. Sam. 21.6 his sons were crucified or hanged on a crosse by his enimies; and al his family and linage extinguished for ever.

David.11 David was the chosen and deer frind of [Page 339] God,2. Reg. 12. and honored with the title of One that was according to Gods own hart. But yet,Psal. Psal. 29. assoon as he had sinned: the prophet Nathan was sent to denounce Gods heavie displeasure and pu­nishment upon him. And so it insued, notwith­standing B that he sorrowed and humbled him­selfe so much, as he did for the sin that he had done: as may appeer by his fasting, praier, weeping, wearing of sak, In this the sense is rather to be regar­ded: than the words to be streitly urged. eating of ashes, and the like. By which is evident, that how great Gods mercie is to them that fear him: so great is his justice to them that offend him.

12 The scripture hath infinite examples of this matter,Gen. 4. Gen. 8. Gen. 19. Num. 16. Leui. 10. as the rejection of Cain and his posteritie streight upon his murder: the pitti­ful drowning of the whole world in the time of Noe: the dreadful consuming of Sodom and B Gomorra, with the cities about, by fire and brimstone: the sending down quik to hel of Chore, Dathan, and Abyron; with the slaugh­ter of two hundred and fiftie their adherents, and many thousands of the people besides, for rebellion against Moises & Aaron: the sudden killing of Nadab, and Abju, sons of Aaron, and chosen preests, for once offering of Wherin also we may see what those may look for that worship God with mens tra­ditions, or otherwise than he hath ap­pointed. other fire on the altar, than was appointed them: the most terrible striking dead of Ananias and Saphira, for retaining some part of their own goods, by deceit, from the apostles: with ma­nie mo such examples,Acts. 5. which the scripture doth recount.

[Page 340] The heavi­nes of Gods hand.13 And for the greevousnes of Gods justice, and heavines of his hand, when it lighteth up­on us, though it may appeer sufficiently by al these examples before alleged, wherin the par­ticular punishments (as you see) are most rigo­rous: yet wil I repeat one act of God more, out of the scripture, which expresseth the same in woonderful maner. It is wel known that Benjamin among al the twelve sons of Iacob,Gen. 42.43. was the deerest unto his father, as appeereth in the book of Genesis, and therfore also greatly respected by God: and his tribe placed in the best part of al the land of promise, upon the division therof,Iosu. 18. having Ierusalem, Iericho, and other the best cities within it. Yet notwith­standing for one only sin committed by cer­tain private men in the citie of Gabaa, upon the wife of a levite, God punished the whole tribe in this order,Iudi. 19.20. as the scripture recounteth. He caused al the other eleven tribes to rise against them: and first, to come to the house of God in Silo, to aske his advise, and follow his directiō in this war against their brethren. And thence having by Gods appointment entered battel twice with the tribe of Benjamin, the third day God gave them so great a victorie, as they slew al the living creatures, within the compasse of that tribe, except only six hun­dred men that escaped away into the desart: the rest were slain, both man, woman, children, and infants, togither with al the beasts, and [Page 341] cattel, and al the cities, villages, and houses burnt with fire. And al this, for one sin com­mitted, only at one time, with one woman.

14 And who wil not then confesse with Moi­ses, that God is a iust God, a great God, Deu. 10. and a terri­rible God? Who wil not confesse with Saint Paul; It is horrible to fal into the hands of the living God? Heb. 10. Who wil not say with holie David; A iudicijs tuis timui: Psa. 118. I have feared at the remembrance of thy iudgements. If God would not spare the de­stroieng of a whole tribe for on sin only; if he would not pardon Chore, Dathan, and Abi­ron for once; the sons of Aaron for once; Ananias, and Saphyra, for once; if he would not forgive Esau, though afterward he sought the blessing with tears as the apostle saith; if he would not remit the punishment of one fault to Moises and Aaron,Heb. 12. though they asked it with great instance; if he would not forgive one prowd cogitation, unto the angels; nor once eating of the tree forbidden unto Adam, without infinite punishment; nor would passe over the cup of affliction from his own Son, though he asked it thrise upon his knees,Mat. 26. with the sweat of blood: what reason hast thou to think that he wil let passe so many sins of thine unpunished? What cause hast thou to induce thy imagination, that he wil deal extraordina­rily with thee, and break the course of his justice for thy sake? Art thou better than those whom I have named? Hast thou any privilege [Page 342] from God above them?

Great and strange ef­fects of Gods iustice.15 If thou wouldest consider the great and strange effects of Gods justice, which we see daily executed in the world: thou shouldest have little cause to persuade thy selfe so favora­bly, or rather to flatter thy selfe so dange­rously, as thou doest. We see that, notwith­standing Gods mercie, yea, notwithstanding the death and passion of Christ our savior, for saving of the whole world: yet so many infi­nite millions to be damned daily, by the justice of God: so many infidels, heathens, Iews, and Turks, that remain in the darknes of their own ignorance: & among Christians, so many that hold not their profession truly, or other­wise are il livers therin, as that Christ truly said,Mat. 7.20. that few were they that should be saved: albeit his death was paid for al; if they made not themselves unwoorthy therof. And before the comming of our savior much more we see, that al the world went a-wry to damnation for many thousand yeers togither; excepting a few Iews, which were the people of God. And yet among them also, the greater part (it see­meth) were not saved; as may be conjectured by the speeches of the prophets from time to time; and specially by the saiengs of Christ to the Pharisies, and other rulers therof. Now then, if God for the satisfieng of his justice, could let so many millions perish through their own sins, as he doth also now daily permit, [Page 343] without any prejudice or impechment to his mercie: why, may not he also damn thee, for thy sins, notwithstanding his mercie, seeing thou dost not only commit them without fear, but also dost confidently persist in the same?

16 But heer som man may say; If this be so,Whether Gods mercie be greater than his iu­stice. that God is so severe in punishment of everie sin: and that he damneth so manie thousands for one that he saveth: how is it tru; that The mercies of God are Spread foorth over al his works: as both Augustine and Ierom do read; In omnia, or In Vniversa opera eius. Tom. 8.11. on behalfe of his chil­dren. For even they also have their works so unperfect, and their faith so weak, that but in the depth of the mercie of God, they cannot in any wise be saved: no, not the best that ever was. But concerning that he doth so resolutely set down so many thou­sands to be damned for one that is saved, it is somwhat more, than the word it selfe doth warrant; or the proportion of the mercie of God (compared with his justice) may seem to bear. And seeing that this whole treatise in these four next sections, viz. 16.19. is grounded upon a wrong text, therfore it is to be read so much more wa­rily: and no further to be accounted of, than it may be found to have the word of God to warrant the same. above al his other works (as the scripture saith) and that it passeth and exalteth it selfe above his iudgements? Psa. 144. Iac. 2. For if the number of the damned do exceed so much the number of B those which are sa­ved: it seemeth that the work of justice doth passe the work of mercie. To which I answer, that tou­ching the smal number of those that are saved, and infi­nite quantitie of such as are dam­ned, we may in no wise dowt: for that beside al other pro­phets, Christ our Savior hath made the matter certain, and out of question. We have to see therfore,Mat. 7.20. [Page 344] how, notwithstanding al this, the mercie of God doth exceed his other works.

17 And first, his mercie may be said to ex­ceed, for that al our salvation is of his mercie, and our damnation from our selves, as from the first and principal causes therof, according to the saieng of God,Ose. 13. by the prophet; Perditio tua Israel: tantum modo in me auxilium tuum: Thy only perdition is from thy selfe (O Israel) and thy assi­stance to do good, is only from me. So that, as we must acknowlege Gods grace & mercy for the author of every good thought, and act that we do, and consequently ascribe al our salvation unto him: so none of our evil acts (for which we are damned) do proceed from him; but on­ly from our selves, and so he is no cause at al of our damnation: and in this doth his mercie exceed his justice.

218 Secondly, his mercie doth exceed, in that he desireth al men to be saved,1. Tim. 2. as Saint Paul teacheth, and himselfe protesteth, when he saith;Eze. 18. I wil not the death of a sinner, but rather that he turn from his wickednes and live. And again, by the prophet Ieremie, he complaineth gree­vously that men wil not accept of his mercie offered;Iere. 3. Turn from your wicked wais (saith he) why wil ye die, you house of Israel? By which ap­peereth, that he offereth his mercie most wil­lingly & freely to al, but useth his justice only upon necessitie (as it were) constrained therun­to by our obstinate behavior. This Christ sig­nifieth [Page 345] more plainly, when he saith to Ierusa­lem; O Ierusalem, Ierusalem, Mat. 25. which killest the pro­phets: and stonest them to death, that are sent unto thee: how often would I have gathered thy children togither, as the hen clocketh hir chickins underneath hir wings, but thou wouldest not? Behold thy house (for this cause) shal be made desart, and left without chil­dren. Heer you see the mercie of God often of­fered unto the Iews: but, for that they refused it, he was inforced (in a certain maner) to pro­nounce this heavy sentence of destruction and desolation upon them: which he fulfilled with­in fortie, or fiftie yeers after, by the hands of Vespasian, emperor of Rome,Iosephus de bello Iud. lib. 1. cap. 1.2 3. and Titus his son: who utterly discomfited the citie of Ierusalem, and whole nation of Iews, whom we see dispersed over the world at this day; in bondage, both of bodie and soul. Which work of Gods justice though it be most terrible: yet was his mercie greater to them, as appeereth by Christ words, if they had not rejected the B Son.

19 Thirdly, his mercie exceedeth hisAs a­fore: not as though the mea­ning shuld be, that God were more mer­ciful, than just, holie, wise, or such like. justice, even towards the damned themselves: in that he used many means to save them in this life, by calling upon them, and assisting them with his grace to do good: by mooving them in­wardly with infinite good inspirations: by al­luring them outwardly, with exhortations, promisses, examples of other; as also by sik­nes, adversities, and other gentle corrections: [Page 346] by giving them space to repent, with occasions, opportunities, and excitations unto the same: by threatening them eternal death, if they re­pent not. Al which things being effects of mercie, and goodnes towards them: they must needs confesse amidst their greatest furie, and torments, that his judgements are tru, and justified in themselves, and no wais to be com­pared with the greatnes of his mercies.

20 By this then we see that to be tru, which the prophet saith;Psal. 83. Misericordiam & veritatem diligit Dominus: God loveth mercie and truth. And again;Psal. 84. Mercie and truth have met togither: iustice and peace have kissed themselves. We see the rea­son why the same prophet protesteth of him­selfe;Psa. 100. I wil sing unto thee mercie and iudgement (O Lord) not mercie alone, nor judgement alone; but mercie and judgement togither: that is, I wil not so presume of thy mercie, as I wil not fear thy judgement: nor wil I so fear thy judge­ment, as I wil ever dispair of thy mercie. The fear of Gods judgement is alwais to be joined with our confidence in Gods mercie: yea in ve­rie saints themselves, as David saith. But what fear? That fear truly, which the scripture de­scribeth,Psal. 33. Eccl. 1. Prou. 1. Eccl. 7. Eccl. 15. Eccl. 7. Eccl. 2. when it saith; The fear of the Lord ex­pelleth sin; the fear of God, hateth al evil; he that feareth God, neglecteth nothing; he that feareth God, wil turn and looke into his own hart; he that feareth God, wil do good works. They which fear God, wil not be incredulous [Page 347] to that which he saith: but wil keep his wais, and seek out the things that are pleasant unto him: they wil prepare their harts, and sancti­fie their souls in his sight.

21 This is the description of tru fear of God,The praise of tru fear. set down by the scripture. This is the descrip­tion of that fear, which is so much commen­ded and commanded in every part and parcel of Gods word: of that fear (I say) which is called; Fons vitae; radix prudentiae; corona; Pro. 14. & ple­nitudo sapientiae; gloria & gloriatio; beatum donum: that is; The fountain of life; the roote of prudence; Ecc. 1.2.15. the crown and fulnes of wisdome; the glorie and glo­riation of a Christian man; a happie gift. Of him that hath this fear, the scripture saith;Psa. 112. Happy is the man which feareth the Lord, for he wil place his mind upon his commandements. And again; The man that feareth God shal be happy at the last end, Eccl. 1. and shal be blessed at the day of his death. Finally, of such as have this fear, the scripture saith, that God is their foundation: God hath pre­pared great multitude of sweetnes for them: God hath purchased them an inheritance:Psal. 24. Psal. 30. Psal. 60. Psal. 62. Psa. 144. God is as merciful to them, as the father is merciful unto his children. And (to conclude) Voluntatem timentium se faciet: God wil do the wil of those that fear him with this fear.

22 This holy fear had good Iob, when he said to God; I feared al my works. Iob. 9. And he yeeldeth the reason therof; For I know that thou sparest not him that offendeth thee. This fear lacked the [Page 348] other of whom the prophet saith; The sinner hath exaspered God, by saieng, that God wil not take account of his dooings,Psal. 9. in the multi­tude of wrath. Thy judgements (O Lord) are remooved from his sight. And again, Wher­fore hath the man stirred up God against him­self, by saieng; God wil not take account of my dooings? It is a great wickednes (no dowt) & a great exasperation of God against us, to take the one halfe of Gods nature from him, which is; to make him merciful without justice: & to live so, as though God would not take account of our life: wheras he hath protested most ear­nestly the contrarie, saieng, that he is an hard and a sore man, which wil not be content to receive his own again,Mat. 25. Luc. 16. but also wil have usurie: that he wil have a rekoning of al his goods lent us:Mat. 7. Luc. 13. that he wil have fruit for al his labors bestowed upon us: and finally, that he wil have account for every word that we have spoken.Mat. 12.

Mat. 27. Mar. 15. Iohn. 2.23 Christ in the three score and eight psalm, which in sundry places of the Gospel he inter­preteth to be written of himselfe, among other dreadful curses, which he setteth down, against the reprobate, he hath these; Let their eies be dazeled in such sort, as they may not see: powre out thy wrath (my father) upon them: let the furie of thy vengeance take hand fast on them: ad iniquitie upon their iniquitie: and let him not enter into thy righte­ousnes: let them be blotted out of the book of life: and [Page 349] let them not be inrolled togither with the iust. Heer (lo) we see, that the greatest curse, which God can lay upon us, next before our blotting out of the booke of life, it is to suffer us to be so blinded, as to ad iniquitie upon iniquitie,D. Thomas secunda se­cundae. q. 14. art. 1.2.3. and not to enter into consideration of his justice. For which cause also, this cōfident kind of sin­ning upon hope of Gods mercie, is accounted by divines, for the first B of the Those six that Thomas there nameth, are desperati­on, presumption, impoeni­tencie, wilfulnes, impugning of the known truth, and en­vieng of the grace that is gi­ven to another. Al which may indeed be easily found to go against the spirit of God. But that they may be accounted to be that same, that in the scripture is called sin against the holie Ghost, and excluded al hope of par­don, that is not so easily to be granted; for that the pro­perties therunto assigned do not seem to be so fully found in any of these. A wilful resi­sting of the known truth, not of infirmitie, for fear, or fa­vor, but of meere malice for hatred of it, even only for that it is the truth, may seem to come much neerer unto it, than (al things conside­red) those others do. Neither doth he set them down abso­lutely to be six several sorts of that sin, but in that sense that himselfe doth there limit. six greevous sins against the holie Ghost, which our Sa­vior in the gospel, sig­nifieth to be so hardly pardoned unto men by his father: and the reason why they cal this a sin against the holie Ghost, is,Why pre­sumption is a sin against the holie Ghost. for that it rejecteth wil­fully one of the prin­cipal means left by the holie Ghost, to retire us from sin, which is the fear and respect of Gods ju­stice upon sinners.

[Page 350]24 Wherfore, to conclude this matter of presumption: me think, we may use the same kind of argument touching the fear of Gods justice,Rom. 13. as Saint Paul useth to the Romans of the fear of Gods ministers, which are tempo­ral princes: wouldest thou nor fear the power of a temporal prince, saith he? Do wel then: and thou shalt not only not fear, but also re­ceive laud and praise therfore. But if thou do evil, then fear. For he beareth not the sword without a cause. In like sort may we say to those good felows, which make God so merci­ful, as no man ought to fear his justice. Would ye not fear (my brethren) the justice of God in punishment? Live vertuously then: and you shal be as void of fear, as lions are, saith the wise man;Pro. 28. 2. Ioh. 4. For that perfect charitie expelleth fear. But if you live wickedly: then have you cause to fear: For God called not himselfe a just judge for nothing.2. Tim. 4.

25 If the matter had been so secure, as many men by flatterie do persuade themselves it is: Saint Peter would never have said unto Chri­stians now baptised;1. Pet. 1. Walk you in fear, during the time of this your earthly habitation. Nor S. Paul to the same men;Phil. 2. Woork your own salvation in fear and trembling. An obiecti­on answered. But heer some men wil ask, how then doth the same apostle in another place say;2. Tim. 1. That God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of vertu, love, and sobrietie? To which I answer; That our spirit is not a spirit of servile fear: [Page 351] that is, to live in fear, only for dread of punish­ment, without love:Servile fear, and the fear of children. but a spirit of love joined with fear of children, wherby they fear to of­fend their father, not only in respect of his pu­nishment, but principally for his goodnes to­wards them, & benefits bestowed upon them. This Saint Paul declareth plainly to the Ro­mans, putting the difference between servile fear, and the fear of children;Rom. 8. You have not re­ceived again the spirit of servitude (saith he) in fear, but the spirit of adoption of children, wherby we cry to God, Abba father. He saith heer to the Romans: you have not received again the spirit of servi­tude in fear,How the fear of gentils was servile. for that their former spirit (being gentils) was only in servile fear: for that they honored and adored their idols, not for any love they bare unto them, being so infinite as they were, and such notable lewdnes reported of them (I mean of Iupiter, Mars, Venus, and the like) but only for fear of hurt from them, if they did not serve and adore the same.

26 Saint Peter also in one sentence expoun­deth al this matter. For having said; Timorem eorum ne timueritis: Fear not their fear. 1. Pet. 3. Divers so take it: but it seemeth rather (in my judge­ment) that such as expound it, as if the apostle forbad them to fear those adversa­ries of theirs, do come somwhat neerer to the sense of the place. Mea­ning of the servile fear of wicked men: he ad­deth B presently; Dominum autem Christum sancti­ficate in cordibus vestris & cum modestia, & timo­re, conscientiam habentes bonam. That is; Do you sanctifie the Lord Iesus Christ in your harts: having a [Page 352] good conscience with modestie and fear. So that the spirit of servile fear, which is grounded only upon respect of punishment, is forbidden us: but the loving fear of children is commanded. And yet also about this, are there two things to be noted.

27 The first, that albeit the spirit of servile fear be forbidden us (especially when we are now entred into the service of God) yet is it most profitable for sinners,Two things to be noted. and such as yet but begin to serve God: for that it mooveth them B to repentance, and to looke about them: for which cause Truth it is, that such fear serveth wel to such a pur­pose. But the fear that in this place is spoken of, seemeth by the circumstances of the place, not to be the servile, but the childlike fear. As also another sense of this place may stand likewise, viz. that to fear the Lord is the first, or principal part, or greatest point of al wisdome. For that whosoever feareth the Lord, shal so govern his wais, and have al things fal out so wel, that al the wisdome in al the world besides, can never be able so to forecast for al e­vents. For the Lord himselfe taketh upon him the prote­ction & government of those that fear him: on whose be­halfe he maketh al things to fal out to the best. it is called by the wise man;Prou. 1. The beginning of wisdome. And therfore both Ionas to the Ni­nivites;Ion. 13. and S. Iohn Baptist to the Iews;Mat. 3. and al the prophets to sinners, have used to stir up this fear, by threatening the dan­gers & punishments, which were immi­nent to them, if they repented not. But yet afterward, when men are converted to God, and do go forward [Page 353] in his service: they change every day this ser­vile fear into love, until they arrive at last unto that state, wherof Saint Iohn saith;1. Ioh. 4. That perfect love, or charitie expelleth fear. Tract. 9. in epist. 1. Ioh. Wherupon S. Au­sten saith, that Fear is the servant sent before to prepare place in our harts, for his mistresse, which is charitie: who being once entered in, and perfectly placed: fear goeth out again, and giveth place unto the same. But where this fear never entereth at al, there is it impossible for charitie ever to come and dwel, saith this holie father.

28 The second thing to be noted is, that al­beit this fear of punishment be not in very perfect men, or at lestwise, is lesse in them, than in others, as Saint Iohn teacheth: yet being joined with Then is it not that servile fear. love and reverence (as it ought to B be) it is most profitable, and necessarie for al common Christians, whose life is not so per­fect, nor charitie so great, as that perfection, wherof Saint Iohn speaketh. This appeereth by that, that Christ persuaded also this fear, even unto his apostles, saieng; Fear you him; Luc. 12. which after he hath slain the bodie, hath power also to send both bodie and soul unto hel fire: Mat. 10. this I say unto you, fear him. The same doth Saint Paul to the Corinthians, who were good Christians, laieng down first the justice of God, and therupon persuading them to fear;2. Cor. 5. Al we (saith he) must be presented before the tribunal seat of Christ, to re­ceive ech man his proper deserts, according as he [Page 354] hath done, good or evil in this life. And for that we know this: we do persuade the fear of the Lord unto men. Nay (that which is more) Saint Paul testi­fieth, that notwithstanding al his favors recei­ved from God: he retained yet himselfe this fear of Gods justice, as appeereth by those words of his; I do chastise my body, and do bring it into servitude, 1. Cor. 9. least it should come to passe, that when I have preached to other, I become a reprobate my selfe.

The con­clusion.29 Now (my frind) if Saint Paul stood in aw of the justice of God notwithstanding his apo­stleship:1. Cor. 4. and that he was guiltie to himselfe of no one sin or offence, as (in one case) he pro­testeth: what oughtest thou to be, whose con­science remaineth guiltie of so many misdeeds, and wickednes.Eph. 5. This know you (saith Saint Paul) that no fornicator, unclean person, covetous man, or the like, can have inheritance in the kingdome of Christ. And immediately after, as though this had not been sufficient, he addeth, for preven­ting the folly of sinners, which flatter them­selves; Let no man deceive you, with vain words, for the wrath of God commeth for these things, upon the children of unbeleefe. Be not you therfore partakers of them. As if he should say: those that flatter you and say; Tush, God is merciful, and wil pardon easily al these and like sins: these men deceive you (saith Saint Paul) for that the wrath and vengeance of God lighteth upon the children of unbeleefe, for these matters: [Page 355] that is, upon those which wil not beleeve Gods justice, nor his threats against sin: but presu­ming of his mercie do persevere in the same, until upon the sudden Gods wrath do rush upon them: and then it is too late to amend. Wherfore (saith he) if you be wise: be not par­takers of their folly: but amend your lives presently, while you have time. And this ad­monition of Saint Paul, shal be sufficient to end this chapter: against al those that refuse, or defer their resolu­tion of amendement, vpon vain hope of Gods par­don or tollera­tion.

CHAP. V. Of the fift impediment: which is, delay of reso­lution from time to time, upon hope to do it better, or with more ease afterward.

THE reasons hitherto al­ledged, might seeme (I think) sufficient to a rea­sonable man, for proo­ving the necessitie of this resolution, we talk of: & for remooving the im­pediments that let the same.Pro. 18. But yet, for that (as the wise man saith) he which is minded to break with his frind, seeketh occasions how to do it with some co­lour and shew. There be many in the world, who having no other excuse of their breaking and holding off from God, do seek to cover it with this pretence, that they mean, by his grace, to amend al in time: and this time is driven off from day to day, until God, in whose hands only the moments of time are, do shut them out of al time, & do send them to pains eternal without time, for that they abused the singular benefit of time in this world.

2 This is one of the greatest and most dan­gerous deceits, and yet the most ordinarie and universal, that the enimie of mankind doth use [Page 357] towards the children of Adam: and I dare say boldly, that mo do perish by this deceit, than by al his other guiles and subtilties besides.The cause why the di­vel persua­deth us to delay. He wel knoweth the force of this snare above al others, & therfore urgeth it so much unto eve­ry man. He considereth, better than we do, the importance of delay, in a matter so weightie, as is our conversion, & salvation: he is not igno­rant how one sin draweth on another; how he that is not fit to day, wil be lesse fit to morrow; how custom groweth into nature; how old dis­eases are hardly cured; how God withdraweth his grace; how his justice is readie to punish everie sin; how by delay we exasperate the same, and heap vengeance on our own heads, as Saint Paul saith.Rom. 2. He is privie to the uncer­taintie and perils of our life: to the dangerous chances we passe through: to the impediments that wil come daily more and more, to let our conversion. Al this he knoweth, and wel con­sidereth, and for that cause persuadeth so ma­nie to delay as he doth. For being not able any longer to blind the understanding of manie Christians, but that they must needs see cleer­ly, the necessitie, and utilitie of this resolution; and that al the impediments in the world are but trifles, and meer deceits, which keepe bak from the same: he runneth to this only refuge, that is, to persuade men, that they defer a little, and that in time to come they shal have better occasion and opportunitie to do it, than pre­sently [Page 358] they have.

Lib. 8. conf. cap. 7.18.3 This Saint Austen prooved in his conver­sion, as himselfe writeth. For that after he was persuaded, that no salvation could be unto him, but by change & amendement of his life: yet the enimie held him, for a time, in delay, saieng unto him; Yet a little stay: yet defer for a time: therby (as he saith) to bind him more fast in the custome of sin, until, by the omnipo­tent power of Gods grace, and his own most earnest endevor, he brake violently from him, crieng to God; Why shal I longer say to-mor­row, to-morrow? Why shal I not do it even at this instant? And so he did, even in his verie youth, living afterward a most holie and severe Christian life.

The causes which make our conver­sion harder by delay.4 But if we wil discover yet further, the greatnes and peril of this deceit: let us consi­der the causes that may let our resolution and conversion at this present: and we shal see them al increased, and strengthened by delay: and consequently the matter made more hard and difficult, for the time to come, than now it is. 1 For first (as I have said) the continuance of sin bringeth custome: which once having gotten prescription upon us, is so hard to remoove, as by experience we proove daily in al habits that have taken roote within us. Who can remoove (for examples sake) without great difficultie, a long custome of droonkennes? Of swearing? Or of any other evil habit, once setled upon [Page 359] us? Secondly, the longer we persist in our sin­ful 2 life, the more God plucketh his grace and assistance from us: which is the only mean that maketh the way of vertu easie unto men. Thirdly, the power and kingdome of the divel 3 is more established and confirmed in us by continuance: and so, the more harder to be remooved. Fourthly, the good inclination of 4 our wil is more and more weakened, and daun­ted by frequentation of sin, though not extin­guished. Fiftly, the faculties of our mind, are 5 more corrupted: as the understanding is more darkened; the wil more perverted; the appe­tite more disordered. Sixtly and lastly, our in­ferior 6 parts and passions are more stirred up, and strengthened against the rule of reason, and harder to be repressed, by continuance of time, than they were before.

5 Wel then, put al this togither (my frind) and consider indifferently within thy self, whe­ther it be more likely, that thou shalt rather make this resolution heerafter, than now. Heerafter (I say) when, by longer custome of sin, the habit shal be more fastened in thee: the divel more in possession upon thee: Gods help further off from thee: thy mind more infec­ted: thy judgment more weakened: thy good desires extinguished: thy passions confirmed: thy bodie corrupted: thy strength diminished: and al thy whole Common-wealth more per­verted.

[Page 360] The same shewed by compari­sons.6 We see by experience, that a ship which leaketh, is more easily empited at the begin­ning, than afterward. We see, that a ruinous pallace, the longer it is let run, the more charge and labor it wil require in the repairing. We see, that if a man drive in a nail with a hammer, the mo blowes he giveth to it, the more hard it is to pluk it out again. How then thinkest thou to commit sin upon sin, and by perseve­rance therin, to find the redresse more easie hereafter,An example than now? That were much like as if a good fellow, that having made to himselfe a great burden to carry, should assay it on his bak; and for that, it sat uneasie, and pressed him much, should cast it down again, and put a great deal more unto it, and then begin to lift it again: but when he felt it more heavie than before, he should fal into a great rage, and ad twise as much more to it, therby to make it lighter. For so do the children of the world: who finding it somwhat unpleasant to resist one or two vices in the beginning, do defer their conversion, and do ad twentie, or fortie mo unto them, thinking to find the matter more easie afterward.

7 Saint Austen expounding the miracle of our savior,Tract. 49. in Ich. in raising Lazarus from death to life, which had been dead now four dais, as the evangelist saith:Iohn. 11. Mat. 9. Luc. 7. examineth the cause why Christ wept, and cried, and troubled himselfe in spirit before the doing of his act, wheras [Page 361] he raised others with greater facilitie: and out of it, giveth this lesson to us: that as Lazarus was dead four dais, and also buried, so are there four degrees of a sinner: the first, in vo­luntary delectation of sin; the second, in con­sent; the third, in fulfilling it by work; the fourth, in continuance or custome therof: wherin, whosoever is once buried (saith this holie father) he is hardly raised to life again, without a great miracle of God, and many tears of his own part.

8 The reason heerof is, that which the wise man saith; Languor prolixior gravat medicum: Eccl. 10. An old siknes doth trouble the physition: Brevem au­tem languorem praecidit medicus. But the physition cutteth off quikly a new or fresh disease, which hath indured but a litle time. The very bones of an old wic­ked man shal be replenished with the vices of his youth (saith Iob) and they shal sleep with him in the dust, when he goeth to the grave. Iob. 20. We read that Moises in part of punishment to the people,Exo. 32. that had sinned in adoring the golden calfe, broke the same in peeces, & made them drink it. So, the vices, wherin we delited during our youth, are so dispersed, by custom in our bodies & bones: that when old age doth come on, we can not rid them at our pleasure with­out great difficultie and pain. What folly then is it, to defer our amendement unto our old age, when we shal have more impediments and difficulties, by a great deal, then we have now?

[Page 362]9 If it seem hard to thee to amend thy life now: painfully to be occupied in thy calling, and withal (for thy better help) to fast, to pray, and to take upon thee other exercises, which the word of God prescribeth to sinners to their conversion: how wilt thou do it in thine old age? When thy bodie shal have more need of cherishing, than of painful exercise? If thou find it unpleasant to resist thy sins now, and to root them out, after the continuance of two, three, or four yeers: what wil it be after twentie yeers more adjoined unto them? How mad a man wouldest thou esteem him,A compa­rison. that traveling on the way, and having great choise of lustie strong horses, should let them al go emptie, and lay al his carriage upon some one poore and lean beast, that could scarse beare it selfe, or much lesse stand under so many bags cast up on it? And surely no lesse unreasonable is that man, who passing over idlely the lusty dais and times of his life, reserveth al the la­bor and travel unto feeble old age.

Ingratitude.10 But to let passe the folly of this deceit, tel me (good Christian) what ingratitude and un­righteousnes is this towards God, having re­ceived so many benefits from him alreadie, and expecting so great a pay, as the kingdome of heaven is after: to appoint out notwith­standing, the least and last, and woorst part of thy life unto his service: and that wherof thou art most uncertain, whether it shal ever be, or [Page 363] never; or whether God wil accept it, when it commeth? He is accursed by the prophet, which having whole and sound cattel,Mala. 1. doth offer unto God the lame, or halting part ther­of. How much more shalt thou be accursed, that having so many dais of youth, strength, and vigor, dost appoint unto Gods service, on­ly thy limping old age?Deu. 25. In the law it was for­bidden; under a most severe threat, for any man to have two measures in his house for his neighbor: one greater, to his frind, and ano­ther lesser, for other men. And yet thou art not ashamed, to use two measures of thy life, most unequal, in prejudice of thy Lord and God: wherby thou alottest to him, a little, short, maimed, and uncertain time: and unto his enimie the greatest, the fairest, the surest part therof.

11 O deer brother, what reason is there, why God should thus be used at thy hands? What law, justice, or equitie is there, that after thou hast served the world, flesh, and devil, al thy youth, and best dais: in the end to come, and clap thy old bones, defiled and worn out with sin, in the dish of God? His enimies to have the best, and he the leavings? His enimies the wine, and he the lees and dregs? Dost thou not remember, that he wil have the fat and best part offered to him? Dost thou not think of the punishment of those,Levi. 3. Num. 18. Malac. 1. which offered the woorst part of their substance to God? Follow [Page 364] the counsel then of the holie Ghost, if thou be wise, which warneth thee in these words; Be mindful of thy creator in the dais of thy youth, Eccl. 5. before the time of affliction come on, and before those yeers draw neer, of which thou shalt say, they please me not.

12 How many hast thou seen cut off in the midst of their dais, whiles they purposed in time to come, to change their life? How many have come to old age it selfe, and yet then have felt lesse wil of amendement, than before? How many have driven off even unto the very hour of death, and then lest of al have remembred their own state? But have died, as dum and senseles beasts, according to the saieng of Saint Gregorie;Serm. 1.10. de sanctis. The sinner hath also this affliction laid upon him, that when he cōmeth to die, he forgetteth himselfe, which in his life time did forget God? O how many examples are there seen heerof daily? How many worldly men, that have lived in sensualitie: how many great sinners, that have passed their life in wicked­nes, do end and die, as if they went into some place insensible, where no account, no reko­ning should be demanded: they take such care in their testaments for flesh and blood, and commodities of this world, as if they should live stil, or should have their part of these vani­ties, when they are gone. In truth, to speak as the matter is, they die as if there were no im­mortalitie of the soul: and that, in very deed, is their inward persuasion.

[Page 365]13 But suppose now, that al this were not so,The losse of time. and that a man might as easily, commodious­lie, yea, and as surely also, convert himselfe in old age, as in youth, and that the matter were also acceptable inough to God: yet tel me, what great time is their lost in this delay? What great treasure of godlines is there omit­ted, which might have been gotten by labor in Gods service?A compa­rison. If whiles the captain and other soldiers did enter a rich citie, to take the spoil, one soldier should say, I wil stay and come in the next day after, when al the spoil is gone: would not you think him both a coward, and also most unwise? So it is, that Christ our savi­or, and al his good soldiers, tooke the spoil of this life; inriched themselves with their labors in time; caried the same with them as bils of exchange, to the bank of heaven; and there received pay of eternal glorie. And is it not great folly and perversenes in us to passe over this life in so fruitles affairs? Now is the time of fight for the obteining of our crown: now is the day of spoil to seise on our bootie: now is the market, to bie the kingdome of heaven: now is the time of running to get the game and price: now is the day of sowing, to pro­vide us corn for the harvest that commeth on. If you omit this time, there is no more crown; no more booty; no more kingdome; no more price; no more harvest to be looked for. For as the scripture assureth us;Pro. 20. He that for sloth wil [Page 366] not sow in the winter, shal beg in the summer, and no man shal give unto him.

14 But if this consideration of gain cannot moove thee (gentle reader) as in deed it ought to do, being of such importance as it is, and ir­revocable when it is once past:The obli­gation and charge by delay. yet weigh with thy selfe, what obligation and charge thou drawest on thee, by everie day which thou de­ferrest thy conversion, and livest in sin. Thou makestech day knots, which thou must once undo again: thou heapest that togither, which thou must once disperse again: thou eatest and drinkest that hourly, which thou must once vo­mit up again: I mean, if the best fal out unto thee, that is, if thou do repent in time, and God do accept therof (for otherwise wo be unto thee,Rom. 8. for that thou hoordest (as S. Paul saith) wrath and vengeance on thine own head) but supposing that thou receive grace heerafter to repent, which refusest it now: yet (I say) thou hast to weepe, for that thou laughest at now: thou hast to be hartily sorie, for that wherin thou delitest now: thou hast to curse the day, wherin thou ever gavest consent to sin, or els thy repentance wil do thee no good. This thou knowest now, and this thou beleevest now, or els thou art no Christian. How then art thou so mad, as to offend God now, both willingly, & deliberately, of whom thou knowest that thou must once ask pardon with tears. If thou think he wil pardon thee, what ingratitude is it to [Page 367] offend so good a Lord? If thou think he wil not pardon thee, what folly can be more, than to offend a prince without hope of pardon?

15 Make thine account now as thou wilt: if thou never do repent and change thy life; then everie sin thou committest, and every day that thou livest therin, is increase of wrath and vengeance upon thee in hel,Rom. 2. as Saint Paul pro­veth. If thou do, by Gods mercie, heerafter re­pent and turn (for this is not in thy hands) then must thou one day lament, and bewail, and be hartily sorrie for this delay, which now thou makest. So that, by how much the more thou prolongest, and increasest thy sin: so much greater wil be thy pain and sorrow in thine a­mendement.Lib. de la. & li. 5. ep. 5. ad cor. Alto vulneri diligens & longa adhi­benda est medicina (saith Saint Cyprian;) A dili­gent and long medicin is to be used to a deepe sore. Our bodie that hath lived in many de­lites, must be afflicted (saith Saint Ierom:Ep. 27. ad Eustoch.) our laughing must be recompensed with long wee­ping. Finally,Ad virg. lap sam. c. 8. Saint Ambrose agreeing therun­to, saith; Grandi plagae alta & prolixa opus est medi­cina: Vnto a great wound, a deepe and long medicin is needful.

15 Mark heer (deer brother) that the labor of thine amendement must be very great; and that it cannot be avoided. What madnes is it then for thee, now to inlarge the wound, kno­wing that the medicin must afterwards be so painful? What crueltie can be more against [Page 368] thy selfe, than to drive in thorns into thine own flesh, which thou must after pul out again with so many tears? Wouldest thou drink that cup of poisoned liquor, for a little pleasure in the tast, which would cast thee soone after into a burning fever; torment thy bowels within thee; and either dispatch thy life, or put thee in great jeoperdie?

16 But heer I know thy refuge wil be, as it is to al them, wherof the prophet saith; Men­tita est iniquitas sibi: Psal. 26. Iniquitie hath flattered and lied unto hir selfe: thy refuge (I say) wil be to al­ledge the example of the good theefe,The exam­ple of the theefe saved on the crosse discussed. saved even at the last hour upon the crosse, and car­ried to paradise that same day with Christ, without any further toil of amendement. This example is greatly noted and urged by al those which defer their conversion, as surely it is, and ought to be of great comfort to every man, which findeth himselfe now at the last cast, & therfore commonly tempted by the enimie to despair of Gods mercie, which in no case he ought to do. For the same God which sa­ved that great sinner at that last hour, can also (and wil) save al them that hartily turn unto him, even at the last hour. But (alas) many men do flatter and deceive themselves, with misunderstanding, or rather misusing of this example.

17 For we must understand (as Saint Austen wel noteth) that this was but one particular [Page 369] act of Christ, which maketh no general rule: even as we see, that a temporal prince pardo­neth somtime a malefactor, when he is come to the very place of execution: yet were it not for every malefactor to trust therupon. For that, this is but an extraordinarie act of the prince his favor, and neither shewed nor promised to B al men. Besides this, this act was a special mi­racle reserved for the manifestation of Christ his power, and glorie at that hour upon the crosse. Again, this act was upon a most rare confession, made by the theefe in that instant, when al the world forsooke Christ, and The bles­sed virgin likewise, & other god­ly women were by: but said nothing (that we read of) in his de­fence: a plaine breach of the first, fift, sixt, and ninth comman­dements. the apostles themselves, either dowted, or lost their faith of his Godhead. Beside al this, the con­fession of this theefe was at such a time, as he could neither be baptised, nor have further time of amendement. And we hold, that at a mans first conversion there is required no­thing else, but to beleeve, and to be baptised. But it shal not be amisse to put to Saint Au­stens very words upon this matter. For thus he writeth.

18 It is a remediles peril,Serm. 120. de tem. when a man giveth himself over so much to vices, as he forgetteth that he must give account therof to God: and the reason why I am of this opinion is, for that it is a great punishment of sin, to have lost the fear & memorie of the judgment to come, &c. But (deerly beloved) left the new felicitie of the beleeving theefe on the crosse, do make any of [Page 370] you too secure, and remisse: least peradventure some of you say in his hart, my guiltie consci­ence shal not trouble nor torment me: my naughtie life shal not make me very sad; for that I see even in a moment al sin forgivē unto the theefe: we must consider first in that theefe not only the shortnes of his beleefe, and con­fession, but his devotion, and the occasion of B that time, even when the perfection of the just did The bles­sed virgin, S. Iohn, & others, as afore: and this stag­gering must needs be sin. stagger. Secondlie, shew me the faith of that theefe in thy selfe, and then promise to thy self his felicitie. The devil doth put into thy head this securitie, to the end he may bring thee to perdition. And it is unpossible to num­ber al them, which have perished by the shadow of this deceitful hope. He deceiveth himselfe, & maketh but a jest of his own damnation, which thinketh that Gods mercie at the last day shal help, or releeve him. It is hateful before God, when a man upon confidence of repentance in his old age, doth sin the more freely. The hap­pie theefe wherof we have spoken, happie (I say) not for that he laid snares in the way, but for that he tooke hold of the way it selfe in Christ, laieng hands on the pray of life: and after a strange maner, making a bootie of his own death: he (I say) neither did defer the time of his salvation wittingly, neither did he deceitfully put the remedie of his state in the last moment of his life: neither did he despe­rately reserve the hope of his redemption unto [Page 371] the hour of his death: neither had he any kno­lege either of religion, or of Christ before that time. For if he had, it may be, he would not have been the last among the apostles in num­ber, which was made the former in kingdom.

19 By these words of Saint Austen we are ad­monished (as you see) that this particular fact of Christ maketh no general rule of remission to al men: not for that Christ is not alwais ready to receive the penitent as he promiseth: but, for that every man hath not the time or grace to repent, as he should, at that hour, ac­cording as hath been declared before. The ge­neral way that God proposeth to al,The general way. is that which Saint Paul saith;2. Cor. 11. Finis secundum opera ipso­rum: The end of evil men is according to their works. Look how they live, & so they dy. To that effect saith the prophet; Once God spake, and I heard these two things from his mouth: Psal. 61. power belongeth to God; and mercie unto thee (O Lord) for that thou wilt render to every man according to his works. The wise man maketh this plain, saieng; The way of sinners is paved with stones, and their end is hel, Eccl. 21. darknes, and punishments. Finally, Saint Paul ma­keth this general and peremptory conclusion; Be not deceived: God is not mocked, Gal. 6. looke what a man soweth, and that shal he reape. He that soweth in flesh, shal reap corruption: he that soweth in spirit, shal reap life everlasting. In which words, he doth not only lay down unto us the general rule wherto we must trust: but also saith further, that to [Page 372] persuade our selves the contrarie therof, were to mok and abuse God, which hath laied down this law unto us.

That the conversion made at the first day is very dowt­ful.20 Notwithstanding (as I have said) this bar­reth not the mercie of God from using a priui­lege to some at the very last cast. But yet mise­rable is that man, which placeth the ankor of his eternal wealth or wo, upon so ticklesome a point as this is. I cal it ticklesome, for that, al divines, which have written of this matter, do speak very dowtfully of the conversion of a man at the last end. And although they do not absolutely condemn it in al, but do leave it as uncertain unto Gods secret judgement: yet do they incline to the negative part: and do al­ledge four reasons, for which, that conversion is to be dowted, as insufficient for a mans sal­vation.

The first reason.21 The first reason is, for that the extreme fear, and pains of death, being (as the philoso­pher saith) the most terrible, of al terrible things, do not permit a man, so to gather his spirits and senses, at that time, as is required for the treating of so weightie a matter with God, as is our conversion, and salvation. And if we see often, that a very good man cannot fix his mind earnestly upon heavenly cogitations, at such time as he is troubled with the passions of cholik, or other sharp diseases: how much lesse in the anguishes of death can a worldly man do the same, being unacquainted with [Page 373] that exercise; and loden with the guilt of many, and great sins; and cloied with the love both of his bodie, and things belonging therunto?

22 The second reason is,The second reason. for that the conver­sion, which a man maketh at the last day, is not (for the most part) voluntarie, but upon neces­sitie, and for fear: such as was the repentance of Simei, who having greevously offended king David, in time of his affliction: afterward when he saw him in prosperitie again,2. Reg. 16. & himselfe in danger of punishment: he came and fel down before him,2. Reg. 19. and asked him forgivenes with tears. But yet David wel perceived the mat­ter how it stood: and therfore though he spa­red him for that day, wherin he would not trouble the mirth with execution of justice, yet after he gave order that he should be used according to his deserts.3. Reg. 2.

23 The third reason is,The third reason. for that the custome of sin, which hath continued al the life long, is seldome remooved upon the instant, being grown into nature it selfe, as it were, for which cause God saith to evil men, by the prophet Ieremie; If an Ethiopian can change his blak skin, Iere. 13. or a leopard his spots, that are on his bak: then can you also do wel, having learned al dais of your life to do evil.

24 The fourth cause,The fourth reason. for that the acts of ver­tu themselves cannot be of so great valu with God, in that instant, as if they had been done [Page 374] in time of health before. For what great mat­ter is it (for example sake) to pardon thine eni­mies at that time, when thou canst hurt them no more? To give thy goods away, when thou canst use them no more? To abandon thy con­cubine, when thou canst keepe hir no longer? To leave off to sin, when sin must leave thee? Al these things are good and holie, and to be done by him, which is in that last state: but yet, they are of no such valu, as otherwise they would be, by reason of this circumstance of time, which I have shewed. B. * A fift rea­son might be taken of experience: for that we see oft times, that such as repent after that ma­ner, if they recover again, they are afterward as bad as they were before, and somtimes much woorse: which (without quaestion) was not tru repentance in them.

25 These are reasons why there is such dowt made of this last conversion: not for any want on Gods part, but on theirs, which are to do that great act. Mark wel (saith one again) what I say: and (it may be) it shal be needful to ex­pound my meaning more plainly, least any man mistake me. What say I then? That a man which repenteth not, but at the end shal be damned? I do not say so. What then? Do I say he shal be saved? No. What then do I say? I say, I know not: I say, I presume not; I pro­mise not; I know not. Wilt thou deliver thy selfe foorth of this dowt? Wilt thou escape [Page 375] this dangerous, and uncertain point? Repent then whiles thou art whole. For if thou repent while thou art in health, whensoever the last day shal come upon thee, thou art safe. And why art thou safe? For that thou didst repent in that time, wherin thou mightest have sin­ned. But if thou wilt repent, then when thou canst sin no longer: thou leavest not sin, but sin leaveth thee.

26 And heer now would I have the careful Christian to consider (with me) but this one comparison that I wil make. If those which do shew a kind of repentance at the last day, do passe hence notwithstanding in such dange­rous dowtfulnes: what shal we think of al those which lak either time, or ability, or wil, or grace to repent at al, at that hour? What shal we say of al those, which are cut off before? Which dy suddenly? Which are striken senseles, or fren­tik, as we see manie are? What shal we say of those, which are abandoned by God, and left unto vice, even unto the last breath in their bodie? I have shewed before out of Saint Paul,2. Cor. 11. that ordinarily sinners die according as they live. So it is as it were a privilege for a wicked man, to have his repentance to be begun, when he is to die. And then, if his repentance (when it doth come) be so dowtful, what a pittiful case are al others in? I mean the more part, which repent not at al: but die as they lived, and are forsaken of God in that extremitie, [Page 376] according as he promiseth, when he saith; For that I have called you, Prou. 1. Iere. 35. and you have refused to come; for that I held out my hand, and none of you would vouchsafe to looke towards: I wil laugh also at your destruction, when anguish and calamitie commeth on you. You shal cal upon me, and I wil not hear: you shal rise betimes in the morning to see me, but you shal not find me.

27 When a worldling doth see that the brightnes of his honor, vainglorie, and world­ly pomp is consumed: when the heat of con­cupiscence, of carnal love, of delicate pleasures is quenched: when the beautiful summer day of this life is ended, and the boisterous winter night of death draweth on: then wil he turn unto God; then wil he repent; then wil he re­solve himselfe, and make his conversion. When he can live no longer, he wil promise any pains: what hearing or studieng of the word of God you wil; what toil or labor in his vocation you wil; what praier you wil; what fasting you wil; what alms deeds you can desire; what austeri­tie you can imagin, he wil promise it (I say) upon a condition that he might have life a­gain: upon condition that the day might be prolonged unto him: though if God should grant him his request (as many times he doth) he would perform no one point therof: but be as careles, as he were before. When such shal crie, with sighs, and grones as pear­sing as a sword, and yet shal not be heard, [Page 377] what comfort then wil they hope for to find? For whither wil they turn themselves in this distresse? Vnto their worldly wealth, power, or riches? Alas, they are gone: and the scripture saith; Riches shal not profit in the day of revenge. Pro. 11. Wil they turn unto their carnal frinds? But what comfort can they give, besides onlie wee­ping, and comfortles moorning? Wil they ask help of the saints, to praie for them in this in­stant? Then must they remember what is writ­ten; The saints shal reioice in glorie, Psa. 149. and exultation shal be in their mouthes, and two edged swords in their hands to take revenge upon nations, and increpations upon people: to bind kings in fetters, and noble men in manacles of iron: to execute upon them the prescript iudgement of God: and this is the glorie of al his saints. Their onlie refuge then must be unto God, who indeed is the only refuge of al: but yet in this case, the prophet saith heer; that He shal not hear them: Prou. 1. but rather contemn and laugh at their miserie. Not that he is contrarie to his pro­mise of receiving a sinner;Psal. 58. At what time soever he repenteth, and turneth from his sin. But, for that this turning at the last day is not commonly tru repentance, and conversion, for the causes before rehearsed.

28 To conclude then this matter of delay, what wise men is there in the world, who rea­ding this, wil not fear the deferring of his con­version, though it were but for one day? Who doth know whether this shal be the last day, or [Page 378] no, that ever God wil cal him in? God saith; I called, and you refused to come: I held out my hand, and you would not looke towards me: and therfore wil I forsake you in your extremitie. Prou. 1. He doth not say, how manie times, or how long he did cal, and hold out his hand. God saith; I stand at the doore, and knok: but he saith not how often he doth that, or how manie knoks he giveth. Again, he said of wicked Iezabel, the feined prophetesse in the Apocalyps;Apoc. 2. I have given hir time to repent, and she would not, and therfore shal she perish: but he saith not, how long this time of repentance endureth. We read of woonderful examples heerin.Herod. Herod the father had a cal given him, and that a lowd one, when Iohn Baptist was sent unto him, and when his hart was so far touched, as he willingly heard him, and so fol­lowed his counsel in manie things, as one E­vangelist noteth:Marc. 6. but yet, bicause he deferred the matter, and tooke not time, when it was of­fered: he was cast off again, and his last doo­ings made woorse than his former. Herod Te­trak,Herod the second. the son had a cal also, when he felt that desire to see Christ,Luc. 11. Luc. 23. Mat. 14. and some miracle done by him: but, for that he answered not unto the cal, it did him no good, but rather much hurt. What a great knok had Pilate given him at his hart,Pilate. if he had been so gratious as to have ope­ned the doore presently,Mat. 27. when he was made to understand the innocencie of Christ: as ap­peereth by washing his hands in testimonie [Page 379] therof, and his wife also sent him an admoniti­on about the same? No lesse knok had king Agrippa at his doore,Agrippa. when he cried out at the hearing of Saint Paul; O Paul, Acts. 26. thou persuadest me a little to be a Christian. But bicause he deferred the matter, this motion passed away again.

29 Twise happie had Pharao been,Pharao. if he had resolved himselfe presently, upon that motion that he felt, when he cried to Moises;Exod. 9. Acts. 24. I have sinned, and God is iust. But by delay he became woorse than ever he was before. Saint Luke re­porteth how Felix the governor of Iewrie for the Romanes,Felix. conferred secretly oftentimes with Saint Paul, that was prisoner: and heard of him the faith in Christ: wherwith hee was greatly mooved, especially at on time, when Paul disputed of Gods justice, and the day of judgement, wherat Felix trembled: but yet he deferred this resolution, willing Paul to depart, and to come again another time: and so the matter by delation came to no effect. How many men do perish daily: some cut off by death; some left by God, and given over to a reprobate sense: which might have found grace, if they had not deferred their conversi­on, from day to day, but had made their reso­lution presently when they felt God to cal within their harts.The dangers of passing the day of our voca­tion.

30 God is most bountiful to knok and cal: but yet, he bindeth himselfe to no time or space, but commeth and goeth at his pleasure: [Page 380] and they which take not their times when they are offered, are excuselesse before his ju­stice, and do not know whether ever it shal be offered them again, or no: for that, this thing is only in the wil and knowlege of God alone, who taketh mercie where it pleaseth him best,Exo. 33. and is bound to none. And when the prefixed time of calling is once past:Rom. 9. wo be unto that partie; for a thousand worlds wil not purchase it again. Christ sheweth woonderfully the im­portance of this matter: when entering into Ierusalem amidst al his mirth, and glorie of re­ceiving, he could not chuse but weep upon that citie,Luc. 21. crieng out with tears; O Ierusalem, if thou knewest also these things which appertain to thy peace, even in this thy day: but now these things are hidden from thee. As if he had said, if thou knewest (Ierusalem) as wel as I do, what mer­cie is offered thee even this day, thou wouldest not do as thou doest: but wouldest presently accept therof: but now this secret judgement of my father is hidden from thee: and ther­fore thou makest little account therof, until thy destruction shal come suddenly upon thee: as soone after it did.

31 By this now may be considered the great reason of the wise mans exhortation; For-slow not to turn to God: Eccl. 5. nor do not defer it from day to day: for his wrath wil come upon thee at the sudden: and in time of revenge it wil destroy thee. It may be seene also upon what great cause the Apostle [Page 381] exhorteth the Hebrews so vehementlie;Heb. 3. Dum cognominantur bodie: To accept of grace even whiles that very day endured: and not to let passe the occasion offered. Which every man applieng to himselfe, should follow, in obeing the motions of Gods spirit within him; and accepting of Gods vocation without delay: considering what a greevous sin it is to resist the holie Ghost.Acts. 7. Every man ought (I say) when he feeleth a good motion in his hart, to think with himselfe: now God knocketh at my dore,Apoc. 3. if I open presently, he wil enter, and dwel with­in me. But if I defer it until to morrow, I know not whether he wil knok again or no. Every man ought to remember stil that saieng of the prophet, touching Gods spirit;Psal. 94. Hodie si vocem eius audieritis, nolite obdurare corda vestra: If you hear his voice calling on you to day, do not harden your harts, but presently yeeld unto him.

32 Alas (deer brother) what hope of gain hast thou by this perilous dilation which thou makest? Thine account is increased therby, as I have shewed; thy debt of amendement is made more greevous; thine enimie more strong; thy selfe more feeble; thy difficulties of conversion multiplied: what hast thou then to withhold thee one day frō resolution? the gaining of a li­tle time in vanitie. But I have prooved to thee before, how this time is not gained but lost,Godlines the only gain of time. be­ing spent without fruit of godlines, which is indeed the only tru gain of time. If it seem [Page 382] pleasant to thee for the present: yet remember what the prophet saith;Deu. 32. Iuxta est dies perditionis, & adesse festinant tempora: The day of perdition is at hand, and the times of destruction make hast to come on. Which day being once come, I marvel what hope thou wilt conceive. Dost thou think to crie Peccavi? Exod. 9. It shal be wel truly if thou canst do it: but yet thou knowest that Pharao did so, and gat nothing by it. Dost thou intend to make a good testament and to be liberal in alms deeds, at that time? This as the case may be, is very commendable: but yet thou must remember also, that the vir­gins which filled their lamps,Mat. 25. at the very in­stant, were shut out, and utterly rejected by Christ. Dost thou think to weep and moorn, and to moove thy judge with tears at that in­stant? First, this is not in thy hands to do at thy pleasures; and yet thou must consider al­so, that Esau failed, though he sought it with tears,Heb. 12. as the apostle wel noteth. Dost thou mean to have many good purposes, to make great promises, and vowes in that distresse? Cal to mind the case of Antiochus in his extremities:2. Mac. 9. what promises of good deeds, what vowes of vertuous life made he to God, upon condition he might escape, and yet pre­vailed he nothing therby. Al this is spoken, not to put them in despair, which are now in those last calamities: but to dissuade others from falling into the same: assuring thee (gen­tle [Page 383] reader) that the prophet said not without a cause; Seek unto God while he may be found: Esai. 55. cal up­on him while he is neer at hand. Now is the time acceptable, now is the day of salvation, 2. Cor. 6. saith Saint Paul. Now is God to be found, and neeer at hand to imbrace al them that truly turn unto him, and make firm resolution of vertuous life heerafter. If we defer this time: we have no warrant that he wil either cal us, or receive us heerafter: but rather many threats to the contrarie, as hath been shewed. Wherfore I wil end with this one sentence of S. Austen;Tract. 33. in Ioh. that He is both a careles, and a most graceles man, which knowing al this wil venture not­withstanding the eternitie of his salvation and damnation, up­on the dowtful event of his final repen­tance.

CHAP. VI. Of three other impediments that hinder men from resolution: which are, sloth, neg­ligence, and hardnes of hart.

BEsides al impediments, which hitherto have bin named, there are yet di­vers others to be found: if any man could examin the particular conscien­ces of al such as do not resolve. But these three heer mentioned, and to be handeled in this chapter, are so publik and known: as I may not passe them over, without discovering the same; for that, manie times men are evil affected, and know not their own diseases: the only decla­ration wherof (to such as are desirous of their own health) is sufficient to avoid the danger of the siknes.

Of sloth.2 First then the impediment of sloth is a great and ordinarie let of resolution to manie men: but especially in idle and delicate peo­ple, whose life hath been in al ease and rest, and therfore do persuade themselves that they can take no pains, nor abide any hardnes, though never so fain they would. Of which Saint Paul saith,1. Cor. 6. that Nise people shal not inherit the kingdome [Page 385] of heaven. These men wil confesse to be tru, as much & more than is said to before: and that they would also gladly put the same in execu­tion, but that they cannot. Their bodies may not bear it: they can take no pains in their se­veral callings: and in the general they cannot fast; they cannot watch; they cannot praie. They cannot leave their disports, recreations, and merry companions: they should die pre­sently (as they say) with melancholy, if they did it: yet in their harts they desire (forsooth that they could do the same, which seeing they can­not, no dowt (say they) God wil accept our good desires. But let them harken a little what the scripture saith heerof;Pro. 21. Desires do kil the slothful man (saith Salomon) his hands wil not fal to any work: al the day long he coveteth and desireth: but he that is iust, wil do, and wil not cease. Mat. 25. Take the slothful and unprofitable servant (saith Christ) and fling him into utter darknes, where shal be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And when he passed by the way and found a fig tree with leaves without fruit, he gave it presently an everlasting curse.Mat. 21.

3 Of this fountain of sloth do proceed ma­ny effects that hinder the slothful from resolu­tion.Four effects of sloth. 1 Drowsines. And the first is a certain heavines and sleepie drowsines, towards al goodnes, accor­ding as the scripture saith;Pro. 19. Ephes. 5. Mar. 13. Mat. 24. and 25. Pigredo mittit sopo­rem: Sloth doth bring drowsines. For which cause S. Paul saith; Surge qui dormis: Arise thou that art a­sleep. And Christ crieth out so often; Videte, vigi­late: [Page 386] Looke about you, and watch. You shal see many men in the world, with whom if you talk of a cow, or a calfe, or a fat ox, of a peece of ground, or the like; they can both hear and talk wil­lingly and freshly: but if you reason with them of their salvation, and their inheritance in the kingdome of heaven; they answer not at al; but wil hear, as if they were in a dream. Of these men then saith the wise man; How long wilt thou sleep, O slothful fellow? When wilt thou rise out of thy dream? Pro. 6. & 24 A little yet wilt thou sleep; a lit­tle longer wilt thou slumber; a little wilt thou close thy hands togither and take rest: and so povertie shal hasten upon thee as a running post, and beggerie as an armed man shal take and possesse thee.

4 The second effect of sloth is fond fear, of pains,2 Fear. and labor, and casting of dowts where none be, according as the scripture saith; Pi­grum deijcit timor: Pro. 19. Fear discourageth the slothful man. Psal. 52. And the prophet saith of the like; They shake for fear, where there is no fear. These men do frame unto themselves strange imaginati­ons of the service of God, & dangerous events, if they should follow the same. One saith; If I should give much; it would without dowt make me a begger. Another saith; If I should stil imploy my selfe to painful labor, it would kil me ere long. A third saith; If I should hum­ble my selfe as is required, every bodie would tread me under their feete. And yet al this is nothing else but sloth, as the scripture testifi­eth [Page 387] in these words; Dicit piger, Pro. 22. leo est foris in medio platearum, occidendus sum: The slothful man saith sitting stil in his house; There is a lion without: if I should go out of doores to labor, I should certainly be slain in the midst of the streets.

5 A third effect of sloth is,Pusillani­mitie. pusillanimitie and faintnes of hart, wherby the slothful man is overthrown, and discouraged by every little contrarietie or difficultie, which he fin­deth in vertu,Eccl. 22. or which he imagineth to find therin. Which the wise man The vul­gar tran­slation so readeth: but now it is found, that therin it misseth the sense of the text in both these places heer alledged. And yet the mat­ter it selfe is tru, though it have no warrant hence. signifieth when B he saith; In lapide luteo lapidatus est piger: The slothful man is stoned to death with a stone of dirt: that is, he is overthrown with a difficultie of no importance. Again; De ster­core boum lapidatus est piger: The slothful man is stoned dead with the doong of oxen: which commonly is of matter so soft, as it can hurt no man.

6 A fourth effect of sloth is idle lazines:Lazines. which we see in many men that wil talk and consult of this and that, about their amende­ment, but wil execute nothing. Which is most fitly expressed by the holie Ghost in these words; Sicut ostium vertitur in cardine suo, Pro. 26. it a piger in lectulo suo: As a doore is tossed in and out, upon his hindges, so is a slothful man lieng lazily upon his bed. And again; Vult, & non vult piger: Pro. 13. A slothful man wil, and wil not. That is, he turneth himselfe to & fro in his bed, and between willing and nilling [Page 388] he doth nothing. And yet further in another place, the scripture describeth this lazines, sai­eng;Pro. 19. The slothful man putteth his hands under his girdle, and wil not vouchsafe to lift them up to his mouth, for that it is painful.

7 Al these and many mo are the effects of sloth: but these four especially, have I thought good to touch in this place: for that they let & hinder greatly this resolutiō which we talk of, for he that liveth in a slumber, & wil not hear, or attend to any thing that is said of the life to come, and beside this, imagineth fearful mat­ters in the same; and thirdly, is thrown down by every little blok, that he findeth in the way; and lastly is so lazy, as he can bear no labor at al: this man (I say) is past hope to be gained, to any such purpose as we speak for.

8 To remoove therfore this impediment, this sort of men ought to lay before their eies,Means to remoove sloth. the labors of Christ, and of his saints, the ex­hortations they used to other men, to take like pains: the threats made in scripture against them which labor not: the condition of our present warfare, that requireth travel: the crown prepared for it: and the miserie ensu­ing upon idle and lazie people. And finally, if they cannot bear the labor of vertuous life, which indeed is accompanied with so manie consolations, as it may not rightfully be called a labor: how wil they abide the labor and tor­ments of the life to come, which must be both [Page 389] intollerable and everlasting?

9 Saint Paul saith of himselfe and others,1. The. 3. to the Thessalonians; We did not eat our bread of free cost, when we were with you: but did work in labor, and wearines both day and night: therby to give you an example of imitation: denouncing fur­ther unto you; that If any man would not work▪ he should not eat. Christ in his parable stil reprehen­ded greevously those that stood idle, saieng; Quid hîc statis tota die otiosi: Mat. 20. Why do you stand heer al the day idle, and doing nothing? Iohn. 15. I am a vine (saith Christ) and my father is an husbandman: every branch that beareth not fruit in me, my father wil cut off, and cast into the fire. And in another place; Cut down the unprofitable tree: Luc. 13. why doth it stand heer, and occupie up the ground for nothing? And a­gain; The kingdome of heaven is subiect to force: Mat. 11. and men do gain it by violence, and labor. For which cause the wise man also saith;Eccl. 9. Whatsoever thy hand can do in this life, do it instantly: for after it, there is neither time, nor reason, nor wisdom, or know­ledge that we can imploy. And again, the same wise man saith;Pro. 10. The lazie hand worketh beggerie to it selfe, but the laborsom and valiant hand heapeth up great riches. And yet further to the same effect;Pro. 20. The slothful man wil not sow in the winter, for that it is cold: and therfore he shal beg in the summer, and no man shal take pittie of him.

10 Al this pertaineth to shew, how that this life is a time of labor, and not of idlenes: and appointed unto us for the attaining of hea­ven: [Page 390] it is the market wherin we must bie: the battel wherin we must fight, and obtain our crown: the winter wherin we must sowe: the day of labor, wherin we must sweat, and get our pennie. And he that passeth over lazily this day (as the most part of men do) must suf­fer eternal povertie, and need in the life to come: as in the first part of this booke more at large hath been declared.Cap. 3. Wherfore, the wise man (or rather the holie Ghost by his mouth) giveth ech one of us, a most vehement admonition, and exhortation in these words; Run about: Pro. 6. make haste: stir up thy frind: give no sleepe unto thine eies: let not thine eie lids slumber: they skip out as a doe from the hands of him that held hir: & as a bird out of the hands of the fowler. Go unto the emmet (thou slothful man) and consider hir doings, and learn to be wise: she having no guide, teacher, or captain, provideth meat for hir selfe in the summer, and gathereth togither in the harvest, that which may serve hir to feed upon in the winter. By which words we are admonished in what order we ought to behave our selves in this life, and how diligent & careful we should be in doing of al good works (as S. Paul also teacheth) conside­ring that as the emmet laboreth most earnest­ly in the harvest time to lay up for the winter to come;Colos. 1. Rom. 12. Gal. 6. so we should for the next world: and that slothfulnes to this effect, is the greatest and most dangerous let that may be. For, as the emmet should die in the winter most cer­tainly [Page 391] for hunger, if she should live idlely in the summer: so without al dowt they are to suffer extreme need and miserie in the world to come, who now for sloth do omit to labor.

11 The second impediment is called by me in the title of this chapter negligence.Of negli­gence. But I do understand therby a further matter than commonly this word importeth. For I do comprehend under the name of negligence al careles, and dissolute people, which take to hart nothing that pertaineth to God or godli­nes, but only attend to worldly affairs, making their salvation the least part of their cogitati­ons. And under this kind of negligence, is con­tained both Epicurism (as Saint Paul noted in some Christians of his dais,Epicurism, or life of Epicures. who began only to attend to eat and drink, and to make their bellies their God,Phil. 3. Rom. 16. as many of our Christians now do) and also a secret kind of Atheism, or denieng of God: that is, of denieng him in life, and behavior, as Saint Paul expoundeth it.Titus. 1. For albeit these men in words do confesse God, and professe themselves to be as good Christians as the rest: yet secretly indeed they do not beleeve God; as their life and doings do declare. Which thing Ecclesiasticus disco­vereth plainly, when he saith;Eccl. 2. Vae dissolutis cor­de, qui non credunt Deo: Wo be unto the dissolute, and careles in hart, which do not beleeve God. That is, though they professe that they beleeve and trust in him: yet by their dissolute and careles [Page 392] doings, they testifie that in their harts they be­leeve him not: for that they have neither care nor cogitation of matters pertaining to him.

12 These kind of men are those which the scripture noteth and detesteth for plowing with an ox,Of careles Atheists. and an asse togither: for sowing their ground with mingled seed:Deu. 22. for wearing apparel of linsie woolsey, that is made of flaxe and wool togither. These are they of whom Christ saith in the Revelations; I would thou were either cold or hot. But for that thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot; Apoc. 3. therfore wil I begin to vo­mit thee out of my mouth. These are they which can accord al religions togither, and take up al controversies by only saieng, that either they are differences of smal importance; or else that they appertain only to learned men to think upon, and not unto them. These are they, which can apply themselves to any companie, to any time, to any princes pleasure, for mat­ters of life to come. These men forbid al talk of spirit, religion, or devotion in their presence: only they wil have men, eat, drink, and be merry with them: tel news of the court, and affairs abroad: sing, dance, laugh, and play at cards: and so passe over this life in lesse consi­deration of God, than the very heathens did. And hath not the scripture reason then, in sai­eng that these men in their harts & works are Atheists? Yes surely. And it may be prooved by many rules of Christ. As for example: this is [Page 393] one rule set down by himself. By their fruits ye shal know them. For such as the tree is within,Luc. 6. such is the fruit which that tree sendeth footh. Again; The mouth speaketh from the abundance of the hart. and consequently,Mat. 12. seeing their talk is nothing but of worldly vanities: it is a sign there is no­thing in their hart, but that. And then it follow­eth also by a third rule; Where the treasure is, there is the hart. And so,Mat. 6. seing their harts are on­ly set upon the world: the world is their only treasure, & not God. And consequently, they prefer that before God, as indeed Atheists do.

13 This impediment reacheth far, and wide at this day:The cheefe cause of A­theism at this day. and infinite are the men which are intangled therwith: and the cause therof es­specally is inordinate love of the world: which bringeth men to hate God, and to conceive enmitie against him, as the apostle saith: and therfore no marvel,1. Ioh. 2. though indeed they nei­ther beleeve, nor delite in him. And of al other men, these are the hardest to be reclaimed, and brought to any resolution of amendement: for that they are insensible: and beside that, do also flie al means, wherby they be cured. For as there were smal hope to be conceived of that patient, which being greeuously sik,A compa­rison. should neither feele his disease; nor beleeve that he were distempered; nor abide to hear of physik, or physitions; nor accept of any counsel that should be offered; nor admit any talk or con­sultation about his curing: so these men are [Page 394] in more dangerous estate than any other; for that they know not their own danger, but per­suading themselves to be more wise than their neighbors, do remoove from their cogitations al things, wherby their health might be pro­cured.

The way to cure care­les men.14 The only way to do these men good (if there be any way at al) is to make them know that they are sik, and in great danger: which in our case may be done best (as it seemeth to me) by giving them to understand, how far they are off, from any one peece of tru Christi­anitie, & consequently from al hope of salvati­on that may be had therby. God requireth at our hands, that We should love him, and serve him; Deut. 6. Mat. 22. Luc. 10. With al our hart, with al our soul, and with al our strength. These are the prescript words of God, set down both in the old and new law. And how far (I pray thee) are these men off from this, which imploy not the halfe of their hart, nor the halfe of their soul; nor the halfe of their strength in Gods service; nay, nor the least part therof. God requireth at our hands, that we should make his laws and precepts our studie,Deut. 6. and 11. Iohn. 1. and cogitations: that we should think on them continually, and meditate up­on them both day and night, at home, and a­broad; early, and late; when we go to bed, and when we rise in the morning: this is his com­mandement, and there is no dispensation ther­in. But how far are those men from this, which [Page 395] bestow not the third part of their thoughts upon this matter, no not the hundred part, nor scarce once in a yeer do talk therof? Can these men say they are Christians, or that they be­leeve in God?

15 Christ making the estimate of things in this life, pronounced this sentence;Luc. 10. Vnum est necessarium: one onely thing is necessarie. Or of necessitie in this world, meaning the diligent and careful service of God. These men find many things necessarie beside this one thing; and this nothing necessarie at al. How far do they differ then in judgement from Christ? Christs apostle saith,1. Ioh. 2. that a Christian Must neither love the world, nor any thing in the world. These men love nothing else, but that which is of the world. He saith; that Whosoever is a frind to the world, is an enimie to Christ. These men are enimies to whosoever is not a frind to the world. How then can these men hold of Christ? Christ saith; We should pray stil. Luc. 18. These men pray never. Christs apostle saith;Ephes. 5. that Co­vetousnes, uncleannes, or securitie, should not be so much as once named among Christians. These men have no other talk but such. Finally,Luc. 21. Mat. 24. Mich. 6. Rom. 11. Rom. 12. Mat. 10. the whole course, and canon of scripture runneth, that Christians should be; Attenti, vigilantes, solliciti, instantes, ferventes, perseverantes sine intermissione. that is, Attent, vigilant, careful, instant, fervent, and perseverant without intermission in the service of God. But these men have no one of these points, [Page 396] nor any degree of any one of these points; but every one the clean contrarie. For they are neither attent to those things which appertain unto God, nor vigilant, nor solicitous, nor careful; and much lesse instant and fervent; and least of al perseverant without intermissi­on: for that they never begin. But on the con­trarie side, they are carelesse, negligent, lum­pish, remisse, key-cold, perverse, contemning and despising, yea loathing, and abhorring al matters that appertain to the mortifieng of themselves, and tru service of God. What part have these men then in the lot and portion of Christians, beside only the bare name, which profiteth nothing?

16 And this is sufficient to shew how great and dangerous an impediment this careles, senseles, and supine negligence is, to the reso­lution wherof we intreat. For if Christ require to the perfection of this resolution, that who­soever once espieth out the treasure hidden in the field (that is,Mat. 13. the kingdome of heaven, and the right way to come to it) he should present­ly go and sel al that he hath, and bie the field; that is, he should prefer the pursute of this kingdome of heaven, before al the commodi­ties of this life, whatsoever; and rather venture them al, than to omit this treasure: if Christ (I say) require this, as he doth, when wil these men ever be brought to this point, which wil not give the least part of their goods to pur­chase [Page 397] that field; nor go forth of doore to treat the bieng therof; nor wil so much as think, or talk of the same; nor allow of him, which shal offer the means and wais to compas it?

17 Wherfore, whosoever findeth himselfe in this disease, I would counsel him to read some chapters of the first part of this booke:Pag. 34. and 46. especially the third, and fourth, treating of the causes, for which we were sent into this world: as also the fift, of the account, which we must yeeld to God, of our time heer spent: and he shal therby understand (I dowt not) the error, and danger he standeth in, by this damnable negligence wherin he sleepeth, attending only to those things, which are meere vanities, and for which he came not into this world: and passing over other matters, without care or co­gitation, which only are of importance, and to have been studied, and thought upon by him.

18 The third and last impediment that I purpose to handle in this booke,Of hardnes of hart. is a certain affection, or evil disposition in some men, cal­led by the scriptures, hardnes of hart, or in o­ther words, obstinacie of mind. Wherby a man is setled in resolution, never to yeeld from the state of sin wherin he liveth, whatsoever shal, or may be said against the same. And I have reser­ved this impediment, for the last place in this booke, for that it is the last, and woorst of al o­ther impediments discovered before, contai­ning al the evil in it selfe, that any of the other [Page 398] before rehearsed have: and adding besides, a most wilful, and malicious resolution of sin, quite contrarie to that resolution, which we so much indevor to induce men unto.

Two degrees of hardnes of hart.19 This hardnes of hart hath divers degrees in divers men, and in some much more gree­vous than in others. For some are arrived to that high and cheefe obduration, which I na­med before, in such sort, as albeit they wel know that they are amisse; yet for some world­ly respect or other, they wil not yeeld, nor change their course.Mat. 27. Such was the obduration B of It seemed to be of weaknes rather, thā of such ob­duration as was in Pharao, or is spoken of heer. Pilate, though he knew that he condemned Christ wrongfully: yet, not to leese the favor of the Iews, or incur displeasure with his prince, he proceeded and gave sentence against him. This also was the obduration of Pharao, who though he saw the miracles of Moises, and Aa­ron, and felt the strong hand of God upon his kingdome: yet, not to seeme to be overcome by such simple people as they were: nor that men should think he would be inforced by any mean to relent,Exo. 6.7.8. he persevered stil in his wilful wickednes, until his last, and utter destruction came upon him.Acts. 26.27. This hardnes of hart was also B in king In these two also it seemeth rather to have been ig­norance, than obduration. But the example is notably found in the Preests, Scribes, and Pharisies: who ever opposed themselves a­gainst the preaching of Christ; and at the length put him to death. Agrippa, and Felix governor of Iew­rie: who, though in their own cōsci­ence they thought that Saint Paule spake truth unto [Page 399] them: yet, not to hazard their credit in the world, they continued stil, and perished in their own vanities. And commonly this ob­duration is in al persecutors of vertu,Persecu­tors. and vertuous men, and especially of those that professe the truth: whom though they see evi­dently to be innocent, and to have the word of God, and equitie on their side; yet to main­tain their estate, credit, and favor in the world, they persist, without either mercie or release, until God cut them off, in the midst of their malice, and furious cogitations.

20 Others there are,A second de­gree of obdu­ration. who have not this ob­duration in so high a degree, as to persist in wickednes, directly against their own know­ledge; but yet they have it in another sort▪ for that they are setled in firm purpose to follow the trade, which alreadie they have begun; and wil not understand the dangers therof: but do seeke rather means to persuade themselves, and quiet their consciences therin: and no­thing is so offensive unto them, as to hear any thing against the same. Of these men holy Iob saith; Dixerunt Deo, recede à nobis, Iob. 21. & scientiam viarum tuarum nolumus: They say to God, depart from us, we wil not have the knowledge of thy wais. And the prophet David yet more expressely; Their furie is like the furie of serpents, Psal. 57. like unto co­catrices that stop their ears, and wil not hear the voice of the inchanter. By this inchanter he mea­neth the holie Ghost, which seeketh by al [Page 400] means possible to charm thee from the be­witching wherin they stand, called by the wise man Fascinatio nugacitatis: Sap. 4. The bewitching of va­nitie. Zach. 7. But (as the prophet saith) they wil not hear, they turn their baks, they stop their ears, to the end they may not understand: they put their harts as an adamant stone, least they should hear Gods law, and be converted.

The hard harted Iews.21 The nation of Iews is peculiarly no­ted to have been alwais given to this great sin, as Saint Steeven witnesseth,Acts. 7. when he said un­to their own faces; You stifnecked Iews, you have alwais resisted the holie Ghost. Meaning therby (as Christ declareth more at large) that they re­sisted the prophets, & saints of God, in whom the holie Ghost spake unto them from time to time,Mat. 5. Luc. 11.13. for amendement of their life: and for that through the light of knowledge which they had by hearing of Gods law, they could not in truth, or shew condemn the things, which were said, or avoid the just reprehensi­ons used toward them: and yet resolved with themselves, not to obey or change the custom of their proceedings: therfore fel they in fine, to persecute sharply their reprehendors: wher­of the only cause was hardnes of hart; Indura­verunt facies suas supra petram & noluerunt reverti: Iere. 5. saith God by the mouth of Ieremie; They have hardened their faces above the hardnes of a rok, and they wil not turn to me. And in another place of the same prophet he complaineth gree­vously [Page 401] of this perversenes;Iere. 8. Quare ergo aversus est populus iste in Ierusalem, aversione contentiosa? And why then is this people in Ierusalem revolted from me, by so contentious and perverse an alienation, as they wil not hear me any more, &c? And yet a­gain in another place;Eze. 18. Quare moriemini domus Israel: Why wil you die, you house of Israel? Why wil you damn your selves? Why are you so obsti­nate as not to hear: so perverse as not to learn: so cruel to your selves, as you wil not know the dangers wherin you live; nor understand the miserie that hangeth over you?

22 Dost thou not imagin (deer brother) that God useth this kind of speech not only to the Iews, but also to many thousand Christians, and perhaps also unto thy selfe many times everie day: for that thou refusest his good mo­tions and other means sent from him, to draw thee to his service, thou being resolved not to yeeld therunto, but to follow thy pursuit, what­soever persuasions shal come to the contrarie? Alas, how many Christians be there, who say to God daily (as they did whom I named before) Depart from us, Iob. 21. we wil not have the knowledge of thy wais? How many be there, which abhor to hear good counsel? Fear and tremble to read good bookes? Flie and detest the frequentation of godly companie, least by such occasions they might be touched in conscience, converted, and saved? How many be there, which say with those most miserable hard harted men, [Page 402] wherof the prophet speaketh;Esai. 28. Percussimus foe­dus cum morte, & cum inferno fecimus pactum: We have striken a league with death, and have made a bargain with hel it selfe. Which is as much to say, as if they had said; Trouble us not, mo­lest us not with thy persuasions: spend not thy words and labor in vain: talk unto others who are not yet setled: let them take heaven that it wil; we for our parts are resolved; we are at a point; we have made a bargain that must be performed, yea though it be with hel, and death everlasting.

The descrip­tion of an hard hart.23 It is a woonderful furie, the obduration of an hard hart: and not without cause com­pared by the prophet (as I shewed before) to the wilful furie and rage of serpents.Psal. 75. And an­other place of scripture describeth it thus; Durus es, & nervus ferreus cervix tua, & frons tua aerea: Esai. 48. Thou art hard harted, and thy nek is a sinow of iron, & thy forhead is of brasse. What can be more vehemently spoken to expresse the hardnes of this mettal?Lib. 1. de consid. ad Eug. c. 2. But yet Saint Barnard expresseth it more at large in these words; Quid ergo cor durum: And what is then a hard hart? And he answereth immediately; A hard hart is that, which is neither cut by compunction; nor sof­tened by godlines; nor mooved with praiers; nor yeeldeth to threatening; nor is any thing holpen, but rather hardened, by chastening. An hard hart is that which is ingrateful to Gods benefits; disobedient to his counsels; [Page 403] made cruel by his judgements; dissolute by his allurements; unshamefast to filthines; fearles to perils; uncourteous in humane affairs; rechles in matters pertaining to God; forget­ful of things past; negligent in things present; improvident for things to come.

24 By this description of Saint Barnard it appeereth, that an hard hart,The expli­cation of S. Barnards words. is almost a despe­rate and remediles disease, where it falleth. For what wil you do (saith this good father) to a­mend it? If you lay the greevousnes of sin be­fore him: he is not touched with compuncti­on. If you alledge him al the reasons in the world, why we ought to serve God, and why we ought not to offend, and dishonor him: he is not mollified by this consideration of piety. If you would request him and beseech him with tears, even on your knees: he is not moo­ved. If you threaten Gods wrath against him: he yeeldeth nothing therunto. If God scourge him in deed: he waxeth furious, and becom­meth much more hard than before. If God bestow benefits on him: he is ungrateful. If he counsel him for his salvation: he obeieth not. If you tel him of Gods secret, and severe judge­ments: it driveth him to desperation, and to more crueltie. If you allure him with Gods mercie: it maketh him dissolute. If you tel him of his own filthines, he blusheth not. If you admonish him of his perils: he feareth not. If he deal in matters towards men: he is proud [Page 404] and uncurteous. If he deal in matters towards God: he is rash, light, and contemptuous. Fi­nally, he forgetteth whatsoever hath passed be­fore him towards other men, either in reward of godlines, or in punishment of sinners. For the time present, he neglecteth it, nor maketh any account of using it to his benefit. And of things to come, either of blisse, or miserie, he is utterly unprovident: nor wil esteem therof, lay you them never so often, or vehemently before his face. And what way is there then to do this man good?

The danger of an hard hart.25 Not without great cause surely did the wise man pray so hartily to God; Animae irre­verenti, & infrenatae ne tradas me: Deliver me not over (O Lord) unto a shameles and unruly soul. Eccl. 23. That is, unto a hard, and obstinate hart. Wherof he giveth the reason in another place, of the same booke;Eccl. 3. Cor enim durum habebit male in novissimo: For that an hard hart shal be in an evil case at the last day. Oh that al hard harted people would note this reason of scripture! But S. Barnard goeth on, and openeth the terror heerof more fully, when he saith;Li. 1. de con­sul. c. 1. Nemo duri cordis salutem unquam adeptus est, nisi quem forte miserans Deus abstulit ab eo (iuxta prophetam) cor lapideum, Eze. 36. & dedit cor carneum: There was never yet hard harted man saved, except God by his mercie did take away his stonie hart, and give him a hart of flesh, ac­cording to the prophet. By which words Saint Barnard signifieth, and prooveth out of the [Page 405] prophet,Two kinds of harts in men with their pro­perties. that there are two kinds of harts in men, the one a fleshlie hart, which bleedeth if you but prik it: that is, it falleth to contriti­on, repentance, and tears, upon never so smal a chek for sin. The other is a stonie hart, which if you beat and buffet never so much with ham­mers, you may assoon break it in peeces, as ei­ther bend it, or make it to bleed. And of these two harts in this life dependeth al our miserie, or felicitie for the life to come. For as God when he would take vengeance of Pharao, had no more greevous way to do it, than to say; Indurabo cor Pharaonis: I wil harden the hart of Pharao. Exo. 4.7.14 That is (as Saint Austen expoundeth) I wil take away my grace,Au. 1.18. su­per Exod. & serm. 88. de temp. and so permit him to harden his own hart: so when he would shew mercie to Israel, he had no more forcible means to expresse the same, than to say; I wil take away the stonie hart out of your flesh, Eze. 36. & give you a fleshie hart in steed therof. That is, I wil take a­way your hard hart, and give you a soft hart, that wil be mooved, when it is spoken to. And of al other blessings, and benefits, which God doth bestow upon mortal men in this life, this soft and tender hart is one of the grea­test: I mean such an hart as is soone mooved to repentance; soone checked and controlled; soone pearsed; soone made to bleed; soone stir­red to amendment. And on the contrarie part, there can be no greater curse, or malediction laid upon a Christian, than to have an hard [Page 406] and obstinate hart, which heapeth every day vengeance unto it selfe, and his maister also. Saint Paul saith it is compared by the apostle unto the ground,Heb. 6. which no store of rain can make fruitful, though it fal never so often upon the same: and therfore he pronounceth rher­of; Reprobae est, maledicto proxima, cuius consum­matio in combustionem. That is, It is reprobate and next doore to malediction, whose end or consum­mation must be fire and burning.

26 Which thing being so, no marvel though the holie scripture do dehort us so carefully from this obduration and hardnes of hart, as from the most dangerous, and desperate dis­ease, that possible may fal upon the Christian, being indeed (as the apostle signifieth) the next doore to reprobation it selfe.Heb. 6. S. Paul ther­fore crieth;Ephes. 4. 1. The. 5. Nolite contristari, nolite extinguere spiritum Dei: Do you not make sad, do you not extin­guish the spirit of God, by obduration, by resisting and impugning the same.Heb. 3. Again; Non obdure­tvr quis ex vobis fallacia peccati: Let no man be hard harted among you through the deceit of sin. The pro­phet David also crieth;Psal. 94. Hodie si vocem eius audi­eritis, nolite obdurare corda vestra: Even this day, if you hear the voice of God calling you to repentance, see you harden not your harts against him. Al which earnest speeches, used by Gods holie spirit, do give us to understand, how carefully we have to flie this most pestilent infection of an hard hart: which almightie God by his mercie give [Page 407] us grace to do, and indu us with a tender hart towards the ful obedience of his divine maje­stie: such a soft hart (I say) as the wise man de­sired, when he said to God; Da servo tuo cor do­cile: 3. Reg. 3. Give unto me thy servant (O Lord) an hart that is docible, and tractable to be instructed: such an hart as God himselfe describeth to be in al them whom he loveth, saieng;Esai. 66. Ad quem respi­ciam, nisi ad pauperculum, & contritum corde, & ti­mentem sermones meos? To whom wil I have regard, or shew my favor, but unto the poore and humble of hart, unto the contrite spirit, and to such as trembleth at my speeches?

27 Behold (deer brother) what an hart God requireth at thy hands? A little poore & hum­ble hart: (for so much importeth the dimini­tive Pauperculus:) also a contrite hart for thine offences past; and an hart that trembleth at everie word that commeth to thee from God, by his ministers. How then wilt thou not fear at so manie words, and whole discourses as have been used before, for thine awakening; for opening thy peril; for stirring thee to a­mendement? How wilt thou not fear the threats, and judgements of this great Lord for thy sin? How wilt thou dare to proceed anie further in his displeasure? How wilt thou de­fer this resolution any longer? Surely the lest part of that which hath been said, might suffice to moove a tender hart, an humble, and con­trite spirit, to present resolution and earnest [Page 408] amendement of life. But if al togither cannot moove thee to do the same: I can say no more, but that thou hast a verie hard hart indeed: which I beseech our heavenly father to soften for thy salvation, with the pretious hot blood of his onlie son, our Savior, who was content to shed it for that effect, upon the crosse.

The conclu­sion of this whole booke. Pag. 12.28 And thus now having said so much as time permitted me, concerning the first gene­ral part required at our hands for our salva­tion: that is, concerning resolution, appointed B by any As may appeer in my preface to the rea­der. division in the beginning, to be the subject or matter of this first booke, I wil end heer: deferring for a time the performance of my purpose for the other two bookes, Which was, for that either time, or health, or libertie did not permit upon the causes, and reasons set down in an adver­tisement B to the reader, at the very first ente­rance unto this booke: nothing dowting, but if God shal vouchsafe to work in anie mans hart by means of this booke, or otherwise this first point of resolution, the most hard of al other: then wil he also give means to perfect the work begun of himselfe,Phil. 2. and wil supplie by other wais, the two principal parts follow­ing: that is, both right beginning, and con­stant perseverance, wherunto my other two bookes promised, are appointed. It wil not be hard for him that were once reformed, to find helpers and instructors ynow, the holie Ghost in this case being alwais at hand: there want not good bookes, and better men (God be [Page 409] glorified for it) in our own countrie at this day, which are wel able to guide a zealous spi­rit in the right waie to vertu (and yet as I have promised before, so mean I (by Gods most ho­lie help and assistance) to send thee (gentle reader) as my time and habilitie wil permit, the other two bookes also: especially, if it shal please his divine majestie to comfort me ther­unto, with the gain, or good of any one soul by this which is alreadie done: that is, if I shal conceive or hope, that any one soul, so deerly purchased by the pretious blood of the son of God, shal be mooved to resolution by any thing that is heer said: that is, shal be re­claimed from the bondage of sin, and restored to the service of our maker & redeemer: which is the onlie end of my writing, as his majestie best knoweth.

29 And surely (gentle reader) though I must confesse that much more might be said for this point of resolution, that is heer touched by me, or than any man can wel utter in any com­petent kind of booke or volume: yet am I of opinion, that either these reasons heer alled­ged are sufficient, or els nothing wil suffice,The effect of that which hath been said in this booke. for the conquering of our obstinacie, and beating down of our rebellious disobedience in this point. Heer thou maist see the principal argu­ments inducing thee to the service of God, and detestation of vice.In the first part. Heer thou maist see the cause & end why thou wast created; the oc­casion [Page 410] of thy comming hither; the things re­quired at thy hands in particular; the account that wil be demanded of thee; his goodnes towards thee; his watchfulnes over thee; his desire to win thee; his reward if thou do wel; his infinite punishment, if thou do evil; his cal­lings; his baits; his allurements to save thee. And on the contrarie part,In the second part. heer are discovered unto thee the vanities & deceits of those impe­dimēts, hinderances, or excuses, which any way might let, stay or discourage thy resolution; the feigned difficulties of vertuous life are remoo­ved; the conceited fears of Gods service are ta­ken away; the allureing flatteries of worldly vanitie are opened; the foolish presumption upon Gods mercie; the danger of delay; the dissimulation of sloth; the desperate peril of careles & stonie harts are declared. What then wilt thou desire more to moove thee? What further argument wilt thou expect to draw thee from vice and wickednes, that al this is?

30 If al this stir thee not, what wil stir thee, (gentle reader) if when thou hast read this, thou lay down thy book again, and walk on thy carelesse life as quietly as before; what hope (I beseech thee) may there be concei­ved of thy salvation? Wilt thou go to heaven, living as thou dost? It is impossible. As soone thou maist drive God out of heaven, as get thi­ther thy selfe in this kind of life. What then? Wilt thou forgo heaven, & yet escape hel too? [Page 411] This is lesse possible, whatsoever the Atheists of this world do persuade thee. Wilt thou de­fer the matter, and think of it heerafter? I have told thee my opinion heerof before. Thou shalt never have more abilitie to do it, than now, and (it may be) never halfe so much again. If thou refuse it now: I may greatly fear, that thou wilt be refused heerafter thy selfe. There is no way then so good (deer brother) as to do it presently whiles it is offered. Break from that tyrant which deteineth thee in servitude: shake off his chains; cut a sunder his bonds; run vi­olently to Christ; which standeth readie to im­brace thee, with his arms open on the crosse. Make joiful al the angels and court of heaven with thy conversion;Luc. 15. strike once the stroke with God again; make a manly resolution; say with the old couragious soldier of Iesus Christ, Saint Ierom; If my father stood wee­ping on his knees before me, and my mother hanging on my nek behind me;A notable saieng of S. Ierom. and al my brethren, sisters, children, kinsfolks howling on every side to retain me in sinful life with them; I would sling off my mother to the ground; despise al my kinred; run over my fa­ther, and tread him under my feet, therby to run to Christ when he calleth me.

31 Oh that we had such harts as this servant of God had; such courage, such manhood, such fervent love to our maister. Who would lie one day in such slaverie as we do? Who [Page 412] would eat husks with the prodigal son among swine, seeing he may return home, and be so honorably received and intertained by his old father; have so good cheer; and banketting; and hear so great melodie, joy, and triumph for his return?Luc. 15. I say no more heerin (deer brother) than thou art assured of, by the word and promise of Gods own mouth; from which can proceed neither falshood nor deceit. Re­turn then I beseech thee; lay hand fast on his promise, who wil not fail thee; run to him now he calleth, whiles thou hast time; and esteem not al this world worth a straw in re­spect of this one act; for so shalt thou be a most happie, and thrise happie man, and shalt blesse heerafter the hour and moment that ever thou madest this blessed resolution. And I for my part (I trust) shal not be void of some portion of thy felicitie. At leastwise I dowt not, but thy holie conversion shal treat for me with our common father, who is the God of mercies, for remission of my many sins, and that I may serve, and honor him togither with thee, al the dais of my life; which ought to be both our petitions; and therfore in both our names, I beseech his divine maje­stie to grant it to us: for ever and ever, Amen.

The end of this booke of Resolution.

A TREATISE TENDING TO PA­CIFICATION: BY LABO­ring those that are our adversaries in the cause of RELIGION, to receive the GOSPEL, and to join with us in profession therof.

By Edm. Bunny.

Hosea. 3: 4, 5.

The children of Israel shal sit a great while without king, without prince, without sacrifice, without image, without Ephod, and without Teraphim. But afterward the children of Israel shal be converted, and seeke the Lord their God, and David their king: & in the latter dais they shal worship the Lord, and his loving kindnes.

A Table declaring the effect and method of the Treatise following.

This Treatise following consisth of two principal parts.

  • In the former of which there is set down matter to move them: that is,
    • First, on our parts it is declared, that if we should turn unto them,
      • The benefit that we should get therby, would be very little. Section. 1.
      • The inconveni­ence very great:
        • First, in matters concerning religion. Sect. 2.
        • Then, concerning our civile estate. Sect. 3.
    • Then, on their parts it is declared likewise, that if they should ioin in profession with us,
      • The benefit that they should get therby, were gret
        • First in matters of religion. Sect. 4.
        • Then as touching their civile estate. Sect. 5.
      • The inconveni­ences very smal: cōcerning which,
        • First it is declared, what they are. Sect. 6.
        • Then, of how smal importance they are, which is declared,
          • First, in them al general­ly. Sect. 7.
          • Then more specially in the doctrine of iustification. Sect. 8.
  • In the latter such lets are re­mooved as are woont to hinder: of which there be two special sorts:
    • Some that are of lesse importance. Of which likewise there are
      • Som that cheefly re­spect their person: which also are two.
        • One, that proceedeth from regard of their credit: which so they think should be overthrown. Sect. 9.
        • The other ariseth from their bodily punishment: wherin they think we deal hardly with them. Sect. 10.
      • One, that doth somwhat respect their cause likewise: which is, that our translations of the holy scriptures are now (in their iudge­ment) found to be so far from the truth of the text, that it seemeth to them, that we have not the word of God among us, to di­rect us in this our profession, as heertofore it was thought that we had. Concerning which,
        • First, there is a breefe recital of those points of doctrine, for which we are charged to have translated so corruptly. Sect. 11.
        • Then is de­clared, how it may very ea­sily appeer, that the matter is not so great, as they pretend
          • First, by considera­tion of certain ge­neral points to them al belonging. Sec. 12
          • Then by a more spe­cial treatise of eve­rie one apart by it selfe. Sect. 13.
    • One, that is of special force with manie, and most of al hindereth those that stay upon conscience in deede: which is, that if they should ioin with us, they fear that therby they should depart from the Church. Concerning which,
      • First, the hardnes of the matter is unfolded. Which is done by shewing
        • First, how they are decei­ved: which is, for that they do not rightly conceive,
          • Either what the Church is. Sect. 14.
          • Or what it is to de­part from it. Sec. 15.
        • Then, how the error may be amended: which is, by right understanding,
          • What the Church is. Sect. 16.
          • What it is to depart frō the same. Se. 17.
      • Then the Resolution therof is gathered: which is, that of departing altogither from the Church, there ought to be at al no quaestion among us; but only who are the truer members of that Church that we al are of. In which point, so long as the quaestion is but betwixt us and them, the advantage is wholy and only ours. Sect. 18.

The Treatise tending to Pacification.

TO persuade or move others to the truth of Religion, that be­ing as by yet preiu­dice deceived, cānot persuade themselves to be so short therof as they are, hath been, and ever must be in al ages so needful an argument, as that many do gladly bestow their labor therin. Of which, as other ages have ever given suf­ficient testimonie; so this of ours doth most plentifully witnes the same: being so much more fruitful and abundant therin, as it hath pleased God to blesse it with so rare and singular a light of the truth, as (to our knowlege) he never yet bestowed on others. Therfore among us also there are, and those very many, that have taken this argument in hand, and have done so wel therin, that God is glorified, the church is increased, and themselves have gotten a reverend aesti­mation among the people of God therby. [Page 2] So commeth it to passe, that whatsoever I shal do therin, according to the smal talent that God of his goodnes hath bestowed on me, may seem to be needlesse, and as it were to come out of season, when the church is so wel stored alreadie, with such persuasion; and others long since, seem to themselves halfe cloied therwith. Neverthelesse, seeing that now I was purposed to get foorth this booke of Resolution that goeth before, which so treateth of godlines of life, that (in a maner) it maketh no mention of know­ledge or faith (as also it appeereth that the author himselfe was (in some things) of a contrarie judgement to us therin) I thought the case it selfe to be such, as that it behoo­ved me to say somwhat therof, as before in the preface I have declared.The princi­pal parts of this Trea­tise. The effect wher­of is no more but this; first, to shew that there is very reason why they should join in profession with us: and then to declare in what sort to remoove such things as most do hinder the weaker sort. The reason why they ought to join in profession with vs, is for that it becommeth and behooveth the church of God (in many respects) to be at unitie in it selfe; and yet the case so standeth in this matter, that we are not able in our profession to yeeld unto them; but they ve­rie wel may, and of dutie ought to accord unto us. It becommeth and behooveth the [Page 3] church of God to be at unitie in it selfe, for so many good and substantial causes, that it needeth no confirmation at al: insomuch that it shal not be needful to bestow any la­bor in the prooving of it. The other is not so fully concluded of al; and yet notwith­standing we dowt not, but we have suffici­ent ground-work to be persuaded therin as we are.Why we may not ioin with them. The reason why we may not yeeld unto them, is for that there can be no other account made of the matter, but that the benefit we should get therby, would be ve­rie little; and the inconvenience that com­meth withal, marvelous great.What is the benefit that we might seem to get by their pro­fession. The benefite that we should get therby, seemeth to rest but only in a certain persuasion, that we should be in better case, than now we are. For whether we should be so or not, that must needs (as yet) lie in question betwixt us. But this is very tru in deed, that if we were of their profession, then should we be with them persuaded, that our estate were so much the better. And our estate would then seem to be bettered, both for the cer­taintie of our salvation in the world to come: and in some things that do concern this present life.What bene­fit we should have to­wards our salvation. For as touching our salva­tion, we should account our selves more sure of it, bicause that then we should imagin our selves to have, the mediation and help of angels, and saints in heaven; and the be­nefite [Page 4] of our own and other mens merits on earth: wheras by the profession that now we are of, we so rest in Iesus Christ alone, that we seeke for no help by any of those. And if Iesus Christ be not only sufficient to work our salvation (which themselves do ne­ver denie) but also sufficient in himselfe, not going out of his own person for any part of his sufficiencie, but keeping only to his own merits and mediation, having no respect at al to the mediation or merits of any others (which also I think very few of them wil de­nie, though when they have granted it, they are fain somtime to borrow it again, to esta­blish the doctrine of those other helps) what special advantage is it to us, for to have any mo besides, when we have inough and inough only in him? For although it were not il to mingle any other with him (which at this present we wil not urge) yet if be but more than needeth, it can be no special be­nefite to us. He that hath wel dined alrea­die, can very little be holpen by more plen­tie of meat, be it never so good, and other­wise welcome unto the taste. Now that Christ is sufficient, even in himselfe, without the help of any other, if it be not in the scripture so plainly set down, and so derived through al antiquitie in the judgement of any, but that stil they wil hold it needful to seeke unto others so far as before they were [Page 5] woont to do: neither wil we labor at this present to make it plainer.What bene­fit we should have in mat­ters concer­ning this praesent life. The things that do belong to this praesent life, wherin it might seem our estate might be bettered, are of two special sorts; wherof some con­cern our inward; and one other concerneth our outward government.First of in­ward com­fort. Our inward comfort may seem might be increased un­der that profession, two principal wais. First, that then we need not fear the excommuni­cation or curse of the bishop of Rome, un­der which we are now, and long have been; then, for that they have a more copious re­presentation (as they take it) of heavenly comforts than we; for that in sacraments, and ceremonies they far exceed us; and have that use of images also, wheras we have none at al. First, therfore concerning the Popes curse, we do not find it now to be of that force, that heertofore we thought it to be; neither by the word of God; nei­ther by experience it selfe. And if we have little cause to fear it, and then (proportiona­bly) fear it as little; surely it were no great pleasure to any of us, to be delivered from the hurt therof, that doth not hurt us; nor from the fear of that, wherof we stand in no fear at al. As for the spiritual censure of the church, rightly proceeding against any, we know it is to be feared indeed, of those whom it toucheth. But we are long since [Page 6] persuaded, that we can so distinguish be­twixt these two, that we need not take the one for the other. Then as touching those further representations of spiritual comfort (such as they are) which they (I grant) have mo than we, we find no such substance in a­ny of them (neither in that they have both sacraments, and ceremonies mo than we; neither in that themselves alone have al the images, and we are utterly void of any) but that we may think our selves to be wel al­readie, with those that we have, although of one sort we have none at al: and can further hope likewise, that if themselves had no mo than we, their inward comfort should be so much the greater. For if in the examination of them, it should fal out, that they have no sufficient groundwork in the word of God (as we are sure, that they have there no war­rant at al) then are they but very cold, and desperate comforts, and never yeeld any sound comfort at al. For though we are not in any dowt, but that they are in other re­spects very il, as they are used by them: yet now we say no more but this, that (al things considered) we find so little comfort in them, that we need not think the want to be great, now that we are without them; nor, that it were any great benefite, for to obtain them.Then of out­ward government. The benefite that in out­ward government we should get therby, is [Page 7] no more than this, that so we should be un­der the government of the bishop of Rome; which how good it should proove, I am not able certainly to say. But if first we should esteeme therof by reason, we may very wel dowt, that no one man were able to govern us wel, that should rule al the world besides; notwithstanding al the under-magistrates that could be appointed: and that although some one man could do it, by his rare and singular wisdome (which notwithstanding were such a thing, as never was yet) yet that it were in no wise convenient for so many, and al the whole to hang upon one; and such an one too, as might somtime be so weak a man to bear such a burden, as that many others under his government, might be found much stronger than he. Then, if we come unto experience, and lay before us in what sort he governed us before, when as he had us under his government; or in what sort he governeth yet, those that abide un­der his obedience; whether any thing may be said more hardly or not, as yet I say not; but surely thus much we may be bold to a­bide by, that in comparison of the govern­ment under which we are now, it were no very singular benefite to be holpen bak to that other again. So for ought that yet ap­peereth, we cannot see, that any great bene­fite could come unto us, if we should turn [Page 8] to their profession.

What in­convenience might come in therby.2 What inconvenience might come ther­by, is a thing very hard to be fully gathered, being so great, and so divers withal, as in our judgement it seemeth to be. Where first of al we cannot like that we should be so much deprived of the scriptures themselves, as under them we were: partly by the laws that they made against such as should read them, otherwise than themselves thought good; and partly, for that they do so much inhibite al translations in our vulgar toong. Which one thing only we take to boad ve­ry much il, and whatsoever after insueth, to come almost only of it. For the inconveni­ences, that we are persuaded would come in therby, would be, as we take it, many and great; some in matters of religion; others, as touching our civile estate heer in this life.Inconve­niences in matters of religion. In matters of religion; first, we dowt that our selves should be much therby cor­rupted, and be occasion to many others, to fal to the same corruption likewise: then also, that on the consciences of many, there should be laid over greevous bur­dens. Our selves might be corrupted by their profession, two principal wais: in the aestimation of Gods goodnes to us: and in the performance; of our dutie to him. The goodnes of God toward us, is infinite; but [Page 9] now we have to enter no further into the consideration therof, than to this present purpose doth appertain. And that is only in these two things; first, in the work of our redemption; then, in his providence to­wards us in other matters.How it were dangerous in the work of our redemp­tion to be of that professi­on with them In the work of our redemption, Christ hath both satisfied for us to the justice of God; and therwith­al himselfe directeth us, towards the attai­ning therof. In both these points we dowt very much, that by joining with them in their profession, we should be found blas­phemous to God, and very hurtful to our own souls health; first, in joining (and that no further, than their selves do) either the sufferings, or else the good works, of any of the saints, in heaven or on earth, with the sufferings, and merits of Christ; then by helping our selves unto it, by the mediati­on of angels, or saints, or by the doctrines of men on earth, only so far as themselves do it; and not seeking the same alone by the mediation of Christ, and by the written word of God. For we take the satisfaction of Christ, his mediation, and word to be such, as that, no other satisfaction, mediati­on, or word can be found, any thing meete to be so far matched withal. Again, we find not, that the work of redemption that is wrought in Christ, is available to the salvati­on of any, but only of those, that so cleave [Page 10] unto it, that they utterly renounce al other helps whatsoever they are. In the former therfore, we see not how it may be avoided, but that needes we must be found to have done great dishonor to Christ; in the other we are persuaded that we should clean over­throw our own salvation. Concerning the providence of God towards us in other matters,How in the doctrine of Gods pro­vidence. their profession (we fear) would lead us somwhat aside; and teach us to at­tribute many of those things that fal out a­mong us, to some other than God alone, somtimes unto creatures, as the angels, and saints in heaven, or to the power of man on earth; and somtimes to a fiction of mans devise, as fate or fortune. And although we willingly grant, that in divers of these they use such limitation withal, that it seemeth they would be loth for to go over-far ther­in; yet, going but so far as they do in their common profession, we see not how we could avoid it, but that if we should join with them therin, we should be far amisse persuaded in that comfortable doctrine of Gods most gratious providence towards us.How in per­formance of our dutie to God. In the performance of our dutie like­wise, we do not perceive, but that we should be very far wide from that which in truth we ought to do. For wheras God only hath made us, redeemed us, and given us whatso­ever we have, and therfore we owe al unto [Page 11] him, and that by Iesus Christ our Lord: their profession notwithstanding is, to yeeld their thanks and service again (in divers cases) to some angel, or saint, as though that from them, or by their good means they had re­ceived the things which they have. Wheras notwithstanding to make any other media­tors in such respect, though it be not with Christ betwixt God and us, but only under Christ betwixt him and us, is either directly against, or without the warrant of the word of God. Then also, although they do not direct our dutie, nor any part therof to any other than God; yet they teach us to do unto him divers things that we find not in the written word. Wherin although they can assure us that the church hath so ordei­ned, yet we see no sufficient warrant therin; when as themselves wil not denie, but that the greatest multitude of the people of God in al ages, have been somtime decei­ved; and the written word both precisely chargeth us to do nothing to God but what he appointeth, and besides accurseth al those that set us a work in any thing else. Those others that might be corrupted by us, are al those,How others might be corrupted by us. that by our example should take occasion to do likewise: either such as presently live besides us; or the generation that after followeth. For we know by ex­perience of times, that of those that live to­gither, [Page 12] one doth cast his eie to another, eve­rie nation unto the people that doth dwel about them, and make the doings of others a rule for them to walk by; and the same in the service of God, as much (almost) as in any thing else. Children likewise, and the race that succeedeth others, do readily fol­low, as their forefathers have gone before them; for the most part little regarding, whether it be right or wrong; but suffici­ently contenting themselves, if they walk but so as their ancestors have done before. If we therfore should give an il example to any of these, either in leading them to do such things in the service of God as were offensive to him; or else no more, but tea­ching them, in like sort to venture, in so weightie a matter: how should we be able to excuse our selves, but that we have given them just cause of offence, in laieng such a stumbling stone in the way, that we see they are disposed to walk? And though by the grace and goodnes of God, they would be more warie, and not stumble therat; yet were our fault nothing the lesse, & for to be aesteemed no lesse than murder before him: as Christ himself we know pronounceth an heavie sentence against al those, byw hom there commeth offence to any; that It were much better for him, that a milstone were hanged about his nek & he cast into the bottom of the sea, [Page 13] than to offend the lest of thē al that beleve in him. Those heavie burdens that I spake of,What bur­dens heerby are laid on the consci­ences of men. which they lay on the consciences of many, are of two sorts; some that appertain generally to al;Traditions. and others that appertain properly to some. Those that appertain generally to al, are first those heaps of traditions and ce­remonies which they have abundantly laid upon al men, calling them the traditions of the church, and teach, that al are bound of conscience, inviolably to keepe and observe them every one. Of which sort, though some be sorted unto certain principal feasts and times of the yeer; yet others there are that so commonly hant every weeke, and al­most every day; and are so plentifully pow­red out, throughout our whole life, almost in al things that we are to take in hand, that it is not possible for any to walk uprightly therin, nor ever sufficiently to attend the greater things of the law of God.Auricular confession. Then al­so it is an heavie burden, that al men are bound, so to confesse as they require, both for that they must disclose unto them the very secrets of their harts; and are bound to rekon up al their sins, so far as possibly they can remember; else that they are excluded from al hope of forgivenes. Wherof, the one is very greevous, and abhorring the na­ture of the best men that are; the other more, then any man can at any time find, [Page 14] that he hath done fully indeed; both which are unknown to the word of God (and ther­fore needles) and yeeld no way of forgive­nes at al; but only a way to torment the par­ties, and for themselves to practise upon. These that are more proper to some, are cast upon them diversly: somtimes upon some special occasion; somtimes by reason of that kind of life, that the parties are entered into. Of the first I note but one: that is, the burden that they lay upon those, which have confessed their sins unto them. Which commonly they cal poenance,Poenance. and ever lightly hath one of these faults: either that the poenance it selfe is wrong (being for the most part, either rigorous, or frivolous; or else that the parties are taught to seeke out forgivenes therin. Of that which is cast up­on others, by reason of the trade of life, that they are entered into, I note these two prin­cipal branches?Rules of their obser­vants. First those observances, that they binde their regulars to; then the vow of single life, wherunto they binde their whole clergie, and certain others neer to that order. The former of which (omit­ting to speak of the woorst of it) yeeldeth nought else but a fruitlesse labor, such as God never accepteth for any part of his service at al, and yet oft times very tedious, and painful in it selfe, if they follow their rule indeed, and coast not over some neerer [Page 15] way: the other is ful of fowl pollutions without, and intollerable burnings with­in, such as al forced virginitie hath ever yeelded.

3 But in matters of religion (it may be) the controversies seem so dowtful,What in­conveniences would come in therby as touching our civile estate. that we cannot charge them with any such incon­venience on their side, but that in their judgement they think themselves able to turn it over to us again, as easilie as we did lay it to their charge before. And we also wil be content, to set by religion for a sea­son, and al matters of faith whatsoever, as if in that respect there were no inconveni­ence at al to be feared; and now consider those things alone, that do concern our ci­vile estate heerin this life; not persuading our selves to the contrarie, but that divers there are, that would be content to join with them in matters of religion, if therby they should bring to themselves no incon­venience in this. For divers indeed do not so much respect religion, or looke not so narrowly to the diversitie of these professi­ons, but that they can be reasonably wel content with either, if in other things: they have their minds contented. Be it therfore, that whatsoever their profession be, yet shal they have many of those that now are with us to join with them, if in this point there [Page 16] be found no lawful impediment, or matter to stay them. But heer, even at the first, ap­peereth a mightie let: which is, that no man (we think) can be of that profession, unlesse he be under that government too. Could their church, and court be sundered; could their religion and regiment be parted, the one from the other; then indeed I think that (with many) much might be done; but when as these go so close togither, that no man can professe the one, but that he must be under the other, that goeth (as we take it) somwhat hard with many, that otherwise would finde no scruple at al. And two things there be, wherin we think we have very good cause to finde our selves greeved in that respect; one, that they extend the authoritie therof, so far forth as they are woont to do; the other, that they wil seem to do it upon such ground as they praetend. They stretch out their authoritie we think over far;Abuse of their autho­ritie against soveraign magistrates. first, against al those that are in so­veraign authoritie in their own several countries or kingdomes; then against al other inferior persons generally. With princes, & those that are in highest place in their several states, we think they are a great deal to bold, both in abasing them so much as they do▪ and that they do so much inter­meddle in the government of themselves, and their people. They abase them (we [Page 17] think) over far; when as they advance them­selves above them: and make those that are the Lords annointed, to do over servile o­beisance unto them. How much higher than kings and princes, and the greatest states of Christendome besides, the bishops of Rome have claimed to be, and according (when opportunitie hath served) have ta­ken upon them, is a thing so very manifest, that I need not to stay therupon; especially when as the remembrance therof is such, as I think many of themselves are loath to hear of, & so might be somwhat irksom un­to them. Again how far they have made the greatest potentates that are▪ not so much to submit as to cast down (in most servile, and abject maner) themselves before them, so oft as they were fain to seeke unto them, is likewise so commonly known, and so bitter withal, that they do not much urge us to cal the same to remembrance again.Abuse of their au­thoritie with others. At home. In mat­ters of government they meddle too far, somtimes at home; but especially and cheefly abroad. At home they meddle too far in matters of government, when as they take upon them more, than appertaineth to the office of a bishop, over-ruling the states of Italie as they think good; inhibi­ting them to do otherwise than standeth with their pleasure; and injoining them to do, as they praescribe.Abroad. Abroad we think they [Page 18] intermeddle to far, not only when they deal in civile causes; but whensoever they med­dle with ecclesiastical also by the way of au­thoritie, taking upon them to command. But now to keepe only to that, wherby they trouble our civile estate, we do think they are over greevous, and that beyond al aequi­tie and right, both to those that willingly take in good part whatsoever the Pope doth unto them; and to those likewise, that somtimes use their own libertie. For as for those that remain in ful obedience unto him,Over his frinds. both he frameth them to govern as pleaseth him; and besides that he erecteth his own seat above theirs, that so there may be a readie way, stil to appeal from them unto him, and to do in their states whatso­ever else he thinketh good.Against those that withdraw themselves from his go­vernment. As for those that more freely use their own authoritie, with them oft times hath he dealt more roughly; accursing their persons; interdic­ting their land; and arming their own sub­jects against them. With inferior persons, yea and with al generally,Trailing them foorth into charge­able & dan­gerous iour­neies. the Pope (as we take it) dealeth too hardly, when either he traileth them so far from home, in very cumbersome, chargeable, and dangerous journeis, either in the way of poenance, to the holie land, to Saint Peters in Rome, or to some such like; or to follow their sutes in law before him as in many cases he did, [Page 19] and yet doth; or else at home doth impose upon them those greevous exactions that he is accustomed to do,Greevous exactions. utterly beyond al measure, and mean; or in those places that are for pastors, to set Italians to reape the commoditie that commeth therby,Outlandish pastors. that never so much as come at their charge, or, being of a strange language themselves, can do no good when they come there, unlesse it be to practise for him.Vpon what ground they do these things. Concerning the ground-work wherupon they wil seem to build their doings in al such cases, that do we finde (in our judgement) so very weak, that although it be greefe inough to be so pinched by that usurpation, as within fresh remembrance we were; yet is this no smal increase of the same, that they wil needs go about to bear us down, that the grounds that they stand on, are very sound, substanti­al, and firm. For (by their patience) what may we think? May any suppose, that they themselves are so persuaded? Italian heads (indeed we finde) are of deepe devise; but it would greeve the simplest of al, to be so very plainly [...]lluded, in so weightie matters. For their grounds they praetend these two things; that such authoritie should of right appertain to the bishop of Rome; and that accordingly he hath been in pos­session of it. That it should belong unto him, somtimes they alledge some reason for [Page 20] it; but for the most part, authoritie only. Their reason is, that it is expedient, and ve­ry needful it should so be. But first they should have considered, whether it had been possible, or not, for the whole world to be kept under the soveraign authoritie of any one. Their authorities they bring, partly out of the word of God: but cheefly out of certain councels, and fathers. For their possessions they alledge Constantines gift; and certain practises of their own, that have been since of latter time. Al which things are so very wel known, that I need not but point unto them. But are these so firm, and substantial groundworks, as they would seem to think that they are? Let them be of what valu they can be; we can hardly be persuaded, but that many of those that did first alledge any of these, did it for that they were disposed to abuse the simplicitie of many others. So we see the force of this inconveniencie, to be very sore: and we finde no cause to condescend therunto; but ra­ther, that we are very fowly abused, in those causes that are alledged. And then, what reasons have they so forcible to persuade any, to be of their church, when as therwith­al they must needs be under their court likewise, which is so irksome and greevous a thing. Vnlesse we may hope that they would be content, to allow us to be of their [Page 21] profession, and yet notwithstanding free from their government. Of which (I think) we may very wel dowt, for that as yet we do not see them to grant that libertie to any other. Insomuch, that as it was said of He­rod, after that his own child also was slain, in that slaughter of other infants that he pro­cured, that it was better to be his pig, than his child; so may it (we think) in this respect as truly be said, that it is better to be none of the Popes frinds, to injoy this freedome that now we have; than with his frinds to have it denied, and to be in such bondage therby as they are.

4 If now we come to our own profession,What be­nefite they should have by our pro­fession. I trust that it may soone appeer, to be the better in manie respects: insomuch that if they would condescend unto us, the bene­fite that they should reap therby, should be very great; the inconvenience, but very lit­tle. And to follow the same order, that be­fore I have done in the other, first as tou­ching the scriptures, themselves may see,The use of scripture. that we go not about to hold them from any: but our selves do turn them into our own vulgar toong. Neither do we tie them unto any one translation; but send them to the fountain, and first original: and doing therin our selves so wel as we can (everie one as he is able) imbrace and reverence the la­bors [Page 22] of others, whom we see to be learned indeed, and faithfully to labor therin. So we impart the scriptures to al▪ and labor to make them fully known in everie point, to the uttermost that we are able.We keepe more prae­cisely to the written word than our ad­versaries do. Then con­cerning those principal matters, that out of these scriptures we deliver to others: first, thus much may be said generally, that who­soever shal join themselves to us, may therin account themselves the safer; for that it cannot be denied, but that we keepe more praecisely, than our adversaries do, to the written word. To come to particulars: first, as touching matters of religion, it is verie cleere,In the work of our re­demption. that we cleave to none other work of redemption, but onlie to that, which God hath wrought in Iesus Christ: and so we cleave unto it alone; that we seeke no help at al of angel, or saint in heaven; of our own, or other mens merits on earth. If then there be any advantage at al, to those that do more truly cleave to Christ alone, for the whole work of their redemption: and then it be evident withal, that those which do so cleave therunto, as that they seeke to none other at al, do it more trulie than those that somwhat seeke unto others: whatsoever advantage is therby to be had, it must needs be neerer to us, than it is unto them. And if any there can be found, that do more aban­don al other means in heaven and earth [Page 23] than we do, we must pronounce against our selves, that in that respect they also are nee­rer to his advantage than we. But betwixt our adversaries and us, there is such ods in this matter, but that it may very soone be found, wherunto the advantage doth rather incline.In the do­ctrine of Gods pro­vidence. So likewise in the doctrine of Gods providence, bicause we are taught by the word of God, that he only doth al things himselfe alone; and that there is none o­ther but he; that al others are not at al, but onlie in him; that of him, and by him, and in him are al things: therfore it cannot but be the sure side, for to ascribe al unto God, whatsoever is done heer in the world; and nothing at al to destinie, or chance, or to any creature in heaven or earth. For as for that, which is indeed the strongest that they have against this point of doctrine, that so we should seeme to hold, that God were some author of sin: we hold it not, neither can it follow therupon. We know that God is verie wel able to cleere himselfe: and we our selves (in some good measure) do see, how he may very easily do it: distinguishing betwixt the deed it selfe, which is ever good, and of God; and the qualitie therof, which somtimes is infected by Sathan with evil. Concerning the worship du unto God,In the wor­ship of God. ad­mit that such worship might also be given to others than God, without offence to his ma­jestie: [Page 24] and unto him in the way of worship, such things as we think would please him wel: yet is it the surer way by far, seeing we have (as yet) no expresse word of God to give such honor to any other, we should not do it; and seeing we have the word of God very directly, to do nothing to him, but that which himselfe by his word requireth, we should in like sort do nothing to him, but whatsoever we see in the scriptures requi­red, til we see some other besides, to be the undowted word of God likewise, and to re­quire those things that we would be doing to him. And this latter, not onlie to avoid the offence of Gods majestie: but also to avoid the mispending of our time in such works, as are needles, or at least uncertain, while we might occupie our selves in such, as we know to be sound indeed. In al which, the cleerer that we keepe our selves out of danger,Safer from giving of­fence to others. the lesse shal we indanger others. For neither can those that live besides vs, take of us any evil example in that respect: neither do we leave, to the generation that is to come, any offence at al by those our doings. But on the other side, we have taught them by our example, to be verie careful, in al such matters, and to keep their profession from al corruption, and stein of this world. Which surely is a singular comfort to the hart of man: who calling to mind how he hath li­ved, [Page 25] may justly rejoice, if he plainly finde that he hath been so careful of the glo­rie of God, and of the salvation of him­selfe and others, that in those matters he hath ever indevored to avoid al offence; and to leave unto al, a good example to do the like.Freer from those bur­dens. Last of al concerning those burdens that they are woont so plentifully to lay on the consciences of others, our Christian profession doth rid us from those, and al such like. For first as touching those tradi­tions and observations that they lay on al generally, seeing the word of God doth therfore acquite us of al other affairs, to the end, that we should better attend his ser­vice: we in like sort, that would gladly do our service to God, should therfore count it a special benefit to be delivered from al such busines and works of others, as any way may incumber our labor therin.Their con­fession. Con­fession is a thing verie incident to al that are tru beleevers indeed: but (so far as the word of God requireth) it is onlie unto God, in such things as are onlie betwixt God and us; and not to any other, but onlie when as either on our parts we need counsel, or else on the behalfe of others we need to take away the offence, either done to the whole congregation, or else to any several person. Otherwise to be found to reckon up our sins to another, and to reckon them al, or [Page 26] else to be allowed no hope of forgivenes: neither is that by the word of God requi­red; and it is so discomfortable besides, that we may be hartily glad to be rid, both of the cumber,Their poe­nance. and vanitie of it. Their poenance was oft times very hard, very dangerous un­to our lives, or very chargeable unto our estate; and yet could never yeeld any sound comfort at al: and therfore it is the greater benefit, for to be rid of so heavie, and fruit­les a burden.Their obser­vances and forced cha­stitie. As for those that remain, the rules of their several orders, and the in­forcement of single life to the clergie, the one of them was so needles a labor, the o­ther an occasion to so great iniquitie, that we may justly account it a special blessing for to be delivered from them. In the place of al which, if we have that, which in everie kind is more agreeable to the word of God, then have we a double advantage therby: both for that we are delivered from that which is wrong; and are restored (at least somwhat neerer) unto our ancient right a­gain. And surely (we think) we cannot be charged, but that we do allow al those works, traditions, and ceremonies, that are by the written word to us commended. If in other things we use the libertie that God hath given us, although that therin we may be charged, in divers things, not so much to aesteem of certain traditions of the church, [Page 27] as themselves do, or would think that we should: yet notwithstanding, those things are of such nature, as that seeing God hath left us our libertie in them, it may therby seem, both that we are excusable therin, and that God would have no bodies con­science clogged withal. So our profession yeldeth this benefit, which theirs doth not, that the ancient faith is kept more pure from other mixtures: and the consciences of men more freed, from the venturous or­dinances of humane wisdom.

5 In those things that concern their civile estate heer in this life,What be­nefit they might have by our pro­fession, as touching their civile estate. we think their ad­vantage should be so manifest, as that them­selves might very easily espie the same, and willingly acknowlege it, as occasion is offe­red. And this do we think, they might espie first in their own experience now; and then by good reasons besides.Which they may see in their own experience. The experience of these dais doth plainly witnes, that God is marvelous gratious to those that professe the Gospel, and labor to reform their wan­derings therby: especially in this country of ours, which hath now injoied these ma­ny yeers, the most peaceable and the most blessed time, that ever it can be found to have had since that the land was first inha­bited. And no matter at al, though many of them that are our adversaries, are in wilful [Page 28] banishment abroad, or else restrained of some part of their libertie at home. For though themselves be not partakers of any such special blessednes: yet notwithstanding they might if they would (as others of their fellowes are) reserving their consciences to themselves, and conforming their outward demeanor no further, than is needful for the common tranquilitie of al, and as them­selves might lawfully do (aswel as their fel­lowes) without impeachment to the sub­stance of their profession. And were not their frinds partakers of it, and that in large and plentiful maner, neither could those that are of the Seminaries abroad, nor those that are in prison at home, live so delicately, and have things at pleasure so much as they have: much lesse be made the richer therby. Insomuch that even in their exile, and im­prisonment too, the beams of this sun that now I speak of, do reach unto them so plen­tifully, that they are very warm therby; and may not deny, that in the greatest miserie that they have, they finde very good, and large tokens, that this land is blessed in­deed.Then also by divers good reasons. The reasons that I speak of, are espe­cially two; one of them grounded on the goodnes of God; the other on the nature of that kind of government that we have among us.First of the goodnes of God. Concerning the former, it is known wel inough, that God is ever prone [Page 29] of himselfe, to do good unto those, that seeke the advancement of his glorie. And howsoever it be with others, that either are enimies, or but sorrie frinds to the Gospel; yet shal it surely go wel with those, that sin­cerely are bent to advance the same. How­soever it be with the residu of the children of Israel; yet the tribe of Iuda shal not be wrapped in the like confusion with others; but ever be more safely praeserved, and more comfortably governed, until the comming of Christ himselfe. In other places may we see the people groning under their bur­dens; al on heaps, and clean out of order; yea; and very often, their cities destroied, the people slain, the country laid wast, and the princes themselves utterly shaken out of their thrones. But (God be thanked) there is a better, and a more comforta­ble shew in this age of ours, among al those that professe the Gospel: while others are exceedingly troubled in the depth of the sea, these are in safe and quiet harbor. Let the kingdome of God, and the righte­ousnes therof be cheefly regarded; and al things else wil insu therupon, to the ful contentation of our harts desire.Then of the nature of our maner of go­vernment. In the na­ture of the government that is among us, we finde two principal things; that we are governed by one of our own nation; and that we are governed at home in our own [Page 30] country.For that we are governed by one of our own nation. For in that that one of our own nation is ever in soveraign authoritie a­mongst us, it is a special benefit to us in these two points: first that such are woont to govern, among their natural subjects, a great deal more mildly, and more favorably than either others would do, or themselves either in other places. Provinces or forrein parts of kingdomes, are ever kept more hardly under, than those that are in the in­ward parts therof, if the princes be of one, and the selfe same nation with the people themselves. For princes that are far distant from some parts of their kingdoms, are not wel able to hold those parts in ful subjecti­on, but only by rough and hard dealing. So commeth it to passe that they suffer none of themselves to be in any special authoritie among them; and besides that, restrain their liberties; drie them with exactions; and do (upon every smal occasion) very sore execu­tions on them. Of al which we had expe­rience, under the bishop of Rome his go­vernment heer. Then also wheras it is the maner of princes to impose paiments upon their subjects, as oft times it is needful to do, to the common use of them al; it is no hard matter with subjects; willingly to part with such paiments, so long as they go not out of the realm to the maintenance of for­rein power, but are imploied, to the honor, [Page 31] and defence, of themselves at home. Wher­as if our treasure were carried foorth, and then imploied against our selves (as heerto­fore very oft hath been seen) it were no mar­vel if the people were very loath to make those paiments; when as even now the re­membrance of such unreasonable exactions before, doth make the justest paiments that are somwhat irksome somtimes unto the people, on whom they are laid.For that we are governed at home in our own countrie. In that we are governed at home in our own countrie, that also is a singular benefit; wheras other­wise by appeales, and in divers other cases, many were fain to go unto Rome to follow their sutes. In which one thing there were two discommodities that are very great: one to the hinderance of justice; the other to the discommoditie of the parties besides. Iustice must needs be hindered therby, for that there could be (so far off) no sufficient knowledge of the matter in many cases; and very hard, safely to carrie the proceedings of the courts heer, or whatsoever other re­cords were needful besides. Again, needs must it be to a further discommoditie of the parties, both bicause it could not be, but both a dangerous, & a chargeable journey for themselves, and such as they should need to have with them; and very hurtful unto their own private affairs at home, by means of their so long absence abroad.

[Page 32] What is the inconveni­ence that they should have by our profession.6 The inconvenience that therby they should sustain, was (as I said) but very little; and surely it is so little indeed, that hardly it may be thought any at al. But whatsoever it is, it is meete, that it be set down, that so the judgment of the whole, may better pro­ceed. Whatsoever inconvenience therfore it is, that may come unto them therby, ei­ther it toucheth (as I do take it) the cause it selfe, or else their person. If it touch the cause, it is either appertaining to religion; or else unto their civile estate.No such va­riety of helps with us (as they have a­mong them­selves) in matters of religion. In religion, the truth is, that they shal not have in our pro­fession that varietie of wais, or helps, that otherwise they suppose that they have in their own. For with us they should have no help at al in the martyrdome, bloodshed­ding, or suffering of any saint, or of their own, to satisfie the justice of GOD for their sins; nor the good works that them­selves or others have wrought, for to merit the kingdome of God. For these things should they have with us, no help at al? But only the sufferings, and merits of Christ. If they think this same would be some dero­gation to the sufferings and merits of saints; and a great discouragement unto al sorts, either to suffer, or to do good works; what­soever I could say therunto, to shew that they need not so to gather, yet at this prae­sent [Page 33] I say no more but this; that whether this be any inconvenience, or not, such as it is, they should indeed light upon it, if they joined with us. So likewise in divers other matters that hang therupon, and are as ne­cessarie helps therunto, they would have some want both in heaven, and earth, of that which now they suppose with them­selves that they have. For in heaven they should have none at al, either to help them, but only God; or to be a mediator for them to God, but only Christ; and as for any be­twixt them and Christ, the truth is, that we should allow them none. In earth likewise needs must they leese a great part of their direction, and comfort. For with us they should have no other direction, either of the heathen, or of the fathers of the church, whether it were but one by himselfe, or mo togither; but only the written word of GOD, absolutely, or without limitation; and the wisdome or learning of al the rest, only so far as may be grounded on the written word. And whatsoever comfort they have in their sacraments (having at lest five mo than we) or else in any of their re­praesentations of comfortable things, wher­in they do very much exceed, both in their images, and many ceremonies besides; that (I say) must they be content to part withal, if they wil be of our profession; and ther­withal [Page 34] content themselves, with the two sa­craments only; with few of their ceremo­nies; and with none of their images at al. In such things as belong to their civile estate,What in­convenience they should have in their civile estate. the inconveniences that are, do either touch al generally; or else some one sort of them more than others. That which tou­cheth al generally, is (to my knowledge) no more but this, that so they might seem to be in danger, not to be governed wel, when as so they should not have any one on earth,No one head over al. to hold altogither in one. And indeed, if it be needful, to have al countries, king­doms, and nations to be holden togither in one, by some one man heer on earth, that should be soveraign over al others; then it cannot be denied, but that in our professi­on, that inconvenience needs must they have. That which toucheth some sorts of them more than others, is divers; some that goeth against their credit; and some that hindereth much of their profit.No such cre­dit to them­selves with the common sort. The credit of many of them would indeed be touched, for that they should not be able by our pro­fession, to win that credit with the common multitude, as they may be able by theirs; and that in two principal points. First, their vowing of single life, & excluding al others that would not, both from their preest­hood, and from divers functions besides of special credit. For by this they might both [Page 35] have greater opinion of holines with ma­ny; and be in better account of house-keeping besides, as not having, as no wife, so likewise no children, nor concubine nei­ther, wheron to bestow such things as they had. And it is very tru, that so doing, & that in such sort as many of them did use it, they might keep better houses a great deal, for bicause that that way they were oft times at much lesse charges, than those that are mar­ried can attain unto; both bicause that di­vers of them, neither had any children in­deed, nor kept any concubines, but did their indevor truly to observe their vow; the residu, that had either concubines at the least, or else both concubines and chil­dren too, yet were they not at such charges with them, as marriage requireth, neither yet would they for that by their more glori­ous house-keeping, they saw that they had a ready way, therby to stop many of those mouthes, that otherwwise for incontinencie would be open against them. The other is, that they were so diligent in outward cere­monies & observations: some of them ma­king a great shew of holines towards God; others, of some terrible streightnes of life. Both which do indeed breed a great aesti­mation among the common people, and are of such force, that somtimes they have made not only Iohn Baptist, but the Phari­sies [Page 36] also, to be of better account than Christ, bicause he used his libertie and free­dome in such cases; and lived (for such out­ward matters) more like to the common sort, than they. Concerning the profit that many of them have therby, it is very tru, it would decay; as namely with those that are either officers, or artificers that belong therunto; or but in prison (for their consci­ence sake as they cal it) upon the advantage. For indeed it cannot be denied, but that many of them do live therby; as massing-priests, confessors, friers, singing men, or­ganists, waxchandlers, image-makers, bel­founders, and such like; and a great num­ber of officers besides. Al which should be to seek (at least in respect of their former way of advantage) if that they should turn unto us. Their person I take to be touched only in this; that of many they should be taken for inconstant, and such as had light­ly turned from their former profession; and it should be laid to their charge by some, that if they were right now, then were they wrong before, and so consequently had de­ceived many that hoong upon them. Which indeed could not be avoided (would they never so fain) if any of them should turn unto us. And so we deny not, but that al these inconveniences, such as they are would hang upon such alteration of their professiō.

[Page 37]7 But bicause I said they were little,That those aforesaid in­conveniences are verie lit­tle, or none at al. No inconve­nience, to be excluded al other helps. or none at al, it shal be good now to run over them breefly again, and to see how it may appeer, that they need not to stand in fear of any of these. And first as touching those that do hang on religion it selfe, we take it to be no inconvenience at al, to be excluded al other helps: and nothing dowt, but that by the sufferings and merits of Christ, we shal find the justice of God fully satisfied, both to the avoiding of everlasting judgement, and to the obtaining of life aeternal.No disgrace to the honor of saints, to set them by in the work of our re­demption. Neither do we think that it can be found to be any dis­grace at al to the sufferings and merits of saints, to set them aside in the work of our redemption: when as notwhithstanding we do aesteem of them stil, both as notable or­naments in the church of Christ; and as woorthie examples for us to follow. So like­wise, that we stand in no account of help by any of them, when as we account of al suffi­ciencie in God alone, by Iesus Christ, we do not see, how there can be any want therby: & having therin a delicate feast, we cannot in any wise have any stomak, to the scraps and crusts of a beggers poke, be the man himselfe never so honest, or his poke & his scraps never so clean. And as for any other mediator betwixt God and us, we are sure inough, that we safely hold, that neither do we need any other: neither is there any o­ther [Page 38] in heaven or earth, in such sort qualifi­ed, as that he can be in any wise meet, to such a purpose; nor so minded, as that he would. As for any betwixt Christ and us, we think it great dishonor unto him, after that being verie God, he hath so far abased him­selfe as to be man for our sakes, and in that his manhood suffered for us such things as he hath: now to cal his goodnes towards us into any such dowt, as to conceive that it should be needful, or at the least that it were not amise, to have some mediator to him. And if it be not for any need or dowt of his goodnes; but onlie of reverence: that reve­rence (think we) is no reverence at al; but a faithlesse starting aside, proceeding from a conscience that being guiltie, nevertheles cannot repent, and therupon steppeth aside from the praesence of him whom it feareth. Their direction also that should wholie rest upon the written word alone, we take it to be so very sufficient towards that purpose for which we need it, that we need none o­ther besides: being alreadie by the autho­ritie of the word it selfe so plainly given to understand, that the scriptures onlie are suf­ficient to teach al truth, and to convince al error: to rebuke al vice, and to instruct in al godlines: that a Christian may be per­fected therby, and fully praepared to everie good work. The comfort that they have in [Page 39] those other helps that we have not,The comfort they have in those other helps, little or none. is in our judgement so very smal, that it wil be an ea­sie losse to go without it. The Apostle saith, that in those things that we have alreadie, we may soundly rejoice; and that our joy therin may be such, as that it can receive no increase by any other. And then in such plentie and fulnes of it, how may we finde, that so smal things as those may anie thing eeke? What comfort is it to match those five sacraments of theirs in such account, with the other two, that the Lord did so ex­presly ordain, to be in so common use with us? And when they have that aestimation given them, what new thing have we then by them that we had not before? Their su­perfluous ceremonies, and al their images may go togither, as never brought in at the first by the word of God, but long after by the foolish wisdome of man: the former of them (we think) a great deal more burde­nous, than commodious unto them; the other not only burdenous, but offensive too, to themselues, and others; an evident corruption of the truth; and a just provo­cation of the wrath of God. If in such cases the hart shal have any sound comfort, it must rise out of some woorthier fountains, than either the wisdome of flesh and blood; or else, better warranted repraesentations, than images are. Concerning their civile [Page 40] estate heer in this world;No great want that we have not one general head. first we cannot condescend to think, that there is any need at al, for to have any one to be a general, & universal head over al. The Apostle in divers several places, shewing how plentifully God had left his church furnished with divers functions, to keepe al in unitie of faith, and to bring to perfection the church of Christ, so to consummate his mystical bodie, ma­keth no mention of any such: which not­withstanding might in no wise have been omitted, if there had been any such ordei­ned of God. Besides that, we know it is im­possible. And then our opinion is, they shal have with us no want, to misse of that, which never men had, and is impossible on earth to be found.How far their credit and profit should be impaired. But as for those other things that follow (their credit, and profit, which before they had) therin I grant, that needs must they come to some want indeed. For if they abandon their forced chastitie, and use the lawful means of marriage; if they lay down their glorious ceremonies, and other observances of unprofitable hardnes; and whatsoever compendious practises be­fore they used, to bring in their commodi­tie unto them: there is no quaestion, but that among the common sort, they should leese a great part of that aestimation and profit, that now they have verie long enjoi­ed. But it is no great matter, what others [Page 41] think of us, so that with God, and good men we have that credit that is conveni­ent; and we ought not to count al that a losse, whatsoever we cannot get howsoever; nor much stik to misse of that, which before we have wrongfully had. As for mariage we know that the children of the world do so uncleanly behave themselves both in their whooredoms, and in marriage also, that it is no marvel if they cannot think that the use of marriage, and the administration of holie things, may go togither, so long as ha­ving some reverence of the one, they mea­sure the other, by their own most shamful abuse. But the ordinance of God is suffici­ent to stop the mouthes of al such, when they have said the woorst that they can. And as for house-keeping, if being married and having children for whom to provide, they be not able to bestow upon others so much as otherwise they might, that need to be no greefe unto them. Let every man do as he is able, and before God he shal be discharged. The stream that issueth by many branches, must needs be lesse in every one, than if al joined togither. So that we walk as we are called, it is inough; there can be no more required of any. As for outward worship­pings, and voluntarie streightnes in needles matters, it is no sound credit that they get unto any. God is worshipped in spirit and [Page 42] truth; and such only they are in whom he delighteth. Wherunto if outward ceremo­nies be added, such as are needful, then are they for the other, welcome withal: if other­wise they come, they are abhominable unto him, and never can his soul conceive any delight at al in them. Streightnes is good, & a profitable labor, so long as it is imploi­ed in those things, that are commanded; but if it be but our own devise, it is of no account with God. For in such sort it is that many do strive, and yet are not able to enter in. And then, what gain we, to be in glorie among men; and to be abandoned of God? Their gain comming in, so as it doth, they need not think any losse at al, to be without it. Iudas loved the monie wel that he had gotten; but when he perceived how he came by it, by betraieng his mai­ster, & consenting to shed innocent blood, he then could have no joy to keep it; and made no account of any losse, to throw it a­way. Their poore estate would yeeld unto them, a richer joy, and peace of minde, than al the treasures that by such means they were ever able to gather togither. Better a great deal, to feed on the coursest bread that we use; than on the finest manchet that is, after that once we finde it to be very ful of gravel. Last of al, though it were a shame for them to turn; yet were it none at al, but [Page 43] only with those, that are gracelesse people; and very dangerous in so weightie a matter as this, to hold on our way, after that once we finde we are wrong. And why should the mire that lieth in the streets, be so care­ful to be gilded over with gold? Why should wretched and sinful man be so desirous, ne­ver to let down his own aestimation? So God be glorified, let us not care, what be­cōmeth of us. When as al glorie belongeth to him, there is none at al belonging to us. As an ornament, that is for a noble perso­nage, wil not become a meaner person; so glorie likewise, that is only for God, can ne­ver become the children of men. But if needs they wil be in some aestimation, can they have greater, than by acknowledging their former wanderings, so much as nee­deth to the glorie of God, & to the helping up of others again, who by them were oc­casioned to stūble before? So, notwithstan­ding these inconveniences, which it seemeth they should fal into: yet the matter being better examined, it would soon appeer, that there is no such inconvenience in the mat­ter, as at the first might be feared to be. Ne­verthelesse whether they be inconveniences or not, that do I leave unto them to think of. Those they are, whatsoever they are; be they of what valu they can. Such as they are, let them be for me; I wish them no greater, [Page 44] neither do I labor to make them lesse, than in truth they are. And so consequently, if our profession be compared togither, this is the varietie that they do yeeld, and in these points resteth (whatsoever it is) al the ods that is betwixt us. Which being so, then it is no hard matter to judge, whether of them it is, wherin we may better settle our selves.

Of iustifica­tion by faith only, without works: no in­convenience at al to hold it.8 As for that one point, of having good works concurring in our justification (of which I thought good, for certain causes, more specially to treat by it selfe) it shal be good, a little more specially to consider, both what is the effect of the doctrine it selfe: and what is to be thought of that same place of Saint Iames, that seemeth to go so much against our opinion therin. Vnto the effect of the doctrine it selfe it doth apper­tain,The effect of the doctrine it selfe. first to consider what kind of works they must be, that may have any thing to do towards the justifieng of any: and then as touching the obteining of tru righteousnes to us, both where we may find it, & by what means it may be ours. The works therfore that may be available to justifie any in the sight of God, must needs be such as are in themselves a ful, perfect, and absolute righ­teousnes: for that otherwise they cannot stand in the justice of God. And absolute [Page 45] righteousnes can never be, but where every deed, word, and thought is very good; and that, in so high degree as is required: nor so neither, unles there be a continual tract of works, words, and thoughts, al our whole life without intermission. Other righteous­nes though we have never so good, yet if it lak any one jot of this, it wil not serve us to this purpose. For the law requireth, both that such things should be done with al the hart, with al the soul, & with al our strength: and that they never depart out of our harts, al the dais of our life. And that solemn diffi­nitive sentence of the law compriseth both verie breefly, when it saith, that Everie one is accused, that continueth not in al things that are written in the booke of the law, to do them. If now we would know where to find this absolute righteousnes, the truth is, that somtimes it seemeth that it might be found among men: and yet is no where to be found indeed to our use, but onlie in Christ. It may seem to be found among men, both for that the law requireth such things at our hands: and bicause that some there have been of special commendation for these matters. Howbeit, the law doth not require such things at our hands, as though that now we were able to do them: but to shew that once we were able, and therwithal, how far we are fallen from our [Page 46] first integritie; and that God, that once made us able, may justly require at our hands the performance therof. And as for the best men that ever were, there is no quae­stion but al were sinners, and that very of­ten they daily offended. Besides al which, their good deeds also (but few to speak of) were so imperfect, for want of tru sinceritie and zeal (which never are found since the fal of Adam, in any of the children of men) that if God should deal in his justice only, and not in the depth of his mercie withal, not one of those works could ever be ac­cepted of him. Hence is it, that the children of God acknowledge their uncleannes in al their wais, not only in such things as com­monly go under the name of sin; but in al their holines, and righteousnes besides: too high a point, for the children of the world to attain unto. In Christ we finde most ab­solute righteousnes perfectly wrought, in­somuch that there was never found any il in him, either proceeding foorth by his deeds, or words; or at any time lurking in his secret thoughts; and whatsoever he did or said, was ever most godly; wherunto the inward disposition of his hart, and al his thoughts did ever accord. And so must it needs be, for that he was both God and man. For so commeth it to passe, that the infinit excellencies of his Godhead, could [Page 47] not have sufficient issu in his manhood to shew foorth themselves to the ful; but after they had thoroughly filled al his manhood with al perfection, and al the organs, and powers therof, needs must there be immea­surable abundance left besides; al which doth witnes, his manhood first to be tho­roughly filled. So not only it might be, but also of necessitie it must be, and can be no other, but that he loved God with al his hart, with al his soul, & with al his strength; and his neighbor as himselfe; that al his deeds, words, and thoughts, were ever good, and the same in most absolute maner, to the uttermost pitch, that the capacitie of man­hood was able to bear. How to procure righteousnes to our selves, to make it ours, is now to be seen. Where first if we come to that righteousnes that is of man, either of our selves, or others, we shal never be able to do any good. For first as touching our selves, wheras we are not able to fulfil the law, there is not in us any righteousnes at al to be had. If we could fulfil the whole law, (never offending in deed, word, nor thought; but ever having al our deeds, words and thoughts, fully answering to that holines, and righteousnes that God requi­reth) then might we stand in the favor of God, by our own good works, without any help at al by Christ; and that by the vertu [Page 48] of the former covenant, commonly called the old Testament. But if we misse any point of this, though we do our best indevor, yet are we nothing holpen therby in this mat­ter; bicause that God hath not covenanted to accept us as righteous, for doing our indevor therin; but only, by fulfilling the whole law in every point, to the uttermost jot. Neither can he in his justice accept of any other righteousnes, but that which is perfect; no more than the law wil adjudge any sum a just paiment, be it never so much, though infinit thousands, so long as there wanteth any one penie of that which is co­venant. Then, if we seek unto others, those that now are saints in heaven, to have the help of their righteousnes, to make us righ­teous, neither have they any such as the law requireth, but are for that matter as short as we; neither did God at any time make a­ny such covenant with any of us, that their righteousnes should stand us in any such steed. Now therfore to come unto Christ, in him only is that righteousnes to be had, that can serve our turn; and we have it in him, by none other means but only by faith. For wheras God hath made his other cove­nant in him (which he calleth the new, and the last, bicause he never meaneth to make any mo besides) that wheras we cannot be justified before him, by any righteousnes [Page 49] of our own, unlesse we were able to fulfil the law, and he therfore hath taken this or­der, that his Son should do it for us, to the end that al that take hold therof, or rest up­on him, should have his holines and righte­ousnes theirs; hence commeth it, both that such as rest in him, by the vertu of his latter covenant have his righteousnes theirs; and that they are not other wais justified, but only by taking hold on him by faith. For neither hath God made this righteousnes of Christ so common to al, that unbeleevers may have the benefit of it as wel as the faithful; neither hath he by this latter co­venant declared himselfe to be of purpose to justifie us, by the good works or merits of any, but only of Christ. In other things (without al quaestion) there is a special use, of our own good works, & of the good ex­amples that the blessed saints have given us; but in this our justification with God, there is no use of them at al.How the place of S. Iames may be answered. Now therfore con­cerning the place of Saint Iames, that see­meth to attribute our justification partly to our own works, and not only to faith in Christ, it is evident, that he doth not treat of this our first justification; but only ex­horteth to holines of life; and so conse­quently, whatsoever he saith there, it is not to be heerunto applied. Wheras therfore the apostle Saint Paul, concludeth his dispu­tation [Page 50] of that matter, that We are iustified by faith, without the deeds of the law. And Saint Iames in like maner concludeth his, that Of works a man is iustified, and not of faith only. Al­though it may seem, at the first sight, that these two are directly contrarie one to the other, yet the circumstances of the places, and the intent and meaning of either of the Apostles, being considered, it is found very plainly, that they are not contrarie, but on­ly divers; that is, one of them doth not de­nie that which is affirmed by the other, both speaking of one thing; but having two se­veral or divers matters in hand, ech of them holdeth on his own several way. For Saint Paul is in hand with a point of doctrine, to shew wherin our first justification consisteth before God; and Saint Iames is in hand with a point of exhortation to godlines of life, and to that end sheweth that our faith is but vain, unlesse that it be (in some good measure) fruitful by works. Wheras ther­fore although they both speak of faith and justification, yet the one doth not mean ei­ther that faith, or that justification that the other meaneth; hence may it sufficiently appeer, without any further discourse of the matter, that the one of them is not against the other. If Saint Iames had been of purpose to have shewed, how we are justi­fied before God, he would have shewed no [Page 51] other way, but only by faith in Christ Iesus: as in the chapter before he ascribeth the estate that we have in Christ not unto works, but to the free mercie of God. So on the other side, if Saint Paul had purposed to exhort to newnes of life, he would there have told us, as else-where he did, that though we had al faith, and had not love, yet al were nothing. So for the doctrine of justification likewise, I trust there is no such absurditie held by us, that any may have any just cause to fear to join with us therin.

9 Those things that hinder,Of such things as hinder. are some of them of lesse importance, and lightly hin­der not, but those that are of the weaker sort: and one other there is of more speci­al force with them, that I take to be the greatest stay that hindereth those, that take it to be a matter of conscience indeed. Those lesser hinderances likewise are divers. For some respect their persons especially: and one other there is, that somwhat respe­cteth the cause likewise. Those that do most properly respect their persons, are especially two: one that proceedeth from regard of their credit, which was somwhat touched before, as one of the inconveniences that heerby they should have; the other that con­cerneth certain hardnes that by bodily pu­nishment they suppose themselves to be put [Page 52] unto,Discredit, especially to those that have other­wise pro­fessed. untouched as yet. And the discredit that they dowt would fal upon them, is partly with al generally: but especially with those with whom they have so long held to­gither. For with al generally it is like to be some disgrace unto them, for that they have al so professed; and some of them besides have accordingly taught: but yet no such, as of right may hold them stil in the course that now they are in. For as touching their profession, it is very incident to the nature of man to be deceived, especially in the truth of religion. Howsoever we have a rea­sonable good sight in other things: yet in this, the best of us al are far to seeke, for any thing that we have in our selves to help us withal. Neither are we only to seeke heerin; but also prone to conceive best liking of that which is wrong. But besides their own natural weaknes and inclination, they may wel remember, that the former dais were such, and their own proper education with­al, that whosoever is of any reasonable con­sideration, wil easily pardon (for the former time) such wanderings unto them. For both those things are verie forcible to lead us away with them, whersoever there is not the special grace of Gods holie spirit, both for to teach us a better course, and to lead us therin. So with men, who are al of the selfe­same mould, and have al had our parts of [Page 53] that other infection besides, it is a very par­donable matter, in religion to have held that course that they did: pardonable I say in respect of our own natural impotencie, and inclination; and of those dais of igno­rance that were before, togither with our education then, framed according to that praesent time. But if we come to these dais of ours, then is the case altered much. For now it hath pleased the goodnes of God, both to give them a more plentiful know­ledge of his wil and pleasure; and to offer unto them a readier direction by his holie spirit: that so they may both see, and walk the way to his kingdome, so much the bet­ter. Which diversitie of times and graces considered, they may easily resolve them­selves, that it is no discredit unto them, to alter the course of their former ignorance, when as now, their eies being opened, they have found a better. In the night it is no shame at al, to go awry: in the day time it is a fowl and stark shame indeed, to hold on that course, and not to break it off with speed. Concerning those,Discredit to those that have other­wise taught. that besides their own profession, have also taught the same unto others, it cannot be denied, but that they have done so much the more hurt: and that their auditorie and disciples be­fore, may charge them with great alteration now, if so they should alter their former [Page 54] course. Nevertheles, neither were their for­mer doings to be denied their reasonable excuse, with al those that are indifferent: neither can they now continu on their course, but that needs they must therwithal impeach their credit, much more than if they had altered, with al that have attained unto the knowledge of the truth. For their former labors are the rather to be born withal, for that being then persuaded that they were right, it was their parts indeed to commend unto others, that which them­selves did think to be needful. But that now it is rather for their credit, to alter their course (besides that other before recited, which they have common with the rest) hence also may they gather, for that finding now, that they have done much hurt be­fore, it standeth them upon for to amend the same so soone as they can. The wound they have made, it were meet that them­selves should heal again. Which if they should forsake to do, howsoever it would stand with their credit, or not, it were verie like for to procure them an heavie judge­ment in the end. For the errors that they should so leave uncorrected, could not but infect manie others; and likely inough so to grow on to the end of the world: by which time, it is not to say what heaps of iniquitie might come therby. For al which they must [Page 55] needs stand chargeable, before the judge­ment seat of God, unlesse while they live heer among us, they seek to amend al their errors delivered before. In which respect Augustine hath left them in his own exam­ple, a point of great wisdome, diligently re­tracting, or calling bak again, whatsoever points of doctrine he found, that he had unadvisedly delivered before; and yet not­withstanding, as it seemeth, and himselfe in the praeface confesseth, thought no shame with it at al; as indeed it was a very good testimonie of his inward sinceritie; and so consequently, as much to his tru and just commendation, as any thing else that ever he did. If it be said that in him there was some further cause, for to retract much of that which he wrote before, both bicause he wrote very yoong; and before he was bap­tised in the faith of Christ: tru it is indeed that so he wrote; but not so with al, as lea­veth to them any such advantage. For the quaestion is not, whether Saint Augustine or they had more need to retract some of their opinions; but whether it be meete that those should do it, that have taught unto others that, which now they finde to be wrong. And thogh it were, yet I dowt much, whether upon sufficient advisement any of them would so far urge the ods betwixt them (either his youth to their yeers; or his [Page 56] imperfection before his baptism, to their ripenes now) but that they would with good wil acknowledge, rather that it were their parts, if they have taught any erroni­ous points of doctrine, with him to retract them, than to make any such allegation, that they need not do it so much as he. Those with whom they have held hands so long togither,Discredit with some more spe­cially. are either the bishop of Rome, or his frinds abroad, for their advan­tage; or else of their own countrimen at home, that are grown to so great misliking of the praesent state. If it be the bishop and his adhaerents, it is but for their own advan­tage, that they conceive that opinion of them, so to make up their losses again by the help of them, when opportunitie should serve them unto it. And the more that their aestimation savoreth of it, the more quietly may they be able to beare the losse therof. If they be of our discontented countrimen at home, the losse also is so much the lesse, for that none such wil not mislike of them, but so far as themselves are infected with the inchanted cup of forrain power; and then, the more they are infected therwith, the lesse woorth is the best aestimation they are able to give. Again, whatsoever aestima­tion is lost, either with forrain power a­broad, or with hollow harts at home; the same wil be much more requited with the [Page 57] gratious favor of their natural princes; and with the tru hart of faithful subjects; and that so much the more in abundance of re­compense, as it is of greater price or valu, to be wel thought on by natural princes, and faithful subjects, than of forren usur­pers, and close aides whersoever.

10 The hardnes that they account them­selves to be put unto,The hard dealing that they suppose is used a­gainst them. to the utter aliening of their minds from us and our profession, resteth especially in these two points: first, that divers of them are streightly handled; then, that certain points of their religion (as they term it) are now made treason. They accoūt themselves to be streightly handled, both in the fining of recusants; and that certain of that profession are put to death. Concerning both which they would not denie, but that the punishment were mode­rate inough, both in the one, & in the other, if either they could finde that they were so heinous offenders, as we do conceive, and charge them to be: or else but remem­ber, what dealings themselves have used to us, and yet do upon lesse occasion.What it is that is used towards them. As tou­ching the former they wil not denie, but that princes have authoritie by the word of God, both to fine, and to put to death, as need requireth. They know that such as worship any strange God, or but intise [Page 58] others therto; or stubbornly despise the word of God, are by the sentence of Gods own mouth, accounted woorthie to die the death; and though it may be, themselves do not see, that, by aequitie therof, they are in the danger of his justice for those; yet we are out of dowt that they are, and, but that we do alreadie know, that the blindnes of man is very great, we could not but woonder that they do not see it. Neverthe­les, such is the mildnes of hir majestie; and such is the peaceablenes of these dais of the Gospel; & so cold are we (the most of us al) on behalfe of the glorie God, that none are executed for any of those; though the selfe­same laws that they used against us, be for­cible against them; and, if need were, might soone be inlarged. So notwithstanding that which is done of that kinde, we think there might be done much more than there is; and yet, that no bodie had any just cause to finde fault therwith. That certain points of their religion are now made treason, that so they cannot suffer as in cause of reli­gion, but of high treason, it ought not to be so greevous unto them, if they consider wel, either the very nature of those points that are made treason; or but the maner of our proceeding therin. For some points of their profession are of the nature, as that they are rank treason indeed, to al the states [Page 59] that are in the world; & that have they pro­per unto themselves, of al the religions that are professed on the face of the earth. And this treason of theirs that we speak of, resteth especially in these two points; that the bishop of Rome hath power to depose the princes and potentates of the earth, and to place in their roomes whomsoever he wil; and that subjects ought not to re­main in alleageance to any whom he depo­seth, but to put on armor against them. Which we take to be as rank a treason, as wicked an haeresie, and as open a way to al confusion, as any that ever was heard of before. Neither doth it help them any thing, if he were indeed as they would have it, the vicar general of Christ on the earth: for that therby he might do no more (kee­ping within the bounds of his master) but only lay their sin to their charge, & utterly exclude them from hope of salvation: prin­ces if they governed il; and subjects like­wise, if they went with their princes against their obedience and dutie to God. But as for deposing the one, or loosing the other from their alleageance, in those points we are sure, that they are not only misliked of us, but of many others besides, that other wais are wel willers of theirs. In the maner of proceeding that in this point is used a­gainst them, there are two points likewise [Page 60] to be noted. For first as touching the law it selfe, it is in effect but certain ancient sta­tutes that were made long since, revived a­gain; and not sought unto, til that by many naughtie practises, and some rebellions, open forces, and slaughters contrived, we were of necessitie rather constrained, than easilie induced, to take that order; and that for the praeservation of the whole, both in religion, and civile tranquillitie. Then also it is very wel known, that although they have been never so faultie therin, and so have justly deserved to die: yet if they can be sor­rie for their practising, and utterly renounce and abandon the same, they stand not in such danger of death by their former deme­rits, as in the hope and way of life, by their new repentance, if it appeer to be unfeined, as wel as their guiltines sufficiently prooved. The dealings that they use towards us,What it is that they u­sed towards us. is first the rigor that they put us unto, when time did serve them (and yet do, where they are able) in that they raised up persecution a­gainst us in the cause of religion: then also their disloial and unnatural practises now, to recover their former usurpation again. In that persecution of theirs against us, we think they then delt, and yet do, over-hard­ly with us, for that the cause being no grea­ter than it was, yet notwithstanding their punishment was exceeding greevous. The [Page 61] cause we think was not so great, for that cō ­monly they persecuted us for nothing else, but either for some tradition of their own: or else for some thing that went against the earthly estate of the church of Rome, either in the commoditie that they supposed to be du unto it; or in the superioritie that they had obtained. Howbeit, neither of these (being better cōsidered) wil be as we take it warrant inough for thē to touch us so neer as they did. Their punishment was very ex­treme, both in that they did to our persons, by imprisonment, torments, & cruel death: and in that they made the cause haeresie, and so overwhelmed us with the greatest re­proch that could be devised. Wheras not­withstanding, neither the traditions that the church appointeth, and wherof there may somtimes be had a verie good use; nor the profit or superioritie of their prelacie, are of that importance, that they may make them matter of death, nor haeretiks those that speak against them. When they saw it come to that point, even common charitie (me think) should have obtained thus much of them, that neither they would have urged their own traditions so far, nor stood so stiff to their profit or honor, but that the life of those their brethren might have obtained some mitigation: especially, when as the substance of christianitie may stand with­out [Page 62] them, as in ancient time it is known to have done, for manie hundred yeers togi­ther. The practises that they use against us now, are so wel known unto al, and so gree­vous (I think) to the greater and better part of themselves to hear of, that forsomuch as we do not use to greeve those whom we would persuade, it is not needful heer to dis­play them: although we take them so far to exceed in that kind, as that lightly they can­not be over-matched, with any such like of the former ages. But it shal be sufficient for them to consider but this one point only, whether those practises of theirs be not so contrarie to the civile state, as that they can­not stand togither; but that the establishing of the one, must needs be the overthrow of the other. If it be so (which I think they wil quikly finde) then may themselves also be able to gather, that such execution as now is done on certain of them, is not onlie just, but needful also; and such as in no wise might be omitted, til themselves do grow to better advisement.That our translations seem so cor­rupt unto them, as that they cannot think that we have the word of God among us.

11 That other hinderance of the lesser sort, that doth somwhat respect the cause in variance betwixt us, is for that they wil seem to suppose (though indeed it other­wise seemeth, that manie of them are not so persuaded: for which cause I have put this, [Page 63] but among their lesser hinderances) that, how much soever we praetend to have the word of God to direct us in al our doings, yet, by the means of wrong translations, we have it nothing at al indeed: and therfore that it may stand with great probabilitie, that so much as we swerve from our adver­saries in those our doings, so much also should it seem that we swerve from the word of God it self. And this heertofore they have but seldom, and more faintly alledged: but now of late, they have avouched it with greater confidence, upon the hope of suffi­cient ground that they have conceived, by those quarreling labors of master Martin, and certain others of the Seminarie at Remes about the translation of the new te­stament that they have put foorth in the English toong. Wherin, how injurious they are unto us, and how far they have overslip­ped themselves, although it do alreadie suffi­ciently appeer, both in the weaknes of their own doings; and in the labors of others therin (as also we trust, that so it wil yet fur­ther appeer, every day more than other:) yet to help forward the weaker (and those that are not able to judge of the toongs) by an easier way, I would wish them to be som­what better advised, what is the advantage they seem to have gotten therby, if the case so stood that we had been overseen in our [Page 64] translations, in al those things that they lay to our charge; and that they had therin at­tained unto the truer sense of the text. For though so it were, yet notwithstanding if we come to the matter, that is, to consider how weightie those points of religion are, that they would seem to have gained therby, although at the first they carrie with them a glorious shew: yet in truth their advan­tage would so also fal out to be very smal, both in respect of those places themselves, and in respect of al the residu that they leave unto us untouched by them. For if in those very places wherin they think they have special advantage against our translations, in the substance of the matter, notwithstan­ding they gain little therby; then howsoe­ver our translators have overslipped them­selves; yet do our adversaries get therby no sound advantage, in respect of the cause that they do defend. So likewise if those places wherin they finde fault with us, be very few in respect of the rest that they leave untou­ched, then do they both justifie our fidelitie in translating of them: and not only make themselves and their doctrines liable unto the trial of them; but also bar themselves for ever to lay to our charge, in so absolute maner as they do, that we have not the scrip­tures among us. For unlesse they can shew, that such as we have in such sort translated, [Page 65] as that themselves do finde no fault ther­with, do not contain the effect and sub­stance of the Christian faith (which as yet I think, not one of them al did ever alledge, or lean unto for his warrant therin) it is not for them to lay to our charge (though in al those points we had been deceived) that we have not the word of God among us, so far as it is needful, for our ful instruction in the faith and doctrine of Christ. Therfore to let passe whether we have rightly transla­ted or not, let us a little enter into the con­sideration of the matter it selfe, and see what advantage themselves may hope to have gotten therby. Which course if we take,What it is, that they lay to our charge therin. then do we finde that in their discoverie they do charge us two principal wais: first, with divers things more specially by name, in the first twentie chapters; then with a pak of others togither (as matters belike of lesse importance) in two of the last. We are charged by name, first of al with our inward meaning that of purpose we translate the holie scriptures falsely, in favor of the haere­sies, that they suppose us to hold, in the first chapter: then with our open and plain dea­lings, correspondent (as they say) to so il a meaning, in al the rest, unto the end of the twentith chapter. And hitherto the me­thod is good, and the order plain: and ther­fore have I set these things down, as they [Page 66] stand there. In that which followeth, it seemeth that it was not the authors pur­pose to digest them into a method, but on­ly to make recital of them, as they came to hand. Nevertheles, that to us both it may appeer more plainly; what they, or we have gained, or lost by our translations, in the pith or substance of religion; it shal be good for both parts, to lay them foorth in some plain & easie method. Those doings of ours therfore that they charge us withal, do almost al concern our translations: but in some points they charge us, for to force the text is selfe. In our translations they finde some faults that concern the words alone: and some that concern the matter too. That which concerneth words only, is, that we turn the ecclesiastical use of them, into their original, but yet prophane significati­on. Vnto which the fourth chapter wholy, and a good part of the sixt, are allotted. As that we cal schism, division; heresie, sect; catholik, general; preest, elder; preesthood, eldership; idols, images; church, congrega­tion; sacrament (in some places) secret; bi­shop, overseer; baptism, washing; and some others. That which concerneth the matter rather, is, that so we translate, as tendeth cheefly to the overthrow or discredit of di­vers points of their profession: and partly to the maintenance of some of our own. [Page 67] Those points of their profession, that we, as they say, go about to overthrow, do most of al concern matters of doctrine; but some of them tend to the direction of some part of our life heer. Those that concern mat­ters of doctrine, are of two sorts. For in some they may seem to seek the advance­ment of religion only: in others, to advance the power, and excellencie that is in man. Those that concern the meer advancement of religion only, partly concern Christ him­selfe: and partly, a few other holie things. Those that concern Christ himselfe, are a­bout his descending into hel, and are but two: one, that we seem to impugn that article of the common Creede; the other, that we seem to disallow of one special work that they suppose was done therby, that is, the bringing out of the fathers, which were as they think, in Limbo patrum, which we by our translations seem to discredit, both which are handled in the seventh chapter. Those holie things that I speak of are part­ly sacraments indeed; and partly certain other ordinances, which they would have to be of that account. In those that are sa­craments indeed, they cheefly mislike in the one, that we partly take it clean away; and partly deprive it of the efficacie therof, ma­king it woorse, or no better than those of the old law: in the other, that we take away the [Page 68] blessing, and do not acknowledge the real praesence that they imagin. Wherof the former of these is in the fourteenth, the o­ther in the seventeenth chapters. In those other holy ordinances, which are, poenance, confession, orders, and matrimonie, the fault that they finde with us, is cheefly this, that in our translations, we do not allow them the name and dignitie of sacraments; and in some points varie from them, even in the very nature of them: as appeereth in the 13.14.15. and 16. chapters. Those that tend to the advancement of the power and excellencie, that is in man, further than we can think convenient to go with them, partly concern the righteousnes of man ge­nerally; and partly some things that are more proper to the church alone. Vnto the righteousnes of man generally it doth ap­pertain, that first, as touching man, they hold, both that in him there is freedome of wil, as in the tenth chapter; and that he is able, both to merit favor, as in the ninth; and to satisfie for sins, as in the thirteenth chapter: then, as touching God, that it is seemly for his justice likewise, to reward those works of man for the woorthines of them, as appeereth in the eight chapter. Those that concern the church, do partly concern the whole togither: and partly one special function in the same. Those [Page 69] that concern the whole togither are but two: one, that by other words we so open the name of the church, that therby we seem to go against it, chapter the fift: the other that we allow not of that authoritie, that they do think it should have in ordei­ning, or giving credit to certain traditions, as delivered from the Apostles, as in the se­cond chapter. Those that concern that one special function, do concern the office it selfe; and a certain power therunto belon­ging. The office it selfe would they have to be a mightie preesthood in al respects, as in the sixt chapter. And therfore are they urgent to have, both the terms accordingly given, as the name of preest, to the person, chapter the sixt; and of sacrifice to the deed, chapter the seventeenth: and to have altars left them wheron to offer, as in the seventeenth chapter likewise. That one kinde of power to this office belonging, is to help out of purgatorie, which we seem over much to discredit, when as those places wheron they build, we so translate, as though they ment no such thing: which matter is handled in the seventh chapter. Those that tend to the direction of some part of our life heer, are but two: one con­cerning worshipping: the other concerning marriage. Concerning worshipping, they contend but for the parties, whom they [Page 70] would have worshipped: and for the maner of worship that they would have given unto them. The parties are, first the saints; and a­mōg them especially the blessed virgin, then also images: wherof, this is handled in the third chapter, that other in the eighteenth. The maner of worship, which they would have given unto these, they apportion forth by distinguishing betwixt two kinds of wor­ship, wherof the one they cal Dulia, the other Latria, both set down in the nine­teenth chapter. Concerning mariage, it is no more, but that they allow, neither preests, nor other votaries, to marrie: and mislike of our translations, for that they leave it free unto them, as appeereth in the fif­teenth chapter. For the maintenance of our own opinions, that which they do lay to our charge, is but very little, and resteth only in these two points: first, that we labor to establish putative justice (as they term it) against the tru inhaerent justice, as they ima­gin, chapter eleven; then, that in like sort we seek to establish (as it pleaseth them to term it) special faith, vain securitie, and on­ly faith, chapter twelfe. Concerning the text it selfe, they charge us with adding therunto in some few places, as may be seen in the twentith chapter. Those others that in the titles are wrapt up togither with­out naming of any one of thē, are these: first [Page 71] certain other trecheries as they term them, both haeretical, and worth the observation, chapter the one & twentith; then also cer­tain other faults that are, as they say, Iudai­cal, prophane, meer vanities, follies, and novelties, chapter two and twentith. But these two latter charges are not of any such importance, but that if we could agree in the other, I think we should not long have any great disagreement in these.

12 So are these the principal faults,How little cause they have, to find such fault with our translati­ons. as touching the matter, that our translations are charged withal, according as the princi­pal author himselfe in his discoverie hath gathered them. Wherin although it must needs be, that divers particular points are in the booke it selfe, that cannot wel be spe­cified in so breefe a collection of the whole: yet, both these are inough to condemn whatsoever translations are so false as these praetend; and, if these wil not serve, those other by-matters that are left behind, are much more unable, and never need to come to the muster. And therfore I thought it best, to rip no further into the particulars, leaving that course to the answerers onlie: but rather to make the whole trial (that I do mean) by those very points, that them­selves have thought woorthie the place of best account for this matter. And first I must [Page 72] needs protest thus much, that how greevous soever the things are, that they lay to our charge in these our labors: yet for my part, I can now more quietly bear it (and think that others do so besides) for that them­selves begin to translate (howsoever) the scriptures likewise. For though they have not done it, without their affections, but so favorably as they could on their own be­halfe; and with such limitation besides, as laboreth to chase men away over-much from the reading of it; and lastly, not with­out great bitternes against our translations, and us, and against the truth it selfe: yet, notwithstanding al this, and whatsoever else might be laid therunto, now that them­selves do also translate, let them find fault so much as they wil. We shal better find out the matter betwixt us: and their own do­ings, for the most of ours, shal witnes with us. Hitherto it was thought by divers, that we might have been charged with great matters indeed: now they begin themselves to espie, that there is little else against us, but quarrel of words. Now as touching the things they lay to our charge, and first as touching our purpose, or inward meaning, in translating so as we have translated, it is good for every one to judge the best in al such causes: and not to be over-hastie, in so secret matters to give foorth our judgment, [Page 73] when as none other, but God alone, can thoroughly know the bottom therof. As for us, notwithstanding that we are undowted­ly persuaded, that in these matters, those our adversaries are very wrong: yet do we make no dowt at al, but that divers of them mean very wel, and do not wilfully go about to suppresse, or yet to resist the open truth. The same persuasion if it may please them to conceive of us, we think that they may safe­ly do it: and that it is not to be thought any more, than both the truth, and charitie too, do justly require. It were meet that dis­pleasure were on al parts laid aside: for the wrath of man can never accomplish that which is right. Concerning the matter, two things there are that I wish to be considered of them: whether those points for whose sakes they account our translations so faul­tie, be not as yet in controversie betwixt us; and, whether these points are of such im­portance, as that if we should be faultie therin, they might then account the residu of the scriptures by us translated, to be no part of the word of God. That they are in controversie betwixt us, it is so evident, that I need not busie my selfe to declare it: saving onlie that one point, of Christs descending into hel. For as touching it, there is no quae­stion at al betwixt us, whether he did de­scend or not, so far as is sufficient for to deli­ver [Page 74] us thence: but onlie as touching that maner of his descending, which they have set down, without sufficient warrant of the word of God (as we do take it) not refusing the trial therof by any sound translation whatsoever. As for the rest, there is no quae­stion, but that as yet they are in quaestion be­twixt us: and that we are in conscience per­suaded, that our selves have gotten the surer side, both in the points that are in contro­versie; and in the truth of the text it selfe. If it be so, then must they needs first know thus much, that they leave the way as open to us, to lay to their charge, that in dissen­ting from us in their translations, they do it to maintain their own opinions: as it is un­to them, so to aesteem and judge of us. Du­ring which time of controversie betwixt us, if needs they wil so resolutely over-rule the case to their advantage, though to some of their own fellows they may seem to have done stoutly, and wel: yet so manie as are indifferent, would rather like, that first they would obtain the principal matters, afore that ever they invade as their own, those other advantages that hang therupon. Then also, themselves wil not denie, but that it is the dutie of everie one, to take so good heed as they can that they give no offence; neither to the Iew, nor to the Gentile, nor especially to the church of God: and, if it [Page 75] be the duty of al, then is it the duty of tran­slators also; especially those, that have to translate the word of God. For the more needful that any thing is to the use of man, the more must it be of al frequented: and the more that it is frequented of al, the more hurt doth come, if there be any danger. Fire and water, are so needful, that we cannot be without them: and therfore there commeth much hurt therby, when they are not warily handled. The word of life is much more needful: unto the fountain of living waters, al the children of God daily resort, to draw to their use as need requireth. If therfore there should be any danger therin, either in the thing it selfe, by other corruption min­gled withal; or for that there is not suffici­ent provision made about it, for those that should resort therunto: it cannot be avoi­ded, but that much hurt must come therby. So our translators are not to be blamed, if having their choice, they forbeare those words, out of which the deceived may suk the maintenance of their wrong opinions: and use such others, as cannot so easily be mistaken by any. Sure we are of this, that the holie Ghost useth no such speech, as may justly give offence unto any: and that none can interpret the holie scriptures a­right, but by the selfesame spirit, by which they were written at the first. Which spirit, [Page 76] whosoever followeth, he can never find in his hart, wittingly to lend foorth his pen, to that which may tend to advance any error or il: and if he could, yet should he find no help in the text (being rightly taken) to bear him out. Insomuch, that so long as these controversies are undecided, or at least, until they shal find more substantial grounds to establish their conceived opini­ons, than to our knowledge they have any as yet, we cannot but think, that whatsoever want of supportation there is to those opi­nions, the same is rather in the text it selfe, than in our translations. Concerning the other, that is, the validitie of those points of religion, or whether they be of that force, or necessitie rather, that for their sakes so hard a censure may proceed against us, that we have not among us the tru word of God: I would wish them to consider withal, that holding so much, as themselves do know, and wil grant that we do, it wil be verie hard to devise, how the same might be brought to passe, unles both we had the word among us, and highly did aesteem of the same. Them selves I trust think no otherwise of us, but that we are persuaded, that we fully hold togither with them, whatsoever is catholik: if it be so, the matter is not so verie great, if we varie somwhat in these. Though a man want an arm, or a leg; yet notwithstanding [Page 77] he may be a man. Let everie one take heed to his head: if it be wanting, the rest is no­thing, though there want not a joint be­sides. And could but some of them be (yet at the last) as indifferent, as manie of them have long been greevous against us; could they now be so readie to take in good part what we have done wel, as long as they have been to take to the woorst, whatsoever left them any such advantage: I cannot see, how it should come to passe, but that laieng that greater part, which themselves acknow­ledge we have translated wel, unto that lesse wherin they suppose we have done il, they might see our wel doing so far to exceed that which is il, that they need not think it so great a matter (the truth of the text suf­ficiently saved) more quietly to put up at our hands the one for the other: especially when they themselves come in to translate so late as they do; and have the benefit of our former labors. For such (of al others) it doth not become to come in so late with such controlling, that should have been with the formost at the work themselves, to have seen to the orderly proceeding of it. The stronger cause we think should have follow­ing the greater effect. And so, notwithstan­standing al the corruptions, that divers of them lay to our charge, not after a niggish, but in liberal maner: yet nevertheles, so ma­nie [Page 78] as shal more advisedly consider the force of that charge, shal not (we think) finde any great cause to stand in dowt the rather for it, whether we have the truth of Gods word among us, or not.

That these are not so cleer on their parts, that for their sakes only we are to be denied to have the word among us.13 As for any more special treatise of these matters, as it belongeth not to the course that I have taken: so is it likewise, both a needles thing in it selfe, being so of­ten, and so thoroughly done alreadie by many others; and such as is rather to be left to those that are to deal in the work it selfe, than to be by a scanter handling in­cumbred by me. Nevertheles, if it please them, with any indifferencie to consider of them, what great cause have they, either to mislike so much as they do, of that which we do hold therin; or so inexorably to urge their opinions to us? A man would think, that there were some passing ods: else, that they would never be so earnest in it.Lymbus pa­trum. That which they hold of Lymbus patrum, is it so consonant to the word of God, or else but so constant in it selfe, that they may look to draw al men with them, to be of the same opinion therin? Was it ever yet taken to be so perilous a point of doctrine, for a Christian man so to build upon the satis­faction that Christ made on the crosse to the justice of God, that he might in no wise [Page 79] account it to be in force for those that died in the faith before, as wel as for those that after succeeded: especially when as we are plainly taught, that he was yesterday, and today, and the same for ever; that he is the lamb slain from the beginning of the world; that there is no condemnation to any of those that are in Christ; that God is not a God of the dead, but of the living; that by the sufferings of Iesus Christ the fathers also of old were releeved, and by his stripes, made whole; and many others such like as these? The sun being gotten to the height of the heavens, or shrunk downward to­wards the midst of the afternoone, or got­ten almost to the very setting, doth it not yet notwithstanding give a cleer light unto the east, and to al other coasts of the world besides? And shal not the death and suffe­ring of Christ, though it were long after the world began, be available likewise to those that are gone before, that lived and died in the faith of Christ? An attonement we know there was before, for that God dealt oft times so favorably with man: and the same was grounded only in Christ. And what reason can there be given, why they make it to stand with the justice of God, that before the time of that satisfaction ac­tually made, he should have any favor to­wards them heer in this life, as wel as to us: [Page 80] and yet deprive them of that fruition of it after this life, which they grant unto us? And if their Lymbus be so uncertain, what need they then to that end urge any such descending of Christ?Christs de­scending in­to hel. That in such sort he descended into hel, as is fully sufficient in the justice of God, both to acquit the fa­thers before, that otherwise should have come thither, and to be a discharge unto us that afterward live, it is a thing that is fully beleeved of us al: if they wil go further, and set down with themselves, in what maner also he did it, further than the scripture doth warrant, can they not determin ther­in for themselves, unlesse they carrie al o­thers likewise into the same adventure with them?Real prae­sence. As touching their doctrine of the real praesence, knowing that alreadie we do beleeve, that the faithful receiver, receiveth not any bare sign, but, togither with the outward sign, whole Christ, God and man, his sufferings and merits; may not this be accounted sufficient, unlesse we go further, to have his praesence in the very maner that they have imagined: which notwith­standing was not agreed on among them­selves, but very lately? The fathers be­fore the incarnation of Christ could not otherwise receive him; as also themselves grant that they did not: and yet notwith­standing was that sufficient for their salva­tion. [Page 81] And, so long as they shew no further reason than they do, why such a kinde of re­ceiving of Christ might wel be available to their salvation, and not unto ours (especi­ally when as otherwise we finde but one communion of saints, as wel in profession, as in state of salvation) why may they not be content to admit, that this kinde of recei­ving which we professe, is so much as they need to require of us, or else that it failed in the fathers also that were before the incar­nation of Christ?Their other sacraments. As for their other sacra­ments as they term them, admit they might be vouchsafed that honor in some account among them for unities sake, if needles they would have them so to be called: yet what reason is it, that they should so over­rule the judgements of others likewise, as to account so basely of them, unlesse in such needles and by-matters, they do in althings agree with them? Freedom of wil,Freedome of wil and me­rit of works. and merit of works, were indeed jolly matters to puffe us up higher in our own aestimation: but we can be prowd inough without them. Suffi­cient for us it ought to be, that we may be saved: let us leave the glorie therof wholy to God, and take no part therof to our selves. Since the fal, there is not in man any inclination at al unto good that is of that kinde, saving only in those that are regene­rate: and that which is in them, is not ever [Page 82] continual, but somtimes very rare, and weak likewise; and ever is the special wor­king of God in us. And though our works that are done in faith and love, have reward promised unto them, and so consequently by promise du: yet are the best of them, on our parts, or so much therof as is ours, so unperfect and weak, that by right they could (otherwise than by merciful accep­tance) deserve nothing at al. And when we are sure we have most absolute redemption, fully and wholy in the merits of Christ, what need we trouble our selves further to search out, whether that we may not think, that our good works have in some sense merited also?Traditions. Traditions so far as they do not swarve from the written word, or are to aedifieng, we do not mislike: otherwise we think we have alreadie so much to do that is expresly commanded unto us, that we think they hinder us much in the service of God,Their preesthood and sa­crifice. that incumber us with more. The preesthood and sacrifice of Iesus Christ we account to be of that sufficiencie in them­selves, and so proper to him alone, that we cannot yet be persuaded, either that we need, or that we may, set up any other: but that we must needs bewray either our great ignorance in the one, or that we have a very slender, and over-base an account of the other. Otherwise, if these wil not serve, [Page 83] needs must we be more out of hope to get any good, by those that are brought in by them. Howbeit, his preesthood continueth forever; and his sacrifice once made, is a ful satisfaction for al: so that we need never be careful for any thing else to be joined with­al. As for their purgatorie,Purgatorie. and the sillie helps that they have allotted therunto, we can neither stand in fear of the one: nor, if we should be distressed by it, can hope of any releefe of the other. Of their purgato­rie we cannot stand in fear, both bicause the scripture doth not tel us of any such place; and besides that, it lappeth up al for­givenes of sins, and remembrance therof (to al beleevers) in the death and sufferings of Christ; and that in so ful and comfortable maner, that it leaveth to us no dread at al of any such torments to be afterward suffe­red for sin by any of us: and bicause it is so evident to al the world, that it was at the first an heathenish opinion among the gen­tils, before they came to the knowledge of Christ; and hath been since used in the church of Rome as a compendious way to get in monie, and that beyond al measure and mean. The helps that they use to re­leeve the souls that they suppose to be afflic­ted therin, can do little good, both bicause that nothing can be any satisfaction for sin to the justice of God, but only the death [Page 84] and sufferings of Christ: and bicause that those helps of theirs (besides that they are verie weak in themselves) are not ordeined of God to be the means to apply the same unto any; but only the faith of the parties themselves, wrought in them by the holie Ghost.Worship­ping of saints and images. In their worshipping of saints and images, there is some ods: howbeit we can­not finde the better of them both (their worshipping of saints I mean) to be any bet­ter than plain idolatrie: so oft at least as it goeth beyond that honor, which in the se­cond table and fift commandement is ap­pointed to fathers & mothers; and reacheth unto the worship which in the first table, and in the first & second commandements, is be­fore taken up unto God. As also we think themselves should perceive, that, if they do it as a dutie that they ow unto them; or as a thing that saints do like of; or to get some benefit at their hands: in al these points they do but wast & leese their labor, for that they ow them no such dutie; neither do they like, that they should offer them any such, nor yet can help them in those things that they crave at their hands. And as for their ima­ges, neither are they blessed of God, to yeeld any such fruit as they require at their hands; neither should we so maintain the dignitie of our creation, being ordeined to reprae­sent the person of God, to al these his crea­tures, [Page 85] if we shuld so servilely abase our selves to stoks and stones, when as the Lord hath made us the head over them, not them over us.Marriage of preests. Concerning the marriage of those that are of the clergie, seeing that both the scrip­ture alloweth of it in al estates and degrees whatsoever, and that God in his wisdome ordeined the same: and seeing that the practise of al antiquitie hath had it in conti­nual use: it is a thing (we think) more plain, than that we may allow any controversie therof to be made. If this wil not serve, let them but turn bak their eies to themselves, and but make an indifferent search how fowl and manifold pollution hath broken foorth among them, since the time that they have abandoned marriage from their orders: and, that one thing (we think) wil be sufficient to teach them, that heerin they were far overshot, and have found it tru in themselves by experience (that which be­fore they might have learned at the mouth of the Lord) that generally it is not good, for any estate of men to live unmarried; when as therby they so quikly brought al their orders so fowl out of order.Inhaerent, putative iu­stice: only faith. As for their inhaerent justice, and that (with some distempered affections, as it seemeth) they charge us to allow of none other, but that which is putative, and only faith, the sub­stance of this matter being before specially [Page 86] touched, it is not needful heer to say any more therof. So these are (in effect) those great matters, for whose sakes we are char­ged to have translated so corruptly: and so consequently (in the judgement of some) that we have not the word of God at al a­mong us. Wherunto would they ad but this little correction, that for these matters we have it not to their good liking, therun­to could we be content to yeeld: and ther­withal think, that we stil must want al au­thoritie of scripture for thē. Otherwise they have sufficiently found (even in the ruines of their own usurpation and doctrines) that we have the scriptures among us: as also not many of themselves do charge us, but only for these, and for a few such others be­sides, of such like, or lesse importance.

Of departing from the church.14 That other hinderance that is of more special force with them al generally, is that they have a certain persuasion, that they can not join with us in our profession, but that so they should depart from the catholik church. Which thing indeed is of such im­portance, that if it were tru, it were not for any that loved his own salvation, or the glo­rie of God, to join with us in our religion. For there is but one church, as also there is but one faith: and whosoever they are that depart from either of both, they cannot be [Page 87] of sound religion, whatsoever it is they do professe. Therfore to examin this matter a little, first we may do wel to search out, what it is that maketh them to think, that, if they should reform their profession so far foorth as we have done, they should then depart from the catholik church, and so conse­quently deprive themselves of aeternal life: then, how the same opinion of theirs may be amended. Concerning the former,What it is that maketh thē to think that we are departed from the church. me think that the principal cause of this their persuasion is, for that they do not rightly gather, neither what the church it selfe is: nor yet what it is to depart from the same. And then, if the groundwork it selfe be wrong, it is no marvel if the building that be set therupon, be awrie likewise.What they imagin to be the church. The for­mer of them is, that in the aestimation of the church, they take not unto them a right tri­al, to teach them which is the church in­deed. For the levels that they commonly use, are especially two: one taken out of the first foundation of it; the other, the successe that since it hath had, to this praesent time wherin we live. Out of the foundation of their church, they go about to establish the certaintie of it, by two conveiances: one, from Christ, unto Peter; the other, from Pe­ter unto them. For first they imagin that Christ made Peter the cheefe of al, and his general substitute heer on earth: that he [Page 88] should be, under him, the head of his church, and have the feeding of al that are his. Out of this they gather, that those onlie are the church, that acknowledge Peter next under Christ, to be their cheefe & principal head. Then do they conceive, that Peter was dis­posed to leave this primacy with the church of Rome, and to those that should be the bishops therof: and that for that cause he left other places, and came unto Rome, and was bishop there five and twentie yeers. And therupon they think they may safely gather, that whosoever is not under the church of Rome, he also is none of the church of God. These conveiances do we take to be of very little force: and so conse­quently, no matter of substance to assure us of the truth of this matter. For first that Pe­ter had any such praerogative or primacie, we find it not set down by Christ himselfe, or by any of his Apostles: which notwith­standing must needs have been done with­out quaestion, if it had been tru, being, as it was, of such importance. Then, as touching any assigment over from him to the church of Rome, and to those that should be the bi­shops therof, neither do we find (by undow­ted authoritie) that he ever did it: nor, if he had at any time done it, yet that he had li­bertie so to do; and that God would ratifie his assigment. But I mean not to enter into [Page 89] that discourse, sufficiently handled by many others: neither is it needful, when as our adversaries themselves do of late so much mislike that part of their groundwork, that none of them al (of any account) can finde in their harts, to build so much as their own credit theron. The other, which standeth in the successe that their church hath had,How they ground upon the successe that they have had. is in­deed of greater force to such a purpose: but yet notwithstanding, such as being right­ly considered, yeeldeth no assurance to the matter that we have in hand. The successe which the church of Rome hath had, resteth in two principal points: in continuance; and consent of others. By continuance I mean, that it hath not fallen bak again to Paganism, or heathenish vanitie; neither yet stept aside to the sect of Mahomet, as the Turks, and manie others have done: but ever continued after a sort in the profession of the faith, since the time that by the Apo­stles it was delivered unto them. Which surely is a very special blessing of God: an evident work of the holie Ghost: and a ve­ry good cause, why al those that wish wel to the Gospel of Christ, should have the anci­ent church of Rome so much the more in reverence for it. So commeth it to passe, that they have not onlie had, after a sort, a continual succession of bishops, & teachers: but also have in some maner praeserved, and [Page 90] hitherto maintained both the word, and the sacraments, that Christ himself did leave unto us. The consent also that they have had, hath been verie great: yet not ever a­like, but somtime more, than at some other. So long as it kept the faith undefiled; and was earnestly bent to advance the kingdom of Christ; and would in no wise break, but carefully maintained the unitie of the church: so long they had the consent of al that dwelt about them, or by any means could have any dealing with them. And that, not altogither for the antiquitie, and dignitie of the citie (bicause it had been of great continuance; in a florishing estate; and was now the imperial seat:) but also, even for the sinceritie of the faith, and for divers excellent gifts, that God had powred upon that church in plentiful maner. But after that (the former zeal being abated) it began to fal in love with earthly things, and to break the peace of the church to advance it selfe, then began manie to let down their former good liking of it: al the East chur­ches generally; and manie of the better sort in the West likewise. Nevertheles, even then also, the greatest part of al Europe, and some others else-where besides, did cleave unto it: partly of themselves, for the former dig­nitie of the place, or for that they perceived not how they began to slide away from the [Page 91] sinceritie of their profession; but especially, bicause of the great power that the church of Rome did after obtain, from which they saw not how to withdraw themselves, with­out some praesent displeasure, or danger. Hence commeth it, that they have had their doings allowed, and their opinions confir­med not onlie by manie several persons of best account: but also by Provincials a­broad, and by general Councels at home: themselves, or their frinds, in these latter ages, ever bearing the sway in them both. So that indeed the church of Rome hath had such successe in these parts of the world among us, that (to our knowledge) there hath not been the like for earthlie pomp any where else. Yet notwithstanding, this also is over weak, wherupon to set that buil­ding of theirs: needs must it have a faster ground, else can it never be able to stand. Although therfore, that in their own opini­on their church hath had a special founda­tion; and although it hath had indeed such successe since, as themselves do stil imagin: yet notwithstanding, when they point us unto the church, and undertake to shew us undowted tokens therof, then we allow not that they should think to put us over onlie to this, and shew us no better tokens than these. We do not denie them to be of the church: but we allow not the bounds of [Page 92] the church to be so taken in; nor these things to stand for sufficient proofe, that a­ny such praeeminence belongeth to them.

That they conceive a­misse of us, when they imagin that we are de­parted from the church.15 The other point that seemeth to yeeld some part of the groundwork of that per­suasion, is for bicause that they do conceive, that to be a departure from the church, which is none indeed, after that once the truth is tried. Concerning which matter, it shal be good to consider these two things; how this kind of persuasion doth grow, and what inconvenience this one point of mis­taking doth breed in the end.How this kind of per­suasion gro­weth. This persua­sion groweth most of al by the means of our adversaries: then also, by some of our selves too. Those adversaries of ours, by whom it commeth, are lightly the most cunning, and most learned of them: who seeing them­selves to have some advantage, if they can win us to acknowledge, or others to be­leeve, that we are simplie or in al things de­parted from them, and make another pecu­liar church of our selves, earnestly labor, even at the first, to obtain that advantage. Hence commeth it, that both they do so bu­sily urge that point, and would have neither us, nor others, to make (at al) any quaestion of it: and so readily apply to that sense what­soever they finde in our writings, that doth import a division betwixt us. Those on our [Page 93] part by whom it commeth, are (most of al) those that are most zealous: who being much mooved with the manifest corrupti­on that the adversarie part maintaineth, and with their unreasonable thirst of innocent blood in the quarrel of religion, are by that occasion carried so far somtime, that they do not ever speak and write in so sensed maner, but that when they acknowledge that division that indeed is, and ought to be, betwixt them and us (so long as they stand in such sort as they do) they may seem to acknowledge that we are altogither di­vided: that we are a distinct visible church from them; and they but a synagog, in no sense appertaining to the visible church. Wheras notwithstanding by the whole course of al our writings it is cleer again, that we do not sunder our selves from them, nor them from us, but only in those points that are in controversie betwixt us: and for the rest, agree togither, and acknowledge likewise, that in those we are one. But bicause that whensoever we speak of the division that is betwixt us, we do not therwithal shew, how far we agree, therupon it seemeth to them that we can easily be content, to be altogither abando­ned from them, and to have no societie at al with such a people. So commeth it to passe, that as they (upon the advantage) [Page 94] disclame in us, and bear us in hand, that both they and we cannot be the members of any one, and the selfesame church (as in­deed in some sense we cannot, and in that sense is by us acknowledged) so we likewise seem unto divers to be in that point of the selfesame mind with them, and as fully to disclame in them as they do in us; and as absolutely to hold, that both sorts of us cannot in any sense or construction be members of one, and the selfesame bodie, especially of that which is ancient and tru, and the catholik or apostolik church, as notwithstanding we are generally. The in­convenience that this mistaking dooth breed in the end,What in­convenience commeth therby. is very great, and hurtful to the cause of religion: but some branches therof there be, which are common to both parties; and some that are proper to either. Common to both are these two: the inward hart burning, and greefe of mind that is betwixt us, one towards another; and bit­ter contentions insuing theron, whensoever occasion is offered. And touching the for­mer, we need go no further, than to ap­peal, every one to his own conscience. For there shal we finde, both that we have an in­ward greefe, one towards another: and that we think we may (and ought) maintain the same in the cause of religion that we have in hand. Our contentions are so apparant, [Page 95] and known unto al, that al Christendome, is witnes of them. Which also are for the most part so bitterly handled, as if in religion we were utterly sundered, one from another, and had no point of faith at al, that were common betwixt us: to the increase of va­riance, among our selves; and to the great hinderance of many of those that are with­out, and otherwise might be woon to the Christian faith. Proper unto our adversaries it is, that, if it do fal out in the end (as I trust it wil anon appeer) that there was no such cause in us as deserved, so to be abandoned from the church of God: then abideth an heavie judgement for them, that have been so bold as to set down, that we are not of the church of Christ; and therwithal, for to power forth, whatsoever curses they had, against us. And no marvel, if they stand in such danger in the judgements of God, when as (being so) they sin very greevously both against God, and against their neigh­bor. Against God, for that they fight against his truth; and abuse the place of justice, that he hath given them: against their neighbor, for that so they discourage, and terrifie ma­ny of the weak ones that are among us; and among themselves, are the only cause, that many of the simpler sort that belong unto them, are persuaded that we are none of the church, and behave themselves accordingly [Page 96] towards us. Then also, if it should be so (as we hope it wil appeer) that we have a better title to be of the church, than they thēselves have: then would their subtiltie and fearce­nes return to them again, and conclude up­on themselves, that if we do not belong to the church, much lesse do they. Proper unto us are two others likewise, if we at any time suffer them to make such an absolute divisi­on betwixt us. For so commeth it to passe, first, that by consenting so far with them in this error, we also must stand chargeable be­fore God, for whatsoever il fruits do spring of the same: ratably at the least, so far as the proportion of our fault requireth. Then al­so, we bring our selves to needles trouble, for that it is great probabilitie with them, that so we make our selves answerable for to finde out a distinct & a several church from them, from which we descend, which hath continued frō the Apostles age to this prae­sent: else, that needs we must acknowledge, that our church is sprong up of late; or, at least, since theirs. Wherin, although they could never be able, either to condemn us, or else but to justifie themselves: yet is it more than we need to give them; and more, than (we think) they use wel, when they have it. Therfore to cōclude both these points, as I said before, so say I again, that it is no mar­vel if divers of them think, that joining [Page 97] with us they should utterly depart from the church, so long as they do wander so far, both in determining what the church is, and what it is to depart from the same.

16 For amendement wherof,A surer way how to find out, who are of the church. it must needs be a good and a readie way, more truly to learn what the church is indeed: and what is the undowted departing from it. Concer­ning the former, it shal be needful, not onlie to consider what the church is in the whole: but also what it is in the several parts, that is, who are the tru members therof. Concer­ning the whole, there is a way, which if we take, we shal never be able, plainly to find out, the thing that we seeke: & yet notwith­standing determin therin the very truth. A­gain, there is a way, which if we take, we shal quikly find, that which is not onlie tru in it selfe; but also carrieth such a light with it, as that easily we shal be able to perceive, the truth of the thing that we have in hand.A way that wil not serve our turn suf­ficiently. The former of these is, when as we go about to compas those things, that are beyond our reach, and cannot come under our capaci­tie. As namely, when we labor to finde out the church, in heaven, either in the secret election of God; or in the glorie, wherunto it shal come in the end: or on earth, by the largenes of the bounds which it hath, being spred al over the face of the earth. For thogh [Page 98] it be very tru, that that indeed is the tru church, which is chosen from the beginning, and which shal be glorified in the end: yet are not we able, by either of those to finde out, who they are. For we cannot looke into the secret purpose of God; nor, in the end it selfe, espie the end before it come: we must either have better tokens than these, or else can we do no good at al. So likewise the earth is so very large, that we are not able to reach foorth our knowledge unto the out­most bounds therof: and so consequently can never see, what faith it is that is there professed, nor so much as whether there be any people at al, that there inhabit. If ther­fore we should take such a course, as that we could not (in our conscience) set down with our selves, that we knew the church, until we could get the view of the whole: then could we never resolve our selves, but must needs remain uncertain so long as we live. And in this, our adversaries have (as it see­meth at the first) a just occasion ministred unto them, to turn aside their adhaerents eies to the church of Rome, being such, as for neernes and evident shew that it hath, may easily come under our knowledge; and, for that many others hang therupon, carri­eth a special credit withal. Howbeit, althogh they have rightly espied the inconvenience on the one side: yet have they not sufficient­ly [Page 99] holpen the same on the other. They see in deed what is the disease: but the medicin that they give for the same, wil not serve. Therfore now concerning that other way that wil serve our turn,The other way, that wil plainly shew foorth what the church is. we have the directi­on alreadie given, as in manie other places of scripture besides, so namely, by a special place of Christ himselfe, at his last going up to Ierusalem, a little before the time that he suffered. At what time being disposed, to leave that point decided unto them, before he should leave them, he first asked his disci­ples, what opinion others had of him: and, when that came short, what was their own persuasion of him. Wherunto when Peter answered in the name of himselfe & the rest, that they beleeved that he was the Christ, the son of the living God, he plainly decla­red, that that was the tru profession indeed: that it was not an opinion, or conceit of mans wisdome; but was given unto them from his father in heaven: that it was the rok, & plot of ground, wherupon he would build his church: that against it the power of hel should never praevail: and that by it they should open and shut the kingdome of heaven to al the world; setting at libertie from the danger of hel those that beleeved, and binding up al others to aeternal perditi­on. In which place we have to consider, what is the faith that is so commended: and [Page 100] what cōmendation is given unto it. But bi­cause to the praesent purpose that we have in hand, we need but the former of these two: therfore in the other we need to consider no more but this now, that there is so special cō ­mendation given unto it, as that it cannot be, but that whosoever are of the same, they must needs be of the church indeed. The faith it selfe that is there professed, resteth in two principal points: one, that he was the Christ; the other, that he was the son of the living God. Of which two, the latter is, with so ful consent, received of al, and so cleer from al maner of dowt among us, and every point therunto belonging, that it again may for this time be set aside, though otherwise in it selfe, it be as needful as the other. And so to find out what is the sense of the former of them, that is, that he was the Christ, it is as much to say, that he was the annointed, or that very savior, which before was promi­sed unto them. In which his annointing there are two things to be considered, that he was appointed, and made able, to be our savior: and so consequently, appointed, and made able, to be our preest; our prophet; and king. Our preest, to make a ful attone­ment, betwixt God and us, to the purcha­sing of aeternal redemption in him; and to the attainment of the same: our prophet to teach us, whatsoever is expedient for us to [Page 101] know: and our king, under whom we have to live, until by his government he shal bring us thither. Out of which we may safely set down, and that by the authoritie of Christ himselfe, who they are that may be accoun­ted the church of God: that is, the univer­sal assemblie of those, that professe the Son of the virgin Marie, to be the promised savi­or; by God himselfe, both ordained and en­abled to save, so manie as do beleeve in him. Or, if we go more specially to work, those that rest in Iesus Christ alone, for the whole work of their salvation: in his preesthood, for the ful satisfaction of the justice of God, both to escape hel, and to come unto hea­ven; in his doctrine and scepter, to bring us unto it. So commeth it to passe, that wher­soever there be any countries or nations, that do professe this faith in Christ, those must we needs acknowledge for to belong to the church of Christ: as on the other side, whosoever they are, that have not this faith, that those are none of the church of Christ, whatsoever thing else they can praetend. So that the church, of which we speak at this praesent, is that universal assemblie or gathe­ring togither of al those, whether congrega­tions, or several persons, in any part of al the world, that beleeve in Christ, or professe the same that we cal christianitie or the Christi­an faith. Concerning the members, it may [Page 102] sufficiently appeer by this that is said alrea­die, who they are that do appertain to that account: whether they be whole congrega­tions, or several persons that come in quae­stion. For whosoever they are that professe according to the pattern aforesaid, those must needs be very good members: and those that swerve from it, whether more, or lesse, are in like sort to be accounted, to be in the like proportion departed from the sinceritie of the better sort. So that in any wise we must take heed, that in this account we measure not the goodnes of any mem­ber, either in the secret election of God, for that it is unknown unto us; or in the fra­ming of the conversation to outward sobri­etie, or holines of life, wherin we may be ve­ry soone guiled: but only that we now seeke out, those that are visible members alone, measuring the woorthines of everie mem­ber, by the profession before set down, until that once having found out the truer mem­bers of the church, we then examin among themselves, who they are, that more sincere­ly answer their holie calling.

How to find out, what it is to depart from the church.17 Having so found out what it is to be of the church, & who are the visible members therof, now may we with lesse labor espie, what it is to depart from the same: especi­ally, if we take heed of this, that we use no [Page 103] other tokens for to teach us, when we are wrong, than only that same wherby we have lerned when we are right. For as a sea mark on the shore, or a beakon upon the hil, doth by one, and the selfesame labor teach them both: so the same likewise that before is set down, is sufficient to declare unto al, that do walk by direction therof, who they are that are right; & who on the other side do wan­der amis out of the way. We have therfore, first to resolve