A GODLIE EXPOSITION UPON CERTEINE CHAP­ters of Nehemiah, written by that worthie Byshop and faithfull Pastor of the Church of Durham Master IAMES PILKINGTON.


In the latter end, because the Author could not finish that treatise of Oppression which he had begonne, there is added that for a supplie, which of late was published by ROBERT SOME, D. in Diuinitie.

Psal. 127. 1. Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vaine that build it: except the Lord keepe the citie, the kee­per watcheth in vaine.

Psal. 122. 6. Praie for the peace of Ierusalem: let them prosper that loue thee.

Psal. 80. 14. 15. Returne, we beseech thee, O God of hostes: looke downe from heauen, and behold and visit this vine, and the vineyard, that thy right hand hath planted, and the young vine, which thou madest strong for thy selfe.

Imprinted by THOMAS THOMAS printer to the Uniuersitie of Cambridge.


A PREFACE OF M. IOHN FOX, To the Christian Reader.

AS it is greatlie to be reioyced, and the Lord highlie to be praised for the happy enterprise of the Godlie worke of Nehemiah, begonne by the reucrent and vigilant Pastour of Christ his Church of famous memorie M. Iames Pilkin­ton, Bishop of Duresme: So againe it were to be wished, that if the lord had thought it so good, his dayes might haue continued to the full per­fiting of the same, which now is left vnperfect, onelie containing fine Chapters by him expounded'. For the setting out where of being reque­sted hereunto, I thought to adde these few lines in recommending the same to the godlie reader, trusting no lesse, then that whosoever will take paines in reading thereof, the same shall finde his labour therein not altogether lost. And that for diuers causes. First for the better explaining of the Chapters whereof he intreateth. Secondlie for the opening of auncient hystories intermixed withall, much needfull to be knowen. Thirdlie for the opportunitie of the tyme well serving for the purpose present. For as Nehemiah then by gods prouidence was set up for the reedifying of the materiall Tomple of Hierusalem destroyed by the Babylontans, so in like sort the spirituall Church of Christ, in this spirituall Babylonicall capti­uitie, being a long time in ruine and decay, standeth in great need of Godlie helpers, and good workemen, as blessed be the Lord, some we haue seene, and doe see, right zealouslie occupied to the shedding of their blood in repayring Christ his temple. Yet notwithstanding the matter be­ing of so great importance, and the time so daungerous, it shall not be a­misse in these our dayes to be taught by the time before vs. First, that [Page] the outward temple in Hierusalem destroyed by the Babylonians, did lie wast for manie yeares, it cannot be denied. Which being graunted, it must needs follow, that eyther the sayd materiall temple doth beare no representation of the spirituall Church of Christ (which cannot be deni­ed) or else that the same Church of Christ must necessarilie suffer some captiuitie, & Apostasie for a time by certaine spirituall Babilonians inlat­ter times: which being so, then must it likewise follow consequently, that as that former temple of God in Hierusalem after long captiuitie at length was restored againe by the mighty hand of God, so the like is to be accom­plished in Christ his Church, after long wracke and decay, to be repayred againe, as we see now come to passe. For what oppression, what tyrany, what darkenes hath ouerwhelmed the poore Church of Christ these manie yeares by the Romish Assyrians, who is so blind that seeth not? wherfore much deceiued be these our Pope holiepretensed Catholikes, who drea­ming in their fantasies no other true Church to be in earth but onlie their holy church of Rome, falslie so perswade them-selues, because the outward state of their Romish church, so gloriouslie, and richlie shineth in the world, and therfore the true Church of Christ is at no time to be blemished with ignoraunce and darkenesse, but continuallie florisb with­out spot or wrincle in the eyes of men, neuer to suffer any wrack, or decay, but perpetually to be preserued from all ruine or distresse. By which ruine if they meane the perpetual, or finall desolation of the true Church of Christ, true it is that the same shall neuer sinallie be for saken nor ouer­throwne, but for a time the same to suffer vioience and oppression by ene­mies it cannot be denied. For Antichrist, by the secret permission of God, must haue his owne course, and raigne here in the church for a time, in which time by the assured Testimonie of S. Paules Epistle there must come a defection and Apostasie, wherby is signified no doubt a spirituall & as it were a generall departing from the right faith of the gospell, for a time and space, till it shall please the Lord againe to giue his booke to the mouth of his Prophets, and to send downe by his Angell his measuring reede to measure the wasted temple of the Lord' for the reedifying againe. as we read, [...]: 10. 11.

Howsoeuer Antichrist in the meant space doth florish in this world, sitting in the Temple of God, boasting him-selfe as God, and drawing the faith of the people from God to him-selse; Certainlie with the true Church of Christ it standeth much otherwise, which must be brought down by Antichrist not to final destruction, but for a time to be oppressed, till it shall please God againe to repaire it, as we by experience haue good proofe to declare. Wherefore let no man meruaile at the decaied state [Page] of Christ his Church, which hath bene solong time continued, nor thinks the worse of the Gospell non preached, as though it were a new faith or a new Religion lately erected. If this gispell now preached were not taught by Christ him-selfe, by Paule, and other Apostles, let it [...] for new. If the Popes doctrine be not agreeing to the same, then let euery man iudge which is new, and which is old. Brieflie, let vs take example of the auncient tabernacle or house of God, first set vp by Moses, afterward more magnifically [...] to the like proportion in timber, & stone by Salomon: which house or tabernacle the Lord promised to stand for euer: yet notwithstanding the same temple of God (exemplifying no dout the spirituall Church of Christ here in earth) was vtterly ouer­throwne by the Babilonians for a certaine space, and afterward repay­red againe by Gods people with much difficulty, and hardnes of times: and after that the same againe miserablie dispoyled, and destroyed by wicked Antiochus. In like manner the spirituall Church of Christ, although it haue the true promise of Christ to endure for euer, as it doth and euer shall doe, yet lacketh not her Babilonians, her Anticchus, her ouerthrowers, & temporall oppressours: yet not so oppressed, but at length, by labourers, and artificers of God, is to be repayred againe, albeit sent in great sharpnes of time, we see it now come to passe.

Which being so, let vs therefore, comparing time with time, looke well to the matter euery man what he hath to doe. Such as be builders may take example of those good builders therof, whome we read that with one hand they builded, and with the other they held their weapon, that is the spirituall sword of Gods word to keepe of the enemie. Such workmen the Lord send into his vineyard to be diligent labourers, not loyterers: nor braulers, but builders, labouring, and working, not with one hand, but with both hands occupied. And likewise vpon these labou­rers the Lord send good ouerseers, such as this good Nehemiah, who not regarding his owne priuate charges, and expenses, bestowed all his care in tendring and setting forward the erection of the Lords house, to en­courage the workemen, to prouide for their necessities, to defena them from enemies, to keepe them in good order from strife and variance. For as euery good building there best goeth forward, when the workmen in one consent ioyne them-selues together: So contrariwise nothing more hindreth the setting vp of any worke, as when the workmen are deuided among them-selues. Albeit during the time of [...] we sinde no great sturs among the people, or if there were any, it was seene composed by the wise handling of that good gouernour, as in the fift chapter may appeare. wherefore for the better example to le taken of these distressed [Page] dales, I thought it not amisse in this so daungerous building vp of Christs Church in the perillous latter times, this treatise of Nehemiah, com­piled by the right reuerend and famous prelate M. Iames Pilkin­ton of blessed memory, to be published and commended to Chri­stian readers, wherby all good labourers, and ouerseers of Christ his Church may receiue some fruitfull ad­uertisement to consider in these soe great affayres of the Lord his busines what is to be done and looked vnto.


‘Benignè fac DOMINE in bonavoluntate tua Sion, vt aedi­ficentur muri Ierusalem.’‘Non nobis, DOMINE, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam.’‘Non moriar, sed viuam, & narrabo opera DOMINI.’

THE ARGVMENT VNPER­fect, and so much thereof as was found, is here put downe.

ANd because both the bookes of EZRA and NEHEMIAH entreate only of such things, as were done vnder the Kings of Persia, which fewe other parts of the Scripture doe, it is not amisse something to touch the ma­ner of liuing, & behauiour, both of the Kings, people, & nature of the coun­trie, that thereby things may better be vnderstood, as STRABO in his booke, LEOVICIVS in his Varia Historia, & others haue left them in wri­ting. SVSIA was that parte of the countrie, which laie towards BABI­LON, wherein was also the cheife citie SVSA. which was like in building vnto BABILON. These were a quiet people, neuer rebellious, & therefore Kings loued it the better, and CYRVS was the first that made his cheifest abode there. Other houses the King had, which were strong, and costlie, & where there treasure was kept. At SVSIS they lay in winter, at ECBATA­VA in sommer, at PERSEPOLIS in haruest, in the spring at BABI­LON: PAGASABIA, GABIS, & other houses were not neglected, al­though destroyed with the kingdome shortlie after by Alexander Magnus. The riches of the kings were greate: For when all was brought to ECBA­TAVA, men reporte, that there were 180. Talents.

This country of SVSIA was so fruitful, that their barly & wheate would bring forth an hundreth folde or. 200. as much as was sowne. Their kings be of one kindred: and whosoeuer obeieth not, he hath his head & arme cut of, and cast awaie. They marrie many wiues, & keepe many harlots. The kings yearely giue rewardes to them that haue gotton most sonnes. The children come not in their fathers sight, before they be. 4. yeares old. Their mariages are made in March. From. 5. yeares old vnto. 14. they learne to shoote, picke [Page] dartes, ride, & chiefly to speake trueth. Their Schoolemasters be men most sober, applying all things to the profit of their schollers. They call their schul­lers together afore daie, by ringing of a bell, as though they should go to warte or to hunt. They make one of the kings sonnes their ruler, or some great men ouer 50 in a bande: and commaund them to follow their Captaine 30. or 40. furlongs when he runneth afore them. They aske account of those things that they haue learned, exercising their voice, breath, and sides, to hear, colde, raine, and passing of riuers. They teach them to keepe their Armour & cloathes drie, and to feed & liue hardlie like husbandmen, eating wilde fruits as acornes and crabbes. Their dailie meate after their exercise is verie hard bread, Cardanum, salte, and flesh rosted Their drinke is water. They hunt on horsebake with picking their dartes, shooting their shaftes, or casting with their sling. In the forenoone they are exercised with planting of trees, or dig­ging vp the rootes, or make harnesse, or applie them-selues to working ofline, or making of nets. The kings giue rewards to those that get the best game at running and other games, which they vse euerie 5. yeare. They beare office & plaie the souldiers on foote and horsse, from 20. years olde vnto 50. They be armed with a shield made like a diamond. Besides their quiuer, they haue their crooked falchion and daggers: vpon their head a steeple-cappe, vpon their breast a coate of plate. Their Princes haue their breeches triple folde, and a coate with wide sleeues lined with white, and syde to the knee, and the outside coloured. Their apparel in some is purple, or els of diuers coloures: in winter of diuers coloures. Their cappes like vnto the Miters of their southsaiers, their shooes high & dubble. The common sorte weare a lined coate to the mid-leg, & about their head a role of sindal. Euery man vseth his bowe & sling. The Persians fare daintilie, hauing manie and diuers kindes of meate, and their tables shine with their plate of gold & siluer. They debate their weightie matters at the wine: if they meete their fellowes or acquain­tance by the waie, they kisse them: if they be poorer, they make curtesie. Their southsaiers they leue vnburied to the birds. The greatest riches that the kings had, were in buildings, and they coyned no more monie, then serued the present neede. The people were temperate in their liuing, but their kings passed in excesse. The kings attire of his head was of myrrhe and other sweete gommes. They kept commonlie 300. women which slept in the daie, & sang & daunced all the night. If the king would goe to any of them, the floore was couered with fine arris: He rode seldome, but in his chariot. If he suffered any man to come to his speache he sate in a throne of gold, standing on foure pillers, with pre­cious stones. At the head of his bed were 5000. Talents of gold, which where called the kings pillowe: at his feete were 3000. Talents of siluer, which was cal­led his footestoole: ouer his bed was a golden vine, withgolden branches and grapes, drawne with pretious stones.

Thus farre the Argument was finished, and no more thereof found.


CHAP. 1.

‘The word of Nehemiah the sonne of Hachalia.’

ALthough there be diuers opinions, whether Ezra or Nehemiah wrote this booke, yet for my parte I rather beleeue, all reasons con­sidered, that Nehemiah wrote it, as Wolphius well prooueth it. But whether so-euer the one or the other wrote it, if the authoritie of the writer may giue any strength to the writing, or mans worthines adde anything to the cre­dit of Gods holie Scripture, it skilleth not much: for they were both the true, learned, and faithful seruants of God. Yet surelie this wor­thie man Nehemiah, which in English is to saie, a comforte sent from God, to comfort his people in those troublesome times, should not be robbed of his well deserued thankes, but first God should be chieslie praised, that raised vp so worthie a man, whose pe­degree is vnknowne, & his fathers to, in so ill a time to do not onely so great things both in the commonwealth & Religion, in peace and warre: and then shold Nehemiah also be worthelie next commen­ded, that so faithfullie obeied the Lord his God, so painfullie traueiled for the wealth of his countrie, also attained such learning, that he could, and was so diligent in studie among all his great affaires, that he would, to the greate glorie of God & comforte of all his Church vnto the worlds end, put these his owne doings in [Page] writing. A worthie example for all that loue religion, be seruitours in the courte, attend on the Prince, beare office in the common­wealth, or captaines in the warres, to followe. For in all these things was Nehemiah famous: in religion earnest, in great fauour with his Prince, with all vprightnesse of life towards all, in warre skilful, curragious, & painful, and with his penne so learned, that he could so clerkelie put it in writing. Gentelmen therefore and men of the world are not borne to liue in pastime and pleasure, as they list, and manie doc, no more then poore men: but first to serue the Lord, promote his word and religion earnestlie, minister iustice seuerelie, mainteine peace quietlie, defend the common-wealth stoutlie, releeue the oppressed mightilie, followe learning and studie diligentlie, that so they maieincrease in vertue and honestie, as Ne­hemiah did, and after all these great trauailes refresh themselues with honest pastimes measurablie. Among the heathen Princes such a one was Iulius Cesar, in the warres cunning and happie: in gouernment of the common-wealth commendable, and in lear­ning so excellent, that no man hath written more eloquentlie. Such like were Alexander Seuerus, and Marcus Aurelius, Emperours. But I will not perswade much in Gods cause with prophane ex­amples. And to returne to our purpose, I would not haue men thinke that the scripture taketh his authoritie & credit of the man that writeth it, but the writer is to be credited for the holie Ghosts sake, who inspired him with such heauenlie knowledg, and whose instrument he is for God to speake by. Scripture commeth not first from man, but from God, and therefore God is to be taken for the author of it, & not man. The Gospel saith: It is not you that speake, but the Spirit of your father, that speaketh in you. And. S. Petersaith, Pro­phesie Mat. 10. 20. 2. Pet. 1. 21. came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moued by the holie Ghoste. Augustine, saith well. The Scrip­ture is a letter sent from God the creator vnto man his creature. There­fore when thou readest this booke or other parts of the Scripture, doe it as gladlie and reuerentlie, yea and much more to, then thou wouldst vse and read the Princes, or thy friends letters, seeing it is a letter sent to the from thy God for thy saluation. God then is the cheifest author of this booke, as he is of the rest of the Scripture, & Nehemiah the penne or writer of all these misteries. Dauid said of himselfe, my tongue is the pen of a writer that writeth swiftly: meaning Psal. 45. 2. the holy Ghost to be the writer, & his tongue the penne. So Nehe­miah was the author of this booke, as Dauid of the Psalmes. And because they should know which Nehemiah he was, he saith he [Page 3] was the sonne of Hachalia. For there were diuers others of that name, but not his sonnes.

V. 1. It came to passe in the moneth of Nouember, and in the 20. yeare, that I was in the castle of Susan.

2. And there came Chanani, one of my breethren, he & men of Iuda: and I asked them for the Iewes which scaped, and remained of the captiuitie, and for Ierusalem.

3. And they said to me, the remnante which remained of the captiuitie there in the countrie, be in greate miserie and reproche: and the wall of Ierusalem is broken downe, and the gates of it are burned with fire.

4. And it came to passe when I heard these wordes, I sate downe and wept, and being sad certeine daies, I fasted, and praied before the Lord of heauen.

THe Scriptures vse not to reckon their mo­nethes after the order of our calenders, but by the exchange of the moone: for our callenders are not of that auncientie, that the Scriptures be by many yeares. The first moneth in the yeare with them began at the next change of the moone whensoeuer it fell after the 22. daie of March: when the daies and nights be both of one length. And then was March called the first moone of the yeare, whereas we make Ianuarie our first moone. So this moone here which is called Casleu, was the 9. moneth from it, and fell in the latter end of Nouember, what daie soeuer the moone then chaunged. The 20. yeare, that he speaketh of here, was of the reigne of King Artaxerxes, as appeereth in the beginning of the 2. Chapter, of whom ye shall heare more there. Susan was the cheif Citie of all the kingdom of Persia, where the king had both his pallace, aud a strong castle also of the same name, where his treasure was kept. this Citie (as Strabo writeth) was long, and in compasse 15. myles about.

Who this Chanani was, it appeereth not, but beelike some honest man of good credit, and more earnest in religion and loue to his [Page] countrie then others, because his name is put downe in writing, & the others are not. And where Nehemiah calleth him brother, it is not necessarie to thinke, that he was of the same father and mo­there that Nehemiah was, but either further of in kinred, or els of the same countrie and religion. For this word brother, in the Scrip­ture signifieth all those sorts of brotherhod, that be any waies kins­men, or els of anie countrie and religion. S. Paul saieth, I wish to be Rom. 9. accursed from Christ for my breethren & kinsmen after the flesh, which be the Israelites. Where he calleth al the children of Israel his breethrē, because they came all of one father Iacob long agoe, and now were of one country, and professed one God. What occasion these men had to come to the courte, it appeereth not: & therefore not necessary to be searched: but belike some greate sute for their coū ­trie, because they tooke so long a iourny in the winter, and so vn­seasonable a time of the yeare; which men commonlie vse not to doe for smale causes. And by this we maie learne a good lesson, that no time is so troublesome, no iournie so long, but good men will not refuse it, to serue God & their countrie. And where Nehe­miah, walking abroade about the [...], beginneth to examin thē of the estate of the Iewes, how they did, and of the Citie of Ierusalem, in what case it was, it declareth the great loue that he had to his people, countrie, and religion. O worthie example for all courtiers to follow, sometimes to walke abroad, to see what suters there be, & learne the state of the countrie from whence they came, & help to further their good causes. The contrarie is to commonlie vsed: they locke them-selues vp, & will not be spoken with, their doores must be opened with siluer keyes, many meanes and freendes must be made, and a long time of attendance, afore ye be heard, except some seruant about them haue some gentle remembrance to help you to their speach. And this is more cōmon in the meaner sorte, then the higher. yet I saie not that all walkers abroad and talking with suters be euer good men. For Absalon walked afore the courte gate, tooke them by the hand, and imbraced them, asked what sutes they had, pitied their causes, but for an ill purpose, to bring the King his 2. [...]. 15. father in hatred with the people, saying, there was none about him that would heare and help them, and to bring him-selfe in fauor with the people, saying, if he were King, he would do them iustice, heare their causes, and they shold not waite so long, but be quicklie dispatched. God diliuer vs from such courtiers, for by this meanes he robbed the harts of the people from their natural & leige Prince, and by flat­terie wanne the people so to him-selfe, that they rebelled against [Page 4] their King, and set vp Absalon. We need not at these daies to complaine of all courtiers, that they be so hard to speake to, and thatmanie times the master is not at leysure, vntil the seruant be pleased with something, though the master bid the contrary. For there be too many, that when suters do come, they will learne too diligentlie, what sute they haue, out of what countrie they come: & then if they will faithfullie declare vnto them, what office is there voide in the countrie, or what good farmeholde is to be had there at the Princes hand, or rather at anie Church, they pro­mise they will help to further his sute diligently: but when they haue learned all that they can, then they know him not, when they meete him againe the next daie, or els giue him faire wordes with strange lookes and manie delayes. By these meanes and such like they are so cunning in all corners of the realm, that they can per­fectlie tell what the Prince or anie man in the countrie hath: and if it be not presentlie voide, they are content with a reuersion, though it be manie yeares to come: yea and often sue for the same thing, that the poore man came for, saying, another would haue had it, if he had not staied it: and so vnder a cloake of freind­ship make him paic more then he needed. We seeke what should be the cause of such needelesse dearthes as the realme is full of, & surely though manie be giuen, yet I thinke none greater then this. For when these leases be graunted, the landlord hath but his olde rent, and the tennante no more but his olde fermeholde: but the leasemonger, that is crept in betwixt the landlord and the ten­nant, goeth awaie with the sweet from them both. For first he racks the rent, and sacks the tennante so, that he is not so able to sell his things so reasonablie, as els he might, nor serue the Prince nor his landlord, as he should: nor the landlord paying so deere for all thinges, is able to liue as his Elders did before. This vnder­mining micher liueth better then they both, & taketh no paines at all for it, that they both shoulde liue on, and the one releeue the other. Haman walked afore the courte gates to see who would reue­rence him, as he passed by, and who would not: poore Mardocheus, be­cause Ester. 3. he would not, was brought in great daunger of his life, and al the Iewes with him: but God that ouerthroweth such courtiers diliuer vs from the like, and raise vs vp some godlic Nehemiah to fauour the common-wealth & religion, as he did. The miscrable end of Absalon, Haman, and such as we haue seene in our dayes, maketh wise men to take heede how they liue and behaue them selues in the courte: for none is so high, but by like offending of [Page] God, they maie haue as great a fall. As this toucheth not the ho­nest sorte of courtiers, so the good ones will not be offended, and those that be guiltie, God graunte them to amend it.

3. And they said. After that Nehemiah had of good will towards his people & countrie, so diligenlie inquired how they did, and in what case they were: Chanani and the other Iewes that came with him, declard in what miserable case the people were, in hatred & de­spised of all people about them, & that Ierusalē their citie, where God was cheifly worshiped, lay waste, & burned, & vnbuilt. Thus God bringeth goodmen togither one to comfort another, & things are not ruled by chance: for both Nehemiah & these Iewes lamented the mise­rable state of their people and countrie, and by their talke God prouided a remedy. Nehemiah was in good state to liue, & in great fauour whith the King, and needed not to trouble him selfe with the cares of his countrie, if God had not otherwise mooued his mind to pitie, with talking with his countrie men. This good then courtiers, lawiers, and great men may haue by talking with poore suters, that if there be anie sparke of grace in them they wilbe mooued with the lamentable complainte of poore suters. Surely thou that art in authoritie, or hast learning, oughtest to thinke, that the poore suter commeth not to the by chaunce: but the same God, that gaue thee thy authorite and learning, hath sent this poore man to thee to be releiued by thee. Looke therfore vp­on him, heare him, as Salomon teacheth, saying: the good man heae­reth the cause of the poore. Hide not thy selfe from him, consider his Prouer. 29. complainte, pitie and help him, and not so much for monie, as for charities sake, for so did good Nehemiah. What can be a greater greife to an honest hart, then to haue all things that he doeth or saith, be they neuer so good, to be taken in ill parte, to be hated & ill spoken ofby all his neighbours, to be slaundered and beelied, & to haue displeasure where none is deserued. In this case were the miserable Iewes, then the beloued people of God, though now iustlie cast of, for their wicked hate to our Christ, the Sonne of the liuing God. Beside that, their Citie was burned, the gates stood open, that enemies might rush in, murther, and spoile them when they list, except they should keepe a continuall greate watch, which was to trouble some and costlie for them.

4. And it came to passe. What good commeth by hearing poore men speake, appeareth heere plainlie in them that feare God. For that pitiful state, which he vnderstood his brethren the Iewes, and that famous Citie Ierusalem to be in, by their reporte, did so [Page 5] mooue his hart and greiue him, that he satte downe, and wept certaine daies, was sad for them, fasted, and praied vnto the Lord of heauen for them. Hearing and seeing bee tow sences, which bring into the minde of man, to consider all things that be painefull or pleasant to others: for except we see them, or heare them, we cannot learne or vnderstand them, much lesse pitie them, or be glad of them. S. Paul saith likewise in Gods cause. Faith commeth by hea­ring: For when thou hearest the preacher declare the glorious ma­iestie Rom. 10. of God, his sharpe punishing of sinne, the wretched estate of man, that of him selfe can doe nothing but sinne, and the euerla­sting paines appointed for all hardharted sinners, it maketh him to quake, to enter into him-selfe, condemne him-selfe, aske for mer­cie, & from thenceforth to become a new man: so when he heareth Gods great mercie declared to man in Christ, it maketh him to beleeue, loue, obeie, and follow so louing a father. This profit then commeth by hearing the poore mans complainte, that it mooueth them to pitie, to teares, to fasting, and praying the Lord to releeue the miserie of thy oppressed brother. Turne not therefore thy face from the poore, but heare them, and pitie them, as thou woldst be heard and pitied thy selfe. So in religion, if thou wilt learne to feare God aright, to know thy selfe, amend thy life, and what blessing God hath prepared for thee, run not from the Church, as many doe, some for one cause, some sor another, but none for good: but humble thy selfe in the sight of thy God and his people, heare his worde reuerentlie, beleeue it stedfastly, obey it diligent­lie, praie earnestlie, and God shal heape his blessings on the plen­tifullie. And that we may the better vnderstand how this mise­rable case of his breethren & countrie did touch his hart inward­ly, he sheweth it by his behauiour outwardly: for the affections of the minde declare them-selues openlie in the face and behauiour of man, when they growe great in the hart. As if we be sorie, our countenance is heauie, sad, and clowdie: if we be merry, our face hath a good culloure, & sheweth it selfe pleasantlie: when we be ashamed of ill doing, we blush: in feare we be pale, in anger high culloured and swolne in the face, &c. So this sorow for his bree­thren did so pinch him at the hart, that he could not stand, but sat downe, as a mans leggs in heauines are so weake, that they can­not beare him: his hart was so burdened, that he could not for­beare, but brast out into teares: for certaine daies he could not be merry, eate nor drinke, but fasted, and in the end found no other remedie, but turned him-selfe vnto the Lord, fell vnto praier, as­suring [Page] him-selfe that God would heare him, and releeue them in his due time, when he thought good. By this we may learne how coldelie they praie, that cannot bend nor kneele, when they speake to the Lord or if they kneele, it is but on the one knee, & that must haue a soft quishion vnder it, and a softer vnder his el­boe. Weepe he may not, for disfiguring his face: fasting is thought hipocrisie and a shame: and when his panche is full, then as priests with their drunken nowles said mattins and belked out, Eructauit cor meum verbum bonum, with good deuotion, as they thought, so he blusters out a fewe blustring words, without due considera­tion of them, & then he thinketh he hath praied well. O wretched man, that forgettest thy God and thy selfe. Remember what thou art, alumpe of carth, a sinke of sinne, wormes meate: and that bellie which thou carest so much for, is but a stinking dunghill. Downe proud pecocke, consider when thou praicst, that thou speakest to the Lord of heauen & earth, at whose beck the deuiles doe trem­ble his thunderbolts flie abroad to punish thy sinne: who in his anger drowned the whole world, except eight personnes, burned Sodom and Gomorah with fire & brimstone from heauen, to pull downe thy Gen. 7. &19. proud hart, and teach thee to feare his maiestie. Learne of the poore Publicane, which was so ashamed of his wicked life, that he durst not looke vp vnto heauen, but condemning him selfe, cried O God be mercifull vnto me a sinner: whereas the proud Pharisie stood stoutlie, craking of his holynes, as thou doest. Learne of the Luc. 18. woman of Chanaan to be earnest in praier, goe not awaye from Mat. 15. the Lord, vntil thou feele thy conscience comforted, and mercie promised: for no doubt the Lord will heare such a praier. These out ward things, as kneeling, weeping, & fasting, are good helps & preparations vnto praier: as Sara continued three daies in fasting and praier, that the Lord wold deliuer her from that shame: and so Tob. 3. Tobie marketh a generall rule ofit, saying, praier is good, ioinedwith fasting. Ecclesiasticus saith. The praier of him that humbleth him selfe, pearceth the cloudes, & she will not be comforted, vntill she come nigh, nor Eccles. 35.goe her waie, till the highest God haue respect vntoher. God graunt vs here to learne to pitie our poore breethren, & thus to prepare our selues to praie for them, that our praier maie be heard in their need. & although I noted afore the disordred life of some leud courtiers, which make so much of their painted sheath, esteeme them-selues more then all the world doth besides, and when they thinke they deale so cunninglie, that they be not seene, manie one espieth them, & laughes full drilie in their sleeues at them: yet now [Page 6] in this godlie gentelman appeereth a contrarie dealing, & he may be a worthie paterne for all courtiers to follow. The court is not ill of it selfe, but a man, if he will, maie setue the Lord vprightlie, and also defend his Church, and profit the common-wealth mightelie, and good men maie liue in it honestlie. It is a daungerous place, I graunt, to liue in, and manie occasions of ill are offred dailie in it: yet not so wicked, but good men liuing in it maie take great oc­casions to doe much good in it. Ioseph, in Pharaos courte a god­lesse king, prouided for all the countrie in the time of their great Gen. 41. dearth & scarcitie, releeued his father & breethren, then the onely knowne Church of God, in their necessitie. Moses in the same courte, though not vnder the same king, learned al the wisdome of Exo. 14. the Egiptians, and deliuered all the people from the slauerie that they liuedin. Abdias hid and fed a hundreth Prophets in caues, by 1. King. 18: fiftie in a companie, whose liues Iesabel sought for, him selfe being in the wicked courte of Achab and Iesabel. Dassid feared the Lord in the courte of Saul, though he escaped oft not without manie great daungers. Daniel an auncient courtier, in three kings daies kept the law of God his Lord diligently, and being in great autho­ritie with the king, had the charge of diuers countries commit­ted vnto him: which he ruled faithfullie, and releeued gods peo­ple mightelic. So did his three companions, Sidrach, Misach, and Abednago. Mardocheus in the courte of Assuerus saued the Ester. 6. kings life, whom his Chamberlaines wold haue murthered, and deliuered al the Iewes, which were appointed al by Haman on one daie to be slaine. Ierome in his epistle commendeth one Nebridius, who living in the courte, and being Nephew to the Empresse, behaued him selfe so vertuouslie, that all his sutes were for the Reliefe of the poore. Tom. 1. Ep. 6. The place therefore maketh no man ill, but his illnes commeth of his owne wicked and crooked mind. The daungerous life of cour­tiers, if they will rebuke sinne, and not sing Placebo, the example of Iohn Baptist, who lost his head for telling the trueth, maie suffise to teach. But let not good men be afraid: for God hath the hart of Mat. 14. Princes in his hand, to turne as pleaseth him. Doe thou thy duetie in the feare of God, and he will defend the, as he thinketh best.

5. And I said, I be seech thee, O Lord God of heauen, thou great and fearefull God, which keepest couenant and mercie for them that loue thee, and keepe thy commaundements,

6. Let thy eares hearken, I be seech thee, & thy eies be open, to heare the praier of thy seruant, which I praie before thee this day, night & [Page] daie for the children of Israell thy seruantes, and knowledge for the sinnes of the children of Israell, which they haue sinned a­gainst the: yea, I and my fathers house haue sinned.

7. We haue outragiouslie sinned against thee, and haue not keapt thy commaundements, and thy ceremoneis, and Iudgements, which thou commaundest Moses thy seruant.

AS a man that is earnestly bent to praier, hath commonly these outward things ioined with all, that were spoken of afore, as sitting, or kneeling, weeping, a greeued minde, sad countenance, fasting and abstinence: so necessarilie he muste haue a charitable minde and pitiful towards his breethren, and an earnest and liue­lie faith towards God: which bothe appeare in Nehemiah: for without these tow his praier cannnot be heard. His louing mind towards his breethren appeareth, in that he leauing all other pa­stimes, so diligentlie inquireth of their estate, and their countrie, and disdaineth not to heare them: but it is seene more euidently, when he weepeth and mourneth, fasteth and forbeareth dainties, as though he were in miserie with them: but speciallie, when he taketh so great paines and trauaile to doe them good, as appeareth here­after throughout this booke. His earnest faith appeareth, in that he praieth, and that onelie to the GOD of heauen, and with such vehement and meete words, as doe declare his full minde, that he doubted not, but God both could, and would help them. In trou­ble no man asketh help but ofhim, whom he thinketh will doe him good: And because there is none so merciful to heare, and so willing to help, as god him-selfe is, in al our greifes we must turne vnto the Lord of heauen alone: for other saynte there is none that Heb. 11. wil help, or can help. The Apostle saith, that he which wil come to the Lord, must not onely beleeue that there is a God, but also, that he is a rewarder of them that seake him. This faith therefore let vs bring with vs when we praie. This faith did continue in Nehemiah, though he had liued so manie yeares amongst the vnbeleeuing Persians: which was a special gift of God to him in such trouble­some times. In praier let vs aske onely such thinges, as may stand with Gods good pleasure. For where many times folishly we aske things to our owne hurt, God of his wisdome and fatherly good­nes doth not graunt them, as S. Iames teacheth vs, saying: Ye aske, and receiue not, because ye aske euilly, to spend it vppon your lusts. I am afraid to enter into the opening of this praier, because it is so par­fect of it selfe, that it cannot be amended: yet for the helpe of [Page 7] the vnlearned, for whose cause onely I take these paines, I shal in fewe words open it more plainlie. O thou Lord God of heauen & earth which of thy meere loue towards man madestheauen & earth, the sea, with al the furniture in them, as the Sonne, Moone, and Starres, fish, fowle, hearbs, trees, corne, fruit, and cattel, and appointed them to serue him, that he might serue, honour, and o­beie thee: which not onlie rulest, feedest, gouernest & guidest thē all according to thy good pleasure, but hast made heauen thy seat, and the earth thy footstole, that from hence out of this vale of mi­serie, we should looke vp vnto thee our onelie God: where thou reignest in thy Maiestie aboue all the heauens, & from whence we should looke for our deliuerance out of all troubles. O thou greate & feareful God, whose creatures passe all powres of Prin­ces, against whom to striue is meere follie, and with whom to wrastle is extreame madnesse: whose might, wisdom, & iustice is infinit, whose mercie, goodnesse and pitie hath no end: which art so great, that thou fillest all places, & not concluded in anie, but art present euerie where, & seest all things: whose maiestie surmoun­teth all creatures so farre, that it cannot be conteined or ruled of any: Thou great & fearful God, which in thy anger threwest thy angelsthat offended the out of thy glorious presence in heauen, into euerlasting darknes ofhell: who in thy rage drownedst all the world except eight persons, which burnedst vp Sodom and Go­morah Gen. 19. 24. with fire & brimstone from heauen: which didst cast Adam and vs all out of Paradice for eating the forbidden Apple: who causedst the man to be stoned to death for gathering a few sticks on the Sabbath daie: which man would iudge to be but small faultes, Num. 15. 36. yet were great, because they were contrarie to thy commaunde­ments: who killed Vzzah for vpholding the Arke being readie to fall, which plauged Pharao with froges, flies & hailestones, which made Nabuchadnezer of a mightie king a vile beast to eate grasse, & made Herod to be wiried with lice: O thou great and feareful God, at whose beck the deuils do tremble, the earth doth quake, & the heauens shoote out hotte fierie thunderbolts, the clouds powre out great stormes and tempests, to destroie thine eni­mies: O thou God of heauen, thou great and feareful God, I thy poore wretch, vile worme and miserable creature, voide of all goodnes, and ful of all wretchednes, I forsaking my selfe, and tru­sting on thy goodnes, am bold to creepe in at a corner, and pre­sent my felfe before thy throne of mercie, quaking & trembling at thy feareful iudgements, & sharpe iustice against sinne, I offer vn­to [Page] thee this poore soule & carkesse, the worke of thy owne hands, made glorious by thee, but foulie defaced by me. I Lord, I God do most humbly with a heauie hart and troubled mind beseech thee, I most earnestlie with bitter teares beg & craue of thee, to cast me not away out of thy sight, but gratiouslie to heare my praier. For although thou dwellest in thy highe and holie place in heauen, yet thou lookest downe into the earth, to heare the sighing of the poore, and deliuer the oppressed: and though thou be greate and feareful in all thy workes, yet I know thou art great in mercie and rich in goodnes. For although thou hast punished sharplie, yet thou sauest more mercifully. Adam was cast out of Paradice in iustice, & yet had mercy offered vnto him in great plenty. The en­tising of a woman made him to offend thee, & the blessed seed of the same woman hath bruised the serpents poisonful head, & de­liuered vs. Thou therefore that art a God oftrueth, & keepest pro­mise and shewest mercie to them that loue thee & keepe thy com­maundements, looke pitifully on vs, which forsaking our selues, hang vpon thee: and though we see thy deserued rod, yet we fly to thy promised mercie: though we haue not kept our promise made vnto thee in our Baptisme, that we should forsake the Deuil, world, and flesh, serue, honour, and faithfully obey thee, our onely Lord & God, with al our hart, strength, powre & soule, yet art thou a true God in keeping thy promise, and not casting vs of. When we run from thee, thou callest vs againe, and not destroying vs sodenly, tariest for our amendement. When we hate thee, and become thy open enemies, thou remembring thy promise made to Abraham, Dauid, and our fathers, seekest by all meanes to bring vs home againe to thee: though we be vnfaithful, thou art true: though we forget thee, thou remembrest vs. Though we deserue to be cast away from thee without al hope of redemption, yet when thou fatherlie correctest vs, in the midst of thine anger thou rememberest thy mercie, and receiuest vs againe to thee. We graunt, O Lord, that we doe not loue thee, nor keepe thy commaundements as we ought, yet Lord thou that art loue and charitie it selfe, and louest all things that thou hast made, and in thy deare sonne Christ Iesus doest imbrace vs, not looking at our deserts, but at his worthines, who hath fulfilled the lawe for vs, and made vs partakers of thy rightcous­nes: Lord God heare vs, and haue pitie on vs. O thou Lord God of all mercie, which neuer didst cast anie awaie that fled vnto thee, open they eares, & heare the praiers of me thy humble suter: shal I be the first whom thou wilt not heare? Is thy mercie all spent, & none [Page 8] left in store for vs? Open thy eies O god of our saluation, & behold the miserable state of thy poore people. Our citie lieth waste, the walles vnbuilt, our enemies rush in on euerie side, and we are a laughing stocke vnto them: thou heardst the crying of Agar being cast out of her house, thou lookedst at the oppression of Egipt, thou pitiedst the woful sighing of Anna: & when thy people were oppressed of any enemies round about them, thou raisedst vp one Iudge or other to deliuer them. Consider, O Lord, I beseech thee, our woful state: we are spoiled on euerie side: marke and hearken to the praier, which I thy poore seruante make vnto thee, which seest al secrets this day, continually crying night & daie with a sim­ple & vnfeined hart, not for mine owne selfe, whom thou hast so well placed in the courte, with plentie of all things, but for my breethren the children of Israel thy seruants, the ofspring of thy deerbeloued Iacob, which be in great heauines. While they be in miserie, I cannot be merrie. Their greife is my sorow, and their welfare is my reioysing. I graunt O Lord we haue gricuouslie of­fended thee: yet haue we not cast thee of, nor forsaken thee to be our Lord: we be thy seruants, though vnthristy, vnthankful, & mi­serable, & thou art a God rich in mercie, to all that turne vnto thee. I confesse, O gratious God, that the children of Israell haue sinned against thee, yea not onely they, O Lord, but I & my fathers house haue haynouslie broken thy commaundements, and yet we dis­paire not to obtaine thy fauour againe, as children that haue offended their louing father. There is none of vs free, we plead mercie and not iustice, we stand not in defence of our doings, but yeald your selues into thy merciful hands. While thou giuest vs a hart to praie, we continually beleeue thou wiit heare vs in the end. O Lord correct thou vs after thine owne good will and pleasure, but giue vs not vp to the lust of thy enemies, which blaspheme thee, saying; their God hath forsaken them, their God cannot nor will not help them: they hate vs, not so much for our owne sinnes, as for that we be called thy seruants. O Lord let not thy ho­lie name be ill spoken of through our wickednes, rise and defend thine owne cause, cast not awaie thy seruants in thy heauie dis­pleasure. What vantage canst thou haue in giuing vs ouer to thy foes? they shall laugh when we shall weepe, they will slaunder thy goodnes for our forgetfulnes of thee. Thou promisedst O Lord by Ezech. 18. the mouth of thy Prophet, that in what howre so-ever the sinner did repent, thou wodlst no more remember his wickednes, nor laie it to his charge. We weepe, we confesse and acknowledge our mani­sold [Page] wickednes wherewith we & our fathers haue offended thee, we cal for mercy, we praie night and daie, not doubting but thou wilt keepe thy promise in deliuering & hearing vs in thy duetime. Though we haue broken our promise in disobeying thee, yet if it please thee thus to try our faith & exercise our patience, by laying on vs thy heauie hand and sharp correction, thy good will be done: giue vs strength to beare that thy wisdome will laie vpon vs, & laie on vs what thou wilt. Thou gauest vs thy lawe to be a bri­dle to rule our wicked desires, & keepe vs within the compasse of them: but we like mad men, or rather wilde and vntamed beasts, that cannot be tyed in cheines, nor holden in anie bands, haue outragiouslie broken all thy commaundements. No lawes could rule vs, no saying compell, nor correction could staie vs, but wilful­lie we followed our owne phantasies. There is nothing, o Lord, that thou canst laie to our charge, but we willinglie and franklie confesse our selues guiltie thereof: for we haue neither kept thy commaundements, which thou gauest vs by Moses thy seruant, wherein priuatlie we might learne how to direct our liues, both towardes the our God, and also toward all men: Nor the ceremo­nies, Sacraments & sacrifices, which thou appointedst vs to keepe in thy Religion, and in them to worship the, we haue not duelie regarded and kept, but cast them awaie, and followed the fashi­ons of the heathen people about vs, and such as we deuised our selues: Our Priestes and Prophets haue taught vs lies and deui­ses of their owne heades, yet haue we beene more readie to heare, beleeue, and follow them, then thy holie will and word, declared vnto vs in thy Booke oflife. The Ciuill lawes by which thou ap­pointedst thy common wealth to be ruled, we haue broken & dis­obeied, liuing at our owne luste & pleasure. Our Iudges, Rulers and lawyers haue sought their owne gaine more then Iustice to their people, oppressing them wrongfullie: There is no goodnesse in no sorte of vs: Prince, Priest, People, Iudge, Ruler, and all sortes from the highest to the lowest, we haue all run astraie, we denie it not, but with many tears& greiuous heart we fal before thy throne of mercie, earnestlie crauing, &faithfully beleeuing to find mercie grace and pardon at thy hands. With these and such like words he powred out his greife before the Lord. For no doubt he spake much more then is here written, but these maie suffice to teach vs the like.

8. Remember, I besecch thee, the word that thou commaundedst Moses thy seruant, saying: Ye will offend, & I will scatter you among the heathen.

9. And if ye turne vnto mee, & keepe my commaundements, & doe them, if ye were cast to the vttermost partes of heauen, from thence I will gather you, and will bring you to the place, which I haue chosen to set my name there.

10. They are thy seruants, and thy people, whom thou hast redee­med in thy great powre, and with thy mightie hand.

11. I beseech thee, my Lord, I praie thee let thy eare be bent to the praier of thy seruants, which desire to feare thy name: And giue good successe, I praie thee, to thy seruant this daie, and graunt him mercie in the sight of this man. And I was the Kings cupbearer.

Giue me leaue, Lord, I beseech thee, to speake vnto thee, and put thee in remembrance of those things, which thou seemest to vs to haue quite forgotten. Thou forewarnedst vs by thy faithful seruant Moses, that Ifwe offended thee, thou wouldst driue vs out of that pleasant countrie, which thou gauest vs, and scatter vs among the hea­then people in all countries: yet ifwe would turne vnto thee again and keepe Deu. 4. &30 thy commaundements, there was no parte vnder heauen so farre of, nor none so mightie or cruel against vs, but thou wouldst bring vs again, and settle vs in that place which thou hadst chosen, and appointed vs to call on thy name there. The first parte, O God, we finde too true: we haue sinned, and thou hast punished vs: we haue broken thy lawes, and thou hast scattred vs into all countries: And if we liued among a people that knew thee, or loued thee, our banishment and losse of our countrie would be lesse grieuous vnto vs. But alas, good God, we liue amongst them that hate thee, and laugh at vs: they worship Gods of their owne making, and thinke them to be of greatermight, then thou the almightie and euerliuing God art: This griefe we can-not digest: this is so tedious vnto vs, that we cannot be merry, vntil thou restore vs. After our long captiuitie by Nebuchad-nezzar in Babilon thou seemedst to remember vs some thing, & moouedst the good king Cirus to giue licence to as many as would, to goe home and build thy temple againe: and this was some good token of thy loue and fauour toward vs: but yet alas, O Lord, there be as many yeares, or moe past, since Cirus began this our deliuerance, and y et we liue among the vnbeleeuing Persians, a people as cruell and wicked as the Babilonians, and the Caldeans [Page] were, thou chaungest our captiuitie from one Kingdome to ano­ther, and from countrie to countrie, yet we neuer a whit the bet­ter. We are not brought to thy promised place and holie land, our Citie is burned vp and lieth vnhabited: the walles are pulled downe and the gates lie open, that our enemies may rush in on euerie side, spoyle and murther vs at their pleasure. By thy good seruant King Darius thou didst build vs a Temple to call vppon thy name in it, & that was some good hope, that thou wouldst fullie deliuer vs from our enemies, and mercifullie restore vs to our vndeserued countrie. Thou seemest, O Lord, to haue kept parte of thy promise, but yet the greatest parte is behinde. Remember, O God, I beseech thee, thy promise, and bring vs home againe: finish the thing that thou hast so prosperouslie begunne. Thy enemies will thinke that eyther thou canst not, or wilt not performe thy promise: Arise, O Lord, & deliuer vs fully, that the world may know, that thou art a true god in keeping thy promise: Let thy enemies see, that there is no peo­ple so strong to holde vs, nor countrie so far of, but thou both canst & wilt destroy them that rebel against thee, & fully deliuer vs and bring vs home againe. Pardon my rude boldnes, gratious God, which so saucily speake vnto thee: the griefe of my heart is so great it brusteth out, I cannot hold in, but talke vnto thee, as one doeth to another. The faithfull hope that I haue in thee, that thou wilt per­fourme thy promise fullie, maketh me thus boldely to speake: yet the greatnes of our miserie, and the weaknes of our faith maketh manie to thinke that thou hast forgotten vs. Beare with our weak­nes and pardon our impatience. The sick man that lieth in great paines, & looketh for the phisitians comming, thinketh he cōmeth but slo wlie, when he maketh all the haste he can: and when he is come, except he giue him some ease quicklie, he thinketh that ey­ther he cannot, or will not help him. But the wisedome of the phi­sitian is such, that if he should purge or let him blood presentlie, it were great daunger: or if he should satisfie his phantasie, letting him eate and drinke what he list, it would increase his paines, and therefore he tarieth, vntil he see better occasiō giuen: so we, O Lord lie in great paines, and thinke thou tariest long: we would gladlie haue our desires fulfilled, but thy wisedome seeth the time is not yet come. Giue vs patience, O God, to tary thy leysure, or rather a spee­difull deliueraunce. Our weaknes is such, that we cannot but mur­mure and grudge at our delayes, and thinke thou hast forgotten vs. Beare with our foolishnes, O Lord, which cannot vnderstand the secret wisdome ofthy doings: we iudge the according to our owne [Page 10] wits, as we thinke good, and submit not ourselues to thy wisdome which knowest what time is best and meetest for vs to taste of thy vndeserued goodnes. We thinke thou hast forgotten vs, is thou speedely satisfie not our desires. Arise, gratious God, and deliuer vs, that the world may see that thou remembrest thy promise made so long a goe to thy faithfull seruant Moses. This profit we haue by rea ding thy scriptures left vnto vs by thy seruants the Prophets, thatour faith is increased, our hope faileth not, but manfullie tarieth with patience for thy comming. Faith douteth not, & hope is not wearie, though our grudging nature cannot be contented. Encrease our faith O gratious God, our hope & strength, that we fall not frō the, pardon our murmuring & mistrusting of thee, though our state be despised when we looke at our selues: yet when we remember thy promise, we cannot disp aire. We follow our father Abraham, who contrary to hope by reason, hoped in thee, that thouwouldest fulfil thy promise to him, though reason could not see it. And that thou maist the more willinglie doe it, O Lord, consider who we be. We be thy seruants, other Lords & masters we seeke none: we are thy people, & thouour God & King: can anie master forsake his seruant, or anie king his subiect that humbly submitteth himselfe vnto him? though we haue sinned & deserued to be cast away frō thee yet art thou, O Lord, rich in mercy, a king of great powre, & thy glorie shal shine in our deliuerance. Is any fault so great, that thou canst not forgiue it? Is any man so hard harted, but at length he wil be entreated? & shal any wickednes ouerflow thy goodnes so farre, that thou wilt not be intreated. So many yeares punishment would satisfie a stonie heart, & forgiue & forget all that is past: thinke on vs O Lord what metal we be made of, & deale not with vs in the ballance of Iustice but in mercie. We are by nature earth, dust, and ashes, and ther­fore heauie, sluggish, and forgetfull: we are borne of sinfull parents euen from the beginning, and therefore of our selues must needes follow their trade in ill doing: we be no Angels, & therefore can­not serue thee as we should doe. Take in good parte, O Lord, our simple good will, that that wanteth in vs, thy Messias thy sonne our Lord & Christ hath fulsilled for vs, & made vs partakers of his righ­teousnes. Loke at him O Lord and not at vs, who redeemed vs with no gold nor siluer, but by his owne pretious blood, & let that price satisfy thee, & deliuer vs. Igraunt, O Lord, thou deliuerest our fathers from their bondage & slauerie in Egipt, wherein we should haue continued if thy mightie hand, great powre, & strength had not made vs free. And not only then, O Lord, we tasted of thy goodnes, but euer since [Page] when the Philistims, Ammonites, Moabites, or other enemies round a­bout vs, oppressed vs, thou heardst vs, thou deliueredst vs, & shal we now be cleane forgotton? Arise, O Lord, speedely, and let thy people knowe that thou remembrest them, and hast a care ouer them. How shal thy goodnes be knowne, if thou haue not a people to praise the? I beseech thee, Lord, pardon my importunitie. I can­not departe vntil I obteine my sute at thy hands: though thou seeme to deale hardly with vs so many yeares, yet I will saie with patient Iob: although he kill me, yet I will trust in him stil. I know thou louest vs, what so-euer thou doest vnto vs: and therefore I will trust in thee stil. Though thou hast seemed hitherto, O Lord, to loke strangely on vs, yet now bowe downe thine eare, and heare the praier of me thy poore seruante, and the praiers of all the rest of my sorowful breethren thy seruants: which would gladly, so farre as the weaknes of mans nature will suffer vs, feare thy name. Thy holie spirit giueth vs a desire to serue thee, but the rebellious flesh, which we receiued of our first father Adam, withstandeth al such motion's, and draweth vs from thee. Deale not with vs there­fore, O God, in the rigour of thy Iustice, but in the vnspeakable measure of thy mercies. Rule thy seruante this daie, and graunt me to finde grace & fauour in the sight of this mighty king [...], whose cupbearer I am. It lieth most in him to help and to hin­der vs, to set vs at libertie, or keepe vs prisoners stil, to build our Citic, or to let it lye waste. I see O Lord, the feircenesse of his nature, and how litle he vnderstandeth thy goodnes towards him: but yet I know, O God, that the harts of Princes, euen Infidels, are in thy hands, to dispose as thou thinkest good. Haue pitie therefore, O God, on thy people, & bend his minde to pitie them. Other friends I doe not seeke, for without thee all sute and labour is in vaine.


LOrd God, which of thine owne meere good will inspiredst thy Prophets in olde tyme with the knowledg of thy secret misteries, and of thy great loue towardes vs thy seruants hast caused them to be put in writing, and hast preserued them from destruction by thy mortall enemies, that we might learne in them thy mercies, shewed to our fathers, and promised to vs,: giue vs, we beseech thee, a willing minde, with reuc­rence to heare & read thy holie word, declared in this booke, and a diligent [...] to followe the same. Raise vp, we praie thee, in these our latter daies [Page 11] such faithful seruants about the Prince in the Courte, as Nehemiah was, that would pitie the miserable state of the poore people & afflicted Church, rather then seeke their owne ease, wealth, and profit. Graunt vs, we praie thee, to weepe, faste, and praie, with such loue to our breethren, and sure faith in thee, as Nehemiah had, and not to cease, vntill we haue obteined some grace in thy sight, as he did. Our need, and miserie in these latter daies are as great as was in his time, and yet we see it not. Thou correctest vs, and we feele it not: thou teachest, and we will not learne. Thou hast brought home parte of the Iewes from their captiuitie, and yet manie re­mained behinde: so Lord thou hast in our daies opened the eies of some, and deliuered vs from that Romish slauerie, wherein we were so long drowned: but alas, O Lord, many of our breethren lie blinde, and will not see, haue eares, and will not heare. Open their eies, O God, and fullie restore vs, that we and they may ioyntlie feare thee, as our Lord, and reuerentlie loue thee, as our deare Father, to the confusion of Sathan and his partakers, and the euerlasting glorie of thy blessed name, and comforte of thy poore people, through Christ thy Sonne, our Lord and onely Sauiour.


CHAP. 2.

1. It came to passe in the moneth of March, in the 20. yeare of king Artaxerxes, that wine was afore him, and I toke vp the wine and I gaue it to the King, and was not sad afore in his sight.

2. And the king said to me, why is thy countenance so sad, and thou art not sicke? It is nothing else then a heauie heart. I was verie sore afrayde.

3. And I said to the king, O king, God saue thy life for euer. Why should not my countenance be sad, when the Citie and the place of my fathers burials lieth waste, and the gates are consumed with fire.

4. And the King said to me, for what thing doest thou aske? And I praied to the God of heauen.

5. And I said to the King, if it be thought good to the King, and if thy seruant finde fauour in thy sight: send me into Iuda to the Citie of my fathers burials, that I may build it.

6. And the king said to me, the Queene sitting by him, how long will thy Iourney be? and when wilt thou returne? And it was thought good in the kings sight: and he sent me: and I appoin­ted him a certaine time.

THe moneth Nisan as it is called in the He­brew here, is the first Moneth of the yeare as the scripture vseth to recken, and answe­reth vnto our March: beginning at the first chaunge of the Moone after the 12. day of March, when the daies and nights are both of one length. And although manie doubt who this Artaxerxes was, I take it certen­ly to be him that was called Longimanus, long hand, because the one hand was longer then the other: as Edward the first was cal­led Long-shanks because of his long leggs. I loue not to fil vp bookes with mouing doubt vnto the vnlearned, for whose cause speciallie I write: & namely such doubts as be harder in searching, then profitable in vnderstanding. The learneder sorte, that list to trie their wits, may search many mens writings and see diuers opi­nions: but a most apparant truth simply told, is best for the vnlear­ned. Yet in the 4. Cha. of Ezra I haue fully enough opened the mat­ter, which I think after good consideration wilbe best liked of most men. Among many thinges which prooue the good disposition of Nehemiah, these certaine times that he appointeth of his doing most cleerely declare the same. In the 9. moneth Nouember, in the latter end of the yeare, reckning the yeare by the course of the Sun he receiued these heauie newes of the misery of his people and countrie. And in the first moneth of the yeare following (yet both these moneths fell in the 20. yeare of the king Artaxerxes) God gaue him this occasion to speak for the releife of them to the king.

It oft falleth out that the latter end of the yeare by the course of the Sunne, is the beginning of the yeare by the reigne of the king. As our gratious Q. Elizabeth began her happy reigne in Nouem­ber, yet March in the yeare following is parte of the same yeare of her reigne, that Nouember was in the beginning. Al this while (4. moneths at the least) from Nouember to March was Nehemiah sad, weeping, fasting, praying, & seeking some good occasion, to seeke to the king for the releefe of his country. After this sorte wil good men commend their sutes vnto Princes, first by weeping, fasting & praying vnto God, because they know the Princes heart to be in gods hand to dispose and turne, as he thinketh good: but the wic­ked worldlings that haue not God afore their eyes, nor thinke not God to rule the world and Princes to, seeke cleane contrary wayes, and by rewardes, by him and by her, by flattering and dissembling make their way and breake their sutes vnto Princes. When Quene Ester should speake to the king for the deliuerance of the Iews her [Page 12] people, as Nehemiah should here, she bad Mardocheus goe and will all [...]. 4. the Iewes to fast & pray for her, that she might finde fauour in the kings sight and obteyne her sute for them: and by these Godly meanes both Ester and Nehemiah prospered in their requests. But because euery one cannot haue accesse to speak vnto the king, & breake his sute him selfe, nor it is not fit that it should so be, it is not amysse to vse the meanes of some good man about the prince to open the sute vnto him symply in the feare of God, committing the successe thereof by earnest prayer, to Gods goodwill and pleasure. And better it shalbe for them thus symply to walke in the feare of god, & to faile in the sute, then by lying, flattery, or briberie, to obtaine it. A hard lesson for Courtiers to follow, but a most true and godly waie. When Absalon was out offauour with his father Dauid: by the, meanes of Ioab and the woman of Thecoa he was brought in againe-but by practise rather, then vpright dealing, and therfore it prospe 2. [...]. 14. red not. Nehemiah had hitherto kept his inwarde sorow so se­cret, that the king perceiued it not: but it ouercame him now, and he was not able to couer it anie longer. What earnest loue was this in him toward his countrie, that thus long fasted, and prayed? and we are so nyce, that what daunger soeuer hangeth ouer vs, we cannot forbeare a dynner, that by some absty­nence from the bellie, we maie more earnestlie giue our selues to prayer. They that with reuerence will consider Gods secret prouidence, and care that he hath for his people, how he go­uerneth all things yea euen those that seeme outwardly of no va­lue, after such a sorte, that his heauenly wisdome and fatherly loue doeth most manyfestly appeare in them, toward those that seeke him, may here see a manifest example of it. Not by chaunce (for so nothing falleth out) but by gods greate prouidence, the king had wyne afore him, was drie, and called for drinke. Nehemiah also, as God had appointed, stood by, and as his office required, being his cupbearer, toke vp the cup, tasted, and gaue it to the king to drinke, looking verie sadly, whichhe was not wonte, and Princes loue not to haue anie to do so about them: Vppon this sadde looke falleth out all the matter, which otherwaies he durst not open. The king demaundeth what maketh him so sad: Nehemiah openeth his griefe: the king asketh, what he would haue. Nehemiah maketh his petition: the king graunteth it, and sendeth him tobuilde Ie­rusalem and giueth him liberally things necessarie, to the doingof it. A weightie matter to rise by occasion of a sad countenance: but thus our God of small things can bring sotth great matters. Dauid [Page] vsed to sit at king Sauls table, vntil he fel in displeasure with him: when he saw his place empty, Saul would aske where he was, that he came not to dinner. And yf he spake angerly, Ionathan Sauls sonne, would let Dauid know, that he might keepe him out of Sauls daunger: thus by an empty place at the table Dauids life was diuers tymes saued. Ester, when she would goe to speake for her people, and oflong tyme afore had not seene the king, nor might not come in his presence, except she were sent for, putteth on her costly apparell, and standeth afore the kings window, where she might be seene. The king [...]. [...]. seeing her, sendeth for her, & she spying her tyme, maketh her sute to the king for her people, and delyuereth them. Thus of smale occasions God worketh great things, that we may know that he ruleth all things, be they neuer so smale in mans sight. But among many great tokens of Gods prouidence and good wil toward Ne­hemiah, none is greater, then that he being a prisoner, a straunger borne, and one not of their religion, seruing Idols, but worshiping the true lyuing God, should be called to such a place of credit and worshipp, to be the kings cupbearer and taster. None vseth to put a­nie to such offices of trust, but such as be thought to be of great honestie, truth and fidelitie. No doubt many of the Persians desy­red that office, and disdained that Nehemiah a straunger should en­ioy an office of that credit, & authoritie, where he might haue free accesse to the king, and take occasion to moue his sute for himselfe or his friende. Yet this is Gods accustomed goodnes, that when his people be in trouble, he always prouideth some to be about the prince, which both may and will help to defend them. In this long captiuitie, vnder king Darius was Daniel & his fellowes in great au­thoritie with the king: vnder king Assuerus were Ester & Mardo­cheus, vnder king Cyrus were Ezra, Zorobabel, & others: vnder Ar­taxerxes was Nehemiah in great fauour: wich al being Iewes borne, did wonderfully relieue & cōfort the oppressed people in this great extremitie vnder heathen kings. A strange worke of God, to cause heathen Princes to fauour and defend the religion that they knew not, and to defend that people which their subiects hated. But such a louing lord is our God to vs, that though he punish his owne people sharplie for a tyme, yet he casteth them not away for euer: and if he lay on heauy loade, yet he giueth them strength to beare it. Here may be mooued a harde question on these mens doings, whither it be lawfull now for a Christian man to serue a heathen Prince or no, as they did then: let the case stande as it doeth here, and it is easy to answere. These men all were prisoners, taken out of their owne [Page 13] countrie by violence, liued vnder heathen kings & therfore ought faithfullie to serue, and quietly to obey them. So liued Ioseph in E­gipt vnder Pharaoh: so Daniell, Mardocheus, Ezra, Nehemiah, and o­thers. So did Ieremie and Baruch the Prophets teach them to liue saing vnto all the Iewes then being Captiues vnder infidels, Pray Iere. 29. for the life of Nebuchad-nezzar & Baltasar his sonne, seeke the peace of Baruc. 1. that countrie whitherye be caried away prisoners, and be not troublers of the common-wealth. So Saint Peter taught the christians in the beginning of their receyuing of the gospel, that seruants should not 1. Pet. 2. forsake their masters, though they did not yet beleeue, but serue them faith­fullie, &obey them reuerentlie, yea though they were hard & froward to them. So Saint Paul and Peter both biddeth the faithfull wife not to leaue her vnfaithfull husband, but behaue 'her selfe more honestly, that by her wel doing the husband may be wonne to the lord, & Gods holy name not 1. Cor. 7. ill spoken of through them. What good could a rude vnfaithfull people 1. Pet. 3. thinke of that God or religion, that would teach the seruante or wife to runne away from their masters or husband? The scripture teacheth no such thing, but all faithfulnes, duetie, and obedience toward all men, so far as we offend not God. But in these dayes, if anie should leaue the companie of Christian people willinglie, and goe serue an infidel king for vantage sake, that were il done, & differeth farre from the case of these good people, and maie not be done, except it were to goe and preach. Good men afore rehearsed, dissembled not their God, nor their Religion, but among the infi­dels boldelie confessed it, as all Christians ought to doe in al places, and afore all men, though they be cruell against them.

2. And the king said. The good will of the king toward Nehe­miah appeereth, in that he marketh the countenance of his seruant so diligentlie (which Kings vse not commonlie to doe, but to such, as they loue dearlie) and asketh the cause of his sadnes. Some would rather haue chidd him, and bid him goe out of the Kings presence: (For, Princes maie not haue any occasion of heauines shewed be­fore them, but all deuises that can be to make them mery) yet God would by this means moue the Kings heart to pitie his man, and by graunting his sute, comforte his heauy heart. The King belike was a wise man: for by a heauie countenaunce, he could perceiue the heauines of his heart. A good kinde of reasoning, and seldome vn­true. The heart is the beginning and well-spring of all affections and motions of the bodie, and by outward signes sheweth what it thinketh inwardlie. Momus (which is one that findeth fault with al things) when he was willed to tell, what fault he could finde in the [Page] fashion and shape of man, sayeth, man was not rightlie made, for that his harte was locked vpp secretlie in his breaste, that his thoughtes could not be espied: he should haue had some glasses set there, that his thoughtes might be seene. But he that will diligentlie marke the countenance & behauiour of a man, shal easelie perceiue what the heart thinketh. Hypocrites may dissemble and cloake them for a time, but time wil soone discrie them to a wise man. Salomon sayeth, A merrie heart Prou. 15. 13. maketh a chearefull count enance, & by the sorrow of the heart the minde is heauie. Ecclesiasticus saith, a wise man is knowne by his countenance: & the next verse is, A mans garment, laughter, & going, declare what a man is. Gregorie Nazianzen, when he saw Iulianus apostata the Emperor first, by his countenance & foolish moouing of his bodie, coniectu­red truly of his wickednes & falling frō God, which followed after­ward: & cried out, O Lord God, how great a mischiefe is nourished in the empire of Rome. Other affections likewise, when they grow much, as Inuectiua. 2. Niceph. 10. Chap. 37. this sorow of Nehemtah did, worke greatlie. Whē Ophni & Phinees were slaine, and the Arke of God taken, El: their father hearing the 1. King. 4. newes, for sorow fell of his chaire & died: & Phinees wife, being neare the time of her childe-birth, hearing the death of her husband, fell on trauell & & died for sorow. Whē the blessedvirgin Marie came to salute Eliza­beth, the child sprang in her wombe for ioy. So much a merrie heart can doe. I cannot tell whither the wisdome of Nehemiah in bridling his affection, that in so great a sorow he cried not out like a woman, or the good disposition of the King, that so pitied the sorowful heart of his man, is worthy more praise: but suerly both are to be followed of al Christians. Affections must be holdē vnder, that they grow not to much: & heauie heartes would be comforted. for as the King seeing the sad countenance of his man, diligently searched out the cause of his sorow, so Christians when one seeth an other in heauines should brotherly cōforte him, & weepe with them that weepe, as though we were partakers of the same sorow, according to the rule of S. Paul: If one mem­ber of the body, be it neuer so small, be in paine, the rest of his body is greeued also, & euery member seeketh to ease it, as they may, so they be natu­rallie Rom. 12. 1. Cor. 12. linked together. So should all Christians, being members of Christs mistical body, one beare the griefe of another, & help to re­leeue him. when Nehemiah had bene thus long sad, weeping, fasting, & praying, he was now cast into a verie greate feare, by reason of the kings earnest re quiring the cause of his sadnesse. Thus one sorow followeth a nother, and a Christian mans faith and patience is con­tinually e xercised: when one griefe is ended, it hath another. streight-wayes following. The king said, this sorow must needs come [Page 14] from a heauy heart, seing thy body is not sick. This toucheth a man neere when he must needes open the secrets of his heart to a king, whom he cannot tell how he wil take it, or what opinion he hath of him. Many thoughts and suspitions rise in good mens hearts, as wel as ill mens, and cast them into great feare: for euery man is subiect to affection of his owne nature. Nehemiah might feare lest the king had heard some accusation against him, or had taken some dis­pleasure with him, or would not graunt his request, or some o­ther would hinder his sute, or might lose his office, &c. and there­fore no marueil if he were sore afraid: but a strong faith will boldly passe through all such cares, and trusting in God, will con­tinue his good purpose. The troubles of the righteous be many, saith Psal. 34. Dauid, but the Lord will deliuer him out of them all.

3. And I said. After that he had something ouercome his feare and recouered his spirits, he declareth vnto the king the cause of his sadnes. The Maiestie of a king wil make anie good nature a­fraid to speake vnreuerentlie, though they be daylie in company with him and fauour, as Nehemiah was. And though the curtesie of a Princebe such, that he will abase and humble him selfe familiar­ly to vse his subiect: yet the subiect should not ouer boldely nor saucely behaue him selfe toward his Prince. Diogenes said, Aman should vse his Prince or peere as he would doe the fire. The fire if he stand [...]. to neere it, will burne him, and if he be to far of, he will be a colde: so to be ouer-bold without blushing or reuerence, bringeth in con­tempt of both syds. For the King will thinke him tosaucie, & the subiect will forget his duety. And to be ouerstrange and afraid, will cause the King to thinke him to be of an ill nature, and not bearing a good heart towards him. Therefore Nehemtah not ouer­bold with his Prince, with most humble obeysaunce wisheth the king good life, as the common phrase of the scripture vseth to speake, & plainly telleth the true cause of his sorow and sad countenance. Here we may learne the duetie of Christians, that liue vnder hea­then Princes: That is, they may not onely serue them, but ought humbly to obey & reuerence them. For surely this kinde of salutati­on in Nehemiah, to pray for the kings life, was not holy-water of the court from the teeth outward, Saluta libenter: but from an vnfeyned heart desiring it. S. Paul who liued vnder Th'emperour Nero, as wic­ked a man as euer the earth bare, biddeth to pray for all kings & them that be in authoritie (which then were all infidels) that vnder them we may liue a quiet life with godlines & honestie. And if thou thinkest such ill men ar not to be praied for, yet for the quietnes of gods Church [Page] thou must pray for them, that God would so rule their hearts, that vnder them we may liue a peaceable and godlie life. For that is the rea­son that Saint Paul yealdeth, though such wicked men will not learne their owne saluation them-selues. After that Nehemiah had thus dutifullie behaued him-selfe to the king, so that there could be thought no iust cause of any euil suspicion in him toward the king, then he boldly declareth the cause of his sadnes, and saith, the Citie where his fathers lay buried lay waste, & the gates were burned. And is this so greate a cause why Nehemiah should be so sad, weepe, faste, and pray so long? had he not seene nor heard of greater Cities and countries then it was, which were destroyed as miserably as it was? Babylon, which was much bigger then Ierusalem, was conquered not long afore by Cyrus: Samaria their neighbour by Senacharib, and Salmanasser, &c. But this Citie had a greater cause to belamen­ted for, then others. For it was taken from wicked men by gods mightie hand, & giuen to gods people. It was increased with many benefites from God, beautified with religion, Priests, a Temple to worship the liuing God in: strengthned by manie worthie Princes and lawes, and was a wonder of the world. It was the holy Citie, be­cause it was dedicated to the Lords seruice: though the people were euill that dwelt in it, and misused it. The gospel saith, the Deuill tempting Christ our sauiour, tooke him into the holy Citie, & set him on a Math. 4. pinacle of the temple: and Christ our lord foreseeing the destruction of Luke. 19. it to be at hand, wept for it. This was then the cause of Nehemiahs sorrowe, that God was dishonoured, for that this Citie, which was dedicated to his name, and giuen to his people to serue him in, was now defaced, by heathen Princes, his religion decayed, & people subiect to straungers. Azelous man cannot abide anything with­out great griefe, that seemeth to deface the glorie of his God. But if these causes were not, yet the natural loue to his countrie had beene sufficient to moue him to teares. For as it is a pitifull sight, to see a Prince or Noble man to be cast from his dignitie, to be spoy­led of his honour, landes, and goods, and become a carter, and driue the plowe, or lie tyed in prison: so surelie, it must needes moue any heathen man, to see the Citie, where he and his elders were borne and buried, to be ouerthrowne, lie open to all enemies, vnfenced with walles or gates, and be inhabited with a few cotte­gers, and no better then the poorest ragged hamlet in a coun­trie: much more Nehemiah must needs be touched for this citie, wich was so famous through out the world. There may be good reasons alledged beside these, why he should weepe for his [Page 15] Citie and countrie, as, because it was a great reliefe and succour, in all needes, to all that liued in it, from time to time, and a greate strength to the countrie about it. But what is that, to be sad for the place where his elders were buried? Is there any holynes in the ground that it is better to be buried there, then els where? Or the deade men aniething the worsse, if they be pulled out of their graues? What is the cause? In deed it was called holie, in diuers places of the Scriptures, as other outward things be, that are appointed and consecrated to a holie vse. S. Mathew sayeth, that diuers dead bodies Chap. 27. after the resurrection of our Lord and Master Christ Iesus, rose out of their graues, came into the holie Citie, and appeered to many. This holines came not by holie-water casting or hallowing of popish Bishopps which halowed Church or Church yeard, but by gods appointing, & choosing it for his dwelling place, where he would be worship­ped, as the Psal. teacheth, The Lord hath chosen Sion, he hath chosen it Psaline 132. for adwelling place for him-selfe: this is my resting place for euer, heere will I dwell, because I haue chosen it. So on gods behalfe and appoin­ting it for a place, where he would be worshipped, it was holie, though the wickednes of the people had defiled it, and iustlie pro­cured gods anger to destroy it. Christ Iesus our Lord finding his temple ful of all vsurers, buiers and sellers, gata whip, and draue them out, saying, my house is a house of praier, but ye haue made it a Luke. 13. denne of theeues. So by Gods appointing, it was a house of prayer, and by mans misusing of it, a denne of theeues. And he seeing the wic­kednes of the people in it, wept for it, and said, Ierusalem, which kil­lest the Prophetes, and stonest to death them which are sent to thee, how oft would I haue gathered thee, as the henne doeth her chickens vnder her Matth. 27. wings, and thou wouldst not. The Prophets of old time, for the wic­kednes of the people in it, haue likewise rebuked Ierusalem sun­drie times, How is this faithful Citie, which was ful of iustice, now be­come Esai. 1. an harlot? And againe, heare thou harlot, speaking to Ierusalem. Thus one thing, by Gods appointing it to a holie vse, may be called Ezec. 16. holie: and by mans misusing of it, become most vnholie. But the place it selfe maketh nothing holie, as it is written: God chose not the man for the place sake, but the place for mans sake: and therefore this Citie did not make the dead men holie that were buried in it, nor anie thing the worsse, if they were buried out of it. Therefore the papists are both wicked, in teaching the people that one place is more holie then another, to be buried in: as in the Church, rather then in the Churchyeard, & neere the high altar, rather then in the body of the Church: and they are theeues also, in picking poore [Page] mens purses for the same. In these were many abuses, as in any one thing. But he that wil keepe these three rules, shall not erre. First, That he doe not cast out the dead bodies vnburied, to be deuoured of wilde beasts, nor burie them in dunghils, ditches, or such like places, where none else is buried. Diogenes, when his friends asked him, How he wolud be buried, bad them cast him out, it skilleth not how. Why? saie they, the beasts will deuour thee. Nay then, saieth hee, lay my stafe by me, and I shall driue them awaie. A barbarous saying, and meete for a hea­then man. Yet I thinke the laying of the metyarde in the graue with the dead man, came vp on some such like cause, or else to driue a­way deuils. Socrates, whē he was asked the like question, answered more honestly, and bad burie him so, as were moste easyfor his friends.

The second is, to auoid great cost & sumptuousnes, as Shrines, Tombes Tapers, Torches, Candles, mourning-coates, feastings, &c. which do no good to the dead, & are to chargeable & vnprofitable to their friends. Yet if Ciuil pollicy adde some solemnitie to Princes & no­ble men, as their coate Armoure, flagge, sword, heade-peece, & re­cognisaunce, I dare not vtterly condemne it, and yet would wish it more moderatly vsed, then many times it is. As there was difference in them, while they liued, from the common sorte & state, so there may be in their burialls, for polliciessake, but for no religion or ho­lines at al. The third thing to be obserued is, that no superstition should be cōmitted in them: wherein the Papists infinitelie offend. As in mas­ses, diriges, trentalls, singing, ringing, holi- water, halowed places, yeares, daies, & moneth, mindes, crosses, pardon-letters to be buri­ed with them, mourners, de profundis, by euery lad that could saie it, dealing of money solemnlie for the dead, watching of the corps at home, bell and banner, with manie moe then I can reckon. These three abuses taken awaie, remaineth that comely order, which Christian charitie requireth: as to haue neighbours quietlie to ac­companie the corps to the graue, as it was in the poore widowes sonne of Naim. Brotherlie to comfort those that lost their friends, as the Iuc. 7. Iewes did Marie & Martha, for their brother Lazarus: to confirme faith in the resurrection of the dead in the selfe same bodie, that Ioan. 11. there is put in the earth: to prepare them-selues to die daily, not knowing when our course shal come. To praise the Lord, that graunted the man so long a life among vs with honestie, and in the end gaue him a stedfast faith to seeke his saluation onelie in Christ Iesus, who hath conquered death, hel, & sinne, by his owne death, and by his rising from death hath iustified vs, and will raise vs vp from the graue in the end, to liue with him in heauen without [Page 15] end. The comely vsing ofthese in Gods Church, is a great comfort to all good Christians, and the want of them, a token of Gods wrath and plague. Abraham was promised burial in his ripe age, as a blessing from God: Iosias was promised, that he should be buried Gett. 15. in peace, and not see the plagues that should follow: the Gabeonites are 2. King. praised of God, and rewarded also of Dauid, for that they buried 2. Sam. 2. King Saul and his sonne, though the father was an ill man: contrari­wise, to King Ieroboam and Achab, was threatned for a plague, that 1. King. 14. & 21. he and his posteritie should not be buried, but deuoured of beasts: and to King Ioachim was fore-tolde it, that he should be buried as an asse, for Icre. 22. his falling from God. Tobias was cheifelie commended for burying Tob. 5. the dead bodies of his countrie men, that were cruellie slayne. Thus burial is commended, & to want it was great reproofe. Ieremy threatneth Icre. 8. them, that for their wicked life they should be pulled out of their graues. The place of burial needeth no bishoppes blessing, nor Popish halowing, but euerie comelie place is holy enough, so it be reser­ued for that vse onelie. It is called in the Greeke, Coimiterion, that is, a sleeping place, and in the hebrew, Beth-haiaim, that is the house of the liuing: thereby to teach vs, that the body sleepeth, & the soules liue, as Salomon saith: the earth shal goe to the earth from whence it was, and the soule shal returne to him, that gaue it. Abraham bought a feeld to burie his in, and there was he and his posterity buried: and that was Gett. 23. 15. a common custome, continued long after by the iudges and kings of Iuda. So Gedeon, and generallie the rest were buried. It is said of King Osias, that he was buried in the feeld, where the other Kings afore Iudg. 8. him were buried in a place kept for that vse onelie. And the Gospel 2. Cro. 26. teacheth, that with the money, which Iudas solde Christ our Lord for, they Matt. 27 bought the potters fielde to burie straungers in. These places were some­times within Cities, & some-times without, as Iesus Christ our Ma­ster was buried in a garden without the citie Ierusalem, and he met the Luke. 7. poore widow of Naim at the gates of the Citie, going farther to burie her sonne. It was long after, afore they vsed either Church or Church­yeards. Like wise mourning for the dead would be bridled, that it be not to much, and seeme to grudge at Gods doings, in taking our friends from vs. Dauid wept for his childe and praied, whilest it was sick, 2. Sam. 12. Mat. 9. but after it was dead, he wept no more. Our sauiour Christ cast the min­strels and mourners both out of the dores, when he raised vp the young wo­man in her fathers house. By which we are taught that we should not daunce with minstrels, (for that is to barbarous, & against nature) nor to be greeued with the death ofour friends, nor desperatlie mourne with the heathen, as though there were no life after this. [Page] I would not haue you ignorant, saith S. Paul, of them that sleepe in death, that ye mourne not, as they that haue no hope to rise againe. Sirach appointeth a reasonable time for reasonable mourning, saying, mourning for the dead is two or three dases, and before he addeth, or seauen daies at the most. The cost that is made for the dead, is rather as S. Aug. saith, ful wel a comfort for the liuing, then help for the dead. For sure it is comfortable to all good folke, to see our freind in his life-time to haue behaued him selfe so honestlie, that his neighbours beare him so good will after his death, that they will see him buried: and it strengthneth our faith of the resurrection, when the bodies are not cast away, as beastes bodies be. And although this generall do­ctrine of comelynes be most true & comfortable, yet many times the case falleth out so, that manie a good man cannot enioy this kinde of burial. In persecution many good martyrs haue bene deuoured of wylde beastes, many torne in peeces, & hanged on gibbets, manie burned & their ashes cast into the water; yet these good mē were no­thing the worsse for wanting their graue. For the kingdome of God standeth not in outward things, but in true faith in God by Christ. For as it profiteth not an euil mā any thing at al to be solemnly buri­ed: so it hurteth not a good mā to want it in these cases, if he cannot 2 Cor. 5. get it. Euerie one shal receiue then, as he hath done in his life, & not after his death, nor his costlie burial. We read of the rich glutton, that he was buried & no doubt costlie, as all his life was gorgious, but poore Luc. 18. Lazarus gatt little cost at his death, that could finde so little mer­cie in his life: yet was the glutton in hell, for al his pompe: and poore La­zarus in Abrahams bosome in ioy. But among all other foolishnes in Poperie, I cannot but marueile at this, that in their great solemne Ier. Epi. 30. singing for the dead, they would not vse, but forbid, Alleluyia, to be songe. If the Romish Church be the true Church, and all well that they commaund, why should the late Synagogue of Roome deface that, which the best Bishoppes of Roome alowed of? I e­rom writeth in his 30. Epistle called Epitaphium Fabiolae, that at the buriall of that noble woman, the people of Roome were gathered to the so­lemne funerall, and there the Psalmes did sound aloud, and Alleluyia re­bounding with his Eccho on high, did shake the gylded seelings of the Tem­ple. On one side a company of yong men, on another side were old men, which songe forth the prayses and deedes of that good woman. And no marueile said he, if men reioyce ofhir saluation, of whose conuersion the Angels in heauen were glad. The like is written in the 27. Epistle ad Eusto chi­um for her mother Paula. In this I note the olde Church of Roome that at such solemne sunerals, they sang Alleluyia on high, as the Pa­pists [Page 17] doe now on Easter day. Then they praysed god for the dead, for so Alleluya signifieth, and now they pray god for the dead, to get money with-all. Then they reioyced of their saluation, & now they weepe for feare of the Popes purgatory. Blessed are thoy that dio in the lord, saith Saint Iohn. Why? then they goe not from paines here to miserie there. Why should the new Romish Synagogue mislike that good ancient order? the one of them must needs erre, which manie thinke cannot be, and specially in this our age. There be other controuersies in these our dayes abroad, which might haue beene verie well left vntouched, if the quietnes of Gods Church had bene dutifullie sought, as it ought to be. As whither the ministers should burie the dead as the common order appointeth: and whi­ther burial-sermons are to be suffered and vsed? &c. This place giueth no great occasion to intreat of such matters, and therefore I shall let them passe. I loue not contention, but doe earnestlie require e­uery one in his calling for Gods cause, to seeke peace with all their might, & those that professe Iesus Christ, I desire the Lord that they would ioyne with their Breethren in pulling downe the Romish Antechrist, the common enemy of all Gods doctrine and Religi­on, leauing such vnprofitable contentions which breede deuision. And if they haue to many burial sermons in the citie, God graunt vs some moe in the countrie. Thus much haue I spoken by occasion of Nehemiahs mourning for the place of his fathers burial: not for the losse of the houses, Citie, or walles, or that he was troubled with such superstitious opinions of thinking any holynes in the place, or that the dead folke weare any thing worsse in wanting their coue­ring in the earth, but that he was greeued to see the Citie, which God chose him selfe, to be worshiped in, and those good men, whose bones did rest there, or had faithfullie serued the Lord in their life, now to be giuen to heathen mens hands, Gods Reli­gion neglected, the state of the common-wealth and good lawes ouerthrowne, Gods enemies to triumph ouer them, as though their god could not, or would not restore them. This shouldgreeue all Christians in all ages, when they see the glory of the liuing God any waies blemished. God graunt vs this zeale vnfeynedlie.

4. And the King sayd: After that the King vnderstood the cause, of his sorowe and sadde countenance, he both pitied the case, and his mans heuie heart: and God so mooued the King to fauour his sute, that he asked him, what he wonld haue? When Nehemiah per­ceiued the kings good inclination towards him, & his sute, afore he would declare his petition, he turned him vnto the God of heauen, [Page] & praied him that he would so guide his tongue, that he should speake nothing, which might iustlie offend the king, & also that he would so moue the Kings heart, that his request might be graun­ted. A worthie example for all Christians to follow in their sutes making to the Prince. He goeth not to anie great man, nor to anie other which was in fauour with the king, to desire him to speake for him, to commend his cause, to perswade the King to graunt his re­quest: which he might lawfullie haue done. Also he offereth no re­wardes, nor like pleasure to any man, but turneth him to the God of heauen as the cheifest gouernour of all goodnes: which setteth vp rulers, & putteth downe Kings, and is King of Kings, and praieth him to prosper his sute. He praieth to no Idols nor saintes, though he liued among that Idolotrous nation: for he knew they could not help him, but faithfully called on the liuing God, which his good fathers had worshiped of olde time. This prayer was not so much in speaking or kneeling, but a lifting vp of his minde towards God and desiring him to further his sute. Anna made like prayer, when she powred out her sorow before the Lord, mouing her lippes, but speaking 1. Sam. 1. neuer a word. In so much that the hie Priest thought she had bene dronken. For it falleth out oft, that in great sorow a man cannot let a teare fall, the heart being oppressed with griefe, and yet he at another time will weepe tenderlie: So in prayer oft times, the more earnestlie that a man prayeth, the lesse he can speake, his heart being so earnestlie giuen to call on the Lord. As when Moses was in great heauines, and prayed for the children of Isra­ell, being in that great distresse, God sayd vnto him, why criest thou vnto me? and yet there is not one worde written, that he cried, or [...]. 14. said. It is the praying and crying of the heart, that God is so much delighted withal, and yet neuer the worse, if it burst out into words and shew it selfe. Let no man then excuse him selfe, & say, he can­not pray, except he were in the Church, or in his Chamber alone: for in all places he may lift vp his minde to God, though he were in the market or Mountaine, and with hartie prayer, though he speake not at all, desire the Lord to heare him, as Nehemiah do­eth here, in the presence of the King, and manie others: and no doubt if he pray in faith, and for such things as further the glorie of God, the Lord will heare him. Let vs learne here to begin all our doings with prayer vnto the Lord, & we shall speede so much the better.

5. And I said. When Nehemiah had made his short prayer in so earnest a faith, and perceiued the Kings good will towards him: [Page 18] then with all humblenes, not appointing the King what he should doe, but referring all to his consideration and wisdome, desireth him, that if he thought it good, if Nehemiah him selfe were thought a fit man for the purpose, or his seruice had bene acceptable to the King, that it would please him to send him to Iury, to the city where he was borne, and his Elders lay buried, that he might build it vp againe. No mar­ueil that Nehemiah was afraid, and prayed earnestlie for good suc­cesse in his sute: for he knew well that the Iewes were counted a rebellious people, and hated of all countries about them, and the King might thinke him to make his sute for building of Ierusalem, that they might settle aud strengthen them-selues against him & other Kings, and claime their olde liberties that they had a fore. But God so mooued the Kings heart, that he had no suspition of any such enterprise by Nehemiah his faithfull and trustie seruant. With such modestie Princes would be dealt withal, and not roughly, nor vnreuerentlie: for so Nehemiah doeth here most dutifullie. Yf ma­ny men had their choise at the Kings hand (now adaies) to aske what they would, as Nehemiah might haue done here, would they not haue asked Castles, Lands, Offices, and authority for them and their issue, that they might haue bene great men in the world, and not the building of a Citie, which would haue bene a trouble and cost vnto them, rather then any profit, and when they had fini­shed it, it had not bene their owne, but other should haue enioy­ed it, and they little the better for it? But such is the zeale of them that loue the Lord, that they will seeke to build, and not to pull downe, as many doe, and will preferre all things that may further the glorie of God, though it be with their owne losse, rather then seeke their owne profitte with the hinderaunce of it. Terentius a noble-man, Captaine vnder the Emperour Valens, Theedor. Lib. 4. cap. 32. when he had bene in warres and sped well, the Emperour liking well of his good seruice, bad him aduise him-selfe what he would make sute for, and he would reward him liberally. Terentius being a zealous man in Religion, and perceiuing the greate herisie of the Arrians to be much fauored (and the Emperour him­selfe being thought to be infected there-with) could not abide such blasphemie against Iesus Christ our Sauiour, put this suppli­cation in writing, and with most humble reuerence and earnest desire, required the Emperour to graunt him his request, & he would think his seruice fully recompensed. The effect of his supplication was, that it would please th'emperour to graunt the true christians a Church to serue & worship the Lord Iesus in, seperatlie from the Arrians, which dis­noured [Page] him: for it was not fit among the Christians to heare such blasphe­mie against the lord Christ, as they spewed out. The emperour, reading his supplication and considering the effect of it, was very angrie, Niceph. 11. pulled it in peeces, and threwe it away, chyd with Terentius, that cap. 49. he could deuise nothing to aske but that. Terentius gathered vp the peeces of paper curteously, and said, If he could not be heard in Gods cause, he would not make further sute for his owne profit. O noble Cap­taine, where is thy fellow? who hath done the like, but Nehemiah here, Ester, and some few other? God increase the number of such religious men about Princes, and then they will not gape so fast as they doe, to pluck and pull away from god and his ministers al that they may scratch or scrape to the dishonour of God, defacing of his glory, decay of the ministery, Religion, & al good learning: thinking most highly of them-selues, that they be worthie to haue all things, where in deed they deserue least, and the more they get, the lesse ar they satisfied. It is a full contentation to all good men, when they see God glorified in his Church, word, and ministery: for then they know, if they dutifully seeke, that the Lord wil not see them lacke that which shalbe necessarie for them: and they wil content them­selues with that portion, that God giueth them, and will not gree­dely seeke for other mens things wrongfully, to the dishonour of the high God.

6. And the king said. When the King had considered his Re­quest, he aduised him-selfe well, and was both lothe to deny him his sute, and also to forgoe so faithfull a seruante, asked him how long he would be absent, and when he would returne? So did the Queene to, which sat by the King, they both loued him so well, and would not haue him long from them. A speciall gift of God to see a stran­ger borne, of that Religion and people which were hated of all the world, to be in such fauour with the king and Queene, and to finde such fauour and grace in their sight, that he gaue licence and all o­ther necessary things to build that Citie, which had bene noysome to so many Kings about them. But such is the mercifull goodnes of our God, towards his Church and people, that he will make Gen. 47. straungers and their enemies to defende and help them: as Phara­oh Ester. 8. 9. and Assuerus did, by the good meanes of Ioseph and Ester, &c. And because the Queene sat by, it is like that there was some so­lemne feaste that day. for the Queenes of Persia vsed not to come into the Kings presence, but when they were called for by name, as it is written in the booke of Ester: and Strabo writeth, that the Per­sians vsed to debate of weightie matters, when they were refreshed with [Page 19] wine. This might be a great cause of the great feare that Nehemiah was in, as he said before, to see the Queene present, and manie o­ther great men beside no doubte, as is commonlie vsed at such solempnities. It will make anie good nature afraid to speake to a King, but much more in the presence of so manie estates, who might be hinderers of his sute, and counsel the King to the con­trary. But when God will pitie his people and haue things for­ward, he will so mooue Kings harts that nothing shall hinder that he will haue done: and so the King did graunt him his request, gaue him leaueto goe build that Citie, and sent him away honorablie, and rewarded him liberallie, as followeth. Nehemiah appointed the King a time of his returne to him againe, but when, it is not here men­tioned: yet such a time as the King was content withal. In the last chapter of this booke it appeareth, that in the twelft yeare following Nehemiah returned vnto the King, & yet gat licence againe to goe to Ierusalem. But whither this was the time that he appointed to re­turne, it is not written, and therefore vncertaine, and being vn­written, and vncertaine, it is not so necessarie to be knowne, nor curiouslie to be searched, but we maie content our-selues to be ig­noraunt of it, as of all vncertaine, vnwritten, and vnnecessarie trueths.

7. And I said vnto the King, if it be thought good to the King, let them giue me letters to the captaines beyond the riuer, which maie conuey me vntil I come into Iehuda.

8. And letters also to Asaph keeper of the Kings woods, that he maie giue me tymber to make beames for the gates of the Pal­lace, which is neere the Temple and for the walls of the Citie, and for the house which I shall enter to: and the King gaue me according to the hand of my God which was good to­ward me.

9. And I came to the captaines beyond the riuer and gaue them the Kings letters, and the King sent with me captaines of the ar­mie and horssemen.

10. And Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobias that seruant and Ammonite heard of it, & they were greeued with great sorow that a man was come to seeke any good for the children of Israell.

NEhemiah was a glad man that the King had graunted his re­quest, & sleepeth not his purpose, nor letteth the time slip, but [Page] with al diligence prepareth things necessarie for his iourney. And first because the iorney was long, and daungerous for enemies that hated him and all the Iewes, lest he should haue some displeasure done him by the way, he desyreth the King that his Counsell and Secretaries might giue him a passeporte, and graunt him men to conduct him safely into Iewry. A bolde request for so meane a subiect, being but the Kings cupbearer, a straunger, and borne of that people and countrie, which all the world hated. What could haue bene done more for the noblest man in the countrie, or for the best seruitour the King had? I cannot tell whither it is to be more marueiled at, that either he durst aske it, or that the King would graunt it. But Nehemiah perceiued Gods good will and the Kings fauour toward him, & was bolde to aske: God prospered his sute that the king graunted his request. And as afore, so here marke also, that he doeth not boldly and rashly appoint the King what he should doe, but with all modesty referreth his request vnto the Kings wisdome and discretion, to graunt or deny, and sayth: if it be thought good to the King. Againe he doeth not with bribes or flattery procure the Kings letters to be signed priuily (as many doe, that make vnhonest sutes, and would not haue their matter debated by the wiser sorte, lest so it might be denied) but he requireth, that they which are appointed for that purpose, and doe such things by good aduise, as Chancellours and Secretaryes, might giue him letters to the Captaynes beyond the Riuer Euphrates (for that is ment by the ri­uer, because it was more notable then any other Riuer in the coun­trie, and did deuide the Kingdome of Persia from other countries about it) ouer which into Iewry he might passe. It might be thought straunge to some, that Nehemiah here asketh not onely of the King his letters of passeporte, but also a number of souldyers to conduct him safely into Iewry. For Ezra when he had licence of Ezra. 8. the King to take the same iourney and buyld the temple, neither as­ked, nor had any to conduct him safely on his way, (though the daunger was as great then, and he was afraid as well as Nehemiah was now.) why should Nehemiah aske now, seeing he serued and trusted in that same God, that Ezra did, and was as earnest and zea­lous in Religion as he was? why should this be lawfull or commen­dable in the one, and not in the other? Causes may be rendered di­uers. There was difference in the persons and times. Ezra was a Priest, cunning in the lawe, and had oft taught boldely afore the King and his nobles, how sure and safe they were from all daun­gers, that put their trust in God alone: and if he should haue after­wards [Page 20] bene afraid, he should haue seemed to haue spoken vntruly afore, and his God should not haue bene thought able or willing to defend his people that trusted in him. Nehemiah was a courtier and in great fauor with the King, & had not so openly and boldly spo­ken of Gods prouidence and care towards his people as Ezra had (though he beleeued it as faithfully as the other did) and therefore might more boldly without reproche of his God, or his doctrine and saings, aske it. Yet this proueth not that Preachers may not at any tyme require a safe conduct of Princes, to whom it belongeth to prouide in daungerous times that passage by the hie way may be safe and quiet. Paul, as we reed, when the Iewes had sworne that they would neither eat nor drinke, vntil they had killed him, desyred an vnder Act. 25. Captaine to bring his Nephew (who tolde him of that conspiracie) to the high Captaine to declare so much to him, and desyred that he would prouide some safetie for him, that he were not murthered by the way: and in this doing Paul neither offended man, nor distrusted of Gods prouidence and care toward him. Againe in that great and long storme that Paul & his fellowes were in on the sea, where they looked for nothing but to be drowned, the Angell of God Act. 27. tolde Paul, that god had giuen him the liues of all that were with him in the ship & none of them should perish: yet afterward when the maryners would haue cunningly conueied them-selues out of the ship, vn­der pretence to haue cast anker, Paul tolde the high Captaine, that if he suffered them to goe out of the ship, they should all perish: & this he did not saie, as doubting of the Angels true message, nor of gods good will and mightie hand, able to deliuer them, but to teach vs that al­though god haue made vs promisse of his mercy we may not tempt him, lie downe and sleepe carelesly, but diligently to looke for & vse such helps & meanes as god hath apointed vs to worke by: god worketh al goodnes in vs him selfe, & yet hath appointed means for vs to vse & doe such things the which we may in no case neglect, & yet al praise is due to him, whatsoeuer we doe: for it is he that both ordeyneth the end of all things how they shal come to passe, and also the meanes how they shal be brought to passe, & prospereth al them that forsaking them-selues vse such meanes & hang on him knowing the beginning, middest, & end to be ruled & com to passe as he appointed. God inspired the Apostles with all knowledge of the scriptures sodenly, which were vnlearned & neuer went to the schoole: yet male not we thinke, that we will be learned after the same sorte without studie and praier: for then we tempt God, refusing such helps as he hath appointed for vs to come to lear­ning [Page] by. And though we studie and pray neuer so much, yet we shal vnderstand nothing, vntil he giue vs his holy spirit, the school­master of all trueth, to lighten our mindes, and giue vnderstanding of his holie will. We be like an axe in the carpenters hand, which though it be a good one, yet the praise of the good worke that is Esa. 10. done with it, is to be giuen to the man, and not to the axe. Such things be we in gods hand, by whom he worketh his will and glory (though not vnsensible, as dead things be, yet as vnable to worke any good thing without him, as the axe is without the carpenter.) for of our selues we are not able to thinke a good thought, as the Apostle saith, that all praise may be his, that blesseth and prospereth both vs 2. Corinth. 3. and the meanes, that he hath appointed for vs to worke by, and bringeth it to a good end. We must thinke likewise of Gods doings and our selues in all other things, sinne except, that he worketh all in all, yet not without vs: that all maie saie with Dauid: Not vnto vs O Lord, not vnto vs, but vnto thy name giue all praise and glorie. Thus [...]. 115. we see that some man maie at some times doe that another maie not: yea, one man him-selfe cannot doe at all times that he maie well doe, at sometimes. But this general rule being kept, that Gods glorie be not defaced by doing of it, it maie be done of all men at all times. Paul wrought for his liuing, when he preached, which others did not, nor are bound to doe: and he might haue liued of his prea­ching as well as others did: yet the time was such, and the people so peeuishlie bent, to sclaunder the Gospel of God, that Paul for­bare to vse that libertie which God gaue him, and would not be thought to preach for gaines, but wrought for his liuing, would not be chargeable to any man. Such was the case here, that Ezra might not aske help, and Nehemiah might.

8. And letters also. Nehemiah wiselie considering what he wanted yet to the finishing of such a worke as he went about, perceiued he should neede timber, and therefore desired the Kings letters of warrantie to Asaph keeper of his woodes, that he might deliuer him such trees, and so manie, as would serue his purpose, both for the building of the gates, the towres of the Pallace, neere to the Temple, the Citie walles, and the house that he should dwel in him selfe. And here we shall see the King worthie great praise, though he was but barbarous, that for pollicies sake, and wealth of his countrie, both preserued his woods, and set a keeper ouer them, that they should not be wilfully wasted. A good example for Princes, to foresee the like in their countries in all ages: for common-wealths cannot stand without the vse of woods in manie kind of things. Nehemiah is also much [Page 21] to be commended, that although he was in so great authoritie and fauour with the King, yet he would not take of his woods without his licence and warrant, as manie doe. If these tow things were kept in this land, that both the Princes woods and others to should be preserued, faithful keepers set ouer them, and none deliuered without sufficient warrant, we should not finde the great lacke that we generally doe. What spoile hath bene made of woods in our re­membraunce, wise men haue noted, but few gone about to amend it, though manie haue lamented it. What common dealing hath bene practised to get such lands of the Prince and other men as were well woodded into their hands, and when they had spoiled the woods, rackt the rents, & deepely fined the tenants, then to re­turne the same land into the Princes hand againe, or sel it ouer to o­thers, and get as much, it is to well knowne throughout the Realme, and to the hurt of manie at this daie. Nehemiah could aske nothing so much, but the King did graunt it speedelie, God did so mooue the Kings heart and prospered Nehemiahs doings, in so much that he giueth all the praise to God alone, and saith, the hand of his God was good toward him, to set forward his good purpose of building Ieru­lem. Nehemiah knew well that God was the common God of all people and nations, both by creation, and gouernement of them: but because he seemed to fauour him more then he did other, in giuing him boldnes to open his griefe vnto the king: wisdome to make his humble sute without offence vnto the King, and so good successe to haue all things graunted that he required of the King so vnlooked for, he calleth him his God, as if he loued or cared more for him, then for the rest of the world. This is the common vse of the Scripture to call him the God of Abraham, Isaac, Iacoh, Dauid, and Daniel, because he did both deliuer them out of such troubles, as none else could or would, or anie hath bene so oft and wonderfullie deliuered, as they were: and also did so blesse and prosper them and their doings, as the common sorte of men were not wont to be. So they that see their owne miserie, and how litle goodnes, but rather punishment they deserue at Gods hand, when they see the Lord pitie them, remember them, help them, and blesse them, they conceaue by and by such a loue toward God that it would please him to looke vpon them, that for ioy they burst out into teares, they call him their God, because they feele his good will and fauour so much toward them, and more then to other, yea much more then they could deserue, or be bolde to looke for at his hands. And as one man vseth to help [Page] another, by putting forth his hand to raise him that is fallen, to giue him such things as he wanteth, and to put awaie and de­fend him from such things as may hurt him: so it is called the good hand ofGod, when he either bestoweth his blessing and good things vpon vs, or when he putteth away such daungers and euils from vs, as might hurt vs, as it were with his mightie and mercifull hand.

9. And I came to the Captaines. Nehemiah hath now taken his leaue at the Court, and looseth no time, but when he had prouided all things necessarie for his iourney, he speedeth him selfe for ward and thinketh all time lost, that is not bestowed in releeuing his countrie being in such miserie. A straunge example to see a cour­tier leaue that wealth, ease and authoritie that he was in & go dwel so farr from the court, where commonly it falleth out that he which is out of sight is out of minde and sone forgotten, in an olde torne and decaied citie, a rude people, and poore countrie, where he should not liue quietly for his enemies, but take paines to build him selfe a house, and the Citie where he would dwell: to toyle and drudge, like a poore labouring man, that should worke for his li­uing, yea and many times to be sore assaulted of his enemies, both openlie and priuilie, to the great daun ger of his life, as the rest of the booke following will declare. But this is the case of earnest & zealous men in religion, that they can say with Dauid, I haue chosen Psal. 84. rather to bee a dore-keeper in the house of God, then to dwell in the pallaces of sinners: and, it is better to bee one day there, then a thousand els where. God for his mercie sake raise vp some such few courtiers as Nehe­miah was, which can be content to forsake their owne ease, wealth, and authoritie, and giue them-selues painfullie to tra­ueill for the wealth oftheir countrie. And because that is to be wished, rather then hoped for, good Lord giue vs such, as wil be no hinderers, and wil be content to liue in compasse quietlie, and not seeke to trouble others that would serue the Lord willing­lie. Amen.

The king did not onelie deale thus liberallie with Nehemiah at his departure, but also honorably sent him away with captaines & horse­men, safelie to conduct him on his iourney, that none should hurt him by the way. And where the king vsed him so courteouslie, no doubt the rest of the court shewed him much curtesy: for courtyers must needes like and mislike, whatsoeuer the King seemeth to like or mislike, to set vp or pull downe. Courtyers commonly, when the King speaketh, haue lost both sense and witte: for if the [Page 22] King seemeth to fauour any thing, they all, as men without vnderstanding, saie it must needes be so. If the King will not giue eare to heare a matter, they are all deafe and cannot abide to heare speake of it: If the King will not see it, they all crie out, a­waie with it. So that it is hard to tell, whither is in more misera­ble case the king or such dissemblers: for if the King haue no iudge­ment of him selfe, he shall haue no help of such, and they like witlesse men dare not speake a trueth. Happie is that Prince therefore, that hath wise counsellours about him, which will due­tifullie enforme him of matters vprightlie, wiselie debate the matter with him, without all double dealing, as the other sorts doe. When King Assuerus would aduaunce Haman, euery man had Ester. 3. & 8. him in reuerence: but when Mardocheus was sett vp, then was there crying, Crucifige, on Hamon. But thus mercisullie doeth our Lord God deale with his Church and people, that in eue­rie age he hath some about the Prince, that both can and will speake and be heard, though not for all generallie in their rage and persecution, yet for many, as occasion serueth, which shalbe deliuered from such tyranny, to glorifie their God for his mercy: though many willingly spend their liues patiently, to the praise of the same God eternallie. But no rage shalbe so greate to roote out Gods chosen, but the Lord will euer preserue a number, euen by help of their enemies openly to worship and serue him, in despite of all their foes.

Plinius the Ruler of a Prouince vnder Traiane the Empe­rour, Euseb. lib. 3. Cap. 33. and appointed to punish the Christians sundrie waies, seeing the great nomber of them, doubted what he should doe, and wrote to the Emperour, that he found no wickednesse in them but that they would not worshipp Images, and that they would sing psalmes before day-light vnto Christ as a God, and did forbid all sinnes to be vsed among them: The Emperour hearing this, became a great Ruf. lib. 1. Cap. 36. deale more gentle vnto them. Salustius tormenting Theodorus a Christian sundrie waies, and along time, to make him for sake his faith, but all in vaine, went to Iulianus the Emperour and tould him what he had done from the day breake vntil 10. of the clock: and counselled him that he should proue that way no more by crueltie: for they gat glory in suf­fering patiently, and he gat shame in punnishing so sharply: because they would not yeald vnto him. Many moe such examples, the ecclesiasti­cal histories are ful of, where God deliuered his people by the fore­speach of their enemies, but these shall suffice at this present. God had now raysed vp Nehemiah, and had giuen him fauour & grace in [Page] the Kings sight, to aske and obteine comfort for the deliuerance of his Church and people the Iewes, which had bene so long in great miserie and slauerie. Nehemiah then passeth on his iourney toward I erusalem with great speede and honour, passeth the riuer Euphrates and those theeuish and daungerous waies that he was afraid of, safely commeth to the rulers of the countrie beyond Eu­phrates, deliuereth them the Kings commission for tymber, and a band of new souldiers for his safe conduct into Iewrie, that these might re­turne home againe to the king with thankes that they had conuey­ed him so farre on his way safelie.

10. And Sanballat. As Nehemiah was glad that god had prospered his doings so well hitherto, so others were as sory. For at his com­ming into the countrie, Sanballat & Tobias were so sore greeued that any man found such fauor with the king, that he might procure any good thing to ward the children of Israel, that if he had not brought the kings letters with him, he could not haue escaped their dis­pleasure. It is not manifest in the text what countrie these men bee of, but I can well encline to that opinion, which thinketh that San­ballat was A Moabite of the Citie Horonaim, which Esay in the 15. and Ieremy 48. speake of: and that Tobias was an Ammonite, because the Moabites & Ammonites were euer frō the beginning most cru­ell against the Israelites in their comming out of Egipt, and al their doings, though they came and were borne of neere kinsemen. A­braham was vncle vnto Lot: of Abraham came the Israelites; of Lot, when he was dronken, came the Moabites & Ammonites, gotten by [...]. 19. his owne daughters. And this is commonly seene, that both those which bee so bastardlie borne against nature, prooue not honest, and when displeasure groweth among kinsfolke, and specially for Religion, as this was, it scarce can bee forgiuen. Sanballat, by in­terpretation signifieth a pure enemie: and Tobias was a seruant and yet crept into great authoritie, as the other was. These two points may wel agree to the papists, and all enemies of gods trueth, for they will lurcke priuely vntill time serue them to shew their cruelty and then they will rage feirselie: and so wil slaues and seruants, Prouerb. 30. that come to authority frō base degree. Salomon saith, there be three things that trouble the world, where of the first is a seruant, when he com meth to be a ruler: for then he waxeth so proud & cruell, that he for­getteth what he was, he disdaineth al men but him self. The Papists are bastardlie borne of spiritual whordome, seruethe Pope as slaues in al his superstitions: they come of Agar the bond woman, & not of Sara the free woman: and therfore hate the true children of god [Page 23] which beleeuing the promises of God are saued, and they will be sa­ued by their owne workes, contrary to the scripture, and so greeued when they see any thing pro sper with them, that for verie malice and enuie, they pyne away, as these two wicked Imps doe here shew them selues, because they would not see Ierusalem restored. As the building of this Ierusalem had manie enemies, so the repay­ring of the heauenly Ierusalem by the preaching of the glorious Gospel of Christ Iesus hath manie moe. The malice and enuy of worldlings against all those that set vp the kingdome of Christ, and pull downe the pride of mans heart, is so great, that it can ne­uer be satisfied. If malice had not blinded these men, what harme was it to them, to see the Iewes doe well, and God worshipped there. The Iews neuer went about to inuade or conquere their coun­trie, and yet they could not enioy their owne countrie without much trouble of these enuyous people. Enuie euer disdaineth to see other doe wel, and specially such as liue well and serue the lord Christ, and is glad of other mens mischeif and harme: for then they thinke none shall be able to withstand their pleasures and deuises. The people of Canaan when they heard of Iosua and the Israelites comming with so great courrage to possesse their cou ntrie, were so dismaied, that their courage melted away like wax at the fire. Herod Ios. 2. and al Ierusalem were astonied, when they heard tell that a new king Christ, being but a childe, was borne, and yet the Angels songe for ioy. When our sauiour Christ was crucified and buried, his disciples were sad and the Iewes reioyced: but when Christ had conquered death, and was risen againe, then the disciples were gladde, and the Iewes were sadde. Thus one thing worketh diuersly in diuers men. Ne­hemiah was glad, that he had found such fauour with the King, to build Ierusalem: Sanballat and his fellowes were as sory that any should doe it. The Gospell hath foretolde, that it should so fall out with the worldlings and the Godlie: the one shall reioyce when he seeth Gods glory florish, and the other shalbe grieuously tor­mented in conscience. The world shalbe glad, saith Saint Iohn, but ye shall weepe, and yet this your sorrow shalbe turned into ioy: for God will Cap. 16. notsee his seruants ouerwhelmed with trouble, but he will deliuer them. Dauid, describing at large the manyfolde blessings, that God powreth on them that feare him, in the ende of the Psalme 1. Cor. 10. saith, The vngodly shal see it, and it shall greeue him, he will gnash with Psal. 112. his testh, and pyne away for mallice: but the desire of the vngodly shall pe­rish. There cannot be a greater greife to an ill man then to see a good man doe well. When there was a question moued before [Page] King Frederick among his Phisitians, what was best to make the sight cleare, and some said fennel, some Saladine, some Glasse, some other things as they thought good: Actius Syncerus a noble-man standing by said, he thought Enuie was the best: when euery man either laughed or marueiled at his saying, he yealded a reason, and said: Enuie maketh any thing that she seeth to appeare better then it is: for the Enuious man thinketh another mans Corne to be better then his owne, and another mans Cow to giue more milk, and the least good thing that a good man hath, seemeth great in his eye that cannot see other thriue, & espieth diligentlie with great greife the smalest things the good man doeth, and that is, said he, to make the eye­sight cleerest, when euery smalething shalbe best espied. Enuy is worse then any poison of other beasts. The snake, the adder, the toad haue dead­lie poison in them, wherewith they hurte others, and yet it hurteth not them-selues: but Enuie is so poisonful a thing, that it killeth him that hath it first, and hurteth not other, for he fretteth with him-selfe, he fumes, he pynes away to see others doe well: he ea­teth not, nor sleepeth quietly, nor can be merie, vntil he see some mischiefe fall on the good man: and as the canker eateth and con­sumeth hard yron and brasse, so malicious Enuy with fretting con­sumeth out enuyous stomachs. When Sanballat and Tobias hearing but of Nehemiahs comming into the countrie, and that he had found such fauour with the King to buyld Ierusalem, were thus greeued with malicious enuie, to see the Iewes doe well, what sun­dry attempts they made afterwards to ouerthrow that buylding, the residue of this booke will declare. How the enuious Papists dis­dayning to see Gods gospell take place in any countrie, doe rage, fret, fume, pyne away for sorow and anger: how they haue bloo­ded and bathed their hands in their Breethrens blood, and yet can­not be quiet, the world seeth it to well, good men lament it, iustice crieth vengeance, and God will reuenge it.

11. And I came to Ierusalem, and I was there three dayes.

12. And I rose in the night, I and a few men with me, and tould no man what God had put in my heart to doe in Ierusalem; and there was no beast with me, but the beast which I satte vppon.

13. And I went forth at the valley gate in the night, and before the dragons-well to the dung hill-gate, & considered the walls of Ierusalem which were broken downe, and the gates which were consumed with fire.

14. And I passed ouer to the well-gate and to the Kings fish-poole, [Page 24] and there was no roume for the beast vnder me to passe.

15. And I went vp in the night by the brooke, and I considered the well, and comming back, I came by the vally-gate, and returned.

Nehemiah hath now done with the court, and is come to Ierusa­lem, which he so much desyred: he was wearie of the noyse and solemnitie of the court, and thought he should liue more qui­etly in his countrie, but it falleth out cleane contrary: for his trou­ble and daunger is double to that it was a fore: and he commeth from the Court to the cart, & from a plesaunt life to a carefull. After his long Iourney he resteth him-selfe and his companie three dayes, knowing the weaknes of mans bodie to be such, that it cannot continually endure labour, but must be refreshed with ease and rest. Thus must good men in authoritie not ouerlay their seruants with continuall labour, but let them haue reasonable time of rest: for God made the Sabboth day, that both man and beast might rest and not be opressed with continuall toyling: such a consideration he had of mans weaknes. we do not reed of any great solemnitie that the Iewes vsed to wel-come him with all, being their countri­man, and comming from the court so honorably with such a band of men to conduct him, and being in so great fauour with the King: it is like if that there had bene any such thing, itwould haue beene declared, as well as his estate was in the Court afore. It was but a hard beginning, to haue Sanballat and Tobias, two ofthe greatest men in the countrie to lowre so at his commyng, and no greater reioycing made of his countriemen, for whose sake he tooke all those paynes: but nothing can discourage him: on for­warde he goeth with his purpose.

These three dayes though he rested with his body, his minde was not yet quiet, he was still deuising how he might best and speedely goe about his buylding: how he might open to his coun­triemen the cause of his commyng, how he might persuade them to ioyne with him in that worke, and to declare vnto them the Kings commission and good will towarde him, and what fauour he found in the court. For they might well doubte if they should enterprise so great a worke, without the Kinges li­cence, they might runne into great displeasure, seeing they had so manie enemies in the countrie about them, that with all their might had sought the hinderaunce of that buylding [Page] so many yeares. They them-selues had lien so long in dispaire, fol­lowed their owne busines, sought their owne gaines, and cared not for building their owne Citie, nor sought any waies how to doe it: they had almost so farre forgotten their God, oppressed the poore, and fallen to so great wickednes (as appeereth hereafter) that they had no care ofReligion in the most parte of them.

12. And I rose in the night. After that Nehemiah had thus long debated with him selfe how this worke should be taken in hand, he could not sleep, but riseth in the night, taketh a few of his men with him on foote, and he him selfe on his Mule, and rideth round about Ieru­salem, veweth the walles in what place they were worst destroyed, and how they might most speedelie be repayred. If he had taken his vew in the daie time, euerie man would haue stood gazing on him, wondering what he went about, &haue hundered it: and not vnlike some would haue bene offended at him, and his enemies round a­but would, as much as they durst or could, haue stopped his enter­prise. The night therefore was thought to be the quietest time to do this in, and he is content to breake his sleepe for the furtherance of this great good worke. A good example for al men, & especially for those that be in authoritie in the common-wealth, as Nehemiah was now: and for those that haue the charge of Gods Church com­mitted vnto them, not to be idle, euen in the night season to break a sleepe, yea watch all night if neede be, to set forward the building of Gods house and Citie. The phisitian will watch with his patient all night, if neede be. The good Captaine will not sleepe all the night long, though he haue sett his watch afore, but he will some-times at the second watch, some-times at the third, arise and see whither his watch-men be fallen on sleepe and what they doe, or whither any enemies drawe neere or no: so should euerie Christi­an priuatlie for him selfe breake his sleepe, lift vp his minde vnto the Lord, call vpon him by faithfull praier, call for mercie at his fa­therlie goodnes, commend him selfe & al gods people to his grati­ous protection, desiring that all stumbling blockes, which be hin­derers of his glory, may be taken away: but speciallie those that be negligent to watch a whole night in praier, deuising what waies Gods glorious name, gospel, and Religion may best be increased, his kingdome enlarged, Christ glorified, and Antechrist confoun­ded. Dauid saith he rose at midnight to giue praise vnto the lords blessed Psal. 119. name. Our mortall enemie Sathan neuer sleepeth night nor daie but continuallie goeth about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he maie de­uoure: and if we had not as good a watch-man to watch for our [Page 27] safety when we sleepe, we should be swallowed vp euery houre. Behold, sayeth Dauid, he neyther slumbereth nor sleepeth, that is the watch Psalm. 121. man of Israell. All praise be to that mercisull God which taketh such care for his miserable people, and watcheth when we sleepe, that our enemie deuoure vs not sodenlie. Our sauiour Christ, to giue vs example of this diligent watching to pray in the night, prayeth Luk. 6. the whole night him selfe in the mount afore he chose his Apostles to preach. Iosue marched forward all the night long to fight with the A­morites, Iosue. 10. Iudg. 6. and ouercame them. Gedion in the night season pulled downe the Alter of Baall that his father had made, and the groue of wood that was neere vnto it, being afraid to doe it in the day time, for feare of his fa­thers house and people thereby: and in the night also set on the Ma­dianits, and vanquished them. So good men let no time passe wher­in occasion is giuen them to further Gods glory night or day, but earnestly follow it vntill they haue brought their purpose to effect. And that this vewing of the walls might be more secretly done, he chooseth the night season rather then the day to doe it in, a few men to wait on him, rather then many, no moe horsse then his owne, & all the rest on foote, for making noise: many men and horsses would sone haue bene espied, one troubled another, made a great noise, & haue bewrayed his counsell, which he kept so secret to him selfe that he tould it not to any man what he went about: and ifhe had gone alone, he might haue fallen into some daunger oflife, hauing none to help him. The night is the quietest tyme to deuise things in, for then all things be quiet, euery man keepeth his house, and draweth to rest, no noyse is made abroade, the eies are not troubled with looking at many things: the senses are not drawne away with phantasies, and the mynde is quiet. Many men would haue com­mitted the doings of such things to other men, and would haue trusted them to haue vewed the walls, and after to haue certified him of their doings, in what case they were, and how they might most speedelie be repayred: but Nehemiah lest he should haue wrong information giuen him, though he was a man of great au­thoritie, did not disdaine to take the paines him-selfe, breake his sleepe, and rode about the walls him-selfe, to teach vs, that nothing should be thought painfull at any time, nor disdainfull to anie man, of what estate so-euer he were, to set forthe the building of Gods Citie and dwelling place, which euerie man ought to doe in 2. Sam. 6. his calling. Dauid, when the Arke of God was brought out of Abina­dabs house, played on instruments, and after cast of his Kinglie apparell, & for reioysing daunced afore the Arke in his poore Ephod, to glorifie his God [Page] withall Michol his wife looking forth at a window, and seeing him daunce, laught him to scorne, & asked him if he were not ashamed to daunce so na­kedlie afore such a companie of women, as though he had bene but some light scoffing fellow. But Dauid, was so zealous a man & earnest to glorify God by al meanes, that he forgat him-selfe to be a King, aba­sedhim-selfe with the lowest and simplest, & said to Michol, that he would yet more lowelie cast downe him selfe, so that his God might be glori­sied in his doings. Michol for mocking of him was barren all her life & had no children, but Dauid for this humbling of him-selfe was bles­sed of the Lord. Moses for sooke to liue in pleasure in Pharaos court, & tobe Hebru. 11. called his daughters sonne, & chose to liue in trouble with his Breethren the Iewes, & to keepe lethros sheepe, so that he might serue the Lord. Our sauiour the perfect Paterne of all humblenesse, did not disdaine to washe the Myrie feete of his disciples and wype them: and last of all, as though that had not bene base enough, he humbleth him-selfe to the Ihon. 13. sclanderous death of the Crosse, and to hang on a Crosse betwene two theeues for vs, being his enemies, as though he had bene a third: he loued vs so tenderly, that he would goe to hell, that we might goe to heauen, he would die so vilde a death, to purchase vs so glorious a life: and suffer the paines due to our sinnes, that we might enioy the pleasures of heauen. God graunt al estates this humblenes of mind, that for his cause that forsooke al worldly honour, they may be con­tent to abase them-selues to suffer al paines & reprochfull things in the world for the furtherance of the building of Gods Citie: such humble abasing of them-selues is the greatest honor that euer they shall get, all worldly pompe without this vilde & shameful. In that he telleth no man, what he went about, & that God had put it in hismind to doe it, he declareth that it was not his owne deuice, nor came from any man, but God him-selfe was the mouer of it, & therefore was more earnestlie to be followed. He that will learne to keepe coun­sell in deede, let him learne of Nehemiah here to tell no man, not to his dearest friend. Manie will come to his friend and say, I can tell you a secret matter, but ye must keepe in counsell and tell no body: what folishnes is this that thou wouldst haue another to keepe thy counsell secret to him selfe & thou thy selfe canst not keepe it secret to thy selfe, wouldst thou haue another man to doe that for thee, which thou wilt not do for thy selfe? Keepe thine owne counsel, and then thou shalt not neede to feare lest other men bewray thee. And if thou wouldst haue another mā to keepe thy counsel he wil thinke thou shouldst not haue told it thy selfe, and then it had bene safe e­nough: but in telling him, he telleth another friend, & he sayeth to [Page 26] him as thou saidst to thy friendafore. I can tel you a thing that was told me secretly, but you must keepe counsel & tell no body: so with going from friend to friend, it will be knowne to al men. Therefore the surest & onely way to haue counsell kept secret, is to follow Ne­hemiah here, and tel it to no man, though he be thy deare freind: for he hath other friends to tell it to, as thou didst tell it him. If any doe marueil why Nehemiah was thus earnest in this building, and re­fused no paines nor ieoperdy, but with courage went through them all, he telleth a sufficient cause here him selfe, and sayeth, his God had put it in his heart to doe it. He taketh not the glorie of it to him­selfe, but giueth all the praise to God alone, as we must doe in all good things. Whensoeuer God putteth any good thing into mans heart to doe, he driueth him so forward, that he cannot eat, sleepe, nor rest quietly, vntill it be done, he thinketh all time long and lost, that is not bestowed on it: therefore they that be so colde in their worke, that they care not whither it goe forward or not, are not moued by God. The holy gost which worketh this great desire in vs, is called fire. Iohn Baptist said, he baptized in water, but he that came Luk. 3. after him should baptize them with the holy ghost & fire. The holy ghost fel on the apostles in firie tongues, and our sauiour Christ said, he came to set Act. 2. fire on the earth, and what would he els, but that it should burne? These be spoken to teach vs, that those which are moued of God, are ear­nest Luk. 12. in their doings. God loueth not those that be luke warme, he wil spew them out of his mouth: you must be either an earnest friend, or an open Reue. 3. enemie: he loueth no dissemblers, you must be eyther hotte or cold: he that is not with him, is against him: double-dealers are the worst people that be, they are good neither afore God, nor man: an open enemie is better, then a flattering friend: all which sayings doe teach vs to be earnest in gods worke, or els he putteth it not into our hart. Prouer. 27. Salomon commendeth plaine dealing so much, thathe say eth, the wounds that a friend giueth, are better then the craftie kisses of him that hateth thee. This heauenly fire burneth vp al desires in man, & kin­dleth all goodnesse in him. Ieremie, when he saw the word that he preached to be contemned os the people, he waxed verie sadde, he Iere. 20. would preach no more: but when he had houlden his tongue but a litle while, he said, the word within him was like a burning fire: it burst out, he could not holde it in, and he fell to preaching againe: he was so greeued to see God dishonored, and so earnest to bring the people to knowledge of their dutie, that he could not hold his peace, but needes must preach againe. When Iesabell persecuted Helias, because he had killed Baalls priestes for their idolatrie, he [Page] fled into the wildernsse, and the Angel sinding him asked him, what he did there: Helias said, I am earnestly zealous & grecued for thee, O Lord God 1. King. 19. of hostes, that the children of Israell haue for saken thy couenant, &c. Mo­ses loued his people so well, that when Godwould haue destroy­ed them, he prayed to forgiue them, or else to put him out of his booke. Exod. 32. The holie Ghost tolde Saint Paul, that in eueric towne there were chaynes and troubles ready for him, but he said he cared not, his life was not Act. 20. deare to himso that he might runne his course. For his countrie men also he wished to be accursed from Christ so that they might be saued. The other Apostles, when they were whipt for preaching Christ Iesus, went a­way reioysing that they were thought worthie to suffer any worldlie shame for his names sake. Such an earnest loue should euerie one haue, both the magistrate to doe iustice and punish sinne, and the preacher to roote out euill doctrine and preach Christ purelie, that nothing should make them afraid, but they should buyld Gods Citie, the heauenlie Ierusalem, boldie: nothing shold wearie them, and alla­bour should be pleasure, so that they might serue the Lord. Phinies when he saw whoredome and wickednes abound, and none would punish it, taketh the sword him-selfe, when others would not, and killed the man & woman, being both of great parentage, in their open whor­dome. Numb. 25. God was so well pleased with this zealous deede of Phinies that could not abide to see sinne vnpunished, and Gods glorie so openlie defaced, that he blessed him and his issue for it after him. Our sauiour Christ, when he saw Gods house appointed for pray­er, Iohn. 2. misused, gat a whippe and draue them out. Thus when-soeuer God putteth any thing into mans heart to doe, it pricketh him on forward, that he cannot rest vntill he haue finished it. Nehemiah was heere moued by God to this worke. God for his mercies sake en­flame many mens hearts with the like earnest desire of buylding Gods spirituall Citie, that the workemen may be many, strong and couragious: for the worke is great and troublesome the enemies manie, malicious, and stout hinderers, in number infinite, and true labourers verie few. Gregorie saith well, there is no such pleasant sacri­sice afore God, as is the earnest zeale to winne soules vnto the Lord. The Iudg. 21. men of Iabes Gilead when the Israelits ioyned altogether to punish that wicked adulteryin Beniamin stoode by, looked on, and wold take part with neyther of them, not knowing who should get the victorie, thinking to scape best, & picka thanke in medling on neither parte: but for such double-dealing, the Israelites set on them afterward and destroied them. A iust rewarde to fall on such, as will stand by, and looke how the world goeth, meddle of no side, for feare of a change, or els ioyne [Page 27] A iust reward to fal on such as will stand by, & looke how the world goeth, medle on no side, for feare of a change, or els euer ioyne with the stronger parte. How full the world is this day of such dou­ble faced popish hipocrites, that will turne with euerie winde, good men lament, and God must amend, when pleaseth him. They be the worst men that liue. Such men be of no Religion: some call them Neuters, because they are earnest on no side. Some call them vterques, because they be of both sides as the world changeth. some call them Omnia, because if a Turke or any other should come, they would yeald vnto them all. They be like free-holders, for whosoe­uer purchaseth the land, they holde of them all, though euery yeare come anew master. But they say, best it is that they be of no religion: for as there is but one God, so there is but one religion: and he that knoweth not the true God and religion, knoweth none at all, al­though he make him-selfe euery day a new God, and a new religi­on, and the more the worsse.

13. And I went forth. In these next verses is nothing but the way described, by which he went to take the vew of the walls, how they were pitifully destroied, and how they might best & most spee­delie be repaired. The gates of Cities haue their names on some oc­casion outwardly giuen, as the North-gate & the East-gate, because it goeth North-ward or East-ward: sometimes of them that builded them, as Lud-gate and Billings-gate, of Lud and Billinus: some­times of things that are brought in or caried out of the Citie by them, as the sish-gate, the dunghil-gate, &c. This gate that he goeth out at first, is called the vally-gate, because the way into the vally of Iosephat, which lay afore it East-ward, betwixt it & Mount oliuet, was through it. This valley was called Iosephats, by reason of a noble victorie that God gaue Iosephat there. Diuers people ioyned them­selues togither against Iosephat, but god so ordered the matter, that 2. Chro. 20. one of them killed another & Iosephat looking on, after the slaugh­ter came & toke all their riches and spoile, & he deliuered without anie stroke giuing. The Dragons-well had his name of some vene­mous serpent lyuing there. The dunghil-gate, because the filth of the citie was caried out thatway. The wel-gate & kings fish-poolc, because there was great plentie of water-ponds, watering-places &c. The brooke he speaketh of, is thought to be Cedron, which is spoken of in the gospel, Iohn the 18. Nehemiah when he had vewed al the walls returnedin at the same gate that he went out at: but in some places he found so great store of rubbish of the broken walls, that he could not passe on horsseback, so miserably were they torne and ouer­throwne, [Page] and al the gates that should be shut, were burned to ashes. Orighteous God, and miserable people. God of his mercie fore­tolde them by his Prophets, that if they fell from him, and serued other Gods, these mischiefes should fall on them: but they blinded in their owne affections, beleeued it not. O stony hart, learne here how vile a thing sin is in Gods sight: for, not onely the man thatdoeth sin, is punished, but the earth, the countrie, the stones, the walls, the citie, trees, corne, cattel, fish, fowle, and al fruits, & other things that god made for mans necessitie, are perished, punished & turned into an other nature for the sinne of m an: yea, & not onely worldlie things, but his holy Temple, law, word, & religion, the arke of God, the Cherubins, the pot with Manna, the mercy seate, Aarons rod, with all therest of his holy Iewels, were giuen vnto the wicked Nabuchadnezzers hand, for the disobedience of the people: & God will rather suffer his opē enemies to enioy his wonderful benefits, then his flattering friends. When Adam had sinned, the earth, which afore was decked with al good fruits, brought forth weeds to punish thē withal. For the wic­kednes of Sodom, God not onely cruellie destroied the people in it, but to this day that pleasant ground, which afore was like paradise is now barren, full of filthie mire, slitche, tarre, &c. and the aire of it so pestilent, as diuers doe write, that if any birdes slie ouer it, it kil­leth Psalm. 107. them. The whole countrie of Iewrie, a plentifull land, flowing with milke and honie, of his owne nature, by the disobedience of the peo­ple became a barren land, as Dauid teacheth in his psalme. The lord turneth a fruit full ground into a barren, for the wickednes of the dwellers in it. Ierusalem was not onely destroyed now thus pitiously by the Babilonians, but after ward by Vespasian the Emperour, and had not one stone left standing on another, and the Iewes driuen out ofit, who now liue scattered through the world, abhorred of all good men, and vnder Gods heauie rodde, for crucifying the Lord Iesus Christ the sonne of God, and their continual despising of him. Let euerie man therefore learne reuerently in the feare of God to liue: for sinne will not onely be punished with euerlasting death in the world to come, but euen in this life man him-selfe is plagued, and all things that should serue or pleasure him, shalbe turned to his destruction, because he would not serue his God as he ought to do.

What can be a more righteous iudgement of God, then so to order things, that no creature of God shal serue a wretched man, which will not serue not feare the Lord his God and creator. Sinne is so vile in Gods sight, that ne will punish those innocent, vnsen­sible, and vnreasonable creatures, as the stones in the wall, the [Page 28] house wherein thou dwellest, the earth whereby thou liuest, which neuer sinned, for the sinne of thee wretched man. O consider how God abhorreth sinne and disobedience of his word, that he could neuer be pacified, but by the death of his owne deare sonne Christ Iesus for thy sinnes. O miserable man, consider thy wretched state: thy sinnes pulled thy Lord Christ from heauen to hell, from ioy to paine, thou causedst him to be whipped, and hanged on a tree, thrust to the heart with a speare, by his blood to saue the: thou cau­sedst him to die that thou mighst liue. If thou shouldest deale thus with another man thy fellow, what wouldest thou thinke thou hadst deserued? And when thou hast thus misused thy Lord and Christ, the sonne of God, crucifiing him againe, and yet continuest Hebr. 10. in sinne, contemning his commaundements, treading the sonne of God vnder thy feete, and esteeming the blood of his eternall Testament as a prophane thing, how canst thou looke vp vnto him? how canst thou hope for mercie? Wicked men are so horrible in Gods sight, that the Angels in heauen abhorre them, the creatures on earth disobey them, good men flie their companie, and diuels in hel pull them vnto them: and yet malice hath so blinded them, that they cannot turne vnto the Lord. But whatsoeuer there is in vs, O God, forget not thou thy selfe, shew thy selfe a God stil, though we forget thee. As thou louedst vs, when we were thine enemies, so loue vs still now, whom thou hast made thy freinds, and bought so dearely, and turne vs, good God, that we may loue thee. Remember, O Lord, wherof we be made: from the earth we came, on the earth we liue and delightin earthly things: vnto the earth we shall returne: thou canst not looke for heauenly things to come from so vile a matter, this earthly nature cannot be chaunged, but by thy heauenly spirit: deale not with vs therefore, O Lord, in iustice, as we deserue, but in thy great mercie, which is our sure saluation, and let thy manifold mercie deuoure our manifold miserie, that our manifold sinnes be not laid to our charge. Gratious God forgiue vs: as our miserie is endlesse, so is thy mercie, & much more large then we can thinke. As we see God deale in his anger with this Citie, for the sinne of the people that dwelled in it, so he will deale with all obstinate breakers of his law in all ages and places, without respect of per­sons. The walls of the citie may well be compared to the Magistrats, which both defend the people from their enemies, and also gouern the Citizens within: as the walls keepe out other from inuading, so they keepe in the inhabitants from straying abroade: & the gates of the Citie may well be compared vnto the ministers, which open [Page] the dore of life to all penitent persons, by the comfortable prea­ching of mercie promised in Christ, & shut heauen gates against al reprobate and impenitent sinners, by terrible thundring of his vengeance, threatned to such in his worde. The walls are destroied, and the gates burned, when the rulers and ministers doe not their duetie, but care for other things. And as this wretched people had iustly for their disobedience neither walls left to keepe out the enemie, nor gates to let in their friends, but all were destroied, so shall all godles people be left without godly Magistrats to go­uerne them, and liue in slauerie vnder tyrants that oppresse them, and also without comfortable Ministers to teach them, and be led by blinde guides that deceiue them, and so the blinde lead the blinde, & both fall in to the ditch, to their vtter and endles destruction. They be not worthie to haue either Magistrate or preacher, that will not obey lawes, nor beleeue the worde. This Osee the Prophet fore­told them should fall on them saying: The people of Israell should sit manie daies without a Prince, without sacrifice, and Image, without the Ephod and Teraphin: and yet in the end they should returne vnto their God. But they feared not these threatnings then, no more then we doe now: yet as they fell on them then, so will they fall on vs now. After that Nehemiah had thus diligentlie vewed the walls, and the breaches of them, he was more able to render a reason, and talke with the rulers how they might be repaired. A good rule for all those that haue anie charge commited to them, that they should first priuatlie consider the things they haue to doe them-selues, and then shal they be more able to consider who giueth best coun­sel for the doing of it. Rashely to enter on it, a wise man will not, nor open his minde to others, vntil he haue aduised him-selfe priuatelie first what is best to be done: and so shall he be best able, both to render a reason of his owne doings, and also to iudge who giueth best aduise.

16. The Magistrates knew not whither I went, or what I did: and to the Iewes, the Priests, the Nobles, the Rulers, and the rest of the worke-men, I tolde nothing hitherto.

17. And I said vnto them, ye know the miserie that we be in, how Ierusalem is wasted, and her gates burned in the fire: come & let vs build the walls of Ierusalē, that we be no more a reproch.

18. And I told them of the hand of my God, that it was gratious to­ward me, and also the Kings word, that he spake vnto me: and they said, let vs rise and build, and they strengthened their hands to good.

NEhemiah not onely like a Godly zealous man is diligent to set forward this worke, but also like a verie wise man, sheweth in his doings the chiefe properties of him, that hath weightie matters committed vnto him. He that hath great matters to doe, must be faith ful and trustie, and also secret, and keeping counsel close: as the Poet saieth; Fide & taciturnitate est opus. And where euerie sorte must be made priuie in such a worke, hitherto he had opened it to neuer a one.

19. And I saied vnto them. After Nehemiah had thus long kept his purpose secret and diligentlie vewed the walls how great the breach was, how it might be best and speedelie repaired, and was able to talke with all sorts, and render a reason of his doings to euerie one both high and lowe in authoritie, to the common sort of the Iewes, to the workemen, Priests, and Rulers: he now pro­poundeth the matter vnto them all, & in few words, after he had de­clared the miserie that they were in, and how that famous Citie laie open to all enemies to inuade, to their great shame, exhorteth and encoura­geth them to fall to the building of the walls, and liue no more in such shame and reproch, as they had done, but recouer their olde estimation againe, for he had found fauour both in Gods sight and the Kings.

There be two kind of reasons to perswade a man to doe anie thing: the one is, if he declare how hurtfull and shameful it is to doe or suffer such a thing to be done or vndone. The other reason is, to open vnto him what good help and encouraging there is to set it forward. The shame was great, that for their great sinne and disobedience gods people, who craked so much of their good god, should liue in such slauerie vnder infidels, as though their God could not, or would not deliuer them. The hope to prosper well in this building was great, for that both God & the King had shewed great tokens of their goodwills for the furtherance of this good worke. Both these kindes of perswasions he vseth here: his words be not manie, but effectual. For as the shame was, to loose their Citie, so the glorie shold be greater in recouering it: & wise men vse & loue few words; for either those will serue good men, or moe will not. The wofull sight of those broken wals, & this miserable slauery of the people in it, were sufficient to mooue a stony heart to pitie, though neuer a word were spoken by anie man: but those weightie reasons well considered, made them all to fall to worke with great courage. What man had so litle feeling of God and honestie, that would not help to build Gods Citie and their owne countrie. Those [Page] that loue to heare them-selues talke, and with many words to couller their ill meaning, may here learne how a simple trueth plainlie tolde in few words, worketh more in good mens hartes then a faire painted tale that hath litle trueth, and lesse good mea­ning in it. An honest matter speaketh for it selfe, and needeth no coullouring, and he that vseth most flatering & subtill words, ma­keth wise men mistrust the matter to be ill. A few words well pla­ced, are much better, then a long vnsauerie tale.

18. And I tolde them. After that Nehemiah had brieflie set a­fore them, the miserie they liued in, the cruell destruction of Ieru­salem, which God chose for him selfe to dwell in, and what shame it was for them, not to recouer by weldoing that which their fa­thers for their wickednes lost: he now declareth vnto them, as a ful reason to perswade any man that would be perswaded, and saieth; both the hand of his God was gratious toward him in this enterprise, and the Kings words were very comfortable. When a man hath both God and the king of his side, what needeth he more? who can hurt him? what should he doubt or be afraid of: what would he haue further? God had giuen him such a fauour in the Kings sight, that as soone as he asked licence to goe & build the Citie where his fathers lay buried it was graunted: and the liberalitie and good will of the King was so great, that he graunted him both souldiers, safelie to conduct him to Ierusalem, and also commission to his officers, for tymber to this great building. What should they mistrust or doubt of now? There wanted nothing but a good will and courage on their side: if they would rise and worke lustelie, no doubt the worke would be finished speedelie. Nehemiah: still calleth him his God, as though God heard his prayer onely, and moued the kings heart to giue him licence to build this Citie, which many diuerse times had wished and laboured for, and could not get it. He thought this to be so great a blessing of God, that he can neuer be thankfull enough for it, and therefore calleth him his God. He that loueth his God ear­nestlie, reioyseth in nothing so much, as when he seeth those things prosper, whereby Gods glorie may be shewed forth. He ca­reth more for that, then for his owne pleasure & profit. And when such things goe backward, it greeueth him more then anie worldly losse that can fall vnto him selfe. And though some wauering worldlings may say: the King might die, or chaunge his good wil from them, and god many times, when he hath giuen a good be­ginning for a while, yet in the end he cutteth it of & by this meanes discourage other from this worke, & will them not to medle: The [Page 30] time might chaunge, and then they might be blamed: and Ne­hemiah although he was in great fauour with the King at this pre­sent, yet being absent long from the Court, might sone bee for­gotten: others that beare him no good will, might creepe in fauour and bring him into displeasure (for in the Court commonly, out of sight out of minde:) These and such other reasons would soone withdraw dissemblers from their good furtherance of this worke: Yet God so wrought with them all, that they all boldly tooke this worke in hand, and finished it. God of his great goodnes, for the better exercising of our faith, hath thus ordered the course of things that although when we looke into the world, we shall finde many things to withdraw vs from doing our dueties to his maiestie, yet, by his holy spirit, he hath giuen vs faith and hope of his promised goodnes, that nothing should discourage vs from doing our due­ties: for we haue him on our side, that hath all things at his com­maundement, and whose purpose none can withstand. Let the world therefore wauer neuer so much: Let it threaten neuer such crueltie, let it counsel and persuade as crastily as it can, to medle in no such matters of God: Yet good men cannot be quiet, vntill they haue shewed their good will to the vttermost of their power, for the furtherance of Gods worke, and obedience of his will. Abra­ham, Gen. 12. when he was bidden to leaue his countrie and kinsfolke, and goe into that place that God would shew him, might haue manie reasons to stay him: as that he could not tell, how to liue when he came there, that he should want the comfort of his friends, liue amongst stran­gers, and those that would rather hurt him, then help him: yet none of these could stay him, but he would follow whether the Lord would lead. God badde him sacrifice his sonne Isaac, hauing no issue, and yet promised him that in his seede all nations should be blessed. Abraham could not tell how these two should stand together, both to kill his Gen. 22. sonne, and to haue issue of him: yet he doubted not in faith, but rather Heb. 11. then his promise should not be true, God would raise him from death, to beget and raise vp seed after him. When Isaac, going to besacrificed, asked his father where the sacrifice was that should be killed (for he had the wood on his back) and the fire in his hand: Abraham, not doubting, though not knowing how, where, nor when it should be done, said, God will prouide him-selfe a sacrifice, my sonne: and proce­ded Gen. 22. to sacrifice his sonne, vntil the Angel staied him, and shewed him a Ramme in the bushes, which he should offer vnto the Lord in stead of his sonne. The Apostles, when our sauiour Iesus Christ sent them out to preach without bagg or wallet, monie, or staff, made no Math. 10. [Page] question how they should liue, or defend them-selues against so many enemies, or how they should teach others, that neuer went to schoole them-selues to learne: but obeying his commaunde­ment, and beleeuing his promise, went forth boldly, and did their message diligently, and God blessed their doings wonderfully. When they came againe vnto him, and tolde him how well they had sped, he asked them, whither they wanted any thing by the way, while they were in his seruice? and they said, nay. Thus good men will not be withdrawne from seruing their God, though many world­ly Luke. 22. reasons might withdraw them: and God will so encrease their faith to goe forwarde, that nothing shal discourage them. They wil rather stick to Gods promise, then any cunning practise of man. A good beginning is a great reason to persuade a man, that God will giue good successe vnto the end. Dauid comforteth him-selfe to kill Goliath, because he killed a Lion and a Beare, when he was young, keeping sheepe. God neuer doeth anything in vaine, but when his faithfull seruants take things in hand of meere loue and duty to fur­ther 1. Sam. 17. his glorie, he euer bringeth it to good effect. The good suc­cesse that God hath giuen vs afore, should persuade vs that he will giue vs more. Hipocrites, faint harted souldiers, dubble dealers, and those that be not grounded vppon a sure faith & hope of his promi­sed goodnes, oft faile of their purpose, through their owne de­fault. God hath promised nothing to such dissemblers, & those that trust him, he neuer faileth. Let al those therefore that feare the Lord vnfeinedly, boldly begin the Lords worke, continue it sted fastly, looke for the mighty furtherance of the same faithfully, & no doubt they shal haue it. Who euer to this day trusted in the Lord in vaine, but he had good successe in his doings? Let no man mistrust Gods goodnes to further those good things that he taketh in hand: let vs worke diligentlie, and commit the successe to him boldly, no doubt he will bring it to good passe. When they had well conside­red Nehemiahs words and his good counsel, they cast all perils a­way, and said, lett vs rise and buyld those decaied walles. Let vs linger no longer, but speedely fall to labour, and recouer that with our diligence, that our fathers lost by disobedience. Now they buskle and bowne them-selues to this worke, they spit on their hands, and take better hold then afore, they buckle them-selues to labour with courage, not to be driuch from it any more. So much can a few words, spoken in the feare of God vprightlie by some man, at some times doc, that cannot be gotten at other times by many persuasi­ons, Aggeus, when they had lien many yeares on sleepe, forgeting [Page 31] the buylding of Gods house, with like few words so encouraged them to worke, that they finished the Temple in foure yeares, which afore had lyen almoste 40. yeares vnlooked at. So can God make them earnest in a shorte time, when pleaseth him, which afore had bene colde and negligent. And this courage that they gather now, camerather by gentle persuasions, then by fearefull threat­nings: for good natures are moued rather with the glad tidings of the Gospel, then sharpnes of the law. The law threatneth correcti­on, the gospel promiseth blessings: the law killeth, the gospel quick­neth: the law breedeth feare, the gospel bringeth loue: the law casteth downe, the gospell reareth vs vp: the law laieth our sinne to our charge, the gospel saith, Christ hath paied the price for our reconciliation. A gentle kinde of preaching is better to winne weake myndes, thē terrible thundring of vengeaunce: yet is the law most necessarie to be taught, to pull downe froward hearts, and bring them to knowledge of them-selues. I see diuers of the Pro­phets terribly threaten the wickednes of their tyme, yet I see none of them, that doeth so mightely dissuade them from their vngodlie life, as Aggeus and Nehemiah with their milde dealing, bring so many to repentaunce: Both be good and necessarie, but the gospel more comfortable, and the law fearefull. feare maketh a man ma­ny tymes to flie from ill, but loue maketh him willingly to do good. Salomon saith, loue is as strong as death: for as all things yeald vnto Cant. 8. death, so nothing is to hard or painfull for him that loueth, but he will aduenture at all perils, vntil he get the thing that he loueth. S. Rom. 8. Paul saith, who shal seperate vs from the loue of Christ Iesus? Shall trou­ble, anguish, persecution, hunger, nakednes, Ieoperdie, or the sworde? if thou wouldst haue a man earnest in any thing, rather draw him to it by loue, then driue him to it by feare: bring him once to loue it ear­nestly, and nothing shall make him afraid to stand to it manfully. Feare maketh men colde, discourageth them, and many tymes tur­neth them to hatred. That preacher therefore which will winne most vnto God shal rather doe it by gentelnes, then by sharpnes, by promise, then by threatnings, by the gospel, then by the law, by loue, then by feare: though the law must be enterlaced to throw downe the malice of mans hart, the flesh must be bridled by feare and the spirit comforced with louing kindnes promised. Nehemiah vseth both the law and the Gospel to persuade them withal.

The 17. verse laieth afore them the misery they were in, to liue vnder heathen, & strange Princes, the pitiful sight of their broken wal, their gates burned, wherby they liued in continual danger of the enemy round [Page] about them to be spoyled & murthered: the shame was no lesse them the losse, that they could not repaire and recouer by their wel doing that their fathers lost, & they had dwelled so many yeares in it since king Cyrus gaue them licence to goe home againe: all which were the heauie burthens & cursse of the law. But this verse setteth afore them the gratious goodnes of God and the King, which had giuen great tokens of their good wil & fauour toward the worke of their meere mercie: & so both the lawe and the gospel laide afore them, the miserie taken awaie, and mercie offered vnto them, they should most thankfully receaue the goodnesse promised, & auoid the great burthen of miserie, that they so long had borne. This kinde of tea­ching is verie meete to be followed of all preachers, and those that shall speake vnto a people, where all sorts of states ar to be perswa­ded: sor these kinds of reasons touch all sorts of men: and if it be done in the feare of God, it wil worke as it did then. Those be the best schollers that wil learne withont the rod: yet none so good but at times he needeth the rod: and a wise schoolemaster wil make such choyse of his schollers, whom he wil haue learned, that he shall profit more with gentlenesse then crueltie: and such asses as must continuallie haue the whip, are meeter to be driuen from the schoole to the Cart, then by their loytring to hurt others.

19. Sanballat the Horronite, and Tobias the seruant an Ammo­nite, and Gesem the Arabian heardit, and they mocked vs, & said: what is this thing that ye doe? doe ye fall awaie from the King?

20. And I aunswered them, & said vnto them: the God of heauen is he that hath graunted vs prosperitie, and we his seruants wil rise vp and build: and as for you, there is no portion and right nor remembrance in Ierusalem.

These men as they were sad at Nehemiahs first comming, when they see that any man had founde such fauour with the King to doe good to Ierusalem: so now were they almost mad for anger, when they heard that they went about to build the walls of Ierusa­lem. Openlie to withstand them, or forbid them to worke, they durst not, because they had the Kings Commission to doe so: but so much as they durst they discourage them, they mocke them, thei threaten to accuse them, &, of that which would make any man a­fraid, they lay rebellion to their charge, and say, they would build that City for no other cause, but that they would make them-selues strong aginst the King, fall away from him, set vp a King amongst them selues, obey none, but vse their olde libertie, & rule all about them, [Page 32] as they did afore. These men beare some authoritie in the countrie, and like proud braggers, & dissembling malitious enemies to God & his word, they would hinder so much as thy could this building. The world is to full at this day of such like dissembling hipocrites. The one soite if they come vp of nought, & get a badge pricked on their sleeue, though they haue litle, yet they looke so bigg & speake so stoutly, that they kepe the poore vnder their feete, that they dare not route. All must be as they say, though it be neyther true nor honest, none dare say the contrarie. But the dungeon dissembling Papist is more like vnto them: for he careth not by what meanes to get it, by feare, or by flatterie, so that he can obteine his purpose. These men first mocke the Iewes, and scornefully despise them for enter­prising this building, thinking by this meanes to discourage poore soules that they should not goe forward in this worke: After that they charge them with rebellion. These two be the old practises of Sa­than in his members to hinder the building of Gods howse in al a­ges. 2. Pet. 3. Iudas in his epistle saith, that in the last daies there shal come mock­ers, 2. Tim. 3. which shal walke after their owne wicked lusts. Peter & Paul foretold the same. Our sauiour Christ, though he was most spitefullie misu­sed many waies, yet neuer worsse, then when they mocked him: both Herod, Pilate, the Priests and the Iewes. It is thought but a smale matter to mocke simple soules & so withdraw them from God: but Prou. 3. Salomon saith, he that mocketh shalbe mocked. And Dauid, he that dwel­leth Psalm. 2. in the heauens shall mocke them, & the Lord will laugh them to scorne. This shal be the iust rewarde of such scorners. It is iustlie to be fea­red, that as the Iewes were giuen vp to Nebuchad-nezzer, for mocking the Prophets and Preachers of their time, as it is writen; so we, for our bitter taunting, scoffing, reuiling, disdaining and dispising of Gods 2. Chro. 36. true ministers at these daies shalbe giuen into our mortall enemies hands. What is more common in these daies then when such hick­scorners wilbe merie at their drunken bankets, to fall in talke of some one Minister or other: Nay they spare none, but goe from one to another, and can spie a mote in other men, but cannot spie their owne abhominations. Christ was neuer more spitefully and disdainfully scoft at, then these Lustie Russians open there mouths against his Preachers: but the same lord Christ saith of his disci­ples, that he which despiseth them, dcspiseth him. What rewarde the mockers of Christ shal haue, I think euery man knoweth. Good men with heauie harts commit them-selues and their cause vnto the Lord and pray with Dauid: Lord deliuer my soule from wicked lipes aud from a deceitfull tongue. Salomon saith, God will laugh when such shall [Page] perish. Michol, wife to Dauid was barren all her life for mocking her hus­band 2. Sam. 6. when he plaied on his harpe and daunced afore the arke of God. The children that mocked Elizeus and saied, come vp thou baldepate, come 2. King. 2. vp, were all deuoured sodenly of wilde beares, that came out of the wood hard by. Dauid, amongst many miseries that he complaineth of sai­eth, that the scorners made their songes of him, when they were at theirPsalm. 69.drunken feasts, and when he seeth no remedie how to scape their poysonfull tongues, he paciently turneth him vnto the Lord, com­mitteth all to him, & in the latter end of the Psalme: God comforteth him and telleth him, what sundrie mischiefes shall fall on them, for their despitefull dealing. When Belsazar King of Babilon made his drunken feast to his great men and called for the vessels and Iewels which Daniel. 5. Nebuchadnezer hrought from Ierusalem, that he and his harlots might eate and drinke in them in despite of the liuing God of Israell: A hand appeared writing on the wall, which Daniell expounded, when none of his sowthsayers could doe it, and said, his Kingdom should be taken from him: and so it came to passe. For the same night Belsazar was slaine, and Darius King of the Medes possessed his Kingdome. A iust rewarde for al such drunken mockers of God, his people, Re­ligion, and Ministers, and yet our merrie tossepots will take no heede. Sara saw I smaell playing with Isaac her sonne, and said to Abra­ham, cast out the handmaid and her sonne, for he shall not be heire with my sonne. But S. Paul alledging the same text, calleth this playing perse­cution Gen. 21. & saith: as he that was borne after the flesh didpersecute him that was borne after the spirit: so it is now: but the scripture saieth, cast out the handmaide and her sonne, for he shall not be heire with tbe sonne of the Gall. 4. free-woman: so shal all scornefull mockers, Iesters, and Railers on God, his worde, Religion, and People, be cast out into vtter dar­knes, and not be heires of gods Kingdome with his children. This playing and mocking is bitter persecution, and therefore not to be vsed of good men, nor against good men and louers of Religion. yet at this day he is counted a merie companion, and welcome to great mens tables, that can raile bitterlie, or iest merely on the mi­nisters. Such is our loue towards God, his worde, and ministers: but sure he that loueth God and the worde in deede, cannot abide to heare the Preachers ill spoken of vndeseruedly. I cannot tell whither is worsse, the scoffer, or the glad hearer. If the one had no pleasure in hearing such lewd talke, the other would not tell it. The other thing they charge the Iewes with all is Rebellton, falling from the King, and setting vp a: Kingdome amongst them­selues. When Elias rebuked Achab, and the people, to returne [Page 33] vnto the Lord, Achab saith vnto him: art thou he that troubleth Is­raeli? nay, said the Prophet, it is thou and thy fathers house: rebuking 1. King. 18. him, and teaching trueth, was counted troubling of the common wealth and the King. What was the cause that King Saul and his flatterers hated poore Dauid so much, and so cruellie sought his death, but that the people songe after that Goliah was slaine: that 1. Sam. 18. Saul had killed a thousand, and Dauid his ten thousand: which was as much to saie, as they thought that Dauid was a mightier man then Saul, and meeter to be King. Daniel set open his windowes, and con­trary to the Kings commandement, prayed thrise a day vnto the liuing [...] 6. Lord, and therefore was accused of disobedience to the King, and cast to the Lions den to be deuoured of them. The Israelits in Egipt, Exed. 1. when God blessed them, and encreased them to a great people, were accused that they waxed so many & wealthie that they would rebell against the King: and therefore to keep them vnder, were op­pressed by the taskemasters, and set to make Bricke for their buil­dings. When our Lord & master Christ Iesus was borne, the wisemen asked where the King of the Iewes was? Herod was mad, and killed all Mat. 2. the children of two yeares olde and vnder, lest any of them should come to be King and put him downe. When our sauiour Christ said his kingdome was not of this world, then said Pilate, thou art a King then: Ihon. 18. Whereupon the Iewes tooke occasion to accuse him of treason: and said, eueryone that maketh him selfe a King speaketh against the Em­perour, for we haue no King but the Emperour. The Apostles were ac­cused that they had troubled the common-wealth by preaching Christ, and filled Ierusalem with their doctrine, contrarie to the commaundement Act. 5. of the Priests and Elders. Iason was drawen out of his owne house for lodging Paul, being accused that he had troubled the world and diso­beyed the Emperour. When Saint Paul had preached Christ in A­thens, he was accused for troubling the state by teaching his new doctrine: Act. 17. thus euer the building of Gods house by preaching of the Gospell hath bene charged with rebellion, disobedience to Princes, and troubling of the common-wealth and peace. But good men haue not bene dismaied at such bigge wordes, but with good courage haue proceeded in their worke, hauing the testimonie of a good conscience that they be not guiltie of anie such thing.

20. And I answered. This was the first push, but not the worst that they had to discourage them, for proceeding in this building: and not vnlike but it made some afraid, to heare such bigg wordes, and so great matters laide to their charge, by men of such authori­tie as they were. But as they were not ashamed so vniustlie to ac­cuse [Page] Gods people, so Nehemiah steppeth forth, as boldly aunswe­reth for them all, and defendeth their doings. A worthie example for al those that be in authoritie to follow: they haue not the sword committed vnto them in vaine, they ought to defend both by word and deede, in their well doings, those that be committed vnto them. Their duetie is, not to suffer Gods enemies to inuade or hurt, sclaunder or blaspheme those, that they haue charge ouer, but draw the sword, if neede be, to driue awaie such wolues and punish such wicked tongues. It is not as we commonlie say, when any daunger or persecution ariseth for the doctrine, or that the mi­nisters are vntruely reported of: let the preachers defend it, it is their duetie and vocation, we are not learned, it belongeth not to vs, our care is for the common-wealth onely. Religious ma­gistrates will neyther doe so, nor saie so: they will not suffer, as much as in them lieth, the Church, Religion, doctrine, nor the ministers to be ill spoken of, reuiled, defaced, nor ouerrunne. They be mouthes, to speake for Gods people, as Moyses was vnto Pharao: they be hands to fight for them, they be Rulers to defend the good, and punish the euil. Iephthe when the Am­monites fought against Israel, defended the cause in disputation Iudg. 11. by words, and after in battaile with sword. The good King Eze­chias, when he receiued the blasphemous message and letters e. Kings. 18. from Rabshakeh against God, his Temple, people, and Religion, he seeketh by all meanes to defend them all, and encourage the peo­ple not to fall awaie from their God in that great daunger. When Holophernes railed on God and his people, Achior and Iudeth de­fend them, and shee cutteth of his head. When the great Giant Golias reuiled the people of God, and prouoked them to fight with him 1. Sam. 14. hand to hand, if they durst, for the victorie: none we, found that durst doe it: but poore Dauid, with no strong weapons, but his sling and a few stones, killed that lustie champion and deliuered his people. When Dathan, Chorah and Abiram, with [...] fellowes, railed against Moses and Aaron Gods true ministers, Moses com­mitting [...]. 16. the reuenge of it to the Lord, warned the people to depart from their companie, lest they perished with them, by that straunge death: and streight waies the earth opened, & swallowed vp them, & their goods, and tents, where they [...], quicke into hell. Nay weomen were not spa­red: for Marie Moses sister was smitten with a leprosie for railing on Moses her brother, Gods liefetenant ouer them. As the magistrate therefore both with word and sword must defend Gods cause, his Religion, temple, people, ministers and doctrine, so must the prea­cher, [Page 43] and those that be learned, with their paine, praier, prea­ching, and all other meanes that they can: yea if our goods or liues were required for the defence of it, no state of man ought to refuse it. For this end are we borne and liue, to glorifie our God, and set forth his praise: for this purpose are all things giuen vs, and there­fore must not be spared, but spent and bestowed, when his glorie requireth. For this cause Esaias the Prophet gaue his bodie to be sawen in sunder with a sawe of yron. For this cause Ieremio Iere. 38. was cast into a dungeon of Mire and filth, Daniel into the Lions denne; Saint Paul pleadeth his cause oft in chaines at Ierusalem, & at Rome afore Festus, Felix, and Agrippa: and our Lord and ma­ster Christ Iesus, afore Annas, Caiphas, Pilate and Herod: Iohn Baptist lost this head for this quarrel, & no good man wil thinke any thing to deere to spend in Christ his masters cause. For this cause Ter­tullian, Ireneus, Iustinus, Athanasius, Chrisostons, Nazianzenus, haue written great bookes against the heathens, which railed on our Religion. What infinite number of Martirs haue stoode stout­ly and giuen their liues in the same quarell? he that hath seene anie learning, can better tell where to begin, then where to make an end of reckoning, the number is so infinit: and our late daies haue giuen sufficient proofe there of vnder that bloody butcher Bonner, that the most ignoraunt, yf he will open his eares and eies, might heare and see great plentie. But alas the fierie fagots of those daies were not so greeuous then, as the slandrous tongues be now in our daies. Nebuchadnezzer made a law, that if anie did blaspheme the God of Si­drach, Dan. 3. Misach, and Abednego, he should be slaine, and his house made a dunghill. Moses made a lawe, that euerie blasphemer should be stoned to Leuis. 24. death. Seeing God and Princes haue made such straight lawes a­gainst such lewd railers, good Rulers should see some correction done, and not with silence to suffer ill men to talke their pleasure on Gods citie, Religion, & ministerie. While others possibly made courtesie to speake and aunswere these busie braggers and quarre­lers, Nehemiah steppeth forth boldely, defendeth this cause stoutly, answereth their false accusation truelie, incourageth the people manfullie to goe forward with their worke, despiseth their brags, & telleth them plainly, that they haue no parte, nor right, nor are worthie to be remembred in Ierusalem. The effect of Nehemiahs answere was, that the God of heauen had giuen them good successe hitherto in mouing the harts of king Cirus & Darius first to the building of the temple, & now of Artaxerxes to restore the citie: they were his seruants, & worshiped him, end he stirred them vp to this worke: for of them selues they were not able [Page] to do such things. They serued no Idoles nor false gods, they needed not to be ashamed of their master, the God of heauen was their Lord and they his people, he was their master and they his ser­uants, he their King, and they his subiects: they would goe for­ward with their worke, they must haue a Citie to dwell in to serue their God, who would defend them in this their well doing: these men had no authoritie to stoppe or forbid them to worke, they had nothing a do in Ierusalem, nor any authoritie, they would not obey them, but with all diligence applie this worke vntill it be finished. The Apostles, when they were forbidden, preached, and would not obey, but said, they must obey God that bad them. Thus must all they, that take Gods worke in hand, confesse it to come from God, and that he blesseth their doings, that all the praise may be his, and that they of them-selues be weake & vnable to doe such things, without his special grace and assistance. All good men in such enterprises will saie with Dauid; Not vnto vs O Lord, not vnto vs, but vnto thy name giue all the glorie. If these wicked men had had anie worldy shame or feare of God in them, they would haue Psal. 125. quaked & trembled, as the good men reioiced to haue God on their side to further them: so they, whē they heard the god of heauen named to be against them, and that it was his doing, they would haue for­saken their Idoles, and haue furthered this building, or at lest haue sitten still, and not hindered it. For who is able to withstand his will, or hinder that he will haue forward? The Deuils in hell quake and tremble at the naming and considering of Gods Maiestie, but these wicked Imps not onelie now, but sundrie times, as appeereth hereafter in this booke, most cruellie, spitefullie, and craftelie goe forward in their olde malice, and by all meanes seeke the ouer­throw of this building. So farre worse is a Deuil incarnate in an ill man, then by him-selfe in his owne nature. When the Deuill will worke anie great mischiefe, he taketh commonlie one man or other, Angel or creature to doe it by, knowing that he shall doe it more easily that waie, then if he should attempt it by him­selfe. Howe is euerie murther, false witnesse, whoredome, rob­beric, &c, committed, but when the Deuill stirreth vp one man against another? Let euerie good man therefore take heed vnto him-selfe, how he yoaldeth vnto sinne. For in that do­ing, he maketh him-selfe a slaue to the Deuill, and his instru­ment to worke by, One Deuill, will not offer that villany to another Diuell, to make him his slaue, but if he canne bring man vnto it, there is his reioycing. Take heede therefore, O man. [Page 35] In that they confesse them selues to be the seruants of the God of hea­uen: it is as much to say, as they wrought not for them-selues nor at their owne appointment, nor for their owne profit: they wrought for their masters cause, and for his glorie. Good seruants in al their doings will seeke their masters profit and praise, not their owne: they liue not for them-selues but al the profit of their doings retur­neth to their masters. If they take any thing to them-selues more then their master giueth them, they be theeues vnto him, they doe him no true seruice. Let all the builders of Gods house therefore, whether they be rulers in the common wealth, as Nehemiah was now, or of the learned sort in the ministrie, or els where, not onely confesse in words, that they be seruants to the God of heauen, but most humblie, simplie, and boldlie shew it in their deeds, that they seeke their masters praise and glorie, the common profit of their coun­trie and not their owne: that they worke for him, and not for them­selues, & that they serue him not for any worldlie respect, or gaine, or honour, but vprightlie for conscience sake serue and obey him, yeald al praise to his glorious name, taking nothing to them-selues and being not afraid to goe foreward in his building for any brag­gers, knowing that all the pride of mans heart, which setteth vp him-selfe against the God of heauen, is vile and vaine: and that their God wil defend his seruants and confound his foes. It is no rebellion against Princes to doe that which God commaundeth: for Princes them-selues are bound as wel as other meaner degrees to serue the Lord God of heauen with all their might and maine: and vnto the same God they must make account of their doings as all other must. For this building they had the Kings commission, and therefore it was no treason to doe it. It is more glorious to be called Gods seruants, then to haue all the titles of honour and dig­nitie that the world can giue. He that serueth the Lord trulie is ma­ster of sinne, hell, death, and the deuil, and by the assistance of gods holie spirit shall not be ouercome of them, but shall ouercome and conquere them: which is greater honour, then any worldly Prince can giue. The woman that had an euil spirit in her, confessed Paul & his fellowes to be the seruants of the mightie God, and that they taught Act. 16. them the way of saluation. See then how deuils are afraid of Gods ser­uants. Paul in all his Epistles reioyceth in nothing more, then ter­ming him selfe an Apostle and seruant of Christ Iesus. The holie ghost tolde Paul that in euery Citie where he should come, there were Chaynes and troubles ready for him: but he said he cared not for them, for his life Act. 20. was not deare to him, so that he might runne his race, & testifie the glorious [Page] Gospell of God. be not ashamed therefore of thy master: for our saui­our Christ saith, that whosoeuer denieth him afore men, he will denie him afore his father in heauen. Worldlie masters will not cast awaie their faithful seruants, but mainteine them as they maie; and thinkest thou that God will forsake his seruants? Thinkest thou a mortall wretched man to be more louing to thee then the eternal God and merciful father that made thee, feedeth thee, and defendeth thee, when man cannot help thee? yea loueth thee better, then thou lo­uest thy selfe, aud staieth thee from running from him, when thou wouldst willingly seeke thine owne destruction wilfully. Stand to boldlie, forsake him not cowardlie. Policarpus an old man, when he Euseb. 4. Cap. 17. should suffer martirdom, was aduised by some to haue pitie on his olde age, and not so stifly to stand. Nay, saieth he, I haue serued my master Christ Niceph. 3. 35 these 86. yeares, and he did me neuer harme, I will not for sake him now in my last daies. Thus Nehemiah stoutlie answering them, and boldly incouraging his fellowes, goeth forward with the worke, contem­neth their mocking and false accusations, & falleth to his building againe: so must all good builders of Gods house neither be afraid nor wearie of scroneful mockers, threatnings, accusations, or vio­lence: but manfully goe forward to the end, knowing that their God is stronger, wiser, and more willing to defend his people, then his enemes shalbe to hurt them. He that putteth his hand to the Luk 9. plough, and looketh backward, is not meet for the kingdome of God, sai­eth Christ our Lord. And he that continueth vnto the end, shalbe safe. Mat. 15. 20. Our sauiour Christ, when he preached, that what soeuer went in at the mouth did not desile a man, was tolde by his disciples that that do­ctrine offended the Pharisies: but he aunswered them and said, eue­rie plant that my father hath not plāted, shalbe plucked vp &c. As though he should say, their doctrine is not from my father, and therefore cannot stand: let those blinde guides alone seeing they be wilful & obstinate and will not learne: goe ye forward with preaching of the Gospel, care not for them. So euerie good man must continue that he maie saie with S. Paul, I haue kept my faith, I haue run my raoe, 2. [...]. 4. the crowne of right eousnes is laid vp in store for me, &c. After that Nehe­miah had thus boldlie aunswered them, and encouraged his coun­trie-men to their worke, he now turneth him to Sanballat and his fellowes, and sheweth him-selfe to make as little account of them, as they made of him, and saieth: As for you ye haue no right, parte, nor remembrance in Ierusalem: as though he should saie, what haue you to doe with vs in this building? ye are not Iewes borne, as we be, ye belong not to Israel, nor are partakers of his blessing. Ye be [Page 37] Samaritans, strangers to his Citie and common-wealth, ye be none of gods houshold: if ye will be doing, medle where ye haue to doe. This Citie God him-selfe did choose for his people to dwell in, and serue him. Ye be Idolaters, & worship not the true God of heauen: if ye wil be building, build ye Samaria your owne head Citie: ye are no Citizens here, nor haue anie freedome, libertie, or priuiledge graunted vnto vs, ye be none of our corporation, nor denizens, ye shall haue nothing to doe here. All that builde here, haue their portion of land & liuing in this citie & countrie appoin­ted for them: they shal haue iustice, right and lawe ministred vnto them, & for a perpetual remembrance of their faithful seruice vnto the liuing God, their names shalbe registred, that al posteritie may know their doings, & praise the Lord that strengthned them to this building: but ye haue none of al these. For when the land was de­uided by lot and measure by Iosue, ye had no parte appointed for you: vnder the lawe ye doe not liue, but haue liued after your owne deuise, nay, ye beare such hatred vnto vs, that ye will not willingly eate, drinke, nor keepe company with vs friendly: let vs alone, trouble vs not, get you hence, & let vs fall to our building a­gaine It is no small blessing of god whē he calleth any to be a buil­der of his house, for both in this world his name shalbe had in per­petuall remembrance, and he is written in the Booke of life, where no death canpreuaile. Dauid saith, the righteous man shalbe had in perpetuall remembrance: and Saint Ihon saith, that he that is not found written in the booke of life, shal be cast into the sierie lake. The builders Psalm. 112. Reuel. 20. of this city now haue their names written in the next Chapter fol­lowing for their perpetuall praise in this world, to teach vs, that as the builders of this worldlie Ierusalem haue their names registred here, much more the builders of the heauenlie Icrusalem haue their names written in the Booke of life to their saluation. Ill men and troublers of Gods building haue their names written in this boke to. What more blessed then is he that hindereth? Salomon tea­cheth and saith: the remembrance of the righteous is to his praise, But the name of the wicked stinketh. This is then the difference, and thou Prouer. 10. maist choose whither thou wilt be remembred to thy praise or to thy shame, & with the good will of the liuing or hatred. But by this answere of Nehemiah, when he saith that they haue no parte, right, nor remembrance in Ierusalē, it is partly giuen vs to vnderstand: that when they could not hinder this worke by big brags & threatnings, they offred them-selues to ioine with them in this building to take their part, & beare the charges fellowlike: for why should he deny them [Page] these, except they required it. But Nehemiah a wise man would neither be afraid of them, as open enemies, nor receiue them into his fellowship, as feined friends. Wherein he teacheth al true Chri­stians how to behaue them-selues in building of Gods house. That is neyther to feare the one, nor to receiue the other. S. Paul saith, be not yoked with infidels, what hath rightousnes to doe with vnrighteous­nes, light with darknes, or Christ with Belial? Gods people are knit togither with two bonds, the one is Christ their head, who giueth life to al members of the bodie, the other is brotherlie loue among them selues. But neither of these can be found in Idolaters, for they neither take Christ for their head and liue by him, nor they loue not Christians as their breetheren, but dissemble with God and man. All Christians haue one God, one father, one baptisme, one Religion, one law to liue vnder, and one heauenlie kingdome to looke for: but Infidels and hipocrites haue manie Gods, al Religions be alike vnto them, they liue as they list, and that is their law and will, to goe to heauen after their owne deuise, if they can get it. Yet they haue a delite to thrust them-selues in among Gods people, pretending a loue vnto them, where in deede it is for no good will, but to learne their secret counsels and purposes, that by such meanes they maie betraie them when occasion serueth. But wise builders will admit them into no fellowship nor friendship, as Nehemiah here vtterlie Ezra. 4. refuseth them, and will haue nothing to doe with them. But this case is more plainlie propounded to Ezra, and there I haue spoken more largelie of it and: Ezra plainlie determineth the matter there who so list to reede and consider. God be praised.


WHereas of thy great power, most gratious God, thou hast not onelie made the hearts of all men, but farther of thy plenteous mercie hast taken into thy custodie and defence the hearts of all those that thou hast chosen in Christ Iesu to serue thee, graunt vs, heauenly father, we be seech thee, such an earnest loue to the building of thy house and citie, as thou gauest to thy faithful seruant Nehemiah, that as he was sad, gaue him-selfe to praier and fasting, and could not be merie, vntil he found grace in the Kings sight, to repaire thy decaied house and wasted Citie Ierusa­lem, so we by diligent praier calling on thy name, and humblie submitting our selues to thy blessed will and pleasure, maie not cease crying at thy throne of mercie vntil we by the meanes of our spookesman Christ Iesus thy sonne and our Lord, mate finde such fauour at thy hands, that by the as­sistance of thy holie spirit, according to our calling we maie euerie one of vs [Page 37] build the heauenlie Ierusalem, set vp the kingdome of thy crucifiep Christ, and with one consent pull downe the tiranny of Antichrist, to thy eternal glorie, and comfort of our consciences. And as thou then mouedst the hearts of heathen Kings, not onlie by lawes, commissions, and com­mandements, to giue licence to euery one that would repaire thy house, but also with great gifts and liber all rewards to set it forwards, so now most lo­uing Lord moue the hearts, we be seech thee, of all Christian Princes, hum­bly to throw their scepter at thy feete with all their powre, lawes, Commis­sions & commandements, that they maie by the authoritie committed vnto them procure the speedie repairing of thy heauenly kingdome, & with their liberalitie mainteine the builders of the same. And alas, O Lord, we are so weake of our selues, and impotent to doe these thinges without thee, that considering our miserable case, extreame neede driueth vs, impudentlie to craue thy fatherlie goodnes, not onely to graunt vs al these thy blessings, but farther to confound the wicked deuises of al greedy raueners, that seeke the spoile & defacing of thy Church; & defend vs from thy foes, our mortal enemies, Sanballat and his partakers, that we be not afraid of their proud braggs, nor deceiued by their subtill practises. Thou, most mightie Lord, maist not onelie giue vs all good things, but also deliuer and defend vs from all ill: for of our selues we can doe neither of them to our selues. Raise vs vp such rulers, ô god, we most humblie be seech thee both in the church & com­mon wealth, as may and will with the spirit of boldnesse incourag, the dull spirites of the feareful and wauering people couragiouslie to goe forward in thy building, as Nehemiah did: that neyther mocking nor threatning of the Romish Sanballat & his members, nor the craftie practises of the flattering Ammonites preuaile against vs, but with all might and maine we all may be found true workemen in thy house, so farre forth as our vocation shall streatch to the confusion of thy enemies, thy eternall praise, & our endlesse comfort in Christ Iesus thy sonne, our Lord and gratious sauiour.


CHAP. 3.

BEcause this chapter standeth most in des­cribing the building of the walles of Ieru­salem, by whom they were done, and what parte euery one did repaire, rehearsing the name both of the builders, and of the por­tions of the walls that they tooke in hand to finish, (which thing seemeth straunge, or rather vnprofitable to the people, that vnderstand not the misteries of it, nor the fashion and situation of the Citie) I shall in few wordes passe ouer things not so necessa­rie [Page] for the edifiing of the vnlearned, & not only such things as may encrease the faith of the simple vnlearned, for whose profit chiefe­lie this labour is taken: and also in reforming their liues may moue and stirre them to a more carefull building of the spirituall Ierusa­lem, which thing is chiefelie to be learned here, and to the which euerie one is bound with all his powre to imploy him selfe and all that he hath. The holie Ghost, who is the author of the holie Scripture, hath not put downe anie one word in writing whi­ther in the new testament, or in the old, that is eyther superstitious or vnprofitable, though it seeme so to many, but it hath his miste­rie and signification for our learning, and eyther for the plainnes of it, it may be vnderstood of all men, or els for the deepe misteries that be hid in it, is to be reuerenced of all sorts of men, and with di­ligence and prayer is to be searched out, as far as we may. The new building of this olde destroyed Citie by Gods enemies, putteth vs in remembrance how Sathan by his members had ouerthrowne Gods Citie and chosen people: and where now all sortes of men lay on hands Iustelie to repaire it againe, it teacheth vs our duetie how diligent euerie one should be in his degree to the restauring of Gods Citie his Church to his olde beautie and strength againe. This Citie Ierusalem was first called Salem or Solyma, where Mel­chisedech was king and met Abraham, returning with the spoile which he recouered from the king of Sodom and his fellowes. Mel­chisedech Gen. 14. by interpretation of his name, is first called the King of righteousnes: and after the King of Salem, that is, of peace, who repre­senteth vnto vs Christ Iesus, as the Epistle, to the Hebrewes saith, which is the King of all righteousnes, and by whome all we are made righteous, as the Apostle saith, and is a Priest for euer after the order of Heb. 7. Melchisedech, and offered vp that sweete and sauing sacrifice of his owne bodie and hearts blood, to pacifie the wrath of God against 1. Cor. 1. man, and make peace betwixt them both, as it is written to the Eph. 2. This citie afterwards was called Iebus, where the Iebusits one of the nations did dwel, whose land god gaue to his people of Israel: these Iebusits came of the cursed seede of Canaan, whome Noe his father cursed for mocking him in his drunkennes, and inhabited this countrie Iosue. 15. Gen. 9. vntill that worthie king Dauid recouered the strongest parte of it 2. Sam. 5. from them, called Sion, & named it the Citie of Dauid after himselfe. That noble captaine Iosue in deede conquered the whole land, and deuided it among the Israelites: but these Iebusits were partlie so strong, dwelling in the mountaines, that they could not be vanqui­shed in short time, & partly the people so negligent, that they wold [Page 38] not driue them out or destroy them as they were commaunded, but suffered them to dwel among them, to their great shame & harme: for they were euer like thornes in their sides, to prick & hurt them, as it is written, Iosue 23. Whereby we learne, that, as the Iebusites Gods enemies could not fully be conquered vntil Dauid came, no more could the kingdome of Sathan be cleane ouerthrown, vntill Christ Iesus the King of glory was borne of the seede of Dauid, who conquered sin, hel, & the deuil, and possessed the holy hill Sion, and made his peo­ple citizens of the heauenlie Ierusalem. And like as they suffered the Iebusits to dwell amongst them to their great harme, so sinne remaineth in our mortall bodies conquered in deede, that it doeth not reigne ouer those that serue the Lord, yet not cleane taken a­way, but left for our exercise, who hauing our mortal enemie dwel­ling within vs, should fight against sinne vnder the banner of faith in Christ Iesus, who onelie hath, can, and will continuallie defend his people, subdue their enemies, and giue his children the victorie. How King Dauid wanne this Citie from the Iebusits, is fullie decla­red in the 2. of Sam. 5. chapter. And how Christ Iesus the Sonne of God conquered the whole kingdome of Sathan, sinne, death, and hell, the whole historie of the gospell declareth. And as king Dauid when he had reigned 33. yeares noblie in Ierusalem, died with great victorie, so Christ Iesus our Lord and graundcaptaine, after he had preached the kingdome of his father, gat this noble victo­rie against death and all his enemies in the 33. yeare of his age, by suffering death, and triumphantlie ascending into heauen, where he reigneth a glorious King for euer. After that Dauid had recoue­red this Citie from the Iebusites, it was continually called Ierusalem, (which is by interpretation, the Lord he will see Salem) alluding to both the olde names ioyned togither, Iebus, Salem, & chaunging one letter onelie. In the gospel it is called the holie citie, as when the deuil tempted Christ he tooke him into the holie Citie, and set him on a pinacle Mat. 4. of the temple, which name it gate rather of the holie law, word and Sacrifices that were taught there and offered, then of that wicked and vnholie people, that denied the Lord of life, and required Barrabas to be deliuered. But when it was destroied by the Romanes, and not one stone left standing on another, as Christ foretold it should be, Elius Adrianus the Emperour for vaine glorie, builded a new Citie and called it after his owne name Elia or Capitolina. And when the hea­then had gotten it from the Christians, Pope Vrbane the second kept a councell in Fraunce, and by his flattering friers stirred vp all Prin­ces to recouer the holie land againe, more like a superstitious Iewe [Page] putting holinesse in the place, which then was inhabited with wicked people, then like a true preacher of true holinesse. But it cost manie Princes their liues, lands, and goods, and yet not reco­uered: wherof England felt his parte, when King Richard the first went thither, and was taken prisoner, paid a great Raunsome to the impouerishing of the Realme. As God gaue this Citie and people falling from him into his enemies hands: so will he cast vs vp, if we frowardly forsake him. This Citie Ierusalem, aster that it was recouered from the Iebusites, was inlarged and fortified by Da­uid, Salomon, Ozias, and Ezechias, and other good kings, and had within it two chiefe hils, Sion, where the Kings Palace was built, & Moria where the temple was. And after when the people encrea­sed, other two hils were taken into it, Acra and Bethera, as Iosephus writeth. It had three wardes and walles within it. Within the In­nermost wall was the Kings Palace, and Temple, and the Preists lodging: in the midle ward were the Prophets & noble-men, their schooles, Leuits and Doctors. By which we are taught how to place and esteeme learning and learned men, schooles, vniuersities, and preachers, which are not now much regarded. In the vttermost dwell the Citizens, marchants and artificers. It was then. 4. miles about, and after enlarged to 6. It was most glorious in the time of our sauiour Christ: for Herod and Agrippa had made great cost on it, and Christ wept for it. Dauid in the 48. Psalme describeth the beautie and strength of this Citie, and biddeth them goe round about it, marke and behold it, and count the towers of it, that were manie: that the Lord might be praised for it: The vttermost wall had towres 90. The midle wall had towres 14. And the innermost wall had towres 60. In the whole 164. towres, as Iosephus and others doe write. But I take it that it was so rather in the time of Christ, then of Dauid, or of this building now: for as it increased in wealth, beautie, and strength, so it did in pride, riotousnes, superstition, contempt ofGod, & al wickednes, so that this last and vtter destruction was at hand, for refusing, crucifying, & cōdemning the sonne of god their sauiour. When-soeuer the scripture speaketh of any going to this Citie, it saieth commonly they went vp to Ierusalem, because it was built so on hils, that on what side soeuer thou camest in thou sholdst goe vp an hill; which though it seeme a small matter to be noted, yet God which doeth nothing in vaine, as he did by other outward things teach that grosse people heauenly things, as here in this clyming vp to this earthly citie they left worldly things beneath them in the vallies: so they that would pray vnto the Lord or seeke [Page 39] the heauenlie Ierusalem, must climbe vp by faith into heauen to the mercie seat and throne of grace, casting awaie all worldly cares and leauing that behind. The common opinion is, that Adam our first father dwelt and was buried here in this Citie. And the Scrip­ture teacheth, that good father Abraham offred his sonne Isaac on the mount Moria, where Salomon built the temple. Which all were Genes. 22. figures that Christ Iesus the new Adam should be buried in the same place where the old Adam was, to restore to vs that life which old Adam had lost: and should offer his pretious bodie on the tree for our redemption, a sweeter sacrifice then Isaac, or anie bloodie sacrifice, that was offered in the temple of Salomon. It is comfortable to consider, and wonderfull to behold, how the wis­dome of God hath made the circumstances of our destruction by Adam, & saluation by Christ Iesus to agree. Adam in Paradice, a gar­den of pleasure, offended God, & was cast out for his disobedience, and we all his posteritie: Christ Iesus was buried in a garden, and hath by his death restored to vs life againe. By the intising of a woman man fell from God, and by a woman that blessed seede Christ Iesus was borne, and reconciled vs to his father againe. By a pleasant apple was man deceiued, but by Christ hauing bitter gall giuen him to drinke, man was saued. In that garden had Adam all pleasant things freelie giuen him: and in this garden without the Citie had Christ our Lord all cruel and spitefull torments that could be deuised: that we should goe forth to suffer with him, for­saking the daintie pleasures of this Citie. In the temple no sinne could be forgiuen without shedding of the blood of some sacrifice and in this world is no pardon of our wickednes without the blood of Christ Iesus the innocent lambe of God. And as by the fall of one man Adam we all were condemned, so by the rising from death of one man Christ Iesus we are iustified. By the corruption of our father Adam we all did perish, and by the Innocencie of our brother the Lord Christ we al be sanctified. Why should not the goodnes of the one profit vs as much as the illnes of the other did hurt vs, or rather much more blesse vs being the immortall sonne of the liuing God, and the other being but a mortall man made of the earth? And as they that had anie sute to the King, or sacrific e to be offred by the Priest, first entred in at the vttermost gate, where the common sort of Citizens dwelt, & then through the second where the Leuits & learned men were, and lastlie in at the innermost gate, where the King and his palace, the hie Priest and the temple were built: so they that will goe to the great King and hie Priest of the hea­uenlie [Page] Ierusalem, must first enter the vttermost gates where al sorts of Christians are borne into this world, and then be brought to the second, to be intructed by the ministers in the lawe of the Lord, and receyued into the Church, and there nourished by the Sacra­ments of God: which being diligentlie done, he may boldlie enter at the Innermost gate to the Kings Palace and temple, to make his humble sute, pray and offer his bodie a liuelie sacrifice to God the father by Christ Iesus his sonne, King of Kings, and Lord of the heauens, who also is our high Priest and Archbishop, that offred vp that sweete sacrifice of his owne blood for our silthie and stin­king sinnes. For as the king and the Priest dwelled both togither in the Innermost warde and on the high hils: so our King and high Priest Christ Iesus hath taken vnto him-selfe the kingdome and priesthood, and by his holie spirit made vs a king lie priest hood to God his father: Kings, that we might by him conquere the kingdome of Sa­than: and Priests, to mortifie and kill the silthie lusts of our flesh and offer our soules a liuing and holie sacrifice to serue him. For as no sacri­fice could be offred any where, but in this onelie Temple of Ierusa­lem, so no prayer nor thankefull sacrifices can bee offered vnto him, but in the name of Christ Iesus his sonne and our Lord. Lastlie as God of his iustice for the wickednes and superstition both of the Princes, Priests, and the people, destroyed the kingdome, law, and priesthood of Moses, neuer to be built orrestored againe, though the Iewes sundrie times attempted it, and with great sommes of money would haue gotten licence to haue yearelie come and lamented the destruction of it: Yet both Emperour Elius Adrianus to withdraw them from it, built a new Citie in another place, called it Niceph. 3. cap. 24. after his owne name, and graued a Swyne and his owne Image ouer the gates to bring them in hatred with it, and commanded in paine of death they shold not come thither. God also with Earthquakes ouerthrew their doings, destroyed their tooles, and swallowed vp the workemen: So in his Neceph. 1. cap. 32. 33. mercie he hath built a new spiritual Ierusalem, giuen vs the com­fortable tidings of the Gospell, sent his Apostles to preach it through all the world, set vp a new kingdome and ministerie, not in a corner of the world, as it was then, but through all countries, that all which beleeue may be saued: and that not in feare and threatnings as the law was, but in louing kindenes & mercie, grace, peace, and trueth in Christ Iesus. Many of these things are well no­ted by Wolphius and other learned men: and because there is diuers times occasion giuen in this Chapter to speake of these figures and spirituall comparisons, I haue once for all set them downe [Page 45] that I neede not oft repeate them afterward: and they that list may briefelie here see all set togither, and applie them afterward as occasion serueth. I will not in this Chapter, as I haue done in o­thers, follow verse by verse, nor sentence by sentence, nor word by word, to examine them particularlie, because it standeth most of names, wherein the vnlearned should not take so much profit as labour in reading of them: (though the learned may with pleasure picke out good lessons of them by Allegoricall interpretation of the places, &c) but I will briefelie note such things here and there in some verses, as shall giue occasion to help the simpler sorte to further the building of these walls, for whose cause speciallie I haue taken this labour.

1. Eliasib the hie Priest gat him vp, and his breethren the Priests and builded the sheepgate.

2. And next vnto him builded the men of Iericho.

AFter that Nehemiah had so stoutly answered Sanballat and his fellowes, & encouraged his countriemen to the building of the walls, all sortes of them pluck vp their stomachs, and are no more afraid, but lustelie fall to their worke. And among other Eli­asib the high Priest and the rest of the Priests also gat them vp, and tooke in hand to repaire the sheepegate which went toward mount Oliuet, and so the wall all a long vnto the towre Hananeell. Such goodnes commeth by hauing a stout Captaine where the people be faint-harted. Aggeus complaineth in the building of the tem­ple, that Prince, Priest, and people, were fallen on sleepe, vntill he came with message from the Lord to awake them, & then they fell lustely to worke: So now here, after' that Nehemiah came with com­mission both from God and the King, they lingered their building no more, but boldly went on forward with it, though it had lyen many yeares vnlooked at, & now in the beginning they had many stout brags. Chabrias, as Plutarch doeth write, was wont to say, that an host of harts should be more feared, if a Lion were their Captaine, tben an host of Lions should be, if a hart were their Captaine: teaching what profit commeth by a stout Captaine: and so it fareth in Gods cause too. Saint Paul considering what a chargeable office was committed vnto him, and how fearefull a thing it was to preach Christ a fore Princes and wicked people, desireth the Ephesians to praie for him, that he might haue vtteraunce giuen him, boldlie and freelie to doe his message in preaching the gospell. He desireth the same thing of [Page] the Colossians. 4. Chap. And the. 2. Thessalonians. 3. So that where we see this boldnes in preaching ioyned with wisdome and discretion, we maie perswade our selues that it is the gift of God in such a man, and aboue the nature of man to doe it. This lesson is giuen to all good builders of Gods spirituall house, that they should not feare him that will kill the bodie, and cannot hurt the soule: but feare him that can cast both bodie and soule into hell. And Saint Iohn saieth in the Reuelat. 21. that those which be fearefull, shall haue their parte in the burning lake of brimstone, with murtherers, adulterers, and idola­ters. And by the example of Eliasib and the Priests which disdai­ned not to be admonished and learne their duetie of Nehemiah, comming from the courte, we shall learne humblenes of minde, Mat. 10. and not disdaine to be admonished of our duetie at meane mens Reuelat. 21. hands. They are not offended at him, nor thinke him sawcie to counsell and teach them, which were teachers of others, but are content to ioyne in this worke with him and the rest, yea boldlie to begin and giue good example to the rest, as their duetie was, and to incourage others. So no estate must disdaine to be warned of his duetie, and to be encouraged though it be by meane men: for all sorts high and lowe, learned & vnlearned are fearefull and forget­full of them-selues, vntil God stirre them vp by his word, holie spirit, and messenger. And reason it was that as they were shep­heards to the people, so they should build the sheep-gate which was at the East-end of the Citie where the temple was, in the vtter­most wall where the sheepe came in that were offered in sacrifice, and whereof they had their partes, according to the law. This gate maie well be compared to Christ Iesus, who sought the lost sheepe and was sacrificed as a lambe, and is the gate whereby one­lie we enter, & his shepheards must be the builders of it, and bring the people into the folde. Many good lessons might be plucked out of the interpretation of the names herein contemed, and what were signisied by them, but those be meeter for the learned, which can by order of learning keepe them selues in compasse, and applie all things to the rule of faith, then to the vnlearned which haue not that iudgement. And where the men of Iericho ioyne with the hie Priest in this building, it teacheth that not onely priests & Citizens must build Gods Citie but also countriemen, yea those that dwelt farthest of and be lest regarded, must put to their helping hand. It is commendable in both, that neither the Priests refused their aide, and they that dwelled farthest of were the first that came to worke. So must all that be of Gods houshould help to build, euen the sim­plest [Page 41] and basest as well as the best: for as he is God of all, so he will haue all to serue and worship him. If either Nehemiah or any other had taken this worke in hand alone, it would haue bene thought great arrogancie in them, & others would haue disdained that they should haue all the praise of so great a building alone. Common things would be done with common consent, and the common aide of them to whome it perteineth would not be refused. Iericha was the first citie that Iosue ouerthrew for their wickednes, and it is now the first that commeth to help this building. So great a change commeth when god turneth the hearts of the people. Without this gate was that watring place or sheep-poole, whereof S. Iohn wri­teth in the 5. cap. and where the sheepe were washed, that came to be offered.

3. The fish-gate builded the sonnes of Senaah: they couered it, & set on the doores, lockes, and barres.

5. The great men of Thecoa put not their necksto the worke of the Lord.

THis gate was at the west end of the citie, where the fishers came in atthe Sea coast with their fish to sell. If a man would stand on figures and allegories, this gate may well signifie Christ, who made his Apostles and Preachers fishers of men, who by him brought and daily bring them into this spirituall Ierusalem: for he is onely the doore whereby all must enter into the Lords citie. These men like good builders leaue nothing vndone that might fortifie that gate, for they set on not onely the doores, but also bolts and lockes. So must Gods Church be made strong by lawes, discipline, and authoritie, that rauening Lions, nor filthie Swyne rush not in, and disquiet or deuour Gods people: and the holesome doctrine must be confirmed with strong arguments, and reasons against false teachers. Much controuersie there is now about disci­pline, which euery man graunteth to be necessarie, and desireth to haue: but whether this that is so vehemently vrged be the right way to strengthen the Church, as stronger doores, lockes, and barrs, that should keepe out all rauening wolues and wild beasts, or they be like to spiders copwebs that wil catch a weak flie, & let the great drones burst thorow, I leaue it to the consideration of the wise: I wilbe no partaker of these troublesome contentions. And if a man would studie for an exan ple of this, I cannot tell where he might find a fitter. These poore men of Thecoa worke willingly & [Page] diligentlie, but the Richer sorte were to stif-necked, would not stoope nor obey the superiours of the worke, for so the Hebrew word sig­nifieth him that is appointed a ruler & Master, as wel as it doeth sig­nifie the Lord God: and diuers of the best learned doe so turne it in­to latin. Euorie companie of workemen had their ouerseers, ap­pointed to direct & keepe them in order, that euery one should not doe what he list, worke when, and where he list, nor loyter and be idle: other companies did obey their Masters of the worke, but these richmen were to proud. This kinde of speach (they put not their neck to the worke) is taken of oxen, which being made for the yoke to draw, should teach al labourers in gods building as wel lay men as kircke men to be painfull as the Oxe, & not to stately to stoope vn­der the yoke. The scripture sundrie times commendeth this painful laboring by the example of the plough & the Oxe. As, he that putteth his hand to the plowgh & looketh. &c. &, thou shalt not mussle the mouth of the Oxe &c: for no kinde of people are exempt, neither poore nor Luke. 9. [...]. Corrin. 9. rich, learned nor vnlearned, man nor woman, but they must bend & bowe their neckes vnder the yoke, & be not ashamed nor to stately to worke at the building of Gods Citie. The proud Pharisaicall Popish fryers & Monks, which haue so many priuileges from their father the Pope, may not say, Domine nos sumus exempti, we may not worke, the solemne Prelate, the fine fingred dames, nor the Surlie Lords of the land, the daintle & trim Courtier, nor the loftic Law­ier are exempt, but euerie one must bowe his neck in his vocation painfully to worke at Gods building: as in this Chap. ye shall haue examples of all these sorts that painfully wrought at this building. But I feare me that if after the order of this dicipline which is so greedely sought, & many doe like of it, because it is so gentle, the Rich would not care for it, but liue as they list. If their consistorie of Seniors were sett in theyr seats with their Pastor in euerie Church with their full authoritie in all causes ecclesiast. they should finde many proud Pecocks, that would not bend their necks vnder the yoke of such simple sily woodcocks as euery parish presently is able to giue. For as yet in few places shal able men be found that dare & wil wrastle with the rich in correction. A proud Thacker of Thecoa would laugh them to scorne and contemne their dispiling dis­cipline. For they that wil contemne correction, the lawes and offi­cers standing as they be: it were also necessarie to haue the Princes powre, dores of yron, Bolts of brasse, and locks of steele to bind thē fast: Ad alligandos reges eorum in [...], & nobiles eoruminmanicis [...]: then with such kinde of dealing to be mocked. They would [Page 42] stoutly saie, Disrumpamus vincula eorum, & [...] [...] Iugū Psal. 2. Niceph. 12. ipsorum. We reede of Ambrose that excommunicated the Emperour Theodosius, and how humblie he obeyed it, but whether was more to be praysed, he that durst doe it, or the other that would obey it, I cannot tell: and I know not where, in a good cause, the like hath bene done since, though the proud Pope for his wicked authoritie hath attempted and atchieued the like sundrie times against Em­perours. In deed excommunication rightly executed is a fearful bond to all good consciences, for it locketh vp heauen gates & throweth into the pit of Hell: yet worldlie men that feare not God nor loue his people, are more afraid of prison, yron chaines, and fettershere, then of gods eternal wrath there. Such therfore must haue a sharper consistorie then our Seniours be. God for his mercies sake graunt vs a worthie discipline for such stif-necked Thekoits. For the sim­ple ones wil be more easilie ruled with a gentle discipline. Such as haue the wealth and authoritie of the countrie giuen them ofGod to benefit and defend the countrie withal, are not worthy to liue in the countrie if they withdraw their helping hand from their coun­trie as these Thekoits did now. The Porters of euery Citie & great mens houses are commonlie tall, big, & bold men to keepe out vn­ruly people: and reason is that it should be so, for els al men would be bold to trouble the gates. So must the ministers and rulers of Gods house, whome the holy ghost calleth his Porters, be more stout men&strong then euerie realme is able to setvp in any parish. Surely the hauing of these seniors might doe much good in many matters, but in my opinion, after another sort then as yet is put downe: which I refer to the determination of the wisest. how many Papists at this day do contemne the Church & al the discipline in it because it is sosoft? and if the feare of the magistrates sword did not more bridle thē, then any honest feare, they would daiely increase in boldnes& contempt of al orders. Ifye did but Excōmunicate thē they would hartely thank you & laugh you to scorne: for they wil­linglie excommunicate them-selues, and will come at no congre­gation, and vnder pretence of your excommunication they had iust pretence of absenting them-selues, and neuer would seeke recon­ciliation. God graunt all such obstinate contemners of his Church & his word their iust&deserued discipline. This ouermuch softnes that is vsed, & an opinion of some that be zealous in religion, whereby they thinke they may not punish an ill man for his conscience & religion, doth much harme, & imboldneth thē in their il doings: surely in my opi­nion they that haue autority & wil not correct such wilful dealings [Page] be partakers and mainteyners of others ill doing, and fill both the Church and common-wealth with disobedient persons.

6. The olde gate builded Ioiada, &c. they recoueredit, and set on the dores, Lockes, and Barres.

BEcause this setting on oflockes, dores, & Bars is sundrie times rehearsed here, it shall suffise once to declare it, and not to fill vp bookes with much writing, & trouble others with often reading of it. Dores serue to let men in & out, to shut them in, or keepe them out: Locks serue against treasons or conspiraces within: and Barres serue against open enemies and violence without. So must Gods Church be fensed and strengthned with sundrie doctrine and disci­pline to instruct the ignorant, comfort the weake, raise vp them that Mat. 16. be fallen, encourage the forgetfull, bridle the vnrulie, and con­fute al errors. This promise God made to his Church, that hell gates should not preuaile against it: It hath bene oft sore assaulted, and yet neuer conquered: and neuer worsse delt with, then by her owne Psalm. 121. children, and feyned friends, rather then by open enemies, as this day wel prooueth: no force: it hath a watch-man that neyther slee­peth nor slumbereth, which can neyther be ouercome by strength, hauing all things at his commandement, nor deceiued by treason, practise, nor pollicie, hauing al wisedome to fore-see mischiefs pre­tended, cunning & great good wil to preuent them al: wherein stan­deth the comfort ofall good men, that they haue such a Graund­captaine. By the right vse of this discipline and doctrine is heauen gates set open to al penitent beleeuers, and lockt vp against all ob­stinate Mat. 16. and double-faced hipocrits. And what-socuerthe true and faithful Porters of these dores doe binde in earth, it is bound in hea­uen, and what-soeuer they loose in earth, is forgiuen in heauen: & who-soeuer they let in are welcome, and whom they keepe out are cast awaie. Such commission and authoritie hath god giuen to his word and ministerie for the comfort and correction of his people, that al dissolute behauiour may be banished from amongst his, and all good order, peace and quietnes mainteyned. The Lord for his mercie sake graunt his Church faithfull Porters to open the dores to the sheepe, and shut them fast against the wolues, and driue from this chargeable office of trust all picklockes, and conspirers to betraie this Citie and Citizens of the spirituall Ierusalem. [Page 43] For this is the duetie of all good builders, not onelie to set vp the walls and house, leauing the doores and windowes open: but to make it strong with doores, Lockes, Boltes & Barrs, and set true & faithful Porters and ouerseers of the house and all in it. The buil­ding of this old gate is the preaching of the old commandements 1. Ihon. 2. of faith and loue, which S. Ihon writeth of, as Beda noteth well.

7. The men of Gibeon and Mizpah builded vnto the Throne of the Duke beyond the Riuor.

NOw this worke goeth forward, & the townes in the Countrie come and helpe to worke lustelie. Such goodnesse commeth when God sendeth such a faithful Ruler as Nehemiah was: God en­crease the number. Whoe this Duke was, it is vncertaine, whether he was a Iew, or a stranger: but God is to be praised, that stirred vp such to set forward this worke. Some thinke him to be Daniel, that was set in great Authoritie by King Darius: and not vnlike to be lie, if he liued so long: for he was as zealous towards his countrie as any Dani. 6. other. Diuers Iewes were in great authoritie in their captiuitie & troblesome times, who euerhelped them in their great neede. So God prouideth for his Church that when any doeth trouble them, he rayseth vp some to domfort them [...] about this time was in great fauour with Assuerus: Sidrach, Misach, and Abednego, Est. 8. Dan. 3. Daniels companions, were much accounted of in their time. The Riuer that he speaketh of here, is Euphrates, which was a great no­table Riuer in the borders of Persia, and is ouer signified by this kinde of speech amongst the people, as Nalus was called the Riuer in Egipt and vnderstood by that name in that countrie, as they be both called by that name in one sentence. Gen. 15. Some translate vnto the Throne, and some for the Throne, as Munster, and others: both may stand well, and not vnlike but this Duke, though he was out of the countrie, yet bare his portion of the charges, and builded his part. What cause is there to name him here, If he did nothing to this biulding?

In the. 8. verse come in the Goldsmythes and Apothecaries (for so the Hobrew words signifie) & they leaue their fine worke & sweete Spices, and fall to worke in rough stones & morter. None must be to daintie to file his fingers in working at Gods building: al sorts as they he the Lords, so they must serue the Lord, and the Lord loo­keth for it of duetie.

But in the [...] the Moabits, which is most maruell (for they [Page] were most [...] enemies to the Iewes) [...] and help to build. Thus God who hath the hearts of all men in his hands, of [...] maketh friendes, and where great hatred was afore, much loue to ensud. And though the greatest parte of the Moabites were euer vt­ter enemies vnto the Iewes, as the Iewes be vnto the Christians: yet some Iewes be turned vnto the faith now, as some Moabites were then. And in the 12. verse Sallum an Inchaunters sonne (for so the hebrew worde signifieth) commeth with his daughters, and falleth to worke. Wherein I cannot tell, Whither I should maruell at the father or the daughters more. The father was a great man of authoritie in Ierusalem, and therefore no doubt the daughters were as nice and fine as their calling required and therefore great maruel that they would humble them-selues to worke in mire and clay, No lesse maruell that Sallum hauing a wicked coniurer to his father, should for sake that science, which manie great men delite in to their owne destruction, and fall to worke at such rough worke. But thus God calleth whome pleaseth him, and those that be truely called are neither wearie nor ashamed to serue the Lord in the low­est kinde of seruice. Thus Dauid promised that the Kings of Tharsis and the Iles of Arabia and Saba should bring gifts and [...] [...] Lord Christ, which all then were heathen people and knew not God. Coniuring was a common thing among the Iewes, in so much that some of the high Priests were infected with it, as appeereth Act. 16. yet at Pauls preaching they came and brought in their coniuring Bookes and burnt them. A comfortable example is this to all those that haue illmen to their fathers, that the ilnes of the father shall not hurt the [...], if he turne to the Lord, leauing his fathers steps. And all daintid dames may here learne of these gentle women to set more by working at Gods house, then by trimming of them-selues. Would God they would spend that on the poore members of Christ & Citizens of this spiritual Ierusalem, that they wastfully bestow on them-selues, and would pitie their pouertie something like as they pamper them-selues, S. Peter biddeth them leue their gold and friesled heare, & their costly apparrell, & so modestly behaure them solues that their husbands seeing their honest behauiour may be wonne to the Lord by [...]; for so Sara and other holie [...] did attire them-selues & [...]. But it is to be feared, that manie desire rather to be like dalying [...] then sober Sara: And if the husband will not mainteinc it, though he sel a peace of land, breake vp house borow on Interest, raise rents, or make like hard shifts, little obedience wilbe shewed, [...] the Empresse, the [...] wife of [...] [Page 44] the Emperour, would visit the sick folkes in their houses her selfe, and help them, would taste of their brothes how [...] were made, bring them dishes to lay their meat in, and wash their cupps: and if any would forbid her, shee said she offered her labour for the Empire to God that gaue it: And she would oft say to her husband: Remember what ye were, and who yo be now, and so shall ye alwaies be thankefull vnto God. It were comfortable to heare of such great women in these daies, where the most parte are so fine, that they cannot abide to looke at a poore bodie, & so costly in apparrell, that that will not suffise them in lewels, which their elders would haue kept good hospitalitie withall. When Mo­ses moued the people to bring such stuffe, as was meete for the ma­king of gods Tabernacle & other Iewels in it, the women were as readie as the men, and they brought their bracelets, earings, Rings, and Cheynes all of Gold: and the women did spinne with their owne hands both silke and Goates hoare, they wrought and brought so much willinglie, Exod. 35. that Moses made proclamation they should bring no more. Compate this peoples deuotion with ours that be called Christians, and ye shal finde that all that may be scratched is to little to buy Iewels for my mistres, though she be but of meane degree, and if any thing can be pulled from Gods house or any that serueth in it, that is wel got­ten, and all is to little for them. God graunt such costly dames to consider, what metall they be made of: for if they were so fine of themselues as they would seme to be, none of these glorious things needed to be hanged vpon them to make them gay withall. Filthie things neede washing, painting, coullouring, and trimming, and not those that be cleanly and comely of them-selues: such decking and coullouring, maketh wise men to thinke that all is not wel vnderneath content your selues with that coullour, comelines and shape that God hath giuen you by nature, and disfigure not your selues withyour owne deuices: ye cannot amend gods doings, nor beautifie that which he hath in that order appointed. Learne of these good women to offer your Iewels to the building of Gods citie, lay to your hands, and spinne rowgh goats heare, to clothe the poore, stoope and worke, be not ashamed of it, it is the greatest honour that euerye shal winne. If ye will be partakers of the plea­sures of Gods citie, ye must take parte of the paines to build it. If women would learne what God will plague them for, and how, let them reede the [...] chap of the Prophet Esai: and if they wil learne what god willeth them to do & be occupied withal, though they be of the best sort, let them reede the last chapter of the Prouerbs. It is enough to note it, and point them to it that wil learne: for I feare [Page] few will read, fewer learne, and fewest practise it: but manie rather wish it cut out of the booke, that they should not be troubled with hearing of it.

In the 13. and 14. verses, and others following, come in the Ruelers of the country townes, with their people, for to worke: wherein we learne that not onely the Priests and Leuites, but the great men in euerie countrie, yea and the Countrie people too must worke at Gods building. This valley-gate that he speaketh of is thought to be the gate that goeth into the vally of Iosephat, which otherwyse was called Gehennon. This is a worthie example for all christians, that they should not liue to themselues, but help to beare the burthens of the Church and Common-wealth. That Citie and Temple were the common places appointed whither they should resort to serue the Lord, and whither they might flie and finde suc­cour against the enemie, where vitals and other necessarie prouisi­on might be had for all sorts. Therefore if zeale toward God and loue toward their neighbours could not moue them to lay to their helping hands, and open their purses wyde to set forward this buil­ding, their owne priuate profit would moue those that had any consideration of them-selues to mantaine this citie. And that noe man should disdaine to worke at the vilest place in Gods citie, here commeth a nobleman and buildeth the dung-gate, where all the filth of the Citie was caried out, and where all the sinkes, Canals, and conduits, did wash and conuey away al the sweepings and filth of the streetes into the Brooke Cedron. As in all great and well orde­red cities there be officers appointed for that purpose, which be men of wisdome, painful; & in authoritie, & haue a great care for the health and wealth of the inhabitants, who wil daily and duly looke that such noysome things be conueied away out ofthe streetes for infocting the people with pestilent smells and contagions: so in Gods Church and citie, must be men of grauitie, wisdome, lear­ning, and authoritie, which must dare, and will wrastell with the stoutest, and see due correction done, and such rotten members as would infect the whole bodie cut of, & carried away from among the congregation, to the comfort ofthe good, and terrour of the euil doers. In Gods house there be both good and ill, as in the feild the corne groweth not without the chaffe, nor in the garden the good hearbs without the weedes, yet the good husband will carie in the good Corne and winow the chaffe. When thee weede ouergroweth the hearbs, the good gardiner wil pick out the weeds and carie the good hearbs to his house: so in Gods Church open [Page 45] blasphemers, notorious wicked liuers and teachers, must be cast­out, that Gods holy name be not ill spoken of, as though he loued suoh ill doings, and would not with Iustice punish them: and also that other by theiril example should not fal into the like mischiefes. Saint Paul biddeth, that if any brother were called couetous, a fornica­tor, drunkerd, a railer, extortioner, Idolater, they should cast him out of 1. Cor. 5. company, not eat, nor drinke with him, that he may be ashamed of himselfe when he seeth him-selfe abhorreà of all men, and so amend his wickedues. Excommunication is the common remedie for such disobedient persons, which God for his mercie sake graunt that it may be resto­red to his true vse, and that euery one may willingly submit him selfe to Godly correction. We haue so long contemned the Popes cursse, that now we think we may liue as we list without blame, and if any due correction be offered, we laughe it to scorne, despise the ministers of it, and by this meanes shal cause the Lord to take the whip into his owne hands, and then who shal be able to stand. God will not haue sinne vnpunished, and if we refuse this gentle correction, that he hath giuen his Church to execute and bridle ill doers withall, we shall find it an horrible thing to fall into the Lords Heb. 10. hands, and he will rule vs with an yron roàd, and bruise vs all to peeces. Such dung and filth may not be suffered in Gods howse, and it is Psal. 2. as necessarie to haue a gate to carie such out at, as it is to haue a gate to bring good ones in: for as the raine from heauen washeth the streetes, so Gods grace from aboue must first wash the heart, that the minde may be renued. In worldly matters, prisoners condem­ned to die are caried out ofthe Citie to suffer execution, as mem­bers not meete to be suffered in any company: so Gods Citie will not suffer such ill doers to liue amongst them, but cast them out.

The Staires which be spoken of in the 15. verse, and the Tombe of Dauid, in the 16. verse, conteyne good lessons in them, if they be well applied: forall outward things in this worldlie Ierusalems building, haue a signification in them, to teach vs to build the spi­rituall Ierusalem. By these Staires the King came downe from his Palace on the hill Sion into the lowest parte of the citie: and by the same steps all Suters went vp into the Pallace to make their petition. So the mercifull Lord Iesus by taking our nature on him, and being made man in his mothers wombe came downe from the boosome of his father in heauen into the lowest parte ofthe earth, yea and humbled him selfe vnto the vilest death, and hell too: that we by the same ladder, Steps, and Staires of humblenes, may climbe by faith from vertue to vertue, into the heauens, by Christ Iesus our [Page] Lord, who is our onelie spokes-man and meane-maker vnto that high and mightie king God his father. And as Dauid borne in Beth­lehem when he had reigned 33. yeares ouer all Israel, was buried in Ierusalem and great treasures laid in the graue with him, with parte of which Hircanus deliuered the citie when cruel Antiochus besie­ged it: so Christ Iesus borne in Bethlehem in the 33. yeare of his age was crucified, and buried in Ierusalem, in whose graue we finde great treasures of our Redemption: for both our filthie & [...] sinnes are there buried with him, and the sweet Balmes, Spices, & Oyntements, that he was imbalmed withall, are there to be found by faith (and no holines of the place) that is, forgiuenes of sinnes, & rising with him to life euerlasting in heauen.

In the 17. verse and the rest of the chapter following to the end, is almost no great matter to be noted, but the earnest [...] of the Lenites and Preists (which were sonie cheise men and Rulers as appeereth here) and their bondseruants, to set forward this buil­ding, and for the most parte in repayring the innermost walls in the 1. and 2. warde. Wherby we shall learne, that they were not so beggerlie as manie would make them in our daies, if they might haue their will, but of good wealth. How vaine are those foolish exemptions, which the Pope giueth to his shameles shauelings, that they should not beare the common burthens of the Church and common-wealth? Saint Paul biddeth them, and all others, to pay tribute and taxes to whom they bedue, and shew their obe­dience to the high or powers in all Godly things, as well as any of the Laitie. Our sauiour Christ paid tribute for him selfe and Peter, and Mat. 17. willed the Pharisies to doe the like: but these vnprofitable Pharisa­ical drones because they will be most vnlike to him, will pay none at all. There is yet remayning here amongst vs a sorte not Popish as they pretend, but carnest builders of Gods house in their owne opinion, where in deed they be the ouerthrowers of it: which are in effect as il Pharisies as the Papists be. They wil take a benifice & cute of soules promising solemnlie to feed the flocke, but whe they haue turned their back they haue a dispensation in a box to lie from it, and flock, aud floute who so euer would haue them to continue there and doe their duetie, con tending by lawe they may doe it, & stand on their defence, Domine nos exempti sumiv. God for his mercie sake take awaie such lawes, graunt disereete officers, that wil not dispence so vnaduifedly with euerie one for smal causes; as is too commoblie vsed, and giue those vnprofitable Caterpillers such remorse of conscience, that they will take paines to seede the [Page] flock as wel as they feede them-selues, eating vntil they sweat a­gaine, & become Pillers, to vphold Gods Church, & not powlers of his people, nor so greedie to picke their pursses and plucke of the fleece, as painfull to releeue and comfort the weake both in: bodie and soules with holesome doctrine and corporal sode as the great God wil aske a straict account of them at the last day, where their dispensation may not be pleaded, nor will be alowed, nor the dis­pensor can [...] excuse him-self not them, but both like wolues and [...] shalbe charged: Vae pastor & Idolism [...] [...] and, [...] eorum de manu [...]. Ezec. 3. Full litle Zac. 11. doe such men consider, what assewel God hath committed to their charge, and lesse they [...] the charge [...] haue taken in hand. Iesus Christ came downe from heauen to preach his fathers wil vn­to his [...] sheepe; and [...] his pretious blood to purchase vs [...] and these Idle laborours will not take paine to visit, teach or feede them, whom our Lord God hath bought so deerly. God amend vs nll: This second measure, another part of building, which is so of spoken of here, is thought of the most parte of writers to be the second ward and wal, which was called [...], where the [...], Prophtes, and learned men did dwell, and was deulded in­to [...] man his portion to build: or els were they appointed first to build the halfe hight of the wall for a time to be some succour for them against the enemies. Some were so earnest in building, that they finished the second hight vnto the top of the wall afore other had built the halfe hight. As in the 20 verse [...] burst out in a heat for soreadeth the hebre [...] being angrie, both with him felfe and others, that were so [...] in working, and had done no more, and in a [...] rose vp and finished his portion in a short time. Such anger is good, when a man is offended with him-selfe or others, that they be so slow in seruing their God and building his house: it will make him more earnest and diligent after­wards.

In the [...] verse [...] is commended, that he built so farre as the [...] of the high Priest, raught. A small praise, if the house were not of some greatnes. And so other Priests against their hou­fes, in the verses following, and in the 28 verse. I do but note it, be­cause that manie disdaine that any ministers should haue a house of any countenaunce. But among all builders none are worthie more praise, then these. [...] be. They were no Iewes borne, but descended from those heathen [...], which deceiued Iouse, by puttingon olde shoes, and hauing [...] bread in their bagges, [Page] clowted sackes and broken bottles, feining them selues to haue come a long iorney to be receiued amongst gods people. By law the Iewes should haue destroied all heathen people at their entring in to the land of pro­misse: but where by this pollicie Iosue had graunted them life & li­bertie, and so could not destroy them, for his promise sake, he gaue them to the Lord to serue the Priests in carying water, cutting wood, and such other drudgery works for the sacrifices. So that Hebrew word sig­nisieth them that were freelie giuen vnto the Lord: and all this people from that time forth, as long as the common wealth stood, serued the lord as faithfullie as any Iewes euē in their captiuitie, ne­uer grudging that they were not called to no higher estate, nor dis­dayned not at their drudging, neuer [...] awaie in anie trouble­some time, as they might casely haue don; nor claymed any liberty, nor wrought any displeasure to the [...] where they might haue oft betrayed them, and now most earnestlie fall to building, and serue the Lord. A strange example, that such a people conti­nued faithfull in the house of God so many yeares, and stood so stoutly in all stormes but when God calleth, he blesseth, and no­thing is painful, so they may serue the Lord, as Dauid saith, I had rather [...] a doore [...] [...] the house of God, then to dwel in the Pallaces of Psal. 84. sinners. Saul would haue destroyed this people, but god saued them and plagued him. If we looke vnto our selues without [...], we shall castly perceiue how vnlike we be vnto them, how colde in seruing the Lord, how soone wearie of our estate, how desirous to climbe higher, how chaungeable in [...] [...], how [...] to pro­fesse our Religion, how flattering to men, and how caried away with euery blast of newe doctrine: God graunt vs to [...], to be ashamed of it, and to amend it. Our owne daies haue giuen vs to many examples of such wauering worldlings: And I feare our sinnes will shortly plucke the saine plagues on our heads againe, so litle tokens of repentanee appeare amongst vs. We be the right Nethanims, made free from sinne, and seruants to the Lord. God graunt we be not found worsse, (being called. Christians, and li­uing in tho time of grace vnder the bright light of Christ Iesus, de­clared vnto vs in his gospel, and by whom we be saued & made free) then these heathen people the [...] were, liuing in bondage vndershadowes of Moses law. [...] the fixt fanire of Salech wanteth not his praise here, who being a yonger brother falleth to [...], and no mention made of the elder. There must be no cur­tesie making who shall begin: God hath oft called the yonger to serue him before the elder, as Iacob, Dauid &c. Thus the holy ghost [Page 47] hath Registred vnto vs the names and diligence of the builders of this earthlie Citie Ierusalem by the penne of his faithfull seruant Nehemiah, for our comfort: and to teach vs that much more he hath registred the names of the builders of the spirituall Ierusalem in the booke of life, where no deuil can scrape them out, but shalbe the deare Children of the Lord God, defended by him from all ill. Let vs therefore cast away this slothfull sluggishnes, wherein we haue lyen so long, rise vp quickly, worke lustely, spit on our hands, and take good holde, that we fall not backe againe from our Lord God. It is more honor to be a workeman in this house, then to liue the easiest life, that the world can giue.


AS thou didst choose vnto thy selfe here in earth, O mightie Lord, a certeyne place and Citie Ierusalem, whether thy people should resort to worship thee to offer their Sacrifi­ces & make their supplications vnto the, & as long as they did it faithfully, thou didst blesse and prosper their doings, when they offended and fel away from thee, thou laidst thy heauie hand and sharpe scourge vppon them: so graunt vnto vs, O gracious God, whome thou hast made free by thy deare sonne Christ Iesus, and not bound vs to any one place, but hast left vs free in libertie of conscience to assemble our selues & call vppon thee in euery place & corner of the earth, to preach thy word, learne our duetie, and set forth thy maiestie, to receiue thy sacraments, & offer our selues, our soules, & bodies a sweet sacrifice to thee: graunt vs we besech thee, O mercifull father, thy louing countenance to continue thy blessings amongst vs, and deale not with vs in thine anger as we iustly haue deserued to be cast away from thee: but as thou in thine anger greeuously punishedst thy people the Iewes, burnedst their Citie, destroiedst their Temple, Spoiledst the countrie, leddest a great number into Captiuity, killedst moe, and broughtst them all into bondage and slauery vnder heathen Princes: So, louing Lord, we confesse our horrible sinnes haue deserued no lesse in iustice at thy hands, but thy mercie, O God, tri­umpheth against iustice: for as after a few yeares correction, thou mouedst diuers heathen Princes to send home thy people with great gifts, to repaire the broken walls, build the Temple, inhabit the Countrie, and restore thy Religion: and stirredst vp also thy people, Preists, Princes, Nobles, wor­shipfull Ruelers, and Priuate men, Artificers, Women, and of all sorts some earnestly to worke at the building of thy citie: So heauenly King, let vs not be cast away in thy heauie displeasure, and be the first that cannot finde [Page] fauour in thy sight, but turne the heartes of Christian Princes to giue sree course and libertie to thy word of saluation, and raise vp faithfull workmen of all sortes and degrees to build thy spirituall Ierusalem, thrust forth true labourers into thy haruest, roote out all slothfull slugishnes from amongst vs, that we be not vnprofitable members of the Church and commonwealth and let all magistrates know that by thee they rule, that thou settest them in authoritie and mainteinest them that feare thee, and make them not one­ly to offer vnto thee their bounden duety and seruice in building and working them-selues, to the good example of others, but also in encouraging and defending the faithfull labourers in thy vineyeard, and compelling the fro­ward, diligently to set forward thy building: graunt vs strong walls and bul­warkes, to kepe out Turke, Pope, Tyrantes, Atheists, Anabaptists, and li­bertines, with al other hinderers of thy building, that thy simple people may liue quietly, & serue thee without Inuasions or persecution. & as of thy great mercie thou hast left to vs in writing the names of al such as were the chie­fest doers in this worke for our comfort & example to follow: so we beseech thee, louing Lord, to stirre vp those whose names thou haste written in the booke of life, that manfully they may stand in the defence of thy trueth to the confusiō of thy foes, & thy immortall praise, for thy Christs sake.


CHAP. 4.

1. It came to passe when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall he was verie angrie in him-selfe, and disdeined greatly, and mocked the Iewes.

2. And he spake afore his breethren and the Souldyers of Sama­ria and saied, what doe these Impotent Iewes? will they make them-selues strong? Shall they offer Sacrifice? Shall they fi­nish it in a day? Shall they reare vp the stones out of the dust, where they were brent?

3. And Tobias the Ammonite was beside him & saied: yea that which they doe build, if a fox come vp, he shall breake downe their wall of stone.

THe last Chapter declared vnto vs the for­wardnes of al sorts of men from the highest to the lowest, both of the laitie and the Mi­nisterie, Straungers, and Citizens, to build and repaire the broken walls of Ierusalem: and this Chapter and diuers others follow­ing describe the manifold lets, subtil deuises bold enterprises, both of the outward ene­mie, and hipocrites amongst them-selues, to ouerthrow all this [Page 48] building, so that if God had not, contrary to reason, assisted, en­couraged, and defended his faithfull seruants, this worke had ne­uer bene finished. Such hath bene, is, and shallbe vnto the end, the state of Gods people and Church, that in noe age it hath wan­ted or can want many sore assaults to ouerthrow it, if it were possi­ble. But let vs trust his faithfull promisse that saied, he would be with vs vnto the end of the world, & we shall not be ouercome. Let no man maruell therefore in these our daies, because he seeth the like trou­bles fall among vs, nor blame the doctrine that is taught, as though that were the cause of all mischiefes: for God is not so gratious to anie Countrie in any age to set vp his Kingdome there, but the de­uil is as busie, and malitious to ouerthrow it, as much as he maie. Let euerie man also that will faithfully serue the Lord thinke this to be most true, and looke into this state of the Iewes, as it were in a glasse, and he shal finde, that by many troubles we must enter into the kingdome of heauen, and that it is a narrow waie that leadeth thither, Act. 14. as it is written Mathew the 7. onely take thou heede that thou de­serue not to be persecuted, and the Lord will confound them. Math. 7. The rich glotton went to hell with all his bellie cheare, and the poore begger Lazarus to heauen, and all his sorow was no hinderance. Looke at the foote-steps of all our forefathers, the Patriarches, and Prophets, Christ Iesus, and his Apostles, with all other Martirs and good men, and we shal finde none but his whole life was aperpetu­all warrefare, subiect to infinite sorowes, and the ending of one was the begining of a new: but he that continued to the end was saued. Let vs not looke to come into heauen, if we walke another way, and be of good cheere, for the end shalbe happie. These be spoken and written for our learning, not to discourage vs, but rather to encourage vs, that we be not found vnlike to our forefathers, but manfullie to stand in all trialls, knowing that we haue the same God that they had, that he is as able now and as willing to defend his chosen congregation as he was in the beginning, and will ne­uer forsake his deere children. In the second Chapter: verse 10. Sanballat and Tobias hearing that Nehemiah was come with commissi­on from the King to build Ierusalem, they were greeued verie sore within them-selues, cast into a dumpish sadde heauines, almost amazed for sorow, that any man should come to doe the Iewes any good at al, but now that they heard say they did worke so iustily at this building, [...] first burst out into anger, he stampes, he stares, he frets, he fumes, he rageth, he raileth, & taketh on like a mad man and cannot tell how to stay them: & after that he falleth on moc­ing [Page] and mowing potting and smyling at them, and flocking and flouting, scorning & scoffing of them, in fingring, flecring, and gir­ning at them, to try them, whether they by this meanes would be dismaied or afraid to worke any more. A shrewd triall for a sort of poore people, which were but lately restored to their countrie, and yet not well setled in it, to see the greatest ruler in the countrie to be so angrie to ward them, to scorne and mocke them. If God had not strengthned them, it would haue made them to leaue their worke for feare & runne away. Looke round about you in these our daies, and ye shall see that if but a meane man in authoritie, or his man with a badge on his sleeue, doe but looke sowrelie, speake rough­ly, or behaue him selfe any thing stoutly, al about them stoope, make lowe curtesie, runne when they are bidden, and dare not whisper nor mutter one word, no not in their good & iust cause: yet where gods holie spirit giueth comfort, al these braggs are nothing regar­ded, but in their well doings they will on forwards with their iust cause and seruing the Lord. Let euery man take hced how he falleth into wickednesse, for he cannot get out when he would. These men encrease in mischiefe and amend not, so shall all they that yeald vn­to it, and stay not in the beginning.

2. And he spake afore his breethren. The malice that the wicked men beare against the Godly is so great, that it cannot be forgiuen nor forgotten: whatsoeuer falleth out well to the good man, they are sory for it: and they thinke all the posteritie of the God­lie to be their disgracing and ouerthrow. Cain enuied Abell, because God accepted his sacrifice better: Saul enuied Dauid, because he was more esteemed of the people. The Pharisies disdai­ned Christ our Lord, because they see their doctrine decay and his receiued. And what maketh such a stur this day in the Church, but that the Pope and his partakers see their Kingdome decay and the trueth appeare? These be written for our learning, that we should not discourage our selues in these miserable times, but boldlie stand & continue to the end. Sanballat, after that he had thus chafte in him-selfe, and also had scorned and scoft at their doings, he is so sore vexed in his minde, that he cannot hold in, but bursteth out into blustring bigge words, and saith openlie before his fellowes & country men, which were of the same mind, & superstition that he was, & it might be more fearfull to the Iewes, to discourage them, he speaketh and braggeth it out before the Souldrers, which were set there to represse all mischieu ous attempts and enterprises that any should take in hand. As who should saie, that if anie went for­ward [Page 49] with his building the souldiers should ouerthrow it and de­stroy them, for they were as readie to do such a mischiefe as he was to bid them. And thus he saieth, what doe these beggerlie Iewes, these slaues, Pesantes, and villanes, what goe they about? what meane they? will they take in hand such a building as no mightie Prince is able to finish? and that manie noble Kings afore them could scarse in many yeares performe, will they on a sudden bring it to perfection? But if they be so foolish to thinke that they can fi­nish it themselues, are the heathen people so mad to stand by, looke on and laugh, and suffer them to goe forward with this building which hath beene of old tyme a great enemy vnto them, and may be now againe, if they be suffered to worke still? Doe they thinke the Gentiles so foolish, that they foresee not their meaning, or doe they think them such Cowards that they dare not, or so impo­tent & vnable that they cannot hinder and ouerthrow this worke, or so vnwilling to helpe their countrie, that they will suffer them to goe forward in it? Nay I warrant you, ye shall finde them stout men, ready and willing to defend their countrie, and will not suffer such runnagates to strengthen themselues against them. Shall they offer their old sacrifices? shall they restore their old Religion, in dispite of vs and our Countrie, and goe about to draw others to their Religion? Shall they vse their old accustomed solemne daies their great assemblies, and haue it for well done? Nay let them as­sure them-selues we shal finde them otherwaies occupied, we shall hold their nose to the grindstone: they shall not haue leisure to praie and to be merie as they looke for. They worke so lustelie as though they would finish it in one daie, afore their neighbours should espie them, but they shall finde it farre otherwise: we foresee their meaning well ynough, we wil be heauie neighbours to them: it shall not fall out as they looke for. Manie Kings afore them were busie to builde, some one place, and some another, and in manie yeares, but these braggers goe to it so greedelie, as though they could finishit in a day or two. A sorte of beggerlie vagabonds and proud beggers take this worke in hand, as though they were able to goe thorough with it. What will they doe? will they glew the olde stones togither againe? when will they get new stone? The old ones are burnt to powder, knocked in peeces, and will not serue for anie building againe. They shal finde it another maner of worke to finish, then they looke for. The same miseries is the buil­ding of gods Church subiect to at this day, the same scoffes, mocks, threatings and Ieopardies are daielie spewed out by such like [Page] wicked ruffians and Popish impes, some in corners and their drunken feasts, some afore Princes and rulers, yet God con­foundeth their wicked deuices, comforteth and encourageth his poore people to goe forward, and the Lord blesseth their doings. God in all ages hath chosen the abiects of the world to set vp his kingdome 1. Cor. 1. by, and to ouerthrow the pride of mans heart, be they neuer so worldlie wise.

6. Tobias the Ammonite. It was not sufficient for this Miles gloriosus Sanballat, to raile at Gods people and their building, as proud Golias, and blasphemous Senacherib did afore him, to their open destruction, but starteth sorth another flattering lewd lubber Tobias an Ammonite, that slaue, peisant, seruant, and bondman, as he termed him afore ca. 2. ver. 19. and he, not with so manie words, but with as bitter scoffs, scorneth as scornfullie at them as San­ballat did afore. And he standeth vp & saieth, if it like your worship you neede not thus to vex and chafe your selfe at these vile Iewes. For let them goe on forward with their building as they haue begon: when they haue done the worst that they maie, if a fox come vp he shal breake downe their stonie wall, he shal scrape it downe with his clawes and deface it. What needeth your mastershippe to care for so small a matter, it can doe no harme: quiet your selfe, we shalbe able to deale with them well ynough, & ouerthrow them: ye are a man of wisdome and authoritie, and may easelie put these vagabonds to flight: we neede not so much the strength of a Lion, as the subtiltie of a fox to vanquish them. Thus bragging Thraso, neuer wanteth a flattering Gnatho, and one Iade claweth another by the backe, and all to dis­courage the poore worke-men. Our miserable daies can giue ma­ny like examples, as when the bloodie butcher sate broiling gods Saints: and that glorious disputation at Oxford with Gods good and lear­ned ministers, whom after many such like blasphemous mocks the Lord of his mercie tooke to his rest, and yet suffereth some of his enemies to liue in shame, who in so long a time cannot repent, but are giuen vp to their owne lusts and hardned hearts, so farre as man can iudge: beside manie other young whelpes of their tea­ching which can barke in corners and make themselues mery, with railing, and scoffing at the holie Scriptures of God, the ministers and professers of it: ye some became so shameles that they would call their dogges by the names of the first writers and professors of it. But our God liueth, who will defend his owne quarrell and con­found his foes, laugh they neuer so merilie, or bragge and scoffe they neuer so bitterlie. Salomon saieth, God will mocke them that [...] [Page 50] mocke. And Dauid saieth, he is blessed that sitteth not in the seate of scorners. Diocletian the Emperour, as Volaterane writeth, had a Iest er Psal. 1. called Genesuss, who vsed to make him merie at his dinner, and amongst other deuices would scosfe at the Christians, with madiestures: but God plagued him for example of others, that they should not doe the like, and yet it is to common at this daie: they cannot eate their meat nor be merie, except they haue some at their elbowe that will blas­pheme, scorne, and laugh at the Religion, Scriptures and louers of it. A shrewd kinde of triall for poore soules: for some are so weake that rather then they wil be mockt, loose their estimation amongst their acquaintance, or haue a straunge looke of many a gentelman their neighbour, they will forsake God, his word and religion, and saie what soeuer a man will haue them. What hindereth more at these daies, then such like bragges and mocks as these? What will these new fellowes doe, saie they? will they ouerthrow that faith that our selues had so manie yeares agoe? Nay let them alone a while, sit downe, and laugh at them, they wilbe trapt in their owne snare. Doe they so turne the whole world into their owne phantasies? wil such a Prince or such suffer it: See ye not this great man and that great man looke straungelie at it? `Doe anie of the ruelers belceue it, but a sort of rude and common people? Are not al coun­tries in trouble about it? and haue bene manie yeares. Liue quietlie and let them alone a while, and looke for a daie, & applie it better when it cometh, then ye did, the last was lost for want of good looking to in time. But the good Christian will with patience goe forward, and not be ashamed of God nor his word, nor affraied of such proud bragges, nor amased at their bitter scoffs. He knoweth that all which will liue godlie in Christ Iesu must suffer persecution, and that all good fathers from the beginning haue suffered the same, & prepareth his backe and shoulders patientlie to beare all sorowes for his masters cause. Dauid complaineth in all good mens names we are become amocking stocke to our neighbours, alaughing matter and Psalm. 7. scoffing to them that be round about vs. When Peter had preached the fearefull last daie to be at hand, they mocked him saying, where is 2. Pet. 3. the promisse of his comming that thou hastso long talked of? Since our fathers died, do not all things continue as in the beginning? But ynough was said of this matter afore in the 2. Chap. 19. verse. This is then the remedie that Dauid vseth in all these griefes, fall to prayer, com­mend thy cause vnto the Lord, fall not from him for any storme, tarie the Lords leisure, and plaie the man, comforte thy heart, looke for the Lords comming, and sate vnto him with Dauid, haue mercy on vs, O Lord, haue Psal. 123. [Page] mercie on vs, for we are vtterlie dispised. Our soule is full of the sclaunders of these wealthie worldlings & dispising of the proud. No doubt the Lord wil comfort thee, & confound thē, as our daies haue well declared.

4. Harken thou, O our God, for we are dispised: turne their shame vpon their owne head, and make them dispised in the land of their captiuitie.

5. Couer not their wickednes, and let not their sinne be put out of thy sight: for they haue prouoked the builders.

6. Then we builded the wall, and the whole was ioyned togither vnto the halfe hight: and the people had a minde to worke.

AFter that he had described the mockings and threatnings that they had for their bold enterprise in building, to discourage & driue them from it, if they could, if it had bene possible: he now declareth what remedie and comfort he found by praier at the Lords hand. Nehemiah seeing their great daunger, turneth him to the Lord, the people praying with him, and saieth; Our God that hast chosen vs onelie, though most vnworthie, for thy people amongst the whole world, and whom onelie we worship, and at whom we seeke for help and deliuerance, in all our trouble, hearken we beseech thee, O Lord, bow downe thine eare and heare our praiers, for thou art a righteous iudge and mightie reuenger of all thy faithful seruants: we thy poore people are in a miserable case, we looked for aide at our neighbours hands & they are our vtter enemies: we hoped for comfort of them, and they vtterlie dis­pise, mocke, and contemne vs: but thou art a God that neuer for sakest any that come vnto thee, nor castest anie awaie that faithfullie trust in thee: heare vs, O gratious God, and turne their owne shame, that they would lay on vs for building thy citie, on their owne heades: that villany that they would doe to vs, let it fall on them-selues. If thou let this crueltie scape vn­punished, thou shalt be thought negligent and careles of thy people: these Samaritanes that be so cruell against vs, be straungers in the countrie where they dwel: as we were in Babilon, they were brought out of their owne countrie and placed here by Ezer-haddon King of Assiria: make them, O Lord, to be dispised in this land of their captiuitie, as well as they dispised vs in our miserie: O Lord let not their wickednes be hid, but make it knowen to all the world and all ages to come, how dispiteful­ly they deale with vs for thy sake: others will attempt the like, if this scape vnpunished. Forgiue not their sinnes, but euer keepe them in thy remembrance, thou shalt not be thought arighteous iudge, if thou wincke at such wickednes: they hinder not our owne buildings, but they prouoke the builders of thy house and Citie. They dispise vs [Page 51] because we serue thee. They hate vs, not for any of our wickednes, but for the hatred that they beare to thy house, Religion, and Citie, which they would haue lie wast, ouerthrowen, and troden downe. We grant we haue de­serued to be cast awaie from thee, if thou deale with vs in iustice, and yet af­ter thy fatherlie correction we obedientlie returne and submit our selues vnto thee, whereas they contemptuously still rebell against thee, and hate vs because we loue thee. If they did persecute vs for our owne deserts, we wold beare it: but to see thy maiestie defaced, we cannot abide it: they would haue thy Citie to lie vnbuilt, that men might speake ill of thee, that thou were a weake God, not able to defend thy people, that call on thy name so mightelie as their Idols do them that know not thee. The shame that they would lay on vs shall turne vnto thee, O Lord: for it is done vnto vs for thy sake, and ha­tred of thee and thy word. Auenge thy owne quarell, O God, and looke not at our owne deserts: for though we haue grieuously offended thee, yet we repent and they obstinately stand in defence of their owne wickednes. O Lord for­get not this malicious dealing of them toward vs for thy sake: abate their pride, assuage their malice, and confound their deuises, that they intend a­gainst vs: comfort and encourage thy poore woorkemen & builders whom they prouoke to anger, and graunt vs, that we may by thy aide with good successe finish that, which we haue through thy goodnes so well begonne. A­men. Out of his praier may arise two doubts, one, whether it be godlie & good men may vse the like that he praieth for here: that is, that the same ill may fall on them, that they would doe vnto the Iewes; The other, that their sinne should not be forgiuen them. The Scripture teacheth both to praie for our enemies, and to forgiue them, and also that God would reuenge their cause him-selfe in his iustice. Our sauiour Christ praieth for them, that crucified him, saiyng, Father forgiue them, for they know not what they doe. S. Steuen likewise. But Dauid Act. 7. manie times praieth the contrarie, as, Let his sorow be turned on his Psal. 7.owne head, and let his wickednes fall vpon his owne pate. Againe, let them be confounded and ashamed that seeke for my life, and let them be driuen Psa. 69. 109.backe and ashamed that seeke to [...] me euill. These Psalmes and others are full of such like speeches. And where some expound such pla­ces to be a prophecie and fore-telling ofsuch mischiefes as should fal on them, rather then a wishing or praing that they should fall, it is not ill that they saie: but it maie be doubted whither it be most a­greeing to the text: but howsoeuer it be, this must be most taken heede of, that in all such praiers nothing be asked of mallice against the partie, which is hard for our froward nature to do: but only for the glorie of God, which is to be sought in all our doings and praiers, which maie be in shewing his iustice. In the Lords praier, we saie, halowed [Page] be thy name: we desire not God onelie that he would direct both euerie man in his doings to set forth his glorie, that his name may be hallowed: but also that he would staie, confound and take away all hinderers of the same, with all their deuices and subtill practi­ses: that all stumbling blockes being taken awaie, his name may be sanctified in all nations. So praied `Dauid, O my God make the counsell of Achitophel to seeme foolish: so in the commaundements the af­firmatiue [...]. Sam. 16. is included in the negatiue, and the negatiue in the af­firmatiue as, thou shalt not kill: wherein we are not onelie forbid­den all crueltie, but are commaunded to releeue, succour, and help by al meanes that we may. Nehemiah hateth not the men but their wickednes: so we learne to put a difference betwixt the man and the sinne of man and pray for mercie to the one, and iustice to the other. Man is Gods good creature, and to be beloued of all sortes: Sinne is of the deuill and to be fled of all sorts. And it is a great dif­ference whether we pray for reuenging our owne priuate quarell, which may not be in any case: or it be for Gods cause and glorie, which we would seeke the furtherance of, by all meanes we may.

6. Then we builded the wall. This verse declareth what they got by this short prayer. The peoples heart was incouraged to go forward with this worke, in so much that they repaired all the breaches of the wall, & ioyned it all together as though it were one whole sound wall, & ne­uer had bene defaced afore. Praier is a souereigne Salue for all sores: for it will heale not onely the wounds of the bodie and soule but also hard stonie walls. This is the common practise of all good men when they be scorned for the Lords sake, to turne themselues vnto humble prayer, commit the cause vnto the lord who will iust­lie reuenge his owne quarell when he thinkerh good. Dauid when Psa. 69. he had complayned vnto God how the Iudges did mocke him, and the drunkerds and minstrels sang their songes against him, to make them merie withall, and could finde no remedie, he saith thus after that he was sore greeued at them: but I, O Lord, made my prayer vnto thee, and then the Lord comforted him. Likewise, King Ezechias getteth him to the Temple, when Rabsachis had railed against the liuing Lord, 2. King. 15. and written blasphemous letters, he read the letters in the sight of God, falleth to praier, and desireth the Lord to help him in that extremitie, and his God deliuered him. This prayer of Nehemiah is not long, for God regardeth not so much the length of our prayer, as the earnest hartie desire of the minde, with an humble submission of him-selfe to the Lords good will and pleasure, repenting earnestly for his of­fences, and faithfullie hoping without mistrust, for the Lords com­fortable [Page 52] assistance, when, and as he shall thinke good: by this prai­er they obteine at the Lords mercifull hand boldenes to goe for­ward with their building, and to contemne their prowd mockes and brags, they finish the whole length and the height of the wall, in dis­pite of their enemies: and the people were not wearie of working, but the more they wrought, the more desirous they were to worke stil: for the good successe that they had in building hitherto, did en­courage them to go forward with it, and they doubted not but that god was with them, & therfore feared no other. Let vs learne there­fore, at these good mens examples to be bolde and constant in wel doing, and not to feare euery bragge and blast of winde. Let vs be as a lustie horsse that goeth through the streete, and careth not for the barking of euery curre that leapeth forth, as though he would bite him: so let vs not be afraid of the barking curres, nor looke backward, but goe on forth not changing with euerie tide: and the mightie Lord will strengthen our weakenes with good successe to finish his building: for so haue all good men done from the begin­ning.

7. It came to passe that when Sanballat and Tobias, the Arabians, the Ammonites, and the Azdodites heard tell that a Salue was come on the wall of Ierusalem, and that the breaches of it be­gan to be stopt vp, they were verie wroth.

8. And they conspired altogither to goe and besiege Ierusalem, & to make a scattering in it.

9. But we prayed vnto our God, and set a watch by them day and night in their sight.

10. And Iudas said, the strength of the bearers is decaied, and there is much morter, and we are not able to build on the wall.

11. And our enemies said, they shall not know nor see till we come into the midle of them, and we shall slay them and make the worke to cease.

AS good men goe forward with Gods worke, so the wicked swell for anger, encrease in mallice against them, and by all meanes possible not onely by them-selues go about to ouerthrow all their good enterprises, but they seeke all the partakers that they can get, and will refuse no kinde of man be he neuer so ill, to ioyne with them, so they may obteine their purpose, & hinder the Lords building. Sanballut and Tobias afore thought with their bitter scoffes, bigge words, & hautie lookes, to haue dashed these poore [Page] soules out of countenance, and made them to leaue building: but now when they see they were not afraied but wrought more lusti­lie, they make other deuices, they will fight for it, they gather a great company of neigbours, as ill as them-selues, and will set vppon them, kill them, and ouerthrow their building. Such a thing is malice once ear­nestly in mans mynde conceiued, and specially for religion, that it so blyndeth a man, that he seeth not what he doeth, nor what will follow of his doings. He that falleth from God, wandereth in darkenes, and cannot tell what he doeth, where he is, nor whither he goeth, but the farther he stirreth, the farther he is out of the way, and the more darkenes he is in: for God is light, the way, trueth, and life, and he that hath not God for his guid, cannot finde the true way to euerlasting life. Let euery man therefore that will walke vprightly in the feare ofGod, take heede how he once giue place to any wickednes: for if the deuill get a little entrance into thee, he will drawe the cleane away with him, if God be not more mercifull to holde thee. When the deuil tempted Eue, he appeered in likenes of a serpent, to teach vs, that as the head of the Serpent is the greatest parte of the bodie, and wheresoeuer the head getteth in, the whole bodie followeth easilie: So the deuill if he once enter into mans heart, he will creepe into all partes, & neuer cease vntill he possesse the whole man, and bring him to euerlasting death with him and destruction in this world, as he did with Iudas, entring into him first by little and little, but after that Iesus Christ had giuen him the soppe, he did so fullie possesse him, that straight waies he betrated his master the Lord of life into the hands of wicked men, to be put to most vile death, and all for greedines of a little monie. Sanballat by the help of Tobias had now gotten a great band of Souldyers, of others, and specially of Arabians, Ammonites, and Azdodites to fight for him a­gainst these seelie soules, & for no other quarrell, but because they heard say, that they had repaired al the breaches of the walls of Ierusalem. Their foolish madnes appeereth the more because they rage so fiersly for onely hearing how well the worke went forward, as though that had benethe greatest fault that they could haue committed. Wis­dome would haue tried, whither such tales had bene true, afore they had beleeued them: but anger is so hotte an affection, that it can­not abide to be ruled by reason. There is no difference [...] an angrie man & a mad man, but that anger lasteth but for a time and continueth not still, as madnes doeth. [...] or [...] est; Anger is a short madnes, saieth the Poet: and againe. [...] [Page 53] Anger letteth the minde that it cannot see the trueth. Saint Iames therefore biddeth, let euery man be swift to he are, but slow to speake, and [...]. 1. slow to anger: for the anger of man worketh not the righteousnes of God. And though anger ought to be suppressed in all things that it grow not to any extremitie, yet is it most chieflie to be holden downe when any correction is to be executed. Tullie teacheth well, Qui iratus accedit ad poenam nunquam mediocritatem illam tenebit, quae est inter nimium and parum. He that punisheth when he is angrie, cannot keepe that meane which is betwixt too much and too little. Theodosius the Emperour when he had caused a great num­ber Lib. 2. cap. 18 to be slaine in his anger at Thessalonica, and for his rashnes in so doing was excommunicated by Ambrose Bishop of Millanne, after that he knew his fault & openly confessedit, made a law that no execution should be done on any offender, whome he iudged to die, afore 30. daies were expired, that he might haue so long time to consider in, whether he had iudged right­fully. God graunt euerie man a diligent care to foresee, that he doe nothing in hisanger vnaduisedlie, but with patient modestie, maie doe all things in the feare ofGod.

Tobias was an Ammonite of the seed of Ammon, whom Lot begat of his owne daughter in his drunkennesse, and as they were euer Gen. [...]. vtter enemies to the Iewes, though they were neere kinsemen, the one being come of Abraham, the other of Lot his Nephew, so now hauing such a man of Authoritie their countriman to be their Cap­taine, as Tobias was, they were more easelie drawne to ioyne with them, that by this occasion they might more easelie reuenge olde quarrels against the Iewes more bitterlie. The Arabians were their next neighboures, a wilde Mountaine people liuing much by robberie and therefore easelie brought to such a mischiefe. The Azdodits were one corner of the Philistines their old enemies and would rather runne to such a mischiefe vnbidden, then tary for any calling for. So we may see how readilie one wicked man wil be drawne to help another, and how the wickednes of one will infect another, that will giue eare vnto it. But good men are oft lest to them-selues without help or comfort at mans hand, as the Iewes were here now: and the Church ofGod hath bene from the begin­ning subiect to such dangers and shalbe to the end, that Gods glo­rie may more euidentlie shine in defending ofit, in despite of all their foes. The Metaphor, or kind of speech that is vsed here, when he faith, a salue was come on the walls of Ierusalē, is taken frō Chirurgi­ons who when they heale wounds, ioyne the flesh togither againe, which afore was cut in sunder: so the new breaches of the walls, [Page] which afore lay gaping open, were now ioyned togither and made sound, as though it were one whole sound wall. And as it was such a griefe to these wicked men, to heare tell onelie that the walls went well forward in repairing: so is it at this daie the greatest griefe that Gods enemies can haue, when they heare tell that reli­gion goeth forward in anie countrie: then they conspire, both by them-selues and their friends, and speciallie by that bastard Tobias, their Pope, so much as in them lieth, though it be with fire and sword, or anie other cruel deuice, to ouerthrow it.

8. And they conspired. When they perceiued that mocking taunts, high lookes, nor prowd words could not driue them from their building, they wil now make open warre against them to dash them out of countenance, put them to their shifts, & scatter them a sunder that being amazed at such a company cōming on them so­denly they should not assemble anie more to worke there. Thus the wicked neuer cease by all meanes to hinder Gods building: but as Sathan their Father goeth continuallie about like a roaring Lion to de­uour the Lords slocke, so doe they: but our God is as diligent tosaue vs that they doe no hurt, and watcheth vs when we doe sleepe, that they ouercome vs not. Pilate and Herod, were not friends afore; but to condemne our Lord Christ Iesus they soone agreeed, and were Luk. 23. friendes afterward. So thus manie kinde of people, which a­gree not well manie times among them-selues, yet now to ouer­throw Ierusalem, they all put on armoure, ioyne them-selues togi­ther, become friends, and agree all in one mischiefe. Dauid maruei­leth to see how all sortes of people and Princes conspire togither a­gainst Psal. 2. the Lord Christ, & crieth out, why doe the heathen so fret, and the people deuise vaine things? the Kings of the earth haue risen togither, and the Princes haue assembled togither against the lord & his anointed. But when Dauid had considered al their raging madnes, he cōforteth him-selfe and saith, he that dwelleth in the heauens shall mocke them, & the Lordshal laugh them to scorne, &c. So shall gods faithful litle flock be defended & comforted in al their troubles vnto the end: & their prowd enemies shalbe confounded. But this is all our froward na­ture bent vnto, that we be so ready to mischiefe, &slow to do good.

9. But we praied. As Nehemiah declareth the manifold troubles that fel on them for this building, so also he setteh forth their [...] [...] and Gods fauour towards them. For if [...] should continuallie assault vs, and the Lord leaue vs to our selues, mans weaknes were not able to stand, so strong and subtill is he, so vnable, and wretched are we. They forsake them-selues there­fore, [Page 54] and by humble praier submit themselues to their God, who neuer failed them in all assaies. Praier is a sure anker in all stormes, and they neuer perish that humbly flie vnto it, & faithfullie cleaue vnto it. Praier is a salue for all sores, yea it healeth not onelie bodie and soule, but euen hard stony walles. No kinde of carthly phisicke that God hath made is good for all kinde of folke at all times, & all kinde of diseases: but this heauenlie phisicke of praier in wealth& woe, in plentie and pouertie, in prosperitie and aduersitie, in sick­nes and in health, in warre and peace, in youth and age, in life and death, in mirth and sadnes, yea in all things & times, in the begin­ning, middest, & ending, praier is most necessarie & comfortable. Happy is that man that diligently vseth it at al times. But he that will so effectuallie pray that he may obteyne the thing he desireth, must first prostrate him-selfe in the sight of his God, as this people did, for so the Hebrew word here signifieth forsaking him-selfe, as vnable to help him-selfe, condemning him selfe as vnworthle to receiue such a blessing at the Lords hand: and yet nothing doub­ting, but that his God that neuer forsaketh them, that vnfeinedlie flie vnto him, will deale with him in mercie and not in iustice, de­liuer him and comfort him, not for anie goodnes that he findeth in him, but of his owne meere pitie, loue, grace and mercie, where­by he maie shew him selfe a glorious God, a present help and succour to all afflicted and oppressed mindes. He that findeth any thing in himselfe to help and comfort him selfe withall nee­deth not to praie, but he that seeth and feeleth his present want & necessitie, he will beg earnestlie, craue egerlie, confessing where his reliefe is to be had. No man will praie for that thing which he hath or thinketh him selfe to haue, but we euer aske, desire, beg, & pray for that we want. Let vs therefore in all our supplications and praiers vnto the Lord, first confesse our beggerlie pouertie and vna­blenes to help our selues, the want of his heauenlie grace and fa­therlie assistance, & then our gratious God wil plenteously powre his blessings into our empty soules, & fill them with his grace. If we be full alreadie, there is no rowme left to take any more: therefore we must know our selues to be emptie and hungrie, or else we shal not earnestlie desire this heauenlie comfort from aboue, which is requisite in all praier. For he that asketh coldlie, getteth nothing. And the more that we confesse our owne weaknes, our want, and vnablenes, the more we confesse our God to be almightie, rich in mercie, possessing all things in his owne hands, and dealing them a­broad to his poore people, where he seeth them neede, and sending the rich emptie away. And as we must thus cast downe our selues in [Page] our selues by faith to our God, & to praie to no other, but vuto the liuing Lord, that made heauen and earth, as this people doeth, and therefore call him their God. For if we seeke help at any other, we mistrust him, we doe not faithfully beleeue on him, & then we shall not be heard of him. Call on me in the daie of thy trouble, saith thy God, Psal. 50. and I will deliuer thee, &, I aske no other reward but to glorifie, praise & thanke me, knowing thy safety & deliueraunce to come from me. But these men did not onely pray to their God, but according to their duetie they put them-selues in a readines to defend them­selues against their enemies, which is lawfull for all men to doe. It is not sufficient to pray, and then to neglect such meanes as God hath appointed vs to vse for our defence and comfort, no more then it is to saie when he hath praied, I will liue without meat, and drinke, and God him-selfe shall feede me. For as the Lord hath taught vs to pray, giue vs this day our daily bread, so he hath comman ded vs to worke for it, and saieth, he that doeth not labour, let him not [...]. Thes. 3. eat. So here it was not sufficient to call vpon their God, though he was most mightie and louing vnto them, but they keepe watch and ward, put on Armour, take their weapons, not cowardlie cree­ping into corners, but stand forth stoutly on the toppe of the walls by the workemens elboes in the sight of their enemies, that they might see that they were not afraied of them, but would manfullie defend them selues & the workemen, against al assaults they could deuise. They had a stronger God to defend them, then any deuill could be to hurt them, or ouerthrow their worke. So praier and Gods prouidence destroyeth not pollicie but maintayneth it, and when they be ioyned togither god blesseth them both, as his owne ordinance. They knew well how true it was that Dauid said, Ex­cept the Lord defend the Citie, the watch-men watch in vaine that keepe Psal. 127. it. But when the Lord defendeth it, and the wacth-men doe their dueties faithfullie, trusting in the Lord, and not foolishlie bragging of their owne strength and powre, then is that citie wel and strong­lie kept. The Childrē of Ruben, Gad, and the halfe tribe of Manasse, as it is written, when they fought against the Agarens, gat the victory, and all because they ioyned praier with their powre, not trusting in them-selues, but in the mightie Lord of hostes, who heard them and ouerthrew their enemies. Thus must good Captains learne to ioyne praier with pollicie, if they looke to obteine the victorie, and not trust in horsse, Speare, shield, or other kinde of weapons. God ruleth those that feare him, in battaile as well as in peace, and those that trust in their owne strength, he will ouerthrow. Constantine [Page 55] the great, that worthie Emperour, our countrie man, taught his souldiers dailie to pray thus, We knowledge thee, O Lord, we know thee Euseb. lib. 4. De vita constat. for a King, we call on thee for our help, from thee we haue the victorie, and by thee we are conquerours: we giue thee thankes for this present prospe­rity, and by thee we hope for things to come: we all are humble suters vn­to thee, that our Emperour and his Godlie Children may be preserued safe long to liue, and we humblie be seech thee that he may be a valiant con­querour, &c.

And that Captaines may not doe what they list, but must learne to defend good causes onelie, Theodosius the good Emperour tea­cheth in his praier, that he maketh for him selfe, saying. O almightie God thou knowest that I haue taken these warres in hand in the name of Christ thy sonne, for a iust reuenge, if it be otherwise reuenge thou it on Rusf. lib. 2. Chap. 23. me: but if I come hither in a good quarrell & trust in thee, then reach forth thy right hand vnto thy people, lest peraduenture the heathen people will say, where is their god? By Moses law the priests should goe to the sield with the armie to encourage, teach, and comfort them, euen when they should Deut. 20. ioyne battell. The papist wil haue his morow masse Priest with him; and yet such negligence is in those, that call them-selues Prote­stants, that they thinke the companie worsse, if a learned minister be among them: and if he will rebuke their spoile, gaming, swea­ring, whooring, they are wearie of him; and if he touch anie of the better sort, then awaie with him, or else worke him some displea­sure. So rashlie we cast of the Lords yoke, so folishlie we enter in­to warres, as though the victorie laic in our owne hands, and God did not bestowe it on whom he thinketh best. Iohn Baptist, when the souldiers came to him to be baptized, as other sorts of men did, he taught euerie one how to amend their liues: and to the souldiers he saith: doe violence to no man, accuse none falselie, and be content with your wages. Luc. 3.

God graunt all good souldiers to follow these lessons vnfei­nedlie: for the holie Ghost noteth these as common faults, that such kinde of men be infected withall. Manie lustie yonkers thinke not them-selues braue inough, except they can looke bigge, speake stoutlie, and picke a quarrell against euerie simple man, dealing hardlie with all sorts, that they can come by, they thinke all is well gotten. How common this kinde of dealing hath bene, I leaue it to the consideration of others. And for that diuers haue fallen to a great sobrietie and liued orderlie since they learned Religion, God is to be praised, and God encrease the number. They be not made Souldiers to doe wrong, but to correct them that offer wrong: [Page] they enter not that trade to liue without law, but to bring them in obedience that offend the law. They may not thinke the Princes coffers to be at their disposition, but must content them-selues with wages and that portion that is alotted to them. He that dea­leth other waies getteth it vniustlie, & though he thinketh he dea­leth so cunninglie that it cannot be espied, yet the righteous Lord wil punish it in this world to his shame, &, if he be not more merci­ful, most greeuouslie in the world to come. Thus praier and pollicy ioyned togither, make a perfect worke, and the one halteth if it want the other. Dauid when he fought with Goliah, though he re­fused King Sauls Armour, yet he tooke his Sling and stones in his shepheards bagge, and calling vppon the Lord, ouerthrew that Giant mightelie. So shall it be in Gods Church when the mini­sters and people pray earnestlie, the Preachers speake boldlie, beat downe sinne mightelie, and watch night and day, that Sathan by his members creepe not in subtilly & disturbe the flocke of Christ. God graunt vs so to watch and praie, that the Lords name maie be worthelie praised in vs: for so S. Paul teacheth, be diligent in prayer, watching in it with thankes giuing. And S. Luke saith, watch & pray at al times, Coloss. 4. that ye may scape all the euils which are to come. This kinde of fighting against all fierie assaults of Sathan, is as necessarie in Gods Luk. 25. Church, as open warr is against the enemies of the cōmon wealth.

10. And Iudas said. This gappe was not so soone stopt, but there bursteth forth another worsse then that. Open enemies can doe li­tle harme, if the other parties within be true amongst them-selues. But if the souldiers within the Citie fall at a Mutinie among them­selues, disobey their captaine, discourage their fellowes, or worke anie treason, drawing parties togither, then the daunger within is greater, then anie can be without. The greatest parte of the tribe of Iuda now waxe faint-hearted, drawe backe, discourage their fel­lowes, murmure against the Captaines, and would gladlie leaue working. A perilous practise in such a daungerous time, and able to ouerthrow all. One coward in an armie breaking the aray, run­ning awaie or discouraging the rest, maie easelie discomfet the whole armie. But here come now a great companie, not of the meanest sort, but of the Kings tribe of Iuda and they murmure, they discourage, they disswade, and hinder the worke, as much as they maie. The Israchtes in Egipt, when Pharaoh encreased their labour, because Moses and Aaron would haue them deliuered, they crie out on Moses & Aaron for their weldoing. When they were come out of Egipt and wanted their fleshpottes, they crie out of Moses Exod. 16. [Page 56] and Aaron, which brought them out, and would returne againe into Egipt. The spies that were sent afore to bring word what a people and countrie they should come vnto, were faint-hearted, and discouraged the rest, saying, the men were great Giants, their Cities stronger then they could conquere, though the ground was fruitfull and pleasant of it selse. Thus Sathan neuer ceaseth to deuise something to ouerthrow Gods building.

The reasons that Iudas alledgeth, were great, and able to per­swade any man: first the workmen were wearie, say they, their shoul­ders aked with bearing so manie heauie burthens, their strength was gone, they were not able to beare anie more. Secondlie, there was much morter to carie awaie, both of the olde rubbish of thebro­ken walls, and also new morter to be brought in for the new buil­ding. The Hebrew word will serue for both, which I had rather follow, though some learned applie it onelie to the olde rubbish of the olde walls, and some to the new morter, to be caried for the new building. This troubled Nehemiah more then anie bragges of his enemies abroade. For of these he looked for help, and of the others none. These should haue comforted him, and now they dis­comfort. Now he must first pacifie and please the men, then he must comfort them and also stirre them vp to their worke, lest o­thers should faint and fall awaie as well as they. It is an easie mat­ter to begin a good worke, but a speciall gift to stand in all stormes and continue to the end. The proud Papist at this daie, at whose hands no goodnes is to be looked for, neyther toward God nor good man, doeth not hinder the building of Gods Church and preferring of his gospell, so much as these faint-hearted Prote­stants, white liuered Hipocrites, double dissemblers, and seruers of time.

When they set them downe and looke into the world, what, saie they, we haue wrought our selues wearie these fiftie yeares, and profited litle: our showlders ake, the more Popish rubbish we ca­rie a waie, the more we see remaine behind. Our open enemies are so many and so cruell, that they wil not let vs worke, & our friends are so weake, that they are not able to help them-selues and vs: ma­nie of those that seeme to be friendes are saint hearted, waxe colde, and deale cunninglie against a new day and a chaunge doe come, and [...] we shall be left in the bryers. So much olde Popish rub­bish is left behinde in the Church that it will neuer be caried out: so much new good order and discipline is to be brought in, that it is hard to tell, whether it be a harder matter to carie out the olde [Page] dreggs, or to bring in new morter to build new walls. How manie haue they burned, how greedelie doe they gape to be broyling a­gaine? S. Peter in the Actes of the Apostles asketh, why they would goe about to lay that yoke of Moses Ceremonies on the necke of the disci­ples, which neyther they nor their fathers were able to beare? And if that might be trulie said then, of those ceremonies which came from God himselfe, how much more may it be verified now on those which come from the Pope, the father of all superstition. The dou­ble dealing of wyly wordlings is such, that it is to be feared this po­pish rubbish will neuer be cleane rubbed of. For we euer keepe some Romish roume in store to turne our selues on, so oft as the world shall turne. And this olde Iudas may well be a figure of the latter Iudas, that betraied our master Christ, and al other such hipo­crits, which being faint hearted would betraie the building and builders that Gods Citie should not be finished. There is great stri­uing who shall be Peters successour in authoritie, but I feare Iudas hath more followers, which cowardlie and greedelie for a little money hinder, betraie, and vndermine, both the faithfull builders and building. If it be heynous treason to betray one man, whom thou owest dutie, reuerence, and faithfull seruice vnto: it must needes be much more heynous in a Citie, a Campe, a Church, or anie so­cietie, where faithfulnes should be found, to deceiue, runne awaie, deale dissemblinglie, or to disswade, discourage, and withdraw anie or manie from their dutifull obedience, labour, diligence, and faithfull dealing, to the dishonour of God, the ouerthrow of Reli­gion, and hurt of his people. God for his mercie sake roote out all desperat Iudases from among all faithful companies, that they may not discourage others, and speciallie from among the flocke of Christ, whom he hath so dearlie bought, that the Lords building may goe forward lustelie. What these Romish rubbish be, I had ra­ther leaue it to other mens considerations, then by blotting of pa­per and filling mens eares with such filthines, stand to rehearse them: but among many I thinke none worsse, then manie lewde dispensations, which such idle lubbers seeke for, whereby their du­tie is vndone. But manie a good builder will not build on the sand, but dig to the sad earth, and the good husband will plucke vp the weedes afore he sow good Corne: so surelie in Gods Church ill doctrines, Ceremonies, Customes, and Superstitions, must be roo­ted out, afore good Lawes, Orders, wholsome doctrine, & gouern­ment can take place.

11. And our enemies saied. The malice of Sathan by his members Is so great against the building of Gods Citie, that by all meanes, o­penly and priuilie, inward enemies and outward, faire words and foule, Sword, fire, and fagget, warre or peace, Teaching or hold­ing their tongue, knowledge or Ignorance, vndermyning or Con­spiracies, and all other deuices whatsoeuer, they let none slip, but trie all, that they may ouerthrow all, and not so much to doe them selues good, as to hinder others to set vp them-selues in the sight of the world, and to deface the glorie of God: but in the end all is in vaine, and our God shall haue the victorie. They will not yet vse any open violence, but cunningly come on them vnawares, be on them afore they know it or looke for it, secretly prepare all things necessary for their purpose, and steale on them priuilie, that they shalbe in the midst of them afore they wot where they be, they will kill them, shed their blood mercilesly murther them, and make that building to cease, ouerthrow the walls, pull downe the Bulwarkes, and so ouerwhelme them, that they neuer dare attempt anie such building any more. O monstrous malice against thy Lord to thine owne destruction in hindring his building, and his immortall praise in defending of it! What foolishnes is this to striue against the almightie? a wretched worme on the earth to re­bell against the lords holie will and determinate pleasure in hea­uen? Nothing greeueth them so much as to see this worke goe for­ward: if this worke were laied a sleepe, their harts were wel eased: but our God in patience letteth them vtter their malice, that in his iustice he may ouerthrow them.

In this Serpentine, craftie, and deuilish dealing of these wicked men appeereth the old Serpentine deuilish nature and malice of Sathan that old cankered enemie of God and man from the begin­ning. God saied to the Serpent, that the seede of the woman should tread Gen. 3. vppon his heade, and the Serpent should tread vpon his heele. Craftie and subtil men when they will worke a mischiefe goe priuilie about it to deceiue the good man, as the Serpent if he will sting a man, will not looke him in the face, but steale on him priuilie when he seeth him not. God endued man when he made him with such a maiestie in his face afore he fell to sinne, that all creatures did reuerence and feare him: and although sinne hath much defaced and blot­ted out that Noble Maiestie and grace that God endued him with, yet it is not vtterly disgraced and taken awaie, but some sparke and Relique remaineth at this day, that no wilde nor venemous beast dare looke a man in the face boldlie, and hurt him: but will giue place for the time, and seeke how he may priuilie wound or [Page] hurt him when he seeth him not. It is good wisdome therfore for euery man, that shall be in daunger of anie such hurtfull beastes, allwayes to looke them in the face, and beware when he turneth his eie from them, that they sodenlie and subtillie leape not on him and hurt him. These craftie and subtill foxes therefore, like the seede of the Serpent, would not openlie inuade, nor gather anie great power of men against them, but at vnawares steale on them priuilie, afore they should suspect anie such thing. This is the nature of wicked men, so craftelie to vndermine the Godlie.

The next propertie of the Serpent that appeereth in these diuellish men, is, that they mercileslie would murther them, when they hadde once thus sodainly inuaded them. Sathan was a murtherer from the beginning, as Saint Iohn saieth: and therefore no maruell ifhis Children be bloodsuckers like vnto the father. when he would [...]. 8. not spare the innocent Lamb of God Iesus Christ, but most cru­ellie crucified him, why should we maruell to see himby his wicked Childrenso greedelie seeke to shed innocent blood still?

The last propertie of Sathan appeereth here most plainlie in these wicked men, in that they would so gladlie ouerthrow this building of Ierusalem, that it should neuer be thought on anie more. Sathan is the Prince of this world and therefore cannot abide another King to reigne, nor anie kingdome to be set vp but his owne: and for main­teining of that, he will striue by his members vnto death. If a man would describe a Papist, I know not where he should finde a more liuelie Example then these men be. The Papist is close and subtill in going about to worke his feate on a sudden, as these men were, afore it be spied, if God vtter it not. Their bloodie hearts and hands haue filled all countries in all ages with shedding innocent blood: but especially this age plainely declareth to them, that will not be willfullie blinde, howtrue it is. Those bloodie mariages in Fraunce of late, which were pretended to be made for peace, loue, and qui­etnes, shallbe witnesses against them of these kinde of dealings, (though they reioyce in their mischiefe) vnto the worldes end. Saint Paul calleth the Deuill not onely a Prince: but a God of the world, because he disdaineth the glorie of God, and would haue that honour giuen vnto him-selfe. And that ye maie easilie see [...]. Cor. 4. who is his truely begotten sonne, looke who sit teth in the Temple [...]. Thess. 2. of God, boasting him selfe as God, as Saint Paul saieth. who sitteth so deepely in ignoraunt mens Consciences, that they dare not offend him, but thinke him to be holiest? who taketh in hand to bestow heauen, and hell, and purgatorie at his owne pleasure, to forgiue [Page 58] sinne, and make righteous, which belong to God alone, but the Pope and his Chaplaines? Therefore he that will not wittinglie deceiue him-selfe, maie easilie iudge whence Poperie commeth, and whether it leadeth vs. No maruell therefore if the Papists at this daie be so earnest to serue their God the Pope and hinder the building of Gods Church and Citie, lest their Kingdome, Super­stition, Pride, and authoritie decaie. Open your eies and see, marke the practises of Superstitious Idolaters from the beginning, and ye shall finde them in nothing more earnest, then in hindring the true God to be worshipped as he ought What made Pharaoh so desirous to staie the Children of Israell in Egipt, but that they should not goe Sacrifice to the Lord as he had appointed? Where­fore [...]. did the Scribes and Pharisies so rage against Christ, but that they would not haue their traditions to decay, and the true Mat. doctrine of Christ Iesus to be set vp? Why did the high Priests and elders whip the Apostles, and commaund them to preach no more in the name of Iesus, but that they would ouerthrow his King­dome, Act. 5. if that they could? Whie were so manie thowsand mar­tirs so Cruellie murthered in so manie ages, but that they would know no God and Sauiour, but onely the Lord Christ? Why doeth the Pope and his Partakers so rage at this day, as Herod did, when he heard that a new King was borne, but that he seeth his Kingdome and Superstition ouerthrowen, by the preaching of the Gospell?

And as it falleth out thus generallie in the building of Gods spirituall house and Citie, that all sortes of enemies most dili­gentlie applie them-selues, their labour, witt, Power, Pollicie, and frendship to ouerthrow the true worship ofGod: so particu­lerlie Sathan goeth about like a Roaring Lion seeking whome he may de­uour, and therefore euerie man hath great neede to be wary and circumspect, that he be not suddenlie ouerthrowne, but let him watch, and put on all the Armour of God, which Saint Paul describeth saying; For this cause take vnto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to resist in the euil day, & hauing finished all things, stand fast. Stand therefore, and your loynes gird about with veritie, and hauing on the brestplate of righteousnes, And your feete shodwith the preparation of the Gospell of peace. &c. that he may stand stoutly in the day ofbattell, and through the might of his God gett the victorie. The deuill Ephe. 6. neuer ceaseth, for if he cannot ouerthrow the whole Church, yet he would be glad to catch anie one that belongeth to the Lord, if he could.

12. And it came to passe, when the Iewes which dwelt beside them came and told vs of their practises 10. times out of all pla­ces whence they came vnto vs,

13. I set in the lowe places beyond the wall and in the high places also I set the people according to their kinreds with their swords, their Speares, and their Bowes.

14. And when I saw them, I rose, and saied to the Nobles & to the officers and the rest of the people, be not afraied of the sight of them, but remember the great and fearfull Lord, and fight for your breethren, for your sonnes, and your daugh­ters, your wiue's and your houses.

15. And it came to passe when our enemies heard tell that it was told vs, God disapointed their purpose, and all we returned vnto the walls, euery man to his worke.

THis comfort our louing God hath left to his chosen people, that as the deuill ceaseth not by his members to trouble and vex his church and beloued Children, by all meanes that he can de­uise: So the mightie Lord of his owne free goodnes by his holy spi­rit, his Angels, his creatures all, and most sensiblie by the comfort that one good man giueth another, in all our greefes faileth not to aide and comfort vs night and day, priuilie and openlie, that euer we may haue iust cause to reioyce in him for our deliuerance, and not in our selues. These wicked Samaritans, Sanballat, Tobias, and their fellowes were not so cunning priuily to prepare men and armour so­denly to inuade Ierusalem vnlooked for, to murther the builders and shed innocent blood: but the liuing Lord to glorifie him-selfe in opening their subtill practises, which they thought had beene kept close from all men, by other of the Iewes which dwelt among them in Samaria, Arabia, and other places, doeth bewray their conspiracie and maketh it knowne in Ierusalem often times, out of all corners of the countrie. Thus it proueth true, that the Gospell saieth. Nothing is hid, but it shallbe openly knowne, be it neuer so craftelie deuised: Nothing can be so priuilie deuised to hurt the man of God, but the wisdome of our God doeth foresee it, his mercifull goodnes doeth open it, & his mightie hand doeth so rule it, that it ouerwhel­meth vs not. God encrease our faith, and help our vnbeliefe, that in all daungers we may humblie submit our selues vnto him, and without grudging, or doubting boldlie looke for his help in due time, and patiently tarie his leysure: for no doubt he wil help them that faithfullie looke for and earnestlie beg his aide. King Saul pur­posed diuers times sodenlie to haue slaine poore Dauid, but God [Page 59] opened his mischieuous minde and malice by Ionathan his sonne and Michol his daughter, and Dauid was deliuered. The Kings cham­berlaynes 2. Sam. Cap. 18. [...]. had priuilie conspired to haue murthered Assuerus their King and Master, but Mardocheus openeth his treason, and the King was saued. Benadad the King of Syria made warre against Ioram King of Israell, and by counscl of his seruants laid imbushments priuily to trap Ioram the King of Israell by the way: but Elizeus the Prophet percei­uing Ester. 6. that Ioram would goe the way where the imbush was laid in wait for 2 King. cap. 6. him, gaue the King warning, & bad him goe another waie: when Benadad heard tel that his sccret purpose & counsell was knowne to Iorā, & he came not that way, he was angrie with his seruants and said, they had betrayed and opened his counsell to Ioram. Nay, sayeth one of his seruants, there is a Prophet in Israell Elizeus, & he openeth what-soeuer thou speakest in thy priuie Chamber. King Herod minding subtillie to kill the young Babe Christ Iesus, craftely bad the wise men goe and learne where the new king was borne and he would come and worship him, as well as they did: but the gratious god which neuer fayleth at neede, bad them goe another Mat. [...] waie, and not tell Herod, for he ment to kill the young babe Christ. The wicked Iewes made a vowe they would neyther eat nor drink vntill they had killed Paul: but Pauls sisters sonne when he heard their con­spiracie, opened it, and the Captains set Souldiers to defend him & deliuer him out of their hands. I cannot tell whether these Iewes Act. 23. which dwel abroad in diuers Countries, and came and told them in Ierusalem of the conspiracy that was intended against them by San­ballat and his fellowes, be worthie more praise or dispraise. It was theire dutie to haue come home, stood in stormes, and help to build Ierusalem, as well as these other their fellowes did: but God which turneth our negligence and foolishnes to the setting forth of his immortal goodnesse and wisdome, gaue them a good will and boldnes to further that building as they might, and sturred them vp to come often times & open vnto them in Ierusalem the great conspiracie that was intended against them: that they might be readie to defend themselues when-soeuer they were assaulted. It greeued them to vnderstand the mischiefe that was purposed, both to haue their bree­threns blood cruellyshed, & also that building to be ouerthrowen: and though they durst not come and ioyne with them both in bat­taile and working, yet they are to be commended that they so piti­ed their breethren and the worke, that they gaue warning of that great conspiracie purposed against them. Thus God vseth the ser­uice of all men and creatures to the benefit and comfort of those that feare him truely. So among wicked people manie times doe [Page] good men dwel, both to bring them from their wickednes by their good example and counsell, and also to be a reliefe to other good men abroad in other places, when occasion shall serue. Thus was Lot in Sodom, Ioseph in Pharaos house, and Daniell in Babylon: and if these Iewes had not dwelt abroad among the Samaritans and Ara­bians, this conspiracie had not bene opened to the builders in Ieru­salem, but they should haue bene sodenly slaine, afore they knew of their comming. Thus is Gods prouidence & care for his people, when they vnderstand not their owne daunger, to be praised, and this naturall loue that these Iewes bareto their Countrie and Bree­thren, in fore-warning them to defend them-selues, is to be fol­lowed of all good men.

Demeratus of Lacedemon was vniustlie banished his countrie: yet when he heard that the Athenians would make warre against his countrie, he gaue his countrie-men warning of it, that they might be in a readinesse to defend them-selues. When the Israe­lites had made the Golden calfe, and God in his anger would haue destroyed them, Moses falleth to prayer, though they oft rebel­led Exod. 32. against him, and desireth the Lord to pardon them, or els to put him out of his booke. Saint Paul wisheth to be accursed from Christ so that he might winne his breethren the Iewes to the Lord Christ, though Rom. 9. they oft sought his death.

Thus good men wil forget displeasures done vnto them, and be readie alwaies to help and comfort their Countrie, and speciallie those that be of the houshold of faith. This may be a comfort to all good men, that as God opened this conspiracie to his people at this time, by the Iewes that dwelt farre from them, so his father­lie care neuer faileth them that loue him, but he will defend and de­liuer them: for he maketh his enemies, if they be made priuie of a­nie such mischiefe, so babling, that they will open it, eyther for vaine Glorie, briberie, malice, or else their owne consciences doe accuse them that they cannot quiethe suffer such a mischiefe to be wrought. And although they were thus oft and out of all corners warned of this conspiracie, yet they could scarselie be brought, manie of them, to beleeue anie such thing to be attemp­ted, it was so horrible and incredible. Good men iudge others to be like them selues simple, and plaine dealers, and cannot easi­lie be perswaded that anie man would goe about such a mischiefe. But the gospel teacheth, that we should be wise as serpents, & as simple as doues: the serpent is wise to saue his owne head, and hide him [Page 60] selfe vntill the daunger be past, and the doue will not crastelic de­uise anie harme to anie other: so the man of God must be wise as the serpent, and not be carelese of his saftie, (for God hath giuen him reason to defend him selfe and foresee mischiefes and prouide for them) nor he must not be craftie to hurt others, as the doue is not: but he must rather thinke, that the wicked men, whom Sathan hath so possessed, will leaue nothing vndone that may ouerthrow the good, & therefore they ought to be as wise, circumspect, & di­ligent to defend them-selues & their countrie from such mischiefes by all honest meanes, as the other shall be busie to deuise or doc them anic harme, or else they shallbe guiltie of their owne de­struction and manie others, which cannot be defended in con­science, nor the Lord can alowe it in iustice, being hurtfull to so manie.

13. I set in the lowe places. Nehemiah by leauing the Court where he liued in case, is now come to a goodlie bargaine. First he was master of the worke, set euerie man in order, that none loyte­red, nor wrought otherwyes then he was appointed, and that none troubled his fellowes, dayly dabling in the mire, morter, and clay, as long as he might, and yet would not be wearie, with great displeasure and grudging of those that should be his friends and helpers, but now is become a warrier, is driuen to put on armour, keepe watch and ward night and daie, and ouersee them him selfe, to sett his people in aray, and appoint them their standing places, giuing them their weapons, and teaching them what they should doe. Such reward shall they haue that sorsake the world and will build Gods house and Citie: God and the world cannot be friends: and that maketh so few Courtiers to tread this trodde. Moses being brought vp in Pharaos house, and might haue bene called as sonne to Phàraos daughter, refused the Court, and chose to be in trouble with his Hebrew. 11. breethren the Iewes, and serue the Lord, rather then to haue all the dain­ties in the Court, liuing in Idolatrie and displeasure of God. I know not many courtiers which might thaue liued in the court with such fauour & authoritie, & would not, to set by these two men. God en­crease the number & make many earnest folowers of them. Nehe­miah now like a good Captaine setteth some of his souldiers in trenches that they could not be seene be-low, where the walls were lowest, that if any entred there, they should be entrapped by and by: some he setteth on the top of the walls with their bowes, that they might both be seene far of, & so make the enemy afraied to come neere, when they should see them in such readines, & also that they might shoot [Page] farre of at them, and hurt them afore they could assault the walls. And like a wise Captaine he setteth all of one kindred together, that one should be true to another, as kinsfolkes will rather then Stran­gers. It hath bene a common practise with vs of late to take the souldiers of one countrie from their Captaine whome they know and loue, and put them to a straunger whome they know not, what goodnes hath come of it, let wise men iudge: in my opinion little or none, except it were the priuate profit of the Captaine. But sure it is not without great cause that the holie ghost declareth here the order that Nehemiah set them in by their kinreds togither, teaching vs that nature will moue one kinsman to be truer in al daungers to an other of his kinred, rather then to a stranger: and that one kinsman will open his griefe to his freind, and take comfort at his hand, ra­ther then to him whome he knoweth not. He cannot be bold with a straunge Captaine, nor a straunge souldier, and that discourageth him, and casteth downe his spirits: but when neighbours, freinds, and Cosinnes are togither vnder a Captaine, whom they loue and know, it imboldneth them, they cleaue togither like Burrs, if one be in daunger the rest will not forsake him, where as straungers e­uery man seeketh to saue him-selfe, and careth not for his fellow, but letteth him shift for him selfe, as he may. This godly Example of Nehemiah in placing friends togither is to be followed, rather then the priuate profit of one Captaine. How strangely straunge Captaines haue vsed their straunge souldiers it is straunge to re­member, and pitie it is to see the souldier how vnwilling he is to serue among straungers, and manie times doeth serue but slowly. I haue seene when a meane gentleman hath gone to the warrs, his renants would striue who should goe with him first, & if he refused anie to goe, he thought his master loued him not: but now by this deuiding of neighbour frō neighbour, friends & friends from other, neither the gentleman that cannot haue his trustie men about him, nor the souldier hauing not such a Captaine and fellowes as he lo­ueth, trusteth, & knoweth, both the master & the man seeketh by al means to tarie at home, & so the worst men are thrust out to serue which is to be lamented. God amend it. It is possible some will think me to saucie to enter into matters wherein I am not skilled: but that forceth not, the trueth must be spoken, though some doe grudge, and this Example of Nehemiah shall defend me, whatsoe­uer is saied to the contrary. The scripture teacheth generally euery man his duety what kinde of life soeuer he liue, & God wil require that euery man should frame him-selfe to that rule: therefore the [Page 61] preacher may enter into consideration of euery mans duetie so farr as the scripture leadeth him, euen to the controulling of the mint, as master Latimer of worthie memorie, being found fault withall for medling in such matters, alledged the Prophet saying: thy siluer Esai. 1. is turned into drosse. When Iohn Baptist beganne to baptize, and all sorts of people resorted vnto him, amongst whome came the souldiers too, Luk. 3. he taught both the souldiers and all the rest how to behaue them selues in their kinde of life, if they would receiue the gospel. Here may be noted also what simple kinde of weapons were then vsed in the warrs, and how many cruel and subtill deuises we haue of late deuised one to kill another. Here is none other mentioned but the sword, if they ioyned handstroks: the Speare, to push them away if they scaled the walls: and the bowe to shoote a far of, to keep them from comming neere the walls. What glorie this Realme hath got­ten with these weapons, and specially by the Bowe, all Chronicles declare, and all nations for that feared vs: but how in shooting the old gloric of this land is decaied, and gaming and alehouses haun­ted, to the hurt of the youth, wasting of their monie, weakning of their strength, and decaie of this worthie exercise, good men la­ment, and few goe about to amend. Shooting is a speciall thing, not giuen to al men and nations, but chiesly to the Iewes, first while their kingdome stoode: then to the Persians, who yet can doe som­thing with it, and then to the English men, who haue wrought great feats by it. Few histories make any mention of other Coun­tries that could or did vse it much in the warres, and if there were some few among them that could doe something in it, it was to small purpose or none in the battail. Looke at our neighbours rounde about vs, euen to the Scottish man which goeth neerest vn­to vs, and comming both of one Auncetor, and it will easilie ap­peare how true it is. If any shoot ill fauouredly, we saie he Shooteth like a Scott: and yet some few of them shoote well too. The scrip­ture, which is Auncienter then any kinde of learning by manie yeares, maketh mention, that I smaell Abrahams sonne was a cun­ning Arther. King Asahad out of one little tribe of Beniamin two hun­dreth and fourscore Thousand, Archers. King Saull was chased with bowe men and slaine with the Philistians. The sonnes of Ruben, God and Gene. 21. 2. Chron. 1. Sam. 31. Manasses were good warriers & Bowemen fourtie and fowre thowsand seauen hundred & threescore. Indas Machabeus set his Bowemen in the forefronte of the Battaile. Plintlib. 7. cap. 5. writeth that Perses the sonne of Persius, of whome the Persians had their surname, should be the first deuiser of shafts: but how vntruely it is reported, these scrip­tures [Page] afore rehearsed, which were long afore this time, will testifie. By the which the Auncientie of the scripture appeereth afore all other learning: and yet the Papist will stand on his Auncientie and saie, they haue all olde learning on their side, where their fa­thers the Popes were but yesterday, in comparison of the scrip­tures, which were elder then any of these by three thowsand yeares: but such lewd Doctrine is meete to come from them that will not obey the trueth. The Persians loued shooting so well, that they set an Archer on their Coyne of Gold which was of great vallour, as we doe the Angel: and as we vse to saie, when a man hath great sutes and cannot be so well heard as he would wish, that he must make Angels to speake for him, and they cannot be saied nay, which thing by report is too common and true at this day: so the King of Persia, being offended at Agesilaus, gaue the Athenians thirtie thou­sand peeces of this great Coyne of Gold of theirs: which thing when Agesilaus vnderstoode, he saied merilie, but yet truely, that he was driuen awaie with thirtie thowsand Bowmen (meaning their coyne of Gold, which had an Arhcer coyned on it) and how should he a poore man be able to withstand so manie Archers. No more truelie then our men can say Angels nay. For the feats of warr done by our Elders in this land with Bowemen, I referr it to be considered by our owne Chronicles. But I will not enter into a full discourse of this matter, it belongeth not so much to our purpose: this short touching of it shall suffice now. Who so listeth to see more of the commendation of it in time of peace, may reade that learned Booke which Master Askame wrote of it.

As these Samaritans ceased not continually to hinder the building of this earthly Ierusalem, so Sathan by his members, Papists, and Arrians, &c. ceaseth not in euerie age to hinder the comfortable building of Christs Kingdome and spirituall Ierusalem, by all meanes that he can deuise: and neuer more feirselie then now in our daies. But as God stirred vp Nehemi­ah then, to defend and encourrage the people to goe forward with their building, notwithstanding their cruell assaults, so the Lord stirreth vp some few to stand in defence of this trueth, and Gods enemies winne not at their hands so much as they looke for.

And as Nehemiah here setteth the People in order by their Kin­reds, with their Swords, Speares, and Bowes, to defend the workemen, so should good Magistrates place euerie where stout Souldiers, of one doctrine, and Religion, in dued with the speciall gifts [Page 62] of the holie Ghost, as knowledge of tongues, discerning of spi­rits and Doctrines, able to confute the false, and defend the trueth, with gifts of vtterance, Eloquence, and persuading, and with gouernment, to bridle the vnrulie and troublesome folke, that the flock of Christ Iesus which he bought so dearelie, be not drawne awaie headlong by deuillish Doctrine, from their Lord and Shepheard of their soules the Lord Christ. God for his mercie sake stir vp the hearts of Magistrates, and speciallie Courtiers, to set this example before them-selues, and diligentlie to fol­low it, that we be not found more negligent in this our free li­bertie vnder the light of the Gospell in seruing our God faith­fullie, then these poore Iewes were vnder the Ceremonies of Moses after their Captiuitie. A lamentable case to see how bold and earnest these Iewes were against so manie feirce ene­mies, and how colde, negligent, and carelesse, we that beare the names of Christians be. Lord encrease our faith, help our vnbeleefe, and make vs with courrage to worke at thy buil­ding. We are lulled on sleepe, we wallow in wealth, and for­get thee, we seeke our owne aduauncement in the world, and care little or nothing for the aduauncement of thy Kingdome, thy glorie, thy people, and the wholesome doctrine of saluation, decla­red vnto vs in thy holie word.

14. Andwhen I sawe them, Irose and saied to the Nobles. After that Nehemiah had thus, like a good Captaine, set the people in aray by their kinreds, appointed them their standing places and weapons, and conueied him-selfe into some corner to breath, and refresh him-felfe, he looked about him, and behold, Sanballat, Tobias, and their fellows were at hand, appeared in sight, and Marched forward in Battaile aray toward the walls stoutlie, to dash them out of countenaunce, if it had beene possible. But then Nehemiah, though he was wearie and satte downe to rest him-selfe, besturred him, rose vp quicklie, forgatte that he was wearie, plucked vp his spirits, and called the Nobles, officers, and the people together: and because the time would not suffer him to vse manie words, the enemies drawing so neere, he ma­keth a short, but a pithie oration to them, and in effect so much as could haue bene spoken in a long time and at leisure: and all to this end, to imbolden them to cast away the feare of man, and feare the mightie Lord of hostes, in whose hand it was to dispose as he thought good: and not onely that, but the honestie of the cause was such, that they could not, without great shame and reproch, leaue it vndefended, so farre as [Page] their powre would stretch. They fought against infidels for the man­tenaunce of God his true Religion, they fought for their bree­thren, for their sonnes, their daughters, their wiues, houses, life, lands, and goods. They had of late bene in captiuitie, they felt the smart what it was to liue vnder straunge Princes: God had mercifullie restored them to their countrie againe, and prospered well the beginning of their buildings, and should they now cow­ardlie flie awaie, loose all that they had gotten, fall into their owne slauerie, liue among Idolaters, their wiues and children to be pri­soners afore their face? He that had any blood in him, & cyther fea­red God, or loued his countrie and people, would first step out in so good a cause, manfullie defend it spend his blood in it, would striue who should be the first and foremost to giue the onset, not doub­ting but that mightie God, who had so prospered their doings hi­therto, would with good successe finish it to their great comfort & perpetuall commendation. Ioab vseth the same reason to Abisai and his Souldiours, tofight for their people and countrie. God neuer fai­leth them that faile not them-selues: doe thou thy duetie, and no doubt God wil fill out the rest. What a courage had Nehemiah that being come thither but of late, durst speake so boldlie to the no­ble 2. Sam. 10. men and rulers, with the people, which should haue taken the matterin hand them-selues and encouraged others rather then he. But in Gods cause when those that should be furtherers of it, waxe colde, and eyther will not, or dare not, then those whom God do­eth thus earnestly moue, may, and ought, so much as in them is, encourage all sortes of men, manfully to goe forward in seruing the Lord. And whereas feare is a great hinderer of al wel doing, he beginneth to pluck away that block first, which being remoued, boldnes must needes follow and take place. Feare not saith he their braggs, their sterne countenance, & proud lookes, their glistering armour, their great bands of souldiers, their mighty captaines, their long speares, & sharp swords, they are cowards, their heart faileth them, they are like mules with golden Trappers, and costly foote-cloth, which outwardly shew brauely vnto the eie, but vnderneath are slow Asses and dull beasts. So these big boasting Thrasones and vaunting Milites gloriost make a shew of great matters as though they would and could pull downe all, destroy all afore them at their pleasure, where in dede they be faint harted lubbers and dare do nothing, as it appeereth here after. Our god is an almighty Lord at whose looke the earth quaketh and the deuils tremble: and these wretches be vile wormes meat, mortall men, Gods enemies, and [Page 64] children of darkenesse. Our God alone is strong ynough for all the deuils in hell, and out ofhell, withall their members and partakers. Why should ye be afraid to fight in his quarrel? he hath done what he wil in heauen, earth, and hel, as the Psa. saith. All things bend when he doth beck, & all be at his call and commandement. Shrink not from this Captaine & he will defend you, manfullie fight vnder his ban­ner and the victorie shall be yours. The worst that the wretches can doe you is to hurt the bodie: but our God teacheth vs to feare him that casteth both bodie and soule into hell fire. Remember the old graund Captaine of our fathers, Moyses, when Pharaoh (with a mightie power chased them to the red Sea, where the people were afraid and saw no remedie but either leape into the Sea and be drowned, or els tarie Pharaoh and be killed) call to remembraunce I say, what Moses in the like distresse and ieopardie then, that ye be now in, said vnto them in few words. Standstil, saith Moses, behold and marke the Exod. 14. end: when ye are not able, the Lord him selfe will sight for you: these cruell enemies whom ye see this day ye shall neuer see any more. And so it came to passe: for by Gods mighty hand the Israelites passed through the Sea safe, and Pharao with his people were drowned. The scripture teacheth that the fearfull, vnfaithfull, murtherers, adul­terers, Reuela. 22. inchaunters, Idolaters and liers shal haue their parts in the burning lake of fire and brimstone. If ye will not sticke vnto this God and feare him as children ought to loue and reuerence their father, yet feare him as seruants doe their masters, and as ill men doe which are a­fraid of punishment, and forbeare ill doing for feare, rather then for loue. The greeuous punishment which is threatned to feare­full men, is the second and euerlasting death bothe ofbodie and soule: which, whosoeuer hath any true feare of God in him, will tremble & quake when he thinketh on it: be not therefore afraid of them, but plucke vp your stomaches and boldlie stand in the de­fence of that Citie, which the Lord God hath giuen you to serue him in. To fight for sonnes, daughters, wiues and houses, I thinke it were an easie matter to perswade anie man: for they be our flesh and bones, and we be readie ynough to such matters: and surelie not without a cause: for both the law of god & the law ofnature bindeth vs to defend them in their wel doings. Moses in his law saieth, that if thou traueyling by the way doe sinde thine enemies asse fallen in the mire vnder his load, thou shalt not passe by but help him vp: surelie the meaning of this law was not for the asse, but as Saint Paul alledging the like law, thou shalt not mussle the mouth of the oxe that treadeth out the corne, sayed; Had God care for the Oxe? Nay verely, but for you it is writen 1. Corin. 9. [Page] that ye should feede your painful teachers which labour for you as the Oxe. So, I say, this law was not made for the Asse his sake, but euen for thy enemie, who is ouerloden, as the Asse was, and speciallie those, to whom thou art bound by nature: for else thou art worsse then an infidel.

But in this matter men are sone resolued what to doe: there is a harder matter in mens minds, that is, whether we should fight for Reli­gion, as these men did, or no. We see great troubles in manie countries against their Princes in our days for religion, and many doubt what they may do herein. Let the case stand as these mens did, & it is sone answered. These Samaritans, Sanballat and his fellowes, were no Princes, but subiect to Artaxerxes, as the Iewes were, nor had anie authoritie ouer them: they were Gods enemies, and did the Iewes wrong, that would not suffer them to goe forward with that buil­ding, which the King had giuen them licence and commission to do. Therefore they might iustlie defend them selues against such theeues. Further here is to be noted also that they defend thē selues onelie & doe not inuade the other, offering anie violence to them, but would quietlie enioy their owne, if they might. And this is a greate difference in the warrs, whether a man stand to defense of him selfe & his people in any cause, or doe inuade others and offer them wrong. Defending a mans selfe is alowed by all lawes in ma­nie causes, and yet in religion by flying, and not by drawing the sword against his Prince: but to rebell and draw the sword against thy lawfull Prince for religion, I haue not yet learned, nor cannot alow off it, nor I cannot see how so manie martirs in all ages would haue submitted them selues to death willinglie, if they might haue fought for it. Peter drew his sword to cut of Malchus eare, and would haue fought for his master: but Christ Iesus bad him put vp his Sword: for if the matter stoode by fighting, he could aske his heauen­lie father, and he would giue many thousands of Angels to fight for him. The Prophet biddeth the Israelites in their captiuitie in Babilon pray Iere. 29. for the life of Nebucadnezar & Balthasar his sonne, & seeke for the peace of the Citie, in which they were prisoners, and not trouble them. S. Paul biddeth pray for all them that were in authoritie, and then was Nero Emperour, a beast in condition, rather then a man: yet he must be prayed for. Dauid would neuer hurt King Saul though he 1. Tinso ca. 2. might, and had him in his daunger sundrie times & might haue kil­led 1. Sa. 24. 26. him, if he would. Therefore as Christ ouercame his enemies by suffring, so they that be Christes shall get the victorie by pati­entnes & bearing the crosse, not by rebelling & drawing the sword. [Page 64] As Nehemiah therefore here encourageth the Nobles, Rulers, and people, manfullie to stand in defence of their countrie, Citie, wiues, children, breethren, and howses, against their enemies: so in the spirituall king­dome of Christ, must the Preachers & Pastors encourage all sorts from the highest to the lowest, manfully to stand to that wholsome doctrine of saluation, which they haue bene taught out of Gods holie booke, and not be afraid nor chaunge with euerie blast of winde, and turne with the world, as all sorts in this land haue done, to the offence of Gods maiestie, and their great reproch, and spe­cially ofthose that were the heades and should haue bene staies to others. Religion is not a thing at the pleasure of Princes, to chaunge as they list (though the outward circumstances in it may be chaunged by them) but it is the vnchaungeable will and determinate pleasure of the almightie Lord of hea­uen and earth, decreed by high Court of parlament in heauen, afore the world was made, and declared vnto man by his Pro­phets and Apostles, in such times as his infinite wisdome thought meete, and cannot be altered by anie man nor authoritie in anie age. I am God, and am not chaunged, saith the Lord, my thoughts and my waies are not like your thoughts and waies which are euer changeable and vncertaine, but I am euer one and chaunge not. Stick therfore fast vnto that Lord which shrinketh not a waie from his people, but manfully deliuereth them, & by suffering we shall haue the victory, as our Captaine Christ Iesus had: for if we suffer with him, Saint Paul saith, we shall reigne with him. In bearing his crosse and sufferance then standeth our conquest, not in Rebelling; in dying to him, and not liuing to our selues. Marke now the mightie hand of God figh­ting for his people, and the cowardly harts ofthese boasting brag­gers, how sone they come to nought: they but hard tell that the Iewes vnderstoode their conspiracie, how they thought to haue come sodenlie & murthered them, & that they were readie in armoure to withstand and defend them-selues against them, their harts faile them, they runne away, lay downe their weapons, and the Lord defeated their whole purpose and deuises. Thus lightheads they had, that when they heard tell that the Iewes went forward with this building, they prepare them selues to fight with them, and when they heard tell that they were readie to defend themselues, they runne a waie. Such rashe heades haue wicked men alwaies, vnconstant, and changing with euerie winde: but Nehemiah is euer one man, constant and bolde in well doing, and goeth forward in building Gods Citie, notwithstanding all their braggs. Here appeereth how true it is that Dauid saieth, [Page] the Lord bringeth to nought the counsell of the heathen, and disapointeth the deuises of the people: but the counsell of the Lord endureth for euer, Psal. 33. and the thoughts of his heart throughout all ages. The Scribes & Phari­sies and the high priest gathered a councel against the Lord Christ, thinking to haue ouerthrowne him and his doctrine, that it should neuer haue bene heard off more: but Dauid said truelie of them, why did the heathen fret, & the people imagine a vaine thing? the Kings of the Psal. [...]. earth stood vp togither, and the Princes assembled against the Lord and against his anoynted: but all in vaine, for the Lord raysed vp his sonne Christ from death, & destroyed them. Iudas with a band of Souldi­ers thought he should haue bene able cunninglie to haue wrought his pleasure against his master Christ Iesus. But as sone as Christ as­ked Iohn. 18. them that came to take him, whom they sought: they all fell flat to the ground, & were not able to stand at the hearing of his word. Achitophell thought by his wicked counsell to haue ouerthrowne his Lord and King Dauid: but God ouerthrew his deuise, & he went and han­ged him selfe, and so did Iudas too, when he saw the matter fall out otherwise then he looked for. These and such other terrible exam­ples may teach men to be wise and that they take nothing in hand against the Lord, though it be neuer so wiselie deuised: for it shall proue true that the Prophet saith: there is no wisdome, no foresight, no counsel against the Lord. All shal be ouerthrowne, and the more cun­ning it is, the sooner it shall be cast downe: none can stand against him: he onely is wise, and all other that haue it not from him, be fooles. Good men may also learne here not negligentlie to looke to them-selues, nor to goe nakedlie without weapon, to yeald them selues into their enemies hands: for soe they may be guiltie of their owne death. A weapon boods peace, as the common saying is: for God hath made the weapon to defend the bodie, as he made the meat to feede the bodie: and these braggers like theues will set on no man, that they see weaponed, and wil stand against them, but on those that be naked or faint harted, they will be cruel. God requireth not such peakishnesse in a man, that he suffer him-felfe to be wounded, that by the law of nature aloweth euery man to defend him-selfe with weapons against such theeues, if peace can­not otherwaies be had.

Now that their enemies were vanquished and fled away, they brag not of their strength and courage, they goe not to the Tauern to tosse potts, and boast of their great victorie, but in the feare of god returne to the walls, & euerie man falleth to his worke againe. Thus we learne here both in the spirituall battell against Sathan & [Page 65] his members, to put on the spirituall armour, that S. Paul armeth the christian souldier withall, and they will flie away as these braggers Ephes. 6. did, if we stand boldlie prepared to fight against them, as Nehe­miah & his fellowes did. It is true that the common verse teacheth,

Hostis non laedit, nisi cum tentatus obedit:
Est leo si cedis: sistas, quasi musca recedit.

S. Iames agreeth to the same saying: withstand the deuill, and he will Iam. 4. flie from you. And S. Peter teacheth how to withstand him, saying: stand a­gainst him being strong in faith, &c. 1 Peter. 5. And also we learne not to be idle, vnprofitable, or vnthankful, after the victory & our deliuerance, but to returne to our worke againe and sleepe not, nor be negligent: for our mortall enemie neuer sleepeth: and if he preuaile not one waie, he attempteth another, he is not ashamed to take a foile, but he wil assault vs againe some other way: he is not wearie, for he hopeth to speede at length and take thee napping. All histories declare that the greatest Kingdomes which came to great powre and authoritie by taking paines, by painfull battells, by suffering hunger and cold, euen the same, when they fell to idlenes, wallowing in wealth and riotous feasting & daintines, they lost their former glory faster then they wonne it. Such be those time-seruers, which the Gospel speak­eth of, that for a time make a shew in seruing thé Lord, but in the tyme of triall they fall away: their hollow hearts declare plainly that they ne­uer feared the Lord vprightlie. Thus must the men of God neither be rash in attempting things vnaduisedlie, nor negligent in proui­ding things necessary for their defense, or desperatly feare the brags and powre of the enemie: but in the feare of god stand to their law­full defense, committing the successe to the almightie, whose wis­dome ruleth al things at his pleasure, who defendeth his people, & no power can withstand him.

16. And it fell forth from that daie forward that the halfe parte of the yong men did worke, and the other parte of them held their Speares, Shields, Bowes, and brestplates: and the ru­lers were behind the whole house of Iuda.

17. They that builded the wall, and those that bare burdens, and those that laied on the burdens, with the one hand wrought their worke, and with the other held their dartes.

18. And euery one of the builders girded their Swords vppon their loynes, and so they built: but he that blew the Trumpet, was by me.

19. And I said to the Nobles and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people: this worke is great and large, and we are scattered [Page] on the walls farre euery one from other.

20. In what place soeuer ye shall heare the sound of the Trumpet, thither come togither to vs, our God will fight for vs.

21. And we will labour at the worke: & the halfe of them held their Speares from the day spring vntill the starres did rise.

22. And at that time also I saied vnto the people: let euerie one with his seruant lodge in the middest of Ierusalem, that in the night we may haue watch, and in the day labour.

23. As for me, my breethren, my seruants, and the watch-men that followed me, we put not of our cloathes any of vs, but onely to wash them in water.

ALthough Sanballat and his fellows were fled and retired back, yet Nehemiah like a wise Captaine, fearing some new practise, and lest they might hide them-selues for a time, and come againe on the sodaine and ouerthrow them, deuideth all the yong men into 2. partes, & the one half followeth their worke, and the other standeth readie in armour to defend thē if any sodaine assault should be made against them: So must good Captaines not be negligent nor careles, when the e­nemie is fled: for many times they will retire for a time, for pollicie sake, to see whether the other parte wil be careles and negligent, & yet come againe on a sodaine: or els to draw them into the field frō the defense of their towne, & there ioyne battel with them, and ha­uing some ambush of souldiers lying priuily, who should inuade the towne, being left without sufficient defense, might sack and burne it at their pleasure, as we reede the Isralites did against Gibea of Benia­min, Iudg. 20. in reuenging that horrible abusing of the Leuites Concubine. Such other policies ye shal read diuers, both in the scriptures and o­ther histories: a good captaine therfore as he must not be a coward and fearfull, so he must not be to careles and negligent, but stil pro­uide for the safety of his people: though he had good successe of late and seemed to haue vanquished his enemies. So must the preacher not be careles, when he seeth that God hath blessed his labour, mo­ued the peoples hearts to the receiuing of his doctrine, and that a reforming of life and loue to the trueth doeth appeare: but he must water his gardens, pluck vp the weeds, and labour continuallie, for Sathan neuer ceaseth: and though he be once cast out, yet he will returne to his old house, and if he finde it swept and made cleane, he will come with 7. other deuils worsse then him-selfe, and then the end shall be Luk. worsse then the beginning, as the gospell teacheth. Christ our sauiour saith also, that when tares and darnell appeered among the good Corne, that it was done by the enemie, when men were on sleepe. Watch therefore [Page 66] and pray continually, that we be not taken napping. These yong men stood not naked, but had Armour of all sorts, both to defend them-selues, and to hurt the enemie: to shoot and smite farr of, and keepe them that they drew not neere: so must euerie christian in his spirituall battell against Sathan and his members put on the whole spirituall armour of God, which S. Paul teacheth him, that he may quench the sierie dartes of Sathan, and not stand naked of Gods grace, trust­ing in his owne strength. It is maruell to see, how Nehemiah, being so long a Courtier, is now become so cunning a souldier on the sodaine, being not vsed to it afore: he setteth the yong men before, to beare the brunt of the battell, as most strong and able to beare it: and the rulers come behinde, as being wise men to direct & teach the yon­ger sort what they should doe, & how to behaue them-selues. yong heads of them-selues are vnskilful, and therefore it is necessarie they should be directed by others: so that when youthfull courage is go­uerned by the sage counsell of the wise and auncient ruler, the bat­tel wil fal out wel. Tullie saied well, parum sunt arma foris nisisit con­silium domi: and as it were determining, whether strength or wisdom in the warrs be more profitable, he saieth; Cedant armatoge, concedat laurea linguae. Courage and strength without wisdom is foolish rash­nes, and wisdome without courage & strength, is feareful coward­lines: ioine them together, & they make a perfect souldier. And here the wise ruler commeth behinde in a place of more safetie, and as it were a thing more necessary in the warres to saue a wise captaine & Counseller, then to saue the strong & lustie souldier. The strong­er that a man is, wanting wisdome, the sooner he ouerthroweth him-self: as a tree that the wind hath shaken loose at the roote, the higher & greater that it is, the sooner it is ouerthrowne. In persecu­tions therefore euerie man must stand armed with these spirituall weapons, & the preachers would be preserued so much as may be, lest the people, being destitute of faithfull guides and counsellers, cowardly fall away or els ouerthrow them-selues by rash dealing. Niceph. 10. cap. 19. When the Emperour Iulian tooke displeasure with Athanasius, and needes would haue him banished, the people wept, and he com­forted them saying: Be of good cheare, this is but a litle clowd, it will passe awaie

17. They that built. Not onely the yong men were thus weapned set in order, and exercised to paines taking, and taught to defend their fellowes, but the workmen them-selues, both that were master­masons, and cunning in their occupation, and also the common laborer, both they that laid on the burthens, and they that bare bur­thens [Page] of stones and morter, had euery one his sword or his darte by him while they wrought, that they might be ready to keepe of the enemie, defend themselues, when neede shal require. This kinde of weapon was to pick, as a dart, & is light & easie to carrie, & would not hin­der their working much, & so with the one hand they wrought, & with the other hand they held their weapon. O worthy workemen! O noble Captaine Nehemiah! What a godly sight was this, to see euery one so full of courage, that they feared not the enemie, and so willing to worke, that they would not be wearie, but with the one hand worke, and with the other hand hold their weapon. Let Christian men looke into this notable example, & be ashamed of themselues, that are afraid of euerie blast of winde. And where these people, be­ing vnder the dark shadowes, & heauy burthen of Moses law, would take these paines for building an earthly City, to serue their God in: yet we, that liue vnder that blessed light of the Gospel so plente­ously powred on vs, lie loytering & will not open our eies to see the light, nor put forth our hād, to receiue that, which is so freely offered to vs, that it would fal into our mouthes, if we would gape. Let the fine courtier, that hadrather be adainty carpet gentleman, then a la­bourer at gods building looke at Nehemiah, & learne to be like him.

18. And euery one. The chiefe workemen had their Swords girded vnto them also: by the which we learne, that in the building of this spiritual Ierusalem, not onely the people, Princes and rulers, must be armed, but the Preacher, the minister must stand in armour a­gainst Gods enemies, and worke and not forsake his flock, but com fortablie assist them, and take such parte as they doe. Paulinus bishop of Nolawhen his flockwere taken prisoners & ledde forth of the country, he Gregor. dia­log. followed them, wrought for his liuing, preached vnto them, and comfor­ted them: and when for one widowes sonne being a prisoner he offered him­selfe to lie in prison for him, so that he might be restored to his mother, it so moued the Tyrants heart, that he let them all goe free. Moses comman­ded that the Preist should goe to the field with the people, to comfort and teach them, because Souldiers commonlie fall to licentious liuing, if they maie haue their will, and be not called back: yet the Pope will haue his chapleines free from going, except they take some hedge preist to say them a masse, but they will not haue a preacher in any case, no not oft among the professors of religion, because they will not be told of their duty, but more licentiously liue at their pleasure, folow the spoile, & get the gaines & this is a great occasion of much wickednes cōmitted among souldiers, & oft causeth god to plague the whole host, and the enemie to preuaile. How many lesson s the [Page 67] best Captaines may learne of this worthie man Nehemiah, God graunt they may well consider.

He keepeth the Trumpet by himselfe at his elbowe, to blowe when and after what sort he would commaund: & good reason it should be so: for he that was appointed to be the chiefe builder by the Kings commission, reason would that he should haue the disposi­tion of the chiefe things that belonged thereto, at his discretion. And euerie one would not be trusted with such a charge, as the Trumpet was: for some were hollow-hearted, bewrayed his secrets to Sanballat, and his fellowes, and receiued letters from them. Some gaue ill counsell, and would haue had him to haue left of his worke: as appeered by Iudas afore in this Chapter, and by Semias Noadia, &c. in the 6. Chapter. The Trumpet is a thing of such im­portance in the warres, that if it be not in the hand both of a skilfull and trustie man, he may discomfite the whole host on a sudden. Therefore he trusteth him-selfe best with that charge. Moses com­mitted the blowing of the Trumpet vnto the sonnes of Aaron, as a thing Num. 10. of great trust and importance, and they were counted as men of better credit then other, for their vocation sake: though now, I cannot tell how euerie common man is put to that office, though his credit be not much. God in his Law made such a count of the Trumpet in the warres, that he appointed yearly a solemne feast and holie-day of the Trumpets, to put them in remembrance how oft he had giuen them the victorie by sounding the Trumpet, that they should not brag of their owne strength, and policie, as though they had conquered all by their owne power, but praise the Lord of hostes, who vanquished their enemies, and reioyce in him. Yet now I cannot tell how it falleth out, euerie thing being turned con­trarie waies, the Trumpet is vsed at great feastes and solemnities, to make vs merie rather then to stirr vs vp to anie praising of the Lord for his blessings bestowed vppon vs, or to put vs in remembrance of the last Trumpe, when the dead shall arise out of their graues, and the Lord shall come in his Maiestie to iudge the world. These were good lessons to thinke on, at the sounding of the Trumpe, and not onely for mirth, and solemnitie, to striue who shall blow the lowd­est, and be the meriest, though mirth is not ill.

19. And I saied to the Nobles. The more than a man looketh in­to Nehemiahs doings, the more Godlie wisdome, manlie courage, earnest zeale, and painfullnes, that would not be wearie, appeereth in him: so that he maie be a paterne for all good Captaines and builders to sollow: a marke to shoote at, but few or none will hit [Page] it. Now he turneth him to the nobles, rulers, and rest of the peo­ple, that wrought not, but serue in other turnes, in watching, war­ding, and preparing things necessarie for the workemen, and ma­keth a short, but a wise and pithie oration vnto them, as the time would serue. In warrs, and speciallie in daungers, manie words are not to be vsed, but briefly the captaines & souldiours are to be war­ned of their duetie, & encouraged to go forward boldlie. So Nehe­mah telleth them here of their daunger: for the compasse of the walles was great, the laborers were not manie, and yet those that were, were scatered on euerie corner of the walls: one farre from another, so that when anie assault was made, one should not, nor could not be readie for to help another in any short time. The com­passe of the walls at this time is thought by good writers to be cer­taine miles about, and yet was enlarged as much afterward by He­rod. Manie thousands would not serue to manne such a ground, to keepe out the enemie, but while they defended one peece, an o­ther would be assaulted. Thus in peace he prouideth against daun­ger to come, as all wise men will: for els oft it will be to late if such good foresight benot had. A wise man should not say, had I wist this or that, I woul haue prouided for this& that: prouide for the worst& the best wil saue it selfe: and if the worst fall not out, thou hast more to thanke God of. Possibly some man would thinke Nehemiah to bolde or rather sawcie, that he being a straunger and new come, would take in hand to teach the nobles and rulers what they had to doe: but surelie he that with reason will consider all the circum­stances, shall easilie perceiue that neither he passeth the bounds of modestie & duetie, nor taketh more on him, then he had authority giuen him to doe. The king by commission appointed him to be the chiefe doer at this building, as appeereth hereafter, & therefore he presumed no farther then he lawfullie might: and in manie ofthe rulers he perceiued either a coldnes or fearefulnes to set forward this worke, so that if he had taried on their leisure, litle or nothing should haue bene done at al. So in gods cause a man must be bold & blush not, & if he see them slow that should be forward, he may and ought with modestie to put them in remembrance of their dutie, as Nehemiah doeth here, neither chiding nor reuiling them, but bro­therly, godly, quietly & modestly encourage them, telling them the daunger that hangeth ouer them, if they do not wisely prouide for it, & manfully withstand it. A man forewarned, is halfe armed, as th s common saying is.

20. In what place soeuer. And because they were scatered so farr [Page 68] a sunder on the walls, working in euery corner of them, he giueth them warning, that where soeuer they heard the Trumpet blowe, thither they should all resort: for there was then some danger toward: he him selfe would walk round about the walls continually, searching the watch how diligently they kept their standings, he would spie if anie enemies drew neere, and then by the Trumpet he would giue them warning, whither they should resort vnto him, to defend such or such a place: and if they would brotherlie and manfullie ioyne to­gether, no doubt God would fight for them and deliuer them. This rea­son, to hang vppon god, is sufficient for him, that feareth the Lord, and knoweth that all victorie commeth from him, and in that he will quiet himselfe, not doubting of his aide: but the worldlie wise man, that trusteth in his strength, Policie, ordinauns, friends, and Souldiers, will laugh such reasons to scorne, and the mightie Lord of hostes will make such proud braggers to become a laughing stock to the whole world in the end. Nehemiah knew wel that Da­uid had written long afore: Except the Lord defend the Citie, the Psal. 127. watchmen watch in vaine which defend it: And he knew also that Da­uid had saied, Blessed be the Lord my God which teacheth my handes to fight, and my fingers to the battell: yet he ceaseth not to keepe watch Psal. 144. and warde night and day, to search the watch him-self, to teach the Souldiers how to vse their weapon, to set them in aray, to en­courage them, to teach them to vnderstand what the Trumpet mea­neth, and how in all things to obey their Captaines, and to be lo­uing and true one to another. And all this is to let vs see, that all­though God do worke all things himselfe, & as he hath appointed, so they fall out, yet he worketh them not without vs: we must not be idle, we must shew our diligence and due obedience to our God that hath made vs, and commaunded vs to exercise our selues in these things, and yet, when we haue done allwe can, all the praise must be giuen to him, and we must say, we be vnprofitable seruants. We be as an axe in the Carpenters hand, where the axe may not claime the praise of well doing from his Master that worketh with it: and though the axe be a dead instrument without life or feeling, and man hath life, witt, and reason giuen him, to doe things withall, yet is man as vnable to worke his owne saluation without the free mercie and speciall grace of God, as the axe is vnable to build the house without the direction and ruling of the Carpenter. Crearis, sanaris, saluaris, quid horum tibi ex te homo? saieth Bernard. Let euery man be diligentand a painfull labourer in his vocation, and worke his owne saluation, as farr as an instrument may, not loytering, [Page] nor liuing vnprofitably, thinking that God wil bring such things to passe if we lie downe and sleepe: but the chiefe praise & effect must be'giuen in all good things to God alone. The Lord hath promised nothing to idle bellies, and vnto him that laboreth to serue his god faithfully, he hath promised his sure aide, & will surely performe it. Adam in paradise was not suffred to be idle, euen in his innocencie afore he sinned: and shal we misers that haue so oft & greeuously offended our mercifull God, thinks to liue as we list at our ease? Iosue at his death putteth the people in rememberaunce how the Lord had fought for them, and driuen out their enemies, and to encou­rage Ios. 23. them still to serue their God faithfullie, and forsake strange Gods, he promiseth them, that if they will so doe, the Lord will fight for them still, & so did Moses afore him. Gods bare promise by his word is surer then any promise made by man, though you haue neuer so manie good sureties and bonds with forfetures, and it be sea­led Exod. 14. and deliuered, and deuised as cunninglie as law can thinke. God is trueth it selfe, and therefore cannot lie, and what so euer he promiseth, he performeth: for else he should be vntrue, like a mi­serable man, which cannot be. God graunt vs such Captaines as Moses, Iosue, and Nehemiah were, that with like persuasions they may encourage their Souldiers. For surely if they went to the field with like minde, faith, reuerence, & due obedience vnto the Lord, that these Godlie men did, the same God liueth still, and would blesse their enterprises, as he did the other: for he is not wearie of well doing and releeuing his people.

21. And we will labour. Among all these great troubles he for­gat not his principal work in building of the wals, but went on for­ward still, like a faithful seruant to his Lord and God. Such earnest Zeale the Lord powreth into his seruants, when he will declare his maiestie and mercie to the world. For as the greedie marchant for loue of him selfe runneth by sea and land, so far as sea or land will carie him, to encrease his worldlie goods, so he that is infla­med with this spirit of iealousy toward gods house, wil go through thick and thinne with wisdome, feareth no daungers, and wil suf­fer neyther open enemie to inuade, nor flattering friend to de­ceiue the deare Spouse of his Lord and master, but manfullie wil stand in defence against all sorts, deale they neuer so cunningly. I cannot tel whether is more diligent & praise worthy, the souldiers or the workemen. They be both at their businesse from the day spring vnto the late in the euening, that the starres did rise. A rare example to be found at this day: for the labouring man will take his rest long in the mor­ning: [Page 66] a good peece of the day is spent afore he come at his worke, then must he haue his breakfast, though he haue not earned it, at his accustomed houre, or els there is grudging & murmuring: when the clocke smiteth, he wil cast downe his burthen in the mid-waie, and what-soeuer he is in hand with, he will leaue it as it is, though manie times it is marred afore he come againe: he may not loose his meat, what daunger soeuer the worke is in. At noone he must haue his sleeping time, then his beuer in the after-noone, which spendeth a great parte of the day: and when his houre commeth, at night, at the first stroke of the clock hecasteth downe his tooles, leaueth his worke, in what need or case soeuer the worke standeth. The common souldier thinketh long while his course is to watch& warde, it is colde standing on the walls, he must to the Ale-house, refresh him-selfe with gaming, swearing, whooring, or elsse he thinketh him-selfe no bodie: he thinketh it shame to liue honestlie in order. Thus all sorts are out of order: and though Abbeyes be gone, yet the Abbey-lubbers which will worke vntill they be cold, eate vntill their bellie ake, and sleepe vntill their bones ake, are too common in euerie house. A lither daies worke is thought with ma­nie no sinne, but a pastime, and yet is it theeuerie to take the daies wages, and doe not a good daies worke for it. Saint Paul biddeth seruants obey their Masters, not onely when they stand by and looke on, Ephe. 6. but in their absence, and where they see them not. What is more hard in these daies, then to finde a faithfull true seruant? Good masters complaine and finde great lack, though manie be better rewarded then they deserue. It is lamentable to see: the stones in the wall many times beare witnes of the murmuring of the one ag ainst the other. The seruanthe will write on the wall, Fidelis seruus perpetuus Asinus: The master wil answere, deserue and then desire: and both misliking the one and the other, when the seruant cannot haue that he gapeth for, then he taketh bribes, and the master must winck at it, because he will not otherwaies preferr him, so both being to blame, both procure Gods anger towards them. Beda considering the great troublesthat fell on the building of this second Temple & wals, asketh why it should fall out so now, rather then in the building of the tabernacle by Moses, or the first temple by Salomon, which both were finished with great quietnesse: and when he hath mused on it long, he saith, that it fared with this outward Temple as it doeth with euerie par­ticular man, that is the spirituall Temple of the Lord. when God made man in his innocencie, it had bene easie for him to haue stood, ifhe had would: but after that he fell, it was much harder to restore him [Page] againe. It is harder to repaire an old rotten house, then to build a new: And to make an old man strong, then a young. God made Adam with a word easilie, and breathed life into him: but after that Adam fell, what trouble and miserie fel afore he could be restored? Christ Iesus must come downe from heauen vnto the earth, nay into Hell, to pull vs out of hell: he must be accused, whipped, scour­ged, falslie condemned, thrust to the heart with a speare, die, and be buried, ascend vnto his father againe, open heauen gates, which afore our sinnes had locked vp, and abide manie moe sorowes, a­fore we could be restored into Gods fauour againe, and folow him where he sitteth on the right hand of his father. So it is an easie matter to enter into Gods Church by Baptisme, but if thou fall af­ter, how hard it is to rise againe, daylie experience teacheth. We mustrepent, fast, pray, giue almes, forsake our selues, condemne our selues, with bitter teares and trembling worke our saluation, stand in continual warr against the deuil, the world, and our owne affection: which thingsto do, are more common in our mouthes, then in our liues, and more doe talke of them, then practise them. God for his mercies sake forgiue vs, and amend vs all. It fareth so likewise in the outward Church of God in all ages. In the begin­ning Peter conuertedat one sermon 3000. and at another 2000. Paul filled all the countries from Ierusalem to Illiricum with the Gospell: The [...]. 15. Apostles and their suc cessors conuerted the whole world vnto the Lord in few yeares: but how manie ofthese countries, where their successors preached, haue fallen backe, and how litle hope there is oftheir returning againe vnto the faith, the Iewes, Turkes and In­fidels declare, whome God hath giuen vp to their owne lusts: and though they inhabited the same countries, where true Christians dwelt afore, yet they haue hardned their harts, that they wil not vn­derstand, nor open their eies, to follow the footsteps of them that went afore, that they may see the light. How hard a thing it is at this day to turne a Papist, and speciallie to see one that knew the trueth once, ifhe fall to Poperie or other errours, to rise againe and beleeue the gospell, we haue to manie examples to teach vs. I feare the saying of the Apostle may be verified on them: it is vnpossible for them, that were once lightned and knew the trueth, if they fall away, to [...]. cap. 9. 10. be renued by repentance. The Lord in his mercie stay vs that we fall not from him: for it is horrible to fall into the hands of the liuing God in his Anger.

22. And [...] that time also. Now when Nehemiah had thus perswaded the nobles, the rulers, & the people, manfully to stand in defence of their city [Page 70] & diligently to follow their worke in building of the walls: hadset both the souldiers& the [...] in order &aray like a good captaine& master of the workes, looked diligentlie to ech of them all the day long, that they slipt not away from their charge, nor loytered at their worke, kept the trampet with himselfe, as a thing of great importance & trust, to giue warning if the enemie did approch: lest there might some mischiefe fall out in the night, he appointeth awatch for the night season also, to preuent al practises that might be deuised against thē. A good Captaine will so prouide both for day & night in peace & warre, that the enemie, who is euer to be feared, euen when he pretendeth most quietnes and friendship, and when he seemeth to flee, retireth ost on a sodaine, to see whether there be anie pow­er remaining to hold him out: he will forsee, I say, that the enemie haue no vantage against him, but euerie place be well manned and fensed to withstand him. He willeth the people therefore that euery man shall watch in the street afore his owne dorewith his seruants, that no mischiefe fell out within the Citie, where so manie hipocrites and hollow-hearted people and vnwilling folke of all sorts to further this worke did dwell. The outward enemie might do much harme, but inward treason might ouerthrow all in a short time. For the vt­ter enemie the watch of the wal would be able to withstand him, & giue warning to the rest for aide: and if any practise were within the Citie, the watch in the streetes might suppresse it for a time, vntill more aide came. He had good cause to prouide for this: for expe­rience taught him, as is written afore, that the tribe of Iuda was wea­rie and discouragedthe people to worke: Semeia and Noadia, as though they were Prophets sent from God, counselled him to take sanctuary and saue him selfe, for they sought his life, which was not for anie good will, but to discourage him from his worke and diuers of the rulers were ioyned in friendship and marriage with Sanballat and Tobias, re­ceiued messengers from them, and bewrayed his doings to them againe, as appeereth hereafter, and therefore not knowing whome he might well trust, he could doe no lesse but keepe watch and ward day and night, on the walles and in the streetes, both a­gainst the outward and the inward enemie. O worthie, wise, and stout Nehemiah, where is one courtier that hath folowed thy footsteps since thou wast borne? God for his mercie raise vp some, that though not with that fulnes of spirit, yet with such courage and measure of grace, as shall please him to giue, some one may, in ielousie of spirit, take in hand the repayring of the olde ruinous walls of Gods Church, house, and Citie, that both the [Page] outward and inward enemie, which haue wrongfully possessed in­uaded, and wasted the Lords inheritance, may be vanquished and suppressed: and Gods Children may in quietnes of minde worship and serue the Lord our God, as he hath taught vs. After all this wat­ching and warding, he is not wearie, but, we will to our worke againe, saith he, as soone as the day peepes. Who could or would haue taken these paines but he? it would haue discouraged anie man but him. But Nehemiah knew well that Sathan neuer ceaseth to trouble the Lords flocke: and though slothfull Idlenes be meetest for him to worke by, yet he forsaketh not the painfull labouring man, and will assault him like wise. Let euerie man therefore take heede how he standeth, and see that he fall not: for Sathan refuseth no sort of men to ouerthrow them, no time, nor place he disdaineth, but is glad if he can deuour the poorest simple sheepe of the Lords, if he cannot meete with a better pray. The people are worthie no lesse praise, then the rulers: for they are as readie to obey, as the other to commaund, and so ioyning to gither in the feare of God, brotherlie loue, and due obedience to their rulers, this worke goeth forward, and God blesseth their labour.

As for me and my breethren. Now lest Nehemiah should seeme to busie and impious to commaund all other, and to doe nothing himselfe, which were a point of oppression or tyrannie, as Pharaoh did to the Israelits in Egipt, he saith, both he, his breethren, & seruants and watch-men, tooke as much paines as the worst of them, which is the propertie of a good Captaine to doe: for they wrought and watch­ed [...]. 3. so diligentlie, that they put not of their cloathes to sleepe or take rest, but onelie when they were foule and must needes be washed. O worthie example! God graunt vs manie such rulers and Captaines, both in Gods Church and common-wealth. When the people and souldi­ers shall see the rulers & Captaines take paines as well as they doe, it maketh them both ashamed if they draw back, and also encou­rageth them to be with the foremost. Iulius Cesar to encourage his souldiers would not take paines himselfe, but the rather to stirre them more willinglie to labour, he calleth them not souldiers, nor commaundeth like a Captaine, but gentlie speaketh vnto them, & calleth them fellowe-Souldiers, as though he were no better then one of them. So in great workes the chiefe master, when it commeth to a dead lift or some daunger like to folow, he will lay to his hand him felfe, he will climbe, he wil lift as busilie as anie of his seruants, and say to them: now good fellowes spitt on your hands, lift once againe and we haue wonne it, now play the men and we shall be [Page 71] past the worst streight waie. Such examples of the better sort with gentle perswasions in words will make the common sort to refuse no paines, be the danger neuer so great. Abimelech, when he would smother the men that fled into the towre of Sichem, and could not Iudg. 9. get them out, he gat first him selfe boughes of greene Trees, and bad euery one of his Souldiers doe as they saw him doe. When euerie man had lo­den him self with greene boughes, Abimelech goeth first and setteth his boughes on fire: the rest of the Souldiers seeing him so bold and for­ward, they set their boughes on fire too, and so easilie they killed them that were within with smoke. So much can the example of a Cap­taine or good master doe. God graunt manie such foregoers in Gods Church, and then the people will follow fast ynough. What maketh the people draw back so much at this day, but that gentle­men & preists goe not afore? Want of good example and due cor­rection maketh manie to doe ill without feare of God and man. Dauid when he would stirr vp the people, earnestlie to serue the Lord, and diligentlie to resort to the Tabernacle of prayer, saith: O Psal. 95. come let vs sing vnto the Lord, let vs reioice in the strength of our saluati­on. He biddeth them not goe pray, and he will goe play, but he will be foremost him selfe in praysing the Lord, & call on them to fol­low. When they were thus to watch and ward night and day, to forgoe their pleasures, & take infinit, paines in building this earth­lie Citie and walls of Ierusalem: it teacheth vs how diligent we ought to be in building the spirituall Ierusalem, Christ his deare Spouse and Church, by prayer, preaching, watching, fasting, and all other Godlie exercises.


AS thou O Lord of thy infinit and vndeserued goodnesse stirredst vp thy faithfull seruant Nehemiah, to pitie the lamentable state of Ierusalem, and gauest him such fauour in the sight of King Artaxerxes, procuredst licence and liberty, great rewards & liberalitie to all them that would repaire the broken walles of the Citie, mouedst his heart to leaue the wanton pleasures of the Court, aud madest him willing to toile at thy worke, & not onelie prosperedst their doings, but defendedst them from their mortal enemies manie and sundrie times, being cruellie assaulted both by inward hypocrites and outward force; so we beseech thee most mercifull father for thine owne mercies sake, looke pitifullie at thy ragged and torne church, the contēned spouse of thy deerely beloued son Christ Iesus, raise vp [Page] some faithful seruants in euerie countrie that may obteyne such fauour in the sight of Chistian Princes, that with freedome of conscience and quiet­nesse of the countrie, the Kingdome of thy sonne and our sauiour may be truelie preached, obedientlie receiued, faithfullie beleeued, and diligentlie followed, to the ouerthrow of Antechrist and all his members, and the end­lesse comfort of thy poore afflicted people. Confound, O gratious God, San­ballat, Tobias, and all their partakers, which laugh to scorne the simplicitie of the Gospell and builders of the Church, make them to be scorned that the world may see, what foolish wickednes it is, to rebell against thy holie will, and how litle all such shall preuaile in the end. Turne awaie all open violence, that shall be deuised against vs outwardlie: Keepe vs from ci­uill warre and sedition inwardlie: Confound all wicked counsells, and con­spiracies of Ahitophell with his fellowes, and ouerthrow the subtill practi­ses of Iudas, and such hypocrits: Encourage the people, that they feare not their braggs nor bigge lookes, but manfullie may stand in defence of thy trueth, and boldlie confesse thee in all dangers, knowing thee to be the one­lie Lord and giuer of all victorie, & that none shalbe ashamed nor left suc­courles, that flie vnto thee in their great necessitie. Giue vs grace to pray and put our trust in thee, as this people haue done afore vs, that we may finde the like grace, fauour and deliuer aunce, that they did. Giue vs, we most humblie beseech thee, O gratious God, such guids and Rulers in the common-wealth, as will worke with the one hand, and fight with the other, keepe watch and ward night and day, to driue awaie the outward enemie, and will defend thy poore sheepe from the Rebellious practises of Sathan among our selues: Thurst forth such faithfull preachers for the adaunce­ment of thy glory only, which without any worldly respect of profit or plea­sure, may purely teach thy holy will declared in thy blessed word, roote out all errours in doctrine and deformities in life, and may by the powre of thy holie spirit bring home all those that be runne astray, confirme and stren­gthen those that doe stand, and raise vp those that be fallen, that in vnity of minde, brotherlie loue and Christian faith, we may be liuelie stones in the spirituall building of thy house, may acknowledge thee our onelie God, and thou of thy accustomed goodnes and free mercy maist take vs to thy chil­dren, and defend vs as our Lord: Teach vs as a Schoolemaster, feed vs as a Shepherd, make vs partakers of thy glorious Conquest of sinne, death, hell, the world, & the slesh, that afterward we may reign with thee in thy blessed Kingdome which thou hast so deerely purchased for vs, by the death of thy Christ our sauiour, thy sonne, our Lord, to whom with thee and thee holie Ghost be all honour and glorie for euer,


CHAP. 5.

1. And there was a great crie of the people made and their wiues against their breethren the Iewes.

2. And there were that said, our sons & our daughters & we are many, therfore we must take corne that we may eate & liue.

3. And there were some that saide, our fieldes, and our vine­yeards, and our houses we haue laid to pledge, that we might haue Corne in this hunger.

4. And there were some that said: we haue borowed money for the Kings tribute vppon our landes and vineyeards.

5. And now as the flesh of our breethren is, so is our flesh: and as their children be, so are our children: and marke, we bring into bondage our sonnes and our daughters as ser­uants: and there be some of our daughters in bondage alrea­die: and there is no powre in our hands: our lands and our vineyeards are in other mens hands.

WHile that Nehemiah had traueiled him selfe wearie in keeping watch and ward, and set­ting the people to building the wals againe, and thought all was quiet, both within the Citie, and safe against the vtter enemie, be­hould now bursteth out a new sore worsse then the former. The people and their wiues come with open mouth and make an outcry against the rich and Rulers among them, which vnmercifullie had spoyled and op­pressed them, in so much as they were not able to liue. Such is the state of Gods people here in the earth, that as our master Christ saieth, He Iohn. came to ouerthrow the workes of the deuil: so the deuil ceaseth not by al meanes to ouerthrow, or at the least, so much as in him is, to hinder by his partakers, the building ofGods house, & the setting forth of his glorie. And to declare the vehemency ofthe crie, the holy ghost noteth it by such a word in the Ebrew, as signifieth those vprores & outcries which are made in Rebellious or Seditious Riots, or els ofsuch as crie out for great grief & anguish ofheart. The parties that make their crie, are the common people and women, of which it is hard to tell, whether of them is often more importune in outcrying, & many times without iustcause. The people if they smart a litle, & haue not their owne wils fulfilled, are ready to exclame, & women can weep [Page] and howle when they list, and the basest sort are the worst. The parties against whome they crie, be the Iewes their countrie-men, bree­thren in kindred, and professing one religion. If this oppression and cruel dealing had bene by straungers, where no mercie is common­lie shewed nor looked for, it would haue bene lesse marueiled at, and lesse it would haue greeued them: but to be entreated cruelly by their countriemen, kinsmen, & those that serued the same God, and professed the same Religion that they did, and at whose hands they looked for aid and comfort: this was thought so straunge, that it would make anie astonied to heare tell of it. With these circum­stances the holy ghost setteth out the greatnesse of the cry, to make it more horrible in mens sight, & so the more easilie to bring them to repentaunce, and make them ashamed of their cruel dealings. When the deuil preuayled not by Sanballat and his fellowes, to o­uerthrow the building, he setteth now on the poore common sort and womē to crie out against their rulers, thinking by this meanes to ouerthrow all, rather then to procure anie remedie orreliefe for them: Though God of his accustomed goodnesse (turning oft our wicked doings to the setting forth of his Glorie) by this meanes wrought their deliueraunce and libertie. Such is the wisdome of our God, that by our foolishnesse he declareth his mightie powre, wisdome & maiestie: & our ill dealing sheweth forth his iustice & mercie, & that against our wil & meaning.

2. And there were that said. The cause of their Crie is set forth in these 4. verses following: Hunger, need, oppression, pinching pouer­tie, and pining penurie, made them so to crie out. And this is to com­mon a fault in our daies in the preaching of the gospel. Some of the pooter sort, though they had not lands and goods, yet God, as he vseth commonlie, had blessed them more then the richer sort with children so manie, that they could not tell how to gett bread for them, except they should sell them as slaues: and where they were free borne, they should now become bond, and be vsed as beastes. What a griefe that is to a good father, that loueth his childe deere­ly, in the feare of God, to be driuen, by the vnmercifull dealing of the rich, to sell his owne children for bondmen, I leaue it to the consideration of those that be natural and louing Parents: for none can expresse the greatnes of that griefe, but he that hath bene pinched with it and felt the smart of it. When Iacob should send litle Beniamin into Egipt with his breethren for corne, it was long or he could be brought to it and he almost had rather died for hunger, then let him goe from him. What a loue had Dauid toward his [Page 73] wicked sonne Absolon, euen in the midst of his rebellion, and what charge gaue he to his captaines, that they should not kill him? Such is the 2. Sam. Ca. 18. loue of natural Parents towards their children, that they will loue them, and cannot cast them of, euen in their ill doings, though manie times the children be most vnthankeful. Libertie is a thing that euerie man naturallie desireth and by all meanes seeketh for, therefore bondage must needes be such a thing as euery man doeth abhorre and slie from: yet hunger is such a thing, that it will breake stonie walls, and rather then a man will beare it continuallie, he will sell landes, goods, wife, children, yea him-selfe, to be slaues for euer. Nay hunger is so pinching a paine, that a woman will eate her owne childe, as in the siege of Ierusalem in Samaria, and Saguntine, yea a man his owne flesh, rather then he will die for hunger. Hunger of all thinges maie not be abidden what inconuenience soeuer fall out after. Consider then what miserable case these poore men were in, that had so manie children, and could get no bread to put in their mouthes: and wicked men, the richer sort, were they, that had brought them to this pouertie, and now would not releeue them in this their extremitie. We read of a Bishoppe of Mentz in Germanie called Hatto, who had great store of corne and would not releeue the pcore with it in time of great dearth, but let the rats eate it, in reuenge of which, God raised so manie Rats about him, that they droue him from house to house to saue his life: and where he had a strong towre in the midst of the great riuer of Rhene, which yet standeth there to be seene in the middest of the riuer, he thought him selfe sure if he could slie thither: notwithstanding the Rats swam after him thither and there deuoured him, and it is called the Rats tower at this daie. Salomon saieth, he that hideth vp his corne, shalbe cursed among Prouer. 11. the people, but blessing shalbe on them that sell it. God graunt the richer sort pitifull hearts to open their barnes and pursse to the reliefe of the poore, that they maie escape Gods plague and mans cursse.

3. And there were some that sayd. Thus farre goeth the cry of the poo­rest sort: now followeth another company, that crie as fast, but they are not altogether so poore. They were pinched with hunger, but they had some lands, vineyards, and houses to lay to pledge, that they might haue some corne to fill their bellies withall. These men were hun­gerbitten also: for though they had land, yet they were not able to store it, nor husband it, as husbandry required: and therefore had no profit by it. And like ynough they were such as Aggeus the Prophet complained on, saying: that euerie man buildeth for him [Page] selfe faire houses and Gods house lay vnbuilt, and therefore God plagued them. They had sowen much, and reaped litle, their corne wasted in their Barnes, and their grapes consumed awaie in the winepresse. These daies were like the time of Micheas the Prophet, who crieth out against the rulers for their oppressing of the poore so extreamlie, saying, they plucke of their skinnes frrom them, and their slesh from their bones. Mich. 3. And they eate also the flesh of my people, and flay of their skinne from them, and they breake their bones, and choppe them in pieces, as for the pot, and as slesh within the caldron.

4. And there were some that said. Yet commeth another sort, but they were in some better case, for they had some corne, and no money, and they crie out as fast as the rest. The King of Persia, although they had giuen the Iewes licence to goe home to build their Temple and Citie, yet they laid a great taske on them, which they should paie in token of their subiection, and recompence for their liberties sake.

The Rulers and chiefe of the Iewes had ingrossed vp in their hands vnmercifullie all the corne and money that could be come by, so that litle or nothing could be gotten to fill their bellies, and to pay the kings tribute withall: therefore these men must pledge their lands and vineyeards toget some money for this purpose. O miserable wretches, that had thus miserablie oppressed their poore bree­thren and countriemen, who had taken as much paines as they or more for the defence of their countrie, building of their Temple and Citie: and now in their great neede could finde no comfort nor reliefe at their hands.

But these be no new things in the world, for Amos the Prophet complaineth likewise of the opression that the richer sort vsed to­ward the poore in his time. When will this moone passe away, saie they, [...]. 8. that hath so much plentie: and the time come that we may make the mea­sure lesse, and buy the poore for Siluer, and the needic for shoes, and sell the out cast of the wheat.

5. And now as the flesh of our breethren is. But now come they all howling and crying together, and saie, what better case are we in, that be come home to our countrie, then our breethren, which liue in captiuitie vnder the Chaldies, Assirians, Babylonians, Medes, & Persians, or any other countrie, where-soeuer they be scattered on the face of the earth. They liue in penury & hunger, & so do we. They be oppressed with their Rulers, & so be we. Their flesh is partched with toiling in the heat, & frosen vp with cold, and so is ours. Their bellies cleaue to the verie back for hunger, and so doe ours. There [Page 74] is no strength nor courage left in them, no more is there in vs. They be wearie of their liues, and so be we. They haue not where with to fil their bellie, and couer their back, & no more haue we. They pine away for sorow, and so doe we. They haue nothing left but skinne and bones, and those will scarse cleaue together for sorow, and in the same case be we. If they get a pennie with great labour, one or other is readie to snatch it from them, and so it is with vs. As their children liue in as great slaueric and miserie as their fathers, so doe our children liue as miserablie as we doe. There is no respect of age nor youth neither there nor here, but all kindes of sorow are laide vppon vs without mercie: If this sorow were laide on vs alone we could better beare it, but when we see our children, young infants that cannot help them-selues, to be wrapt in the same miserie that we be, and can help neyther them nor our selues, it doubleth and tripleth our sorow, and yet both is remediles, endles, and com­fortles.

These be straunge things which were laid to their charge for their vngentle dealing: butloe, marke and consider farther, and these dealings that folow are much worsse: monsters in nature, and things intollerable, both afore God and man. This word loe, marke or behold, Ecce, euer betokneth throughout the scripture some no­table thing eyther verle good or verie ill, that is spoken of imme­diatlie afterward, and such a one as commonlie falleth not out a­mong men: And the holie Ghost of purpose vseth to marke such notable things with this word Loe, Ecce, marke or behold, to put men in remembrance, and awake them to the consideration of the weightie matterthat followeth, that they should not lightlie passe ouer it, but deeplie marke & consider it. Marke the greatnes of this oppression and vnmercifull dealing of the richer sort toward vs their poore breethren and countriemen, of the same religion and seruing the same God that they doe, & haue taken as much paines in building the Temple, Citie, and defending our countrie as they haue done or more: and yet can finde no mercie at their hands, but are made their slaues. For behold in straunge countries, where our bree­thren dwell, straungers take their sonnes and daughters by force and make them bond-men and slaues: but we are brought into such miserie, that we our selues are driuen by necessitie through the oppression of our rulers, against our will, & willingly to bring & offer our sons & daughters to them to be their bond-seruants, slaues, and vsed as beasts at their commaunde­ment, that we and they may liue, though it be in great miserie, rather then perish for hunger or penurie. And that ye may see the thing to be true [Page] and not feigned, some of our daughters are in bondage to them alreadie. It is a great griefe to parents, to see their owne children taken by straungers & made slaues in their owne sight: but it is a greater grief for fathers to be so cruellie delt with in their owne countrie, at their friends hands and countrie-men, that they shall be compel­led willinglie, though against their wills to sell their children for slaues, or else die for hunger. At straungers hands, and speciallie if they be of another religion, no man looketh for anie fauour, and if anie doe come, it is more then looked for, and so much the more welcome, when it commeth: but at a friend and countrie-mans hand, where all courtesie is to be looked for, and to finde none but all extremitie, is a griefe aboue all griefes, and mans hart can neuer digest it. It is against God, against nature, and common reason, which teacheth all gentlenes to such: nay it is worsse then beastli­nes: for one beast will not deale so cruellie with another of his owne kinde and one theefe will not robbe another: therefore to be spoiled and robbed by them of whom they should be defended & releeued, it is a griefe that passeth all sorowes. But if these sorowes could haue an end, or there were anie hope to haue release of them in time, we could take it the better, and haue some comfort: but all hope is taken away, for we haue no powre left, we haue nothing to help our selues withall, we haue wrastled as long as we might, and made shift as long as it would be, but now we are able to beare it no more, we haue nothing left, all is spent and gone, and we can­not deuise where to get anie more: our houses, our lands and vineyeards other men haue cruellie gotten from vs, and vnmerci­fullie doe keepe them, & haue no regard to help vs in this our great and extreame necessitie. We can doe nothing, but crie out on hea­uen and earth, but they hardned their harts and stopt their eares that they will not heare nor pitie vs. Mercie is gone, crueltie, op­pression, and greedines carie them away, that both forget God and themselues. This was the miserable state of that time: a man would haue thought that the miserie, slauerie, and bondage, that they them-selues were in oflate, vnder heathen princes, in strange coun tries, and so late being restored through Gods free and vndeserued goodnes to their owne countrie with libertie, great gifts and li­beralitie, to build their temple and Citie, should not haue bene so sone forgotten, but as they then would haue bene glad of some releefe, succor, & courtesie to be shewed vnto them at straungers hands, so they should now shew the like vnto their breethren and countrimen. But such is the wickednes of mans hart, that the [Page 75] more mercies we receiue at Gods hand, the more vnthankefull we be, and such is the malice of Sathan against God, his Church and people, that when the Lord of his owne free will and vndeserued goodnes bestoweth his mercie vpon his seruants, the Deuill by his membres and all deuises possible, goeth about to ouerthrow and withdraw all sorts of men, so much as in him is, to a forgetful­nes of such merciful goodnes bestowed vpon them, and maketh them vnmercifull to their breethren, which haue receiued so great mercie at the Lords hand. Religion is the chiefest help that God hath giuen vs to knowe him by, to bridle our ill affections and de­sires withall, to make vs loue one another, and set forth his glorie: aud yet if we looke into our selues in these daies, we shall finde that there was neuer greater crueltie, oppression of the poore, Hy­pocrisie, and dissembling in Gods cause, and vnmercifulnes a­mongst men, in this land, then hath bene since the beginning of the reforming of Religion amongst vs: yea, and that is more wonderful, of such as would pretend to be fauourers of Religion. Hypocrites, as they vse nothing well, so they misuse Religion, for a cloake to worke their owne wil and pleasure by, to the de­facing of all good Religion. Things be fresh in memorie, and cannot be forgotten of them that will not willinglie be blind: but they that list to reede, may see in that worthie Father master Latimers Sermons manie such things opened, that then were preached, & would to God they were now reformed, or not fallen to worsse and more shameful dealings, without hope of amend­ment. As for begging or buiyng good things at the Kings hand, then selling the woods, surueying the land, to the vttermost acre or roods of land, inhaunsing of rents to the highest, from twentie pounds to an hundreth, racking the Tenants by intollera­ble fines and Incomes, Sine fine, euerie 5. or 7. yeare commonlie, laying load on them, to carie and recarie whatsoeuer is to be done, paying neuer a pennie for their labour, ride and runne, when he is commaunded, &c. Then turne it into the Princes hand againe, get as much, and vse it as ill or worsse, This practise hath bene so common, and declared by diuers, that few can be ignorant of it, and manie crie out on it at this day, but remediles. Yet this is not the worst: if there be anie broken title of the land that maie make question in the Law, or if there be anie daunger of waters or extra­ordinarie charges, reparations, &c. then it is meete for the Prince by exchaunge. When it is rackt to the highest, and a good thing gotten in steede of it, yet that the Prince shall not be thought to [Page] haue an ill bargaine, he will desire to be fermer of it him selfe after the same rate, to stop mens mouthes for a time. As it is reason, ho­norable, and Godlie, that the Prince should liberallie reward and encourage the good seruitor: so is it reason againe, that the Princes goodnesse, nor the subiect be misused. Master Latimer did freelie speake of these things, not without blame, as peraduenture this wil be to: but would to god this had bene vsed only in the Princes state: but he that will looke abroade and see, shal finde the like to com­mon in meane mens doings. As for pulling downe of Townes, turning tillage to pasture, and turning out the tennants, as Achab did to Naboth for his vineyeard, that they maie haue elbow roume, make them large demeans or set a shepheard and his dogg, where so manie haue dwelt, and that a poore man may not dwel so neere a man of worship: these be so common among the meanest sort of Purchasers, that men neede not to studie where to finde them. Rai­sing of Rents & taking vnreasonable fines & gressans, is thought no faulte, it is so common: but some are waxen so cunning, that it is straunge to thinke of. A land-lord is hungrie, and needes must haue fines euen of the poorest sort: and because he wil be thought to deale mercifullie, this waie is deuised. The poore man hath no money, and yet he must pay: his goods, and speciallie his sheepe, though they be few, shall be preised, and according to the rate out of those goods the fine shalbe raised. And that some pitie shalbe thought to be shewed, the poore man shall haue his goods againe by the price, to pay his fine withall, and for occupying of those his owne goods he shall pay a yearlie rent or interest, as it were an vsu­rie: and this dealing is thought greate courtesie. Solon, when he was asked, why, among the other good lawes that he made, he made not one for him that killed his father? He answered, because he would not put men in remembrance, that there was any such a mischiefe, that could come into mens heads: So I feare the opening of these things shal giue occasion to some ill men, but not to the good, to learne the like de­vises. So readie we be to learne that that is ill. The law in deede o­peneth sin what it is, that a man should flie from it, and not be con­demned for ignorance. Saint Paul sayeth, I had not knowne lust and [...]. 7. 7. desire of il things to be sinne, except the law had said, thou shalt not lust nor desire them. The law is not to blame in declaring what sinne is, that by knowing of it we may flie from it: no more then the Phisitian is to blame in opening the disease to his patient, and teaching him what things to auoid, that he may recouer health. But as an ill sto­mach, what good meat soeuer it eateth, turneth it into ill humors: [Page 76] and the Spider gathereth poyson on the same flowres that the Bee gathereth honie: So on the holie word of God & his blessed lawes, which he made for our health and saluation, ill men gather death and damnation, through their owne wickednesse, and no fault in the law nor law-maker. As the Israelites cried out in this time iust­lie on their Rulers for this great oppression, so it is to be feared that in our daies there is no lesse cause to crie aloud, that God may heare, when man will not. There be foure things that crie for ven­geaunce out of heauen vnto the Lord, and the scripture vseth the same word of crying with them, which for memorie sake are con­teined in these two verses:

Clamitat in coelum vox sanguinis, vox Sodomorum,
Vox oppressorum, merces (que) retentalaborum.

For murther and bloodshed God said to Cain, when he had kil­led his brother Abel, the voice of thy brothers blood crieth out from Gen. [...]. the earth to me inheauen. For the filthie incest, fornication, Pride, Glotonie, wealth and Idlenes of Sodom, the Prophet Ezechiel and Genesis testifie saying; the crie of Sodom, is come vp to me. The Israe­lites oppressed in Egipt with making of brick &c. God deliuered Gen. 19. Eze 16. Exod. 2. 3. Iam. 5. them when they cried vnto him, and drowned the oppressours. S. Iames sayeth, the wages withholden from those that reaped their fields cried out vnto the Lord of hostes. These be good lessons for such as oppresse the poore, or deale streightlie with their tennants, thin­king they may vse the like slaues or beasts at their pleasure. Though they be seruants here, yet they be children of the same God, and bought by the same price that their masters be: & therefore ought of dutie to be vsed with Christian and brotherlie charitie, as thou wouldst be, if thou were so. There be other sorts of cruell oppres­sours, but not so common as these: As cosening, by cunning dea­ling to creepe into mens bosomes, to be Fcoffies of trust, Exe­cutors of will, Gardians ofinfants, and these plaie best be trust, but they trust them-selues best, and goe awaie with all. Cariers of corne, victuals, and other commodities out of the realme, to make a dearth within the realme, yea, and oft to seede our enemies, and enrich them-selues, by procuring licenses to carie them out, are to well knowen how hurtfull they be through all countries. As for Ingrossers, forestallers, regraters, leasemongers, they are thought honest mē. The lawyers of both sorts by feeding their Clients with [Page] faire words, and the Questmongers with sluttish shifts, making them beleeue their matter to be good, and with long delayes im­pouerish the suters: and if he come to be Iudge in the same matter afterward, wherein he was a counseller afore, he saith, I spake then as a counseller, & now I must speake as a Iudge, and thinketh that he hath spoken good reason: as though God had made it law­full at any time, or in anie case to beare false witnes or speake vn­truthes. The Phisitian and the Apothecarie deale so cunninglie, that no man espieth them, and yet be as ill. The cleargie that will take the profit & refuse the paines, Lie at his ease from his charge, and let his sheepe hunger, are not better then the rest. Pen-clearks, shirifs, bailifs, & summoners are not worthie to come to this com­panie, for they can returne Non est inuentus, when they stand and talke with him: and make cunning delayes, vntill they make men pay double fees for expedition. Worst of all commeth the com­mon cutpursse the vsurer and his broker, he standeth on his repu­tation, he sitteth highest on the benche, and looketh bigge; nay it is crept vnto meane mens dealings, he speaketh courteouslie, and dealeth cruellie: he defendeth his doings to be charitable, when he eateth vp house, lands, and goods, turneth infants a begging, and ouerthroweth the whole kinred: Captaines conuey as cunninglie as Iugglers with leger-demaine. Merchants and Artificers are so honest that they may not be touched: they haue so few faults, that they cannot be told, and yet there could neuer be lawes enough made to bridle them, but they will creepe out. When receiuers are become deceiuers, controulers be pollers, Auditors searchers, and Customers looke through their fingers and keepe their olde cu­stome: And generallie, euerie man is a Theefe in his occupation, as the common prouerbe saith, there is craft euen in daubing: it is to be fea­red, that as the course of a streame being stopt, it gathereth a great damme, and being let sodenlie goe, it ouerthroweth all in his way: so Gods anger being staied a time, the windowes in heauen being opened, it wil powre downe on our heads plentifullie. How should Gods plague be farre from vs, when these crie vengeance daily? the theefe by the high way is not so ill as anie of those, that deale not vprighthe in their vocation. For against a theefe a man may fight for his pursse wittinglie, and saie, master theefe gramercie. If a man consider in how litle Tents, Shops, Offices, and houses those men dwell, and how great gaines they get, he shall easilie see where the profitablest ground lieth in the Realm. If this people had such cause to crie out then on their Rulers, what cause haue we now here a­mong [Page 77] vs, where not onelie the richer and mightier sort ouerload the poorer, but euery one in his degree vseth craft, subtiltie, & de­ceipt, to oppresse, vndermine, and scratch from other, without re­spect of friend or foe, what he can, not regarding how he com­meth by it, by hooke or by crooke, by right or wrong, be it short or long. Here is nothing spoken particularlie against anie mans vo­cation or occupation, nor anie man that dealeth honestlie in them, but generallie to note the generall faults of the offenders, that eue­rie man may looke into his owne bosome, consider his doings & a­mend one. If euery one wold amend one, al should be wel streight: but euerie one would amend another, see other mens faults, but not his owne, and therefore all lie still as they did, nothing amen­ded, and euery one maketh courtesie who shall beginne. Sophonie the Prophet complaineth of his time, and saith, Thy rulers are roa­ring Lions, thy iudges are rauening wolues in the euening, and will not leaue the bones vntill morning: thy prophets are lewd and vnconstant, thy Priests haue desiled the holy place, & broken thy law. Micheas crieth out & saieth: there is not a goodman lest on the earth, and not a righteous man among men, all lie in waite for blood, euerie man hunteth his brother vn­to death, &c. God grauntour times were not like. Among vs it is merilie said of some, that there be some Courts where law is executed without conscience: Another, where conscience is without law: the third, where neyther law nor conscience; the fourth, where both law and con­science shall rule, I can rather pray for, then looke for, vntill the last day come, when the righteous Iudge shall iudge both with law & conscience. In the meane time we may mourne, and turne vnto the Lord, that he may forgiue vs, and receiue vs in his manie and great mercies, for we are full of manie & great miseries. The pride of weomen is through the fault of men, therfore they be blameles: God amend vs all. It is written that Ioseph in Egipt vsed the people Gen. 47. almost of like sort that they doe here, and yet is he praised and these iustlie reproued: which possiblie some marueile at, not vnderstan­ding the diuersitie of their doings. Ioseph laid vp corne in the time of plentie, when euerie man had ynough: these men did it at al times, with­out respect, in plentie and scarsitie. Ioseph brought the monie into the Kings cofers, to serue the common wealth: these men laid it vp in their owne Cofers, to their owne priuate vse. Ioseph bought their cattell for such price as they were worth: these men pay not the iust price for anie thing they take. Ioseph buieth their land and maketh the people bond vnto the King, restoring them againe the land, the King finding the seede to sowe, the people onelie laboring to till the ground. And where we [Page] thinke we deale courteously if we let them sow to halfes: the Egipti­ans haue the fourth part for their labour, and paie the king the fift part of the encrease for the land and seede, but these men kept all in their owne hands. Ioseph bought not the Priests lands, but gaue them alowance of such things as they wanted out of the kinges store: and these men like vnto our daies, if they can scrape anie thing from the Church, that is a pastime among all other to laugh at, and thought best gotten. So much more is a minister of Gods gospell thought meeter to be spoiled by these cutpursses, then Ioseph thought meet to doe to those Idolatrous priests. Ioseph opened his barnes in time of dearth and sold liberallie to the needie: these men the greater that the neede was, the faster they lockt it vp, vntill they had their desire of the poore. Ioseph restored their land and tooke but the fift part of the in­crease: these men restore nothing, and yet take interest. As this cruell dealing toward their breethren and countrie-men, was thought straunge to be found amongst this people, in the time that God had shewed to them such great mercies, in restoring them a­gaine to their countrie, giuing them the liberty to build their tem­ple and Citie, with great gifts, liberalitie, and fauour of the kings, vnder whom they were bondmen and slaues: So it is much more marueil, that among Christians, in the time of the gospell, [...] mer­cifullie restored vnto vs, & so freelie taught, greater crueltie should be found and exercised, then among the hard harted Iewes or Infi­dell pagans. But this is the common practise of Sathan, that in no age, people, nor countrie, he can be quiet to see Gods kingdom set vp and florish, and his powre fall: but he will rage, storme, besturre him, and by all deuises that may be, and by all powre that he can ouerthrowit. And seeing this is no new thing but hath fallen out diuers times afore, let vs not now be astonied nor dismaied at it, nor murmure and grudge against the doctrine of our saluation, so mercifullie offred vnto vs, as though it were not the true word of God, because men liue so far contrarie to that which is taught, and they openlie professe. The deuill is content, when he cannot ouer­throw the trueth of the doctrine, to deface it so much as he can, with the ill life of those that professe it. But the gospell teacheth vs what to doe in this case, saying; doe as they say, but doe not as they doe: The doctrine is good, though they be ill. The trueth and wor­thines of Gods word hangeth not on our life and doings, but our Math. 23. 3. life and doings should be reformed by Gods word: for that it is a Lanterne to our feete, and a light to our stepps, that we may know when we be in the right way and how to come into it. We must be Psal. 119. [Page 78] iudged by Gods word and not it by vs: we must be ruled by it, and not ouerrule it according to our phantasies: we must hang on Gods true saying, and not on mans cuill liuing.

Because the Author, being preuented by death, could not finish the rest of this treatise, much lesse of this and the other Chap­ters, which remaine vntouched, I thought it good, for the better instruction of the reader, and in stead of a supplie, for this point of Oppression, which that godlie & zealous father had begonne, to annex and set downe that, which of late was published by Robert Some, D. in Diuinitie.

To the Reader.

IT hath pleased an English papist, to giue out in print, that the Church of Roome doth both teach, and require actuall restitution, and that our Church doth neyther. His speech of vs is verle slaunderous, and my trea­tise against oppression, is argument ynough to confute him. If they of Rome teach and require actuall restitution, it is no worke of supererogation: they doe no more but their dueties. If we should fasle in this cleare point, we de­serue great condemnation at almightie Gods hands. I confesse that a man is good (& therefore iustified in Gods sight) before he doth goodworkes: but with-all I set downe this, that goodworkes doe followe him that is truelie iustified, and that such as haue oppressed, or iniured anie man, shall not be pardoned at Gods hands, vnlesse they make actuall restitution, if they be able to doe it. If anie require proofe of this, I re­ferre him to this Treatise of mine against oppression.

A GODLIE TREATISE AGAINST the foule and grosse sinne of OPPRESSION.


VVHat is oppression?


It is vniust dealing, vsed of the mightier, either by violence, co­lour of lawe, or anie other cunning dealing, against such as are not able to withstand them. The ground of this definition is conteined in these places of Scripture. Micheas. Chap. 2. verse. 1. 2. 1. Thes. Chap. 4. verse. 6.

2. It is not lawfull for anie man to oppresse another.

GIue vs this daie our dailie bread. Mat. Chap. 6. verse. 11. Euerie Christian desireth God to giue dailie bread, (that is, all things necessarie for this life) both to him-selfe, and to others: therefore no Christian is priuiledged to spoile another of his necessary food.

If one of vs must praie for the good of another: one of vs may not pray vpon another. He that taketh his neighbours liuing, is a Eccl. chap. 34. verse. 23. murtherer.

Thou shalt not desire thy neighbours house, his fielde, &c. Deut. 5. 21. If we may not desire his house, or land, then we may not spoile him of his house, or land, or inclose that ground, whereby the poore either by right are, or by right ought to be relieued.

If thou meet thine enemies oxe, or his Asse going astray, thou shalt bring him to him againe. If thou see thy enemies Asse lying vnder his burden, wilt thou cease to help him? thou shalt help him vp with it againe. Exod. 23. 4. 5. Almightie God commaundeth vs to deale well with our enemies Asse, therefore we may not by vndoing our neighbour, or spoiling him of anie part of his land or goods, make him an Asse & send him a begging.

He that oppresseth the poore, reproueth him that made him, &c. It is a grosse sinne to reproue the maiestie of God: therefore it is a grosse Prou. chap. 14. verse. 31. sinne to oppresse the poore.

It was one of the sinnes of Sodom, not to reach out the hand to the poore. Ezech. 16. 49. If it be a great sin, not to relieue the poore, it is a very grosse sinne to spoile the poore. The bread of the needefull is the life of Eccl. 34. 22. the poore: he that defraudeth him thereof, is a murtherer.

There is a writ in England, which beareth this name, Ne iniuste vexes, that is to saie, vexe not anie man vniustly: This is a godlie lawe, and is deriued from the lawe of God; which forbiddeth and condemneth oppression.

There are certaine beggers, which of purpose keepe their legges sore, to get money by it: If they are iustly misliked which gaine by their owne sore legges, what deserue they to be thought of, which gaine by other mens sore legges?

When thou sellest ought to thy neighbour, or buiest at thy neighbours hand, yee shall not oppresse one another. Leuit. 25. ver. 14. This is the will of God, that no man oppresse or defraude his brother in any matter. 1. Thes. 4. 6. Therefore men of trade may not gaine by litle measures, false weights, and false speeches and othes, nor anie mightie men, may gaine by cunning dealing, by colour of lawe, or by vsing any violence what-soeuer.

3. They which haue done wrong vnto, or oppressed any, must make actual restitution.

GOd faith thus vnto Moses: speake vnto the children of Israel, when a man or woman shall commit anie sinne, that men commit, and trans­gresse against the Lord, when that person shall trespasse, then they shall con­fesse their sinne which they haue done, & shall restore the dammage there­ofwith his principal, and put the fift part of it more thereto, and shall giue it vnto him against whome he hath trespassed. But if the man haue no kins­man, to whom he should restore the dammage, the dammage shalbe restored to the Lord, for the Priests vse, &c. Num. 5. ver. 6. 7. 8. We are taught in this place, to whom this actual restitution must be made, euen to him, whom we haue iniured: if he be dead, we must restore it to his kinsman: if he haue no kinsman aliue, actual restitution must be made to almightie God, for the Priestes vse, and in our time for the poores vse.

Michah robbed his mother of 11. hundred shekels of siluer: his mo­ther Iud. chap. 17. ver. 2. 3. did not knowe that he had it, but he had remorse of that sinne, and made actual restitution.

Samuel saith thus of him-selfe: Whose Oxe haue I taken? Whose Asse haue I taken? or whom haue I done wrong to? or whom hane I hurt? or of 1. Sam. 12. whose hands haue I receiued any bribe, to blind my eies there-with? and I will restore it you, &c. It is certaine that Samuel did not deale either corruptly or vniustly in his office: if he had, he would haue made actual restitution.

Zacheus was some times verie disordered in his life: it pleased [Page] our sauiour Christ to be a good god vnto him, and to lodge in his house: Zacheus hauing feeling of his former wants vttered these words, If I haue taken from any man by forged cauillation, I restore him foure folde. If Zacheus of Iericho, after his conuersion, was content to restore foure folde, it is a good consequent, that they haue littel sense of Religion, which will not restore the principall.


If a man haue deceiued, robbed or oppressed other men, shal he be par­doned at Gods hand, if he make not actual restitution?


God will not pardon him, vnlesse he make actual restitution, if he be able to doe it: my reasons are these.

If the wicked restore the pledge, and giue againe that he had robbed, he shal surelie liue, and not die, saieth the Lord. Eze. 33. 15. Therefore, it is a sure consequent, that he shal not liue eternallie, which being in Chap. 18. [...]. 12. 13. case to make actual restitution, doeth it not accordingly.

Is not this the fasting that I haue chosen, to loose the bands of wickednes, to take of the heauy burdens, and to let the oppressed goe free, and that ye breake euery yoke, &c. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shal answere, thou shalt crie, and he shall say, here I am, &c. Esa. 58. 6. 9. If the op­pressour must let the oppressed goe free, he must make actual resti­tution. If almightie God will not heare the praier of the oppressour (vntil he let the oppressed goe free) it is a necessary consequent, that God will not pardon him.

Augustine, is very flat for this point: if men be able to make actu­al restitution and doe it not, poenitentia non agitur, sed fingitur: that is Epist. 54. to say, their repentance is no repentance, and their sin shal not be pardoned, vntill actual restitution be made.


If a man haue secretly either robbed or deceiued another, and is very willing to make restitution, but cannot doe it with out some worldlie dan­ger, and disgrace to him-selfe, what must he doe in this case?


Let him send that which he hath taken vniustly, by some trustie messenger to him whom he hath wronged, & let his name be con­cealed.


If he that hath taken vniustly from others, hath wasted all, and is not able to make restitution, what shall he doe?


Such a one, must desire pardon very humbly at Gods hand, and water the earth with his teares.

4 It is the duetie of the Magistrate to deliuer the oppressed out of the hand of the oppressour.

EXecute iudgement in the morning (that is, carefullie and without delay) and deliuer the oppressed out of the hand of the oppressour, saith Ier. 21. 12. Esay. 1. 17. the Lord, &c. Seeke iudgement, releeue the oppressed, iudge the fatherlesse, and defend the widowe. Almightie God commaundeth the Magi­strates to execute iudgement in the morning, therefore they must vse no delaies in doing iustice. God commaundeth the magistrates to seeke iudgement, therefore in cases of oppression, they must not stay till they be called for. God commendeth vnto the Magi­strates all that are oppressed, but speciallie the fatherlesse and widowe, because they want the defence of their parents, and hus­bandes, & euery man goeth ouer, where the hedge is lowest.

Iosias executed iudgement & iustice, he iudged the cause of the afflicted Ierem. 22. and poore (saieth the Lord of Iosias).

Iob saieth thus of himselfe: I deliuered the poore that cried, and the Fa­therlesse, & him that had none to help him, &c. I put on iustice, & it couered Iob. 29. me: my iudgement was the eie to the blinde, & I was a father vnto the poore, and when I knewe not the cause, I sought it out diligentlie, I brake also the chawes of the vnrighteous man, and pluckt the pray out of his teeth, &c. It appeereth by this, that Iob was a worthie Magistrate: God send vs manie such as Iob was.

The Sunamite (whose sonne Elizeus raised to life) soiourned in the time of famin seauen yeares in the land of the Philistines: in her ab­sence, her lands & goods were vniustlie entred vpon: at her returne, she complained of the iniurie to Iehoram the King of Israel: Iehoram without delay commaunded an Eunuch to restore her goods and landes vnto her: Restore thou (saieth Iehoram) all that are hers, & al the fruites of her lands, since the day she left the land, euen vntill this time. 2. Kings. 8.

The Iewes in Nehemiahs time were greatlie oppressed: Nehemi­ah was verie angrie with the Princes and rulers which oppressed Neh. chap. 5. them, & saide vnto them: you lay burdens euery one vpon his breethren, &c. Restore vnto them this day their lands, their vineyards, their oliues, and their houses.

If it be the magistrates duety to deliuer the oppressed, they must take great heede, that themselues be neither principals nor accessa­ries Amos cap. 5. v. 7. & chap, 2. v. 6. in the sinne of oppression. If they be guiltie, iudgement shalbe turned into wormewoode, and the righteous shalbe solde for siluer, and the poore for shoes: that is to say, filthy bribes shal be more accounted of, then mens liues, which are most pretious.

5. The Magistrate looseth nothing by deliuering the oppressed.

IF he doe it with a single heart (beside the testimonie of a good consci­ence which is a continuall feast) he may assure himselfe of Gods fauour and blessing, and of the singuler liking of all Gods people.

Iosias did eate and drinke and prosper, when he executed iudgement and iustice, when he iudged the cause of the afflicted, and the poore. Ierem. 22.

Iob deliuered the poore that cried, & the fatherles, & him that had none to help him, and the blessing of him that was ready to perish, came vpon him. Iob. 26.

Our souereigne Ladie Queene Elizabeth hath dealt gratiouslie with manie poore suters at the Court, she hath spoken comforta­blie to them, and procured restitution accordinglie. If it be no disgrace to this noble Ladie, which sitteth vnder the cloth of estate, to deliuer the oppressed, it is no blot to inferiour magistrates if they doe the like. If the Prince pleaseth God highlie, and winneth the hearts of her subiects soundlie, for releeuing the oppressed, it is verie certaine, that those Cormorants, which grynde the fa­ces of the poore, are accurssed of God, and loose the hearts of his people. If the Prince sitteth fast in the seate of her Kingdome for tendering the case of the oppressed, can they assure them-selues of sitting quietlie vnder their vines and figge-trees, which eate bread, baked with the teares of men? It is certaine, they cannot. for (besides the manifold curses of god and his people) their owne consciences doe mightelie sting them, and are enemies ynough to torment them.

6. Oppressours shall be [...] punished.

CVrsed be he, that remoueth his neighbours marke: and all the peo­ple shall say, Amen. If they are accurssed by God, and his people, Deu. 22. ver. 16. 17. which remoue the marke of the land, they are more accurssed, which take awaie house and land.

Oppression maketh a wise man madde. Madnes is a greeuous punish­ment: God punisheth Oppression by madnes, one grosse sinne, by Eccl. chap. 7. ver. 9. another.

Ye haue builded houses of hewen stone, but yee shall not dwell in them: ye haue planted pleasant vineyeards, but yee shall not drinke wine of them: The reason of this is set downe by almighty God in the same verse, Amos cap. 5. 11. in these words: your treadings are vpon the poore, and you take from him barthens of wheate, (that is to say, the necessarie reliefe of him and his familiy.) If the taking away of burthens of wheat from the poore was so great a sin, the taking away of arable ground (which by tillage and gods blessing bringeth reliefe to a man and his fami­ly) is no litle sinne.

They shall not mourne for him (saieth God of Ioachim the King of Iere. 22. Iuda, which was a great oppressour) he shallbe buried as an asse is buri­ed, and cast forth (as a carrion aboue the ground) euen without the gates of Ierusalem. Ioachim had closed himselfe in Cedar, but that was not able to keepe Gods iudgements from him.

The stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beame out of the timber shall answere it, &c. As if almighty God should say, rather then the vile Abac. chap. 2. ver. 11. dealings of Oppressours should not come to light, the stone shall cry out of the wall, I am built of blood and iniquitie, and the beame out of the Timber shall answere, I am built likewise of blood and iniquitie. If the stones and beames of oppressours houses, giue in their euidence (like honest Iurates) against such houses, the Oppres­sours must prepare them-selues to heare this feareful sentence pro­nounced, by the Lord chiefe iustice of heauen and earth against Abac. chap. 2. ver. 12. them: woe vnto him that builderhat owne with blood, and crecteth a citie by iniquitie.

They which oppresse others, doe more hurt themselues, then those whom they oppresse: the smart of the oppressed hath an end, the smart of the Op­pressour Aug. Epist. 211. is euerlasting: for he heapeth vnto him-selfe wrath against the day Rom. chap. 2. of wrath, and of the declaration of the iust iudgement of God.

There were neuer any oppresfours so many and mighty, but at the length they were met with. Gods iudgements haue feete of wooll, but they haue armes of brasse: It is long ere God begin, but when he striketh, he payeth home. Esay chap. 30. ver. 14. 17.

Woe vnto them that imagine iniquity, and worke wickednes vpon their Iere. 5. beds: when the morning is light, they practise it, because their hand hath powre, and they couet fields, and take them by violence, and houses, and take them away: so they oppresse a man and his house: euen a man and his he­ritage: therefore, thus saieth the Lord, behold, against this family haue I deuised a plague, where out ye shall not plucke your necks. Mich. 2. ver. 1. 2. 3. god be mercifull vnto vs and make vs afraid of his iudgements.

7. Oppressours haue no religion in them.

GOd looked for iudgement, but behold oppression, for righteousnes, but Esay. 5. v. 7. behold a crying &c. Iudgement and righteousnes are the true fruits ofGods religion, therefore oppression is no branch ofGods religion, and consequently, the oppressour is voyd of all religion.

Doe not all the workers of iniquitie know that they eate vp my people as they eate bread? they call not vppon the Lord: Psa. 14. ver. 4. Oppressours call not vppon the Lord, therefore they are voyd of religion: for inuocation is a principal & necessary fruit of religion. Ifthe oppres­sours [Page] say, that they stretch out their hands and make many prayers, I graunt they doe so, but almighty God giueth them this answere: I will hide mine eyes from you, I will not heare: for your handes are full Esay. chap. 1. ver. 15. of blood.

I will be a swift witnesse against those, that wrongfully keepe back the Mich. chap. 3. ver. 4. hirelings wages and vexe the widow, and fatherles, and oppresse the stran­ger, and feare not me, saith the Lord of hosts, &c. They which oppresse Malach. cha. 3. ver. 5. others seare not God, therfore they are voyd of Religion. If they say they feare God, they deserue no credite, because their doings confute their speech. A good tree bringeth forth good fruits, and a iustifiyng faith appeereth by good workes.

The former gouernours did burden the people, but so did not I (saith Ne­hemiah) Nehem. cha. 5. ver. 15. because of the feare of god. If Nehemiah did neither oppresse nor deale hardly, because he feared God, it is manifest that oppres­sours feare not God, and therefore are voyd of religion.

When he (that is Iosias) iudged the cause of the afflicted, and the poore, he prospered: was not this, because he knew me, saith the Lord: But thine eyes and thine heart (he speaketh to Ioachim the King of Iuda) are but Iere. 12. ver. 16. 17. onely for thy couetousnes and for to shed innocent blood, and for oppression &c. Iosias was a singuler defence to the oppressed, because he did know and feare God: Ioachim was a notable oppressour, because he did neither know, nor feare God, that is to say, because he was voyde of Gods religion.

This which I haue set downe against oppression, may serue for oppressours to look vppon, & to reforme themselues by. If it worke their good, it is happy for them: If it doe not, let them remember that dye they must, and that after death they shall haue a feareful iudgement. The best aduise that I can giue to them which are op­pressed, is that they desire the magistrate, to be their defence. If by this ordinary meanes, they cannot compasse their owne, they must patiently beare iniuries, and commit their cause to almighty God, who hath their flittings in his re­gister, Psa. 59. ve. 8. and their teares in his bottell, and will be surely, but yet iustly, reuenged of their Oppressours.

‘Veritas & dulcis est, & amara. Quando dulcis est, parcit: quando amara, curat.’Aug. Epist. 211. ad Romulum.

6. And I was verie angrie, when I heard their crie and these words.

7. And my heart within me aduised me, and I chidd the Noble men and the rulers and I said vnto them: euerie one of you ley burdens on your breethren, and I assembled a great con­gregation against them.

8. And I said vnto them we haue redeemed our breethren the Iewes which were sold to the Gentiles, as far as we were able, & will ye sell your breethren againe, and shal they be sold to vs? and they held their tongue and found not a word to speake.

9. And I sayd, the thing that ye doe is not good, ought ye not to walke in the feare of God, for auoyding the slaunder of the heathen which hate vs?

10. Both I, my breethren, and my seruants, lent them money and corne: I pray you let vs leaue of these burthens.

11. I pray you this day restore them their land, their vinyeards, their Oliue gardens, and their houses: and the hundreth parte of money, and of the corne, and of the wine, and of the oyle, which ye doe exact of them.

12. And they said, we wil restore them againe, & we will require no­thing of them: we will doe as thou hast sayd: aud I called the Priests, & did sweare them to doe according to these words.

13. And I also did shake my lapp and said, let God thus shake eue­rie man which mainteineth not this worde out of his house and his labour: and after this manner let him be [...] out and void, and al the multitude said Amen, and praysed the Lord, and the people did according to this word.

HEre we shall learne well both what the crie of the poore op­pressed preuaileth in the ears of the Godlie, and what a good ruler ought to doe in such a case. Magistrates are mortall Gods, & God is an immortal magistrate: therefore as the merciful God hea­reth in his holie habitation in heauen the crie of the miserable op­pressed people in earth, so should euerie Godlie Ruler heare and re­leeue the pitiful crie of the oppressed being his breethren, seeing he is Gods Lieutenant, & hath the sword & lawe in his hand to bridle such ill doers, and must not for fauour, gifts, nor feare, suffer it vn­amended: els he doeth not his dutie vnto the mighty Lord who set­him in that place, gaue him the authoritie, and wil aske a straight ac­count how he hath vsed it to the reliefe of the oppressed. Nehemi­ah hearing this open outcrie of the people, and fearing the incon­uenience [Page] that might follow of it, dealeth wiselie. First, as iustice requireth, he is verie angrie at it, and yet with wisdome bridleth his affection, that he doeth not rashlie punish them, but after due consultation within him selfe, and good aduise taking, first with words shraplie rebuketh them, and after by authority compelleth them, not onelie hence forth to leaue their cruel dealing, but also to restore that which they had so wrongfullie gotten. Some be of o­pinion that a magistrate should not be moued with anger in do­ing his office, but giue euerie man fayre words, passe ouer matters slowly, please all men though he doe them litle good: but the truth being well considered, it may be iudged otherwise. Lactantius writeth A booke De Ira Dei, wherin he proueth that God him-selse is angrie, and euerie anger is not sinne. If God then be angrie against sinne, whie may not a good man in Gods cause then doe the same? Hate not the man, but his ill doing, be not angrie without a iust cause vnaduisedlie, keepe not thy anger long, that it grow not into hatred, let it be no more, nor no lesse, then the fault deserueth, & let it be without raging, fuming, fretting, Swelling, and rauing, and disquieting of bodie or minde, not for malice of reuenging, but for pitie or iustice to correct and amend: and Anger well qualified is not ill. Phinees being angrie with the filthie whordome committed openly and vnpunished by those that were in Authoritie, tooke his Sword, killed Num. 12. both the parties in his zealous Anger, and for so doing the Lord blessed him and the plague ceased. Moses is called the miledest man vppon earth, and yet in his anger he threw downe the Tables wherein God wrote the tenne commandements, and brake them, when he saw they had made the Exod. 32. golden calfe. Iesus Christ our Lord was angrie when he whipt the buiers and sellers out of the Temple. Saint Marke sayeth, he looked on them round about with anger. Euerie anger therefore is not ill. This is not spoken to giue liberty to anger, for we are to ready to it by nature, but rather to bridle it, seeing it standeth on so narrow a point to keepe measure in. This qualifying of anger is declared in the scrip­ture as that it should not continue. S. Paul sayth, let not the Sunne set vpon your anger. And that it should not be rash lie without cause, nor more then the cause requireth, the gospell te acheth, saying, he that is angrie with his brother without a iust cause, is guiltie of iudgement. Math. 5. This anger of Nehemiah was iust in all circumstan ces, and kept the Rule of S. Paul: Be angrie, and sinne not: which is a hard point to keepe.


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