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THE YOVNG DIVINES APOLO­GIE for his continuance in the Vniuersitie, with Certaine Medita­tions, written by NATHA­NIEL POVVNOLL, late student of Christ-church in Oxford.

Printed by CANTRELL LEGGE Printer to the Vni­uersitie of Cambridge. 1612.

And are to be sold in Pauls Churchyard: by MATTHEVV LOVVNES at the signe of the Bishops head.

❧ TO THE REVEREND FA­ther in God, IOHN, L. Bishop of London.

RIght woorthie, and reuerend Father in God.

Blame not your ancient Obseruer, if nowe, after he hath recouered in a man­ner, at Cambridge, that life, which he lost at his de­parture from Oxford, he ri­ses aniew, as it wear out of his ashes, to do his humble [Page] seruice to your Lordship: and, indeede, to whome can any fruit that comes from him, bee with more right presented thē to him, in whose garden, and vnder whose shadow it griew? In­to whose hand should this small booke, though wan­ting his owne Epistle, be deliuered, but vnto that, to which it hath before giuen so many Epistles? whear can it looke for protection with more hope thē whear it hath formerly, with all fauour, founde it.

If your Lordship thear­fore will be pleased to be the defender of this Apo­logie, and to breath, as I [Page] may truely say, the breath of life againe into his se­quent Meditations, that so beeing annimated aniew with those vnspeakeable sighs, and alike feruent zeale of spirit, whearwith they wear first, as in fierie chariots, carried vp into heau'n; I doubt not but they will seeme, beeing so quickned, to any that shall reade them (especially if, as Iob wished in a case not much vnlike, his foule wear in his foules stead) no cold, or dull, or dead lettets: and in so doing, you shall not onely followe him into his graue, but call him out of it with this so speciall a be­nefit, [Page] binding with the dead in one knot of thank­fulnesse all his Friends that yet liue, and cannot but ioy to see your Lordships fauour out-liue the person, on whom it is bestowed: of whome my selfe, being the least, shal euer thinke I am most bound to be.

Your L. to command in all good seruice, G. FLETCHER.

To the Reader.

THe Authour of this small discourse, or ra­ther (giue mee leaue so to call him) the Swan that, before his death, sung this divine song, is now thear, whear he neither needs the praise, nor feares the envy of any: whose life, as it deserued all, so it was cove­tous of no mans commendati­on; himselfe beeing as farre from pride, as his desert was neere it. Yet because it was his griefe, that hee should die before hee was fit to doe God the service hee desired; and his freinds desire, that bee­ing so fit as hee was for his seruice, hee might (if it had been possible) neuer haue di­ed [Page] at all: thearfore his booke was bould to thrust it selfe into that world, which the Authour of it had lately left, therby to satisfie both his Ma­kers desire, in doing the church of God some seruice; and his friends griefe in not suffering him altogether to lie dead.

And truely what better ser­uice can it doe, then to per­suade with reason, since Au­thoritie forces not, our young Neophytes to abide awhile in the schooles of the Prophets, at Bethel, before they pre­sume to enter the Temple at Hierusalem, and if reason can doe little with them, be­cause happily they want it, yet let his Example (an argu­ment [Page] that prevailes much with the common People, of whome such Prophets are the tayle) make them at least see, and confesse, though they know not how to amend their fault. Ten yeares had hee liued in the Vniversitie, eight lan­guages had hee learnt, and taught his tongue so many se­uerall waies by which to ex­presse a good heart; watching often, daily excercising, al­way studying, in a word, ma­king an ende of himselfe in an ouer-feruent desire to bene­fit others; and yet, after hee had, as it wear out of him­selfe, sweat out all this oyle for his lampe, after hee had with the Sunne ran so many [Page] heauenly races, and, when the Sunne was laied abed by his labours, after hee had burnt out so many candles to giue his minde light (hauing al­waies S Pauls querie in his minde, [...];) hee neuer durst adventure to doe that, after all these stu­dies done, and ended, which our young Novices, doeing nothing, coumpt nothing to doe: but still thought him­selfe as vnfit, as hee kniew all men weare vnworthy of so high an honour, as to be the Angells of God.

I could wish that he had left behinde him, if not all his lear­ning, yet some of his modesty to be deuided among these empty [Page] sounding vessels, that want both: but since in him so great examples of piety, knowledge, industrie, and vnaffected mo­destie are all fallen so deepely a sleep, as I am afraid we shall hardly find in any of his age the like, (which I speake not to deny iust praise to the liuing, but who wil not affoard a fiew flow­ers to strowe the cophine of the dead?) thear was no way to a­waken them, and in them him, but by layeing them vp, not with him in his graue, but in these immortal monuments of the presse, the liuing Tombes proper to dead learning, wher­in these flowers may liue, though their [...]oote be withe­red, and though the trunke be [Page] dead, the branches flowrish.

Let rich men therefore, in the guilded sepulchres, and proud monuments of their death, beg for the memorie of their liues: the righteous shall be had in euerlasting remembrance, without any such proud beggary: nor shall he euer be behoulding to a dead stone for the matter: and good reason. Righteousnes beeing a shadow of that diuine substāce, which hath in it no shadowe of change, much lesse of corrupti­on▪ only I could wish that their liues wear as long as their me­mories; that so this crooked age might haue as great store, as it hath need of them.

G. F.

AN APOLO­GIE FOR YOVNG Students in Diuinitie why they stay in the Vniversitie to learne, before they presume to teach abroad. Written, and sent by NATHANIEL POVVNALL, for his owne defence, to his Parents.

MOst gracious, and deare Parents, I could neuer yet perswade my selfe to be of Galbas mind, who thought it needlesse that any man should be tied to giue an accoumpt of his idle time; much lesse of Pericles, Plutarch). that hauing ill stewarded the [Page 2] Common-wealths Treasu­rie, did not thinke so much how to make his accompt, as how to make no ac­compt at all: but since the season doth in a manner now require, that I send you some fruits of your so long, and so well manured, and so carefully planted, & yet so long barren vine, (as whose fruits you haue with patience for many more yeares expected, then that Husbandman did the fruits of his barren figtree) though as yet it beeing the first spring, it can send forth but small grapes, yet such as they are, since they be not wild grapes, I hold it [Page 3] honest so farre to serue the time (though no time ser­uer) as of mine owne ac­cord (vnlike those bad hus­bandmen in the Gospel) to offer them vnto you. And because I know that as it is your greatest desire, so it would be your greatest de­light, if now after you haue mist me from you (not as Mary and Ioseph did Christ for three dayes) but for ma­ny yeares, you should at last find me (as they did Christ) in the Temple praying, and going about the busines of my heauenly Father; there­fore I had once, I confesse, in my resolution pledged my self (as Iudah made him­selfe [Page 4] suretie neuer to return or see his Fathers face a­gaine, vnlesse he brought Beniamin with him) not to come againe vnto you,Gen. 43.9. ex­cept as S. Paul assured his comming, in the abundāce of the blessings of the Go­spel: that my thanks might not onely be, like those an­gels ascending on Iacobs ladder,Gen. 28.12. in continuall pray­ers for you, but also as An­gels descending by the gra­ces of Gods word vnto you. For good reason it seemed to me (to invert S. Pauls argument) reaping your temporall things, to make you partakers of those spirituall things, that [Page 5] I haue here learned at your charges in Christs schoole. In this conceit somewhat I conceiued, but in a word (to expresse my issue in the Prophets phrase) when the children came to the birth,Isa. 37.3. there was not strength e­nough to bring thē forth: howsoeuer, I thought it wisedome to deferre that expectation of me, which I was not yet able to satisfie by this short Apologie of my long seeming silence. For since you haue beene vnto me farre vnlike Iobs vnnaturall Ostrich, which, depriued of vnderstanding leaueth her egges in the dust, and forgetteth them: [Page 6] or his wilde hindes, and goats, that bow themselues and bruise their young, and cast forth their sorows, and so leaue them, but rather as pious Anna, 1. Sam. hauing placed her Samuel in the Temple, did not so leaue him, but yearely brought him vp a coat, and other necessaries, out of your continuall care ministring to mee yearely maintenance, haue still wa­tered what you haue plan­ted, farre be it from me in vnthankefulnesse to resem­ble Iobs young hinds, that growing vp, and waxing fat, goe forth, and neuer re­turne vnto their dammes: but rather as the young [Page 7] Storkes (emblems of natu­rall pietie) are said to bring corporall foode vnto the old: so shall it be my care and endeauour hereafter to bring you whatsoeuer spi­rituall food I can prouide, and cause all my fruits, such as they are, to bow downe towards the root that bears both them, and me. In the meane time, my Apologie in a word is the same that is expressed in the Gospel in the behalfe of the fig-tree: That my time of fruit is not yet (by Gods grace) past, but onely that it is not yet come; neither shall it (I trust) preiudice my cause, that in the like case the fig-tree [Page 8] was neuertheles accur­sed,Harmon. pag. 117. since (as Calvin, the best Interpreter I finde, cleares the place) Christ did it not in splene, to reuenge himselfe on the harmelesse tree, but onely tooke occa­sion to worke a miracle for the propagation of Gods glorie, diuerting, and satis­fying his hunger with the bread he speakes of, Ioh. 4.34. making that his meat to do the wil of his Father.

But (that I may solue the meane obiection) since there are so many praecoces fructus, rathe, and forward fruit, ripened, and readie in lesse then halfe my time, whatsorie seed and soile is [Page 9] mine, that my time of fruit is not yet come: I graunt, both may be true in mee, but for the other, I rather pitie, then envie them; so farre is it, that their laste should be the measure of my foote, or I be induced to be the Eccho to such voy­ces, or speake after them, because they speak, that in­deede like the Spartans nightingales,Plutarch. in Ages. are meere sound, and nothing els. But as Iacob said of those bre­thren in euill,Gen. 49.6. Into their courses, & counsells let not my soule come, my glory be not thou ioyned with their assemblies: for so to shunne shame, and seeke glorie, [Page 10] what were it else, but (as the Spaniard speaketh) to escape the thunderbolt, and fall into the lightnings slash? For alas, what a fond conceit is that of theirs (it beeing the guise of fooles (as the Italian hath it) to thinke themselues wise) so easily to perswade them­selues like those foolish Laodiceans,Revel. that they are quickely learned, able and sufficient enough, as if Nox nocti indicaret scientiam, and the blind could lead the blind, or could with that little learning they haue gotten (as Christ with a few loaues and fishes did by miracle) feede whole [Page 11] multitudes, and haue re­mainder enough for other times; expecting that God should miraculously (as to the widow) multiply their little oyle, for the dischar­ging of so great a dutie, and filling of so many emp­tie vessells: yea, although they haue too little oyle for themselues, yet (which the wise virgins would ne­uer doe) they must needs be storing others,Matt. 25.9. as if (Le­viathan-like) they could swallow vp whole riuers at once,Iob 40.18. and thinke to drinke vp Iordan too: So that their learning is put into a bottomlesse bagge, that cannot hold it, and their [Page 12] little wit, but as a secret in a fooles mouth,Pers. Sat. 1. and Quae se­mel innata est, rupto iecore ex­ierit caprificus; if once in, like young Eliphaz they will burst, if they vent not. And when all is done, what is it that thus splents those tombes, but steriles mala robora ficus, which though it make much shift to come forth, is but a barren wilde figg-tree, that neuer brings forth fruit to maturitie: so that their ouer-hastines is no other then as a hatchet that cutts off their better growth.Bion apud Laert. For howe many that happily (as Antigo­nus said of Pyrrhus) might prooue some bodie,Plut. if they [Page 13] would staie their time, by this meanes spoile their growth, and euer staie at the same stature, that they first attained vnto. And therfore no more then he, when he would accomplish that by strength of armes, which in his youth, and in the flower of his age with facilitie he performed (as he found by lamentable experience beeing made a pray to beasts, whilest be­ing ould he sought to rend a splinted oake) should they arrogate vnto them­selues a task of elder years, thinking that (like the palme tree, and camomill) they shall grow the better [Page 14] for beeing burdened and pressed downe. As for the fruit of this their arrogan­cie and ostentation, where­of they are (or should be, had they so much grace) ashamed, it is but as the I­talian hath it, where pride rides, shame lackies, or ra­ther as the Prophet, while they sow the winde,Ier. 48.10. they reape the whirlewind. For while they doe verba dare, (the periphrasis of an im­posture) giue nothing but words (which are nought but winde) what reape they but the whirlewinde, euen the curse of the Pro­phet, and are so farre from edifying, that their [Page 15] hastie fruit prooues but windfalls, and their greene wood rather smothers a­way in smoak, then burnes, and casts out heat, as an ar­dens lucerna should, and their issue, as the vntimely fruit of a woman, becomes abortiue, and so indangers the wombe that bare it. For as great a danger as befalls the commonwealth when children are the prin­ces,Eccl. 10.16. and gouernours there­of, the like betides the Church when these which are indeed but children, & babes in Christ,1. Cor. 3.2. will take vpon them to be the Fa­thers thereof. A woe I say, when euery Empiricke wil [Page 16] take vpon him to heale the soares of Sion, to the dan­ger of as many soules, as those vnskilfull Practitio­ners doe hazard the liues of diuers bodies. S. Grego­rie in his book de cura pasto­rali saith,part. 3. c. 26. that it is as dan­gerous for such Nouices to vndergoe the burden of a pastorall charge, as to lay the roofe of the house vpon the walls while they are greene; a readie means to ruine, not to build. And indeed for any burthen they sustaine in the Church (for rather like the Phari­sies,Matt. 23.4. they bind heauie bur­thens on other mens con­sciences, but put not so [Page 17] much as a finger thereto themselues) I cannot bet­ter compare them, then to those little statues, or ange­lets that we often see affix­ed to the pillers of our Churches, stooping the head, & bending the back, as if they did support the whole fabricque, whereas they sustaine nothing at all, but are rather themselues supported. Good cause therefore had Saint Paul to put in that caution to Timothie,1. Tim 3 6. that such a one as he made choise of for the Ministerie of the word, should in no hand be a young scholler, least he be­ing puffed vp, fall into the [Page 18] condemnation of the De­uill. For indeed to suffer such to take a charge vpon them, what else were it, but as if the trees of the forrest should rest them­selues vnder the shadow of the bryer; the issue where­of was but this, the fire came out of the brier, and deuoured the Cedars of Lebanon.Iudg. 4. Such fruit as this well argues, what is the tree:Matt. 7.17. and for my part I wonder not if such fruits as these like wilde grapes, and crabbes come vp in a­boundance. For it is as ea­sie (God wot) as lightly to runne away, like an horse, with an emptie cart: (as [Page 19] one well compares it, whom for his worth I de­seruedly rank with my best Authors) no matter to stand, speake,King on Ionas. and exercise after their manner, and with such dexterity to out­runne their fellowes (as hasty Ahimaaz did Cushai,2. Sam. 18.23. though he had none, or but sorrie newes to carry) since they can be content to run the playner, though the worser way. And so little cause is there to enuy such, that in compare of these vntimely fruites, the barren wombe that bears no chil­dren may reioyce,Isa. 54.1. and they that trauell not, break forth and crie: yea, the de­solate [Page 20] (in good time) may haue many more children, thē they that ar so wedded. And happily these haire­braind vpstarts, whilst they glory in their own shame, may be truely answered, as that Italian answered that busie bodie, cracking how earely he had been vp, and how much idle busines he had dispatched, while the other lay in bed, that one dreame of his was better worth then all the others busines: and in the ende, as it fell out in Zeuxis & Par­rhasius their emulation,Plin. l. 35. which had the masterie in his art, though the one per­chance with his painted [Page 21] grapes (whereof there was the colour, but not the sap, or nourishment) might o­uerreach some silly birds, (fond auditors:) the other with his figured artificiall vaile, (the true embleme of Iudicious silence) wil ouer­reach and goe beyond ma­ny such superficiall artizans as these: Only herein stands the difference, that where­as Zeuxis triumphing vp­on the fond birds arbittre­ment, imagined there was a picture vnder the others curious vaile, where there was none; and therefore bid him drawe his curten: on the contrarie, our insul­ting Novices thinke there [Page 22] is nothing at all couered vnder the vaile of iudicious silence: whereas indeede, as in the aunciēt Sileni (cu­rious statues so cunningly contriued,Cael. Rh. that while they were closed, they seemed rough hewne and defor­med, but vnioyned appea­red most curious) there is much beautie within, though at first little shewe without. So that in the end all will with the Orator, prefer the discreete silence of the one,Cicer. before the o­thers fond babling. And if Nature do nought in vaine Aristot. l. 2 Phys.(as the Philosophers hold) it is not for nought that our curious Anatomists ob­serue [Page 23] that she hath giuen the tongue (the least, but most dangerous member of all other) most bonds and ligaments, euen nine flowing from the heart, like so many raynes to restraine and gouerne it, that it set not on fire the bodies frame. Neither makes it a­ny thing for these bablers (for so may I as iustly terme them,Act. 17.18. as Saint Paul was vniustly) that the Apostles were inspired, since long a­goe it hath beene ordered, that miracles, and extraor­dinary callings ceased with the Primitiue Church: whereunto it was requisite as water for a new planted [Page 24] garden; but now, that it is come to further growth, vnnecessarie: or if they will needes looke for miracles, such as these are as vnlikely to be the subiects therof, as dirt is to open the eyes of the blind (though Christ once powerfully vsed it to that ende,Ioh. 9.6.) a meanes rather to destroy, then restore the sight. And though it be a question among schoole­men,Aquin. whether in the creati­on God first brought forth the flower, or the fruit, the seed, or the plant, the hen, or the egge (which is defi­ned, that he brought forth all in their full perfection) yet now it is no question at [Page 25] all, but God proceedeth orderly to bring all things to maturitie, and perfecti­on by degrees, and so must man, if he will imitate his heauenly Father, or haue his blessing. To be short, I haue said inough to proue that this their custome should be no prescription vnto me, and therefore gi­uing care to that Prince of preachers,Eccl. 4.17. who hath set downe the summarie of this my motiue, That we should take heed vnto our feet, entring into the house of the Lord, and be more ready to heare, then to of­fer the sacrifice of foolese I leaue these Ba [...]tologists [Page 26] to that due account of e­uery idle word they must iustly make him, who hath made himselfe accounta­ble for euery haire. Now as I had sufficient reason, why these cords of vanitie should not draw me the faster on, so it stands me as much vpon on the other side, to demonstrate for your satisfaction, that it is a cause of great impor­tance, and no bad, base, or by end that drawes me backe. God himselfe can witnesse with my consci­ence, that it is no excuse for negligence, or pretence for idlenesse, as if, with Sa­lomons sluggard,Prou. 6.9. & 10. I did on­ly [Page 27] desire a little more sleepe; and a little more folding of the hands; or that like that drowsie shep­heard (so famoused a­mongst the Poets for an af­ternoones nap of 57. years long) did intend to sleepe out my life here in the Vni­versitie, as in a caue, or set vp my rest (as Tullie did his felicitie after his turmoiles) in vacatione rerum omnium: Cicer. de Orat. and like Is [...]achar, seeing the rest good, and the land pleasant, to sit me downe betweene my burthens: so that, as one buried aliue, there should want nothing but Senocas epitaph passing by the house of a sluggish [Page 28] citizen,Epist. ad Luc. Hìc situs est Vatia; here lies one that only ser­ued to make one, qui nulla re alia nisi otio notus consenuit, only by keeping tale of the many yeares of his age, & standing, grew old, & died. For such a life, if it be any thing, at the best it is but as Pyndarus prizes it; a shadow, a dreame: such a bodie, but the soules se­pulchre; and such a soule fit for nothing but to em­balme a carcase, and keepe it from putrefaction. But though such be the quiet, contented, and pleasing life we lead here in the V­niuersitie (which from the pleasant situation thereof [Page 29] hath long since wonne the surname of Bellositum) such indeed (that I may borrow the Italians proverbe of Venice) that he who hath not seene it, and liued in it, cannot prise it (marrie he that liues there, it costs him deare) though such, I say, be the content I find here, that had I liued ne­uer so many yeares, yet (according to the epitaph of that noble Romane,Aul. Gell. who dying old, professed he had beene long indeed, but liued onely seauen yeares, which free from the seruice of the Court, he had past quietly at his countrie farme,) I might [Page 28] [...] [Page 29] [...] [Page 30] well number the daies of my life onely from the time I beganne my studie here, and iustly blesse the meanes thereof, as farre as euer Augustine did his freinds liberalitie stray­ning themselues to main­taine him at the Vniversi­tie of Carthage:Confess. [...]b. 4. yet farre be it from me to make that quiet, and content, which God hath giuen but as meanes for the furthering of better ends, my vtmost end: or as (if I were in my proper place, where each bodie is quiescent) to set vp my rest, and make me a Tabernacle here. No; man (I know) was expul­sed [Page 31] paradise to labour, and not to make himselfe ano­ther paradise elsewhere for ease, and pleasure: And as farre doe I wish from our Vniuersitie all such priests as sacrifice here to Vacuna, the goddesse of idlenes,Alex. ab Alex. as her Temple was remooued out of the gates of Rome. For mine owne part, as fearefull, and as breefe as the trumpe of iudgement alwaies sounded in Saint Hieromes cares, is Saint Pauls woe euer before mine eyes,Epist. 1. Cor. 9.16. if I preach not the Gospel: and when I leaue my diligence in my calling, or loue my ease, or pleasure more then that; [Page 32] nay,Ps. 137.6. if I preferre not Sion in all my mirth, then God do so to me, and more, and leaue me likewise, as in­deed vnlesse he leaue me, I cannot leaue his seruice. For (according to that rea­son, which that glorious Martyr gaue the Tyrant, why he could not choose, but alwaies remember the name of Iesus) it is written in my heart, it cannot out. And therefore I will gladly make the Prophets contes­tation my owne, Let my right hand forget that little skill it hath, when I forget Gods seruice; yea, let my tongue cleaue to the roofe of my mouth,Ps. 137.5. and forget to [Page 33] speake, when it forgets to speake of thy word and te­stimonies. But though this ease and quiet hath not had power to captiuate me, yet peradventure I stand off, as ashamed of the Gospel of Christ Iesus, repenting me of my choise, as if, like De­mas, I could be content to forsake the Ministerie, and follow the world. No; I shall euer magnifie my cal­ling, as my crowne, & my reioycing, and thinke my selfe much more bound to giue thankes to almightie God in this behalfe, then Plato, because he was made a Grecian, rather then a Barbarian: And so farre e­uer [Page 34] was I from Hercules crosse-way,Cicer. Tusc. qu. to demur and debate the matter, that as if this one thing were ne­cessarie I euer minded,Luk. 10.41. and intended it alone; and how­soeuer in other things I wish to put off childishnes, and grow in wisedome as in yeares: yet shall I neuer be ashamed in this behalfe, stil to thinke, as when I was a child: but rather it shall be my daily prayer (as it was Gods for the Israelites when their heart was right) that the same heart be euer in me,Deut 5.29. and for euer so affected to my calling. But happily as the loueli­nesse thereof hath allured [Page 35] me, so the difficultie ther­of now deterreth me, and the greatnes of the charge, beeing as one tearmes it, Onus Angelicis humeris for­midandum, Chrysost. such a burden that the angels themselues would tremble to vndergo it, doth so discourage mee, that with Gedeons faint souldiers,Iudg 7. for feare I desire to be dismissed from this warfare, and beeing called to so great a charge, like feareful Saul seeke to lurke, and avoide so troublesome a function.1. Sam. Indeede if I thought it enough to pre­tend authorities, as that Braggadochian said,Ter▪ [...]un. hee would be with them paulò [Page 36] post principia, after the fraie was well begunne, and the worst past: and good reason why, for fecerunt Herules & Pyrrhus; I haue presidents inough before me to coun­tenance my weakenes, and fearefulnesse. For Moses thrice refused,Exod. 3. and excused himselfe, euen till God was angrie:Ezek. 3.14. Ezechiel, for all God so laboured to streng­then and confirme him; yet went vnwillingly, yea in bitternesse, and indignati­on of his spirit;Ion. 1. and Ionas directly turned his backe, & fled an other way. How many of the Fathers, whilst they tooke counsel with flesh and blood, withdrew [Page 37] their hāds from the Lords plough.Paul. in vi­ta Ambr. This made Am­brose hide himselfe, and three times flie from Mil­laine, and when he was mi­raculously brought backe (after he had trauelled all night, finding himselfe in the morning but at an o­ther gate of the same citie) though one of singular in­tegritie, he sought to de­fame himselfe, to trie if by any means he might avoid this pastorall charge. This drove Gregorie Nazianzene to flie againe and againe to the studie of Philosophie:In eius vi­ta à scipso scripta. And this caused S. Augu­stinePossido. to absent himselfe from Churches where pa­stors [Page 38] were wanting, and e­uen to weepe, when (taken vnawares) he was to be or­dered, and to deprecate the Episcopall function (put vpon him by Valerian) in these tearmes; Quid vis? vt peream? Aug. Epist. 148. ad Val. as if it stood him as much vpon, as his life, and soules saluation came vnto. But of all, Chrysostome is most plaine in this point, Ex Ecclesiae ministris non ar­bitror multos saluari, Homil. 3. in acta Apost. transla­ting vpon Ministers that hard saying of our Saui­our, with what difficultie rich men shall be saued, be­cause of the greatnesse of their charge, and their neg­ligence therin. But though [Page 39] this difficultie haue made many so backward, that the Lord of the haruest hath been forced euen to thrust out labourers into his vin­yard; yet,Matt. 9.38. while I remem­ber nihil esse difficilius &c. sed apud Deum nihil beatius, Aug Epist. 148. in inst. &c. the one so ballanceth the other, that I professe, the difficultie thereof, though I duly waigh it, yet waighing withal, from whome and to what ende it is, it daunts me not a whit, but I rather in that respect embrace the pains and toile thereof, as those virgins in Eusebius did their martyrdom, running thereunto, tanquam ad nup­tias, [Page 40] as if they were to meete their bridgroomes; and digesting the greatnes of the charge (if I may compare small things with great) as that great Alex­ander plunged in a daun­gerous exploit,Quint. Curt. boasted, that he had now encoun­tred a perill parallel to the greatnes of his minde: so doe I reioyce, that in this depth I haue met with that at once, that is alone able to employ and exatiate the infinite desire and ardour of my minde, (which God alone, that is infinite, can doe, and the studie of his will) and wil aske, and cha­lenge to it selfe all my [Page 41] strength, soule,Matt. 22.37 and minde with the powers, and fa­culties thereof, which as I owe of dutie, so doe I de­stinate to Gods seruice: be­ing thereunto lessoned by S. Augustin; Ingenium, Aug. epist. pru­dentia, eloquentia sunt dona Dei: Cui meliùs seruiant, quàm ei à quo donantur, vt ita custodiantur, augeantur, perficiantur? For no more then the raine could extin­guish the fire of the sacri­fice, nor the winde breake the piller of smoake ascen­ding, no more can any dif­ficultie breake off what is destinated to Gods seruice: neither indeede (a little to varie and amplifie S. PaulsAct. 20.24. [Page 42] phrase) is my life deare vn­to me,Act. 20.24. or my paines preci­ous, so I may attaine that ende, and finish my course with ioy: Not that I con­temne, or set light by the greatnes of the charge, but rather worke it out, as a case concerning my saluati­on with feare,Phil. 2.12. and trem­bling Onely I professe that (as I shall haue occasion to say more at large) it pro­duceth this effect with me, to make me, not more co­wardly, but more caute­lous, nor so much to pre­pare for flight, as to pro­uide, and to arme my selfe the better, how to beare the brunt of the battell, and [Page 43] the heat of the day.

But howsoeuer the per­fection of this high calling hath rather attracted, then any way daunted me; yet it may be the consciousnes of mine owne infinite dis­proportioned imperfecti­ons make me (like him in the Gospel, that with a ve­rie small force was to en­counter with a far greater puissance) thus in the plain field to giue ouer: especi­ally since according to our Philosophicall axiome, there is no dealing or pro­portion at all, betweene that which is infinite andIn tersini­tum, & in­sinitum, &c. boundlesse (such as is the studie of Diuinitie) and [Page 44] what is finite, and streigh­tened within narrowe bounds (as is my small abi­litie) I haue learned of S. Augustine (whome (as he was wont to stile Tertulli­an) I willingly call my ma­ster) that he,Prolog. in lib. Retr. who cannot hold the first place of wise­dome, should yet hold the second place of Modestie. And therefore I rather in­genuosly acknowledge my imperfections, then seeke to colour or couer them with Adams art, especially in compare of that tran­scendent reference, which man can no more compre­hend, then (like God) he can measure the heauens [Page 45] with his spanne; and what the most absolute men are inferiour vnto, much more am I, that am inferior to so many. But to grieue and repine at mine inabilitie, because there are many better inabled, were but an argument of an euill eye. Nay rather, as farre as Mo­ses was from grudging that others prophesied besides himselfe, who wished that all the people of the Lord might likewise prophesie;Num. 11.2 [...] so farre am I from murmu­ring at the Lords gifts, and graces elsewhere, that I heartily wish not onely those many, but euen all the Prophets & Ministers [Page 46] of the Lord were before me, for the better building vp of the bodie of Christ: and I shall euer reioyce with that worthie Lacede­monian in behalfe of his Common-wealth (after he had stood in election,Plut. but mist to be in the number of the 30. Senators) that the Church hath so many hundreds better then my selfe, in whose rank & num­ber I am not worthy to stand. And I shall euer thank amighty God, that I haue in some measure re­ceiued of his fulnes, (& am in hope yet to receiue) nei­ther can I denie but that I haue had a childs porti­on, [Page 47] yea larger then many that are euery way my bet­ters; yet as I dare promise nothing of my selfe, beeing but one of his meanest in­struments for the building of his Temple: so will I dispaire of nothing because of my weaknesse, knowing that the Lords arme is not shortned, but his abilitie still the same to perfect his power in weaknes, that the glorie may be wholy his.

And for mine own part to helpe the matter what I may, I will onely vse the wise mans soueraigne restoratiue for the repay­ring of my strength: that [Page 48] is, whereas the instrument is blunt, and dull, to put the more strength thereunto, and adde the more to my studies, and endeauours.

It is not then any bad, base, or by end, that diuerts me, neither is it a cloake for idlenesse, nor figge­leaues to couer nakednesse, that I seeke: neither is it a­ny loathing of the Manna I am to feed vpon, that takes away my stomacke, nor the narrownesse of the way, that makes me to baulk it, nor the height of my cal­ling, nor mine owne vn­worthinesse, that can sepa­rate me from Christ Ie­sus.

[Page 49]What then may be the cause of this my Fabian-like cunctation and long pausing? in a word; a due, and serious consideration of the length, breadth,Eph. 3.8. and depth of the great mystery of godlinesse, the studie of Diuinitie that I vnder­take; which I haue found right like that riuer the Fa­thers compare it vnto,Greg. wherin, though the lambe may wade, the greatest E­lephant, presuming on his owne strength, may swim, and sinke at last: such is that vnaccessible light wherein God inhabiteth, and that wisdome of God, whereof Saint Paul cries [Page 50] out,Rom. 11.33. O altitud [...], beeing vn­searcheable almost, and past finding out, at the least wise, not to be found on the suddaine, nor attai­ned vnto like Angelicall motion, in an instant, nor to be gotten like Hesiods Poetry, or Esops eloquēce, in a dreame.Preface in Lull. Let the vaine Lullists boast of the prodi­gious proficiencie of some of their sectaries, that by the rule of their great arte of Idiots, in a short time prooued excellent Clarks, and attained to the summa­ry perfection of all Artes and Sciences. And let our profound Bacon measure other wits by [Page 51] his owne, and vndertake, by his methode, to teach the three learned tongues; Latine, Greeke, and He­brew, in three daies a peice: (I would soone haue credi­ted him, if he had said so much of the three next principall tongues of our European world; the Ita­lian, French, and Spanish, whose facilitie is such, by reason of their exceeding affinitie with the Latine, that a scholler may goe ve­ry neare to attaine vnto them in the like terme of time:) It is not so in the infinite Abysse of the stu­die of Diuinitie, wherein one depth doth call vponPsal. 42.7. [Page 52] another, and now that spe­ciall inspirations are cea­sed, there is no such preco­citie, or sudden ripenes. But what Hippocrates saith of physicke (which concernes the health of the bodie) is much more true in Diuini­tie (which concernes the health of the soule,Hipp. pro­em. in A­pho.) that vita breuis, & ars longa; it is not the short span, or scantling of any mortalls life, can measure the length thereof, but euen the An­gels, and Saints in heauen, after this liues vnperfit glasse is broken, find worke enough in this diuine stu­dy, to employ themselues for all eternitie.

[Page 53]No wonder then, if all our indeauours in compare can do no more, then (ac­cording to S. Augustines vision,Possidor. in eius vita. walking by the sea side, in deepe contempla­tion of the Trinitie) as if a child with a cockle shell, should labour, by continual lauing, to empty the maine ocean sea into a little ditch, (the one, if we looke here for exact comprehension, beeing as endlesse as the other.) And though it be a fond, & ridiculous questi­on that Velleius the epicure makes in Tullie, 1. De Nat. Deor. that if God did indeed make the world, how, or whence had he fer­ramenta, & machinas, in­struments [Page 54] great enough for so great a worke: yet it may with better reason be doubted, how a mortall man can possibly frame fit instruments proportionate to the immensitie of such an immortall worke. For when all is done, (as a Phi­losopher said) all our know­ledge makes not vp the least part of our ignorance: yea, (as a father better ob­serued) our highest degree of knowledge is to professe ignorance, since what we see here,Rom. 13.12. we see but vnper­fectly, as in a glasse; these imperfect shadowes bee­ing onely conueied as it were by setting perspectiue [Page 55] glasses from so farre a di­stance, as the heauen and earth are distant.

Since then all our liues labour can attaine to little more then the alphabet and rudiments of this infi­nite studie, blame me not, if I, hauing yet scarce dipt my foote, nor gone vp to the anckles in that riuer of Ezechiel,Ezek. 47.3. be somewhat timorous how I goe fur­ther on, before I haue fa­thomed the depth thereof, and found some foord or passage. For if the greatest Orators at the Rostra, bee­ing to speake but before the people in ciuil affaires, (as Tullie often professethCic. [Page 56] of himselfe) did quake e­uery ioynt of them:Totis ar­tubus con­tremisco. and (ac­cording to the Poet, Lug­dunensem rhetor dicturus ad aram Palluit, vt nudis qui pressit calcibus anguem) were so appalled, as if they wal­ked among snakes, because they ventured in triall the extreame hazard of their fame, & credit for euer af­ter: how much more ought we to feare,2. Cor. 2.17. and tremble, standing in his Temple, the place where his ho­nour dwelleth, and spea­king in the sight of God, Men, and Angels. And therefore I thinke, I haue the same reason to borrow respite, as that Philosopher [Page 57] had to deferre his resoluti­on from day to day of Hie­roes question concerning God,Tull. l. 1. de nat. Deor. because the further I goe, and the more I thinke of these Diuine mysteries, the more difficulties I meet withall. I must confesse in­deede, there was a time heretofore, when dulce bel­lum inexperto, I thought I might with as great facili­tie promise, and performe a sermon, as I had done heretofore a declamation: but as while the sun shines not, the house seemes cleare, but the sunne-beames once shining in at the windowes, so thicke of motes, and dust, that it hath [Page 58] gained a prouerbs place to make comparison of thick­nes thereunto: so now (& not before) that I am a lit­tle inlightened, and en­tred, I see those wants and imperfections, that before in the shadow of Philoso­phie I neuer dreamed of, and those difficulties I heretofore did little thinke of. Indeed if I could con­tent my selfe with a per­functorie performance as many doe, it may be, little ado would serue the turne: but I dare not so take vp my rest, when as my very soule and eternall life is at stake and pawne vpon it; fully perswading my selfe, [Page 59] that if my paines exceed not the complementall formalitie of these Phari­sies,Calvin. in Exod. 30 [...]3. & Gen. 23.15. I shall neuer come to the kingdome of heauen. Wherefore as the shekel of the Sanctuarie (as inter­preters do gather from di­uers passages of Scripture) was double to the commō shekel: so doe I well per­ceiue, that double paines, and space, to that I hereto­fore bestowed in my other studies of Phosophie, and humanitie, is requisite to sanctifie me for the Lords Sanctuarie: and howsoeuer it may be faultie in other ciuill, and worldly affaires, which Apelles was wont [Page 60] to reprehend in curious Protogenes,Plin. l 35. Quòd manum de tabula continere non potuit, thinking it neuer perfect e­nough; yet in Diuinitie, Zeuxis reason will answer any that is reasonable,Plut. Diu pingo, quia pingo immortali­tati, that as he was wont to be long a drawing, because he desired so to drawe, that it might last for euer: so in this diuine studie, we must haue the longer leaue to li­mate the lineaments of our portraicts, because the im­presses we make, are to hold their impression for al eternitie. Experience tea­cheth vs, that euery triuiall mechanick trade, doth ask [Page 61] at least seauen yeares ap­prentiship, or learning (for so the French word sig­nifieth) and that so much more time is allotted to each worke, by how much the worke is more exqui­site; how then can they be excused, that so farre abase the valuation hereof, (as though there were no dif­ference betweene prophe­sying, and selling doues in the Temple) and in stead of polishing the corner stones of the Temple, for hast, daube it vp with vn­tempered mortar.

I feare, I confesse, the woe of such negligent workmen; and feare with­all, [Page 62] I should prooue no bet­ter, did I like those hot-spurres, vnripe and vnrea­dy as I am, make so suddain an adventure. For as those captiue kings said of Gede­ons young, and therefore vnwarlike son, Such as the man is, such is his strength: no wonder, if as young Dauid I cannot yet march in compleat armour, nei­ther yet vpon the strength of a little meat dare Eliah­like vndertake so great a iourney, neither yet in this weakenes venture (in pub­like) into the open aire to my further danger, but ra­ther keepe close within, till I growe the stronger.

[Page 63]There was fiue yeares si­lent hearing enioyned a Pythagorist for the lear­ning of his symbolls,Laert. and therefore with safety may I a while awaite like Elihu vpon the words of the an­cient, thereby to aspire to the knowledge of our chri­stian mysteries. And in­deed our Vniuersities hath well prouided in this case, calling none to publique course of preaching till he be of fowre yeares stāding Master of arts: which au­thoritie though it might iustly sway me, since when we proceede we are bound by a formall oath to keepe the customes,Tu iurabis, &c. as well as the [Page 64] statutes and priuiledges of the Vniuersitie; yet haue I also a greater authoritie then that for my warrant, euen that of our Sauiour, (to passe the like example of Iohn Baptist his Coeta­nean,Luk. 2. born the same yeare) who beeing the wisedome of his Father, in whome is the fulnesse of all graces, so that he could aswell haue preached at twelue yeares old, as haue disputed with Doctors: yet because it was the maner of the Iew­ish synagogue, (grounded vpon the example of Io­seph,Ioseph. antiq. that came to his au­thoritie, and of Dauid, that came to his kingdome at [Page 65] those yeares) not to pro­fesse, or teach publikely be­fore that age, vndertooke not the charge of a Priest, or Prophet, till he were thirtie yeares of age, as all Comments gather out of Saint Lukes computation. Whereupon S. Gregorie makes an excellent colle­ction fitting my purpose, Redemptor noster in coelis, Gregor. de curâ Past. part. 3. c. 26 Do­ctor Angelorū, ante tricennale tempus noluit fieri doctor ho­minū, vt praecipitanti vim sa­luberrimā timoris incuteret, cùm ipse qui labi non poterat, perfectae vitae gratiā non nisi perfecta aetate praedicaret; whose actions I euer held for instructions, and here­in [Page 66] his example a perfect lawe, in so much that I am emboldened to commence my suit (being the like with his) in the same tearmes, that my Master (S. Augu­stine I meane) hath taught and done before me,Possidor. who (as Possidorus his scholler witnesseth) soone after he was vnexpectedly ordered, called by good old Valerius Bishop of Hippo (a man of great sanctitie, but inferi­our in learning) to bee his Coadiutor in his Episco­pall function (for his part out of an admiration, and high conceipt of his learning, though as him­selfe confesseth, at that time [Page 67] hee was set to guide the sterne, before he knewe how to handle the oare) with such incredible vehe­mencie, earnestnesse, and importunitie (euen with the same that Paul adiureth Timothie before God,2. Tim. 4 1. and beefore the Lord Iesus Christ, that shall iudge the quicke and dead at his ap­pearing) doth beseech and implore Valerius; Obsecro te per veritatem & seuerita­tem Christi, per misericordi­am & iudicium eius, per eum qui tantam tibi inspirauit charitatem erga nos; and a­gaine, ipsam charitatem & affectum imploro, for which he professeth he had made [Page 68] great suit by friends before time,Seneca. magni e­mit. qui precatur. impetrare volui per fra­tres, & nunc per has literas volo; but what is it that he would buy so dearely, with all these importunate prai­ers? a matter, surely hee thought highly concerned him (and therefore out of his iudgement I haue rea­son to thinke it also greatly concernes my selfe) all is for this in conclusion, vt miserearis mei & concedas mihi ad hoc negotium quan­tum rogaui tempus: ad finem Epist. pre­dict. (as seemes by the circumstan­ces about a yeares respite) S. Augustine might well think this inough for him, and hath herein also said e­nough [Page 69] for me, his case be­ing an Idea, and sampler of mine owne. But least rely­ing vpon bare authorities I incurre Socrates censure of the Sophisters of his time, whom (because when they knew not how to tell their owne tales, they vsed onely to cite others autho­rities) he compared to idi­ots, that making a feast, are glad to send for fidlers in, because they knowe not o­therwise how to entertaine the time with plausible dis­course of their owne: I wil also interpret his minde, and mine in myne owne phrase.

To vse then a little vari­ation, [Page 70] my suite in effect is the same with his to redeeme time (or (as in some of our stricter col­ledges, wher there is large allowance of al things saue vacant time) to borrowe a few dayes) and (according to that excellent counsell our Sauiour at his depar­ture, gaue his Disciples to tarrie at Ierusalem) to keep here at the Vniuersitie, till I shall finde my selfe indu­ed with power from aboue, and furnished with gifts meete for so high a calling; least shewing my selfe a­broad before riper yeares, and endowments sutable, some more auncient taxe [Page 71] me, as Eliab did Dauid his younger brother,1. Sam. 17.28, 29. Quare ve­risti? ego noui tuam superbi­im & nequitiam cordis tui, since I cannot reply as Da­uid did, Quid feci? nun­quid non verbum est? Ha­uing prooued my cause, which I hope will prooue allowable, tending to no other end, but (with him, who by deliberate delaies & staies wearied Hannibal and reestablished the rui­nated estate of Rome) cunctando rem restituere, to strengthen and enable my weaknesse by a little staie: that so (to passe the Poor Virgil, Quātum vertice, &c.) I may according to our Sa­uiours [Page 72] description of good seed in good ground, by taking deeper root, bring forth better fruit; and ha­uing according to the first, and best course of nature, an euening and a morning for my daie, an euening for contemplation, rest, & repose, and a morning, for labour, and exercise, I may in the one, make my waxe, and combe, and in the o­ther, bring honie to the hiue, in the one, gather my stubble, and in the other, make vp my full tale of bricke; in the one, by my priuate meditations (as Moses in the wildernesse) learne to feed my flocke; in [Page 73] the other, beeing sent with Moses, call the children of Gods spirituall Israel from the flesh-potts of Egypt, their concupiscible bodies, to the land which flowes with milke, and hony; from the bondage of their spi­rituall Pharaoh, to the glorious liberty of the sons of God. And you, seeing the fruits of my labours (whome next God I euer willingly remember, and thankefully acknowledge, both the plantors, and wa­terers thereof) may there­by be induced to giue mee your blessing, and there­withall your hearty praiers to almightie God, that it [Page 74] please him so to encrease in mee his spirituall graces, that I may still go forward from grace to grace, and from vertue to vertue, till I become a perfect man in Christ Iesus.

His meditation vp­on the Calling of the Mi­nisterie at his first insti­tution vnto it.

I Know my vncleane hands, O God, are not fit to carrie thy Arke, or touch those things that are hallowed, and consecrate vnto thee, my polluted lippes most vnworthy to take thy name into my mouth. What am I that I should speake vnto my Lord, by prayer, from my [Page 76] selfe, and others, and yet liue, much lesse speak from my Lord, by his word, vn­to others to make them liue in thee? yet since it hath pleased thee to call mee, standing idle in the market-place, and atten­ding the vanities of this world so early into the vin­yeard, it behooueth mee to labour, and willingly to beare the heate of the day, and gladly (while the light of the Gospel lasteth) to doe the worke of my hea­uenly Father, the workes of light. It is a burden, in­deed, that I vndergoe, but thine, O Christ, and there­fore light, and easie; it is [Page 77] a yoake, but thine, and therefore sweete. Much more blessed are thine, then the Seruants of Salo­mon, much more blessed, since in this Ministerie the heauenly Angels are their Seruants: not vnto vs, not vnto vs, Lord, but vnto thy name giue the glorie; thou art still the same gra­tious God, that shewest grace vnto the humble, and callest Publicans, and sin­ners, and poore silly soules (such as weare thy fisher­men) vnto thee, because thou art able to get thee praise out of the mouthes of verie babes, and suck­lings, and euen of stones [Page 78] to raise thee vp children: and with the follie of thine to confound the wisedome of the world, let my soule therefore euer magnifie thy holy name, because thou hast ruised mee out of the dust to stand before thee, and hast shewed mee the light of thy counte­nance, and let mine eyes see thy saluation. To be a seruant of Seruants was once a curse, but to be a seruant of one of thy ser­uants, is one of the highest blessings; thou thy selfe beeing Lord of all, deig­ning to serue thy Seruants, washing their feete, and it beeing an office wherein [Page 79] thy blessed Angels doe re­ioyce. But howsoeuer it is an honourable calling, yet it is vnto thee a seruice, and not vnto ease, or plea­sure. Those that are in Princes Courts may goe in soft rayment, and liue at their ease, but not so they that serue in thy Courts, O Lord. Thy selfe didst begin thy preaching with a fast of fourtie daies, and didst enioyne to all that did fol­low thee to leaue all earth­ly pleasures, which toge­ther with the world, they were to forsake, & in stead thereof to take vp thy crosse, that so thy members maybe conformable vnto [Page 80] their head. Men are all borne to labour, as a spark to flie vpwards, it is a curse that followed mans fall: but to labour in thy vine­yard, is a blessing follow­ing mans repayring, and redemption to keepe and dresse thy Paradise, thy in­closed garden, as it was A­dams charge, in the happie estate of his innocencie, so is it now the Ministers, af­ter the happie restoring thereof. Thy vineyard laie desolate, and the wild bore of the forrest spoyled it; but thou hast new digged, planted, and hedged it, and built a Tower therein, and thou hast set it forth at a [Page 81] price to thy Ministers to be the Keepers thereof; wherefore if it yeeld thee not the fruit, or doe not well entreate thy seruants, or suffer it to grow wast, they can looke for no other but to be cast thence out of thy paradise. Not without a cause did thy seruants re­ioyce that they were thought worthy to suffer for thy sake, and thy Mar­tyrs gladly shed their blood for the seed of thy Church, and to water what thou hadst planted. Thy first grace to thy seruant Paul, after thou hast chosen him for a vessell of thine hon­our, was to shew him what [Page 82] great things he should suf­fer for thy sake, as thou hast done before for ours: but, alas, let vs doe what we can, or suffer whatsoe­uer we are able for Christs sake, yea though we should laie downe our liues for him, or his sheepe, as hee for vs, and them, yet weare we but vnprofitable ser­uants. Neuerthelesse as blessed were the pappes that gaue thee suck, so bles­sed also are those, whom thou hast made the Nour­ces of thy Church to giue them meate in due season: blessed the wombe that bare thee, and so that which beares thy children: [Page 83] the wombe indeed that bare the Lord was deliue­uered without paine or la­bour; but thy children must be borne with la­bour, and trauell, and the Ministers are as it were daily to trauaile in birth with such as are begotten by them vnto thee, but they soone forget their tra­uaile, and reioyce, so that children be borne vnto thee, and thou makest them fruitfull, and takest away the reproach of their bar­rennesse.

I know, Lord, I am no more able to doe the ser­uice, then thou hast need [Page 84] of my seruice, and yet since it hath pleased thee, thogh all-sufficient, and all-pow­erfull of thy selfe, to vse the weake things of this world as thine instruments thereby the more to mani­fest thy power, able to worke by the most vnlikely meanes, I humbly, and willingly yeeld my selfe (as if I were euen nowe in thi [...]e hands new to be fra­med, and created) as clay to the hands of the Potter, to be made whatsoeuer vessel, either of honour, or dishonour, (yea though it weare to be an Anathema) to thy seruice. For now [Page 85] that I haue [...] my hand to the plough for the tilling of that good ground, wherein the seed of thy word is to be sowne, I may not looke backe to Sodome, to the world, whence thou hast called mee, but wholy intend the worke thou hast set me to doe. Thy seruants must know they are vnder a Taskmaster (though a righteous one, vnlike those of Egypt) that will duely, and daily exact their work of them, and see that ha­uing straw giuen them, they make bricke for the building of thy house, and multiplie the Talents com­mitted vnto them. And [Page 86] now there is a woe for me, if I preach not the Gospel, and that sincerely; not can I (vnlesse I will be worse then Baalim) for a world goe farther, then thy holy word will war­rant mee. Graunt, O Lord, that my delight be wholy in thy word, that I may thinke alwaies I therein heare thee speaking, and as thy sheepe, knowing thy voice, may follow the sheapheard of my soule whether soeuer hee call mee.

O let not the booke of thy holy word, I beseech thee, be a sealed book vnto mee, but thou that hast the [Page 87] key of Dauid, the Lambe that art onely found wor­thie to open it, vnfold it, and giue me an vnderstan­ding heart, (which, aboue all things, hauing vnderta­ken so great a charge, I de­sire with Salomon) that I may be a right dispenser of thy holy word, and go out and in before thy people. For I knowe, Lord, they which will preach in thy name, if thou send them not, and assist them, are but like those, who, without authority from thee, would cast out deuils in thy name, which prevailed against them: yea euen those whom thou hast called, and set a­part [Page 88] to thy ministerie, if they do not wel, and abide in thee, and thou in them, the deuill will enter into them, as he did into Iudas, and make them the sonnes of perdition tenne times worse thē before. Giue me grace therefore first to di­rect mine owne wayes ac­cording to the dictat of thy holy Spirit, and word, that beginning with my selfe, and so speaking out of the treasure, and abundance of my heart, and knowing the things which belong to sal­uation, I may be blessed, if I doe them: let me first worke out myne owne sal­uation with feare, & trem­bling, [Page 89] and so saue both my selfe, and others, least o­therwise I be beaten with many stripes: First, O Christ, make the vessel newe, make me a new man, and then put in new wine, turne thou my water to wine. And because thy Mi­nisters are as the eies of thy mysticall, and militarie bo­die (for as thou art the light of thē, so they are the light of the world) O let there be no beames in their eyes, who are to be eyes to the blind; but make their verie feete to shine as the starres in the firmament, make them conuert many to righteousnesse, and bee­ing [Page 90] first guided by thee, the bright morning starre, let them become themselues starres also (though shining in the night, and with thy beames) to guid, and direct others to the house of the Lord, that so hauing found the Messias, they may, wi [...]h the wise men, noise it a­broad, and cause others, as Philip did Nathaniel, to come & see. O make them lampes to burne alwaies before thee in thy Temple, willing euen to consume themselues to giue light vnto thy house, and readie beeing set on fire, as it were in a burnt offering spend themselues for thine, and [Page 91] thy Churches seruice; and let me, the least of them all, finde grace with my Lord, to see my candle also ligh­tened by the Father of lights, and so set it in thy Temple, not suffering it at any time to be remooued out of the Candlestick; but in thy mercie as thou didst encrease the widowes oile, all the time of the famine; so also increase thy grace in my lampe, that it may, with the wise virgins, be found burning, and shining at the comming forth of the Bridegroome, and so I re­ceiued into the rest of my Master. Guide the Armie of thy Ministers with thy [Page 92] principall spirit, O Lord, & lead them out of Egypt with a stretched out arme, that all the powers of dark­nesse, bandied especially to assault them, preuaile not against them. It is Sathans desire to grinde and win­nowe them, to make the watchmen of thy holy city to sleepe, that so it may be betraied. Out of his hatred to thee, he seekes most to persecute these, whome thou hast set in thy stead, that the light of thy Tem­ple beeing extinguished, and put out, and their Candlesticks remooued, he may walke himselfe in the darke, and that their eies [Page 93] beeing darkened, the bodie blinded, may fall into his pits, and snares. Thou ther­fore, O God, goe forth with our Armies vnto bat­tell, the cause is thine, set bounds vnto the raging sea, that it ouerflow not thy holy Land.

And now, Lord, since I am come into thy seruice, and haue left all to followe thee, let me neuer leaue thee to followe any other thing. For as thou couldst neuer haue chosen a worse seruant, so shall I neuer find so good a Master, or meet with such a seruice, it bee­ing fit onely, indeede, for thy heauenly Angels: but [Page 94] because it hath pleased thee (as that King) to set earthē vessels among the golden ones of thy Temple, there­fore as euerie creature, e­uen the silly worme doth striue to doe the seruice, in his kind, and order, so a­mong the vnworthiest of them, doe I present my humble seruice vnto thee, and knowing not what o­ther thanks to render thee, who hast made me fellow-seruant with thy Angels, (that are ministring spirits, sent for the good of thy choosen) I will euen render thy grace vnto thy glorie, and ioyfully yeeld vp my selfe, and my soule, which [Page 95] thou hast so graciously ac­cepted, vnto the hands of my faithful redeemer: there is nothing worthy to haue part with thee, nothing shal vsurpe thy right in me, or robbe thee of thine ho­nour. Though, O Lord, it is not I that doe, or can do thee seruice. It is thou, that seruest thy selfe by me, as by an instrument: I haue not so much as moouing of my selfe, it is thou that workest in me both the wil and the power. I am of my selfe but a iarring instru­ment, quite out of tune: it is thou that tunest me, and makest what soeuer musique, and harmonie is [Page 96] in mee, that so I, among the rest of the Leuites, might with ioy, and mirth helpe to bring home thine Arke vnto Hierusalem, that is aboue. I haue nothing that I can call properly mine owne, but my sinnes, weakenesse, and imperfe­ctions, and wretchednesse: whatsoeuer is else in mee more then these, is thine O God, of thy free gift, and grace, and therefore bound vnto thy seruice.

A meditation vp­on the first of the seauen paenitentiall Psalmes of Dauid.

Psalm. 6. vers. 1.

O Lord rebuke me not in thine Indignation, neither chastice mee in thy displea­sure.

I Require not, O Lord, that thou rebuke mee, or chastice mee not at all: it beeing the prerogatiue [Page 98] of thy children here in this world to be chastened, and punished for their sinnes, whereas thou sufferest the wicked, without troubling, to heape vp wrath against the day of wrath, till they haue filled vp the measure of their iniquitie. My sinnes, I know exact cha­sticement, onely I desire that thou correct mee in thy mercie, not in thine anger, as a sonne, not as a bastard, with the correcti­on of thy Israel, not with the plagues of Egypt, to a­mendment, not destructi­on, to the humbling, not the hardening of my heart, to my comfort, not confu­sion: [Page 99] that thou reaching out thy helping hand, as thou didst to Peter, when he was sinking, I be not o­uerwhelmed in the waters of temptation, or as the burning bush, or three children, be not consumed in the fire, and furnace of affliction: but that they may be to mee as the whale to Ionas, not to swallow, but to preserue, and to my sinnefull soule as salt to tainted flesh, to keepe it from putrefaction. Set bounds, O Lord, to the raging seas, that they o­uerflow not, and put thy bridle, and hooke into the mouth of the beast, that it [Page 100] deuoure not the heart of the Turtle. If thou rebuke in thy wrath, who can beare it, if thine anger be kindled, yea but a little, who can stand before thee, if thou but touch the mountaines, must they not smoake for it? The least breath of thy displeasure is able to blast all the beau­tie of the world, and as a word of thy mercie made all, so a word of thine an­ger is able to destroie all. How glad would they be, that beare the insupporta­ble burthen of thine anger, if in exchaunge thereof, the mountaines would fall vpon them, and the hills [Page 101] couer them. Oh how light a load are the greatest mountaines in comparison of thy least heauie displea­sure? At the day of thy wrath the heauens shall be rowled vp as a peece of parchment, the starres fall from the firmament, the moone be turned into blood, and the sunne dark­ned: then, Lord, who am I withwhom thou shouldst be angrie, or what is flesh and blood, what seely man that thou shouldest striue with him? Turne the edge of thy wrath, O Lord, a­gainst those principalities, and powers of darknesse, that resist thee from vs [Page 102] poore soules, that submit our earthen vessells euen to be broken in peeces by the Potter that made vs. O thou Lion of the Tribe of of Iudah, spare them that lie prostrate before thee▪ and pardon vs, if not thy punishment, yet thine an­ger: then if thou killest vs, we shall loue thee, and in death it selfe remember thee, in the pit giue thee thankes.

Vers. 2.
Haue mercie vpon me, Lord, for I am weake; O Lord heale me, for my bones are vexed.

O God, whose mercie is thy greatest glorie, [Page 103] and whose glorie, and power is most seene in mans weaknesse, and frail­tie (as wherein there is no other power seene) let not thy invincible strength striue with so weake an ad­versarie, as an arme of flesh; wrastle not, O God, with thy poore seruant (as with Iacob) vnlesse (as vnto him) thou chaunge his name to Israel, and giue him the blessing of preuai­ling with God. For, O Lord, thy yron rodde, if it, as that of Moses, he turned into a serpent, would soone deuoure ours, and if our earthen vessells should en­counter with thine, stron­ger [Page 104] then brasse, how can they escape breaking, must not our weake ships, if, dri­ven with the tempest of thine anger, they fall vpon that rocke of thine, be needs grinded into their owne elements of dust. Therefore be mercifull vn­to mee, O Lord, because I am weake. The strong will arrogate the glorie to themselues, and say, by the strength of their owne arme they haue gotten themselues the victorie, but in shewing mercie to the weake, not vnto them, but vnto thy name thou giuest glorie. For there are none so reprobate, but in [Page 105] thy mercie to the weake, they will confesse that it is the finger of the Lord. Let not then the sun-shine of thy grace go downe in thy wrath, but refresh, and re­leeue a pore Lazar, a weak fainting soule, lying beg­ging at the doore of thy rich mercie, and desiring to be satisfied but with the crummes, that fal from thy heauenly table, with the least (if any little) of thy graces. For thy least grace (as those fiue loaues) is a­ble to suffice thousands, as thy least anger (if thy mer­cie should not meete and kisse it) were enough, as an other deluge, to ouer­whelme [Page 106] the whole world. That is the two-edged sword, that pierceth the very bones, and diuideth vnto the marrow; so that for selfe-guiltines, and hor­rour therof, my very bones are vexed, and euen that small strength I had pow­red out, as water, vpon the ground. It is only the pow­ring out of thy bowels of compassion, that can ga­ther me vp againe, onely the soueraigne hand of thy mercie, that can heale the wounds, wherewith the se­uere hand of thy iustice hath so deepely impierced me.

[Page 107]Vers. 3.
My soule is also sore troubled, but Lord how long wilt thou pu­nish?

IF thy lightning▪ O Lord, had onely ceazed on my bones, and had not past my bodily sheath, and entred into my soule, my spirit (like a faithfull companion) should haue giuen some rest to my earthly taberna­cle, and helpt to heale my infirmitie: but a wounded spirit in a bruised, and bro­ken bodie, who can beare? Thou hast melted my very soule within mee, the ve­nime of thine arrowes hath drunke vp my spirits: so [Page 108] that now both my bodie is vexed, because my soule hides it selfe from his com­fort, and because thou hi­dest thy face, my soule is troubled. And in what waters doth that Behemoth delight to drinke, but in such as are most troubled, who nowe (like a cunning fisher) hath laid his baites, and hooks in euery part of my soule, while I in these troubled waters am not a­ble to discerne or discouer them: but since thou hast sent thine Angel, O Lord, (as into the poole of Bethes­da) to trouble the waters, and they are gone ouer my soule; and my bodie (with [Page 109] Ionas) is cast into the tem­pest, O let me come out in thy good time, whole, and recured of all my infirmi­ties, let the tempest of thine anger be at lēgth appeased. How long shall my sacrifi­ced soule vnder this altar of flesh, wherein it hath been so long crucified, cry vnto thee; how long Lord holy, and true, before thou wilt heare the voice and a­uenge the cause of our mar­tyred spirits, iustly com­plaining against the men of the earth, our earthly ly members? Thine answer is, but for a little season: but euen a little time, O Lord, semeth long without thee, [Page 110] and as a thousand yeares is but a day with thee, so a day is as a thousand yeares without thee. But is this a question for me, who can make no ende of sinning, to aske, when thou wilt be pleased to make an ende of thy punishment? May not thy answer be to me iustly the same with that of Iehu to sinfull Ahabs motion of peace: what hast thou to doe with peace, as long as the iniquities of Iesabel, nay farre worse, remaine in thee? True Lord, if thou still looke on me with the eie of thy iustice, (which is as those eies which kill, what they behold) I knowe [Page 111] thou must needes still pu­nish me, since the bow, and sword of thy iustice neuer depart emptie from the battells of the Lord against sinne, and sinners: but thou hast two eies, O God, one of Iustice, another of Mer­cie: O let thine eie of Iu­stice looke vpon the merits of thy Sonne, an obiect a­ble to delight euen that iust eie: but bend thine eie of mercie vpon the mi­series of thy seruant, that so when thy iustice hath seene my miseries made his, his merits by thy mercie, maie be made mine.

Vers. 4.
Turne thee, O [Page 112] Lord, and deliuer my soule, O saue me for thy mercie sake.

IF thou but turne thee, O Lord, and looke gra­tiously out of heauen vpon me, the powers of darke­nesse, with the shadowes of death, will at thy first fight, as at the daie breaking flie all away: but because I tur­ned from thee with my Fa­ther the first Adam by pride, and returned not vnto thee by humility with thy Sonne, the second A­dam, but would needes leaue Ierusalem to goe to Iericho, therefore am I fal­len among theeues, who [Page 113] haue spoiled and wounded me, leauing me nothing but a cureles bodie, and a carelesse soule, that sending out perpetuall streames, and issues of blood, readie presently to die: this not knowing, but denying thee his Maker, by whome one­ly it is able to liue. O if thou wouldst but turn aside with the mercifull Samaritan, or turne backe, as to the wo­man diseased with a fluxe of blood, or turne thine eie onely vpon me, as vpon Peter, my wounds should be washed, the issues of blood stopped, and my de­niall pardoned. Turne thee therefore, and remember [Page 114] Dauids troubles, O Lord. Shall the hand of little Da­uid, O thou most mightie, if a rauenous beare breake into his flocke, and steale awaie a sheepe, or if a roa­ring Lion sallie out of his denne, and rent awaie a lambe from him, be able to deliuer them both from the mouth of the beare, and the pawe of the Lion; and shalt not thou be much more a­ble to rescue the sheepe of thy fold, and lambs of thy flocke? Or is that wild beast of the wood, or that roa­ring lion, that going about hath long sought, and now, while thy face is turned a­way, hath found whome to [Page 115] deuoure (euen my dismai­ed soule) able to make grea­ter resistance against thee, then those against Dauid? Or was his Flocke dearer to him, thē thine is to thee? Or can Dauid become more mercifull, then his God? Or, if thou be that gratious God of whom Da­uid hath so often sung, that Thy mercie endureth for euer, thy mercie endureth for euer, is thy mercie come now vtterly to an end, or hast thou forgotten to be gra­tious, and shut vp thy bow­ells of compassion for euer and euer? Or what is it; is my sinne greater then it can be forgiuen, that so my [Page 116] wickednesse should exceed thy goodnesse? No, no, none of these. If David deliuered his lambe from the pawe of the beare, thou deliueredst Dauid frō the pawe of the Lion: if he loued his flocke, by which he liued, sure thou must needs loue thine for whom thou diedst; nor is it likely, that thou hast shut vp thy bowells of compas­sion, since thou hast ope­ned so large an entrance for vs in the side of thy Sonne, wherein all thy ten­der bowells of compassion are laied vp: and how can our sinnes be aboue thy mercie, when thy mercie [Page 117] is aboue all thy workes, and and thy workes aboue all others workes, nay when our wickedst worke hath something good in it, bee­ing an action, and so done by thy vertue, but thy least goodnesse hath in it not the least euill, beeing, like the Author, ful of perfecti­on. Turne thee therefore, O Lord, and deliuer my soule, O saue me for thy mercies sake.

Vers. 5.
For in death no man will remember thee, and who will giue thee thanks in the pit?

THou, O God, art the liuing God, the God [Page 118] of the Liuing, and of the Land of the liuing. While we liue, we are bound to remember thee, & though we are worthie to die, yet death is not worthy to take away the remembrance of thee. Thy glorie, and praise ought to be eternal, as thou art. Let them not perish then, O Lord, whom thou hast created vnto that end, the most excellent ende of all things created. How fewe such swans are there, O God, who sing vnto thee in their death, and perish­ing how fewe that will re­member thee, with Ionas, in the bellie of the whale, or with Ioseph in the pit, or [Page 119] with Daniel in the liōs den? who will not rather with Ezeckiah mourne, whē they are to goe downe into the pit, and with Iob, beeing cast downe, curse the day of their birth, and shewe themselues almost forget­full of all thy benefits; so farre will they be from gi­uing of thanks. In the pit there is mourning, and howling, and gnashing of teeth, but the voice of the Turtle, and the singing of birds is not heard there, the ioyfull shout of a King is not heard among them. It belongeth vnto the Fol­lowers of the Lambe, in that euerlasting Sabbath, [Page 120] and Iubile to sing perpetu­all halleluias, and to cast downe their crownes be­fore thy throne, and to giue thanks, glory, and honour vnto him that sitteth ther­upon: and yet it belongeth vnto vs also, O Lord, in what measure, and propor­tion we are able, to doe thy will on earth euen as­well, though not so well as it is done in heauen. O let not Isaac onely, but euen Ismael liue in thy sight: let vs sinners also liue, and not goe downe altogether in­to the chambers of death; not because we are worthy but to glorifie thy holy name. For the confession [Page 121] of Sinners, as of thine ene­mies, is most glorious.

Vers. 6.
I am wearie of my groanings, euery night wash I my bed, and water my couch with teares.

DId holy David, a man after Gods owne heart, feele the hand of him, whose heart he so wel pleased, so angrie with him, that euen in the night season, when others eyes quietly reposed them­selues, his flowed so abun­dantly with teares, as if he would haue washed both [Page 122] his eies, and bed, (the places where his Adulterie beganne, and ended) from the defilement of his sin? Oh then why should I be wearie of my groanings? For what teares will serue to wash out my Leopard spots, or cleanse my Ethio­pian hew? If I had a foun­taine running in my head, with Ieremie, to make vp lamentations, yet weare it all too little; but I, as if the verie fountaine were dried vp, am become har­der then the rocke in the wildernesse stricken with Moses rod: for that gushed out with abundance of wa­ters, whereas I shed no [Page 123] teares when the Lord stri­keth. Thy seruant, O Lord, is a suiter for euerie plant, which thy heauenly Fa­ther planteth, because it shall neuer be rooted vp a­gaine: but let all thy plants O God, be watered with the teares of repentance, and then they will be fruit­full indeed, and bring forth euen an hundred folde. They are the most accep­table drinke-offering vnto thee, and more pleasing then if riuers of oyle were powred out before thee. These doe, as it were anew baptise vs in Christ Iesus, and wash away the filth of our flesh, as the wa­ters [Page 124] of Iordan did Naamans leprosie, or as those waters of Bethesda, which, when they were troubled, euery one knew there was an Angel in them, and that some cure should presently be wrought. No water so precious, and of such ver­tue, as teares distilling from a repenting heart; it hol­deth the next place to the water of life, and is as the water powred out vpon Elias sacrifice, which was consumed with fire from heauen, or as a heauenly dewe retourning thither from whence it fell, and falling downe againe in showers of grace, and mer­cie. [Page 125] To other men, and in other causes, teares are like the bitter waters of Mar­rah, but when the children of Israel, Gods children drinke thereof, they are streight-waies made sweet, and pleasant. For what if they now sowe in teares, they shall hereafter reape in ioy, and the eyes of the Spouse, that are nowe as doues eies, ouer the riuers of water, euer mourning and weeping, shall hereaf­ter, when all teares shall be wiped away from them, in­stead thereof, be filled with laughter, & anointed with the oile of gladnesse aboue all others. How oft is it [Page 126] mentioned that the teares of the godly come vp to the Lord, beeing onely their propertie, whereas al other teares doe descend, naturally to moue vpwards tovvards heauen. And in­deede though the heauens be as moulten brasse, these (much more powerfull thē the droppes of raine, whose often fall, doth hollowe, & peirce the hardest stones,) would supple, and mollifie them? We finde in com­mon calamities they moue the most obdurate heart to pittie, yea euen to a sym­pathie in our sorrowes, and one enemie forgiues ano­ther, and relents; if he seek [Page 127] it with teares: much more will they mooue the Lord to mercie, who stiles him­selfe the God of pitie and compassion. Wherefore Christ professeth himselfe wounded, and ouercome with the eies of his spouse. No water, but the teares of repentance is of force to quench the fierie darts of Sathan, and put out the flames of Hell kindled a­gainst vs. Therefore I will be no more weary of my groanings, but euery night will vvash my bed, and vva­ter my couch vvith my teares.

Vers. 7.
My beautie is [Page 128] gone for verie trouble, and worne away, be­cause of mine enemies.

ALl worldly beautie, alas, is nothing else but vanitie; what more goodly then that of the Lillie of the field? (Salo­mon is not so glorious) yet how soone it vadeth, and perisheth? but, alas, the losse of this outward beau­tie were nothing, though the sunne looke vpon mee in the heate of affliction, while I keepe thy vine­yard, I may be blacke, but comely: but my losse is of that inward beautie, wher­with thy Spouse, the faith­full [Page 129] soule, is all glorious within. I know, Lord, thou hadst once new made mee after the image of thy di­vine beautie, which all the beautie of the world can­not so much as shadow, but I haue fallen, and defa­ced it, that now it cannot be knowne whose image, and superscription it is: and now that the beautie of my flourishing is gone, what remaineth, but the old man, full of the wrin­kles, and furrowes, and frosts of Winter, so ex­ceedingly deformed, and so great a malefactor, that it is time for him now to die, and I may with iustice [Page 130] crie, Crucifie him. In this is the description of the naturall old man rightly verified in a spirituall sence. The Sunne of righteous­nesse is darkned in him, and the clouds returne af­ter the raine, one sinne af­ter an other, one mise­rie after an other:Eccl. 12. the kee­pers of the house tremble, the strong men bowe, and they waxe darke that look out of the windowes: faith is weake, hope fainteth, and charitie faileth. O graunt, O Lord, that as the Eagle reneweth her youth, I may cast off this old man, and put on the new Iesus Christ, thine, and thy Churches [Page 131] welbeloued, whose counte­nance is all white, and rud­die, the fairest of ten thou­sand, so exceeding aspecta­ble, that it is able to change this vile body, whose beau­tie is quite gone, and worn away, and make it like his glorious bodie.

Vers. 8.
Away from me all yee that worke vani­tie, for the Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping.

BEhold here how the Lord after his whirle­winde that tore all the mountains of pride in me, and burst in sunder my [Page 132] heart of rocke, commeth at length in the still, and soft voice. The Lord hath wounded, but loe he bind­eth vp againe, hee hath brought vnto the graue, & loe hee bringeth backe a­gaine. For whē my tongue failed, I spake vnto him in the silence of my soule, and when my soule fainted, mine eies flowed out with teares to speake vnto him, and loe he hath answered the request of my heart, & heard the voice of my wee­ping. Now therefore since the Lord deigneth to come vnto me in his mercie, and build vp my ruines, and dwell with mee againe, [Page 133] what haue I to do with my olde companions the wor­kers of iniquitie, shall they, and my God keepe toge­ther? or shall I entertaine my Soueraigne Lord with such houshold seruāts? no, they shal not enter into my house, or come within my roofe. Nowe the Sunne is risen, it is time these shadowes were parted a­way. For neither can thy light dwell with darkenes, nor their works of darknes abide the triall of thy light. Therefore away from me, both all ye workers, and all yee workers of vanitie. I knowe, Lord, there will be a hard parting between my [Page 134] olde pleasures, and my old heart: the syrens will sing many a sweete song, and cast many a faire looke, and weepe many a false teare, before they will part with me: but it is no matter what the Harlots do▪ since thou hast heard the voice of my weeping, I haue no­thing to doe with the voice of theirs; since my voice vttered in the bit­ternesse of my heart, was so well accepted of thee, nothing shall henceforth pleasure me, but such bitter songs, wherewith they are litle acquainted: & though I cannot cast out these Ie­busites, but they will still [Page 135] dwell with me, yet, tho­rough thy grace, I will keepe them in subiection, and if they grow insolent in my bodie, the temple of thy holy Spirit, I wil weep for their sinnes, and so, crying daily vnto thee with teares for pardon, wil make them serue me, at the least, to draw water for the house of the Lord. O that I could make an integrall separation of my self from them, and might not carrie my greatest enemies in my bosome so neere my heart, the lusts of it; but, in stead of that fountaine of death, be ioyned vnto the Fountaine of life, Christ [Page 136] Iesus, in whome there is so vnseparable an vnion be­tweene God, and man, that neither death, nor hell, no not the strongest things of this world (weake vnto thee) much lesse the wea­kest, the vanities thereof, can euer be able to separate vs from thee.

Vers. 9.
The Lord hath heard my petition: The Lord will receiue my prayer.

IT is a great grace of thee, O my Lord, to suf­fer dust, and ashes to speake vnto thee, but it is as com­mon with thee, as it is [Page 137] great. For thou sufferest many to say vnto thee, Lord, Lord, whome neuer­thelesse thou knowest not. It is a greater therefore that when we call vpon thee in the time of trouble thou wilt heare vs: and yet this also may seeme to be not so singular a mercie: for whatsoeuer is spoken, shall not he that made the eare, heare it? but so to heare our praiers, as to re­ceiue, and grant them, and then to heare the crie of our petitions, when the lowder crie of our sinnes would drowne their voice, this is a goodnes as neere vnto thy nature, as it is far [Page 138] from our desert. O how vnlike are thy eares, that are alwaies open to the re­quest of the poore, and needie, to those of the deaf Adder, that old Serpent, that stoppes his eares, and is inexorable, charme the charmer neuer so sweete? how vnlike to vs, O Lord, that (hauing eares) yet whē thou callest for our obedi­ence, haue none to heare thee, where contrariwise, thou (hauing none) when we call to thee, inclinest thine eares to heare vs. But certenly, O Lord, it is im­possible that thy iust eares should heare the praiers of such as we are: for we know [Page 139] God heareth not sinners. True Lord: and therefore thou hast got thee new eares, and least we should thinke these like thy other, hast set them euen vpon our Head Iesus Christ: with them thou hearest vs if we speak vnto thee, and our words passing through his mouth (as how can we speak vnto thee, but by our head) are set on fire by that Golden censor, and, like holy in­cense, make a sweet sauour vpon thine Altar. So that henceforth though our workes be all, like our selues, wicked, though our rough hands be the hands of Esau, yet our voice is [Page 140] Iacobs voice, and wee haue got the apparrell of our eldest brother Esau, and therefore we know that thou wilt blesse vs, we are sure thou wilt heare vs, and spare vs, though more sinnefull, then euer Sodome was. What though Abraham, Moses and Elias were now liuing, and pray­ed for vs, we are sure thou wouldst much lesse heare them for vs, then for their, and thine owne people of the Iewes: yet thou hast heard him for vs, and with­out conditioning, as with Abraham, for the sparing of Sodome, if fiftie, twentie, or ten iust men were found [Page 141] therein, hast spared vs all onely for one iust mans sake. In him therefore, with boldnesse, doe all thy Saints offer vp their gol­den vyals of odours, their prayers, before thee. For hee onely is worthy to make our prayers well-pleasing vnto thee, in whom only thou art well pleased.

Vers. 10.
All mine ene­mies shall be confounded and sore vexed, they shall be turned backe and put to shame sud­dainely.

BEhold the bountie, and seueritie of God: [Page 142] seueritie towards mine enemies, that haue fallen; bowntie towards mee, that when I, and they stood be­fore thine Altar, as the two Goats, one of vs to be sacrificed, to appease thy wrath, and as Ionas with the Marriners, in the tem­pest of thine anger, one of vs to be cast out, hast plea­sed to let the lot of the scape-goate, fall on mee, and to make them the sin-offring. Nor weart thou content, O Lord, to repaie mee good for euill, that rendered thee euill for good, but after thou hadst pardoned me thou wouldst not pardon mine enemies, [Page 143] as though thou hatest thy childrens enemies more then thine owne, and lo­uest them better then thy selfe: giuing thy selfe for them when they were thine enemies, and when we, for want of spirituall senses, had no sence of our spirituall wants, then re­deeming vs: but con­founding, and sore vexing, and suddainly turning backe, and putting to a per­petuall shame those that hate vs, and not vs, that hated thee. Now, Lord, taught by thy example, that art so good to thine enemies, and hauing thine owne word for it, I cannot [Page 144] but loue mine enemies, and pray for them, that curse mee. If it be a fault, or a folly (as the world esteemes it) thou hast taught it mee, and I would willingly erre with thee my God; it is inough for the Disciple to be as his Master is. But yet there are some of mine enemies, I confesse, that made mee first an enemie vnto thee, O Lord, whom I hate with a perfect hatred, who are growne now so ill, as they are past my prayers, and haue gone further then thy mercie will follow them, euen into the gates, and mouth of hell, that gap't so [Page 145] wide to deuoure me, with thē. O let the sword of thy Iustice be drunkē vvith the slaughter of these great, & arch-enemies of thy inno­cent, & little flock, & blessed be my Lord for carrying a­way, like Samson, the gates of hel, that they should not preuaile ouer mee, and so leading my captiuitie cap­tiue, and casting my soules enemies into the pit they had prepared for me. Ma­ny farre greater starres, and fairer lights, then, I O God, hath the taile of that dra­gon dravvne dovvne after him from heauen, & hadst not thou (to vvhom onely the fame belongeth) taken [Page 146] my cause into thine ovvne hand, I had also been vvin­novved, & caried like dust, and chaffe before the wind. Therefore, as thou hast broken these mine enimies in peices, so also scatter them, that the peices of the mangled Serpent may neuer come together a­gaine. O let not the deadly vvound of the head of the beast be healed, to make vvarre against thy Saints, and against the Lambe for euer.

His daily Sacrifice.

HOw commeth it to passe, O Lord, that thou art so mindefull of man, man beeing so forget­full of thee? Sure but that mercie is essentiall vnto thee, and thou canst as­soone forget to bee, as forget to bee gratious, it were impossible but such a man of sinnes and sor­rovves, as I am, rather a vvorme, and no man, or more truly dust, and ashes, and none of all thy liuing creatures, nothing, indeed, [Page 148] but a verie bundle of vani­tie, vanitie of vanities, should dispaire of pardon, and thinke my sinnes grea­ter then they could be for­giuen. I that haue seconded the first fall of man vvith so many fallings from thy grace, (and if that one were so powerfull to con­demne all, ah what are so many to conuince one) I that haue as often denyed thee in my deeds, as I haue sinned, and that not thrice, not seuen times, but seauē ­ty seauen times in a day. I that haue so often when thou hast by thy graces come in and lodged with me, for a vile price of base [Page 149] peasures betraied thee, I that whereas I should haue mortified the old man, and crrucified the lusts thereof, so oft haue grieued thy good spirit, and crucified the Lord of life within me, and so buried, and sealed him vp in an obdurate, and stonie heart, that it must be a great worke of thy power, and mercie to rise againe in me, and rowle a­way the stone: I that haue thus filled vp my measure of iniquitie with Sodō, how dare I with Abrahā, so often mooue the Lord for mer­cie: I that haue so often re­belled, how can I hope to be receiued again to grace, [Page 150] and pardon: I that haue no other plea, but guiltie, how dare I importune the iust iudge, vnlesse, as that wo­man did the vniust iudge, for iustice. Hath my best seruice vnto thee been bet­then theirs, who kneeling, & saluting thee, haile king of the Iewes, yet crucified thee? wherein haue my prayers, and teares been better then those, of the hypocritall Pharisies, one­ly seeming for a time, and so full of sinne, that when I haue praied for forgiuenes, I had neede pray again for forgiuenes of my prayers. Ah my wretched soule mocke not thy Sauiour any longer with thy knee­ling, [Page 151] and prayers, like those soldiers that crucified him; thou hast gone alreadie further then Iudas, not onely betraying him, but beeing (which he denied to be) guiltie of the shedding of his innocent blood; think with thy selfe, how oft thou hast grieued his holy spirit, turning the grace thereof into wantonnes: how oft thou hast, when he of this mercie had healed thee, presently fallen into a re­laps far worse then thy for­mer disease; how oft thou hast walowed thy self again in the mire, when hee had washt not thy feete onely, but thy head, and hands al­so; [Page 152] how oft, when thy heauenly Physition had purged thee, returned to thy vomit. And now, Lord, with what fig leaues shall I couer the shame of my sinne, since I know thou hast cursed the fig-tree, that bore leaues only? Oh tell mee how with the Prodigall shall I returne to my Father? or if I doe re­turne, say, hast thou any more kisses, and embraces lest, for such a riotous Sonne? If the mountaines, which yet offended not, did tremble, and melt a­way at thy presence, and if euen thy holiest Saints at thy presence fell downe to the groūd almost for dead, [Page 153] troubled, and amazed, say­ing, surely they should die, because they had seene the Lord, if the Cherubins, that stand alwaie before thee, couer their faces, looking but vpon thy Mer­cie-seate, O with what face shall a guiltie soule come before thee, when it ap­peares before thy seate of iustice? Haue I not reason to hate my sinnes, that are able to make the sight of thee, which is so amiable, and beatificall, and to thy happie seruants a vision wherein their whole felici­tie consists, so full of hor­rour to mee? O how the verie thought thereof con­founds mee, and, as if now, [Page 154] like Balthazar, I sawe the handwriting against mee, makes mee tremble, and stand amazed, smiting my knees one against another; what can I say for my selfe, or what can I doe? what sinne-offring, what peace-offering shall I bring to make attonement with the Lord? what Moses, or Aaron haue I to stand betweene Gods destroy­ing Angel, and mee? whom haue I to make in­tercession for mee? I dare not approach to my Saui­our, whom my sinnes may iustly make of a meeke Lambe, an enraged Lion vnto mee, I see no other but a two-edged sword [Page 155] proceed out of his mouth for my destruction, and me thinkes hee is a proui­ding whips to scourge me out of his Temple, retur­ning those stripes, those thornes, those wounds vp­on mee, which he hath vn­worthily borne for mee, denying any more to beare my crosse: so that now though I crie vnto him Lord, Lord, he will not know mee, nor suffer mee any more to haue a part in the Sonne of Ishai. Since therefore thy sword is drawne, O Lord, against mee, what can I doe but laie downe my necke, and submit my selfe to the stroke of that Axe, that [Page 156] cutteth downe all vnfruit­full, and ill-fruitfull Trees. For if euen the death of a sinner, and ruine of a wret­ched soule please thee, and may any way satisfie thy Iustice (as indeed it cannot, for thou delightest not in the death of a sinner) oh how willingly should I cast away my selfe, with Ionas, to accalme the tempest of thine anger against mee: but, alas, it is not my sa­crifice can expiate my sins. It were a good fruit of my bodie, if it might be offe­red for the sin of my soule: but how can that satisfie for sinne, which it selfe is most sinnefull? O no, I confesse, O Lord, that I [Page 157] haue no other sinne-offe­ring but my repentance left, nor other burnt-offe­ring then an aggrieued heart, nor other drink-offe­ring then teares, nor other incense then my sighes, nor other propitiation, or Priest, and Mediatour then thy selfe, O Christ. Thou art our King to protect vs, our Prophet to teach vs, our Priest to make an at­tonement for vs, and thou hast promised to make vs also Kings, Priests, and Prophets vnto thy Father; but such is my vnworthi­nesse, O Lord, that often when I would take vpon mee the Priests office, and offer my prayers (as thou [Page 158] hast taught mee) vnto my Father, which is in heauen, for pardon, that I am quite confounded, and haue no­thing at all to say for my selfe, and though I knowe thou art able to cure my dumbnesse, yet it is sa­fer for mee to heare thee open thy mouth to thy Fa­ther for mercie, then let my mouth be opened to crie for vengeance against my selfe. For I, more vn­naturall then Caine, haue slaine, not my yonger bro­ther, but my selfe, nor my selfe only, but my elder bro­ther, & therefore my blood cannot but, with Abells, crie to heauen for vengeance a­gainst him, that spilt it: but [Page 159] when I listen what the crie of thy blood, my elder brother, is, whom my sinne hath slaine, O how much better things doe I heare it speake, then the blood of Abel, Father forgiue him: be­sides, if I speake for my selfe, my words are like the winde, that passe away, and goe I know not whither, but most likely with my selfe into the Land where all things are forgotten: but thine are like thine owne essence, O Lord, who art the eternall word, such as heauen, and earth may sooner passe away, thē one tittle of thē. Do thou ther­fore, O gratious Sauiour, speake, and mediat for me; [Page 160] let the many wounds infli­cted on thee for my sinnes be as so many mouthes to craue mercie for me: O let thy blood, as when thou wert wounded it fel on the base earth, be distilled also by the grace, and merit thereof vpon me a vile, and vnworthy sinner; how hap­pie were I if, as thou ma­dest Adam of red earth, so thou hadst made me of that fruitfull red ground which thou vouchsafedst to water with thine owne blood. Let thy stripes, O Christ, goe for the many stripes wherewith I, as an euill seruant, deserue to be beaten, thy death for that eternall death my sinnes [Page 161] haue as their hire deserued, and thy descent into hell for mine to free me from thence. Indeede if thou wert, as man is, prone to anger, nay were thine an­ger kindled but a little, and were not thy mercy rather as farre aboue mans rea­son, as his merit, how long since had I perished from the land of the liuing? If I looke vpon my sinnes, me thinks I should alwaies see thee before me (as thine Angel in the way of Baa­lim) with the sword of thy iustice drawne against me, vpon which (as mad men doe vpon weapons) my sinnes make mee wilfully to runne, and I seem to my [Page 162] selfe to lie (as Isaac) vnder thy sword for sacrifie, still expecting when thou shouldst come by mee in the whirlewindes, earth­quakes, and tempests of thy iudgements: yet to see, how thou (that no man might denie it to proceed only of grace, and not of merit) chusest rather to come in the still, and soft voice of thy mercies euen vnto vs sinners, & wilt that thy holy spirit (the spirit of meeknes) come down ra­ther in the forme of a doue, without gal, thē of a consu­ming fire vnto vs. How far art thou from desiring the death of a sinner, that whē we were both branch, and [Page 163] roote vnder the Axe of thy iudgements, and (as Isaac) readie to be sacrificed, and made a sinne offring, didst prouide thy selfe a Lambe, (yea thy selfe the Lambe) to saue vs, and to set vs free. How readie art thou to snatch the perishing brand out of the fire, how soone entreated to forbeare, and spare the fruitlesse figtree, not doing that vnto the dry tree, which thou hast done vnto the greene? O see if e­uer there were loue like thy loue! thy loue and mer­cie, as thy selfe, transcen­ding all. If euer thou re­pentest, it is of thine anger, not of thy mercie, if euer thou hearest not our pray­ers, [Page 162] [...] [Page 163] [...] [Page 164] it is because they tend to our owne hurt, if thou hidest thy face, it is that we might seek thee, and if thou fliest frō vs, that we might follow after thee more ea­gerly: if thy iustice take ven­geance, it shall bee onely vpon those that hate thee, and in thē, but to the fourth generation, but if thy mer­cie begin to shewe it selfe, it will content it selfe with no lesse then a thousand ge­nerations. O thou immor­tall goodnes, and beauty of heauen, draw me vnto thee with the bands of thy loue, and with the same cordes bind me, that I breake not from thee, let me be ward vnto the King of heauen, & [Page 165] thy grace be my Guardian. Then shal mine inheritāce, and my lines fall vnto mee in a faire Land, euen in the vineyard, and Paradise of my God, whereof though the first could not, yet the second Adam with his blood (as Nabaoth) hath kept possession, out of which neither the serpent, nor all the powers of dark­nes shal be euer able to ex­pell me, so thou onely but suffer the weak hand of my faith to lay hold on thy crosse, and to eate of the fruit of that tree of life. For if thou be with me, I shall be safe, death shall haue no sting, sinne no poyson, hell no victorie. For thou hast [Page 166] ouercome all the power of hell, and death, not for thy selfe, ouer whome it could haue no power, but for vs, whose weakenesse could make no resistance; but if thou absent thy selfe, though but for a while, my weake faith which had the boldnes to cast me out vp­on the sea of thy mercie, that so, with Peter, I might meete thee walking vpon the waters, will neuer haue the courage, if it see the waues rise, to vphold it self. Lord stretch out thy hand, and saue me from sinking, and so henceforth binde the sacrifice with cords vn­to the Altar, fasten me vnto thy crosse, O Christ, and [Page 167] spread thy selfe in thy me­rits, and mercies (as Elias) vpon me, that I may reco­uer life, and though out of due season be borne vnto thee. O graunt me any one of the menest places of the many mansions of thy Fa­thers house, and when Isra­el, thy chosen children, and thy invited Ghests set with thee, at thy great mar­riage feast, and many come from East to West to set with Abraham in thy king­dom: when thy seruants are placed, may but I take the lowest place at thy table, & so when thou hast fedde thousands behold thee breaking vnto me, but of thy broken bread; or but [Page 168] be suffered to gather vp the crummes vnder that heauenly table, and my hungrie and thirstie soule satisfied, with that angeli­call Manna, & made drunk with the pleasures of thy house, shall neuer hunger, or thirst more. In the mean time, while I dwell in this corruptible Tabernacle, O let that grace of thine which shines vpon thy worthier Seruants (if any worthy vnder whose roofe thou shouldst come) as thou visitest other Publi­cans, and sinners turne in vnto thy Seruants house, and dine with him.

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