Written by IOHN ROGERS, Minister of Gods Word in Dedham in Essex.

God is Loue, and he that dwelleth in Loue dwelleth in God, and God in him,

1 Iohn 4. 16.

This is the message that yee heard from the beginning, that ye loue one another,

1 Iohn 3. 11.

And this Commandement haue we of him, that he that loueth God, should loue his Brother also,

1 Iohn 4 21.

LONDON, Printed by H. Lownes and R. Young, for N. Newbery, at the signe of the Starre in Popes head Alley. 1629.

TO MY LOVING Neighbours of Dedham.

LOuing and good Neighbours, the doctrine of Faith being gone forth into the World, I thought it not amisse that the Daugh­ter should attend vpon her Mother: and therefore to put forth a Treatise of Loue, to follow after Faith, as they were both handled in [Page] your hearing not very many yeares since. Now I desire that these things may liue and speake vnto you, when I shall be taken from you: In which two if you shall pro­fit, you cannot but doe well, God shalbe much honoured, and I shall haue my great desire. Now this of Loue, I dedicate vnto you, that as you haue learned in some measure to loue one another. so that you doe it still, and encrease more and more. I found you, by the care & di­ligence of my worthy Prede­cessor, in a peaceable state. Thus, through Gods mercy, [Page] haue you continued without rents or diuisions, sidings or part taking, in peace and v­nitie these three and twenty yeares of my abode with you: wherein both the head and bodie of the Congregation looking one way, much ill hath bin hindred, and much good done and mainetained. And I hope so to leaue you: yea, my hearts desire is, that you may liue in peace, and godly loue when I am gone, that as you haue done, so you may draw altogether as one man. So shall nothing be too hard for you, nor no force of wickednesse bee able to pre­uaile [Page] against you; As a bound Fagot cannot be broken, though the band loosed and sticks shattred asunder, be­comes weake. As few or no suits of Law haue bin found amongst you, but differences either betweene your selues agreed, or by indifferent Neighbours compounded; so doe still in the name of God. And as I haue euer found you forward in good sort to any deed of Charity, wherin you haue bin moued, besides the good prouision made for your own poor: so I beseech you to continue, that you may shew forth the fruit [Page] of the Ministry of the Word so long, so long continued a­mong you; and other townes seeing your well-doing and good order, may be prouoked by your example▪ and so God may haue much honour by you, and hee take pleasure to dwell among you, and be the God of your Posteritie after you, from one generation to another. Which I beseech him to grant for his mercies and his Christ his sake.

And you that be young now (which God be thanked giue good hope) if God let you liue to stand vp in your Pre­decessours roomes, see that [Page] you labour to quit your selues as well as they haue done; and better will be re­quired, as hauing more light euery day, & their example to make vse of. In which hope I take my leaue, and commend you all heartily to the grace of God, remaining till death

Yours in what seruice of Loue I can, IOHN ROGERS.


HAuing finished the Doctrine of Faith, let me adde a few things concerning Loue, which were deliuered from the same Text, 1 Iohn 3. 23. in my or­dinary course one after another. This is the commandement of God, that wee beleeue in the Name of his Sonne Iesus Christ, and loue one an­other. Which, seeing the holy Ghost hath ioyned together, as [Page 2] two necessary & inseparable com­panions; and that the duety of Loue is of so necessary vse in the course of our liues, I thought good to adde some things hereof to the former Treatise. The holy Ghost hauing had occasion in Verse 22. of that Chapter, to speak of the keepers of Gods comman­dements, who are the parties whose prayers God will heare; now in this Verse, lest any should doubt and aske the question, But what be those commandements? he therefore names them, and orings them all to these two heads; Faith in Iesus Christ, and Loue to our brethren: and these he exhorts vnto, to beleeue in Christ Iesus, and to loue one another.

Now, in that the Apostle hath reduced to two heads all the commandements of God and our dueties, he hath mercifully pro­uided for our weaknesse, and pre­uented those carnall excuses [Page 3] whereby most men cloake their ignorance and carelesse neglect of heauenly things: Oh, they be so dull to conceiue, and the Scrip­tures so darke, and they haue such ill memories, and the Scrip­ture so large, as they can make no worke of them; which is A­dam-like, to turne the fault from themselues vpon God. As if they should say, If God had giuen vs shorter and plainer Scripture, and better wits and memories, wee would haue done great matters. But this is but the wickednesse and falshood of their hearts: for they can finde wit and memory enough for the world, their pro­fits, pleasures, or lusts, and what they haue a minde to; and why should they not serue them for better things, if they would bend themselues thereto?

And God hath mercifully left vs so much of his Word, as is ne­cessary to saluation, cleare and [Page 4] plaine to euery humble & teach­able heart, that seekes helpe of God by prayer, and is willing to be ruled thereby. Yea, hee hath gathered the whole into short summes; As the whole Law and will of God, so large and scatte­red in the Scriptures, is referred to ten words, Deut. 10. 4. which are the ten commandements, de­liuered by God, Exod. 20. and these ten referred to two, Matth. 22. 40. and these two to one, Galat. 5. 14.

So our whole direction con­cerning Prayer, is in that short plat-forme called the Lords-pray­er. So hath the Church of God since, out of the Apostles wri­tings, gathered all the things we are to beleeue vnto eternall life, into twelue Articles. So hath God prouided in this lightsome, (and in that respect) blessed age of ours, abundance of good Books of the points and principles of [Page 5] our Religion, some more large, some more briefe; Catechismes for euery bodies turne, that euen the dullest, and of worst memory, may come to the knowledge of God, themselues, and their due­ties, and the things of saluation, if they bee not shamefully care­lesse. So that the ignorance of the people of this Land (which yet is fearfully grosse, and more than any thinke for, but they that try it) is affected and wilfull; and therefore their condemnation will be (as more fearfull than of other Nations, so) most iust and inexcusable. It's lamentable to see how the precious time is spent with many, in sinfull courses and exercises; with most, in eager pursuit of the world, the profits, honours, and pleasures thereof, as if they were the necessary things, and end of our being here; when the meanes of the know­ledge of God, and the things that [Page 6] concerne our owne happinesse lye wofully neglected. Hath God after the long night of superstiti­on, ignorance, and idolatry, that our Fore-fathers lay vnder, cau­sed the day to arise, & the sun of Righteousnesse to shine so long vpon vs, and shall wee yet loue darknesse and not light, be igno­rant, and grope at noone day? Hath God set vs vp with those precious meanes of grace and life, and giuen vs our full scope in them, when he hath denied them to Nations twenty times as great as our selues, and shall we make sleight of them? Oh how many vnder the tyrannie of Antichrist, that would skip at the crummes that fall from our tables, would aduenture their liues for the scraps and leauings of such things as we cast vnder our feet? They would and cannot; we may and will not: may we not iustly feare, lest God ere long snatch his [Page 7] Word from vs, and bestow it vp­on them, that will make better vse of it?

The Lord awaken the people of this Land, to know the day of their Visitation, and to vnder­stand the things that belong to their peace, before the decree come forth, and it be too late.

Get knowledge and vnder­standing, search the Scriptures, make vse of such good helpes as the time affords plentifully. Take our time: Say not, I am dull, I haue a bad memory. God hath taken away these pretences: therefore they will not goe for payment at that day.

Next, obserue, that Faith and Loue are ioyned together as two in­separable companions: whereso­euer one is, there is the other al­so, and misse one misse both. He that hath Faith, must needs haue Loue; for Faith worketh by Loue, Gal. 5. Faith assuring vs of Gods [Page 8] loue, to vs, makes vs loue God a­gaine, and our neighbour for his sake, at his commandement, and for his Image that is in him.

And wheresoeuer true Loue is, there certainly Faith hath gone before; these can be no more se­uered than sunne and light, good tree and fruit. As for that, 1 Cor. 13. If I had all Faith, and haue no Loue, I am a sounding brasse, and tinkling cymball: it's to be vnder­stood of the greatest measure of the Faith of miracles, which in­deed might be seuered from that of Loue, as in Iudas; not meant of iustifying Faith, of which before in the Treatise of Faith.

This may bee comfortable toVse. many humble soules, that vnfai­nedly loue God (as appeares by good signes) that loue his Word, Ordinances, and their Neigh­bours; but Saints especially, and yet doubt whether they haue any Faith or no: they may as well [Page 9] doubt whether the sunne be risen, when they see the beames therof shine in at their window. It's im­possible to haue Loue, till we haue Faith wrought in vs, which is the mother-grace; as impossible, as to haue good fruit without a tree for it to grow vpon.

2. This on the contrary, wit­nesseth fearfully against the peo­ple of England, and the most part euery where, that there is no Faith among them, seeing Loue is so scarce and hard to bee found. The manifold idle and malicious wilfull suites in Law, the many contentions, brawlings, raylings, and fallings out for trifles, doe shew there is but a little loue. So much oppression, cruelty, extor­tion, bribery, symonie, such rac­king and rending, euery man for himselfe, not caring who sinke, so hee swimme; so much deceit in bargainings and dealings, in buy­ings and sellings, as one knowes [Page 10] scarce whom to beleeue, euery one spreads a net for his neigh­bour, to catch him if he can: such couetous pinching, neglect of gi­uing where cause is, of free lend­ing, by reason of vsurious lend­ing, and innumerable such cour­ses as these, doe cry out with a loud voice, that Loue is but rare. Such neglect of duety to others soules, so few regarding to admo­nish, reproue, exhort, comfort, when, and where there is neede, few able, fewer willing: Besides, so little loue to the Saints and true seruants of God. All these beare witnesse strongly, that Loue is wanting; and therefore, cer­tainly, that there is no Faith: which where it is, cannot but shew it selfe by true Loue in the fruits thereof. Let men there­fore, whosoeuer they be, keepe silence concerning Faith, except they can proue it by their Loue; which while they liue in the quite [Page 11] contraries thereto, they can ne­uer doe.

Next, whereas Faith and Loue being ioyned together, yet Faith is set in the first place, note, that though in regard of time, they be wrought together in the soule, yet in order of nature, Faith goes first, vniting vs to Christ, from whom are deriued into vs, Loue, and all other graces.

First, this confutes that PopishVse. assertion, That Loue informeth Faith, or giues a being vnto it; which cannot be, since Faith is before it. It declares and makes Faith manifest where it is, and proues the soundnesse and truth of it, but giues no forme or being thereto.

2▪ This sheweth, that where Faith is not, there it's impossible Loue should be; therefore an vn­beleeuing man or woman, neither doth, nor can loue God or their Neighbour: which is a fearfull [Page 12] thing to be spoken, and yet most true: Therefore, Lord, how should it awaken such (which are the greatest part) to labour ear­nestly after this grace of Faith! get this and get all; and so on the contrary.

3 Lastly, let none of those that are about the worke of Faith, hold off, and say, If I could loue God as I would, and my Neigh­bour as I should, then I could be­leeue: Nay, rather know, that you must first beleeue, and then you shall be able to loue God and your Neighbour.

Obiect. But here some may ob­iect, that whereas the Apostle hath brought all our dueties to these two, Faith in Christ, and Loue to our Neighbour; that this is defectiue, for as much as the Loue of God, which is the chiefe of all, is left out.

Answ. We are to know, that it's not left out, but necessarily [Page 13] included in the loue of our neigh­bour, from whence that doth proceed: for as hee that loues God, cannot but loue his neigh­bour, so no man can loue his neighbour truely, in whom the loue of God is not wrought, for whose Image, and at whose com­mandement he loueth him, 1▪ Ioh. 5. 2.

CHAP. 2. Of the Loue of God.

OF which loue of God, seeing both it's the principall, and that wherby we may know whe­ther the loue of our neighbour be in vs, yea or no, which is the point wee mainly intend in this Treatise; I will therefore speake a little of the same. The loue of God is a most precious and ho­nourable [Page 14] esteeming and affecting of him, with a chiefe delight in him aboue all things. God is wor­thy to be loued vnmeasurably, be­cause he is infinitely and vnmea­surably holy, pure, perfect, and good in himselfe. Also because he hath been vnmeasurably good to vs, especially in giuing his Son to the death for vs. Iohn 3. 16. So God loued, i. e. so vnmeasurably and vnutterably, &c. 1 Iohn 4. 9, 10. & Ephes. 3. To know the loue of Christ, which passeth knowledge: But that wee cannot; therefore wee must loue him, as Deut. 6. 5. with all our heart, soule and might. But this we cannot neyther, since the fall of Adam; therfore we must loue him with an vpright heart, and this God will accept in Christ. Wee must loue him simply and abso­lutely for himselfe, and all other things for him, in, and vnder him. We must not loue him as we loue other things, but aboue all other [Page 15] things in the world. Mat. 10. 37. Hee that loueth father or mother more, &c. Nay, Luke 14. 26. Hee that hates not father, &c. that is, when they would withdraw vs from God and his Obedience: therefore Deut. 13. 6. are we bid­den, if any, neuer so neare and deare, should entise vs to Idola­try, wee should reueale him, that he may be put to death. If wee loue him not aboue all things, he is not our God.

And this we ought to doe, first, because he is goodnesse it selfe, which is most worthy of all loue, and wheresoeuer we see any part of this Image, it ought to draw our hearts vnto it. Secondly, he hath created vs after his owne Image, redeemed vs by his deare Sonne, preserued vs alwayes, and multiplyed vpon vs, and daily reneweth innumerable mercies both for soule and body; and doe not these (besides what hee [Page 16] hath promised vs hereafter) chal­lenge all our best affections?

Thus haue the worthy seruants of God done in their seuerall ge­nerations. The holy Martyrs, who haue forsaken all for his loue, and counted meanly of their liues for his Names sake: yea, chose rather to endure the vtter­most torturings, that cruell perse­cutors could inflict vpon them, rather than doe any thing to his dishonour.

This condemneth all such asVse. 1. are so farre from this loue of God, as they are no better than haters of God: Oh, there be none so vile. Yes, wee are all such by nature, till God worke a change, Rom. 1. 30. and 8. 7. The carnall minde is enmity against God; for it's not subiect to the will of God, nor in­deed can be. Saint Paul, Rom. 5. Colos. 1. saith, we were enemies to God. 2 Chro. 19. 2. Wouldst thou loue them that hate God: 1. A­hab [Page 17] a wicked Idolater, and such as he? so also in the end of the Se­cond Commandement, see if God call not Idolaters, and such as pretend great loue to him, and are at great cost and paines with him, haters of him.

Such be all Atheists, Here­tickes, &c. Papists be Idolaters, and great haters of God, persecu­ting also his Truth & Saints with fire and sword. Among our selues be many abominable blasphe­mers, contemners of God and all goodnesse: The better any person, thing, speech, action, or duety is, the more they hate it; and the worse any thing, or any company is, the better it pleaseth them.

These be Sathans eldest sonnes, marching in the Fore-ranke of the Deuils Band, to whom (with­out rare Repentance) belongs no­thing but a fearfull expectation of vengeance, and violent fire to deuoure such aduersaries, Heb. 10. 27.

[Page 18]It condemneth all such as loue2. not God, which indeed are to be ranked with the former haters of God, saue that they doe it not in so high a degree. But most will say, they loue God, or else it were pity of their liues, and they defie him, that shall say, they loue not God: What, am I a dogge? Thus, if great words would carry it, euery body would bee louers of God: but it's deedes must proue it, not words. And the Holy Ghost hath left vs certaine and infallible markes, to know the loue of God by, by which if you will be tryed, let vs briefly heare some of them, and iudge your selues accordingly. They that loue God, hate euill, Psalme 97. 10. They will keepe Gods commandements, Ioh. 14. 21. 1 Iohn 5. 3.

They that loue God, would that all others did so, and draw as many to God as they can; as Philip did Nathanael, Iohn 1. 41. [Page 19] Matthew the Publicans, Mat. 9. to our Sauiour Christ. Isay 2. 1. and reioyce to see any come home to God by Repentance, as the An­gels of Heauen doe.

They will grieue, when they see him wronged or dishonored; as Moses, when he threw downe the Tables; and Phinees, when he ran thorough Zimri and Cozbi. Lots righteous soule was vexed at the vncleane conuersation of the Sodomites.

They that loue God, will loue his Word, being holy and pure as himselfe, and containing his good will.

They loue his faithfull Mini­sters: he that receiueth you, recei­ueth me, Luke 10.

They will loue Gods Children and his Image, wheresoeuer they see it, 1 Iohn 5. 1. Psalme 16. 3.

They will take paines in his seruice, as Iacob did night and day in Labans, for the loue hee [Page 20] bare to Rachel: and be at cost, as Dauid towards the building of the Temple; and Mary, with her boxe of precious ointment pou­red on our Sauiour Christ. Yea, and speedily hee will goe about what God cals him to; as Abra­ham that rose early to offer Isaac, and Hamor, who made speed to get the Shechemites to yeeld to the demands of Dinahs brethren, because he so dearly loued her.

They that loue God, are wil­ling and glad to meet him, or heare from him in the Ordinan­ces of his Word, Prayer, Sacra­ments, as the wife desireth, and is glad to heare from her absent husband, and to send or receiue tokens to him and from him.

They that loue God greatly, are content to suffer for his Names sake; as Paul, that said, I am not ready to be bound, but to dye at Ierusalem for the Name of Christ. And that worthy Martyr, that [Page 21] said, Shall I dye but once for my Sauiour? I could find in my heart to dye a hundred times for him.

Also they long for his last com­ming, for their full Redemption, and that they might bee euer with the Lord, as 1 Thes. 4. 17. As the Church, Reu. 22. Come, Lord Iesu, come quickly. Or else they long to be with him, in the meane time, as Paul, I desire to be dissolued, and to be with Christ, which is best of all.

Now, if these be the true and certaine markes of the Loue of God, and where these be wan­ting, or much more, where the contraries to these bee found, there is no loue of God; then must we necessarily conclude a­gainst the most part of people in all places, that there is little loue of God abiding in them, as will appear, if we look ouer the parti­culars: which might strike terror into their hearts, if it were well considered.

[Page 22]For those whose hearts by these markes can beare witnesse on their sides, let them labour to encrease more and more in this loue of God, and see what priui­ledges God hath promised and bequeathed vnto them. Psal. 91. the three last Verses, Because hee hath loued mee, therefore will I dele­uer him, &c. He shall call vpon me, and I will heare him, I will bee with him in trouble, I will be with him, and glorifie him: With long life will I sa­tisfie him, and shew him my salua­tion. And Iohn 14. 21. Hee that loueth mee, shall be loued of my Fa­ther, and I will loue him, and shew mine own self vnto him. vers. 23. Yea, these are they, to whom God hath promised his heauenly Kingdome. Iames 1. 12. to them that loue him.

Thirdly, it condemnes those, that loue any thing more than they loue God; as father, mother, wife, childe, profit, pleasure, friend, yea, or life it selfe: which [Page 23] is no other than Idolatry, and to make that our God, which wee loue aboue God, and spirituall A­dultery, as St. Iames cals it, Iames 4. 4. as a man that loues a harlot more than his owne wife: yet what is more common than this? yea, the trade of it with the com­mon sort, who for the sake of the things aboue named, care not what dueties they omit, or what sinnes they commit against God: who yet ought to be loued aboue all, and all things to be loued, in, and for him, and vnder him, and as may stand with our loue to him, and not otherwise.

Yea, the seruants of God, be­cause their loue is not perfect, suffer many things to come in betweene God and vs, and steale our heart and affection in part from him, and that obedience that wee owe vnto him: which we ought to bewaile deeply, and labour euery day more and more, [Page 24] that his loue may bee greater in vs, than to any thing; nay, all things else that are in the world besides. And so much of the Loue of God briefly, hauing taken it but by the way.

CHAP. 3. Of Loue to our Neighbour: and first, what it is.

NOw I come to handle the duety of Loue to our Neigh­bour, as that which necessarily floweth from the Loue of God. And of this, first, What it is: se­condly, of the Notes it's knowne by: thirdly, of the Properties of true Loue: and fourthly, of the persons that we ought to loue.

1 Loue is a sanctified affection of the heart, whereby whosoeuer is indued withall, endeuoureth [Page 25] to doe all the good he can to all; but especially, to them that be nearest vnto him.

1. Its an affection seated (as we say) in the heart, as all the o­ther of hate, hope, feare, ioy, griefe, &c. as the vnderstanding is in the head. These are in them­selues good, and not euill, being giuen to Adam in his creation, in whom they were all pure, well ordered, and in good tune, louing the good, and hating the contra­rie, and so in the rest. But euer since the Fall, they are vtterly corrupted: the will and affecti­ons haue not onely lost all their purity, but the will is become most rebellious, and all the affe­ctions disordered, and turned the contrary way: As this of Loue, is turned to the loue of euill, to ma­lice, reuenge, and selfe-loue.

2. I say its a sanctified affection: for ere a man can loue, he must be regenerate, & sanctiffed through­out; [Page 26] as in his vnderstanding and will, so in his affections: which is, when a man is vnited to Christ by Faith, he is sanctified by the Spirit; that is, the old and cursed disposition that is in vs by nature, is put away, and a new and con­trary frame and disposition of soule, wherein wee were at first created, is brought into vs, the vnderstanding enlightned, the will made plyant and frameable to the will of God, and so the af­fections purged and restored to their former integrity in some measure; as to hate the euill, so to loue the good, to loue God and our brethren for Gods cause.

So that no vnregenerate or vn­sanctified man, can loue eyther God, himselfe, or any body else. True Loue proceeds from a pure heart, good conscience, & faith vnfai­ned, 1 Tim. 1. 5. from a soule purified by the spirit, 1 Pet. 1. 22. And Gal. 5. its reckoned among the fruits of [Page 27] the spirit. And 2 Pet. 1. 7. its rec­koned among other graces, Faith, Temperance, Patience, Godlinesse, &c. so that one is no more in vs naturally, than the rest.

There be many things that the blinde world call Loue, which are not this grace that we speake of, nor come in any such account with God. That betweene the fornicator and his harlot, is no loue but lust; as in Amnon, which turned as soone into hatred. Be­tween drunkards and theeues, is no loue, but conspiracy: for Loue reioyceth not in iniquity, but in the truth: that is, in that that is good.

Nor that naturall loue of pa­rents to their children. This is in bruit creatures: the Cowe loues, nourisheth, and defendeth her Calfe; the Goose and Gander tend and brood their young.

Nor that ciuill loue that is between ordinary people in the [Page 28] world, that stands only in eating and drinking, prating and playing together, which they count such loue and good fellowship, as who so speakes against, and cals for better spending of the time, is cryed out vpon, as an enemy to all loue, and not to be suffered. But our Sauiour Christ, nor the Gospell, comes not to bring such friendship, but rather debate. Such as that, was among the Hea­then, and is only carnall, whereas true loue respecteth the soule, and that most of all; which is no whit seene, nor thought of among car­nall men.

Vnregenerate men cannot loue their neighbours; for while they be kinde to their bodies, and haue no care of their soules, is this worthy to be called Loue? Its as ones friend or child should haue a hurt in the braine, and an­other in the heele, and he should carefully looke to the heele, and [Page 29] let the braine putrifie.

Carnall Parents, that pamper their childrens bodies, and prank them vp braue, and lay for great portions for them, and suffer their soules to welter in sinne, and dye and perish for want of instruction, admonition, prayer, and holy example, is this to bee called Loue? what do they more than Turkish Parents?

The wicked Magistrate, that is very friendly to all the Coun­trey, and keepes a good house all the yeare, and yet suffers sinne to reigne, and houses of disorder to abound in his circuit, the Sab­baths to be prophaned, and, like Gallio, cares for none of those things, call you this Loue?

The negligent Minister, that sets on the great Pot, and keeps good Hospitality among his neighbours, and yet suffers their soules to famish for want of breaking to them the Bread of [Page 30] life. The carnall neighbour, that to the body of his neighbour is very kinde, but suffers sinne to rest vpon his soule, and rather nourisheth him therein, than re­buketh him thereof; this in the language of the holy Ghost, is hatred and no loue, Leuit. 19. 17.

And what hold is there of vn­sanctified mens loue one to ano­ther? They may be very inward, and great friends now, and on the sodaine, vpon a small occasi­on, fall out, and become deadly enemies. They oft goe arme in arme to the Ale-house or Tauern, embracing each other, and stabbe one another ere they come forth.

See a liuely picture of this, Iudges 9. in that sworne friend­ship that was betweene Abime­lech, and the House of Shechem, who yet came shortly to hate each other so, as they neuer lin, till they had wrought▪ each o­thers, destruction. And no mar­uell; [Page 31] for euen the Heathen could say, That true friendship was grounded onely vpon vertue.

Neither can vnregenerate men (much lesse) loue the children of God: For there is a naturall en­mity between the seed of the Wo­man, and the seed of the Serpent, which all are, till they be regene­rate; nor can any man loue grace in another, till hee be sanctified, and gracious himselfe.

They may bee conuinced in conscience, that they bee the good seruants of God, and bet­ter than themselues, as Saul was of Dauid, Herod of Iohn Baptist, Pilate of our Sauiour Christ, pro­nouncing him Iust.

They may bee restrained from hurting them, as Laban and Esau from hurting Iacob, one in his hote pursuit of him, the other in his meeting him with foure hun­dred men. If a mans wayes please God, hee will make his enemies at [Page 32] peace with him, Prouerbs 16.

As Daniel was preserued safe among the Lyons, and the three Children tooke no hurt in the fire.

Nay, they may doe them good, as Cyrus did the Iewes, restoring them to their land and liberty, and furnishing them with all ne­cessaries to the building the City and Temple of Ierusalem.

Ahashuerosh also and Artash­ashte to Ezra and Nehemiah, and by them to the people of God. But they doe it, as Caiaphas, that vt­tered that prophesie, not of him­selfe, but as he was high Priest that yeare. So these are vsed of God to such purposes: As the Rauens that brought Elias bread and pot­tage in the morning, and againe at euen.

But loue them they cannot, at least, not for their godlinesse sake. They may doe a man out­wardly some good, & tis not amiss [Page 33] to take it, yet its not good to bee too much beholding to them.

And what hold is there of their good will? If they cry Hosanna now, they may cry Crucifie him by and by. If as Acts 14. 18▪ 19. they so highly esteeme vs, as to be ready to deifie vs, yet by and by, vpon a lying report, they will be ready to stone vs. As Herod re­uerenced Iohn Baptist, and yet at the perswasion of Herodias, cut off his head.

Dauid saith, it was his fami­liar, that ate bread with him, and tooke counsell with him, that yet lift vp his heele against him, Psal. [...]. 1. 9. They are gone, and hide their heads. If the multitude go the other way, or the times begin to turne any thing dangerous▪ when they haue most neede of them they are gone. Nay, no bond of benefits bestowed, no nor of nature it selfe, is strong enough to binde such a man sure to the [Page 34] childe of God. Our Sauiour Christ made Iudas his Disciple, an Apostle, of his owne Family, Table, and Messe, made him his Purse-bearer, and yet how▪ villa­nously did he betray him into the hands of his vtterest enemies? Iehoiada preserued the life▪ of Ioash▪ when all his brethren were slaine, h [...]lp him to the Kingdome, and was a▪ guide to him as long as he liued with him; yet how vn­gratefully and wrongfully did he cause his good sonne Zechariah, a Prophet, to be put to death?

And for the bonds of nature neuer so neare, our Sauiour Christ foretold that which experience hath proued often true, Matth. 10. 21. That the brother shall betray the brother, father the sonne, and children shall rise up against their parents, to get them put to death. There is no hold of any vnrege­nerate man, but▪ he may proue a persecutor; therefore what [...] [Page 35] to bee giuen to his loue?

Vse. This shewes the misera­ble state of vnregenerate men, that they can neither loue God, themselues, nor any body else, while they are in this case: what should such a man doe in the world? One would thinke it should make him weary of him­selfe. If he would consider, and beleeue it, so it would. Oh beg of God, by his blessed Word and holy Spirit, to worke a mighty worke of change in your hearts, and to sanctifie you throughout, that from hence you may be able to loue God, your owne selues, and others in a right manner; till which time, you cannot so much as loue your owne wife and chil­dren, as you ought to doe.

2. It teacheth also Gods peo­ple, not to trust too much to such men and their loue: liue peace­ably with them, vse them kindly, accept kindnesse from them, but [Page 36] open not our selues too farre to them, leane not too much on them, lest they proue like Egypt, a broken reed, that will run into our hand, and they proue like a sliding foot and a broken tooth. For if they bee pent, they will burst: They are like a Iade, that will draw while its going, but is not sure. If the time alter, there is no hold, but hee may betray thee: As Pilate, who knew our Sauiour Christ to bee innocent, and that all was wrongfully and of malice that was done against him, and hee sought many wayes to ridde his hands of him, and to saue his life, yet when they vrged him, that hee was not Caesars friend, if he let him goe, then he passed sentence of death against him.

Obiect. But some will say, I am not of your minde, I will trust my honest neighbour before these runners to Sermons, none [Page 37] will sooner deceiue one than they. I know one that came from a Sermon, and went and hired his neighbours house ouer his head.

Answ. I deny not but as euer there haue been, so now be some, that make a shew of godlinesse, and deny the power of it: and then the world is no wiser, than to iudge and say so of all profes­sors; which is a most fowle wrong, and a false thing. For there are to be found, that dare not deale vnfaithfully, but say as Ioseph, How should I doe this wickednesse, and sin against God? they haue the Spirit of God within them, and the feare of God in their hearts to bridle them, which the carnall person hath not, nor any thing that one may warrant will tye and hold him. And this euen the men of the world know: for they will put the matters of greatest trust [Page 38] into their hands. I haue knowne a very carnall Master, that hauing diuers ruffianly seruants that he delighted in, and a couple of so­ber Christian men; and to these hee committed his keyes, and matters wherein greatest faith­fulnesse was required, which▪ yet he heartily affected not, but they were fit to serue his turne. So in matters of Arbitrement, they will put their case to such as be of best report for godlinesse in the Country, perswading them­selues, that they will deale vp­rightly and with a good consci­ence. And the truth is, he is not worthy the name of a Christian, and its pity of his life, that will not doe better than any carnall man in the world.

It followeth in the description of loue, whereby whosoeuer is endu­ed therewith: for its not to bee found in euery bush, but its rare; and he that hath it, hath receiued [Page 39] it from the Father of lights, and its a gift of Gods Spirit. Look for it therefore from aboue.

Endeuoureth to doe, &c. So that howsoeuer loue is in the heart, yet it lyes not still, nor sits idle, but is working▪ like the good hus­wife, Prou. 3. 1. both by words and deeds, to soule and body: there­fore that loue▪ that is all within in the heart, and none in the hand and life, is a dead loue, a carkasse, like the dead Faith that St. Iames speakes of, that is without workes, and like bad mens loue to God, which is without obedience to his commandements.

Endeuoureth to doe, &c. PutsWishing well is the pulse of loue, and heates wheresoe­uer loue is aliue. forth it selfe, and doth what it can, though not what it would, creeps where it cannot goe▪ wish­eth it could, grieues that it can­not, giues two mites, a cup of wa­ter, &c.

And indeed, what we do here is rather endeuour, than any▪ [Page 40] great matter that wre attaine to, especially at the first. And a true endeauour with increase, God accepts, Hos. 6. 3. 1 Cor. 28. 7.

It commands all the powers and abilities of the soule, to fur­ther the good of the Beloued, to whom it wisheth all good: ther­fore the eye sees, the tongue speakes, the foot walkes for the good and benefit of the party be­loued: Why Loue will haue it so. The memory is a faithful remem­brancer, the minde plods and counsels, the affections pursue all purposes and occasions for his helpe, all other things neglected, Why Loue will haue it so. Nay, patience is enioyned to beare all the wrong that such one doth, compassion must pity all the wants that such one hath, humility and modesty giue way to any thing that he requireth. Why Loue will haue it so. Loue is like the great wheele of the clock, all are turnd [Page 41] about when that stirres: it sets on worke all the other graces in the soule to their seuerall works.

[To doe good.] So that loue doth no hurt, its contrary to its nature; whatsoeuer hurt is done to soules, bodies, goods, names, Loue may wash her hands of it, as none of her doing; but whatso­euer good is done, that is of her.

[To doe good.] Loue contents not it selfe to doe no euill, but labours to doe good: the harm­lesse, yet vnfruitfull fig-tree was accursed. Such onely as haue done good, will stand on the right hand at the last day.

[To all.] For though brotherly kindnesse bee to the Saints, yet Loue, 2 Pet. 1. 7. reacheth to all, neare and farre off, strangers, ene­mies, within, and without the Pale of the Church, Turkes and Pagans, we must pray for them, & do them any good if they come in our way, as the Samaritan did [Page 42] to the Iew fallen among theeues, Luke 10.

[But especially to them that be nearest.] So God giues leaue, nay cōmandement, that loue begin at our selues and ours, & so proceed. First, seeke our owne saluation, then others; our owne bodily preseruation from danger, then others. First, begin with our owne family, 1 Tim. 5. 8. then to our kinred, 1 Tim. 5. 4. then to our owne Towne, then to strangers, as farre as we can, and God re­quires no more.

If any therefore, hauing good gifts, resort to other folkes hou­ses to repeate Sermons, and neuer doe any such duety among their owne company (which I haue heard of some) these are iustly to be suspected of pride and hypo­crisie.

They also, that in outward things preferre strangers before their owne kinred, and kinsmen [Page 43] before children, doe not well. To bestow vpon Copes-mates that please them, or spend on lewd companions, or be surety for them or any other, to the hinderance or vndoing of wife and family, is not Loue, but folly and cruelty.

[Nearest also in the spirituall bond.] For wee must especially loue the houshold of Faith, Gal. 6. 10.

Quest. Whether should wee loue our naturall or spirituall kin­red best?

Answ. No doubt, the Saints before our naturall kinred, that be but carnall, as our Sauiour Christ did, Who is my brother? He that doth the will of God, he is my brother, sister, and mother: yet wee must helpe our kinred, whom Gods Word bindeth vs to pro­uide for, as children and parents in their necessity, though not godly, before the Saints, if both be in equall neede together, be­cause [Page 44] these be most specially com­mitted to our care. As a rich bad man, and a godly poore man be at our house together, I must loue the godly best, and he must haue the highest roome in my heart, but yet I may and must set the vngodly rich man highest at my table, because God is the author of degrees among men, and so the author of order, not of con­fusion. So is it in the other case of my naturall and spirituall kinred.

This is the vertue so oft com­manded, and so highly commen­ded in the holy Scriptures; com­manded, Rom. 12. 10. & 13. 8. commended, Col. 3. 14. called the bond of perfectnesse. It binds vp all the dueties that wee owe to our neighbour, which are many; holds them together, as the band doth the Fagot-stickes. It makes euery duety easie; as where this is not, euery duety is irkesome, [Page 45] nothing comes well off hand. It ties societies together and fami­lies. Its the strength of King­domes, Cities, Corporations, and Villages: Oh how it keepes out euill, and sets vp good; by it small things haue proued great, and for want of it, great things haue come to nothing.

In a Towne, when chiefe men hold together, what euill can stand against them? what good may they not effect? As on the contrary, when some would pull downe houses of mis-rule, and others, to crosse them, and out of spleen to them, shall striue to vp­hold them: when some would bring in the Ministery of the Word, and others oppose it, how must not the Deuill needes haue his throne in such a place?

In a Family, when husband and wife both draw the right way, Gods worship goes vp in that house, children and seruants [Page 46] be well gouerned, the outward state prospers. But when they be diuided and disagree, prayers be interrupted, no good can get for­ward: when one would goe to the Sermon, the other is against it; one would gouerne the chil­dren, the other cockers them, nothing can doe well: for the band is broken that should hold all together, and make all strong. Euen seruants that agree not, nay, horses if they draw not to­gether, the worke cannot get forward.

2 Its the fulfilling of the Law, Rom. 13. 8. Gal. 5. 13, 14.

3 Its a very comely thing in the eyes of God and men, onely hatefull to the Deuill, to whose Kingdome this is a great enemy. Its very precious, and of most fragrant smell: Also is very fruit­full in all good wheresoeuer it is, as appeares, Psal. 133. the whole Psalme.

[Page 47]4 Loue is the beneficiall ver­tue; other vertues benefit our selues, but this doth good to o­thers. Faith drawes all from Christ to vs. Loue layes out all it hath for others good: as the Sunne that shines forth his light to others, hauing it for that end, and not for it selfe. Faith is like the bung of the barrell, that takes in the beere or wine; Loue is like the tap, that lets it forth, to the benefit of them that neede. If a man bee neuer so full of know­ledge and other good gifts, and haue not this tap, others may starue for all that; and hee him­selfe is but a sounding brasse, and a tinkling cymball. Wee are not borne for our selues, nor our Ta­lents giuen vs to hide: but the perfection of all our gifts, spiri­tuall and temporall, is the well imployment of them for the good of others. The vsefull man, is the happy man, that keepes the [Page 48] best house, and most drinke of his cup, especially in spirituall things.

5 This is the vertue that makes vs most like to God; for he is loue, and continually exer­cised in doing good to all, euen to the ends of the world: yea, to his enemies, though specially to his children, to soules, to bodies, and euery way, and hee is not weary to doe good, euen to such vnwor­thy ones as we are. So that when wee be full of loue; giuing here, lending there, forgiuing this wrong, and passing by that iniury, requiting good for ill hath beene done to vs, when wee be instru­cting, counselling, admonishing, comforting, praying for any that need, wee are like vnto God in our measure, and like to our Lord Iesus Christ, who went about doing good, Acts 10. 38. So must we walke in loue, Ephes. 5. 2. Loue must be our continuall walke, and wee must neuer be out of it: for [Page 49] then wee are out of our way. All our wayes and workes towards our brethren, must be in loue, and sauour of loue. All our life must breathe loue: as when wee come in heauen, it shall be the common ayre wee shall breathe and draw in. So that what is loue, but the life and soule of the world, and that, without which all things else are nothing? 1 Cor. 13.

Oh that I could so paint out the face of this louely Vertue, and set it before you, that euery soule that sees it, may fall into a deepe loue and liking therewithall▪

But alas, how lamentable a thing is it, that so excellent and necessary a vertue, should bee so scarce and rare to bee found a­mong men as it is, and that in these dayes of the Gospell, and when the God of peace and loue dwels amongst vs, whose people we professe our selues to be! Alas, its as it were banisht out of the [Page 50] earth, and departed from the sons of men, and found but at a few hands, and there but scantly. But pride and contention, oppression, deceit, malice and reuenge, and all contraries to loue, haue taken possession of all places, of most hearts: yea, euen among true Christians what cold affection, what hollownesse, strangenesse, hard surmises, readinesse to fall out for trifles? little power to forgiue & to passe by wrongs, to ouercome euill with good, which yet God doth to vs euery day. Its easie to heare, reade, and pray; let's shew the fruit of them in loue.

Oh let vs euery one suffer our selues to be prouoked, yea, and ouercome in this, that we labour to bee possest of this grace of Loue, in whom it hath not hi­therto taken place: and they, in whom its begun, that they would encrease in it more, as 1▪ Thes▪ 4. 10. [Page 51] Hereby it shall appeare, that wee regard Gods commandement, wee shall doe much good, and strengthen the places where wee liue▪

We shall know we are not of the Deuill, but of God, 1 Iohn 3. 10. and shall be like vnto him; & what should we desire so much, as to represent our Maker, and to haue his Image shining forth in vs?

And the more loue God hath shewed to vs, the more let vs shew to others; the more he hath giuen vs of temporall or spirituall gifts, giue the more to our bre­thren, Freely ye haue receiued, freely giue. The more God hath forgi­uen vs, the more let vs forgiue o­thers, the more patient and slowe to wrath he hath beene with vs, the more patience see wee shew towards our brethren. And here with let vs stay our selues, when wee finde readinesse to be prouoked, [Page 52] or to renenge; and thinke it a most vnreasonable thing, that God forgiuing vs a thousand ta­lents, wee should catch and hold our neighbour by the throate for an hundred pence. If this grace of Loue be in vs and abound, wee shall honour God much, and our holy profession, get a good re­port, and much loue in the Church of God, and further our owne account against that day, and prouide for the encrease of our glory in the Kingdome of Heauen.

CHAP. 4. Of the Notes, whereby loue to our Neighbour may be knowne.

NOw to this end, that none may deceiue themselues, but may try whether they haue in [Page 53] them this grace of Loue or no, or in what measure, I will set down some of the chiefe acts, effects, or fruits of it, as notes whereby it may well be knowne, as a tree by the fruits.

1. Loue is not left-handed, but interprets, and takes things at the best. As it commends what is plainly good, so it interprets fa­uourably what is doubtfull, vn­till it know the contrary; speeches, or actions of men, to­wards our selues or others, if they may be well taken, it will not take them ill. As the mo­ther, when the childe cries, saith a pin pricks it, it hath the fret, or breeds teeth, she is loth to say, its nothing but frowardnesse, and so to chide or fight. When Iosephs brethren, out of malice, had fold him into Egypt, and afterward were affraid he would remember it, what construction makes hee of it? God sent me hither afore­hand [Page 54] to prouide for you. As our Sauiour Christ did, when his Di­sciples were so sleepy in the gar­den: though he mildly rebukes them for it, yet hee fauourably helpes it, saying, The spirit is wil­ling, but the flesh is weake.

Yea, if a thing be plainly euil yet Loue will make it no worse than it is. It will not say, it was done deliberately, and of set purpose, when it was done rashly; malici­ously, when it was done weakly onely, and in temptation. For one may doe iniury to a bad action, and its better to thinke and speak a little better of it, than worse than it is. Alwaies prouided, this be vnderstood, not of palpable, notorious fowle euils, nor of continued courses in sinning; for what good or charitable constru­ction can bee made of these? When such therefore bee plainly reproued, and told their danger, and they cry out, Oh you may [Page 55] not iudge: Why, what can Cha­rity it selfe iudge, but that you are of the Deuill, and in the state of damnation for the present, and without sound Repentance for euer? Its therefore no property of Loue, but a fowle fault, and a signe of a corrupt conscience to extenuate and blanch fowle sins in bad persons.

2. It will depart from his own right, rather than breake peace; as our Sauiour Christ, Matthew 17. 27. Abraham to Lot▪ Gen. 13. 9. If thou wilt take the left hand, I will take, &c. As it will giue way in conference to one that is stiffe, though one know hee hath the truth, so it be in small matters: After offences, it will soone yeeld and seeke reconciliation, though it were meet the other should seeke to him. It stands not vpon termes: it will lay downe the bucklers, goe on the lower ground, yeeld the way or the wall [Page 56] to those, that it were meet should yeeld it to him. For why? it more prizeth and esteemeth Loue, than small matters.

3 It doth no hurt, its against the nature of it so to doe, neither in life, chastity of our neighbour, goods, or good name. See this in the two chiefe patterns of Loue: in God towards his, and parents towards their children, who doe nor can do them no hurt, at least, parents, in their conceit.

4 It seekes not her owne things, but others as well, as is commanded, 1 Cor. 10. 24.

5 It prouoketh nor exaspe­rateth not, but striues rather to please, as far as it may with good conscience: As we see in a louing mother toward her childe, so also in whomsoeuer it is truely found.

6 Its not easily prouoked, 1 Cor. 13. 5. but forbeares, for­giues, puts vp, &c. which is well [Page 57] seene in God, and a naturall mo­ther with her vnquiet childe.

It will couer naturall infirmi­ties, such things as be little weak­nesses in our brethren, yet not done of set purpose, nor growing into extremities, but onely natu­rall defects. As some bee a little too quicke, some a little too slow, some see a fault, and bee a little too ready to speake, others some­what too slow to speake, or re­proue a fault. Some be a little too fine, some a little too homely and plaine; if they were not all so much on either hand, it were bet­ter. Some be somewhat too ear­nest in their businesse, if it were not altogether so much, it were better; yet not much amisse, and its their nature, who bee yet very gracious: Some bee a little too negligent, some be a little too merry, some a little too solemne: these and such like Loue will co­uer, or else nothing. Loue will [Page 58] not standvpon them, rebuke or reproach them, or deale hardly with them for these, but wisely beare with them, and in loue cure them, if it can.

As for example: a wife, a godly woman, good houswife, louing & duetifull in good measure, but somewhat curst, and quicke of speech, or not so cleanly as were to be desired; a good husband in loue will beare with these, and bee thankfull for the maine that hee findes in her.

So a woman hath a husband, good in all the substantiall points of the husbands duety, but hee is somewhat too glum, not so affa­ble and ch [...]arly as might be, or whose nature will not suffer him to vse such complement [...] to his wife, as some can doe with faci­lity; Loue will reach her to beare with this. A seruant is very trusty, religious, and carefull to please, onely somewhat slow; the Master [Page 59] or Mistresse must not rebuke him too oft, too openly, too sharpely for it, as a thing they can hardly remedie: no perfection to bee expected in any. If you can cure it by a louing and priuate admo­nishion sometimes, doe.

So a Neighbour conferres with his Neighbour, and hee is a little too quicke and harsh: but loue will not see it, but considers it as a naturall infirmitie; therefore will not exasperate him, or bee put out of patience by him, an­swering him tartly againe, but passeth it by, and goeth on in kind and friendly manner.

Loue will also couer and put vp wrongs done vnto it, not seeing small ones, passing by somewhat greater; as considering he him­selfe is a man, and so subject to offend his Neighbour, and so may stand in need of his pardon. As also that hee offends God daily, and would bee glad to obtaine [Page 60] pardon; therefore he must par­don his Neighbour, or else can haue small hope or boldnesse to come before him for mercie; and this often, yea vnto seuentie times seuen times.

If they bee greater matters, yet Loue will easily accept of in­different conditions of agree­ment. If they be so great as they so endanger our name and estate as they are not to be passed by, then its lawfull to flee to the Ma­gistrate, and take the benefit of Law; yet so, as Loue will teach the party to lay away malice, and to forgiue the reuenge. And in going to Law, these two Caueats must be obserued: First, that it bee not for trifles. These should rather bee forgiuen, 1 Cor. 6. 7. Why rather suffer yee not wrong? Secondly, that it bee the last Re­medie, when all other waies of more peaceable agreement haue beene tryed. It must bee as the [Page 61] cutting off a member, when it cannot be healed otherwise.

Hitherto belongs also that Loue will teach vs to hide and couer folkes faults from the world, except wee haue a cause and calling to speake thereof, but rather of their vertues.

7. Lastly, Loue is bountifull, beneficiall, and helpefull, not keep­ing what it hath to it selfe, but ready to distribute and communi­cate to the good of others, whe­ther spirituall or temporall gifts. Spirituall; for loue begins at the soule, and doth good to that first, of children, seruants, neighbours. It wil communicate any gift it hath to them that need it, taking to heart their spirituall wants, in­structing the ignorant, counsel­ling the doubtfull, comforting the afflicted, admonishing them that be out of the way, exhorting thē that begin to faint or stagger in the way, & praying for all.

[Page 62]So for outward things, it will cause men to giue to the poorest that are to be holpe by Almes, as they be able: and lend freely to them that bee a degree aboue the poorest, which hauing a Trade, and skill and will to follow it, yet want stock to employ themselues and their company. These a man is as much bound in conscience to lend vnto, according to their abilitie and honestie to pay again, as to giue a peece of bread or a penny to a poore miserable Crea­ture, Mat. 5. 42. Deut. 15. 8. By this shore, many a reeling house hath been kept from falling flat to the ground. By this helpe, many haue liued handsomely, and brought vp their families, that else must haue come to vttermost misery.

To the wealthy that haue no neede of vs, yet to be neigh­bourly and friendly, in lending or exchanging Courtesies with [Page 63] them! To inuite them somtimes to vs, & to goe to them beeing in­uited: And in their sickenesse or heauinesse to visit them▪ and comfort them in the best maner we can.

Vse. Now seeing Loue is such a thing, and that these bee the fruits of it, If we looke abroad among men, wee shall be forced to say there is but little loue in the world: for, where bee these Properties spoken of, to be found? as may appeare in going ouer them.

1. Who takes not things in the worst part, hardly construing mens words and actions; doubt­full ones, it may be not bad, taking them to bee euill; those that bee bad, making them worse? Thus the Iewes mis-interpreted our Sauiour Christ, Iohn 2. Destroy this Temple, &c. which afterward cost him his life. 1. Chro. 19. 3. How was Dauids good and lo­uing [Page 64] Action towards Hanun wickedly mis-construed? which cost the liues of many thousands. Old Eli offended in this, 1 Sam. 1. 14. iudging Hannah drunke, because she prayed, and her voice not heard. What more common than to say, Men doe that they doe to be seene, and to winne credit, when yet they doe it syn­cerely, and to please God? Or, hauing inuited one to our house, and he comes not, to think or say he doth it out of some splene, or want of good will. Many a time in a yeare are we forced to re­cant, and with shame say, I thought it had been worse meant than now I see it was. This is the cause of innumerable conten­tions and breaches among men.

2. For departing from mens right, who doth it, but stand out stiffely to the vtmost? This is an vsuall speech, It is my right, and I will haue it. I aske no more but [Page 65] my right, and that I will not lose. This is thought but reasonable, and he is thought an honest man that will haue but his right. But its an ill speech and resolution, whether it be in conference: If a man know hee hath the truth, though it be but in small matters, yet he will hold it out, though the other bee neuer so peremptory, till they fall flat out, whereas in small truths its better to giue in; Or in dealings, couenants, bar­gaines, bonds, men will haue their right: and yet herein ex­treame right may bee extreame wrong.

Alwaies prouided, that wee giue not away other folkes right, especially Gods. Moses would not yeed a hoofe, Exod. 10. 9, yet most men, stiffe in their owne, will yeeld enough of Gods right, can cut large thongs out of that. They will not let their seruants play one houre on the sixe dayes, [Page 66] yet can let them play on the se­uenth what they will. So are sins against the first Table made small account of, in comparison of the breaches of the second.

3 Whereas Loue hurts no way, whence comes all the hurt and mischiefe that is done among men; stabbing, killing, fighting, quarrelling, [...]rayling, reuiling, scolding, &c. all the defilings of mens wiues, children, and ser­uants? So for bribery, theeuery, cousenage, false weights, false wares, &c▪ slandering, defaming, backbiting, mocking, and such like: All these abound euery where. I am sure Loue doth none of them. Loue was not at the do­ing of these▪

And for seeking others good as well as our owne, O Lord, where is this? But in all mens courses▪ the greatest part, yea, and among Christians, they seeke themselues too much, and others too little.

[Page 67]4 Also that men will so rea­dily prouoke one another by words and deeds, they care not how.

5 For being prouoked. Lord be mercifull to vs, who can beare any thing? but taunt for taunt, quip for quip; hee shall haue as good as he brings. If there bee a little trespass done them, Oh how men stand vpon it, and study re­uenge? Hence the innumerable suits in this land, many thousands in a year for meer trifles, that ten times as much is spent in them as is sued for.

A shame for England to bee so contentious, hauing the Gospell of peace amongst vs. Oh, mens stomachs be vp straight, all their bloud is in their face, or else looke as pale as ashes, or secretly practising to reuenge. Hand on the dagger straight; on the top of the house by and by, and flie in one anothers faces for trifles: [Page 68] so farre off are we from forgiuing till seuenty times, as our Master Christ hath commanded. So short spirited, as wee can beare nothing; and that which is worse, if we haue taken vp a dis­pleasure once, its not easily laide downe, but Sunne after Sunne▪ Moone after Moone, yea some, yeare after yeare can carry it a­bout with them: quickly prouo­ked, but hardly pacified, especi­ally truely. It may be, some will not bee seene to liue in open on­mity, yet haue hearts vnsound, and full of secret grudgings, that cause open breakings out vpon euery occasion. Men can beare no­thing, but are straight carried af­ter reuenge.

6 And for speaking of our neighbours vertues, and hiding their faults, without iust cause, and calling to the contrary, where is that to be found? Nay, the contrary is most wofully [Page 69] common; little of mens vertues spoken, except a word or two, to make way for a But, and to speak of their faults: and these we de­light to be much in, as the Crow that seeks out the carrion, & the Hogge that delights to lye in the mire, rather than vpon the green grasse: like the Flie, that if there bee but one gall'd platt on the horses backe, delights rather to sit on that, than on all the whole body besides.

7 And for the last, where is communicating of spirituall good things? Parents bring vp their children braue, but how few ca­techize, instruct, admonish them, pray with them, and for them?

So for seruants, their gouernors giue them meate, drinke, and wa­ges, and hold them to worke on the sixe dayes, but little care how they spend the Sabbath, or for in­structing and examining them, calling them to reading and prai­er: [Page 70] and what loue call you this, but such as you shew to your beasts?

So for neighbours, what Chri­stian conference is there, what admonishing them that be out of the way, but rather let them run on, and talke of them behinde their backes, and that oft times with reioycing, which is fear­full?

What consolation is giuen to the heauie? who layes their case to heart? how few are able to speake a word in season, and to comfort fitly? but vtter vaine and frothy speeches to them, fit­ter to doe hurt than good. And for such as be troubled in con­science for their sinnes, alas how few haue any skill of such things? nay, many will rather deride, and make a scoffe at them, saying, they haue runne to Sermons so long, till they will goe out of their wits. Who prouokes one ano­ther [Page 71] to that that is good? but e­uery man saith, Who made mee my brothers keeper? Nay, men are so farre from these, as they seeke all they can to driue others from God and goodnesse, by their cur­sed counsell and wicked exam­ple, and by all the discourage­ments they can deuise, of threats, mockes, and taunts. And is not this fearfull? where is true Loue in the meane time? that is a great way off.

And for outward things, how backward are most in giuing to the poore any more than needes must? what contentions at ma­king of rates, though God hath freed vs from the chargeable­nesse of the Legall seruice, and hath freed vs from that intole­rable burthen of the Rogues, that swarmed like Locusts all ouer the Land; whose burthen lay on vs very heauie; as they that bee of yeares can remember, which yet [Page 72] yeelded small comfort, the grea­test part of them being a cursed generation of idle and sinnefull Varlets: which seeing God hath maruellously and mercifully rid vs of, what encouragement should it be to vs, to relieue our owne true poore?

And for lending, where is this in vse? but rather, as if God had neuer giuen precept of it, or as it were a Statute repealed; and that is out of date, so is this duety of lending. That cursed and cruell trade of Vsury, hath eaten vp, and banisht out of the Country this Christian duety of free-lending.

Some rich men are so grim and so austere, as a poore man dares not speake to them for such a thing. And indeede, how few be there, that haue any thing to lend at any time?

Some lend out all so neare to Vsury, as they haue not to lend, but borrow rather: Or if a poore [Page 73] man doe any worke for them, they cannot pay them of a good while, they be so bare. For as soone as any money comes in, it must out againe straight, as if it would burne a hole in the Cup­bord, or would be halfe an vndo­ing to them, if it lay there but a weeke or two.

Others are euer purchasing, and so keep themselues bare, and in debt, and then they whine at euery charge, and wrangle at rates, and are neuer fit or ready to lend, or to any good vse. Such bring a curse vpon themselues, making themselues borrowers, when they might bee lenders, Deut. 28. 44.

Others be so miserable, as though they haue it, yet they will not lend. So for the last duety of neighbourly dealing, inuiting, visiting, these are decayed; so that we may beleeue in all these respects, these be the times fore­told, [Page 74] Matth. 24. 12. wherein Loue should waxe cold.

Yet indeede there is a great deale of counterfeit loue, of fau­ning, crouching, and congeying, of pot-companionship, and ioy­ning together in euill.

A great deale of selfe-loue also, making others faults great, and our owne small, or none; nay, sometimes making them vertues: extenuating and making light of the vertues of others, highly esteeming our owne; seeking our selues in all our dealings and courses, with little regard of our neighbours: which selfe-loue the Apostle, 2 Tim. 3. 2. foretels shall be in the last times, and sets it in the fore-front, as the cause of many other euils that follow.

Now let euery man examine himselfe in particular touching these things, and so make vse to his owne soule for comfort, or the contrary.

[Page 75]But who shall not finde him­self failing in euery one of them? whereby we haue much cause to be humbled; and the courses of the common sort are wholly con­trary to all these properties of true Loue, whereby they may conclude fearfully against them­selues.

CHAP. 5. Causes of the want of Loue to our Neighbour.

NOw to this end, that euery man may the better see how to mend that that is amiss, let vs a little look into the causes of this want of Loue, and what are the hinderances of the fruits thereof. The maine and generall cause is an euill heart, pestered with selfe-loue, and many lusts that [Page 76] be contraries to Loue.

1 More particularly. Want or weaknesse of Faith is one great cause. When our Sauiour Christ told his Apostles, they must for giue till seuenty times seuen times, what said they? Luke 17. 4, 5. Increase our Faith. Assurance of Gods loue to vs, in pardoning our many sins, and giuing his Son Iesus Christ, and assurance of eternall Life, makes vs loue againe, and both to giue and forgiue; which are two principall dueries, and fruits of Loue. Pride, and the following Vices are hinderers of the exer­cise of Loue.

2 Pride, whereby men thinke highly of themselues, and meanly of others; thinke they may speake or doe any thing, but others may doe nothing to them. Onely by pride doe men make contentien, Prou. 13. 10. Humblenesse causeth loue, Ephes. 4. 2. Pride makes men think themselues so wise and good, as [Page 77] euery body should say as they say, doe as they doe, and after a sort doe homage to them; if they doe not, then the peace is broken straight.

Pride will not endure a re­proofe: therefore being told of a fault, they fall out deeply; as Io­ash with Zechariah, Ahab and Iezabel with Eliah, Herod with Iohn.

3 Couetousnesse is another: this makes men contend for tri­fles, the least dammage done him is thought so great (looking on it in a false glasse) as its sufficient to breake Loue, and cause a suite.

It causeth men to oppresse, to vse false weights & sleights, &c. It hinders both mercy to the poore, and all other neighbourly offices of inuiting, and the like.

4 Enuie hinders Loue excee­dingly. When one enuies at the prosperity of another in whatso­euer kinde, of temporall or spiri­tuall [Page 78] good things; As Labans sons did at Iacob, which changed their countenances towards him, and made him weary of his place. Cain, that enuied that Abels sa­crifice was better accepted than his, and Esau that Iacob was bles­sed, Ismael, that Isaac was the son of the Promise: what breach of Loue, and wofull fruits followed of all these?

5 Frowardnesse & shortnesse of spirit breakes Loue very oft: for angry words stirre vp strife, Prou. 15. 1.

6 These dayes of peace are an occasion, through mens corrup­tion, that men grow hollow and strange, and to set light by one another. Troubles cause men to make much of each other, and cling together: as the sheep, that out of danger, and in a faire day, scatter themselues ouer a field, in a storme, or when they see a dog come, run all together.

[Page 79]These and such like, be wofullEffects. causes of the want of Loue, which also bring forth as lamen­table effects euery where, both in Church and Common-wealth. What wofull breaches, hideous contentions, what hard measure and wrongs are offered, what en­mities and oppositions, to the hazzard of the Church, danger of the Common-wealth, and ouer­throw of the prosperity of many Parishes?

What ruine brings this want of Loue vpon many Families?

And among particular persons, what breakings out both in word and deed, to the dishonour of God & Religion, & the vndoing each other many times, both in soule and state? to the disgrace of the Gospell, and ill example of the beholders, and hurt to their own soules, by keeping them from, and disabling them for the right performance of holy dueties, [Page 80] which cause cold prayers, and those not heard; and hereby ey­ther kept from the Sacrament, as many times it is (Oh fearfull thing to bee spoken) or else slub­ber it ouer, and come with feste­red hearts, and so lose the bene­fit: nay, by such vnworthy com­ming, they prouoke the wrath of God, and eate their condemna­tion as much as in them lyeth; but oft times they eate and drink their iudgement, a sore sicknesse, and may be, their owne death, or the death of wife, or some childe that is deare to them, to teach them and others by their exam­ple the price of such boldnesse.

Now seeing these things bee so, the Lord giue vs euery one hearts, where we finde our selues faulty, to humble our selues, and craue mercy, and to labour to be reformed in this point. There­fore, first, let's labour to plucke vp these noisome weedes out of [Page 81] our hearts, that this precious plant of Loue may grow therein.

1 Striue against Infidelity, and labour to get Faith, and the en­creases thereof, if by Gods grace we haue it already.

2 In humblenesse of minde, labour to esteeme others better than our selues.

3 Labour for a moderate af­fection toward these outward and base things in comparison, setting more by Loue, and the sweet fruits of it, than by them all; and therfore much more, than by small trifles.

4 Auoide enuie. Is our eye euill, because our Masters eye is good? wee haue more than wee might looke for.

5 Striue against techinesse and shortnesse of spirit. Think what a base lust, and sinfull distemper it is, how it exalteth folly, and how ill it becomes vs, and what an enemy it is to true Loue.

[Page 82]And labour wee, that this loue to our brethren may shew forth it selfe in all good fruits, in iudg­ing the best, departing from our right, not prouoking, nor being easily prouoked, but forbearing and forgiuing offences and wrongs, and communicating of what God hath imparted to vs of any kinde. and that for these Reasons; weigh them well.

1 First, God requireth it ofReasons. vs, who is Loue, 1 Iohn 4. 8. and if we performe it, we doe not so much serue our neighbour, as please God, who takes it to him­selfe; and in neglecting this, wee neglect not our neighbour onely, but God, who takes himselfe wronged in this behalfe.

2 Our neighbour is our owne flesh, and euery one hath some part of the Image of God in him, or vpon him.

3 The Word aboundantly cals for it, the Sacrament of the Lords [Page 83] Supper puts vs strongly in minde of it.

4 No better argument, that we are in the light, loue God, and are Christs Disciples, be transla­ted from death to life, be endued with that excellent grace of true Faith, than this, that we truely loue one another, Iohn 13. 34, 35. 1 Iohn, 3. 14. As a King is not knowne by his apparrell, great company with him, &c. which may be some meaner man, but by his Crowne; so is not a Christian knowne by his hearing Sermons, or good words, but by his Loue.

5 The beauty of a Christian is Loue: he is the best Christian, that loues most, whose lips feede most, whose branches spread widest.

6 And for forgiuing wrongs, what should wee doe else? God forgiues vs many & great debts, and ill dealings with him, and shall wee be ready to reuenge e­uery [Page 84] petty trespasse? See Matth. 18. 34. what became of him that did so. God bids vs aske for­giuenesse on no other condition, than that we forgiue our neighbour, Marke 11. 25, 26. And no better signe, that a man is forgiuen of God, than to forgiue our neigh­bour; and no man can be assured of that, but he will forgiue. Let vs therefore of the sea of com­passion that God hath shed out vpon vs, let fall some drops of it vpon our neighbour.

Also wee may stand in need of our neighbours forgiuenesse: for who liues, and is not subiect to offend his neighbour one way or other? No cause therefore wee should seeke reuenge, which e­uery Turke, yea, euery beast can doe; but passe by offences, which is the glory of a man, Prou. 19. 11. Keep out anger therefore in such cases if wee can, or if wee be not so strong, yet let it not rest in vs, [Page 85] sowring in our hearts: Let not the sunne goe downe vpon it. The world counts this base, but indeed its truely honourable. Its the honour of God, Micah 7. 18. and so it makes vs like him. Let vs there­fore labour to doe thus; and not a little or some few times, but get a long skirted Loue, which will couer a multitude of offences, as St. Peter saith, 1 Pet. 4. 8. or, as Prou. 10. 12. All trespasses.

7 And for distributing things temporall or spirituall as wee haue, great reasons there bee. God giues to all, both good and bad: he hath giuen vs what wee haue; (for what hast thou, that thou hast not receiued?) and giuen vs them to be good stewards, and dispensers thereof, to the good of others, 1. Pet. 4. 10.

And the more wee giue, the more we haue, and not the lesse; it encreaseth in the giuing, as the loaues in our Sauiour▪ Christs [Page 86] hands, especially in spirituall things; yea, in temporall: there­fore giuing is compared to sowing, which in good ground is vsually with encrease. Therefore a wor­thy Minister vpon occasion asking his wife, whether there were any mony in the house, she answered, that she knew but of one three pence; Well, saith he, wee must goe sowe: that is, giue something to the poore, knowing that to bee the way of bring­ing in, Prou. 11. 24, 25. Deut. 15. 10. The best thrift is to be merci­full, and the way to beggery in a a mans selfe, or his posterity, is to be pinching.

And to conclude all, Loue in the exercise of it, will bring much peace to our consciences, and comfort vs not a little on our death-bed, that we haue not liued to our selues, but to be vsefull to many, especially to soules. It pro­cureth vs loue in the places wee [Page 87] liue in, and in the Church of God a good report.

No man is well beloued, though he haue good things in him, if he be not louing. Oh, say they, he is a good honest man, I thinke, but he is a harsh censurer, contenti­ous, so hasty that no man can tell how to speake to him, hee is a strait man, liues all to himselfe, few the better for him by coun­sell, admonition, encouragement, and the like: and so for outward things, very close-handed and neare.

But if a man be full of loue, it will procure him loue againe, he shall be well spoken of while hee liues, and mourned for when hee dyes, which is a good mercy of God, and the temporall reward of righteousnesse and loue. Pro. 10. 7. The memoriall of the Iust shall bee blessed. Thus they wept for Dor­cas, and shewed the coates shee had made, Acts 9. 39. But a proud, [Page 88] churlish, close man, shall liue without being desired, and dye without being mourned for.

These would haue loue, good will, and credit in the Countrey and Towne they liue in, but they will not seeke by this way to procure it, will not be at the cost, bee not vsefull, liberall, &c. let them neuer looke for it: Let them winne it, if they will weare it. Others care not, so they may scrape all to themselues, what the world say of them; let the good name goe which way it will. But these are base minded persons, and they carry little better than a curse about them, while they liue.

CHAP. 6. Properties of true Loue.

NOw yet for our further di­rection in this point of Loue, I will set downe some such Properties, as the Scripture requi­reth in it; as that it must be mu­tuall, common, sincere without feigning, feruent, pure, constant; all gathered out of 1 Pet. 1. 22.

First, it must be mutuall, it must1. come from one to another mutu­ally, and be at euery hand: as God commands others to loue vs, so vs to loue others. so that none is free from this duty.

Many will looke for a great deale of Loue from others, that care not how little they shew themselues; would be visited, but care not to visit others: would haue their owne vertues com­mended, [Page 90] will not do so by others; haue their infirmities couered, but will not doe so: would not be prouoked, yet will prouoke: would not that others should be quickly angry with them, yet they will with others.

Alas, this is great weaknesse: for its a more blessed thing to giue, than to receiue, Acts 20. 35. And wee should rather striue to goe before, and set others in our debt by loue, and be on the forehand.

A good minde rather remem­bers the debt that is going from him, than that which is comming to him. This oft comes of pride in some men, to looke for much of others, and performe little themselues.

The husband oft lookes his wife should walke at an inch with him, though hee will breake ells out of square. So sometimes it fals out▪ with the wife towards her husband, looke for much, and [Page 91] performe little. This is no equity: we must doe, as wee would bee done to.

Its more dangerous for vs to neglect our duty to others, than that they neglect to vs; for this is but a small want, but the other makes vs liable to Gods iudge­ment. Let vs therefore striue who shall doe most duety each to o­ther; husband to wife, neighbour to neighbour: and not the con­trary.

2. It must be common: One another. Its in the plurall number, and shewes a communitie; that we must not love one, or two, or a few, but all, and especially all that feare God. Love communi­cates it selfe, and is not engrossed to a few. Many can be content to love one, or two, or a few as they list, but they set light by the rest, yea oppose and iustle with some, and liue vnkindly with them. This is no true love, neither [Page 92] ought it so to be. Yea, wee must loue the meanest that feare God, and not neglect them. The mea­nest member of the body is regar­ded by the greatest. Though they bee of low degree in the world, yet seeing they be mem­bers of that glorious body of Iesus Christ, wee must not haue the faith of him in respect of persons, Iames 2. 1. Seeing God hath vouchsafed to giue his Sonne for them to redeeme them, his Spirit to sanctifie them, and hath pre­pared a place in heauen for them, we must not despise them. Nay, these wee ought the rather to en­courage, and to hearten on in well-doing, seeing so few of that sort haue any good in them, and they haue many discouragements. They will beare their pouerty the better. Its a great cheering to them, when they see themselues regarded. And nothing is more comely, than to see wealthy ones [Page 93] to be affable, and to speak kindly, and to the hearts of the poore that be godly; as Boaz did to Ruth. For, beeing fellow-brethren and fellow-members as deare to God as they, should a little wealth lift vp the minde? The Lord is the Maker of them both, Prou. 22. 2. Iames 2▪ 5. Hath not God chosen the poore of this world, that they should be rich in Faith, and heires of the Kingdome? &c.

3 It must be without seigning, Rom. 12. 9. 1 Iohn 3. 18. Not in word, or in tongue, but in deede, and in truth. God hates dissembling in euery thing: whether in loue pre­tended to himselfe, when is no such thing, or towards our neigh­bour, in any of our dealings with him. God loues simplicity and plaine dealing; as in Iacob and Nathaneel.

If Loue, which is the maine vertue, be counterfeit, what shall become of all the dueties that [Page 94] proceed from thence? Gods loue to vs was not feigned and in shew, but sincere and reall, when he gaue vs his beloued Sonne to the death for our sins.

Here two sorts of persons are iustly to bee taxed: 1. Such as pretend to loue, when yet they hate. 2. Such as make shew to loue, and do not. For the first, Psal. 28. 3. Psal. 12. 2. & 55. 21. & 62. 4. Pro. 26. 24. reade these places. Thus did Ioab to Amasa, 2 Sam. 20. Iudas to our Sauiour Christ, Saul to Dauid, 1 Sam. 18. 17. 25. giuing him his Daughter to bee a snare to him, requiring no ioyn­ture, but an hundred fore-skins of the Philistims, hoping thereby hee might fall into their hands. which persons carry a marke of Reprobation about them. Psalme 28. 3. Workers of iniquitie, to whom belongs some notable iudgement of God. They be like the Diuell, who pretended loue [Page 95] to Eue, when hee sought her ruine, and of all her posteritie. So to our Sauiour Christ, Mat. 4. All these will I giue thee &c.

As these bee more dangerous to those they hate, than if they did openly shew it (for then they could better beware of them: One Enemie within the Wals is worse than ten without) so are they worse for themselues: For, any vice masked and cloked vn­der a shew of vertue, is double iniquitie. And as our Sauiour Christ said to the Scribes and Pharisees, Mat. 23. 14. Ye shall re­ceiue greater damnation; so shall these.

Yet how common is this? ma­ny will speake faire as may bee to their Neighbour, when yet they intend mischiefe against them, or as soon as their back is turned, mocke or iest at them, speake euill, or raise vp some slander a­gainst them, or doe them what [Page 96] hurt they can. If we know any haue dealt so with vs, let vs take heed that we neuer do so by them or any other, but loathe it, as hatefull and diuellish.

For the second sort: There be that pretend they loue, but alas! try, and you shall finde no such thing. A deale of Court-holy▪ water, congeyes, and crouchings, an handfull of true hearty loue, is worth ten armefuls of their con­geyes downe to the ancles: they will salute Good morrow, and Good night, when yet they mind, nor heartily wish no good. These are clouds without raine, plashes that deceiue when most need is; vessels with false bottomes, that haue a little water on the top, but empty below: Snch as will ear­nestly inuite, when they know one cannot or will not stay, prof­fer kindnesse, when they thinke it will not bee needed; but if it happen to be accepted, and made [Page 97] vse of at any time, then they ey­ther haue some shifts to auoide it, or else doe it with much vn­willingnesse, and grumbling be­hinde the parties backe.

So those that pretend they loue the poore, yet come to them in their behalfe, and no­thing shall you get, but what they are forced vnto, and hardly that.

So many good Ministers and Christians haue found small kind­nesse in their need, at the hands of such, as yet in their prosperity haue profest good will, and made great shewes of loue to them; they might haue done full ill for all these: what loue call you this? Its like Faith without workes, which God will condemne. So to speake well of such and such men, to pity them, and say they are worthy men, and pity they should want, yet neuer doe any thing for them. If God should [Page 98] feed them thus, they would soon complaine.

4 The fourth thing required in Loue, is, that it must be pure. It must come from a pure heart▪ as St. Peter speakes, and be agreea­ble to the rule of the pure Word of God.

Pure Loue is seene in diuers things: First, it loues for some vertuous and good actions: there­fore the loue of the Adulterer and his Mate, of Drunkards and Theeues, that be sworne brothers, is no loue.

To loue a man, because he can dice well, or sweare deeply, drink others vnder boord, or mocke and deride wittily, or raile bit­terly against the seruants of God; this is cursed loue: for true Loue reioyceth not in iniquity; as we haue heard. A worse note can­not be, than when one sees one fight cunningly or desperately a­gainst God, to loue him the bet­ter. [Page 99] These be no better than Re­bels, and Conspirators against the Maiesty of God.

2 Pure Loue is that, which is grounded on Grace and Religi­on, and on no transitory thing; or in those that haue no grace, we loue them for conscience of Gods commandement, and be­cause of that part of the Image of God that is in them: which con­demnes the carnall loue of the most, which loue onely for worldly respects; for strength, beauty, or any inward gift of the minde not sanctified: as wit, skill in Arts, musicke, play. These are worthy loue, but to loue onely for these, is not true and pure Loue; for thus loued the Hea­then: worldly mens loue is for such respects, and no other. Yea, euen Gods seruants faile this way sometimes, as old Isaac, that loued Esau for his skill in hunting, Dauid loued Absolon for his [Page 100] beauty; and so doth many a man his wife, which doe ill to build loue on so false grounds: for when these faile, oft the loue goes after.

3 Pure Loue is in respect of the party himselfe, whom wee loue, and for no respect to our selues, or any commodity of ours. And such was Gods loue, in gi­uing his Sonne to vs miserable sinners; which condemnes the world, who onely loue for selfe­respects: As hee is my Vncle, Friend, loues mee, or hath done this or that for mee, or may doe mee a pleasure; therefore I will make much of him, or for feare he may doe me a shrewd turne: This, if it bee shaken out of the clouts, will be found but selfe­loue; wee haue a respect and aime onely to, and at our selues, Mat. 5. 46. Many a man shewes kindnesse, or doth good to some onely, to purchase credit.

[Page 101]The husband loues his wife, because she pleaseth him well, is faire, a good housewife, and for nothing else: this is selfe-loue. All the Papists charitable deeds were all selfe-loue; for they were done with opinion of merit, and so they loued themselues rather than the parties they gaue vnto. So is all the loue of worldlings; examine it, and you shall most­what finde it to bee selfe-loue; they haue some reach at them­selues.

4 Pure Loue is, when wee so loue a man, as we loue his soule; and therefore will suffer no euill to rest vpon him, but hate the sin in him whom hee loues most dearly, and will counsell him to all good, and from all euill. Ther­fore so to loue our neighbour, as not to tell him of his fault for an­gring or disquieting of him (if he be such as wee may speake to) is hatred rather than loue, as God [Page 102] saith, Leuiticus 19. 17.

So Parents, that loue their children so well, as they will not nurture, rebuke, correct them; they hate them▪ they slay them in following their wayes: Hee that spares the rod, hates his childe, Prou. 13. 24. Its as one should bee so tender ouer a childe, as not to suffer the winde to blow vpon it; and therefore hold the hand be­fore the mouth of it, but hold so hard, as hee strangles the childe: As the Ape that hugs her young so hard, as she kils it.

Againe, friends perswade a man to doe this or that for pre­ferment, that he cannot doe with good conscience: Oh they loue him, they would faine see him preferred. Wofull loue to the bo­die, to destroy the soule.

A neighbour hath a childe, or cattell strangely handled; one comes in of loue, and perswades him to send to such a cunning [Page 103] man, or good Witch (the worst instrument of the Deuill of all) for helpe. Is hee a friend, that will doe that that shall vantage one a penny, and ere the yeare come about, hinder him a hun­dred pound?

So when a good Christian is ready to suffer for a good confer­ence, and a friend comes and sayes, Oh I pray cast not away yourselfe, I wish you well; be not too nice, doe as others doe. Cruell loue is this, to perswade them to saue their bodies, by do­ing that, whereby they should cast away soule and body for e­uer: As Peter aduiseth our Saui­our Christ not to goe vp to Ieru­salem to suffer, but to fauour him­selfe, Matth. 16. 22. which was to disswade him from doing his Fa­thers will, and from that, wherby Peter himselfe and all mankinde should bee saued, and without which they had all beene lost for [Page 104] euer: what loue therefore was this? you may see by the thankes our Sauiour Christ gaue him, who bade him get him behinde him Sathan; for hee sauoured not of the things of God, but of the world.

5 Next, our Loue must be fer­uent. We must loue earnestly, and hotly as wee can; and secondly, constantly: for in these two things stands feruency. First, for the earnestnesse of our Loue; as wee must stretch it to as many per­sons, and in as many dueties as wee can, to soule, to body, in gi­uing, forgiuing, &c. as wee haue heard before; so in these we must not be sparing, but in giuing, li­berall; for he that sowes sparingly, shall reape sparingly, 2 Cor. 9. 6. So in forgiuing plenteous, to seuenty times, &c. For thus is God to vs, in giuing for soule, body, goods, name, to our selues and ours, day & night, neuer weary in doing vs [Page 105] good, neuer vpbraiding. In for­giuing, how mercifull, in passing by our manifold offences, and that daily? And the rather, be­cause a little loue is soon quencht; therefore wee must so loue, as though wee meete with many temptations from the parties themselues, or from others, that yet wee suffer it not to be extin­guished. And wee must loue fer­uently; not doing these dueties when we can well, and haue no­thing to let vs, but forget our pleasure, profit, ease, &c. to doe our neighbour good. Loue seeks not her owne things. It is labors­ous, 1 Cor. 13. as in the Samariran, who set vp the wounded man vpon his horse, and went on foote him­selfe, and left all the money in his purse for his charges, and pro­mised to send more. And as hee that rose out of his warme bed, to lend his neighbour loaues. As they that gaue out of their maine [Page 106] stocke, or sold their lands to re­lieue the necessities of the Church, Acts 2. 44. Aboue and beyond all comparison ten thou­sand times, was the feruency of the loue of God the Father, when hee parted with his owne and onely Sonne out of his bosome, for our Redemption, and of our Lord Iesus Christ, who forsooke the glory of Heauen, and laide downe his life here vpon earth, to saue vs miserable siuners, and his vtter enemies.

Oh how doth this condemne the cold, yea, frozen loue of the world? And where there is a sparke, yet it is so weake, as the least drop of water will quench it. We will not speake a word in defence of neuer so good a man or cause, if it will hinder our selues neuer so little, or procure vs but a frowne.

How worthily on the contrary did Ionathan, who spake for Da­uid [Page 107] to Saul his father, to the dan­ger of his owne life, 1 Sam. 20. 33. So Ester endangered her life to speake for the Church; I will goe to the King, If I perish, I perish, Hest. 4. 16.

6 Lastly, our Loue must bee constant; not easily broken off, but continuing to the end, Heb. 13. 1. Ephes. 4. 3.

Thus is Gods loue to his, Iohn 13. 1. which wee must imitate. The Deuill will seeke to breake it off, and our selues (being men) are fraile, and many occasions will be ready to be offered; ther­fore wee had need with all dili­gence, to striue to hold and main­taine it aliue in our hearts.

How doth this rebuke the in­constancy of many men, that are wonne (as we say) with an apple, and lost with a nut; that will vp­on euery sleight occasion breake friendship? If God should so deale with vs, what should be­come [Page 108] of vs? But his loue is con­stant to his, notwithstanding their daily prouocations.

Yea, hee loues them in aduer­sity, and their low estate; yea, best then, and is nearest them with his comforts. So it ought to bee with vs; for then our neighbour hath most need of vs, and then our loue will shew it selfe to bee most free, and not mercenary. But how contrary is this euery where? While they be in prospe­rity, they haue many friends, which in their affliction goe aloofe off; as Dauid oft complain­eth, and Iob, to whose very wife his breath was strange in the day of his affliction. Ruth did quite contrary, & very commendably, who vowed to her mother-in-law Naomi, that nothing but death should separate between them.

CHAP. 7. Whom we must loue.

NOw followeth, to speake of the persons whom wee ought to loue: and they are all men vpon the face of the earth, good and bad, without or within the Pale of the Church; our loue must stretch it selfe to any of them: they are our neighbour, whom wee are bidden to loue as our selues; as wee may see in the Parable of the Samaritan: these we ought to doe good to, if they need, and wee be able; and for these we must pray.

Yea, wee ought to pray for euery particular person, that wee know or can see, because wee know not (whatsoeuer hee bee now) but he may belong to God.

Wee must therefore loue all; our enemies, and all men whatso­euer [Page 110] they be, but especially the Saints and People of God. And of these I will speake seuerally, and in order.

And first of the loue of our e­nemies.Loue of our ene­mies. That wee must loue our enemies, is required inclusiuely in these words of 1. Ioh. 3. 23. that ye loue one another; and in those words, that be the summe of the two Tables, Thou shalt loue thy neighbour as thy selfe: as may ap­peare by comparing Exod. 23. 4, 5. with Deut. 22. 1, 2. He that is cal­led in one place thine enemy, is called in the other thy brother or neighbour. More plainely its re­quired, Pro. 25. 21. Matth. 5. 44. But ere we proceed to the proofe of this point, let vs see who are the enemies wee must loue, by shewing the kindes of enemies that there be, and withall cleere some Scriptures that seeme to countenance hatred of our ene­mies. Enemies bee publicke or [Page 111] priuate, Gods enemies or ours. Publike, be such as oppose & hate the Religion and truth of God, and persecute it in the professors thereof, or are enemies to anie good courses and godly procee­dings, and so to vs for the same. These againe bee eyther curable or incurable: for the curable, such as Saul was, who afterward became a Paul; we must hate their sinnes, pray against their deuices, but loue their persons. The in­curable we must hate their sinnes directly, and their persons indi­rectly.

Thus we hate the person of the Divell; though he be Gods crea­ture, yet because hee hath sinned against the holy Ghost, and is Gods desperate, finall and incu­rable aduersarie, therefore wee are bound to hate him: So might, nay ought we to doe, if we knew anie man or men to be such: as S. Paul did, who 2. Tim. 4. prayed [Page 112] against Alexander, that God would reward him according &c. and the Primitiue Church against Iulian the Apostate.

Of these Dauid meant, Psal. 139. 22. Doe not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? yea I hate &c. and Psal. 109. & 69 22. to the 29. and in many Psalmes hee prayes for the finall and vtter destruction of his enemies, which is a signe of vt­ter hatred. But this was not be­cause they were his enemies, but Gods as well; and not that only, but desperate and irrecouerable ones, which he saw by the spirit of God, being extraordinarily and infallibly▪ informed: thereof: whose prayers were but prophe­cies of the finall destruction of these men, as Psal. 63. 9. & 54. 5. But for vs, because wee haue not the like measure or gift of the spirit, wee haue no such warrant to hate or pray directly against a­nie mans person.

[Page 113]Of these also are meant such places, where wee are bidden to reioyce at wicked mens destruction, Psal. 52. also Psal. 58. 10. We also, though we know not mens finall estate, yet if wee see anie notori­ous enemies of the Church, and Gospell, and good men, taken a­way, may giue God thankes, and in some sense reioyce, namely, that God hath shewed himselfe carefull of his Church, and hath prouided for his glory, the com­fort of his people and passage of goodnesse, and for the terrour of other bad ones; but not to reioice as its their destruction: but as wee should pray for them while they liue, so pitie them being cut off, that they haue brought mise­rie vpon themselues.

Obiect. But an obiection or two may be made. Our Sauiour Christ tells vs, wee must hate fa­ther and mother, wife and childe &c. for his Names sake.

[Page 114] Answ. True, when they stand in opposition against Christ, and would pull vs from him, we must then say, Get thee behinde mee Sa­than, and tread vpon them if they stand in our way to hinder vs from following Christ. We must hate their counsell, but yet loue their persons, and pray God to o­pen their eyes and turne their hearts.

Obiect. 2. God bade the Israe­lites kill the Cananites, man, wo­man and childe, and spare none.

Answ. If God bade them hate them, they had a warrant so to doe; for wee must loue our ene­mies in God and for God, and not against God, and wee must obey his commandement. But God bade them not hate them, but kill them, and so they might doe, and yet wish well to them, and pity them. The same may be said of all iust warres: wee may hate the bad cause of our enemies, [Page 115] ouerthrow their enterprizes, and slay their persons, and yet pity them, and pray for their saluati­on. As the Magistrate also, that puts a malefactor to death for his offence, and to terrifie others by his example, yet hates him not, but desires that his bodily pu­nishment may be an occasion to bring him to Repentance, to the sauing of his soule; and therefore giues him godly counsell, grants him respit and time, sends Prea­chers to him to labour with him. So in the other.

And thus much of Gods ene­mies. Besides these, we may haue priuate enemies, that be vpon oc­casion fallen out with vs, that hate and hurt vs, and haue done vs wrong, and seeke our mis­chiefe. These our enemies wee must loue: and of these princi­pally, as also of Gods curable ene­mies, is our speech to be vnder­stood in all that followes.

[Page 116]We must loue our enemies: that is, we must carry a tender affection towards them, as desi­ring their good, wishing saluati­on to their soules, and outward prosperity, so farre as may stand with Gods glory, and their good, reioycing at their welfare, and grieuing at the contrary: and this wee must shew forth by all signes and fruits of good vsage euery way. which are referred, Mat. 5. 44. to these three heads: first, Blesse them: that is, speake kindly to them and of them: se­condly, Doe good: that is, be rea­die to helpe and relieue them: and lastly, Pray for them that hate and persecute you; euen pray to God to pardon them, and to turne their hearts. And thus are we to doe to those, that be neuer so deadly set against vs; yea, and neuer so wrongfully. And marke, that in this last cited place, wee are first bidden to oue them: the [Page 117] beginning must be in the affecti­on of the heart, that so the other dueties required may be perfor­med, and that in a right manner, without which, the one or the other, or both will faile: and then that wee must not say wee loue them onely, but shew it by the fruits. Rom. 12. 20. If thine enemy hunger, feed him, &c. ouercome euill with goodnesse. Prou. 24. 17. we are forbidden to reioyce at our ene­mies fall, eyther into sinne or pu­nishment.

Thus Dauid put on sackcloth, fasted, and prayed, when his e­nemies were in affliction. Elisha bade the King set bread & water before his enemies, and them that came to take the Prophet, 2 Kings 6. So did our Sauiour Christ to his Precept (Matth. 5.) ioyne his Patterne, not onely not reuenging, as St. Peter saith, being reuiled, he reuiled not againe, being persecuted, he threatned not: but on [Page 118] the contrary, prayed for them that put him to death; Father, for­giue them, they know not what they doe. Thus he spake kindly to Iu­das, when he betrayed him with a kisse, and called him Friend, Matth. 26. 50. Thus Steuen prayed for his persecutors, euen in the act of their stoning of him; Lord, lay not this sinne to their charge, Acts 7. at the end.

Now listen to some Reasons, to moue vs to this difficult duety, and the Lord make them power­full to perswade vs thereto.

First, They be our owne flesh, Isa. 58. 7. therefore wee are not to hurt them, nor turne away our face from them to do them good.

Secondly, they haue some part, at least of Gods Image in them, in their soule, being an immortall spirit, in the Maiesty of their face aboue all creatures, in their au­thority they beare, or age, or gifts, or the like.

[Page 119]Thirdly, our Sauiour Christ commands it: But I say vnto you, Mat. 5. 44. The Scribes and Pha­risees had taught, they should loue their friends, and hate their enemies: But our Sauiour Christ, the Law-maker, and so the truest Interpreter thereof, the Doctor of his Church, hee of whom the Father bade from heauen heare him, Matth. 17. 5. who is also our Lord and King; bids vs loue our enemies.

So that if hee may be heard, who is onely to be heard, and if his authority and commande­ment may beare sway with vs, that only ought to command our consciences; then must wee doe so. So that though Scribes and Pharisees say, Loue friends, and hate enemies; though the Deuill say so, flesh and bloud say so, and doe so, yet there is another to be heard against all these; But I say vnto you, &c. Let vs therefore [Page 120] listen to his voice.

Fourthly, so shall wee be the children of God, and be like him, who makes his sunne to shine, and raine to fall on the iust and vniust: and besides many outward mer­cies, giues them the Gospell, to call them to repentance; And euen loued vs when we were his vtter enemies, and when as hee might haue glorified himselfe in our condemnation; yet he so lo­ued vs, as he gaue his own deare Sonne to redeeme vs; and hath effectually called diuers of vs to the Faith of his Son Iesus Christ, and the hope of eternall life. Oh Loue vnspeakeable, to bee shewed to enemies! Now what should we desire, and is our hap­pinesse, but to be like him? Now when wee can loue our enemies indeed, it will be a certaine eui­dence wee are the children of God: a signe we loue God dearly, when wee can doe this difficult [Page 121] thing for his sake: And a signe of much grace to mortifie the rebel­lion of our nature, that lusteth to the quite contrary. And wee can haue no mark we are the Lords, except wee can doe this in some measure, and striue after it more and more.

Fifthly, Gods people must doe singular things, such as the world cannot attaine to. Now euery Publican, ciuill person, hypocrite, can loue his friends, and hate his enemies, but we must doe more: God hath shewed vs singular mercy; therefore we must yeeld him singular obedience, and shew forth the power of his grace that is in vs. We must not be singular in conceits, opinions, and courses of our owne deuising; but wee must be singular, in obeying such commandements of God, as the world will not be brought vnto: and to reproach vs for such sin­gularity, shewes them to bee of [Page 122] this world that doe it.

Sixthly, this hath reward from God, so hath not louing them onely that loue vs, which is selfe­loue; wee shall haue their loue still its like, and there is the re­ward we are like to haue: but in louing our enemies, we shall haue a reward, Prou. 25. 22. not of me­rit, but of promise for our encou­ragement.

Seuenthly, we are commanded, Matth. 5. 48. (whence all these reasons are collected) that wee should be perfect, as our heauenly Father is perfect. This is a de­gree of grace, and profiting in Christs Schoole, to be able to loue our enemies; which wee must striue vnto, in this and the like dueties; not contenting our selues to heare, reade, come to the Sa­crament, which not onely weak­lings in grace, but hypocrites can doe, and doe continually, nor yet holding our selues satisfied with [Page 123] some small measure of Loue, or other graces, as Faith, Patience, &c. but to striue forward to some good degrees of them, and of the fruits of the same in our course, as occasion serues: of which this louing and doing good to our e­nemies, are principall ones.

Eighthly, hereby we shall, it may be, conuert and ouercome our enemies to loue the truth; As the patience of the Martyrs, was a meane of the conuersion of some, who suffered soone after them. Or at least, it will bee a conuincing them, and leauing them without excuse; as Saul, by Dauids innocency, who twice might haue killed him, and did not, was conuinced, and cryed out, Thou art more righteous than I, 1 Sam. 24. 19.

Ninthly, we shall prouide here­in well for our owne comfort, both in life and in death; when in all aduersities and wrongs by [Page 124] wicked men, our enemies, our hearts can testifie with vs, that we seeke no reuenge, that we can pray for our persecutors. For this argueth much loue to be in vs, and that it is feruent, as God com­mands. As that is a great fire, that warmes not onely them that be neare, but giues heate to them that be far off: So is this Loue.

This then, first confuteth the Doctrine of the Scribes andVse 1. Pharisees, of which wee haue heard: which is Doctrine and Diuinity for our turne, and well suiting to our nature; but its too pleasing to nature to bee good: nay, its to be abhorred.

2 The Papists also, who, little better, teach, that in two cases onely we are bound to helpe our enemies, in the case of extremity, or of scandall. For other things, to loue them, or pray for them, or doe them good in other cases, its but a counsell our Sauiour Christ [Page 125] giues, and no commandement. If men can do it, its well; but if they cannot, its not required. But this is false; our Sauiour Christ speaks in the Imperatiue and comman­ding Mood, and vrgeth it hard, with diuers reasons: therefore its not left to our discretion, but flatly required, as in other Scrip­tures.

3 It rebuketh the contrary nature that is in vs, and the pra­ctice of the world, which quite against this Precept of louing, praying for, and doing good to our enemies, doe hate them, re­ioyce at their fall, enuie at any good that comes to them, speake all ill to them, and of them, in­terrupt all ill against them, re­quite one euill with another, taunt with taunt, suit with suit, blow with blow, and seeke to do them all euill. Yea, and men thinke they should bee borne with, and not blamed for this: [Page 126] Why, say they, he is mine enemy, and that wrongfully, I neuer did him hurt, yet he hath raised lies and slanders of me, or thus and thus abused mee: What then? what mastery else were it for you to loue him? Oh but this cannot be heard of; whereby it appeares, that most men are carnall, and of the Deuill.

They say, they owe them no loue; Well, yet you owe God all loue, you cannot deny, and hee hath turned ouer some of the loue you owe to him, to be payed to your enemy, and he will take it as payed to him; and this is but iust in common dealing among men.

Nay, its a fault too much a­mong many Christians, that shew great weaknesse this way. If they be wronged, Oh how they swell, and how farre they will goe in reuenge, both by words and deeds, and how long they dare [Page 127] lye herein? whereby they be wray they be more flesh than spirit, as Paul said to the Corinthians. While these things are thus, are ye not carnall, and walke as men? 1 Cor. 3. 3.

My Brethren, these things ought not so to be. This is not the perswasion of Gods Spirit. Indeede, the spirit that is in vs lusteth after enuie; but the Scrip­ture teacheth better things: The wisedome that is from aboue, is, first, pure, then peaceable, full of mercy, and good fruits. Therefore this re­uenging course, which is counted wisedome, if it be any, its earthly: that is, of the men of this world; sensuall, of our owne corrupt lust and desire, and Diuellish, he is the author and teacher of it.

Oh that wee could be brought to see our sinne euery of vs in this point, and be humbled, that there is such a nature in vs, so contrary to the will of God, and for our [Page 128] practice, that hath been so bad, and lets euery one of vs bewaile heartily, and repent of that that is past: and for time to come, lets labour for greater grace, that when any such occasions be of­fered vs hereafter, we may shew better fruits.

And though we talke with our enemy, or debate the matter, keep passion away, and doe it pa­tiently; yea, or if wee reproue him, if he be worthy, or take the benefit of Law or Magistrate, yet let it be without reuenge. Wee are not bound hereby to loue their sinnes, nor their needlesse society, nor to furnish them with kindnesse, that might make them fitter to doe hurt, nor to relin­quish our right, or our good cause; but that we be free from hatred and reuenge, yea, and fur­ther, to ouercome their euill with goodnesse, as God doth, and com­mandeth.

[Page 129]And first, that we beware of reuenge, which is a wicked thing, and that for these Reasons:

First, Vengeance is the Lords, and he will repay. Its his office and priuiledge: to reuenge therefore, is to take the Royalty out of his hand; as one should put the Lord chiefe Iustice out of his seat, and iudge his cause himselfe. Hee must reuenge to whom it belongs, as Psal. 94. 1, 2. therefore the E­gyptian said to Moses, when hee would haue parted him and the Israelite, Exod. 2. 14. Who made thee a Iudge ouer vs? Noting, that men must not auenge without authority: therefore our Sauiour Christ bade Peter put vp his sword, when he cut off Malchas eare: with a reason, Because who so auengeth without a calling, shall perish by the sword.

Wee must therefore commit our case to God, as our Sauiour Christ did; for he can also doe it [Page 130] most wisely, and most righte­ously, 1 Pet. 2. 23. wee will doe it foolishly and partially, as wee see in daily experience. Leaue it to him, he will not faile to do it, and well too.

2 When we reuenge our own wrongs, we leaue the Lord no­thing to do, except it be to turne his wrath from our enemy, on whom wee haue beene reuenged already, to our selues, for our sin of reuenging, as Pro. 24. 17, 18.

3 When we reuenge, we doe we know not what: we consider not who smote vs. Its the Lord, as Iob said, The Lord hath giuen, and the Lord hath taken, when the Caldeans had robbed him. No euill in the City: that is, of punish­ment, but the Lord hath done it, A­mos 3. 6. which made Dauid so quietly beare Shimei his rayling, because the Lord set him on worke so to doe for his hum­bling.

[Page 131]Our enemy is but as Ashur,Esay 10. the Lords rod, to beat vs with; therefore to reuenge, is to wring the rod out of Gods hand, and breake it, or cast it into the fire, which is but an vngracious childes part. When God bids vs loue our enemies, he bids vs but kisse the rod, to pull down our stomachs▪ which many wise mothers will make their yoong ones do betimes.

So also its the Deuill in thine enemy, that doth thee wrong in goods, life, or name, who hereby seekes to driue thee to reuenge, or some other sinne; as he did to moue Iob to curse God, by all the troubles hee brought vpon him; therefore resist the Deuill, and not the man: for the Deuill aimes not at thy goods, or name, to hurt thee in them, but to draw thee to sinne, to the hurt of thy soule. If thou canst therefore, resist [Page 132] Sathan herein, and auoide the sinne he seekes hereby to bring thee to commit, thou shalt play a wise mans part, and so in stead of reuenging thy selfe on thy enemy, be reuenged vpon Sathan, thy chiefest enemy.

4 When we reuenge, we do our selues ten times more hurt, than wee doe our enemy: wee hurt him a little, it may be, in his body, goods, or good name, and wound ourselues deeply in our own soules; hit him in the skin, and pierce the kall of our owne hearts: As the Bee, that to sting another, loseth shortly her owne life. Its the foolishest thing in the world to reuenge; but a wise part, to commit it to God, best for vs, and worst for our enemy. Oh its no dea­ling with a man that commits his cause to God, no standing before him: for though God would part from his owne, yet he [Page 133] will not giue away his seruants right. It were better for an e­nemy, that the party that hee hates, should deuise all waies of reuenge in the world, by him­selfe, and by his friends against him, than that hee should put it vp quietly, and leaue it to God.

And let vs not stay our selues here, in auoiding reuenge, but goe forward to loue our enemies, and labour to doe good against euill, as we are commanded, Rom. 12. vlt.

Obiect. I cannot doe it: for he hath deserued all ill of me; and can I then doe him good?

Answ. And haue not you done so against Almighty God, and yet he doth you good daily?

Obiect. Its a base part for mee, being wronged, disgraced, and abused, not to challenge him, and be auenged of him, if I can, else I shall be counted a cowardly foole, much more if I should doe him good.

[Page 134] Answ. This is but carnall Di­uinity, which counts it great courage to turne againe and re­uenge, which Heathens & Turks can doe, and euery Bull and Bore can doe, and that its basenesse to put vp wrongs. But its quite con­trary: for its true valour to ouer­come our selues, and conquer our vnruly lusts and sinfull passions, and to obey the commandement of God, Prou. 16. 32. hee is more mighty that can rule himselfe, than hee that conquers many o­thers: And that is true basenesse, for a man to be so led by his pas­sions, as he can be are nothing, no, though God command, and the contrary turne to his owne de­struction.

Obiect. When you haue said all you can, it is impossible.

Answ. No, its not impossible, though a hard thing it is, I grant: and therefore by the way, for such as professe they can beare all [Page 135] indignities done them, and can do them that do them, all good, as if there were no such matter, and finde no difficulty in it, (and yet but ordinary persons neither) for my part, I doe not beleeue them, and I doubt, they doe but deceiue themselues. If it were not hard to be done, it were not so worthy of a Christian. Its therefore a yoke, but easie; a burthen, but light to the spirituall man, that is well assured of the loue of God to him, and of the forgiuenesse of many sinnes. But to the carnall man, I grant, its wholly impossi­ble.

Lets labour therefore for this Faith and Assurance of forgiue­nesse, whereby we may be ena­bled to doe this difficult worke.

Now to draw to an end of this point of Loue to our enemies, let vs, I beseech you, be perswaded seriously to weigh the reasons that haue beene vsed to moue to [Page 136] this duety, and let vs suffer our selues to be ouercome of them.

Its the most noble and heroi­call duety, and truely worthy of a Christian man: hereby we shall proue our selues to bee the chil­dren of God, and doe like to him; which ought to be our greatest ambition.

Hereby wee shall shew our selues to haue profited well in the Schoole of Christ, and that wee haue not learned to do that euery body can doe, but to doe some singular thing; for so may God expect of vs, after all this cost of his Word bestowed vpon vs, and that we are growne past children and weaklings, on towards per­fection, euen to doe difficult dueties, and such as are most con­trary to our rebellious nature. The Lord perswade our hearts to conceiue well of, to beleeue, and obey this point.

Me thinkes, whiles I am speak­ing. [Page 137] of these reasons, the heart somewhat yeelds to this duety, and there seemes as if one should haue some power to doe it: and I am perswaded, that there bee diuers, that at the hearing and reading of these things, if they were tryed now they be hote, could be able to doe something this way.

But let them sinke downe so deep into our hearts, as they may abide with vs, that if hereafter occasion shall be offered, we may be able to shew forth the force and fruit thereof. We must look to meet with wrongs and ene­mies; therefore lets learne to take out this lesson before-hand.

Oh that wee could but learne this one point at this time! how happily should we haue spent our time? Hereby wee shall honour our profession, conuert or con­uince our aduersaries, and pro­uide much comfort to our owne [Page 138] soules: As that worthy Master Greenham, a man subiect to ma­nie slanderous reports, that yet would say, these two things com­forted him: First, that he found his heart not ill, but well affected to his brethren: Secondly, that when he was alone, he could humble himselfe to God, and pray him to forgiue him, that rai­sed them vp.

Lets labour hereunto: what else doe we hearing so many Ser­mons continually, if wee meane not to shew forth the power thereof?

CHAP. 8. Of Loue to all men.

NExt vnto our Enemies, whom must we loue more? We must loue all other men. Not [Page 139] onely our kindred, friends, ac­quaintance, our neighbours of the same towne, countrey, or nation, but euen all that dwell vpon the face of the earth, high, low, rich, poore, men, women, yongue, old, bond, free, without or within the Church, that eyther are or euer may be the people of God. True, our loue must begin at those that be neerest vs, and must be most to those within the Church, especi­ally to the houshold of Faith; but it must stretch it selfe farre, and wide, and ouer all, and wee must doe all dueties of Loue to them, as occasion shall be offered and we be able. For whosoeuer hath or shall haue need of our helpe, he is our neighbour, whom wee are bound to loue, because God hath commanded it, and hee is our owne flesh. Our prayers, as a maine dutie of loue, must reach at one time or other to all, and doe them what other good [Page 140] we can. Wee must pray for the poore Pagans, that God would send his light and truth amongst them, that they in time may bee brought into the bosome of the Church, and the sheepfold of Christ Iesus.

For the Lords ancient people the Iewes, that he would be plea­sed to make those dry bones to liue, and to take the vaile of vn­beleefe from off their hearts, that they may at last come to em­brace and beleeue in the Lord Ie­sus Christ, to their eternall salua­tion. And that God would in mercie bring in the fulnesse of the Gentiles, and to that end that he would hasten the ruine of An­christs Kingdome, that those na­tions that haue long lyen vnder the bondage of that man of sinne, and in the darkenesse of supersti­tion and Idolatry, may be set at libertie, and haue the light of the glorious Gospell to shine among [Page 141] them, to teach them to know and worship the true God aright, and to beleeue in Iesus Christ, which is life eternall.

And for those within the Church, wee ought to pray to God to continue his mercie to­wards them, and to giue them grace to walke worthy thereof. And for those that be falne into their enemies hands, and bee in great distresse euerie way, wee ought to send vp continuall fer­uent prayers and strong cryes, out of the bowels of compassion towards their miseries, vnto Al­mightie God the father and pro­tector of his Church, that though hee hath punished them for their sinnes as pleased him, yet that hee would in iudgement remember mercie, and humble their hearts vnder his heauie hand, pardon their sinnes, and restore their for­mer liberties to them againe. Yea and as their bodily necessities [Page 142] shall be truely made knowne to vs, wee should be readie to reach out our hand to the reliefe there­of.

Ob. If anie will say, They bee strangers to me, what haue I doe with them?

Ans. Let such a one know, that yet Gods Image, nor his ex­presse commandement ought not to be strange vnto vs, but ought to prouoke vs to this duety. Yea they that bee neuer so ignorant, prophane, vngodly, whether rich or poore, we must wish well vnto them, and seeke their good: for as wee must not hate the vices for the persons sake, so neyther the person for the vices sake. Our loue towards them, may bee a meane to winne them to God.

Vse. But alas, how few be there that thinke any such thing requi­red of them? and therefore no maruell though no conscience be made of the performance there­of: [Page 143] for euen in those things that they know to be the will of God and their dueties, yet few will be brought to the obedience of them. Who so pities the mise­rable state of those that know not God, nor haue any meanes of saluation, but be out of the pale of the Church; as to pray earnestly to God, that hee would in mercie visit them in his due time? Alas, multitudes pray not for their owne selues and families, their neighbours and nation; and therefore no maruell they looke not so farre.

But, mee thinkes, that fearfull Prayer the Church maketh a­gainst such, Psalme 79. 6. should strike feare into them, to moue them to seeke to auoide the dint and danger of it.

How sew lay to heart the long and sore afflictions, nay, the wo­full desolations of our brethren in the Palatinate, Bohemia, and [Page 144] places adioyning; and therefore powre out compassionate repen­ting and feruent prayers to God for them? We heare of their vn­speakeable miseries, but are not affected with them, either to pro­fit by their harmes vnto sound repentance our selues, or to put to our helping hand, by our in­stant prayers to seeke their deli­uerance. Wee talke much of them, and would faine see an end of their troubles, and a returne of things, but few be those that doe pray for them, and that so seldome, and so coldly, as we can haue as little comfort, as they haue hitherto found benefit: for what fruit can be expected from prayers, not ioyned with true re­pentance? for God heares no sin­ners; and let him that cals vpon the Name of the Lord (and looks to be heard) depart from iniqui­tie.

I doubt not but some there are, [Page 145] that doe compassionately and fee­lingly wrestle with God for them, from time to time, yea, do afflict their soules to obtain mer­cie for them, whose prayers are assuredly not shut out, or forgor­ten before God, but shall in due time haue blessed effect; but these, I doubt, are but a very few.

And for other dueties of Loue, no maruell, if (as occasion serues) they bee coldly performed to those that be further off, when wee are found so faulty towards those wee daily conuerse with. What extreme failing in the due­ties of forgiuing wrongs, and do­ing good to soules and bodies of those we haue to doe with? Of which wee haue spoken already vpon one or two seuerall occasi­ons; therefore I now speake no more thereof: onely I pray God to giue vs this true Loue, that may reach out it selfe to all men, as occasion is, or shall be offered.

CHAP. 9. Of Loue to the Saints.

NOw I come to the loue we owe to the Saints and true people of God; and these are to be loued in the greatest degree of all other men, and to be had in high price and account, Gal. 6. 10. Psalme 15. 4.

Thus did Dauid, Psalme 16. 3. All his delight was in the Saints. Psal. 119. 63. He was their compa­nion. Psal. 101. He would haue such to attend vpon him, and such only as neare as he could. So Corne­lius, Acts 10. 7. had a souldier that feared God, that was at his hand.

Reasons of this are: First, the1. Image of God is most clearly seen in them: we are to reuerence and loue the least part of it, whereso­euer we see it, euen in wicked men; how much more then, the [Page 147] brightnesse of it, which stands in the graces of the Spirit, wise­dome, holinesse, and righteous­nesse, wherein they most liuely resemble their Maker? And the more of this we see, the more we ought to loue, in children, friends, neighbours, or whomsoeuer. This is to be esteemed far aboue wit, beauty, strength, wealth, actiuity, or any gift of Nature or Art; these be toyes to grace: Fa­uour is deceitfull, and beauty vanity, but one that feares God, he or she, shall be praised. Therefore herein Rebecca was wiser than Isaac, who loued Iacob for his grace, more than Esau for his skill in hunting.

Secondly, God loues them best; therefore so should we. As whom the King fauours, all doe honour. These be his secret ones, precious in his account, as the apple of his eye; he hath re­buked Kings for their sakes.

[Page 148]When he drowned all the world, hee preserued his little number: As Lot in Sodoms de­struction. Yea, if there had but ten righteous persons been found in fiue Cities, they had all beene saued from the burning. These bee marked in Ierusalem from the common destruction, Ezek. 9. These he sealed, Reuel. 7. to be preserued from the plagues bodily and spi­rituall, that should come vpon the world. He makes more ac­count of one righteous one, than of a thousand other, Isa. 43. 3, 4. As he did, when to make way for his people, the Iewes, into Cana­an, he gaue seuen mighty Nations to the sword.

Thirdly, they be more excel­lent than any other, Prou. 12. 26. The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour: meaning, that is not righteous, but wicked. More excellent in this life, at his death, and in the day of iudge­ment. [Page 149] These are written in the Booke of Life, be washt white in the bloud of the Lambe, clothed with his Righteousnesse, aricher robe than euer Salomon wore on his backe: adorned with the pre­cious Iewels of Gods sanctifying graces, attended by the Angels, borne from aboue, the children of God, members of Christ, tem­ples of the Holy Ghost, heires of all things here, & shall at death, and after the day of Iudgement, be inheritors of the Kingdome of Heauen, prepared for them be­fore the beginning of the world. And for the wicked, we may say, as Psal. 1. 4. It is not so with them. And therefore good reason these should be best beloued.

4 Lastly, they be most vsefull, and can do vs most good, by their counsell, example, prayers, when we be present with them, yea, ab­sent from them: Hee that walkes Pro. 13. 20 with the wise, shall bee the wiser; [Page 150] much good may we learne, and comfort may we get, by conuer­sing with them, that bee truely godly.

For their sake the world con­tinues; if the number of the Elect were fulfilled, the wicked should no longer rout here, but come to iudgement, and be sent to their owne place.

For their sake, and at their prayers, many plagues are kept from the Land; as at Moses pray­ers they were from the Israelites: Many iudgements entred, haue been remoued, as Plague and Pe­stilence, and vnseasonable times; yea, finall desolation preuented: and had it not beene for a few, we might haue looked to haue been as Sodome, and as Gomorrha. All fare the better for the Righ­teous sake; as all that were in the ship▪ with Paul, had their liues gi­uen them, and were preserued from drowning for his sake, Acts 27.

[Page 151] Vse. 1. This then serues to re­proue the folly of carnall people, that so dote vpon wealth and ho­nour, and things of this world, as if they that had them were the happy men; Oh they bee made, they cannot do amisse. And these, in their language, are vsually cal­led the best men in the Towne, and these they crouch to and ad mire, when grace and the feare of God in any is little regarded; esteeming the seruants of God without wealth (how gracious soeuer) but poore snakes.

But, Oh folly and madnesse to worship the Golden Calfe! so highly to esteem men for red and white earth, gifts of Gods left hand, giuen euen to his enemies, things transitory & soone fading away, and that cannot keep their owners from the damnation of hell; and not to esteeme of the precious graces of Gods Spirit, giuen from aboue onely to his [Page 152] Elect, and which doe abide vnto euerlasting life.

Elisha, that worthy Prophet of the Lord, was of another minde, who, but for the goodnesse that was in King Iehoshaphat, would not haue once looked to­wards Iehoram, that wicked King of Israel, 2 Kin. 3. 14. which folly, of preferring wealth aboue grace, the Apostle St. Iames rebu­keth, Cap. 2. 1, 2. &c.

Secondly, this rebuketh such, as make account of all alike, espe­cially, if they be any thing ciuill; one as welcome to them as ano­ther, as much commended in life and at death: like as well of the ciuill, as of them that be truely religious, shew as much counte­nance, yeeld as much helpe to one as to the other. If they haue any thing to giue, they put no diffe­rence betweene the poore, good, or bad.

These are iustly to be suspected, [Page 153] and to be thought to be neyther Fish nor Flesh; for where true grace is, their eyes be annointed, that they can see a difference be­tween men, and grace will draw to grace, and as discerne it, so embrace it: for though we chal­lenge no such gift, as some that say, If they talke but halfe▪ an houre with a man, they will know whether he be the childe of God or not; yet, I say, God giues grace to discerne grace where it is, from bare ciuillity, at least by conuersing with them, and to preferre one infinitely before the other.

Many will commend a meere ciuill man, in whom its easie to discerne, that there is not one dramme of piety or true grace, to be as honest a man as need to be, and thinke and speake as well of him, as of a true good Christi­an; but this is a very dangerous signe, that there is no more but [Page 154] ciuill honesty in themselues.

Thirdly, this reproueth a more fearfull sinne yet, and yet the common practice of some, that in stead of louing the godly best of all persons, they can worst a­way with them. They could loue such a kinsman, tenant, seruant, &c. but that hee is (as they call them) a Puritan, and they can­not abide these precise fellowes. Nay, they haue loued such and such a one, till it pleased God to conuert him, and euer since they could neuer abide him: As the chiefe Priests dealt by Saul, after he was conuerted, and became a Paul. Why? hee was the same man that he was, onely he was better now: So its with the o­ther that I spake of; which is a plaine argument, that they hate them for their goodnesse, as Da­uid complaines, Psalme 38. 20. My mean­ing is onely to reproue those, who, vpon sin­cere and de­uout Chri­ans, such as make most conscience of their wayes, and are truely zealous in Gods ser­uice; fasten the odious name of Pu­ritan, and cannot a­bide them. Though they pretend they hate them for this or that fault, yet▪ [Page 155] that is not so; for they loue those that liue in greater faults, and themselues liue in farre greater, than they can possibly charge them withall: The truth is, its because they are better than themselues, and dare not be com­panions with them in euill, 1 Pet. 4. 4. therefore the openly pro­phane hate them: They hate them, because they flye a higher pitch, than they are willing to put themselues to the paines to at­taine to, and so they count they discredit them, who, but for these precise ones, should be counted the best, and as good, as one would desire.

Besides, these tell them, that their fruitlesse profession of Re­ligion will not serue to bring them to Heauen; and therefore vrge them to look further, which they are not willing to doe; and this makes them wish, they were all out of the way: for they onely [Page 156] trouble the world, they should be quiet but for them. And thus our Sauiour Christ and the Go­spell bring variance, not into the same Towne where before all went hand in hand to sinne, but into the same Family; because some will receiue the Gospell and the power of it, some others will not: therefore they are now at oddes, that were all one before in euill.

This sinne hath most fearfully ouer-spread this Nation, so that its more safe from the hatred and ill tongues of most, to bee any thing, rather than to be zealous and godly. A fearfull thing. Euery man loues a couragious souldier, a diligent and resolute seruant for his Master, a man forward in his businesse; onely forwardnesse and zeale for God and in Religi­on, that cannot bee endured. These be they that be the trou­blers, and a burthen to the places [Page 157] where they be, and so to the Land, and bee railed on as the vilest persons, when as yet these are perhaps vpon their knees, pleading with God for the Nati­on, when multitudes are swilling, and swearing, and prouoking Gods wrath against it; therefore we haue small cause to be weary of them: the Land, no doubt, fares the better for them euery day.

Is this the fruit of aboue three­score yeares peace and plenty of the Gospell; wherein it had been meet we had all beene such as I meane: that is, zealous and true hearted Christians, that now those few that labour to shew forth the power of true godli­nesse, in an vniuersall obedience to the Word they professe, that these should be had in derision, and be a wonder in Israel? As sure as we liue, if all in this Land serued God, as it is to be feared, [Page 158] some doe, in an idle and meere ceremonious cōming to Church, hearing of Sermons, and recei­uing the Sacrament, and yet liue as they list, and keep their lusts still, and the sinnes they haue a minde to; God would soone ease himselfe of vs, and vomit vp such a lukewarme Nation: for how odious is this to God, to haue people draw neare to him with their lips, when their hearts are diuided from him, and run after their sinnes: to heare his Word, and hate to be reformed, or to mend a little in what they list, and no further than they please; to call vpon God, and yet depart not from euill; in receiuing the Lords Supper, to professe Faith in Christ, and obedience to all Gods commandements, and in their liues to shew the clean con­trary euery day? what is this but to prouoke God against vs, and to deceiue our owne soules?

[Page 159]And as for those particular persons that are haters of Gods true seruants, they are no such themselues, and their state is fearful. For they are not led by the spirit that Dauid and Cornelius was, and which I pray God I may euer be. They be no true Mem­bers of the Church here, nor shall bee heires of Gods King­dome hereafter, as Psal. 15. 4. None of Christs Disciples, who are known by louing their Brethren, Iohn 13. 35. nor are translated from death to life, 1 Iohn 3. 14. but remaine vnder death to this houre: Nor haue any loue to God in them, 1 Iohn 5. 1. for if they loued him that begetteth, they would loue those that are begotten of him.

But they are of the seed of the Serpent, bearing enmity against the seed of the Woman, against Christ in his members; of Cains linage, of the broode of Ismael, worse than Balaam; Numb. 23. [Page] that said, How shall I curse, where God hath not cursed? or detest, where God hath not detested? are led by Sathan, who is an accuser of the Brethren, Reuel. 12, 10. who prouide wofully for themselues: for God said to Abraham, and so to all that be of the seed of Abra­ham by true faith, I will blesse them that blesse thee, and curse them that curse thee.

Their ill will is indeed against Christ, and reacheth to him; as he said from heauen to Saul, Why persecutest thou me? and, Its hard kicking against the pricks. Looke throughout all the Scriptures, and you shall see, that fearefull iudgements haue ouertaken the haters, and pursuers, or opposers of the true seruants of God. Later Histories of the Church, and our owne daily experience affords abundance of very true, sensible, and fearfull examples in this kinde. And if at the day of [Page 161] iudgement, they that haue done them no good shall be set on the left hand, and heare this dolefull sentence, Goe yee cursed &c. then what shall become of them that haue hated them, and done them hurt? Let euery one therefore that hath beene guilty in this thing, repent deepely of it, as there is cause, and so shake off this blacke and fearefull Marke, else the time will come, when they shall wish, and would thinke themselues happy, to bee sha­dowed vnder their wing whom now they hate; when they shall see them receiued, and themselues refused.

Yet here againe let me put in this by the way, that I count not those for Gods true seruants who are such onely in Profession, and not in their Practice.

Some zealous Professors there are, which yet are not so diligent in their callings as they ought to [Page 162] be. Some not so carefull to keep out of debt, or not to pay their debts, but hang on euery bush, and breake promises shamefully, to the iust opening the mouthes of their Neighbours. Some bee rash and indiscreete, giuen to censure too deepely. Some spend all their zeale in crying out a­gainst Ceremonies, and neglect matters more belonging to edi­fying themselues and others. Some forsake their owne Mini­sters when they preach, very vncharitably and indiscreetly. Some separate themselues from the Church, and our Ministrie and Societie altogether. Now if a Minister, or any Christian shall shew his dislike of such courses in generall, or rebuke any parti­cular person for any of them, hee is not to bee ill thought of for so doing, nor to be reputed an hater of Gods seruants.

Fourthly, there are diuers sorts [Page 163] of them that be no open ene­mies to Gods children, that yet will bee found no other, when God shall come to iudgement; and therefore here to be discoue­red and reproued. They bee not with them; therefore they bee against them. They can sit and heare them vniustly euill spoken of, and yet be neuer greeued, nor once open their mouthes in their behalfe. That pry into their liues, and if they can spy a hole in their coate, they reproach them by it, and tell it from one to ano­ther, and that with no griefe. Can cast out a scoffe against them: That care not for their company. Delight rather in those that spend the time in telling Newes or Tales, of this or that body: with these they can sit long; but for o­ther that will hold to any godly speech, they take no pleasure in them: They make matches with such rather than with those; in­uite [Page 164] them, and loue their compa­ny to chuse. These be lukewarme Christians, Neuters, neyther the one, nor the other, of both sides, of euery side: but God can see them to bee Enemies, and will set them on his left hand; when it will not serue them to pleade that they neuer hated them, or opposed them. Let men looke well to this Point: for there bee many that thinke well of them­selues, for good Christians, that yet will be found of this number: But as they can haue no sound peace to their Consciences, so shall they neuer haue good name in the Church of God, till it bee otherwise.

Fiftly and lastly, let this bee a Consolation to all those whose hearts doe beare witnesse, and their practice bewray that they truly loue the Saints; they can haue no better signe of the grace of God, or that they bee true [Page 165] Members of the Church here, and shall bee inheriters of glory hereafter; that they loue God, be Christs Disciples, and be tran­slated from death to life. Alwaies prouided, that you deceiue not your selues in this point, as no doubt diuers doe, To thinke, that because you loue some one or two choyce ones, that you are a louer of Gods people, though you neg­lect all the rest: which is not so; for whosoeuer loues any in truth, loues the grace of God in whom­soeuer hee sees it, rich or poore, high or low. Or because you loue some that bee of your Kinne, or for some outward good qualifi­cation they haue, or some com­mon gift of learning, eloquence, or because they bee rich, or bee such as haue done you some plea­sure, or may doe: for if your loue bee set vpon Gods seruants for such by respects, this is not the true Loue of the Saints: But [Page 166] if you loue them simply for the worke of Gods sanctifying grace that yousee or hear to be in them, though you neuer saw them, nor neuer shall, yet for the grace of God your heart is knit to them, as Ionathans to Dauid: or if you know and liue neare them [...] though they neuer did you any speciall good turne, or be nothing to you outwardly and in the flesh, nay, though any such haue re­proued you of some fault they haue seene in you, yet you loue them for the Image of God that shines in them: yea, though you see, heare, or know some imper­fections in them, and things worthy blame, yet seeing signes of synceritie you loue them not­withstanding, are glad when they doe well, and grieue at the con­trary: this is good.

Examine your selues by these things; if you bee taken tardy, then deceiue your selues no lon­ger: [Page 167] If your heart witnesse on your side by these tryals, then be comforted, and labour to encrease in this grace, that so your eui­dence may be strong: And the rather, because this hath kept many from sinking in time of Temptation, when all other eui­dences haue beene to seeke. Thus much of the loue that all ought to beare to the People of God.

CHAP. 10. How true Christians should loue each other.

NOw I will adde yet one thing more, and that is, How true Christians should loue and carry themselues towards each other. They ought to loue one another most entirely, and [Page 168] more than they doe, or can loue the common sort. They must loue them as fellow-members of the same mysticall body whereof Christ is the head. Now how do the members of the natural body loue, sticke together, and seeke the good of each other, defend and tender one another, reioyce in each others wel-fare, and grieue at the contrary? so ought the Members of the spirituall body much more, if it were pos­sible. Wee cannot loue all thus; for all are not fellow-members in this body of Christ.

Secondly, they must loue as bre­thren: therefore the loue that is to bee betweene them is called Brotherly kindenesse, 2 Pet. 1. 7. Therefore though some scoffing Ismaels deride this name, and say, Oh you bee of the Brethren: yet wee are not to bee ashamed of this name, seeing GOD so speakes.

[Page 169]Gods children be brothers and sisters; they haue the same Father, which is God, the same Mother, the Church, begotten by the same immortall seed, the Word of God, nourisht with the same milke, and meat of the same Word and holy Sacraments, heires of the same Inheritance in Heauen by Christ Iesus. A bet­ter Brother-hood than that of nature, as much as the spirit is better than the flesh: Yea, and a more lasting Brother-hood; that will last when this is vanisht a­way, which lasteth onely for this fraile life of ours, but the other abideth for euer. There­fore our Sauiour Christ said, Who is my Mother, and who are my Bre­thren? Naturall Brethren ought to loue dearely, how much more we that are of a better kindred?

Its very pleasing to God our Father; and to the Church our Mother, that all their children [Page 170] should liue in loue, as Psal. 133. 1. and a ioy to all the brothers and sisters; As it is a ioy to any earth­ly Parents to haue their children loue well together: and the con­trary is very grieuous, and they will mourne to each other, There be two Boyes can neuer agree, two Girles that loue not one ano­ther; what will they doe when we are gone?

Now to loue as Brethren, is this; To haue Brotherly▪ affections each to other inwardly, and to declare the same outwardly by brotherly actions. For the first, we are bidden, Rom. 12. Be affectio­ned to lòue one another; as to weep with them that weepe, to haue compassion of their miseries, as Heb. 13. 9. As the Samaritan had compassion on the man that fell among Theeues. And our Saui­our Christ had compassion on the spirituall miserie of the People, Mat. 9. 36. St. Paul was affected [Page 171] with the miseries of the Iewes, and tooke them deepely to heart, Rom. 9. 1, 2, 3. So Nehemiah, hea­ring of the distresse of the Church of the Iewes at Ierusa­lem, though hee were well him­selfe, yet he so mourned for them as it was seene in his face. The contrary is blamed, Amos 6. No man is sorry for the affliction of Ioseph.

So to reioyce with them that re­ioyce, as Luke 1. 58. yea, though it were ill with ourselues. As Paul in prison, yet reioyced to heare of the welfare of the Churches. These brotherly affections bee so necessary, as all brotherly actions not proceeding from these, are in no account with God; As a man may giue all his goods to the poore, and haue no loue, and so bee but a tinckling Cimball, 1 Cor. 13. As if a man should giue, that hee might merit thereby, or to pur­chase credit, or for companies [Page 172] sake, or with vpbraiding; and from no compassion of the poore mans misery, it would neither please God, nor profit him that doth it.

So to admonish one (which is a speciall duety of Loue) but if done with twitting & reproach­ing, as glad they haue some mat­ter against him, it hath lost his grace and reward with God.

And herein, the poore may shew as much loue to their fel­low-brethren as the rich; which may comfort them which are ready to be discouraged, and thinke they are vnhappy, and haue nothing to shew any loue in; Yes, you may be as plentifull in brotherly affections, as any other.

Now for brotherly actions, they must bee adioyned to shew the truth of the affections; they be counterfeit, if not thus appro­ued, as 1 Iohn 3. 17. like those [Page 173] speeches, Iames 2. 15, 16.

Brotherly actions be to the soule and body, as need is. To the bodily necessities of our fellow­brethren in ordinary wants, wee must giue of our superfluity; in extraordinary calamities, of our maine substance: And to thinke it honour enough, that God makes vs giuers to them, that be as deare to him as our selues, and shall be inheritors of the same glory with vs, though we abound now, and they bee suffered to want.

So to the soule in admonition, exhortation, consolation, and prayer, which are the principall and most profitable fruits of our loue one to another. And all these ought to bee performed purely, feruently, and constantly, as wee heard in handling the properties of Loue.

But, Beloued, if wee come to looke for these things among [Page 174] Christians, they will all be found very much wanting, both bro­therly affections, and brotherly actions, and those that be, oft not pure, but with looking at our selues, not feruent, but faint and few, nor constant, but short and brittle, broken off by affliction, especially, if it continue, when yet there is most need: for a bro­ther is borne for aduersitie.

Many Christians will be kinde to another in the beginning of their affliction, and for a little while; but if it hold long, then most faile him, and their loue is spent as it were. Or otherwise, their loue is broken off by some vnkindnesse, and not readily so­dered againe so strong as it was afore.

There is much strangenesse be­tween Christians; they care not one for another almost: they see each other at Church, but not all the weeke after. Peace hath [Page 175] made Christians proud and care­lesse; euery man can subsist by himselfe, and hath no neede of his brother: We may iustly feare, God will send vs troubles, to make vs glad one of another.

But there is vse enough one of another euen now, if we had eies to see it, to helpe, encourage, comfort, and confirme each other in our holy profession and Chri­stian course, against the manifold discouragements and temptati­ons we are subiect to meet with; and to whet on, and set an edge one vpon another, that grow so dull; to lay our brands together, that wee may catch some heate from one another; to minde one another of such changes as may come, and so of our last end, to prepare for them in time.

Stronger Christians, and of bet­ter gifts, looke so houerly on the weake; so the rich vpon the poore: Fie vpon it, are they not [Page 176] your brethren? do you not know them, because of their russet or leather coate? he hath as much grace, may be, more than you, and shall haue (it may be) a better place in Heauen than you; and doe you esteeme so meanly of him? Its counted pride, when any will not know their poore kinred; know Iesus Christ and the grace of God in them, and disdaine not their company, though your inferiours; seeing, as you may comfort and refresh them by your loue, so you may receiue much benefit from them againe.

Christians should meet toge­ther, not to feasting onely, but sometimes to build vp one ano­ther by holy conference. and this will encrease loue greatly: for when wee see the grace of God one in another, and get good one by another, our loue is here­by greatly furthered.

[Page 177]Another fault too much among many Christians, is, as want of bowels of tender compassion to­wards our brethren in distresse, so there is not that forwardnesse and freenesse to relieue their ne­cessities.

First, for their bodily wants, there is too much straitnesse oft­times; whereas if we did consi­der, that they are not onely our owne flesh (as the common sort are) but our fellow-members, fellow-brethren, and such as whom God might haue made vs takers from them, and them gi­uers to vs, it would enlarge our heart and our hand towards them. Well, what we doe for them, is not to fellow-members and fellow-brethren onely, but to Christ Iesus himselfe; and it shall be so counted for at the last and great day. Its not so much theirs to whom we giue it, as its our owne, and furthers our rec­koning: [Page 178] As the seed is not the grounds so much, as the owners that sowes it, and for his benefit. It will be all reckoned ours at the great payment day, euen to a cup of cold water: and wee shall see he hath not forgotten any worke of our loue, but hath kept iust bookes and true accounts, and will then say to vs, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit, &c. For I was oft, in my members, in a poore condition, and ye ministred vnto mee; now receiue a thousand fold, euen that Kingdome that was prepared for you from the beginning of the world.

And for relieuing their spiri­tuall wants, there is oft too much want of compassion and care. How farre may a Christian goe out of his way, ere another, with the spirit of meeknesse, will step in by a wholsome admonition, to stop him in his course? The hea­uie not comforted with a word [Page 179] in season, nor the fainting encou­raged, but euery man minding his owne matters, as though we were strangers, and God had gi­uen vs no charge one of another.

Nay, there is yet a greater fault to bee found among many Christians, than these two that I haue spoken of, and that is this, That sundry of them can take leaue to fall out, and contend with each other, and that very deeply: sometimes for words, sometimes for small matters of the world; yea, and some when they be out, cannot finde the way in againe, nor are they ashamed of that they haue done, but can lye and continue in it month after month. Is this the behauiour of fellow-members? thinke we our Head Christ will endure or beare it, to haue his body thus rent one member from another? nay, one would thinke, is this possible: What doe you [Page 180] thinke of your selfe, that you are a true member of Christ by Faith? Well, and what doe you thinke of him, that you are thus rent and diuided from? I dare not but thinke (you will say) but he belongs to God. And doe you thinke then, that the member of Christ should eyther thus deale, or thus be dealt withall, and that by his fellow member? He that should see one member in a mans naturall body, offering hurt and violence to another, would hee not thinke the man were mad? What shall wee say then, when Christians can so eagerly pursue each other in words and deedes (as too oft is seen) shall wee say they be in their right minde? but rather, that the spirit of pride, or couetoushesse, or some such hu­mour, hath intoxicated their braines. This will cost them deare, or euer they can make their peace with God and their [Page 181] Conscience; and they must fall out as deeply with themselues for their folly, & with indignati­on take a holy reuenge of them­selues, that they may feare euer to doe the like againe.

Is this the behauiour of bro­thers and sisters, to flye in one anothers face, to liue at such oddes, as that all the Parish takes notice of it? If naturall brethren should doe so, all men would cry shame of it. Doth our father like this, thinke you? our mother, and fellow-brethren round about, that see or heare of it, doe you thinke this goes not to their hearts? And thinke you, you doe not open the mouthes of Ca­naanites and Perizzites that are euery where, and heare of it? Thinke wee good, to giue them such iust matter to speak euill of vs, and of our holy profession for it? Our father Abraham could say to his inferior Lot, Let there be no [Page 182] strife betweene mee and thee: for we are brethen. A body would thinke that the name Brother, should eyther preuent all strife, or at least quickly breake the necke of it.

Though good Christians, may out of brittlenesse of nature, fall out on the sudden, yet, me thinks, grace should enforce them to re­call themselues, and yeeld to each other, and come in, though they were of neuer such a proud and stout stomach naturally. Else may they not suspect themselues to be bastards, rather than right bred brothers? to bee wooden legges, and no liuing members? at least they haue got the numb palsey, for which they had need to seeke speedy remedy.

Let vs, I beseech you, so many of vs as haue been faulty in any of these three things, see how ill they haue becommed vs, be asha­med and humbled for them, and [Page 183] amend, that we may haue sound arguments, that we are true mem­bers of Christs body, and liuely and feeling ones.

Thinke like brethren, speake as brethren, both to face and be­hinde their backes, and doe like brethren, so shall we glorifie God our Father, credit and comfort the Church our Mother, and our fellow-brethren, and stop the mouths of Papists, Atheists, pro­phane ones, meere ciuill ones and worldlings, that would not a little reioyce at our diuisions.

Put on brotherly affections, shew them by brotherly actions, let not small matters make vn­kindnesse, depart from much for peace and loue, let our differen­ces be speedily compounded by others, if we cannot agree them within our selues; feare rather to doe the least wrong, than to suffer a greater: so shall we be fit to doe good one to another vpon [Page 184] all occasions; for goodnesse goes forward where loue is, but con­tention or vnkindnesse stops the course of all that is good. So shall we also be stronger against our common aduersaries, the World, and Deuill, which doe so hate vs, as a body would thinke it were meet for vs to stick fast and close together, and make much one of another, seeing this wicked world is bent against vs.

Let mee conclude this my speech to you Christians, with that blessed exhortation of Saint Paul, 2 Cor. 13, 11. Finally, my Bre­thren, fare yee well, be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one minde, liue in peace, and the God of loue and peace shall be with you.

CHAP. 11. Of releeuing the poore.

I Will adde but one thing more, and so make an end of what I purpose to say of this duty of Loue, in which I haue been lon­ger than I thought of at first: And that is touching one branch, and duety of loue, which is the relieuing the necessities of the poore; of which, because I haue spoken some thing in one of the Notes of Loue, namely, that its Bountifull, I will be so much the shorter; handling some things here, that were not there so con­uenient to be spoken of.

The Scriptures, both of Old and New Testament, are plenti­full about this Point, eyther Commandements touching it, and Promises of blessing thereto, or Threatnings against the neg­lect of it.

[Page 186]In the Old Law God comman­ded to leaue their Grounds vnsowen, and Trees vngathered the seuenth yeare, for the poore, Exod. 23. 10, 11. Leu. 25. 3. And the years that they sowed and gathered in, they were bidden to leaue gleanings, Deut. 24. 19. to the end.

How oft in the Prophets doth the Lord call for Mercie? yea, tryes the truth of their Religion, and performance of holy Duties by this, as St. Iames doth, chap. I. and the last verse, giuing such charge of the poore in generall, particularly, of the widow, stranger and fatherlesse.

It is commanded, Esay 58. 7. a very excellent place, plaine and plentifull; and in most of the Prophets its called for, as a thing that the Iewes much failed in, and were couetous and cruell. Heb. 13, To doe good, and to distri­bute, forget not, &c. Ephes. 4. 28. Mat. 5. 45. Hee commands it, [Page 187] whose we are, and all we haue at his appointment. I will adde a few Reasons to moue to this Duety:

1 To let passe to speake of theReas. example of God, who fils the whole world with his goodnesse, and feedes both man and beast; who hath also beene bountifull to euery of vs that are vnworthy (as Iacob said) of the least of his mer­cies; Let the examples of Gods seruants, who herein obeyed and imitated the Lord in all ages; let them moue vs. Elisha tooke order for the poore widow, for the pai­ment of her debts, and for her owne maintenance, 2 Kings 4. Iob was notable in this duty, as appeares Chap. 31. from verse 16. to 21. Our Sauiour Christ of that little that hee receiued for his maintenance, yet gaue some­thing to the poore: therefore (Iudas carrying the bagge) when our Sauiour Christ bade him, that [Page 188] he did doe quickly, the Disciples thought he had meant he should giue somewhat to the poore. Zacheus, beeing conuerted, gaue halfe his goods &c. Luke 19. So Acts 2. & 4. the rich sold, and re­lieued the poore. Dorcas a good Woman this way, Acts 9. to­wards the end. Cornelius also a notable example, Acts 10. 1. There was also a contribution made by the Christians for the poore Brethren in Iudea, because of a famine was among them, Acts 11. 29. Onesiphorus is commended, and Gaius for an host to the poor Saints of God.

2 Its a sacrifice very acceptable to God, Heb. 13. 16. Phil. 4. 18. as Cornelius his Almes came vp in­to remembrance before God, Acts 10. 4. Yea, so pleasing, as when his seruice and that cannot stand together, he preferres mer­cie before sacrifice, Hos. 6. 6. And so pleasing, as no duty of Religion, [Page 189] ordinary or extraordinary, is welcome to God, if this duty be wanting, as Esay 1. & 58. from verse 5. to 13. What stronger motiue can there bee than this, seeing its our happinesse that wee can doe any thing that GOD will bee well pleased with?

3 We are but Stewards in re­spect of God (though owners among men) who hath so deliue­red these things out of his hand to vs, as yet hee hath reserued a Royaltie in them, and the appoin­ting how they shall bee disposed, and will call vs to account of our stewardship, who hath appointed the poore a part: therefore with­out this, we can bring in no good bils of account.

Wee must not be like the Gy­ants den, that haue all the foo­tings comming to vs, and none from vs. As that rich churle that comming ouer among his Te­nants [Page 190] at the halfe yeare, a poore body askt him a penny, No hee told them, hee came to receiue money, and not to giue: the con­trary had beene better sense and reason a great deale. Else how can we shew our selues thankfull to God, that hath made vs able to giue, that might haue made vs receiuers, the tayle as well as the head, it being in his hand to make poore or rich, and there being nothing in vs to moue him to giue vs the better part?

Its a great honour to bee the Almners of the King of Heauen and Earth, and that to those that bee not our owne flesh onely, but may bee, such as belong to the Kingdome of God, as well as our selues. If wee should see an Oxe or Asse in misery, ready to famish, or lying vnder the burden, wee ought to pitie and helpe them: how much more our Christian Brother? Its honour enough [Page 191] that wee may bee giuers and len­ders, though wee keepe not all to our selues. Its good manners for them that sit at the vpper end of the Table, when they haue cut well, to set downe some to them that sit below, that all may goe a­way satisfied, and praise the Ma­ster of the Feast.

4 By our liberalitie and mer­cifull dealing wee shall bring much glory to God: for we shall cause many thanks to bee giuen him from the poore, 2 Cor. 8. and make them more to depend vpon God, and to speake good of his dispensing of things; that though hee hath appointed some to bee poore, yet hath also commanded the rich to haue respect vnto them.

5 Wee shall doe them a great deale of good whom we relieue: First to their bodies, feeding their hungry bellies, clothing their naked loynes, refreshing [Page 192] their bowels: Or by lending we set them to their worke, whereby they may get to liue of. Next to their soules, keeping them from murmuring, impatience, theft, discontent: if they haue no goodnesse in them its the way to breake their hearts, and to bring them to good, or else to conuince them at least: if they haue any good, wee shall comfort their hearts, strengthen their faith, and make them serue God much the more cheerfully.

But especially we shall doe our selues a great deale of good: First, wee shall procure many prayers▪ of the children of God for vs. which is no small benefit, 2 Tim. 7. and the three last verses, the third Epistle of St. Iohn the first and second verses: St. Paul prayeth earnestly in the one place for Onesiphorus, and St. Iohn in the other for Gaius his host; and such prayers be not in vaine.

[Page 193]Besides, wee bring vpon our selues a great many blessings, God hauing made such promises of blessing to this Duty rightly per­formed.

Wee prouide well for our out­ward estate: for he that soweth li­berally, shall reape liberally, and with encrease. God hath giuen his Word for requitall, Pro. 19 17. So that we haue God in our Cup­board for it (as wee may say with holy reuerence) he is the Poores Suretie, whose word is better than any mans bond: Heauen and Earth must be empty ere hee will faile to pay. He that findes seede to the sower will supply to such, 2 Cor. 8. His righteousnesse shall endure for ouer, Psal. 112. God will not put him out of his Farme that payes his Rent so well, but blesse his stocke and store, his crop and increase, Deut. 15. 10. Eccles. 7. 1.

Yea, hee will blesse them, not in their goods onely, but in their [Page 194] names, they shall haue loue and a good report, which is better than a good ointment, and than much sil­uer and gold, Prou. 22. 1. How fresh and sweete is Maries name still, for her ointment poured out; and Gaius, whose name is vsed, when wee speake of a bountifull man to the people of God; he is a Gaius we say? Yea, God will blesse such in their soules, Prou. 11. 17. Isa. 58. from verse 8. on forward. Matth. 5. the mercifull shall obtaine mercy. As on the contrary, God will not heare the prayer of the vnmercifull man, Isa. 1. 15. Prou. 21. 13. Hee that stops his eare at the cry of the poore, &c. Nay, God will not blesse the mer­cifull man in this world onely, but at the resurrection of the Iust, Luke 14. when they shall heare this comfortable and most sweet word, Come ye blessed, &c. because he counts it as done to himselfe; and will we not giue to God that [Page 195] giues all, nor to Iesus Christ, that spared not his life for vs? If we say, Yes to God or Christ, wee will giue any thing, else God for­bid; God takes it done to him­selfe, that is done to any of his. Whereas the Lord will plague both here and hereafter the vn­mercifull man: here, as Nabal, whom he strucke that he dyed; and the Foole, Luke 12. that had all for himselfe, neuer mentions any body else, was strucke with sodaine death; and hereafter, as the rich glutton, Luke 16. for no couetous or vnmercifull man shall e­uer come in the Kingdome of heauen: but there shall bee iudgement without mercy, to them that shew no mercy: they that will not giue crumbs of bread on earth, shall be denyed drops of water in hell.

Nay, God wil not only blesse the liberall and mercifull man him­selfe, but his posterity after him, [Page 196] Psalme 37. 26. The sonne of a Ten­nant, that paid his rent duely, shall not be put out his of Farme. Whereas God will curse the po­sterity of vnmercifull men, and plucke from them the poores portion, which their wicked fa­thers vnconscionably hoarded vp among their owne; God will let the extortioner catch him, or giue him vp to a riotous waste­full course, that shall consume all: one way or other God will draw it out of his belly; and he oft dyes in misery, whose father had no mercy.

Therefore, howsoeuer they haue a Prouerbe, Happy is that son, whose father goes to the Deuill, yet its most wicked and false: for e­uen for outward happinesse they misse of it, except it be some odde one, that by Repentance breakes off, and heales his fathers sinne by mercifulnesse to the poore.

So that euery way a mercifull [Page 197] man prouides well for himselfe, furthers his reckoning, and brings a great heape of blessings vpon himselfe and his. But an vn­mercifull cruell man is well cal­led a miserable man; for of all men, a couetous man is most mi­serable, in goods, name, soule and posterity, here and hereafter.

Vse 1. This rebuketh a number of cruell, and vnmercifull, and hard hearted men, of whom there are euery where some seen. True, the Gospell (God bee thanked) hath preuailed with many, and they shew forth some good fruits of their Faith and Loue: But a number be vsurers, oppressors, grinders, rakers, all for them­selues, and so couetous, as they will part from nothing by their good will: if any thing come from them, its so hardly, as one should wring water out of a stone, or pull away a peece of their flesh; as Nabal, that sent [Page 198] away Dauids seruants empty, and with a churlish answer.

Some others so prodigall and riotous, and giuen to their plea­sures, and to all excesse, as they waste their state so fast, as they disable themselues to doe that good they might; its not to bee had: Luxury keeps them so bare, which if they had grace to mea­sure their matters with iudge­ment, might liue a great deale better themselues, and doe much good where need is.

Or if some be so rich, as they hold their state, yet they lay it on so vpon themselues and theirs, as no cost is spared vpon braue apparrell, new fashions, costly and curious dyet, hawks, hounds, dice, cards, gamings, that yet when it comes to a matter of gi­uing, are as pinching, as they that haue not the tithe of their estate, can beteeme nothing, to the poore or good vses, very franke [Page 199] in idle expences to serue their owne lust, very sparing to those that haue need; like the Glutton, Luke 16. who spared nothing from himselfe, nor nothing for poore Lazarus. And those, Amos 6. that fed to the full of the fattest, and drunke of the sweetest, till they were fitter to stretch them­selues, and tumble vpon their costly beds, than to do any good, yet they had not so much as a thought of the poore that were in want. And as the Foole, Luke 12. that made account hee had much, and all for himselfe; Soule, eate, drinke, and take thine ease, thou hast goods laid vp for (thee) for many yeares.

Notwithstanding the com­mandement of God, which they cannot be ignorant of, and the Law of Nature, which would be holpen, if they were poore, Gods and good mens example, and the many promises of blessing made [Page 200] to this duety, yet are no whit moued by all these, but fast glued to the world, and can heare no­thing that should pull any thing from them. This was one of So­doms sinnes, Contempt of the poore.

Let these sorts of men know, they are not so ill for others, as they be for themselues: As they shew well, there is no loue of God or men in them, as 1 Iohn 3. Who so hath this worlds good, and sees his brother haue neede, and shuts vp his compassion against him, how dwelleth the loue of God in him? So they will pull some iudge­ment of God vpon their owne heads, as their Predecessors, whom I haue named, haue done. And this is one reason, no doubt, that mens goods shift masters so oft; besides the ill account they will make of their stewardship, when they shall be called there­to, for which they must make their reckoning, to heare no bet­ter [Page 205] sentence than, O euill and vn­faithfull seruant, take him, bind him hand and foote, and cast him into vt­ter darknesse.

Let these better bethinke themselues in time, and breake off their sinnes by repentance, and their vnrighteousnesse by mercy to the poore, that there may be a healing of their error, and a preuenting the iudgements of God: Oh that my counsell from God may be acceptable to them.

2 But for those, that out of conscience of Gods commande­ment, and faith in Gods promises made to this duety, out of a zeale to bring glory to God, doe good to others, and to further their owne reckoning; make consci­ence to bee doing good with a mercifull heart, carry a liberall hand, as God giues ability in themselues, and occasion from others: let them take it to them­selues, [Page 202] as a good marke of the truth of their Religion, and know they can no way prouide better for their comfort, or the conti­nuance of Gods blessing vpon them and their estate, than by continuance in this duety.

3 And thirdly, let this pro­uoke all sorts of men, to take knowledge of this duety of mer­cifulnesse to the poore, as one part of Gods will; and well weighing the reasons vsed to prouoke thereto, set themselues to make conscience of the performance thereof: which that they may do indeed, they must be perswaded to remoue out of the may cer­taine vices, that be deadly ene­mies thereto, and labour for the contrary vertues.

1. The first is Vnbeliefe, which, as it breeds many other vices, so that of Vnmercifulnesse; for that casts so many doubts and feares of what they may want [Page 203] themselues, and that it will hin­der them in their estate, to giue here and there, as they with­draw: therefore labour for Faith to beleeue, that as God will performe all his promises, so those made to this duety; and therefore that its the high way to thriuing. and this will set vs to it, and that with chearfulnesse.

2. Pride, which is seen in ex­cesse of costly attire for our selues and ours, ayming at high pitches and great portions for our chil­dren, and such and such estates must be obtained; this must needs hinder liberality: therefore the Apostle, 1 Tim. 2. 9, 10. forbids women to be deckt with costly appar­rell, but commands to aray them­selues with good workes: Noting, they cannot doe both; for the backe is a theefe: the meaning is, when its superfluous, and beyond their ability, all duties discharg­ed: Oh what an infinite deale [Page 204] of good might be done, if but the superfluities of folkes apparrell were taken away, which might very well be spared!

3 The like may be said of intem­perance excesse of cheere, variety & costliness of dishes at mens ta­bles: God allowes to men accor­ding to their degrees, to some v­sually, to others at festiuall times & daies of greater reioycing; yet to none excesse: or so as they thereby be disabled for such good workes as their place cals for at their hands. The excesse of this Land in these two forenamed things, would abundantly not only relieue the wants of our poore at home, but would make a blessed supply of the most wo­full and crying necessities of our distressed brethren abroad.

And is it meet that some should be hungry, and others drunken? as the Apostle saith, 1 Cor. 11. 21. Were it not much meeter, that [Page 205] they had our superfluities (which doe vs but hurt) to supply their necessities, and so both should be better? The Lord giue vs at last to make conscience of this Due­ty; its more than high time so to doe.

4 Idlenesse and vnthriftinesse, which vsually goe together, are great lets of liberalitie. For, if one goe euer to the heape, and by labour adde nothing thereto, in time it will consume, and so hee shall haue nothing for himselfe nor the poore: therefore the A­postle, Ephes. 4. 28. commands to worke with the hands, that so there may bee wherewith to giue to them that want.

But vsually idlenesse is ioyned with spending, gaming, drinking, and such vnthrifty courses, and this hastens beggery the faster, and so preuents liberalitie in a high degree. The prouident and thrifty are fittest to doe good: as [Page 206] the good Hous-wife in the last of the Prouerbs.

5 Couetousnesse is especially to be cast out, as the direct oppo­site to mercifulnesse to the poore, as contrary as fire and water: which is an vnsatiable desire of getting more, setting mens hearts on the world so eagerly, as it were heauen or happinesse, and making it their God, so as they cannot endure to part from it; not knowing that they are base and transitory things, and that the perfection of them is in their well employment.

Lets therefore be intreated to remoue these lets out of the way, that this duety may bee carefully performed.

But yet let vs not content our selues to doe this Dutie of Merci­fulnesse to the poore, but labour like Christians to doe it in a right manner: for that is all in all, that makes or marres. For wee may [Page 207] giue much, and yet not please God, nor profit our selues. There­fore diuers Rules to this purpose must be obserued:

1. We must giue or lend righ­teously,Rules f [...] right relieuing. that is, of our owne law­fully come by; not what we haue gotten by oppression or wrong, which is to rob one, to giue to another. We must not keepe the poore as the Lion or Foxe keepe their Whelpes or Cubs, with that we haue got by rapine, but with our owne: therefore giuing is called Righteousnesse, Psal. 112, not only to shew that its a duety that must be done, but it must be done in Righteousnesse. Therefore Micah 6. these two are ioyned together, to doe iustly, to loue mer­cie. Zacheus first restored what he had got wrongfully, and then giues of his own iust gotten goods to the poore.

Contrary to this, is the practise of some vsurious, couetous, or [Page 208] sacrilegious persons, who when they haue got much by Church robbery, and selling Church li­uings, or by oppressing and vndo­ing many families; to still the gnawing of their Consciences, giue somewhat to the poore at last. But its abomination to God, and their sinnes cry lowder for iudgement, than their liberalitie for any blessing.

Quest. But here it may be de­manded, whether seruants may giue of their Masters goods?

Answ. No doubt, without Masters or Dames consent in one kinde or other, they may not, it shall bee theft to them, rather than any thing pleasing to God.

Quest. May children giue of their Parents goods?

Ans. No: not except they haue some consent.

Quest. May such as are behind hand, and owe more than they be worth, or able to pay; may these giue?

[Page 209] Answ. No: by no meanes. They boast of false liberalitie.

2 Wee must giue freely, with­out expecting a recompence. Not therefore with opinion of merit to earne heauen, as Papists mercenarily doe: Or to helpe themselues out of Purgatory; that is base: Nor doe it Phari­saically, with ostentation, and de­sire to be seene.

Wee may looke vpon the Pro­mises made by God to this Duty, to encourage vs the more; yet to doe it freely, because its comman­ded vs of God.

Not expecting any thing from man. What is freer than gift, as we say? So when we lend to our poore Neighbour, it must be free, not looking hee should earne it out, as it were, or doe as much for vs some other way; fye vpon it. Nay, we ought not so to looke for our own againe, as that be the chiefe thing wee ayme at, but to [Page 210] doe him a pleasure.

3 Cheerfully, as a free-will offering. God loues a cheerefull giuer: as Zacheus stood forth and gaue &c. The Macedonians 2 Cor. 8. counted and called it a grace and fauour, that they might haue their hand in so good, ac­ceptable & gainfull a worke. Men sow cheerefully in good ground.

Therefore its not to be done by force of Law, as some: Nor yet by such importunitie of Neigh­bours, faine to vse so many Argu­ments, and such a deale of doo to perswade and get them to it. Not grudgingly or of necessity.

4 Seasonably; not tomorrow, if they now need, and we haue it, Pro 3. 28. wee know not what may fall out by then, what temp­tation they may meet with. Also wee may bee dead, or they: Hee giues twice, that giues quickly.

Also helpe them ere it bee too late: shore them vp when they [Page 211] begin to reele, so they may stand a good while; not let them alone till they fall flat downe. A little in time may doe more good, than much more after. We must not tarry till they haue sold their cup­bord, bed, their best coate; fye vpon it. If one be lent to in time, he may be vpheld, that else must soone come to receiue Almes. So to giue to the poor in their sick­nesse, before they be too farspent.

5 Wisely: not lashing it on too fast, but measuring it out as it may continue. Psal. 112. Measure our affaires by iudgement. Few erre on this hand; yet some haue been so lauish in house-keeping, enter­tainment and giuing, as they haue ouer gone themselues. This is to pull out the tap: We must draw as need is. A good house-keeper will not set the barrell on the greene, for euery one to drinke that will, and more than neede; so hee should soone make an end, [Page 212] and haue no comfort when hee hath done.

Also wee must giue wisely, as we may doe most good with that we giue. Therefore we must take care, that they haue it that haue most neede: Not the lusty to haue it, and the old, lame, blinde, impotent, and yongue children to want. Its a great disorder in some great mens keeping open house at Christmas, that the rude, idle and prophane round about, they come thither to meate, but the very poore indeed, which cannot trauell in the dirt, and cold, and crowd, they sit at home and want.

No doubt, if it pleased them to send to their Neighbour-Townes in money what they thinke good to bestow, to bee di­stributed by the Officers and chiefe of the Towne that know how to giue it indifferently, and where most need is, it would bee [Page 213] much greater reliefe to the poore, and so a more charitable worke, and saue themselues a very great deale of trouble, and preuent a great deale of sinne committed by that rude company, in their vnseasonable returnings home, besides their rudenesse there.

6 Wee must giue to the good especially, Gal 6. True, we must giue to all; I meane, to such as follow their calling: but for those that can worke, and will not, let them starue. Giue euen the bad in their want, if they be diligent to doe what they can; yet giue them with instructions, admonitions to keepe their Church, haue a care of their soules, and to bring vp their children to worke, not to pilfe­ring, idlenesse, or begging, rebu­king them for these or any such faults; as they that be most poore are very gracelesse, and godlesse almost.

[Page 214]So may wee doe good both wayes But to the houshold of Faith, giue them with more chearful­nesse, and good encouragement of them in their good course, and behold Iesus Christ in them: when all bee alike to vs, its no good signe, but when these be worst regarded, there can be no worser signe.

7 Orderly. To our owne kin­red first▪ 1 Tim. 5. and so on to our owne Towne, and so further, as God giues occasion and abi­litie.

8 According to euery mans a­bility. To whom much is giuen, of them is much required. The Ma­ster called his seruant that had fiue Talents to account for fiue. 1 Tim. 6. 17. Rich men are charged to be rich in good workes: hee that hath but little, little is of him expected; if it be but a cup of cold water, a widowes mite, where is no more, it shall be as [Page 215] well accepted, as great things of the rich. For God requires not of2. Cor. 8. 12. a man according to that he hath not, but according to that hee hath: and that he will require.

Its therefore a great fault in most Parishes, that the meaner sort beare the chiefest burthen, and not the richest: but a man, not a quarter sometime, not halfe a quarter of their substance, shall bee halfe as much in charge as they. Fie vpon such inequality: amongst men of good conscience, it ought not so to be.

Though it were but a foolish thing for one of vs to say, If I were such a rich man, I would doe thus and thus much good more than such a man doth; be­cause we were neuer in that state: and therefore know not the temptations belonging to that state: yet this wee may truely say, that such and such a rich man hath meanes in his hand to [Page 216] doe very much good: Oh what elbow roome he hath? he might reach out his hand two wayes, ten waies, and bee neuer the worse. Towards the Ministry of the Word, to helpe a poore body out of great trouble, &c. What is it for a richman to giue here twenty shillings, there forty shil­lings, fiue pound to this good vse or that? And when some charge is to be borne by a company of meane men, to exempt them, and beare it all himselfe; what good by lending poore young begin­ners, and such as want stocke?

But alas, how farre off is it from the most such? Some doe no good: others nothing answe­rable to their ability. They lose their honour that God hath put vpon them.

Truely let them looke to it: for they haue great accounts to make: And if their receipts bee found great, and their layings out [Page 217] small, God will cast such bills in their faces, and themselues into hell.

9 We must giue according to euery ones need: for their neede should be the whetstone to our li­berality: As in deere times, or in time of sicknesse and distresse, to reach out our hand more than or­dinarily; not to giue hand ouer head, as much to those that haue lesse need, as to those that haue more. The wicked will be most clamorous, and if we goe by that, oft times the better minded poore, which be more bashfull & slow to speak for themselues, shall haue wrong; therefore we ought to informe our selues, as well as wee can, of euery ones wants, especially, in our owne Parish, and to carry our hand accordingly: we must not be bountifull to our wealthier neighbours, and pinch­ing to the poore. If we cannot do both, let our feasting the wealthier [Page 218] alone, and do good to the poore; for that will be the truer & more certain testimony of our loue, be­cause they cannot requite vs a­gaine. But you shall haue some, that will spare no cost, to make a feast to them that haue no need, (which, with the other too, hath his place) that yet are very mise­rable to the poore, and will the same day of such feast, shake vp a poore body like a dish-clout, that comes but for some of the scraps. Let not these boast of their Loue.

And then to shew our selues most kind & helpfull, when their need is greatest: for a brother orPro. 17. 17. neighbour is borne for aduersity, and that is the triall of loue. God is neuer so neare his seruants with his comforts, as in their greatest afflictions: And therefore, while a man is in prosperity and good case, to salute him, vse him kind­ly, be glad of his company; and when the world frowns on him, [Page 219] and God casts him behinde, then not to know him, to shake him off, goe on the other side of the way, or if we must needs take no­tice of them, then to speake sleightly to them, houerly, and be strange and far off, this is no true loue: and yet this is that that ma­nie a one finds in the world, as Pro. 14. 20. & 19. 4. 7. These bee like winter-plashes, that be very broad when there is no need of them; but in summer are dry, when they should do most good.

Thus many a worthy Minister, while they haue enioyed their health and Ministry, haue had countenance of all sorts, both Gentlemen and Yeomen, that af­ter, by some occasion, hauing had the case altered with them, haue gone vp and downe moping, and no body, especially of the weal­thier sort, take notice of them, but shun them, as if they had the Plague about them. So the wiues [Page 220] of many painfull Ministers, while their husbands liued, were made account of, and inuited, that when God hath taken their hus­bands from them (when they had most need of comfort) haue found cold friendship, not of strangers onely, but euen of those that pro­fessed greater loue to the parties deceased. This is but carnall, or at least but cold loue, that is then farthest off when there is most need of it; whereas true Loue re­ioyceth to bee shewing it selfe, where is most good to be done.

10 We must giue with com­passion, and out of a pitifull heart and feeling of others miseries; as we are bidden, Col. 3. 23. to put on tender mercies, and bowels of compas­sion, &c. and 1 Pet. 3. 8. Be pitifull, &c. and Isa. 58. 10. Poure out our soule to the hungry: that is, haue compassion of their miseries. Thus did the Lord to vs, when we had plunged our selues into irrecoue­rable [Page 221] misery, he took pity on vs, and gaue vs his blessed Son, &c.

So had hee compassion on the gronings of Israel vnder Pharaohs bondage. So in the book of Iudges diuers times, Iudg. 10. 16. so also, Neh. 9. 17. This will proue vs to be liuing members, not dead stockes. A little giuen with com­passion, is more acceptable to God, than neuer so much with­out, 1 Cor. 13. yea, compassion a­lone is much accepted with God and men, where there is nothing else to be had.

Which condemnes the great Almes-deeds of Papists, that pro­ceed from no compassion towards the poor, but out of loue to them­selues, to saue their owne skins. That giue to be seen of men, that giue by constraint of authority, or for shame, and to auoide re­proach, or to satisfie the requests of friends: Or those that giue with twits and taunts, and proud [Page 222] insultings, checkes and vpbrai­dings, especially towards those that bee any thing well minded: all these haue their reward they are like to haue, except their worke had come from a better root: Whereas many a poore body cōming to their poore sick neigh­bour, with pitiful moanings, out of a grieued heart, & water in their eyes, beat vp their pillow, watch with them all night, or tend them a day or two (which can very hardly spare the time from their owne bellies) or of their little giue them a little, this is a very rich gift, and pleasing to God, and shall not goe vnrewarded. Let not the poore therefore be discoura­ged, and say, I liue like an vnpro­fitable person, & can do no body any good; but consider what our Sauiour Christ said of the Wi­dows two mites cast into the trea­sury, and be of good comfort.

Now seeing compassion is so [Page 223] necessary, & giues such commen­dation to our liberality, it shall be good for vs to vse the best means we can, to stirre it vp, or procure it in vs.

1 It shall be therefore good, to take a true report from such, as can relate the miseries of any that we are to giue vnto, and so well weigh and marke it, as it may moue vs. Thus did Nehemia, Cap. 1. so weigh the misery of Gods people that was told him, as hee was very deeply affected there­with.

2 To put our selues into their person, & think (as it might haue bin our case, as well as theirs, so) what we would be glad to finde from others, if it were. Consider, they be not bruit beasts, but euen our owne flesh; and therefore to pity them.

3 So by our owne afflictions that God sends vs at any time, to be moued to pity others; and [Page 224] from the comforts that we finde in them, from God or Men, be pro­uoked to the like compassion to­wards others, 2. Cor. 1. 4.

4 Especially, its of very great force to this purpose, to goe and see the miseries of our poore bre­thren, their ruinous & cold hou­ses, poore fire to make amends with, empty cupbords, thin clo­thing, and so neare the wind, cold lodging, slender couering; and to see what exceeding paines some take early and late, to see others in how great paine and affliction they lye, and how little to com­fort them, &c.

5. If our heart be not made of an Adamant, this will moue vs, & a great deale more than all that we can heare. The sight of the eie moues much, either to good or euill; which the Deuill wel knew, when he tempted Eue to look vp­on the Apple, and when hee set Bathsheba naked and bathing be­fore [Page 225] Dauids eye, which did more hurt than if he had heard of such a thing: So is it powerfull to moue to good. Therefore Saint Iames bids vs, visit the fatherlesse and widowes in their aduersity, &c. Our Sauiour Christ seeing the people scattered, &c. Mat. 9. had compassion on them: So the Sama­rit an saw the wounded man, and had compassion of him.

It were therefore a comely thing sometimes for wealthy women to looke into the poores houses, and see a sight that might moue them, and that they might report of to their husbands. Their coat would sit neuer the worse on their backes, if they did so: neyther need they thinke scorne, seeing the glorious Angels attend about them, if they bee good, and God himselfe is with them.

This also is comely for Mini­sters and their Wiues.

[Page 226]Especially it is requisite for them to doe so, that are in office, and haue taken for the time the speciall charge of the poore. [...]o shall they answer their name of Ouerseers, which few doe, but goe by heare-say, which is oft vncertaine, or that which is worse, by the words of the poore themselues; the worst most-what beeing most bold and importu­nate, when others▪ that haue more neede, and are better to bee re­garded, cannot so well speak for themselues.

These Rules beeing carefully obserued in our Relieuing the poore, it will not only be profita­ble to them, but it shall bee well­pleasing to God, and bring much comfort and blessing to our owne selues here and hereafter: With­out which, howsoeuer others may haue benefit, yet our selues shall certainely lose our labour.

But now I draw to an end of [Page 227] this duty of mercy to the poore, Doe you thinke that the carnall and vnbeleeuing heart of man will willingly yeeld hereto, with­out any further questioning or opposing against it? Oh no: for though those that are of God will heare Gods Word, and his Commandement, and Reasons that he vseth to moue to the obe­dience thereof, will ouercome and preuaile with them, yet to the vnregenerate, nothing can be so spoken, but they haue many carnall reasonings and obiections to make against the same. Some whereof I wil here make known, and briefly answer them, and so winde vp with a word or two of the duties of the poore.

Obiect. 1. My goods are mine owne, Ile doe with them what I list, and nobody shall make mee giue, but where and when I see good my selfe.

Answ. Though thy goods bee [Page 228] thine owne among men, yet God hath but committed them to thee of trust, and reserued a right in them, commanding thee to di­spose of part of them to the poor, to whom hee hath giuen none, and will accordingly call thee to account for the same: therefore thou art not such an absolute owner of them as thou imagi­nest, but an accountant and stew­ard.

Obiect. 3. If I giue to euery one that will aske, and say they haue neede, I may giue away all, and make my selfe a beggar.

Answ. Thats not required of thee, but to giue with discretion. As for the yongue man that was bidden by our Sauiour Christ to sell▪all, and giue to the poore, and follow Christ; it was a comman­dement of tryall peculiar to him, not binding all: and yet we see it not plainely required of him, that he should giue away all.

[Page 229]Againe, they feare a false feare: for when some of them hinder themselues much by running into vsury, of a couetous minde to purchase withall, some others by riotous expences in apparrell, by suretiship, or other blinde courses that they take; then euery little thing that they giue to the poore, or any good vse; oh this will beg­ger them. No, no, looke well a­bout thee, and thou shalt finde its not thy liberalitie beggers thee, but somwhat else; leaue that, and thou mayst doe well to thy selfe, and much good to others.

Obiect. 3. Though I haue enough now, yet I cannot tell what I may want hereafter; Ile bee sure to prouide for my selfe, and if I leaue any thing when I dye, I will giue them somewhat then: As one that lying vpon his death bed, put a peece of Gold in his mouth, and kept it there, and being askt his reason, hee an­swered, [Page 230] Some wiser than some, I meane to keep this till I am dead.

Answ. A right obiection of a couetous distrustfull man, that will trust God no further than he sees him; no, though he hath promised to reward liberalitie with plentie. What a wretched minde is this, to thinke that God will faile men euer the more that obey him? And whereas they thinke to make sure of enough for themselues, its not all, nor ten times so much that could keepe them from beggery and misery, if God should set himselfe against them. And to giue when they dye, its little thankes; for they cannot carry it with them.

Obiect. 4. All is little enough for my selfe and my children: for I meane to leaue my eldest sonne a good estate, and I haue diuers daughters that I purpose to match well; and therfore must get them good portions, as its ex­pected [Page 231] in these daies, and then they must haue education accor­dingly.

Answ. But who bids you flye such high pitches, and set downe such portions, and in the meane time neglect Gods commande­ment, and your duty to the poor? This is the high way to pull downe your children. Do as you may, all duties discharged, and there an end: for if you hoard vp the poores part in your childrens great portions, God will draw it out of your, or your childrens bellies.

Obiect. 5. They bee neuer the better for all that is giuen them, they draw all through their throat.

Answ. If some bee not, yet some be thrifty, and its well seene and well bestowed of them: If any abuse your liberalitie, you may cut them the shorter, but let not others fare the worse for them.


Ob. 6. They be ill tongued, one may giue them neuer so much, & they will not giue one a good word.

Answ. It may be we spoyle our gift in the manner of bestowing it, and so it loseth its grace and credit. 2. Though some bee vn­thankefull and ill tongued, yet all are not so: they that be, yet giue them, and ouercome them.

Ob. 7. They be so bad and so wic­ked, as its pity to giue them.

Answ. We giue it not to their badnesse, but to their pouertie: and may be our goodness to them with good counsell, may make them better. But some blame not their badnesse for hatred of their sin, but as an excuse to saue their purses: but that is not a sufficient plea.

Ob. 8. They be so theeuish one can keepe nothing for them al­most, abroade especially: They break my hedges, carry away my [Page 233] barres, pluck vp my stiles; Ile giue them nothing, not I.

Answ. This is most what rich mens faults: for if they would take order that euery family should doe what worke they are able (according to the Law of God, and the good Statutes of the Land) and then what they cannot reach to by their labour, to supply to them for necessaries, euery one beeing held to worke, most part of this would bee pre­uented. And then if any were ta­ken in such offence, and were well punisht, either by the whip, or else their collection that week kept backe, you should heare few such complaints. But if they bee not as well looked to, to follow their worke, as to giue them a lit­tle collection, a great many will begge or steale, rather than get it by working.

Ob. 9. Some of them that make a great shew of Religion, yet if [Page 234] they get money into their fingers that one hath lent them, one can­not tel how to get it again, for all their great precisenesse, and run­ning to sermons.

Ans. True; some such offences there be, more is the pity: but this must not wholly take our minde from the duty of lending, nor let all fare the worse for the fault of some few: Or if wee should doe well for any that we thought wel of for soundnesse, and after they proued but Hypocrites; yet if our minds were vpright in that wee did, we shall not lose our reward

Ob. 10. There be such a num­ber of charges euery way, to the King, and for Souldiers, to the Ministers, to the repairing the Church, to Bread and Wine for the Communion, and Briefes, and one Collection or other, that I can neuer a Sunday be quiet: and now you come for the poore; I think you will haue all; I see no [Page 235] reason to be at all these charges.

Answ. For those that be to the King, its our bounden duty, and they be abundantly recompensed in the peace and quietnesse that we enioy vnder his Gouernment. And for the Church, small cause to grudge at that, seeing it is a tri­fle towards his seruice that giues all. And that we giue for the good of our soules, is the best bestowed mony that can be, if the fault bee not in our selues. For any thing we do in compassion to them that be in want, God hath giuen his word himselfe to see that requi­ted. So that if it be well conside­red, there is no such cause of this grumbling at any one, or all of these charges.

Ob. 11. If you will not be quiet, but follow mee thus with Giue, giue, and Pay, pay, I will make a shortcut of it, Ile break vp house and goe liue in a great Town, and eat and drink, and be merry with [Page 236] my friends, and put out my mony to vsurie.

Answ. If you do, you shall car­ry many curses with you, and a guilty conscience, and the hand of God will follow you, and it may be you may haue as smal ioy of it, as your Predecessor in the twelfth of Luke, when he had thought to haue nestled himselfe in his wealth for many yeares, and liued at ease, he was suddenly arrested, with O foole, this night they shall fetch away thy soule, and then whose shall these things be? There is no fly­ing from the duties that God re­quires: therefore listen and learn, obey and be blessed.

CHAP. 12. Of the Poores duties.

NOw for the Poores duties, a word or two. I speake to you from the Lord, how you should behaue your selues in this your condition (and its very needfull) know them, and God giue you a heart to do them.

You must labour to be conten­ted with your estate, & giue glo­ry to God, and know it to be the state that he seeth fittest for you, if you were borne to it; or hee hath brought you into it, especi­ally, if you haue by any wicked courses brought it vpon your selues, you can haue the lesse com­fort in it. But if you can be so wise as make it vnto you a spur to true repentance, you shall be happy.

Keep your Church diligently, though your clothing be meane: [Page 238] Keep holy the Sabbath day, and know nothing is lost by that: Pray daily, and labour to liue in the feare of God, that though you be poore to the world-ward, yet you may be as St. Iames saith, Cap. 2. Rich in Faith, and heires of the Kingdome, which hee hath promised to them that loue him.

Follow your calling diligently, that as much as may be you may eate your own bread, & that God may moue mens hearts to supply willingly that that is wanting. Be not ouer clamorous: Keep a good tongue, though men deale not very well with you.

Carry your selues dutifully and humbly towards the rich, and all your superiours; not saucy, surly, ill-tongued: patient and meeke, when you receiue a reproofe, and not swell or giue ill words.

Be thankfull for any kindnesse you receiue; First and chiefly to God, who giues the ability, the [Page 239] commandement and the heart to doe you good; and vpon former experience, depend vpon him in after needes: and resolue, that whatsoeuer want you suffer, you will vse no vnlawfull meanes to help your selues, but rather make knowne your burthens, and God will make a way. Secondly, be thankfull to those, whom he hath made his instruments to doe you good, so God giues good leaue; and see it practised by godly He­zekiah, 2 Chron. 31. 8. In token of your thankfulnesse, pray to God for them, that God would blesse their basket and store, themselues and theirs, especially, that hee would giue them much ioy and comfort to their soules, and to haue long life and happy dayes.

For you that are borrowers, borrow no more than you haue possibility of paying againe. Ap­point such a day, as in all likeli­hood you may repay it: worke [Page 240] night and day to keep touch, bor­row it of another to pay, rather than breake day; for if you keep your day, you keepe your friend. Or if you be much disappointed that you cannot, then come before the day, tell your case, and craue fauour, and a new day, and shew your selues as carefull to pay, as euer you were to borrow; so shall you haue a good conscience, and prouide well for your selues: for if you deale honestly, you shall not neede to feare but you shall finde friends.

Many there be, that care not what they borrow, & neuer care for paying; they cared to borrow it, they say, let the Owner care to come by it againe: they doe not meane to take two cares. which beare the marke of wicked men, Psal. 37. 21. for the godly make great conscience of it, as the son of the Prophets, that was so sorry for the losse of the axe; Alas, Ma­ster, [Page 241] it was but borrowed, 2 Kin. 6. 5. And the Prophet Elisha wrought a miracle to this purpose, encrea­sing the oyle in the Widowes cruse, and bade her sell it, and, first pay her debts, and then liue of the rest: For we must owe nothing to any, but to loue one another; that is, not wilfully, or through careles­nesse, but what we can, & meane to pay. They will appoint, it may be, a neer day, though they know no means to compasse it, onely to obtaine their purpose: But when they haue it, they care to keep no day, nor yet come at the Credi­tour, nor in his sight, as neare as they can. These play the fooles as well as the wicked men, and vn­doe themselues vtterly, which o­therwise might haue beene vp­held, and liued comfortably of their credit, though they had no ability of their owne. But when they haue no ability nor credit neither, they must needes hasten [Page 242] apace to misery, and thank them­selues.

Let all, that haue any wit or conscience, take heed of this: But especially, let all those, that make greater profession of Reli­gion than others, beware of this, that they giue no iust occasion to carnall men, to speak ill of them, and their holy profession for their sakes; nor to the godly to be griened by their vn­faithfulnesse.


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