1 Sam. Chap. 15. from ver. 13. to ver. 30.

Preached and penned, by that worthy seruant of God, Mr. RICHARD ROGERS, late Preacher of WETHERFIELD in ESSEX.

And published word for word, according to his owne coppy, finished before his Death.

LONDON, Printed by Edw. Griffin, for Samuel Man, dwelling in Pauls Church-yard at the signe of the Swan, 1620.

To the Christian Reader.

THe condition of euery true ser­uant of God in this world, is fitly com­pared to a warfare,Iob. 7. 1. and his life to the life of a souldier,Esa. 40. 2. in respect of the many,Num. 4. 43. the mighty,1. Tim. 2. 4. the malicious and subtle enemies hee is to deale withall.Iam. 4. 2. This is true, especially of such [Page] as serue God in the worke of the ministe­rie, who haue not slite to wrastle against prin­cipalities and against powers, that is, against wicked spirits, euen the diuell and his Angels, and against their owne lusts, which fight in their members (which too are common, with them and all other Christians) but also (and that in a speciall manner) Against vnrea­sonable and euill men. 2 Thes 3. 2.

Hereof the holy men of God haue had expe­rience [Page] in all ages in the world.Inde 14, 15 Enock the sea­uenth from Adam, wra­stled with such, as may appeare by his holy prophesie, of the second cōming of Iesus Christ, whereby he doth com­fort himself and others against them. Noah al so, who liued likewise before the floud, did contend & striue with such, (as a man that goeth to law with ano­ther) 120. yeares toge­ther, as Moses sheweth in the 6. of Gen.Gen. 6. 3.

Who knoweth not [Page] the manifold and con­tinuall Combats that Moses that great Pro­phet,Psa. 95. 10. and meek seruant of God,Exo. 14. 11. 12. & 15. 24. (an also his bro­ther Aaron) had with a mutinous & vnthank­full people 40.Num. 11. & 14. & 16. & 20. &. 21. yeares long in the wildernesse? This story is so clearely recorded, so plainely and plentifull set down in the bookes of Exod. and Numb. and so well knowne to euery Chri­stian, that I shall not neede to quote any pla­ces for the proofe here­of.

[Page] Esay (as the Lords Messenger) complai­neth,Rom. 10. 21. saying, All the day long haue I stretched out my hand, to a disobedient and gainesaying people. And Ieremie cryeth mainely out:Ier. 15. 10. Woe is me my mother, that thou hast borne mee a contentious man, and a man that striueth with the whole land. Doth not the speech of the Lord to the Prophet Ezechiel teach vs the same thing, where he saith;Ezech. 2. 3. 6 Sonne of man, I send thee to the chil­dren of Israel, a rebellious house. And a little after, [Page] he telleth him, that Re­bels and thornes shall bee with him, and that hee shall remaine among scorpions. What shall I say more? For this Epistle would be ouer long, if I should speake of our Sauiour Christ, who in the daies of his flesh, and after,Luc 2 34. was,Math. 22. & 23. a signe that was spo­ken against, Act. [...]61 [...]2. & 19 28 & 21. 28. as the mani­fold oppositions and combats, which hee had with the Iewish Priests do shew; or of his Apostles, who (as Paul speaketh of him­selfe) fought with men, [Page] as mad and furious as any wilde beastes.

Wherefore to omit other testimonies and examples that might be alledged for proofe of this point, let vs only insist a little vpon that example, which is set before vs in this present text of Scripture, wher­in we haue (as it were) a Monomachie, or sin­gle combat betwixt the Prophet Samuel, and Saul a King, whom hee himselfe (by the com­mandement of God) had anoynted.

[Page] Now, whereas vn­reasonable and euill men are of two sorts, some fierce and cruell, as Dogs & Lyons, that will turne again, & rent such as reproue them, as the Sodomites,Gen. 19. 9. and Ieroboam: 1 Kin. 13. 4. others, subtill and crafty, as Serpents and Foxes, full of shifts and faire pretences. Sa­muel in this place, hath to deale with the lat­ter. For hee hath to deale with Saul, who hauing (for the time) layd aside his Lyon-like disposition, wherewith [Page] hee rored against his el­dest son Ionathan, 1 Sam. 20. 30, 31▪ doth now fall (like his father, the first Adam) to sly and shameles shifting,Gen. 3. with Samuel the faithfull ser­uant of God.

For first of all (put­ting on a brow of brasse,Vers. 13. 10. 12. and a fore-head of iron) hee telleth Sa­muel, by way of preuen­tion, and against the light of his owne con­science,Vers. 15. that he had ful­filled the commande­ment of the Lord. Se­condly, being put from that starting hole, and [Page] plainely conuinced of a flat vntruth, hee shift­eth it off from himselfe to the people; whom yet hee iustfieth, in re­spect of their end and good intent, which was (as he saith) to do sacri­fice to the Lord their God.Vers. 20. 21. Thirdly, being further conuinced of his sin, and the root of it (that is, greedy aua­rice) being layd open, hee hardneth his heart yet more, and with an impudent face doth iu­stifie, both himselfe and the people, as thinking [Page] it great pity, to kill such a goodly Prince as Agag was, and to spoyle and cast away such fat cat­tle, and make them a prey for the fowles and wilde beasts, which might serue for better purposes; thus secretly taxing the commande­ment of the Lord, of too much rigor and se­uerity, & making him­selfe more wise & mer­ciful then God.Vers. 24. 25. Fourth­ly, being driuen from this hold, and so mani­festly conuinced, that he could not deny it to [Page] be a sin; yet he seeketh to extenuate and excuse it, as a sin of infirmity, which hee committed not in contempt of God;Exod. 32. 32. but for feare of the people, which thing also mooued Aaron to make the molten Calfe.Verse 30. Lastly, being brought by maine force, to ac­knowledge that his sin could not bee cloked, nor excused, hee doth not goe about to seeke reconciliation, & make his peace with God; but all his care is, to main­taine his honor, and to [Page] keep his credit with the people.

To conclude, I con­sider in this Treatise two things: whereof the first is the matter & subject thereof; the se­cond, the speech and manner of handling. In regard of the former, it may bee called, The vncasing, or discoue­ring of an Hypocrite: In regard of the latter, it may be called (accor­ding to the phrase of the Apostle.2. Tim. 1. 13) A true type and patterne of wholsome speeches or [Page] words. The first is a fit subiect for euery faith­full Minister of Gods holy Word, to labour often in: and the other, a liuely example of diui­ding the Word of God a right, 2. Tim. 2. 15 opening and ap­plying of it with that wisdome, plainnesse, simplicity, and power, which will preuaile more with those that truely feare God, then all the painted elo­quence and ostentati­on of human wisdom, that the wit of man can possibly shew. To such, [Page] I commend the reading and hearing of these godly Sermons, besee­ching God to adde his gracious blessing there­unto, euen for Christ Iesus sake, In whom I rest,

Thy louing friend, S. Egerton.

A TABLE OF the cheefe heads or Doctrine, contained in this booke: and spe­cially the marks of hypocrisie.

  • THe Preface to the dis­course, shewing the Au­thors scope and purpose. pag. 1:
  • The generall vnfolding of the whole context, from verse 13, to 30. pag. 3.
  • Doct. 1. Little place for reproofe among Christans. pag. 14.
  • Doct. 2. Euery mans way [Page] seemes good in his owne eyes. pag. 21.
  • Doct. 3. The worst som­time will reuerence Gods Mi­nisters. p. 28.
  • Doct. 4. The Minister must conuict the hearer of that he teacheth. p. 34.
  • Doct. 5. 1 Marke of an hypocriie. When hee is conui­cted, he fals to shifting, p. 40. Whereto adde a second marke. Hardnesse of heart and bold­nesse bewray hypocrisie, p. 50.
  • Doct. 6. Whiles we are yet in meane estate, each be­nefit is thank-worthy. p. 55.
  • Doct. 7. The greater Gods blessings be, the greater shall be our accompt. p. 68.
  • Doct. 8. 3 Marke. The hypocrite ferueth God by halfes. pag. 79.
  • Doct. 9. 4 Marke. Hy­pocrisie [Page] accompanied with cor­rupt lusts, as couetousnesse, which is the root of all euill. pag. 98.
  • Doct. 10. Sin ne [...]er goeth without company. pag. 105.
  • Doct. 11. Sin lyeth close and bid, till the Word discouer it. p. 107.
  • Doct. 12. 5 Marke. Iu­stifying of himselfe, a marke of an hypocrite. p. 116.
  • Doct. 13. Hath two bran­ches, containing a sixth and a seuenth marke. Hypocrites, vnder colour of some good a­ctions, would be excused from all blame. p. 122. When they cannot, then they lay the fault vpon others. pag. 123.
  • Doct. 14. The 8 Marke. Hypocrites extenuate their sin. pag. 145.
  • Doct. 15. The multitude [Page] consenteth to euill, without scruple. pag. 147.
  • Doct. 16. Sacrifice plea­seth not God without obedi­ence. pag. 170.
  • Doct. 17. Men are farre wide in their accompt of sinne. pag. 193.
  • Doct. 18. Our shiftes will not serue our turne, when God comes to reckon. pag. 204.
  • Doct. 19. Our sinnes be­reaue vs of our best iewells. pag. 214.
  • Doct. 20. Gods message must be done to all sorts indif­ferently. pag. 224.
  • Doct. 21. A ninth marke. Hypocrites make little consci­ence of lying. pag. 230.
  • Doct. 22. Few to be found, who may bee beleeued vpon their word. pag. 238. So that God must force their consci­ence, [Page] ere they will bewray the truth. pag. 243. A question, Whether Sauls confession went with Repentance? pa. 262
  • Doct. 23. Tenth marke. The hypocrite is like himselfe, at his best. pag. 273.
  • Doct. 24. The most care­lesse hearers, shall one day con­demne themselues. pag. 294.
  • Doct. 25. Eleuenth marke. An hypocrite hardens his heart against confession, and repen­tance, through hope of secrefie. pag. 297.
  • Doct. 26. Gods fauour is pretious to the worst, at one time or other. pag. 302.
  • A question resolued: viz. How farre forth wee may conuerse with such as are offensiue pag. 310.
  • Doct. 27. A Christian ought to doe nothing, whereof [Page] hee cannot yeeld good reason pag. 322.
  • Doct. 28. Nothing should hurt vs if we cast not off Gods yoke. pag. 325.
  • Doct. 29. Twelfth marke, Hypocrites may ascribe much to the meanes, though they pro­fit little thereby. pag. 331.
  • Doct. 30. More will fre­quent good company, then make good vse of it. pag. 335.
  • Doct. 31. Hypocrites may alway looke for ill tydings. pag. 344.
The end of the Table.
1. SAMVEL: CHAP. 15. VER. 13, &c.

13. AND Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said vnto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I haue performed the comman­dement of the LORD.

14. And Samuel saide, what meaneth then this blea­ting of the sheep in mine eares, and the lowing of the Oxen which I heare?

15. And Saul said, they haue brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spa­red the best of the sheepe, and [Page] of the oxen, to sacrifice vnto the LORD thy God, and the rest wee haue vtterly destroy­ed.

16. Then Samuel said vn­to Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the LORD hath said to me this night. And hee said vnto him, Say on.

17. And Samuel saide. When thou wast little in thine owne sight, wast thou not made the Head of the Tribes of Isra­el, and the LORD anointed thee king ouer Israel?

18. And the LORD sent thee on a iourney, and said, Goe, and vtterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight a­gainst them, vntill they be con­sumed.

19. Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst flie vpon the [Page] spoyle, and didst euill in the sight of the LORD?

20. And Saul saide vnto Samuel; Yea, I haue obeyed the voice of the LORD, and haue gone the way which the LORD sent mee, and haue brought Agag the King of A­maleck, and haue vtterly de­stroyed the Amalekites.

21. But the people tooke of the spoyle, sheepe and oxen, the chiefe of the things which should haue beene vtterly de­stroyed, to sacrifice vnto the LORD thy God in Gilgal.

22. And Samuel said, hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is bet­ter then sacrifice: and to hear­ken, then the fat of Rammes.

23. For rebellion is as the [Page] sinne of witchcraft, and stub­bornenesse is as iniquity and i­dolatry: because thou hast re­iected the stord of the LORD, he hath also reiected thee from being King.

24. ¶And Saul said vnto Samuel, I haue sinned: for I haue transgressed the comman dement of the LORD, and thy words; because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.

25 Now therefore I pray thee, pardon my sinne, and turne againe with mee that I may worship the LORD.

26 And Samuel said vnto Saul, I will not returne with thee: for thou hast reiected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath reiected thee from being King ouer Israel.

27 And as Samuel turned about to goe away, he layd hold [Page] vpon the skirt of his mantle, and it rent.

28. And Samuel said vn­to him, The LORD hath rent the kingdome of Israel from thee this day, and hath giuen it vnto a neighbour of thine, that is better then thou.

29. And also the strength of Israel will not lie, nor re­pent: for he is not a man that he should repent.

SAMVELS Encounter with SAVL.

THE occasion of these words was this. The Lord com­manded King Saul by Samuel the Prophet, that hee should goe and de­stroy the Amalekites, all, both man and beast, and leaue none of them aliue. Touching the cause (seeing [Page 2] it were too long to set downe) I referre the Reader to Deut. 25. 18. Saul went about this worke of the Lord very speedily at the first, as appeareth in verses 3. 4. 5. but (as it is commonly seene, that men are not so forward and feruent in good attempts vnto the end of them, as they are hot in the beginning) so it was with him: for afterwards, when he had taken the King, hee shewed kindnesse and cle­mency towards him, con­trary to the expresse charge and commandement of the Lord, and spared the best of the Cattell, and destroyed them not. For the which the Lord was sore displeased, seeing he had serued him by halfes, and done his busines [Page 3] negligently.Ieremy 48. 10. God declared to Samuel how greatly Saul had offended him: Samuel was exceedingly grieued for him, and cryed to the Lord all night to pacifie him. In the morning he rose early to seeke Saul, that he might by pittying his estate, moue him to pitty himselfe, and whiles the offence was yet but new­ly wrought, hee might be­waile it, and intreate the the Lord against it and re­pent, not hardning his heart. This was the occasion of these words.

The Text followes from the 13. verse. First Samuel found Saul glorying in his Triumph ouer the Amale­kites,The mea­ning of the whole cō ­text, from Vers. 13. to Vers 30. and farre from any thought that hee had done any euill that hee ought to [Page 4] repent of, insomuch that at his meeting of Samuel hee preuented him, and beganne to iustifie himselfe, as though he had done well, before Sa­muel could tell him how greatly his offence displea­sed the Lord. Samuel hea­ring him thus to speake, was holden and hindred, from telling him what God said to him of Saul, for the which end hee came to him; and therefore is caused first to conuince him, that hee had broken Gods commaunde­ment, because hee heard the bleating of the sheepe, and the lowing of the Oxen, which hee had saued aliue, and brought from the Ama­lakites. Saul first excuseth the matter by shifting, and not saying any thing direct­ly. [Page 5] Then Samuel bad him hearken what God had said of him the night before. And he, nothing fearing (though it is manifest that hee had cause) boldly bad Samuel say his minde, as though all had beene well on his side. Then hee told him, speaking from the Lord, that hee brought him from a low e­state to be a King, yet when hee sent him to destroy his e­nemies, the Amalekites, hee obeyed him not, but did what he thought good. But Saul blushed not a whit for al this, but washed his words away, freeing himselfe from blame, and the fault that was, he laid on the people, that they indeede saued some of the cattle aliue, but the mat­ter was small (hee said) for [Page 6] they did it to offer them to the Lord in sacrifice. This answere Samuel shewed to be weake: for what (said he) did God account of thy sa­crifice, in comparison of o­beying him? But as small a fault as thou holdst it, I can tell thee, it will cost thee thy kingdome. At that word, when he heard of losing his kingdome, he was much mo­ued. For we see for all his iu­stifying of himselfe, and bold desending of his innocency, yet this wrung from him a confession of his fault, inso­much that he said the cleane contrary, that he had sinned and sought pardon; and de­sired Samuel to returne with him to worship God, but he would not, but confirmed to him, that God had taken his [Page 7] kingdome from him: yet af­terward Samuell considering that Agag was yet aliue, he followed Saul, who wor­shipped God, but Samuell did not accompany him therein, but called for Agag, and slue him: and after that, Saul and he, parted each to his owne house, and Samuell went no more to Saul, to the day of his death: (it is like that he saw there was no end thereof, neither any good like to come thereby) but much lamented his estate, being desperate. And this for a view and short summe of the text in hand.

I proceed now to the de­uision of the words: whereof there are three parts.

The first containeth the cōmunication betwixt Saul [Page 8] and Samuell, before the mes­sage was deliuered, in the first three verses.

2 The second is a part of the message, and Sauls answere before hee confessed any fault, to verse 24.

3 The third part conteines the other part of the message after Sauls confession, vnto verse 19. and such other things as follow towardes the end of the Chapter.

Euery part I will handle thus. First in some generall manner I will shew the mea­ning thereof, and afterwards speake more particularly of the matter, by setting downe the doctrine and the vse. For the first.The parti­cular ope­ning of the first part. When Samuell had found Saule, and was readie to tell him what the Lord had said to him that verie [Page 9] night before, Saul preuents him (as I said) and tels him how hee had executed the charge which he had recei­ued of the Lord, concerning the destroying of the Ama­lakites, when it was nothing so, but manifest and cleare, that he had very negligently and slightly discharged it. Then Samuell was stayed, from telling him what the Lord had said to him, and was driuen to answere him to his so grosse iustifying and commending of himselfe, and to conuince him of vn­truth as he did, saying, if thou hast faithfully executed the Lords Commaundement, then thou hast destroyed and killed all that perteined to Amaleck, but that thou hast not done, for I heare the [Page 10] bleating of the sheepe, and the lowing of the Oxen, which thou hast brought from thence, spared and sa­ued aliue, therefore thou hast not fulfilled the Commaun­dement of the Lord.

Saul then being thus con­uicted by Samuell, when he must either haue confessed himselfe guiltie, and haue craued pardon (a man would thinke) or else defend and proue his speech to be true, did neither of both, but shif­ted and washed off the Pro­phets conuiction, saying, that he for his part, as the Lord had commanded, had slaine the Amalekites, and the meanest of the Cattell: indeed the people had saued some of the best of them, but yet euen that (he said) was [Page 11] for the worship of the Lord, to offer in sacrifice to him, which he thought was not to be found fault with. Thus he salueth vp the sore (though the plaister was too narrow) attributing that which was well done, (as the killing of the worst of the Cattell) to himselfe, the other (if it were a fault to saue some aliue, which he did not thinke) he said was the peoples fault, and none of his. And this be spoken, for laying out the meaning of these three ver­ses, which conteine the first cōmunication betwixt Saul and Samuell, after God was offended with Saul for his halfe seruing of him, when he should haue done the whole, as he was commaun­ded.

Doct. 1. Littleplace for re­proofes, a­mong Christians.

VERS. 13.

And Samuell came to Saul, and Saul said vnto him, Bles­sed be thou of the LORD: I haue performed the Com­mandement of the LORD.

The ground of the first doctrine.

NOw to begin with Saul (with whom we heard the Lord was sore displea­sed, and therefore Samuell came to him in tender com­passion and loue, seeing the plague neare him, to counsel him to auoyd it by meeting the Lord with true Repen­tance) he was so farre off, from looking for, or hearing any rebuke from him, that before Samuell could speake to him he preuented him, but how? not by confessing his sinne and accusing him [Page 13] selfe for his slight and negli­gent executing of the Lord his charge committed vnto him, which he had iust cause to haue done, before the Pro­phet came vnto him, and much more, when he saw he was comming: but by iusti­fying himselfe boldly in the euill he had done, saying, that he had obeyed the Lord his Commandement, euen then, when the prophet came to tell him of, and reproue him for the contrary; and who doth not see that hee shewed himselfe thereby to be farre from the grace that became him to haue, & that was in the Thessalonians, 2. Thes. 3. 4. of whom Paul said, he was per­swaded before he wrote, that they were readie to do what­soeuer he should require of [Page 14] them. Saul I say was farre from that grace, (for else he should haue feared and re­lented for that which he had done)

And thereby we may see what little place there is for reproofes & reprehensions, among Christians (such a one as Saul was) though there be neuer so iust cause giuen thereof; and how men harnesse & arme themselues against the same, by preuen­ting them, and by defending and iustifying that in them­selues, which is vile and naught: yea, and they will haue them, whose office it is to tell them of their faults, to know and thinke that they are as well reformed, as the best reformers themselues; and when all that liue with [Page 15] them see their liues full of disorder, yet not onely they will acknowledge no such thing, but contrarily they boldly beare out all, and de­fend their own doings. True it is, they will not say they doe wickedly and that they will doe so still (for then it might bee hoped that they might be made ashamed of so great boldnesse) but they doe worse, for they call euill good, and so being wise in their owne conceite, they shew that there is more hope of a foole, then of them, Pro. 26. The best men and most approued seruants of God that we read of, how good soeuer they were, yet in the time wherein they li­ued, would ordinarily and daily humble and cast down [Page 16] themselues before God, be­cause they were sinners, and say, Lord, if thou looke straightly what is done a­misse, who shal be able to a­bide it? Psal. 130. And our Sauiour hath taught his, that when they haue done God the best seruice, yet that they should count themselues but vnprofitable seruants, Luke 17. 10. If the best be but vn­profitable, and that God may iustly challenge them; who seeth not that they are farre of from a good estate and condition, who blush not for the manifold sinnes which they are priuie to in secret, and which men are able to bring against them o­penly? And yet as fearefull a condition as this is, to this point multitudes are come [Page 17] in this our age, that as some are growne so seared and hardned, that they will not at all come to the light, least their euill deedes should be made knowne, Ioh. 3: So many other so handle the matter, that whatsoeuer re­proofes they heare, that doe most concerne them, they will admit none, but hate to be reformed, because they loue darknesse more then light, and with the Adder stop their eares at the voice of the charmer, charme he neuer so wisely. And as they shift off reproofes in the publick place after this man­ner, so they haue learned as cunningly to deceiue them­selues in priuate. For as this age affordeth not many, who are so careful to liue in­nocently [Page 16] [...] [Page 17] [...] [Page 18] in their owne life, that they may be bold to tell others of their faults, so they, which are such that they dare rebuke a mortall man, for taking away honor from the immortall God, they are knowne well enough,Men are shy of such as will re­proue. and noted for the most part: and they who are faultie and of­fensiue in their liues, will be wary enough how they come into their companies; especially they will be sure to haue no familiaritie with them, that so they may be free from their reprehensi­ons, counting such no better then mad men, 2. King. 9. 11.

Againe, God his faithfull seruants pray with the man of God in the Psalme 141 Let the righteous smite me▪ And the Disciples of ChristPsal. 141. [Page 19] when they were yet but weake, hearing their master cōplaining, that one of them should betray him, could not be quiet nor satisfied, vntill they might be resolued, which of them was the of­fender, and therefore said one after another, Master is it I, is it I? But how many on the contrary, are so far off from this readinesse to heare of their sinnes, that if in pub­lique preaching they heare any thing to sound that way, and to come neare them, they deadly dislike it: neither doth any thing make their liues more pleasant, and bet­ter liking to them, then in their deepest securitie, to be without reprehensions: nor nothing more sting & vexe them, then when they are [Page 20] constrained to heare iust re­bukes. So farre are they off, from reprouing themselues secretly, as (if one should marke it, or could know what they doe) that hee should not heare one of many to say,ler. 8. 6. Yet repro­uers must be caute­lous. what haue I done? I graunt that reproofes must be kindly, not arrogant­ly ministred, that it may be­seeme the reprouers. They therefore haue great grace, who haue learned and are re­solued, to heare and admit the words of exhortation, & to be subiect to reproofes with willingnesse, that they may be kept from euill. But (Lord) how many haue tur­ned away from receiuing ad­monition and correction, till with the foole in the Prou. 5. they say, P [...] [...]. [...]. I was almost brought [Page 21] to euill for it. And this be said by occasion of Sauls preuenting the Prophets re­buke.

Doct. 2. No mans way is euil in his own eyes.

We may further gather here by this, that Saul could make an euill matter, seeme so good as hee made his seeme to be, that if euery man may be allowed to tell his owne tale, the worst per­son will seeme honest, and the baddest case appeare to be good. For why? men can so paint and disguise them­selues, that they wil nothing shew themselues to be such as indeed they are, but farre better and more gracious. For when God himselfe bewrayeth and setteth out here Saul to Samuell, to be so euill that he repented that he had made him king [...] yet doth [Page 22] he at the first greeting and meeting of Samuell, so com­mends, and magnifies his owne doings vnto him, that he freed himselfe from all blame: so that no man, vn­lesse taught of God, would once haue thought, that he had beene faultie and wor­thie to be reproued, to the which end yet Samuell came vnto him: like Gehazai, who when he had by shamelesse lying inriched himselfe, and deserued no more to remain in his place; yet appeared be­fore his master boldly, as if he had done no such thing, & being asked from whence he came (which might secret­ly haue made him appaled, knowing himselfe guitie) yet blushed not a whit, but an­swered,2 Kin. 5. 25 saying, thy seruant [Page 23] hath beene no where: euen as the Harlot, who when shee hath done wickedly,Pro. 30 20. wipeth her mouth, and saith, what e­uill haue I done?

Talke with an hundreth men who haue suites and controuersies with others;Instances of this. I. scarcely shall yee finde one, who hath told his tale sim­ply and according to truth, as it will appeare when they come face to face with their aduersaries: so great cause saw the wise man to giue a charge to all,Pro. 18. 17. vpon so good proofe as he had, that a man should heare both parties: and that, who so giueth sen­tence in a matter when hee hath heard but the one, it shall be a shame vnto him when the other shall come forth to be heard.

[Page 24] Nay, to come to matters which doe more nearly con­cerne the Lord; how many of those that professe the Gospell, will seeme to others to be a reproach to it, but will say we must be obedient to it, yea, and woe be to the workers of iniquitie; but yet shall these sayings be found verified, euen among the most of them: with their words they confesse God, but with their deedes they denie him. [...]. [...]. [...]6. Tit. 1. Hauing a shew of godlinesse, but denying the pow­er of it. 2. Tim. 3. 5. 2. Tim. 3. 5. and that other saying of the Lord: this people hath said well all that they haue said, but oh that there were an heart in them that they would feare me! Deut. 5. 29. Deut. 5. 29.

All which and the like in [Page 25] men,The cause of this e­uill. do arise from the loos­nesse of the heart, when they obserue not, neither ponder their thoughts and wayes; and from falshood and an e­uill conscience, when they do not resolue to keepe sim­plicity in their whole course: & from pride and selfe loue, that they like,Note. & would haue others allow all that they do. Which causeth that complaint in Prou. 20.Pro. 20. 6. The grea­test part will boast euery one of his owne goodnesse, but where shall one find a faithfull man? I graunt that such euill men are found out and discerned of the godly, where they liue, and to such they can do the lesse harme by their ill example, seeing they be con­trary minded vnto them: as Salomon sayth of one kinde [Page 26] of such, The rich man is wise in his owne conceite, but the poore that hath vnderstanding, can finde him out. But great offence these giue to such as are strangers to them, who, when they heare them speak well, and after vnderstand that their deedes are contra­ry, doe cause them to crie out against such: and seeing they perceiue them to bee professors of the Gospell, they are set much further off from embracing it: but on the other side, they honour both God and Gospell who are faithfull, and men of their word.


The vses of this doctrine be many. 1 First, that we bee not partiall in our owne matters. 2 Secondly, that wee be not to hasty to commend [Page 27] and allow of all such as can giue a good shew of godli­nesse and honestie, but as we shall haue better proofe thereof. 3 Thirdly, that our owne speeches bee few, but as they come from an vp­right and a well ordered heart: for, in many words there is much sinne, Pro. 25. and only a word in season is like apples of gold, and pictures of siluer. Fourthly, that wee make 4 much of such, of whose faithfulnesse wee haue good proofes there being so few of them. And fiftly, be we hel­pers 5 to them, in whom wee see good signes of well mea­ning, and of whom we haue good hope.

Doct. 3. They that be bad, wil sometime reuerence the Mini­sters.

Thus haue we seene Saul his shameles iustifying him­selfe, wherein hee was most [Page 28] guilty. And yet as much vnbeseeming as this speech of Saul was, hee is in one thing to be preferred before many of our time. For whereas many, not onely re­fuse to bee guided by the in­struction and doctrine of their teachers, but also de­spise them in their hearts, as Ahab did Michaiah. 1 King. 22. 8. and count them their vtter enemies, for telling them of the truth, as some of the Galathians did Paul Cap. 4. yea, fall vpon them cruelly, as Saul himselfe did after­ward (when he grew notori­ous and farre worse then here hee seemed to bee) yet was hee not yet so exaspera­ted against the Prophet (though hee were the man that had before sharpely re­buked [Page 29] him) but that he gaue him a reuerend title, as the blessed of the Lord, 1. Sam. 13. 13. and therefore thought him an happy man, though hee himselfe could not seeke and embrace, the same loue and fauour of the Lord that he did. I doe not so much note this, to ascribe any thing to Saul, whom the ho­ly Ghost condemneth, as to bewray too many professors of our time,They that come not thus farre, are farre off. especially the mighty and wealthy, though in degree and place, farre vn­der him: who are not con­tent to cast behinde their backs, the worthy admoni­tions, exhortations and les­sons of those messengers of God, which are sent vnto them (if at any time they will heare any of them) but [Page 30] hate and bite, yea and also rend them (as wee say with their teeth) who are reuerend men of God: which doth shew that there is another manner of spirit in them (that is more poysonfull) then that which was in Saul. For hee that beareth reue­rence to the messengers, though hee obey not their message, is to be hoped of in many respects, more then he which contemnes them in his heart, whether he bewray the same by malicious words, and a fiery face, or whether hee counterfeit bet­ter things to them by glosing speech and dissembling countenance. And therefore to what a fearefull point are our daies come, wherein the Ministery, which is Gods or­dinance [Page 31] for the saluation and happinesse of the people, is in such contempt? and that not with a few, but almost v­niuersally, that the most are so farre off from receiuing their Ministers, as the Augels of God for their message sake, that they are vile in their eyes, and of all people may best be spared of them. Neither offer they this mea­sure to the idle, ignorant, proud and vnprofitable, who if they are such, as they deeme them (their office set apart) are iustly so dealt with by Gods righteous iudge­ments (that seeing they dis­honour him, he leaues them without honour,1. Sam. 2. and seeing their lips refuse knowledge, he refuseth them for being his) but they offer this measure [Page 32] euen to such, as in tender care of their good, beseech them as the Lords Ambassadours, in the name of Christ, 2. Cor. 5. to be reconciled vnto God (whom to reiect, is to reiect the Lord himselfe) yet these bee scorned by the name of Priests, for in such sence they vse that tearme, that when the persons be in disgrace with them, they may the easilyer despise their doctrine, not considering the waighty charge of the Lord, who saith,1. Thes. 5. despise not Prophecying, and againe, touch not mine anointed and doe my Prophets no harme. Of whom this will I say, that if they who heare the word, yea, and that with some ioy, and giue reuerence to the Mes­sengers, as Saul here did, and Herod to Iohn Baptist, yet not [Page 33] receiuing their doctrine and message, to reforme and keepe them from euill, shall perish euerlastingly; that much greater damnation a­bideth for these, and they beare the marke of it already Heb. 2. 2. & cap. 10. 29. For such contempt is an infalli­ble token of it, so long as it shall bee found in them: which I doe not say as though they were in case good enough, vnlesse they desire to be reformed al­so.

Doct. 4. Gods Minister must conuict his hearers of the truth he vtters.

VERS. 14.

And Samuel said, What mea­neth then this bleating of the sheepe in mine eares, and the louing of the oxen which I heare?

IT followeth; Though Samuel came to tell Saul, how God was displeased with him for his sinne be­fore mentioned, yet when he saw how hee iustified him­selfe, affirming that hee had obeyed him, he stayed for a better opportunity after­wards, and now answered his vntrue, bold, and vnsea­sonable commending of his act done to the Amalakites: and therefore as hee offered him fit occasion, so he tooke it, and conuicted him, and [Page 35] proued by cleere euidence a­gainst him, that he grosly de­ceiued himselfe. Thus: If thou hast obeyed the com­mandement of the Lord, saying, Why hast thou not then destroyed all, both men and cattell? But hast reser­ued some of them: For I heare the lowing of the ox­en and the bleating of the sheepe, which thou hast brought away with thee from thence for a pray. Therefore thou hast not o­beyed the commandement of the Lord. Thus he pro­ued, that hee was guilty, wherein hee boasted of his great obedience. Now this wise kinde of dealing, and carefull, the ministers of God must vse, for the discouering and bewraying of the peo­ples [Page 35] [...] [Page 36] faults and sinnes vnto them, that they may haue no excuse for their lying still in them.Reasons why. For the people being blinde, and full of selfe-loue, do readily flatter themselues in their sinnes, and are slow to come to the examination of them: and therefore if they bee not roused vp and made to see them as farre as they haue giuen cause, by prouing to their consciences, and conuincing them that they are guilty, they accuse not themselues, but goe for­ward in their sinnes. And therefore Saint Paul, among all his graue and waighty exhortations to Timothie a­bout preaching, chargeth him to conuince the offen­ders,2. Tim. 4. that they bee not able to gainsay him: as being pri­uy [Page 37] in themselues, that they are iustly found fault with. And that is most likely, if any outward meanes will doe good, namely to controle the conscience, and to cause those who are guiltie, to see and acknowledge their sins: The which effect euery re­proofe is not like to worke. Therefore our Sauiour hea­ring many reproofes by the Pharasies, but all of them vniust, asketh them which of them is able to conuince him of sinne? Io. 8. 46. as if he should say, if ye can conuict me, I haue nothing to defend my selfe by. And their manner of teaching and priuate speak­ing did he himselfe vse: for which cause also it is said, that he taught them with au­thoritie, which they could not [Page 38] resist, Math. 7. and with power, vrging their consciences, and not coldly and deadly as the Scribes:Act. 7. So did Stephen also conuict the rebellious Iewes, with such power as they could not resist. And this manner of dealing with the people, shall through Gods blessing, preuaile with many and doe much good: but otherwise, if they be taught but gene­rally (though I would to God there were that done soundly and in plainnes) they will easily winde out, from seeing any great matter amisse in themselues, and so lying still in their sinnes, they shall the lesse see what they are indebted to God, and not haue the scriptures in that reuerence and account, that otherwise they should.

[Page 39] Obiect. And as for that some ob­iect, doth this manner of dealing preuaile with all?

Answ. I answere it is most likely, of all other to doe good, see­ing it is that, which the scrip­ture requireth to be vsed and if it doth not cut and wound the hearts of the bad to hu­miliation, yet shall it bee a great witnes against them to their destruction, and in time perhaps force them to con­fesse (as we see in Pharoh himselfe being but a hea­then) against themselues, and to giue glory to God, though they be not brought to true repentance: For hee, who thought there had beene no King aboue himselfe, and therefore said to Moses, who is the Lord that I should serue him? Yet when Moses by his [Page 40] doctrine and miracles had proued, that there was one a­boue him, he profited so well thereby, that when hee was violently holden in the wa­ters, pursuing Gods people, and saw them deliuered, hee could say then, the Lord sigh­teth for them against vs.

Doct. 5. The hy­pocrite cōuicted, [...]

VERS. 15.

And Saul said, they haue brought them from the A­malekites: for the people spa­red the best of the sheepe, and of the oxen, to sacrifice vn­to the Lord thy God, and the rest we haue vtterly destroyed.

BVt now let vs see how it wroght vpō Saul, when Samuel had so plainely con­uinced [Page 41] him, that if he would haue dealt vprightly and an­swered him directly, he must needes, either haue accused himselfe as guilty, or else he must haue cleered and iustifi­ed himselfe: he did not the first, and the last he could not doe, being double hearted: and therefore fell to meere shifting and sophistrie, as ap­peared by his words, which conteyne two points.The words opened. For that which was euill done of him and of the people, hee layeth it wholy to their charge, and yet he saith, if they were faulty in that which they did, it might be the better borne, seeing they did it to glorifie God by sa­crifice. This was the first point of his answere in these words, These shepee and ox­en [Page 42] which thou hearest, they haue brought from the A­malakites, for the people spa­red the best of the cattle to sacrifice to the Lord. The se­cond poynt of his answer was, that in the things that God was obeyed in, he had his hand in them, and was a doer of them among the rest, in these words, the rest we haue destroyed. But in this do­ing, had he, think we obeyed the commandment of the Lord? In no wise; nay; he hauing boldly and manifest­ly cast it behinde his backe, did he relent for and bewaile his fault? oh nothing lesse; then it is cleere as I said, that he did but wash off the Pro­phets reproofes, shamelesly by a shift. For he knew that he had done wickedly; and [Page 43] yet hee had doubled his sin by a lye; for afterwards hee confessed it.

And this bewrayeth ano­ther sin in hypocrites: that though in words they can make good their cause, and can iustifie themselues to be as blamelesse as any other, yet hee that will obserue it, shall finde, that they will ne­uer bee brought to plaine dealing, nor be willing, what soeuer they say, to be iudged by the Word of God. The reason is, their conscience tels them they are guilty. They would make a simple body beleeue, that none would more readily yeeld to haue their doings tried by the Scripture then they (as is to be seene in them who call for the day of the Lord) [Page 44] which if they would doe in­deede, they should proue themselues to bee such, as they would be taken for, that is good Christians, and faith­full seruants of God: but alas it is nothing so with them, but they please themselues in thinking, that their estate is good, seeing they do some things that are commanded: but in what manner, and with what affection, they do them, and to what end, or in how many things they of­fend, they will in no sort be brought to examine, as may bee seene by the Pharisie in the Gospel. Lord I thank thee I am not as other men. L k 18▪ But if they be driuen by some oc­casion to bee more nerely sifted & examined, whether their liues be as innocent as [Page 45] they boast them to be, then ye shall see them bewray that they are possessed with Sauls spirit, that is, not to answere, [...]or cleere themselues by the word: but seekes shiftes, by bringing in pretences of their good workes and pray­ers: and that they bee not (they hope) so bad as some, & that they would bee loath it should be proued by them, meaning some open & grosse offenders, or else thus they shift and say, doe not some professors the same that wee doe, yet they are thought well of, and they would that none did worse then them­selues, and though they haue not such knowledge as some haue (they say) nor cannot make such shewes as some doe, yet they trust they haue [Page 46] as good hearts, and meant as well as the best. By these and such like shiftings they de­fend themselues; but what is all this to the purpose, to free themselues from blame: Is this to go to worke plainely, and to sticke to the Scripture to bee tryed by them? The which palpable and grosse deceiuing of themselues, when it is shewed them, doe they acknowledge and so re­pent of it? which yet if they were truely humbled, they would doe. Therefore let it be taken for a cleere note of rancke hypocrisie, when any being iustly charged and ac­cused of manifest and great faultes, they shall neither cleere themselues by the Scriptures, nor confesse their sinnes, and bewaile their e­state, [Page 47] but shift for themselues dishonestly, as hath beene shewed. This is plaine e­nough of them, which will vnderstand, whether they bee sound Christians and true worshippers of God, or whether they bee meere dis­semblers and hipocrites. And thus much of the first part, that is, of their communicati­on betwixt them, before the message of the Lord was done.

VERSE. 16.

Then Samuel said vnto Saul, stay, and I will tell thee what the Lord hath said to mee this night. And he said unto him, say on.

NOw when Samuel saw how Saul shifted, and [Page 48] would not consider wisely of his reproofe, he thought hee should moue him by tel­ling him, how God was of­fended with him: & for bet­ter preparing him heereto, he offers, first to tell him what the Lord had said to him that night. Out of the which words of Samuel this may first be said, Oh how did he shew that hee loued him? and the like spirit still possessing the godly it may be said. Oh; the desire the godly haue to doe them good, whose case they see to bee so bad, which is a most commendable thing as I am affraid for the wicked,Ezek. 9. and they vexed the soule of righteous Lot. Ierem. 9. 1. But in many where is this loue become?Psal. 11 9. it is washed away common­ly, although what is a more [Page 49] beseeming thing, then to mourne for the desolation of the people? But to go for­ward, this might and ought worthily to haue shaken his heart with feare, when Sa­muel did but say, that God had that night spoken of him, and that also in finding great fault in him: for when hee hard that, hee might by and by haue thought of his sinne (as Eli in the like cause feared, when the Lord had called Samuel) and that hee was like to heare of some­thing,1 Sam 3. 17 which should be little welcom vnto him: as he had before, chap. 13. 13. yet hee was nothing astonished at that speech, but bad him say on, and vtter his minde, which doth bewray the hardnesse of his heart.

[Page 50] Whereby wee may note,Hardnes of heart & boldnes, are signes of hypo­crisie. that when men see their faults, and yet will go about to hide and couer them, (as hee did here) they are most certainely hardned against all doctrine, or friendly in­struction, which shall be of­fred vnto them, and so in­curre the danger that is oft spoken of in the Scripture: Hee that hardneth his heart, Prou. 28. shall surely come to euill. How true this is, as in Ionah appea­reth, when hee fled to Tar­shish, so experience teach­eth: and how fearfull a thing this hardening of the heart is, may be seene by this, that the hardened heart cannot repent, and by the contrary, melting and relenting of the heart, which is the compani­on of a meek & humble hart: [Page 51] which as it readily receiueth admonition and reproofe, so it auoydeth that sting and disquietnes, which otherwise would follow. But this fault of hardening the heart? though hee that committeth it grossely doth most hardly espie and see in himselfe, yet when it is seene of him, it is not so easily shaken off and forsaken. When it shall be but said to a man, as heere, God hath spoken heauily a­gainst thee (though the fault bee not particularly mentio­ned) and as it is said to the Church of the Ephesians by the Lord,Reu. 2. 4. I haue somwhat a­gainst thee: though it be not yet tolde expressely what, ought it not, thinke we, to shake and feare him? and cause him to say, what haue I [Page 52] done? that so he may by in­quirie, and deeper search in­to himselfe, finde it out. And yet were this no more then became him: but comforta­ble to them who should be­hold it, and profitable to him who would shew it.

But such grace is far from them that will not see their sinnes; no though they come to the light, where they; haue them made knowne vnto them. So much the more woefull is the estate of this age, whose deedes being euill and their hearts naught, and they louing darkenes more then light, are with hardened foreheads, armed and setled to shake off all reproofes, and words of exhortation, as though God knew not their workes, who yet searcheth [Page 53] hearts, and to iustisie their present estate, be it neuer so bad; and so pulling that wo vpon them, which is spoken of by the Prophet:Esa. 5. Woe to them which call euill good, and darknesse light. And left I should be thought to speake of the worst sort of these, I say, that euen the best sort of them verisie the words of a­nother Prophet, where hee saith.Ezek. 33. Vse. Thou sonne of man, this people will sit and heare thy voyce as musike, but they will not doe thereafter. Therfore they, who desire to profit by this, must resolue with them­selues, to beware consciona­bly of the smallest sins, and that such as cannot be auoy­ded, may not yet be nouri­shed nor retained, but with all possible speede hunted [Page 54] out and pursued, lest if they once begin to winke at any of them, and so giue them welcome, they after harden their hearts to maintaine them; and lastly, beside both, let them walke in a continu­all suspition of some one or other of their sinnes, especi­ally such as they are most prone to, and most in danger of. So shall they be free from this hardnes of heart, which is (with pride, whereto it is linked) a certaine fore-run­ner of destruction, euen as it is cleere note of an hy­pocrite.

Doct. 6. When we are yet in meane e­state, each benefit is thank­worthy.

VERSE 17, 18, 19.

And Samuel sayd, When thou wast little in thine owne sight, wast thou not made the Head of the Tribes of Israel, and the LORD anoynted thee King ouer Israel?

And the LORD sent thee on a iourney, and sayd, Goe, and vtterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight a­gainst them, vntill they bee consumed.

Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voyce of the LORD, but didst flie vpon the spoyle, and didst euill in the sight of the LORD.

NOw in this verse, it fol­loweth, how Samuel tels Saul, what God had [Page 56] said to him that night, to wit, that he had aduanced him to the kingdome, when he was meane and base, therefore that hee ought to haue ho­noured and obeyed him, whome he had so preferred: yea, (saith he) when the Lord commaunded thee to de­stroy vtterly the Amalakites, thou diddest not as hee com­maunded thee, how canst thou answere this? Further­more hee said, that thou soughtest thine owne gaine and glorie, by disobeying him, therefore it repenteth him that he made thee King. In these three verses among other things, note this gene­rally, which the Lord com­plaineth of, that when men are of meane estate and lowe, they can prize Gods benefits [Page 57] at an high reckoning, and count them great and preci­ous, as Saul did the raising him to the Kingdom, coun­ting himselfe vnworthy of it, but when they once wax mighty, they forget them­selues, and make his benefits common things, little worth euen as he did, not reueren­cing and obeying him that honored him. A most wor­thy instruction, and fit for our time, wherein may bee found so infinite persons, which for want of well lear­ning it, haue vndone them­selues, hauing their owne consciences to accuse them, and their mouthes to witnes against them: who, when they were base and of no ac­count, were glad of euery small blessing of God, coun­ting [Page 58] themselues vnworthy of the same: but when God hath lifted them vp aboue their expectation, how soone haue they grossely & shame­fully degenerated from their former minde and thought, as if they had neuer beene the same persons? And yet I speake not of the mad, rude, and ignorant sort of the world, (who being without common honesty, and ciuili­ty, what other thing is to bee looked for at their hands▪) but of such as are vnder good teaching, and will as readily consent to the doctrine, and speake against such as are of­fenders, as soone as any; who yet most wofully doe shew their inconstancy, and disguisednes to the whole world.

[Page 59] And to begin with them,Some ex­amples. who of all other should bee furthest off from this sinne,1. In the Mi­nistry. I meane the Ministers, how many of them, since the light of knowledge did begin to shine in their hearts: (so that either they were become teachers of others, being as yet schollersin the vniuer­sities, or at least old enough to teach and gouerne them­selues) haue said it, and fully purposed, that if they might bee thought meet to bee im­ployed in the seruice of the Church, and to enioy liuing to maintaine themselues and theirs, how many I say haue sayd it, that they would be­stow their talent diligently, teaching the Lords flocke, & liuing among them kinde­ly & Christianly, and paine­fully [Page 60] and vnoffensiuely, a­mong whome they should be placed, and with conten­tation in their estate and con­dition: only they haue thought themselues vnmeet for so hie a calling, and haue said that they were vnwor­thie to reape the fruites of a small people and congrega­tion. I am sure I speake the truth in many, whome my selfe haue knowne, and of o­thers I haue heard the same, by men of good credit: who yet when they began to rise to credit, degrees, fauour with their betters, and God had giuen them more liuing then they could desire or hope for, they haue little conside­red what they had said be­fore; but with their liuings and promotions, their hearts [Page 61] haue risen, till they seeing what liberties the time would affoord them, and how they might haue elbow roome, and to rule ouer o­thers, as the creeping Iuie, which ouergrowes and ma­sters the strongest oke, rather then to be called to their ac­count by others, they by lit­tle and little, became vtterly changed, as if they had neuer beene the men, which before they seemed to bee: leauing wholly the care of their flocks, and gaue themselues to liue at ease, and to seeke after more liuing: neither see­king the lost, nor strengthening the weake, they neither healed the sick, nor bound vp the bro­ken, yet cloathing themselues with the wooll: and some of them (forgetting their coue­nant [Page 62] sometime made to the Lord) liued vnkindely with the people, and with crueltie and rigour, and ruling and do­minering ouer them: and at­tended not to reading, exhor­tation and doctrine, as they knew they ought to haue done? It is a generall obser­uation, that before the time of Constantine and the good Emperours, the Clergie bee­ing then persecuted and vn­der the crosse, stood stoutly to the defence of the truth, and opposed heresie, and profanenes with equall cou­rage? Who yet beeing (as warmed in the bosome of ease and preferment) grew both diuided among them­selues, and slacke in their zeale and ministrie, seeking their owne things, and quite [Page 63] giuing ouer their care of the publique welfare? And out of this root, by degrees arose the Papacie, to that head of ambition and insolencie. But to return, where it now vent­eth, euen iust so hath the wine & oile of many forward prea­chers, whereby they cheered the heart of God & man, de­generated into the vineger & dregs of sloth and pride. As the traueller being put to it, by the winde & weather, clas­peth his cloake more closely to him: but being in the warm sunne, casteth it off, as not a­ble to beare it, so haue these done: verefying the pro­uerbe, that religion had brought forth wealth, and the daughter had deuoured the mother. But alas, where shall remedie bee sought for [Page 64] this if it please not God to breake their harts, and bring them from that their vnfaith­full dealing with God, to true repentance, by considering, how farre they haue degene­rated from former times, and broken their couenants which they made with him, when they thought they ought to doe no lesse; and yet I say, they kept them not.

But to proceed from the ministers to the people,A second example of the people. how haue many of them, after that God hath enlightened them with the knowledge, & liking of the truth, and stirred them vp by the examples of others, to a care of reforming their liues, how (I say) haue many testified the same, by weeping & bewayling their sinnes, by diligent hearing of [Page 65] sermons, keeping companie with godly Christians, forsa­king the fellowship of the prophane, & their prophane gaming and playing, into making many purposes, ne­uer to do as they haue done: insomuch, that they gaue great hope to become rare Christians? And being mean in their owne eyes, when the Lord aduanced them to the hope of a farre better estate, and gaue them a taste of the life to come, and fauor with his good seruants, that yet afterward, not wisely and circumspectly walking, not fearing the allurements of the world on the one side, nor the discouragements from duty on the other side, fell from their good be­ginnings, and so became re­uolters [Page 66] from thier first loue, declaring to thier iust re­proch and shame, that now they waxed full, an hony­comb was not pleasant vnto them, vnto whom somtime euery common instruction had been sweet and sauoury.

And to speak more parti­cularly:A third, of dealers in the world. how many at their entring into the dealings of the world, and their fathers inheritance, other in seeking marriages, and some liuing in hope of commodities and preferment: and others in their sicke beds haue seri­ously couenanted, that if God would now grant them the desire of their harts, they would euer after glorifie him, and say that he had done great things for them. Who yet when they haue enioyed [Page 67] their desires haue soone for­got their hot & rash vowes, and haue some of them be­stowed those benefites of God vpon their lusts: Iam. 4. and others haue eaten their word, and haue made light of those things which before, they so earnestly desired, & wished for: as namely in the marri­ages of the most, we see daily it is verefied, and so of all sorts it may be said; when they haue gotte that which they desired, they haue be­come altogether other men. Therefore they may much reioyce, who can hold that constancie, that they can thinke it meete, that all they haue, should honour God, and whatsoeuer they enioy, they can remember that once they had nothing, and [Page 68] therefore that they should not lift vp themselues, which is foolishnes, saying they haue receiued it, nor pro­uoke God, by vnthankful­nes, to strippe them off all, and to giue them ouer as the other doe, whose last estate should be worse then their beginning; whereas, if there had beene no other reason, to perswade them to con­stancy, in care of godly li­uing, this might haue beene sufficient to them, that their cause had sometime beene farre better, and that they had sometime beene glad, namely, in their meaner e­state, to make promises to God of better seruice, though now they had shamefully neglected it.

Doct. 7. The grea­ter and more our blessiings haue bene, the greater shall our accompt be.

An other thing in these [Page 69] three verses, let vs marke and learne, that seeing God cal­leth him to an account for the vse of his benefites, for that he yeilded not to him, the fruite of them, that hee will require at our hands, how we haue vsed, the good things that he bestoweth on vs; For thus he saith, I aduan­ced thee, & did greatt hings for thee, in respect of many others. And why? for any worthines of thine? no: but that I might haue thee more attendant to me, and at com­mandement, and aboue ma­ny other, seruiceable vnto mee: yet thou hast in this great charge of destroying vtterly this cursed nation of the Amalakites, cast my commandement be­hinde thee. And so he said [Page 70] to Dauid, Ieroboam and o­thers. So that when men come to receiue at Gods hands any benefites, they should not only thinke of the sweetnes and greatnes of them, and how they be in­riched by him, which is the next way to make them proud, and high minded, as we see in the boasting Phari­sie,Luke 18. but we should know that there goeth alwaies a charge and a burthen with them, as that God looketh, that their hearts should bee knitte to him, who hath blessed them, vndeseruedly aboue others. Which Dauid acknowledg­ed, and teacheth all others the same, when he saith to Michaell his wife, mocking him for honouring of God, in dancing before the Arke, [Page 71] and reioycing that it was brought home vnto his Cit­tie: This that I doe (saith he) is for no worldly affection, 2 Sam. 6. 21 but for the zeale that I beare to Gods glory, who chose me ra­ther then thy father and all his house, and commanded me to be ruler ouer the people of the Lord. He confessed, that see­ing God had so honoured him, he was bound, and could not chuse, but he must honour God againe, which was the end and cause, why he had aduanced him.

Whereby we may see, that God doth looke for it at mens hands, that they should be knit to him, and wholly at his pleasure, when he bestoweth these benefites vpon rhem, which their best friends, and mightiest po­tentates [Page 72] cannot: and wee must knowe, that God doth where he giueth much, look for much againe;Amos. 3. and vpon whome he bestoweth his ta­lents, he looketh that they should faithfully,Luke 19. and dili­gently occupie and imploy the same. And who is so ig­norant that he knoweth not this, that when men of abil­litie cast their fauour vpon any, or benefite them vnde­seruedly, rather then others, that they looke for kindenes & good will againe (though for no recompence) more then in a common manner. And if all grant that this is so cleere, that it needeth lit­tle proofe, that where more is receiued of God, they owe more to him againe; and so are bound to set forth his glory, [Page 73] who hath raised them from the dunghill, to great liberties, and prerogatiues, how shall men euer be able to answere this, that whereas they re­ceiue all that they haue of Gods meere liberality and bounty, yet they feele not, nor finde themselues in any sort affected and knit to him, or to seeke to please him, by doing the things which hee commandeth, neither won­der at his fauours to them, rather then to many others, & so to prouoke themselues with a thankfull heart to say as the Prophet did, what shall I render the Lord, Psal. 116. for all his mercies bestowed on me? And againe, when they see their backwardnes, and slownes in such duties, then to stirre vp themselues, and to say [Page 74] with him in another place, O my soule, Psal. 103. praise thou the Lord, and all that is within me praise his holy name: And if when they haue done all, that they can say, they are but vn­profitable seruants, Luk. 17. as Christ tells them, what are they that doe not goe about, to doe that which they might well doe, neither once ac­cuse themselues, though they be idle,Luk. [...]9. and burying their tallants in the ground? I say therefore, that men that liue in this our age, to re­ceiue so much at Gods hands, as health, wealth, li­berty, peace, the Gospell, with many such, shall neuer be able to answere it to God, when notwithstan­ding all these, they haue no zeale for his glorie, they o­bey [Page 75] not his Gospell, they bring not forth fruit, as they might now, if at any time. They are not like, but worse then the Oxe and the Asse, who knowe their owners, and their masters cribbe, and as the Horse and Mule,Iohn 15. 9. who haue no vnderstanding to see,Psal. 32. what they owe to him.Esay. 1.

Our fathers and brethren of happie memorie, in the late dayes of Queene Mary, could reioyce with thankes, for his mercies bestowed on them, that God by his pro­uidence granted them to be fellow-prisoners, together within the same walls: wee haue libertie not to be ioy­ned together in the same prison, but to inioy together the benefites of the Lords Sabbaths, in publique and [Page 76] priuate, and to keepe holly­day in his house,Note. and it is noysome and wearisome to vs: yea, we sit safely vnder our vine, and vnder our fig­tree, liuing peaceably in our owne houses, with all the commoditie and comfort that may be reaped thereby, yet men cannot now sound forth his praises with reioy­cing, oh that is a dead and wearisome worke, they can­not be thankefull, and shew it forth by duties of loue, and other fruites of faith, as it were meete, but are lasci­uious, prophane, and despi­sing such as doe so, finding of fault with their liues, see­ing that they are better then their owne. This and such like is, the vse that the most do make at this day, of Gods [Page 77] manyfold benefites now; as it is to be seene generally through townes and fami­lies, and in infinite persons, in so much that I doe con­fesse (and I will not be asha­med to say it) that I would thinke my selfe, as happie as the most, if I could weepe bitterly for the losse of this people,Esay. 22. and if my eies could gush out with water, for that I see so infinite bene­fites of God are so wickedly bestowed and wasted, euen especially and cheefely, in whoredome, drunkennesse, pride, idlenes, gaming, and other such abhominations, and fruites of the flesh: And if I should goe about parti­cularly, to shewe it in the di­uerse and snndry estates, de­grees and persons, I should [Page 78] not knowe where, nor when to make an end. Therefore I will conclude this point, that seeing God asketh to haue another manner of fruite, of his so innumerable vndeserued kindenesses, and that where more is receiued, there should more bee yeil­ded him againe, I will I say conclude with this speach, much like to that of the prophet Amos. Amis. 3. 3. This nation and people among many o­ther hath the Lord knowne, and chosen to bestowe his gospell and benefites vpon, therefore he will most surely visit it for her iniquities, and then it shall see that there was an other manner of vse, to haue beene made of them. This causeth ma­ny of them, whome in de­spight [Page 79] they call precisians to looke somewhat more care­fully, to their liues then o­thers doe, knowing what cause they haue receiued to doe so, euen to render vnto the Lord, the fruite thereof. And yet we cannot yeilde him one of the thankes, wee owe him of a thousand.

Doct. 8. God will not be ser­ued by halfes.

What the Lord inioyned Saul, we haue heard, that is, that he should vtterly dstroy the Amalakites, and what Saul did we haue also heard, that is, that in part, he did as God had commanded him: but how such obeying plea­sed God, is shewed heere, where he calls it wickednes, all that he had done, and a not obeying: for thus hee saith, why hast thou not o­beyed the voyce of the [Page 80] Lord, but hast done wicked­ly? So that when he serued the Lord but in part, and (as we say) by halfe seruice, God vtterly abhorres it. To teach vs, that he will not be serued of vs by halfes, as that wee should do some thing which he requireth, and to leaue o­thers vndone, which hee commands: and that we would leaue and chuse at our owne pleasure, and so to patch vp his seruice as we thinke good, and not to giue ouer our selues, in full pur­pose to endeauour to please him in all things, God will not beare, nor put it vp at our hands.

And great reason,Reasons. we may see of this: For seeing hee doth require (as most iustly he may) to be serued withall [Page 81] our heart, as we reade in the Prouerbes, giue me thine heart my sonne:Prou. 23. And agine, delight thou in my waies continually,Peo. 23. 26. And seeing we are commanded, whatsoe­uer we doe, whether we eate or drink, to do all to his ho­nour.1 Cor. 10. 32 Who doth not see but that halfe seruice,Colos. 1. 10. and abrid­ging him of his due, is abho­minable: and that to obey him, when, where, and how we thinke good, although in many things we doe that which he commands, is to serue him negligently, and therefore to bee no better then in a cursed estate, as it is written. Cursed is he that serueth God negligently.Iere. 48. 10

And yet such is the most mens seruing of God at this day, euen as Saul did heere, [Page 82] not with an honest and vp­right heart, from dutie to dutie, and in one part of their life, as in another: oh! that were too strickt and precise, to tie vp our rebel­lions and vnruly lusts so short, but to part stakes with the Lord, that the most part of our life be giuen to our selues, to serue the lusts of the flesh, and to follow the suggestions of Sathan, and the deceiuable allurements of the world, and the rest if any remaine, (as he that is wise, will easile gesse how small that will be) the rest (I say) shall bee giuen vnto God. This is the most mens seruing and obeying of God as I said: euen as the com­mon and better sort of ciuill men, doe declare in their [Page 83] owne words, who if they be asked what they thinke the obeying and seruing of God to be, they affirme simply to goe to Church on the Sab­bathes, and if farther it be asked, what then is to bee done, they make no questi­on if it be once done, but that euery man may doe, what he thinketh good, ei­the worke or play or be idle, as appeareth by those that are busie, and goe about la­zily, and lie at shop win­dowes, and there prate, and be talking of one body or other, of this worldly mat­ter or that, which doe no­thing belong to them, and thus passe away the time. I speake not now of the scum and of scourings of townes, who yet goe as farre beyond [Page 84] these in disobeying of God, and in wicked life, as these herein goe beyond honest and true christians. And so shall ye finde it in all estates and conditions of people.

Now,Such come short of Saul. if they thinke and hold this for their opinion, that the seruing and obey­ing of God, consists in such a sleight keeping of the sab­boath (as by the speach and practise of too many may easily bee gathered) I in comparing them with Saul, and making them like to him, ascribe more to them then is their due. For the storie both in this and some other chapters before, doth clearely and largely shewe, how he besides the publique seruing of God, did many worthy and religious acti­ons [Page 85] and commendable, and did see that God was in per­ticular actions and partes of his life, obeyed of him; wherein he went before the common sort of such as be called Protestants, who are not troubled from morning to night, nor from the begin­ning of the weeke to the end, how they obey or diso­bey the lawes of God in the course of their liues, or how they liue: but hold this in their iudgement, that they neede not stretch their care, nor take any thought that way. And yet Saul, who did goe before them so farre (as may apparantly be seene,) because hee did not duely looke vnto, and carefully discharge such duties as hee tooke in hand, and in part [Page 86] also did performe, wee see how God setteth him as it were vpon the stage, as a ga­zing stocke to be looked v­pon, and for not obeying him sendeth a heauie mes­sage vnto him, how he was displeased with him, and pronounced this fearefull sentence vpon him, to wit, it repenteth me that I haue made him King.

And therefore what iust cause haue the common sort of this people,Applicati­on of the point. 1. To the péople of the worser sort. to lament, and bewaile their estate and con­dition, who in this long time wherein the gospell hath brought light among them, haue not [I dare bee bold to say and haue proo­ued it] so much knowledge and care as he had; nor oc­cupie themselues so much in [Page 87] many duties doing to God in their particular actions,2. To Mini­sters. as he did: Yea, and if this were well considered, what care and diligence should it stirre vp in the ministers, to pitty this miserable condicion of the people, and with all ear­nestnes and loue, to make the same known vnto them, and to disswade them from it, as much as in them lyeth? For if God might iustly challenge Saul, for this ser­uing him by halfes and slightly, what shall he haue against them, who (a fewe things excepted, and those yet to small purpose) serue him not at all in their com­mon actions and course of life? And yet that this may be no defence for them, that they goe with others to the [Page 88] publique place to worship God, it may be truely said, that many of them doe that more for loue then for con­science: and yet many heere thinke, that for that very action, they are to be taken for right good Christians.

But now that I haue pro­ued that the most part come behind Saul for the practise of religion,3. To hollow professors. and obedience to God, giue me leaue to go a little further, and by this occasion of Sauls sinne, to shewe them their face as it were in a glasse, who can in no wise proue themselues better then he was. Of this second sort therefore a little. For I would be loath, whiles I am speaking against the seruing of God by halfes, to be iustly charged in this so [Page 89] weightie a matter, to do my dutie but by halses, by spea­king but of the one halfe of them, whome the text con­cerneth. To passe therefore from this sort of men, to a­nother, which more nearely resembleth Saul, and in out­ward apparance goeth farre beyond the former in religi­ous duties: I make no doubt but that the greatest part, who haue any vprightnes of iudgement and gift to di­scerne, will readily agree with mee in that I haue said of the former kinde. There will be greater question, a­bout this latter. Not for that it is so doubtfull, but for that many are so blinde in parti­cular causes, and so partiall in iudgement. For other­wise euen this may deter­mine [Page 90] the question, if in this time of clearer light, men can haue no greater proofe of their godlines, and synce­rity, then Saul had in a time of grosser and deeper dark­nes. I hope none will denie, but that they are as deepe in the punishment, and are as guiltie of it, and so continu­ing, shall as certainly goe vn­der it as he did. And to be­wray those two sorts of men, I did as I saide in the beginning, vnfold this scrip­ture.

Now therefore this I say, if God could beare Saul no longer, but giue him ouer to be vexed with an euill spirit, as appeareth he did in the next chapter, and that for his halting and obeying God by halfes, and for that [Page 91] hee did it not in synceritie and faithfully, what hope haue they to God-ward, which doe the like? There­fore, if many now among vs, not only worshippe God publiquely, but also priuate­ly take his word into their mouthes, so that outwardly and openly, they shewe themselues to bee good Christians, yea, if in many things they doe after the doctrine which they learne out of the word, yet if they do it but in some things, and endeauour not in all,Note well. what vprightnes can be in them? According to that of saint lames, Jam. 2. he that keepeth all the commandements, and brea­keth some one of them, is guiltie of all: meaning, that he that will not be subiect [Page 92] to God in one thing as well as in another, shall shew his contempt of Gods maiestie, who is the law giuer, euen as he doth who shall declare it in many things: which say­ing of the Apostle, agreeth with that of the Prophet E­zechiell: Ezek. 18. If a man be a theefe or a shedder of blood, or hath defiled his neighbours wife, or if he doe any one of these things, though he doe not all of them, but hath oppressed the poore, or hath giuen forth vpon vsurie, hee shall die the death, and his blood shall be vpon him, What can bee more plaine then this,Ezek 18. 10. which the Prophet speaketh to proue, that though a man be free from many defilements, and yet [...]ainted with some one; or if [Page 93] contrarily hee will bee for­ward in many duties, and yet will not be subiect to the will of God in other, which he knoweth to be required as well as in them, what is plainer (I say) then this, that God will not accept of him, but take him for one which serues him by halfes? And who can gather, that Saul was for any other cause re­iected of the Lord?

Then we must come from this cōmon seruing of God,What such should do. (which yet is farre before the former) and yet alike reiected of God as it is: and consequently all such as de­sire that God may accept of their seruice, and take them that offer it for his beloued, in whome he delighteth, must bring themselues into [Page 94] a narrow compasse, and stretch their care further; that is to say, they must re­solue and couenant to take heede to their wayes, and course of life more particu­larly, and labour faithfully in one thing as in another, to please God according to the measure of their knowledge. And I dare boldly affirme by the authority of these forenamed scriptures, that he which dyeth with lesse then this, and hath not re­pented for it, nor obtayned pardon of it, dyeth in the displeasure of God and can­not be saued.

And this is most fearefull if we consider,Further vse of this doctrine. that if any beleeuing this, doe addresse themselues to this care and practise, they are by and by [Page 95] scorned and scoffed at,1. In re­proofe of scorning. and reproachfully taunted, and tawed with odious and re­proachfull names of hypo­crites, and such like: as if they would boldly contend with, and set themselues a­gainst God in their so doing: when he saith on the one side to men, except they liue thus they are indeede hypo­crites, and cannot be saued, and they directly contrary answere and say, if they doe liue thus, they are dissem­blers, fooles and trouble­some, in which estate they cannot be saued: For let him that thinketh himselfe wisest of these contemners and discouragers of their bre­thren, speake. Is it for any other cause that they dis­grace and crie out of them [Page 96] then this? that their deedes are good, and their owne e­uill? For if they could bee content to serue God loose­ly and to halfes as they doe, there should be no rising of heart against them: no veri­ly: but euen therefore they are their songs and matter to talke of. But if for all this they will iustifie their halfe seruing of God to be suffi­cient to commend them to him, and that in so doing none doe liue better then themselues, I leaue them to a deeper consideration of it. I haue shewed what seruice God requireth, euen such as they that offer it, should take heede that there be not at a­ny time in any of them an e­uill heart; and that they should endeauour whether [Page 97] they eate or drinke, or what­soeuer they doe, that all should be to the praise of God: and by watching and prayer, they should keepe from the temptations that others are ouercome of.2. Comfort to the vp­right. And as for the infirmities that cleaue to them in this course, they shall be forgi­uen them, and shall not hin­der them from true and sound reioycing, which is a perpetuall companion to synceritie: as it is written in the Psalme, Reioyce ye righte­ous, and be glad all ye that are vpright in heart. And this shall serue for this point.

Doct. 9. Couetous­nes is the roote of much euill.

VERSE. 19.

Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voyce of the LORD, but didst flie vpon the spoile, and didst euill in the sight of the LORD?

TO that which I said of Samuels words to Saul before: there is yet another thing in this speach of Sa­muells, which hee deliuered to Saul from God, I meane an other sin of Saul, though more secret, yet horrible in such a man as he was especi­ally: and that was that hee, though a King, was set for­ward in this halfe seruice of God, by the desire of the goods and cattle of the A­malakites, insomuch that his [Page 99] double and deceitfull heart caused him to deale trea­cherously against the Lord, as in many of his other acti­ons before, cap. 12. 13. 14. he had done. For when hee sawe what commoditie and benefite he might reape, in this charge of killing the Amalakites, he not looking vuto the commandement of God which was vtterly to destroy all, but to the bootie which he sawe he might reape, was carryed away with the coueting and desire of it, and thereby aggraua­ted his sinne exceedingly. But seeing the very sinne it selfe is particularly spoken of, for which Saul was rebu­ked, that is, a braunch of co­uetousnes, in that he turned to the pray, it shall not be [Page 100] amisse to heare somthing a­bout and concerning it.

For if Saul a King and therefore rich in all commo­dities,A caueat. was caught with the loue of that execrable thing I meane the spoile of the A­malakites which God had commanded to be destroy­ed, who of meaner estate would a man thinke, is like to be free from desiring and coueting the goods of o­thers?Note. For the which cause the Apostle chargeth in his epistle to Timothie, 1 Tim. 3. 6. that a minister though rare, a chri­stian and reuerend Preacher [for such ought ministers to be] yea, and Timothie him­selfe, flie and be free from the desire of mony, which causeth to fall into tempta­tions and snares: warning [Page 101] all that they may possibly soone fall, yea, dangerously that way, and bring them­selues into many noysome lustes thereby: If Kings the mightiest▪ and Preachers who should be examples to others, are in danger of fal­ling into this sin, who hath not cause to feare himselfe and take warning? For in this matter of profit our hearts are false and deceit­full if in any other, Inso­much as I may truly say that as many well disposed chri­stians are much disguised by occasion of worldly dea­lings, much more other men who haue little tast of sound doctrine in them: for the best armed and seasoned christians must knowe that they doe not without dayly [Page 102] watching and prayer and obseruing themselues, e­scape the snares which are layed for them by the diuell this way.

For if any be so suspici­ous of himselfe,Hard to digest and vse prospe­ritie well. as that hee take heede he be not lifted vp, nor made vaine, idle, and worldly, by growing rich by his prosperitie, he is a rare man; the most part euen of such as doe loue the gos­pell, decaying as sencibly in grace, as they growe in wealth: but if the same per­son be as well prepared to beare aduersitie, and decay when God shall send it, he may worthily be counted a rare man, and be marueiled at, as resembling the Apo­stle himselfe, who had lear­ned both to abound and to [Page 103] want, and in euery estate to be contented.Phillip. 4. But the sinne is so common, I say, not for man to ouer-shoot them­selues this way, but also to be iustly offensiue about matters of profit, that fewe suspect themselues about their worldly dealings, no not when they are in great danger, and haue also excee­ding cause to accuse them­selues. As may appeare in the example of the Phari­sies,Luk. 16. 14. who when Christ re­prooued couetousnes a­mong them (teaching that if a man haue not beene faith­full in the wicked riches, no man will trust him in the true measure) it is said; all these things heard the Phari­sies which were couetous, and they mocked him. And [Page 104] while men thinke that Prea­chers shewe themselues ridi­culous and worthy to bee laughed at, for speaking a­gainst couetousnes, it is ma­nifest, that not only they do not, but also that they think they neede not goe about to reforme this. For oppressi­on and deceiuing one ano­ther is so well liked, that as long as they bring in gaine and commoditie to the practisers of them, they re­gard not a whit who su­steyne losse or smart there­by, or once suspect or feare that the Lord is prouoked to reuenge them for their doings. Oh, therefore how wise is he that is resolued to take heede that none shall susteine losse by him, but will see that he shall haue his [Page 105] due to the vtmost, and (least this should not be enough) prouideth so, that God may haue no controuersie with him, for and about his earth­ly affaires and dealings, nor any other way!

Doct. 10. Sin neuer goeth without company.

And this reproofe which the Lord by Samuel layeth to Saules charge for his co­uetousnes besides his other sinnes, this I say teacheth vs, that sinne goeth neuer alone but hath companions, as in Achans sinne is to be seene, and in the epistle to the Ro­mans,Rom. 13. where hee sheweth how one sinne leadeth ano­ther, as it were hand in hand: as gluttonie leadeth drun­kennes, chambering leadeth wantonnes, and strife enuy­ing: that no man may rest in the common defence and [Page 106] no lesse foolish then com­mon: that is this: that when many are conuicted of their witting offending of God, their answere is, it was but that one, with which they could be charged: and who is free they aske? whereas in that they confesse one, they proue themselues ther­by, that they are worthily put to rebuke, as being guil­ty of many: forasmuch as one sinne goeth not alone without companions. Vse. And that is a great reason why e­uery faithfull christian should beware that he break not one of the least, of Gods commandements, loosely or willingly, seeing as he shall thereby be least in the king­dome of heauen, so shall not his sinne be single and alone, [Page 107] but accompanied with o­ther as vile as it selfe: as in the sinne of adulterie, decei­uing, malice bearing, and the like, who can tell how many noysome sinnes accompany them?

Sin would lie hid, if the word did not discouer it.

But to proceede: the Lord bewraying his sinne by Samuell which otherwise should not haue beene knowne to vs, or any at that time: doth shewe thereby that much sinne should be hidden, and not be knowne to be sinne, and consequent­ly purged out and abando­ned, if God did not by the light of his word reueale and discouer it. And being hid­den frommen (when yet it is greedily and commonly committed of such as liue among them) should bring [Page 108] forth many dangerous and fearefull fruites, and that which is not the least of o­ther, poyson such as see it committed, but not puni­shed and disgraced.

This is apparant how in places where the gospel hath not beene planted or not re­ceiued,1. The doc­trine clea­red by instances. and also where it is truely preached: In the first it is cleare, how through ig­norance heathenish & mon­strous sinnes, not only com­mon and dayly committed, are entertained, and cause that no goodnes can be ad­mitted and take place there. For who is bolder then the blinde? By this meanes the lurking and viperous gene­ration of the Seminaries car­ry numbers into most pefti­lent errours, and the vnruly [Page 109] multitude, leade troupes af­ter them to horrible abho­minations. And sauour they neuer so much of the fashi­ons of the heathens, and be their prophanenes neuer so grosse, as sorceries and witch-crafts, whoredome drunkennes and oppression, may-games, lobbes of mis­rule, and such like, yet doe they not only preuaile and beare swaye, but leade the daunce to a thousand silly ones, who daunce after their pipe, with many other ab­hominations besides these, vntill the Lord bewray them by his word; and make some ashamed of them that by their good meanes, other may bee re­strayned.

And if outward and open2. [Page 110] euills be vnknowne to men, till God by preaching be­wray them, who doubteth that secret sinne of the heart, tongue and life are much more vnknowne, for want of the word preached? They that are in hell know no o­ther heauen, and they that liue in darknes, knowe no o­ther light: all colours are a­like with them. So that as Sauls sinne of coueting like Achans, was made manifest by Samuell the Lords Pro­phet, which fewe would haue thought of all others, to haue beene in him: so if God sent forth his messen­gers into the darke corners, and townes of the world, they cause many to behold the treacheries which are wrought against God, which [Page 111] also are the bane of many thousands of people, though before they were brought to light by preaching, men ne­uer dreamed of any such thing. And as they do ther­by growe to see the wicked­nes of others, so doe they come to knowe the many deformities, blemishes, and staynes, which are in them­selues, both inward and out­ward, which they neuer i­magined to haue beene so: euen as Samaria by Philips preaching of Christ to them, saw Simon Magus sorceries, and forsooke them. And this is done to the end, that so many as the Lord shall call, may be brought by the sight of their sinne to the dislike thereof, and so to true re­pentance and saluation: and [Page 112] the rest may either bee re­strayned from the excesse of euill which before they ran after, or if they will needes goe forward, yet they may haue consciences wounding and accusing them, that so they may sinne with lesse ease.

Now to proue that where the gospell is purely prea­ched,Further proofe. much sinne is brought to light, who can be igno­rant of it? for how other­wise could nombers bee brought to faith and christi­an conuersation, as many (God bee thanked) dayly are if they did not see their darknes & vnbeleefe where­in they lay wrapped before? And therefore although the blinde of the world, do most scornefully and wilfully cast [Page 113] of the Lords yoake, which is his holy doctrine and scoffe at such as doe submit themselues vnto it and re­ceiue it: yet let all who haue any eyes to see from what Egyptian darknes and bon­dage the Lord hath brought them by sending his truth and word among them, Vse. which only maketh them free: let all such [I say] giue most hartie thankes to the Lord for it, and pray for the continuance of the syn­cere preaching of it among them to perfect the worke of faith which is begunne in them.

VERSE. 20. 21.

And Saul said vnto Samuell; Yea, I haue obeyed the voyce of the LORD, and haue gone the way which the LORD sent mee, and haue brought Agag the king of Amalek▪ and haue vtterly [...] the Amalekites.

But the people took [...] spoile, sheepe and [...] chiefe of the [...] should haue beene [...] stroyed, to sacrifice [...] LORD thy God in Gilga [...]

WE haue heard now,The words opened. how Samuell tolde Saul that the Lord was dis­pleased with him, for his falsehood and wicked dea­ling about the destroying of [Page 115] the Amalakites. In the next place Samuell was about to tell him of the punishment which God threatned him: but he preuented and cut him of: whereby it might haue beene hoped and loo­ked for, that Saul should haue beene sore troubled, and haue humbled his soule in fasting and prayer before God, when he should haue heard his heauie message: But what doth he? he stan­deth most impudently in his owne defence, both against God and his owne consci­ence (for afterward hee confessed the contrary) and euen as he had done before when Samuell had first told him the Lords minde: hee saith to the Prophet he had obeyed the commande­ment,

[...] ted speaches and multitude of words, make it appeare (if it be not well looked in­to) to be voyde of blame, yea, commendable. They will not (indeede) affirme that they maintaine sinne, and that they will do a thing though it be euill, (that were too grosse, and in so doing they must shew themselues odious to all (which were no hypocrisie,) and so the impudencie of such, seeing it cannot be hidden, a man would thinke that such sins were like to be the sooner repented of, or else they must needes liue in contempt in the world.Math. 21. As wee reade in the gospell, of him which being bidden by his father to goe worke in his vine­yarde, answered, hee would [Page 112] [...] [Page 113] [...] [Page 117] [...] [Page 118] not: but as hee departed, considering the grossenes of his disobedience, he repen­ted and went. But these of whome I heare speake, call that good which is euill, that so they may be wel thought of among men, though they deserue the contrary, and deceiue their owne hearts with a vaine hope. For they set themselues to hide their finne, which is a sufficient proofe that they cannot prosper:Iob. 31. and whatsoeuer may come against them, they wittingly refuse to see it, least their consciences should pricke and accuse them of it: and so harde­ning their hearts, are farre from relenting, and to that end they put away the re­membrance of the euill day [Page 119] farre from them.

This appeareth in that Pharisie, who being bee­wrayed by our Sauiour to be no such as he vaineglori­ously boasted himselfe to be, did yet iustifie himselfe and say, Lord I thanke thee that I am not as others.Luk. 18. whereas the righteous man is his owne first accuser, yea, laboureth to see his secret sins, & dares not hide,Prou. 28. 14 them and ceaseth not till he re­nounce and confesse the same that he may finde mer­cie: so farre is he of from playing the part of the hy­pocrites in setting the best side outward, and seeking to shift, excuse and defend that which is euill. And yet I say not that he is vtterly voyde of hypocrisie, which [Page 120] assaulteth the best, but yet he seeth it with deadly dislike how it encombereth him, and (will he nill hee) it dog­geth him, but he makes no prouision to fulfill the de­sires of it, as the other doth, but groaneth vnder the bur­then of it and of the like sinnes, till he testifie plainely that he doth not harbour them, as may plainely bee seene in the poore Publican. And who doth not see that he is not the man which is odious for his sinne to the godly that know him, as the other are approued of them: whereas they in whom there is no soundnes nor consci­ence, but they are slie and slipperie, do discredit them­selues, and are neither in fauour with God nor men; [Page 121] but like Gehezai, whose great sinne although it was found out of his master the Prophet,2. King. 6. yet when he would trie what grace there was in him to confesse it, though he had wickedly committed it, he boldly and shamelessely did hide it: and where hee asked him where hee had beene, after hee returned from his horrible facts he had beene about, he answe­red, thy seruant hath beene no where, (hee meant but where he should and might be, that was about his ma­sters busines,) so farre [...]he was of from grace though a Prophets seruant. Vse. Therefore let euery one that calls on the name of the Lord lesus be farre from bold maintai­ning of the least sinne, and [Page 122] from clearing himself when he is manifestly conuicted in his owne conscience: for a­mong all offenders, as such an one as hideth his finne shall not prosper, so he may be sure to be excluded from Gods kingdome, if he abide in his sinne. And this is one of the true markes of an hy­pocrite, illustrated by the true contrary properties of a syncere christian, which two shall be alwayes able to iustifie or condemne him, who will lay his life in the ballances, and be content to trie himselfe as all haue good cause to doe.

Doct. 13. The hypo­crite pleads excuse from all blame vn­der pre­tence of any good.

Now followes the second note of an hypocrite, no lesse needfull to be marked and regarded then the for­mer, and that is this. If they [Page 123] doe any thing that is to be allowed, vnder the colour of that, all that they doe must be allowed also, and borne out by that; and whatsoeuer they cannot iustifie, but that it must needs be found fault with, that they lay vpon o­thers.And de­riues that vpon o­thers which hee cannot shift off himselfe. This is most appa­rantly to be seene in Saul, for he saith he slue the Amala­kites, therefore he had wal­ked in the way, in which the Lord commanded him: so that seeing hee had done something that God com­māded, therfore by & by he had done all that he ought: but he said, seeing it could not but be granted that some part of Gods will was left vndone by him, namely, the best of the cattle was saued aliue contrary to Gods com­mandement. [Page 124] therefore beholde that he layes vpon the people.

The first branch.

Concerning the first branch of these two: how common is it, though it bee most palpable and grosse, that the goodnes which men doe,One in­stance in the worst sort. shall be spoken of by them, and set forth to the eyes of the world, as if none were like to them therein: neither might any thing be layd to their charge, how faulty soeuer they be other­wise. Now if any alleadge, that for all their boasting of their goodnes, many abho­minations are in their liues, they turne all such accusati­ons behinde them, with him who being full of great sins, healed vp all with these speaches, I am no adulterer, [Page 125] I fast twice in the weeke, I giue almes, &c. so these be­cause they haue somwhat to boast of, therefore all their filthines must be forgotten, though the stinch of it an­noy all places about them▪ as is to be seene in that an­swere of Abner, who being accused by poor [...] Ishbosheth for defiling his fathers Con­cubine, answered:2 Sam. 3. 8. am I a dogges head which against Iu­da shew mercie to the house of Saul, &c? all his sinne must be couered with the good seruice he had done to Ish­bosheth. Which, yet take it at the best, was in him none of the best, as his owne words after declare, in the 9. verse. But to returne, the like prac­tise is at this day to be seene in Popery, who vnder a vi­zoured [Page 126] colour of holines, commit all kinde of wicked­nes: painted sepulchres they are, full of dead mens bones: particular instances are in­numerable, therefore I say no more, for it is but lost labour.

And I would to God,A second instance in common Protestāts. this euill rested in them; but (with griefe I speake it) euen in the land of the righteous, where God is knowne,Esay. 26. 10 and his word preached this ini­quitie is committed, that vnder a cerimonious and hollow seruing of God, (which yet is but with lips, and from teeth outward,) all loathsome sins are shel­tred.Math. 15. For what care or con­science of dutie is there in the most, whatsoeuer they are occupied about, in their [Page 127] speach or actions, saue that they be of our religion, and come to Church on the sab­bath, as others doe? Inso­much, as the Prophet Ieremy who found out this sinne in his time, cryed out of such, that they made the temple of God,Ierem. 7. 7. a denne of theeues, and yet they were safe (in their owne imaginacion) for all their adulteries, swearing, &c. as long as they (after the committing of them) came into the Temple to pray. This is ranke hypo­crisie, [though in some more grosse, because they haue more knowledge then others,] when they leape thus out of a wicked and vnreformed life, to boast of assurance of saluation, and all because they haue some­what [Page 128] to glory of, as that they pray, or giue to the poore, or doe no man wrong, as they say; when they, who are the children of God in­deed, doe take so small com­fort in this that they doe some duties rightly, that they can finde no peace, nor walke cheerefully, whiles they suffer any one sinne to haue dominion ouer them, or to remaine quiet or vn­pursued in them: And is it any marueile? seeing they haue learned, that God will be reuenged on the breach of euery commandement.Psal. 119. They beleeue this, and feare to doe against it, that so they may declare by their prac­tise, that they desire to be­seeme the gospell in all things,Phil. 1. 27. and that they are ac­cording [Page 129] to Gods owne heart and liking,Deut. 5. 29. who saith, oh that there were such an heart in them, that they did feare mee and keepe all my com­mandements alwayes, that it might go well with them.

And as these doe highly please God, so are they on the contrary most odious, which tie God to his stint, and performe some slender taske to him, as to pray in ceremonie, or heare some­time, and to confesse with their mouthes, that we must liue Godly, but are voyd of the power of godlines in hart and deed: Such [mark it who will] set not them­selues to obserue what is amisse in themselues, if they be able to alleadge some­thing in their owne com­mendations; [Page 130] and that they be not so offensiue and diso­bedient, as many others; And yet as apparantly as this kinde of people is abho­minable to God, Vse 1 and bran­ded with the marke of foule hypocrisie, yet [which is no lesse lamentable] how is this course of liuing iustified in the world of the greatest part, whereby it is so farre of from being disgraced and repented of, that the com­monnes of it, doth bolster and maintaine it, and is not onely checke-mate with sin­ceritie it selfe,Note. but croweth ouer it, and for want of out­ward helpe to authorise and grace this synceritie and true godlynes, thrusteth it to the wall. Vse 2 But God that taketh part with his owne [Page 131] ordinance, which is the en­deauouring to serue him in all things, and hath com­manded it in Moses, Numb. 12. Iob, Iob. 1. 2. Sa­muell and others;1 Sam. 12. 16. and also hath condemned the con­trarie in the whole packe and rabble of hypocrites,Psal. 50. 16 will both blesse and be a father to those which walke after this rule,1 Pet. 1. 17. and giue them their portion with the workes of iniquitie, who haue beene both practisers, and thereby maintainers of this halfe and counterfeite seruing of God, as farre as they thinke good: thus deuiding those things most grossely which God hath ioyned together; for that such (I speake of the greatest number) doe know that they doe wickedly in thus liuing, heereby it is [Page 132] manifest, when they are con­uinced by strong arguments, that their halfe seruing of God is an abhomination to him, they haue no better e­uasion then this, who can liue thus? and that it is im­possible: which answere de­nyeth not, but that God re­quireth such a course and such a manner of liuing, but they finde it to crosse their will, and rebellious hart, and to cut them off from many of their vnlawfull liberties, which they will not part from; and therefore they hold on in their custome and old manner still, wit­tingly and willingly resisting God; come of it what will.

The secōd branch of the do­ctrine.

Another thing there is in this answere of Saul, well [Page 133] worth the marking: and that is a neere companion with the former,The hypo­crite de­riues his sinne vpon others. and an other true worke of an hypocrite: that in such acts as had bene done of him, contrary to the charge that God gaue him, and the Prophet did eui­dently conuince him of dis­obedience theretoo, so as he could not denie it: there he washed his hands, though he was deepest in the fault, and layd it vpon others: saying, the people did it, as though they would haue done that without him: and besides the Prophet did charge him personally, with the very same thing, saying, why hast thou disobeyed the voyce of the Lord, and turned to the spoyle? so that it was hee, howsoeuer the [Page 134] people agreed to him which doth bewray another dan­gerous thing in mens liues, who are yet members of the visible Church of God. that as they care not how negli­gent and slacke they bee in obeying God, nor how small and meane seruice they giue him, so yet if they be so vr­ged with some of their do­ings, that they cannot de­fend them to be good, yet how many excuses will they haue to free themselues by from blame? and to make a foule fault seeme small or none at all, to cleere them­selues, though neither clean­ly nor truly:1 Sam. 19. 17. and all, that they may not be charged, vpon whomsoeuer it light: In which kinde of dealing, as they are neuer the more [Page 135] discharged before God (no nor for the most part before the world] yet thus they loue to deceiue themselues, & suffer the deuill to blind­fold them heereby, and so make a custome of sinning, till it be most hard to draw them out of it: Farre are such of, we see, from accu­sing themselues: and there­fore farre from the estate of righteous men, seeing the righteous is his owne first accuser. And although no man ought to accuse him­selfe when hee is innocent, no more then he is bound to offer himselfe to the crosse and affliction, which God doth not lay vpon him; yet when a man knoweth him­selfe to be guilty and faulty, and will not see but hideth [Page 137] [...] commeth, wearisome and tedious to you, while you liue merrily? for in afflicti­on, how many of you hold your confidence in Christ, which at other times com­monly ye bragge of? nay, doe you not then feare he loueth you not, but is angry with you? and why? euen for that you cannot but re­member, that in time past you haue hidden your sinne, and by excuses made it seem no fault or sin, least it should haue troubled you, and haue caused you to leaue and for­sake it, which was as sugar vnder your tongue: euen this excusing of faults is the bane of the soule; for that emboldneth men to sinne, which otherwise durst not: for did men see that others [Page 138] knew how bad their liues are, would they not be a­shamed, and couer their fa­ces; who now are bold to doe whatsoeuer euill liketh them, because they thinke they are not seene of men; and therefore when God plucketh all maskes from their eies, and arresteth them on their bedds or otherwise, woundeth and pierceth them with deepe sorrowes, then they finde it to be with them, (as this Saul did oft, and namely in cap. 18.) to wit, they are almost in des­peration. Therefore let us feare to flie to such deceiua­ble shiftes, and when we lay the blame on others men, which is due to vs, know we, that we shall be cleared be­fore God, no better, nor [Page 139] otherwise then Adam was, when he answered, the wo­man which thou gauest me, she caused me to eate.

A further explication of the 2. branch.Now more particularly let vs see by whome he ex­cused himselfe, and that was by the people, they (he saith) reserued some of the cattle. But will any man thinke that the people were not subiect vnto him, but he ra­ther vnto them? we see how he commanded the people in a small thing,1 Sam. 14. and yet too strictly and cruelly, when they were faint by pursuing their enemies, and for all that none durst disobey him, no namely, that they should not so much as taste of a little honey, when it would haue strengthened and refreshed them, and haue made them [Page 140] fitter to goe against their e­nemies, so great awe he had them in: And therefore small likelyhood there was heere, notwithstanding his charging them that they had reserued of the cattle against his will: that was therefore a sleight excuse, and had little truth in it. And by this we may learne; that men to shunne blame and punishment for their, sinne, care not vpon whome they lay the fault, nor who smart, so as they may escape and goe free: though they de­serue no such thing. A com­mon fault in the world, that men can be content that o­ther shall suffer for their of­fences, as many a one is seen to be hanged for the tres­passe, which another is guil­tie [Page 141] of. This was farre from Dauid, when the pestilence was on the people for his numbring of them.1 Sam. 14. The godly man bea­reth his owne bur­den. He said vnto the Lord, when he saw the Angell smite the people, behold, I haue sinned and done wickedly, but these sheepe, what haue they done? Let thine hand [I pray thee] be against mee and my fathers house. Euen so Paul wished in his bonds, that all were as he; that is true christians, but without his bands: he could willing­ly wish them the commodi­tie, that he himselfe enioyed, but without the smart that he sufteyned. And so an vp­right hearted christian, can­not finde in his heart to suf­fer another man to beare his burthen; nor to smart for [Page 142] his fault, neither hath any pleasure to ease himselfe by other mens paine; and sor­row. Rather he beareth the burthens of others, then dis­burthens himselfe vpon the innocent. So neither can he hurt, wrong, and oppresse another for his owne bene­fite, much lesse then can, or dare he liue by the sinnes of other men, as many doe; nor pill, oppresse, defraud the poore, with hard impositi­ons, racked rents; hard pen­ny worths, when he know­eth they cannot beare them, but must needes faint and shrinke vnder their bur­thens. Alas what comfort can a man take in the com­moditie that hee wringeth from the poore! who should relieue, and giue to him [...] ­ther; [Page 143] And yet behold, there is no difference betwixt poore and rich made, so as they who deale with them, may haue aduantage by them. Heerein men are like vnto Saul, who falsely accu­sed the people, of that which he himselfe was guilty of, and made them transgres­sors, whereas himselfe had faulted and deserued the pu­nishment. But let vs beare our owne burden, and bee not so hard harted, as to hurt the innocent.

[Page 140] [...] [Page 141] [...] [Page 142] [...] [Page 143] [...] [Page]

Doct. 14. Hypocrites extenuate their sinne. THE THIRD SERMON.

VERSE. 21.

But the people tooke of the spoile, sheepe and oxen, the chiefe of the things which should haue beene vtterly de­stroyed, to sacrifice vnto the LORD thy God in Gilgal.

SAul knowing himselfe faultie in that which he layed to the people: doth make light of it. It tea­cheth vs, when the hypo­crites conscience is accused and found guilty, it doth [Page 146] what it can to extenuate the sinne, and make it seeme no­thing. The reason is, because it is not repented of, but the offender purposeth to lye still in it: and while it is so, he loueth not to heare it made odious, and to be ag­grauated, whereas they, who turne to God in truth, ag­grauate it to the vtmost that they can, and why so? sure­ly because they neuer pur­pose to commit, or to haue to doe with it any more, as we see in Dauid, Psal. 51. 2. and in Paul. In all this,1. Tim. 1. 15 Saul knew hee spake vntruly: for the cattle was not reserued to bee of­fred in sacrifice, but as Samu­ell charged him, to his owne vse; and yet when he sawe no other way to make his part good, he did it by a lie, [Page 147] which he thought could not be knowne: It teacheth vs that he who dareth doe euill and sinne against his consci­ence,And (if need be) hide it with a lie. will (if he be put to it) hide his sinne with a lie. As we see it is bred in nature to doe so, for little children if they be charged with a fault, will make it away with a lye. But what lye made Saul? I say a cunning lye, that Sa­muell could not knowe, ex­cept God had reuealed it to him: For who knew what he meant to doe, but himselfe? yet some lyes others know to be lyes, and are (as other fruites of the flesh) mani­fest.Gal. 6.

Doct. 15. The mul­tude con­senteth in euill, without any scruple.

But to leaue Saul a little, because I spake of his shif­ting before, and to come to the people, though it bee [Page 148] cleare that his fault was great in this matter, yea, and cheefe, yet we see how rea­dily the people, as it were with one voyce, consent to him, and become partakers of his sinne, whatsoeuer the Lord by the Prophet had charged to the contrary: but if any obiect, how did the people know that there was any such charge giuen of God by the Prophet of kil­ling the Amalakites? I an­swere, it was giuen openly not secretly, when Samuell met Saul so that who would might heare it: besides Saul went about it immediately, gathering the people toge­ther, for that purpose, and therefore they could not chuse, but know why they came together; and did be­ginne [Page 149] in good manner, to execute the said charge, in killing the people and de­stroying the cattle, but yet they consented to the sauing of the best of them, contra­ry to the expresse comman­dement of the Lord, which was, that they should de­stroy them all; so easie a matter it is to consent and agree together in euill that many shall be as one man in the executing of the same.

Which, if it were but in some one instance, or few, the lesse might be said,Proofes hereof by scripture. of it. But in what (almost) shall ye finde it otherwise?Gen. 18. For proofe by enumeracion of many particulars. When the Angels of God came to de­stroy Sodome, separating Lot and his houshold, who [Page 150] beleeued it and therefore re­garded it? Yea, rather did they not all mocke at his words, resist and oppose themselues. against Gods message, till they were smit­ten blinde, insomuch that his kinsemen whome hee would haue perswaded in more especial manner, jested and derided him for his la­bour? and in the absence of Moses 40.Exod. 32. dayes from the people, how did they con­sent together to make a mol­ten Calfe, and to daunce be­fore it committing idolatry with it? insomuch that they compelled Aaron himselfe to yeild vnto them. And when the posterity of that people, many hundreth yeares after, was set on a m [...]dde moode, to forsake [Page 151] the ordinance of God, in being ruled by Iudges, as they had a long time beene, but would haue a King to rule ouer them, as other na­tions had: who might dis­swade them from it? were there any of themselues heard to quiet and pacifie the mindes of the rest, and to hold them in obedience to the commandement of God? insomuch as when Samuell was sent from God to forbid them,1. Sam. 8. yea, and if they needs would haue their wil to tell them, they should pay deare for it, was there any tribe or family that de­sisted and kept silence, that the Prophet might carry the names of such before the Lord? no: but one was as another, yea, they knotted [Page 152] and banded themselues a­gainst the message, till God from heauen by an vnwon­ted thunder and tempest, extraordinarily, euen in their wheat-haruest, when the aire was still, and the weather faire, flayted and terrefied them, and made them to see their boldnes, and wilfull disobedience, and to con­fesse that they had sinned, and especially in asking themselues a King.Iob. 1. And therefore God bringeth in Iob, as an odde man among other, that when the people went as a streame after euill, he with-drew himselfe and depar [...]ed from it. Hast thou considered my seruant Iob saith the Lord to Sathan, how he feareth God and de­parteth from euill: for the [Page 153] multitude runneth headlong to sinne, it is agreeable to their nature; and whereas the well ordering of the heart, and good gouernment of the soule is the light of the whole life, to direct it a­right, as the eye is the light of the body to carry it: all such light and spirituall go­uernment of the soule, is for the most part farre of from the people, and therefore the way of truth they cannot follow, but runne together to that which blinde reason and the lust of the heart lea­deth them vnto.

And this is the cause why at this day there is such an vniuersall consent,And by ex­perience. almost in all places, to that which is euill. For although through Gods mercy, light is come [Page 154] into the world, yea, to this Land, and the blessed gos­pell, and glad tydings of sal­uation is reuealed, maintai­ned,Io. 3. 16. and by his Maiesties highnes, defended amongst vs, and by his royall autho­rity & commandment prea­ched thorough his domini­on, yet as it is said, men loue darkenes more then light, because their deeds are euill: and hereby it is that inferior magistrates in many places, doe not countenance and further the syncere prea­ching of it, incouraging (as they ought with all their a­billity) both preacher and people, but rather iustle it out from among them, and content themselues with the bare reading of the scrip­tures. And heere of it is that [Page 155] the ministers themselues, who haue not the power of the gospell working in them, and subduing themselues, and therefore louing profit, pleasure, and preferment more then godlines; cannot, nor will not take paines to enlighten and reforme o­thers, and to beate downe the workes of darknes, and of the diuell among them. And heereof consequently it ariseth; that the people re­maine in ignorance and bondage to their euill lusts. More particularly to come nearer to our selues: hereof it is that common discor­ders, and open abominati­ons remaine among vs, now after 60. yeares preaching in this land, which should bee the Land of the righteous: [Page 156] and hereby it is, that hea­thenish games, lobbes of misrule, with money daun­cings, are still retayned in some parts of it, with A­theisme & grosse prophane­nes, yea, euen on the sabboth it selfe, and that in time of diuine seruice, prayer and preaching, are by troupes and companiships practised, and defended. And the grossest sinnes, as popery, adultery, drunkennes, op­pressing, deceiuing, haue so many fauorites with like ab­homination: that it may cleerely be seen, there wants no consent in any of them, but the practisers are so ma­ny and well knowne, that as all trades in London of any reckoning, haue their com­panies which professe, main­taine [Page 157] and liue by them, as the company of Mercers, the company of Gold­smithes, Merchant Taylors, Drapers and the like: so ye may reckon vp in all kindes of sinne among vs, (such is the consent therein, and so great and common are the fellowships of them; the comepany of whoremon­gers, the companie of Ido­laters, the company of theeues, the company of malice bearers, the company of slaunderers and lyars, with such a rabble of many others; that yee may see consent and companie e­nough in euery kinde of sin. Oh, it cannot be expressed, how soone one followeth a­nother in euill? and how soone one consenteth to a­nother [Page 158] in his sinne: yea, and that which is an increase of this sinne, and filleth the world with sin, so are these companyshipps in diuerse kindes of sinne; not only firme and sure in themselues, but so alyed and neare a kinne one to another, that if one of them were too weake alone by himselfe, to stand and vphold it selfe, yet it should bee vpholden and strengthened by another.

And if the power of the word of God were so enter­tained and embraced in any place, citie, or towne, that it were like to breake of any part of bad fellowship in a­ny one kinde of sinne, all the rest are ready to band themselues together against that preaching to vphold a­ny [Page 159] sinne, or company onship which were falling and de­caying: the ryotous will helpe to vphold the coue­tous, and the mallicious, the flatterer, and the proud will plead for the vsurer, and one for another, to deface the preacher, though one haue no great conuersing with the other, but rather some way, nipping the other secretly; that as Herod and Pilate were at contention one with another, yet could both set themselues against Christ: so can the carnall protestant, ioyne himselfe with the Church papist, to rayle on, and deface the effectuall and powerfull preaching of Christ, and the zealous pro­fessors of it: yea, I say more such force hath consent in [Page 160] sinne, to worke mischiefe, and to infect where it goeth, that it fastneth euen vpon such, as haue shewed some good countenance to the gospell, and haue beene iudged to loue it from their hearts: so truly it is said of our Sauiour, that the abun­dance of iniquitie, causeth the loue of many, to waxe cold: for when one seeth another take a course, that liketh flesh, and the same to be allowed and maintained, by many, what grace haue the best christians neede of, to keepe themselues in, that they walke not after the same excesse of ryot, that others doe? and what is there to hold men in, but the prea­ching of the gospell, from prophanenes? & from much [Page 161] loosenes, ignorance and dis­solutenes thereby? And yet few haue that sounding in their eares, especially in any great power, and yet where it hath any, it is soone resi­sted and beaten backe. What is then to be done, but that such as haue eares to heare, (knowing this) take heede to themselues, and follow not the multitude to doe e­uill, but depart from the steppes, companies and ac­quaintance of such, and say with the valiant man Iosuah, though there bee neuer so many of them, yet I and mine, will feare the Lord.

VERSE. 22.23.

And Samuell said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifi­ces, as in obeying the voyce of the LORD? Behold, to obey, is better then sacrifice: and to hearken, then the fat of rammes.

For rebellion is as the sinne of witchcraft, and stubburn­nesse is as iniquitie and ido­latrie: because thou hast re­jected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

WEe haue heard Sauls answere,The sen­tence ther­of. wherein he would haue couered the fault (which hee could not denie altogether) saying, it [Page 163] was to honour God which they did: meaning the beastes were reserued, to be offered to him for sacrifice, and therefore the fault (he hoped) was not great; for he had (he said) obeyed the Lord, & gon the way which he had commanded him. This answer therefore of his, in both points the Prophet sheweth to be but glosing, and dawbing with vntem­pered mortar, and therefore not able to stand him in any stead. For know saith he, that as concerning the sacri­fice which thou speakest of, if thou haddest meant in­deed to haue offred it to the Lord (which yet thou did­dest not, but reserued the beasts as a pray to thine own behoofe) yet if thou haddest [Page 164] meant to offer them for sa­crifice, the Lord will take no such offring, as is ioyned with disobeying him, as that should haue beene; but hee looketh that his comman­dement should be obeyed. This is the first part of his replie or reproofe, when he saith, hath the Lord as great pleasure in burnt offrings, as that his voyce should be o­beyed? no: but I tell thee, to giue eare is better then sa­crifice, and to harken to his commandement is better then the fatte of rammes. In the second part of his speach vnto him, he tells him, that as light as he made of his fault, it was witting disobe­dience and rebellion against the Lords commandement, and that was euen as witch­craft [Page 165] in his sight, or as the committing of Idolatrie.

Therefore in this replie of Samuell vpon Sauls answer, he layeth out Sauls sinne of disobedience in this verse and the next, and then tells him of the punishment which God had threatned a­gainst him, and that is in the end of it. His disobedience, because he made light of it, seeing God (he said) was to be serued in offring that cat­tle to him for sacrifice, for the reseruing the which a­liue, he was challenged: this his disobedience (I say) Sa­muell aggrauateth, and ma­keth odious to him compa­ratiuely. First by it and sa­crifice together, and shew­ing that God did nothing account of that, as to bee [Page 162] [...] [Page 163] [...] [Page 164] [...] [Page 165] [...] [Page 166] obeyed, but preferreth obe­dience before it. Secondly, he aggrauatet [...] his disobedi­ence by a reason; comparing it with witchcraft and Idola­trie, and maketh it like to them. And this of the sinne of this verse. Now, next he sheweth what the punish­ment was, and that was the losse of his kingdome. Both these Samuell standeth vpon with Saul, to the end he might rouse him vp, and a­wake him: for wee see that he was, as one in a dead sleep, who stirred not a whit at Samuels calling and cry­ing to him hitherto. But when he rung this alarom in his eares, of the greatnes of his sinne, and of the losse of his kingdome, this (I say) awoke him, as it appeareth in [Page 167] the next verse following. And this of Samuells words to Saul in these two verses, where we see he beginneth with an interrogation, that he might make his message more forcible, saying, hath God as great, &c.

But now seeing Samuell maketh his comparison,A clearing of the compari­son. be­twixt obedience on the one part, and sacrifice and burnt offrings on the other, some­what is to bee said of these two, for the better vnder­standing of the place, which otherwise hath some diffi­cultie, by meanes whereof, we should not see the do­ctrine, that is affoorded vs therein: A sacrifice (to be­ginne with that) was an holy thing brought by him that gaue it to the Lord, and [Page 168] offred by the Priest vnto the Lord, according to the Law. But there being two kindes of them, the one propitiato­rie, whereby they beleeued the forgiuenes of sinne by Christ, which was figured thereby: The other Eucha­risticall by offring whereof they testified their thanks to God, for benefites receaued of him. Both were com­manded by God, and burnt offrings were one kinde; The first, wherein that which was offred was wholy the Lords, and did signifie that he who offred it, did wholy consecrate himselfe, soule and body to the Lord. Now these all being commanded by God, must needs be ther­fore accepted of him, which being so, why was not the [Page 169] offring of them accounted obedience? For the answe­ring of this doubt, three things are to bee marked. First, if obedience to the morrall law, and sacrifice might goe together, they were both accepted. Se­condly, if they could not go together, (as oft times it fell out they did not; for he that was obedient could not al­wayes offer sacrifice, and one might offer sacrifice, who yet was not obedient to God) in such a case, obe­dience was accepted of God without sacrifice. Thirdly, sacrifice might bee offred by him who obeyed not God, but that neuer pleased God. Of this Samu­ell speaketh here, obedience is better then sacrifice: and [Page 170] if Saul and the people meant to offer any (as he said they purposed to doe) it was no­thing being without obedi­ence, and yet this is the most and the best, that could bee said of it. So that, obedi­ence being better then sacri­fice at the best; euen when both went together: much more is it better, when sacri­fice goeth alone.

Doct. 16. Sacrifice pleaseth not God without o­bedience.

This being thus said, which was necessary, let Samuells words [hath the Lord as great pleasure in sa­crifice, as that his voice should be obeyed?) teach vs, that the most religious actions that God requireth (such as sacrifices were) as prayer, hearing the word, the vse of the Sacraments, &c. are in no account with [Page 171] God, if he that vse them be not obedient in his life to the cōmandements of God and a repentant Christian. A wonderfull and fearefull doctrine (yet most true, for this our age, wherein so few are, or thinke it meete they should be obedient to the truth in particular, which is taught them, and haue no­thing to commend them vnto God, vnlesse it bee the ceremonious worshipping of God, in the manner I haue mencioned, a seruice not better then the offring of sacrifice, which (we see) without obedience was no­thing worth. Indeed the A­postle Iohn saith,Reuel. 1. 3. blessed is he that heareth and readeth, and keepeth the contents of that booke, but not he that [Page 172] heareth and readeth only, but that keepeth it also. So then, this obedience to Gods will, is not to be com­pared with sacrifices, but to be preferred farre before them: sacrifices were of­frings to God which were commanded, but so as they offred them in faith and re­pentance also: but obedi­ence is the fruite of both, therefore to bee preferred; The Lord tels the Israelites, I required no sacrifices of your fathers, after that I brought them out of Egypt (meaning after that in Sinai) but that they should obey my voyce,Deut. 4. 6. and that is our wisdome,Rom. 2. 28. so he is not a Iew which is one outwardly. Therfore our outward wor­ship is nothing, if the heart [Page 173] goe not with it: whatsoeuer men answere in their de­fence, if they obey not, prayer is nothing cap. 13.13 we hold the generall, but the particular, we looke not vn­to, for then our hearts should be taken vp wholy in one dutie after another, which now is scarcely done in any, to purpose. And it is called obedience of faith, seeing we must beleeue that God requireth a thing of vs, before we can, or will do it. But men deale with God, as one with another, for they cogge and deceiue, and time must wash it away, and then good fellowship againe, so they disobey God, and after they would be friends again with him.The doc­trine more fully ope­ned.

Out of the prophets words [Page 174] in this verse and the next, namely the 23. wee may learne in what detestable ac­count all disobedience is to the commandement and re­uealed will of God, and withall, how we should cen­sure such disobedience, and thinke of it in our selues. In what detestation mens sinne is with God, howsoeuer they couer it, and whatsoe­uer colours or pretences they set vpon it, the words (I say) shew sufficiently, when the prophet saith, hath the Lord as great pleasure in burnt offrings, as that his voyce should bee obeyed? againe, where he compareth his disobedience to rebelli­on and witchcraft. The pro­phet Esay doth in the first chapter, in most odious [Page 175] manner reprooue the peo­ple though they offred to the Lord sacrifice, seeing they were disobedient.Esay 1. Doe you offer to mee the multi­tude of your sacrifices? I am full of your burnt offrings saith the Lord: I haue no pleasure in the blood of your lambes and goates; and that ye come to appeare be­fore mee, who required this at your hands? with many like speaches: and yet wee know as hath bene said, that God commanded all such things. But why then doth he thus refuse them at their hands? and say he will shut his eyes when they stretch out their hands vnto him, and when they poure out many prayers vnto him, he will not heare them? This [Page 176] he saith vnto them, not sim­ply, because hee did dislike the things themselues, but for that their workes were euil who offred these things, and they did not obey the Lord in other things, which he commanded them: and therfore he saith, wash you, make you cleane, take away the euill of your workes from before mine eyes, and cease to doe euill, or else of­fer me none of your prayers nor sacrifice: such a thing it is to disobey the comman­dements of God, that they which doe so, although they should offer to God their prayers and praises, and par­take the word and Sacra­ments,Ioh. 9. yet he will not accept them at their hands, but cast them backe in their faces, as [Page 177] dunge, as not heere only, but in many other places he bewrayeth his vtter detesta­tion of such kinde of wor­shipping him: but behold now he goeth further in dis­gracing disobedience, for he saith, it is as witchcraft and Idolatrie:Psal. 50. 16 so in Psal. 50. he maketh it odious saying, what hast thou to do to take my name into thy mouth, and hatest to be reformed? And in the Prouerbs,Prou. 28. 7. he that turneth away his eare from hearing the Law, euen his prayer is an abhominacion vnto the Lord. With which, agreeth that of the Apostle to the Romans, he is not a Iewe, which hath the out­ward circumcision in the flesh, but inward,Rom 2 28. in the heart. Out of all which it [Page 178] is cleere and euident, that if a man be not vnfainedly re­solued to bee subiect vnto God, and obedient to his will, in vaine doth he make a shew and profession therof. Now to bee obedient in some things, and in other to be vndutifull (wee know) is no obedience, but contempt of God, for which cause Saint Iames saith,Iam. 2. 10. he that kee­peth the whole Law, and brea­keth any one point of it is guilty of all: for he that will be vn­conscionable in one, decla­reth that he dare prouoke God, and set light by his au­thoritie in other points, who gaue him his Law: and if he dare transgresse in one, and take libertie therein to him­selfe, who doubteth but hee will do the same in another? [Page 179] so that he, that is not affraid to offend in one thing, euen the least, knowing it to be e­euil, may wel be said to haue no feare to offend in any of all, no not the greatest.

So truly hath our Sauiour giuen testimony to this say­ing,Luk. 16. 10. He that is faithfull in the least, is faithfull also in much, and he that is vniust in the least, is vniust in much. So necessarily hath God ioy­ned the obeying of one with the obeying of the rest; and the renouncing of one sinne with the renouncing of all other, (as he saith by saint Iames,Iam. 2.11. he that said, thou shalt not commit adulterie, said also, thou shalt not kill: now though thou doest none adulterie, yet if thou killest thou art a trans­gressor of the Law. This is [Page 180] not alleadged by the Apo­stle, nor mencioned by mee, as though we affirmed that any man can keepe the Law, or all the commandements except some one; but to teach, that there is no care­full obeying of one, in him who hath not care, and doth not endeauour to obey all: and so doe all other scrip­tures meane, when they re­quire obedience, as well as this present text of ours, they require it in one part of the commandement as well as in another, and not gene­rally, but particularly, nei­ther in one, or some fewe, but in all.

For else we might endea­uour to serue God in some­things, and disobey him in others, which were an abu­sing [Page 181] of the doctrine of the holy profession of the gos­pell: which if it be so, then it followeth, that all which worship God outwardly, and would be taken to be religious, and looke not to their particular wayes, are deceiued and lie still in dark­nes, and God they please not, but shall be challenged of him, for workers of ini­quitie: which the more I consider, the more I mar­ueile at it, because the grea­test part take no knowledge of any such thing: for they that draw themselues from nothing that they lust after, neither feare to offend be­fore they do euill, nor trem­ble for it when they haue done, euery one saying, what haue I done? If they [Page 182] quarrell, braule, reuenge, deceiue, slaunder, lie, main­taine sinne in other, or doe any such like sinne, it is but their ordinarie and common course. It is rare with them to be pricked in conscience, for any thing they doe a­misse; and as for the out­ward seruice, the Lord is not pleased with it, when his voyce is not obeyed: as the prophet Micah said vnto them who bare great shews,Micah. 6. 6. yet they sought to please God, enquiring thus; Wher­with shall wee appeare before the Lord, and bow our selues before the high God? shall we come before him with burnt offrings, will the Lord be plea­sed with thousands of rammes, or with tenne thousand riuers of oyle? shall wee giue our [Page 183] first borne for our transgres­sion, euen the fruite of our body, for the sinne of our soule? The Prophet answe­reth, he hath shewed thee (O man) what the Lord requi­reth, and what is good, surely to doe iustly and to loue mercy, and to humble thy selfe to walke with thy God.

Which plainely teacheth vs,Vse both of re­proofe. that if men must bee so farre from committing wic­kednes, that it is required of all that will please God, to obey him in the duties of both tables, how farre are they out of fauour with him, who in stead of obey­ing in both, doe grossely and wittingly disobey in both? and repent of neither. And if they be not in fauour with God who offend thus as I [Page 184] haue said, that is who re­gard not to please God in all things,Colos. 1. 10. euen one as ano­ther:1. Pet. 4. 4. where shall they ap­peare, who defend that they neede not doe so? yea, raile on such as dare not goe so farre as they in sinning; bay­ting them with the odious name of Puritane, seeing they make some conscience of sinne, and desire to offer o­bedience to God, in one part of their life, as well as in another, and thinke their prayers, hearing and con­fession of sin, to be to small purpose without it. How vnlike are such to them, who hauing but some one sinne, (as anger) to encounter specially; yet cannot bee quiet for that one? And this is their wisdom if they haue [Page 185] any, thus to walke, and not with the foolish virgins to haue their lamps, but no oile in them▪ and so are all taught of God by Moses, Deut. 4. who saith: Behold, I haue taught you or­dinances and lawes, which the Lord my God commanded me, that yee should doe euen so, in the land whether yee goe to possesse it: keepe them there­fore and doe them; for it is your wisdome and your vn­derstanding in the sight of the people, which shall heare all these ordinances, and shall say this people is wise, and of an vnderstanding heart.

And if they be wise who obey them (the Lord himself being judge) let them,1. Cor. 1. 18 who so taunt the godly, lead such with the name of fooles, till God bewray themselues to [Page 186] be rank fooles, because they cannot become such fooles also, that they may be wise. And let vs beare reproach at their hands,And of encourage­ment. seeing God cal­leth vs wise, and let not vs faint in our course, for their speaking against vs; for sure­ly, no such (nay I may say, few of all the greatest num­ber of professors) do in any other manner then general­ly and in words only, hold that we should offer to the Lord obedience, but as for the obseruing of our wayes particularly to see that they please God,Prou. 4. 18 or the keeping of our hearts with all dili­gence, that our liues may be sutable (as the wise man speaketh) they hold it as a thing meerely ridiculous: for then should they see [Page 187] cause (as others doe whom they count fooles,) to looke to the particulars, and to one part of their liues as to ano­ther, and to be taken vp in their consultacions and thoughts, how in one duty as well as in another they might please God; whereas now they shew, that al is too little to please themselues. But such deale with God, as i [...] neighbours deale one with another; for they cogge, mis­use, and deceiue one another, till they breake out into de­bate and contention, & hard thinking one of another, and then time & a little abscence, must wash away displeasure: and so they winde in toge­ther againe, and are good fel­lowes and friends: So men deale with God: for if the [Page 188] hardest fall out with them as they count it, that by the light of preaching they must needes see, that they are shamefully out of the way, (which they will not bee brought to acknowledge for their common faults & sins) but yet if they must needes see their liues foulely out of order, and that thereby God is sore displeased with them, at the hardest, if they come to Church, and there doe as others; they thinke they ought to be receiued into fa­uour with God, and their sins must be forgiuen them, and all must take them for good Christians, or else they doe them great wrong. But if God will accept the sacri­fice of such (in reuerence be it spoken of his Maiestie) [Page 189] hee did Saul vtter wrong, (which were blasphemie to say) who did (certainly) ma­ny more good actions, both towards Gods worship and in his calling, as ye may read cap. 14. then the most of these of whom I speak. And yet seeing it is cleare that he was reiected of the Lord, I do conclude, that such kinde of obedience as I haue here spoken of, (that I repeate it not againe) is no other then disobedience, and that they which offer it to God, (dy­ing as they liued, and iustify­ing their life to bee good) if they be saued, it must be by vertue & authority of some new word of God, for by the iudgement of the canno­nical scripture, they are con­demned already, though for [Page 190] a very little time it be defer­red.


For rebellion is as the sinne of witch-craft, and stubborn­nesse is as iniquity and ido­latry: because thou hast re­iected the Word of the LORD hee hath also reie­cted thee from being King.

WEe haue heard how Samuel shewed the weaknesse,The sense. yea the badnesse, of one part of Sauls answer, namely, in that hee excused his sin thus, That the people saued the best of the Amale­kites cattle aliue, that they might offer them vnto the Lord for sacrifice: and what instruction we should learne thereby, we haue heard.

Now followes Samuels [Page 191] reproofe, to another part of Sauls answer; namely, his disobedience and halfe-ser­uice, that hee had not de­stroyed all. This, I say, Sa­muel here reproueth, as if he should say, I haue proued that thou hast done against the commandement of the Lord, which thou wilt not see to bee any offence, but perswadest thy selfe that it is small, light, and not worth the speaking of: Heare ther­fore what the Lord saith vn­to thee, euen that which thou countest little, or no sinne: I tell thee from God (saith hee) that it is before him, and in his account, no better then witch-craft and idolatry, which are as odi­ous to him, as any other; so is thine, euen this thy trans­gression, [Page 192] and so is all witting and wilfull disobedience. And although I nor this place maintaine, that all sins are equall; yet might Samuel truely tell him, that in his transgression and disobedi­ence, God was as iustly pro­uoked to wrath (seeing hee knew hee cast his comman­dement behinde his backe) as of them, who commit witch-craft or idolatry: and therefore although many at this day, are as blinde in see­ing their sinne as Saul was, and as bold to iustifie their bad doings; yet are they in neuer the better estate, for all that: but in the iudgement of God and all wise Christi­ans, bewitched and deceiued by the Deuill most palpably, & therefore miserable & ac­cursed.

Doct.17. Men are far wide in their account of sin.

Now to proceede, seeing his sinne was as witch-craft, and yet he made light of it, let vs marke, that this is the poynt which this Scripture teacheth; namely, how far wide men are, in iudging rightly of and about their sinne, and how contrary to the iudgement of God, and of the Scriptures, which yet shall iudge euery one in the latter day: here, I say, we may see it: for, [...]. that which God pronounceth to bee odious and execrable, men count light and small; God shew­eth Saul, that his sinne is as witchcraft and idolatry: Saul asketh if it be any at all, nay he saith it is none at all, but he had fulfilled the com­mandement of the Lord: he seeth no cause why hee [Page 194] should be charged with any trespasse, as long as hee had done part of that, which was required of him.

And how can men bee li­ker to him then they bee? for,Conuictiō of many sorts, as guilty of this. when their disobedience is bewrayed manifestly by the Word of God,Instance 1. how ma­ny shall yee heare of, which accuse themselues; nay, al­though they not onely see it to bee so; but that their sinne goeth forth openly in the sight of men, so that all speake of it; yet is moues them not, neither troubles them, but they make a tush at it, and wash it away bold­ly and slightly, as if it were nothing,Prou. 30. as the Harlot wi­peth her mouth, and sayth, What euill haue I done? The reason is, that they erre [Page 195] grossely,Why men slight off sinne. and are corrupted in their iudgement, and haue euill and corrupted consci­ences, and they are so, seeing their liues are naught, and so they will haue them, and will not bee reclaimed; but, to maintaine their euill doings, they blind-fold themselues, & wil not see euen that, which is most grosse; but call euill good, and error truth, and so it commeth to passe, as it is to bee seene this day, that in the middest of fearefull and notorious offences, yet it shall scarcely bee perceiued in persons or townes, that there are many which see it in themselues; or lay to heart the wickednesse of others; by which it mayeasily be ga­thered, that they see no great thing amisse. One shall e­spy [Page 196] faults enough in ano­ther,Luke 19. and another in him a­gain, and many wrongs and iniuries are cryed out of, and complained of; but rarely shall yee see him, who step­peth forth with Zaccheus, 1 Tim. 2. or Paul, and saith, I am the of­fender,2. & I will make restitu­tion: many smart, who are in­nocents, and suffer without a cause, both taunts, and mockes, and false accusati­ons, and reproch, euen for well-doing, and for true and sincere seruing of God. Yea, notwithstanding god­linesse and the Gospell, which teacheth it, are both maintained by a most graci­ons Prince, so that they haue no Law to iudge them by.

And what measure (think wee) should the righteous [Page 197] seruants of God, receiue at the hands of the vnthankfull and wicked world, if they had liberty to pursue such, with sword & punishment, as they doe with malice in their stomach, and with their mouthes: so, that many bay­tings and disgraces, the in­nocent seruants of God, su­staine in the world: but where are they, that come forth with Paul, aud con­fesse against themselues, that they haue persecuted the Church of Christ, Acts 9. 4. and haue spoken and intended euill a­gainst them without a cause? Of the infinite whoredomes cryed out of,3. brought to light; yea, and that in the open courts, how many do we see come to make satisfa­ction to the people of God? [Page 198] or if some be brought forth against their wils, yet how few shall bee heard of, who in token of their true repen­tance, accuse themselues, and confesse to their own shame, and that as willingly as euer they committed it, (which yet they ought to doe) that they are the great sinners that are spoken of, that fill the Countrey with fearefull reports,Mat. 24. 12 that thus with the penitent woman in the Go­spell,Luk [...] 7. they might reuenge themselues.

Thus I might go thorow the pack of filthinesse, com­mitted in the world, and iu­stifie that which I haue sayd, that how bold soeuer men be in committing of them, and how common soeuer the greatest faults are with [Page 199] them; yet, it is rare, to heare one of many to say, What haue I done? but are so far from any checke and pricke of conscience, for them, that when they are pressed with them by preaching (when a man would thinke they should not be able to go vn­der the burthen) yet euen then, they are nothing tou­ched; but beare downe all threatnings of God, and re­prehensions lightly, either contemning them, or scof­fing at them, or at the most, not laying them to heart, and labouring to thinke of them, as they heare the Word of Ged, to censure them, wher­by it may easily be gathered, that they see little or no­thing, worthy to bee found fault with, in them, and ther­fore [Page 200] cause (as much as in them lyeth) the preaching of the Word of God, to bee thought needlesse (which God hath commanded so strictly in season, and out of season, to bee preached) so that men say, it is that which causeth all strife and conten­tion in townes, and which bringeth all other calamities vpon the people.

The Deuill hath wayes e­nough,The cur­sed fruit of this sin. both before they commit it, and afterwards, when they should repent of it, to extenuate it, and make it seeme small, till it bee too late, and till the workers of it, haue too long lien hard­ned in it, and then he aggra­uateth, at their death, or by some sting of conscience, which they cannot quench [Page 201] and put away, and he fierce­ly assaulteth them with strong perswasions, that it is so great, that it cannot bee forgiuen, and so is ready to driue the poore sinners to desperation; yet, hee then maketh their offence greater, and more fearefull then the Scriptures themselues doe: for, his property is to come and appeare to a sinner first, as a tempter before he com­mit it, and after, as an accu­ser, when hee feeles the bur­then of it.

And all this erroneous iudging of sinne,Vnbeleefe, is the cause of it. in that they come short, or goe too farre, commeth from hence, that men beleeue not the Word. For, either they call a foule and most odious fact, an in­firmity, and make it little, as [Page 202] he in the Gospell, who sayd, when he was a grosse hypo­crite,Luk 18. 3. Lord, I thanke thee, I am not as other men, or as this Publican: or else they make it so monstrous, that there is no hope of pardon,Mat. 27. 3. as did Iudas: whereas the Word teacheth, neither of both, but to make all sinne odious, and to bee affrayd to breake the least Commandement, that so it may breede mour­ning, and true humiliation, and repentance in vs, that the more sowrer and bitter wee feele our sinne, the more sweet the satisfaction of Christ may be vnto vs: But few labour to beleeue this, neither are wise enough to see into this mystery;Note. for, if they did, as the merits and death of Christ should euer [Page 203] be sweet and sauoury, which now is to the most, both common and comfortlesse, so should sin bee euer loath­some and fearfull. An oath, alye, deceiuing and slander, scoffing, foolish iesting, a thing not seemely, and such like, if they were accounted of vs, as witchcraft and ido­latry, wee should little re­ioyce in our selues, till wee did walke strongly armed a­gainst them.

Hitherto, these two things haue beene handled in this verse: first, how odious dis­obedience is, which is com­monly committed among vs, and that by occasion of Samuels words vnto Saul [to transgresse, is as witchcraft; and not to obey, is as the sin of Idolatry.] Secondly, how [Page 204] wide men are, from iudging rightly of sinne.

Doct. 18. Shifts will not serue turne, when God comes to to reckon.

Now followeth the third. For, by this answer of Sa­muel reproouing Saul, and threatning punishment frō God vnto him; it is cleere and manifest, that though he had vsed shifts, excuses, and defences, for his doings, that they might seem good; yet all would not serue: for, if hee could haue iustified his doings, the Prophet would not haue proceeded to threa­ten the taking away of his Kingdome. And this tea­ches, that no colours, shifts, nor defences, will serue vs, while God by the Ministry of his Word can conuict vs, and our sinnes doe make a­gainst vs.

Proofe of the point.For if the Prophet Micah [Page 205] faith, that God would not receiue sacrifices nor of­frings for the peoples iniqui­tie, no marueile though shifts and excuses will not serue; nay, (that which is more) a man that walketh most ciuil­ly, and cannot be charged by men, to be an offensiue liuer, but shall bee taken for the most innocent of many, yet if he stand vpon that, and see not inwardly into his cor­ruption, blindenes, vnbeliefe, he shall be so farre from be­ing iustified and allowed of God, that all his righteous­nes shall bee found nothing but as painting ouer a foule stocke or Image, and his best workes as filthy leprofie: and for proofe of this which I say, consider Pauls words of himselfe, and of his for­mer [Page 206] estate, when he was not yet conuerted, thus hee speakes, as touching my life from my childehood, and what it was from the beginning a­mong my owne nation at Ieru­salem, Acts 26. 4. know all the Iewes, which knew me heeretofore, that aftet the most straight sect of our religion, I liued a Pha­rasie; in which words wee haue heard what a strickt li­uer and righteous man hee was: yet that wee may not thinke that this high com­mendation was any thing in account with God, heare his words after his conuersion, and after the word of God, was receiued and beleeued of him, for then he speaketh after another manner, and as the truth was: I once was aliue without the Lawe, but [Page 207] when the cōmandement came, sinne reuiued, but I dyed,Rom. 7. 9.for sinne deceiued mee and slue mee. Heere we see that hee himselfe when hee came to himselfe, as a guilty person he condemned himselfe, not­withstanding all the righte­ousnes which he had before, in his owne; and the iudge­ment of other men; so that if such as Paul was (when he liued most strictly in his pro­fession) who thinke simply they serue Godhighly, must yet (if euer they turne to God) be ashamed of that which they gloryed in be­fore; is it like that they who are by Gods word conuin­ced of great sinnes, shall escape the daunger of his displeasure, by their colou­ring of their faults, and by [Page 208] shiftes and excuses? Who had a fayrer shewe for his doing,Luk. 19. then he that hid his tallent in the earth, which was committed to him: for that is sure, in so doing hee did no euill with it; but did that excuse serue him? no: but because it was giuen him to doe good with, and to oc­cupie, therefore it was said to him, thou euill seruant, why diddest thou not put it to vse?

Men beare themselues in hand,Vse. when the Word of God reprooueth them, that they will answer it well e­nough, and when Preachers conuince them, they hope God will not deale with them so hardly, as they doe: and men loue alwaies to haue one thing or other, to [Page 209] flatter and deceiue their hearts by; like an euill deb­tor, who is in danger alrea­dy, yet as long as hee can finde any to borrow of, run­neth further into debt, not wisely foreseeing his ouer­throw to bee at hand, but imagines still hee shall come out of it in time. So, when men can shift off the great­nesse of their sinnes, that they may not terrifie nor presse their consciences, they thinke their estate good enough, and so dance in a nette, as if God saw them not; till on the sodaine be­fore they be aware, they fall headlong into feare and de­speration; or else become so sencelesse and hardned, that they be past feeling, till they die in impenitencie. [Page 210] And how can it be other­wise? Doth not the scripture tell vs plainely, that he who followeth not the light wal­keth in darknes, and cannot tell where he goeth. But we may know that when men beginne to conceiue of their estate, and their doing, not being guided by the light of knowledge, they are out of the way and deceiue them­selues, and when they crye peace,1. Sam. 8 17 Compared with 12. 20 peace, there is no peace; they finde not that which they hope for, much like vnto them who would haue a King, and be like o­ther nations, and that they thought best for them (say the Prophet what he could to the contrary) did they not finde to their costs, that they erred in the imaginaci­ons [Page 211] of their hearts,Eccles. 12. and were deceiued? The young man to whom Salomon speaketh, who will needes rejoyce in his youth, and take his plea­sure; if ye tell him that there is any danger towards him, will he beleeue it? and doth he not therefore come to iudgement, and prooue by wofull experience, that his dreames in thinking all is well with him, are vaine, and disapoint his foolish hope? And to shut vp this point, what is clearer then that in the gospell, to testifie that no shiftes nor excuses wil'serue, to hold men in their sinne? That when certaine were bidde to the kings great sup­per, they returned answere; one this way excusing his absence, and another that: [Page 212] one had bought Oxen & must go trie them; Luk. 14. another had mar­ried a wife, &c. did their ex­cuses goe for payment? nay, could any thing be set down more fearfully to hold men from fond and forged excu­ses and shiftes, to keepe in their sinne, then that which is there mencioned? for thus answere was giuen to them by him that inuited them, and that with a vehemen as­seueration, that none of them that were bidden, shall taste of any supper.

Conciusi­on of the point▪ with exhortati­on.By all which it is manifest, that no shiftes will serue men, when God shall iustly charge them, and when his word accuseth and condem­neth their course and do­ings, there is nothing; and therefore least of all their [Page 213] vaine defences in extenua­ting their sinnes or shiftes which they deuise, that shall euer be able to stand them in any stead, to helpe or de­liuer them. Cease we there­fore from such a purpose, which yet is a common practise amongst men: and consider wee, and be we re­solued, that God loueth plainenesse, and regardeth vprightnes, and the good meaning of the hart, accor­ding to knowledge: and if our consciences accuse vs, God is greater, and hath more to charge vs, then they can bring forth against vs: and thus let Sauls example teach vs, with the rest that haue beene alleadged, how pregnant soeuer men bee in holding their sinne, any way [Page 214] colouring or excusing of it, yet that it will not serue them, neither shall be to any purpose, and thereby is the scripture verefyed,Prou. 28. 13 hee that hideth his sinne shall not prosper.

Doct. 19. Our sinnes depriue vs of our dea­rest iewels.

But another thing is ad­ded, heere by the Prophet, which followeth vpon the former, to wit, seeing he had iustly reprooued him for ca­sting off the Lord, and ther­fore had shewed him that all his excuses were in vaine, for this cause he must heare that which hee would not; that the Lord had cast him off from being King: as if hee should say, whether thy sinne be so light a matter as thou makest it, iudge thou by the punish­ment which God threatneth that is, that thou must loose [Page 215] thy kingdome for it. And so it came to passe after­ward; both another was a­noynted King, and also that none of his posteritie suc­ceeded him.

And from hence wee learne, that howsoeuer wee please our selues in our sins, and will not see them, they shall cost vs deare, and de­priue vs of our best commo­dities and pleasures, as they did Saul of his kingdome. For what had hee of greater account then it? and yet this his sinne tooke it from him, and made him goe without it.

The like is said in the La­mentations of Ieremy, Lam. 3 6. 7. Proofes. that the sinnes of the people, haue spoyled them of all their pleasant things which [Page 216] were most to bee desired. And were it not that men were giuen to seek and haue their will, some one way, and some another, (though we are taught to pray thy will be done and not ours,) and to serue their owne lusts re­belliously, they should and might enioy all good things which they pray for, or bet­ter in their roome: but there­fore they obtaine not when they aske, Iam. 4. 4 saith St. Iames, because they aske amisse, euen that they may bestowe them on their lasts. But otherwise as Moses saith in Exodus, If yee will heare my voyce indeed, Exod. 19. 5. and keepe my couenant, then shall yee be my chiefe treasure aboue all people, though all the earth be mine: If we be his chiefe treasure, thinke wee that hee [Page 217] will not delight in vs, nor care for vs? if he doe, can we want any thing that is good for vs? as it is in the Psalme,Psal. 23. 1. The Lord being my sheapheard, I shall want no good thing: yea verily, no­thing should be thought too good for vs, but blessed should we be in the house, and blessed in the field, and blessed in all that we set our hand vnto: Deut. 28. 6 of particulars, read furthe [...] in Deuteronomy. And there­fore hee saith in another place; Oh, that there were such an hart in them, C [...]p. 5. 29. that they did feare me, and keepe all my commandements alwayes, that it might goe well with them! these promises,1 Tim. 4 8. though they shall fully and perfectly bee performed heereafter; yet are they also found verefied [Page 218] in the children of God, in this present life: as saint Paul writeth to Timothie, saying; godlines hath the promises of this life, and of the life to come: & whatsoeuer might be spoken to the like pur­pose, (as the scriptures are most copious in this point) all these benefites doe our sinnes hold from vs (that I say nothing of the horrible and fearefull punishments they bring vpon vs) and strippe vs out of them, as out of our garments:Note. so that if a theefe bee odious that spoyleth vs of our goods, how odious (in another kinde) ought our sinnes to be vnto vs? which (as haile in haruest beates downe the corne) so doe our euill qua­lities and filthy corruptions, [Page 219] make hauocke of all our best and precious things, as health, peace, friendes, cre­dit, yea, euen that which passeth vnderstanding, as wel as our goods, euen as it was no other thing then sinne, which first spoyled our first parents Adam and Eue, of all good things which God had giuen them to enioy in the time of their innocency. And as disobedience tooke from Saul his kingdome, so from the rich men in Luke, Luk. 12. 20. & 16. 25. that tooke their pleasure and goods:1. Cor. 11 30 from the Corinthi­ans, health and life: from the Ministers in Malachie their honour and places:Mal. 2. 9. from the women in Esay, Esay. 3. 25. their beauty, which they so much pleasured in, and tur­ned it into baldnes; and so [Page 220] doth the like sinne at this day, take from all workes of iniquitie, sound ioy and gladnes: we see this suffici­ently verefied dayly among vs; for what meane these many complaints among vs, that men enioy not good dayes, as they desire and looke for, but are crossed and wearie of their liues, they haue so ill successe, & though they are blinde and see not the cause of this, yet indeed it is nothing else but their sinne? euen sundry particu­lars, as in another verse of Lamentacions, we may read that Ierusalem had grieuou­sly sinned, therefore she was in reproach, who yet had beene honoured, and then remembred all her pleasant things, as her sabathes and [Page 221] other liberties, and plentie which shee had enioyed: and although this bee not fulfilled in all euery day, yet doe vnbeleeuers hold their good things in danger and feare, till the time come that God will plucke them out of their hands, which iudge­ment is hanging ouer their heads alwayes, as a sword ouer a mans head by a twine thread, with the point downeward.

And therefore they are wise,Vse. who beware of offen­ding of God, for so do they prouide in euery state of life to liue well and happily: as it is said by our Sauiour bles­sed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth, &c. But if the wicked flourish to day as the greene bay tree, yet [Page 222] full soone shall it come to passe, that no signe thereof shall remaine.

The vse of this, is to teach vs to acknowledge, that in eue­ry particular, as when wee be depriued of inward com­fort, outward peace, health wealth, or any other thing, appertaining either to the soule or body, to checke our hearts if they haue led vs too farre any way, and to waine our selues from any alluring baytes, which haue fastned too much vpon vs, and finally to raine them in, when they haue in falshood or folly, wandred and departed from dutie: And thus I conclude that wee haue great cause to be­ware of all vndutifull wal­king with God, and pro­uoking [Page 223] him, as in many other respects, which in this text are not mencio­ned; so especially if wee haue any care of our wel­fare heere in this life, that I say no more, because that vn­rulines and wilfulnes, doe depriue vs of our best good things, eating away the beautie of them, as a moth disfigureth the most seemely garments.

Doct. 20. Gods message must be done to the great and small.


And Saul sayd vnto Samuel, I haue sinned: for I haue transgressed the commande­ment of the LORD, and thy words; because I fed­red the people, and obeyed their voyce.

BVr now it is time to returne to Saul, hauing heard how Samuel hath la­boured to bring him to re­pentance. It is sayd here, that Saul, as bold denials as he made of his sinne, and for all his iustefying of his do­ings, that he had obeyed the will of God, in this warre a­gainst Amaleck, yet contrary to all likelyhood, hee now bewrayeth, to his owne [Page 225] great shame, that hee had lyed in so speaking, and so had not vttered the truth; for so it is sayd here of him, I haue sinned, in that I did not obey the commandement of the Lord.

But while Samuel doth thus narrowly and neerely follow hard vpon him, mee thinkes I heare some Fauou­rites and Pittyers of Saul, thus scornfully braying out. Oh seuere Samuel! and oh wofull times, and vnhappy state to liue in, when great men must be pursued of such base fellowes, when Mini­sters and Prophets must bee so bold with their betters: yet welfare the good high Preist Azariah, who (say they) with held such open mouthed and vnciuill per­sons, [Page 226] from the Kings Court. And againe, is it meet that a mean Minister should presse, and bee so bold with great personages? I haue heard little lesse with mine owne eares, of prophane and irre­ligious Gentle-men (as they are called) but to answer them, they see it was meet then, and the commande­ment of the highest King, that the Prophets of God (who were reuerend men of God, and by Sauls owne confession, Gods Chosen, and not base and of meane account) should do his mes­sage vnto them, that are great in place and authority, both publiquely and priuatly, and as they gaue cause, and ac­cording to the manner and quality of their offence, [Page 227] should reproue them in the name of God, and yet gaue them their due honour, as became them, for their owne parts, being their inferiours; yea, and when they thus did their message, they were re­ceiued of such, as were wise and religious, as became the Amhassadours of the high God: yea, and so did Saul himselfe honor and receiue Samuel. I say thus it was then, and thought meet it should be so: but so are men degenerate now from that practice, that meaner per­sons then Nobles would, with reproch and contempt, thrust such an one as Samuel from them, and scorne any reproofe that hee should bring to them, how iust so­euer, and in best manner it [Page 228] should bee done vnto them. And yet I speake not, as though I thought that all of that estate and degree were such; but know and am perswaded that there are sundry of them; yea, and of the Noble themselues, who receiue the Ministers of God as his Messengers, to whom (as vnto meaner persons) I wish no worse then this, that both they may enioy such, plentifully among them, and receiue them with that reue­rence and credit giuen vnto them, that they may both make the scorning Atheist, and prophane sort, more o­dions and shamefull, who cannot abide their stinking dung-hill to bee stirred, and may themselues reape the blessed fruit of their Mini­stry, [Page 229] I meane that that recei­uing a Prophet in the name of a Prophet,Matth.10. they may haue a Prophets reward.

Now followeth (after Sa­muels long trauersing the matter with Saul) his con­fession of his sinne: and si­thence he is brought after so many shamefull and fearfull denials, of that which Samuel had charged him with, at length, to confesse; and for that here are other things of weight, to be considered of, I will stay a while, and refer that, which I haue to say a­bout this matter of Sauls confession, to these foure poynts. First, I will shew the odiousnesse of this sin, in that he had so oft and boldly denyed his being in fault, yet did now confesse it. Se­condly, [Page 230] I will declare how, aud by what meanes, he was brought to confesse it. Thirdly, seeing hee did so (which hee was very vnlike to come to) whether in con­fessing hee repented also. And fourthly, because it shall appeare, that hee did not, therefore euen his very confession shall bee seene to be another note of hypocri­sie in him.

Doct. 21. An hypo­crite makes no conscience of lying.

Concerning the first; of the foulnesse of his sin; in that hee had so oft iustified himselfe (as much as in him lay) about the accusations which the Prophet brought against him, who doth not see how odious it was in him? And who would not haue beene perswaded, that he spake the truth, being so [Page 231] great a person as he was, and so boldly and resolutely af­firming it, when he sayd, hee had fulfilled the commande­ment of the Lord, when yet Samuel charged him from God, that he had broken it? And whom (almost) may a man beleeue, if hee might not bee rested in, and giuen credit vnto? This is there­fore to teach vs, that it is a most shameful and greeuous offence, when men hyd their sinne, and deny that they are guilty, when yet they shall after confesse it freely, and bee contrary to them­selues, and so lay out their shame to them that liue with them, when they shall affirm boldly, that they are inno­cent; yea, with oath and protestation, that it is so, in­asmuch [Page 232] as hee that heareth them shall say; Doubtlesse, they speake the truth. And yet afterward, they them­selues shall deny that, which they so vehemently affir­med. Oh how fearefull a thing it is?

Examples and in­stances. A notable example wee haue of this, in the old Pro­phet of Bethel: who, when hee had for his owne vaine credit, drawne the man of God, who came from luda (contrary to the expresse commandement of God) to eat in that place;1 King. 13. yet, to his owne great shame, hee was forced to confesse, that hee had made a lye, in saying; that an Angell appeared to him, and bad him doe so.

It is the common practice of men,2. to say and vnsay, to [Page 233] affirme and deny the same thing, though it hath beene affirmed with oath and pro­testation. So that a man shall haue peaceable and faire words of his neighbor, and yet falshood in his dea­lings:2 Sam. 3. 27 as Ioab saluted Abner friendly, and yet smote him so, that he died.

This sinne is so bred in na­ture, and confirmed by cu­stome, that Gods deare ser­uants are not free; but are sometime ouercome of it, as we see in Peter; who, as well as hee loued his Master, and professed himselfe to be his Disciple; yet, by a small oc­casion, was brought to deny that hee knew him, by oath and protestatiou. And if it bee thus with men, in sinnes committed in the sight of [Page 234] men, as this of Saul was, how much more doe men deale with God in their secret sins? to hide, excuse, and extenu­ate them, as if they were none, & asif none were who­ler and sounder then they, when yet afterward, when the Lord seeth good to vn­skirt them, they be forced to cry out as the Prophet did; but in a far better case, when hee had seene the Lord of glory:Esay 6. Woe is mee, I am vn­done.

Such was the case of Io­nas, when the Lord gaue him his charge, to goe and to crie against Nineueh, hee fled from his presence, and went another way to Tar­shish. And least hee should haue beene brought backe againe (so little was he trou­bled [Page 235] for his sinne) hee made all possible hast to bee gone, and paid for his carriage be­fore hand, and went downe into the ship, & slept sound­ly: so that the fierce wind & sore tempest, that made the Mariners afraid, could not a­wake him. Then the ship ma­ster roused him vp, so that he saw the great danger that he, with the rest, was in; for all that, hee bewayled not, nei­ther cried out of his sinne: and vntill he was singled out by lot, wee read no word of any remorse that he had for it; but for all his concealing of it so long, then hee was loden with the burthen of it and repented. But oh how long first? and how gladly would he haue shifted it off? And thus we would doe all, [Page 236] through our corrupt nature, when wee haue offended a­gainst his Maiesty, euen flie from his presence if wee could, as Adam did, and shake off all thought, and goe from all desire of con­fessing it to God. But that shall bee with the greater shame to vs, when God shall plucke vs out of our dens and corners, wherein we had hid our selues.

And thus Dauid, who had not accused himselfe for his foule and grosse adultery and murther, till Nathan the Prophet, from God, had challenged him for it; yet after that, cryed out of his imborne corruption, and af­firmed that to bee the cause of the other, saying, I was borne in sinne, and by that, [Page 237] was carried to sinne against thee in secret, and so tell to shamefull and open sinne in the fight of men.

The vse of this doctrin is,Vse. that we should bee wary a­gainst willing offendings, and if yet through frailty we be ouertaken any way, to e­spy it speedily and expell it, and in no sort to set a bold face vpon it, as though no­thing were amisse, which if wee doe, may bee the begin­ning of wee know not what trouble. But seeing the fur­ther vses of this, are set downe in the next poynt, I referre the Reader thither. And this be sayd of the first of the foure things, about Sauls confession, and what a shame it was to him to bee brought to it, after many [Page 238] bold denyals of his fault.

Doct. 22. Few such men to bee found, as may be be­leeued vp­on on their word.

Now followeth the se­cond, to wit, how hee was brought to it, & that was by the Lord himselfe; It was hee that wrung this confessi­on from Saul, and to make him see his sinne, whereby, this he brought to passe, that hee made Saul eat his owne word, by confessing his fault; yea, euen that which hee had so stiffely defended to bee no fault at all, as wee haue heard. But is it credi­ble will some say, that when he had boldly, and openly, and ost times denyed, that hee had displeased God, in that with which he was char­ged, that hee could bee brought to confesse the con­trary? might it be thought, that hee could beare such [Page 239] shame and reproch, being so great a person, when a mean and inferiour body would hardly haue gone vnder it? what shall we then say if hee came to confesse it, (as it is cleare he did) but this, whom may a man beleeue, when he speaketh good words? as Saul did heere: whom, if thousands had heard him, they would haue thought he had answered a most sound truth vnto the Prophe [...].

Indeed I must needs say,Es [...]i [...]lly [...] of [...] cred [...], &c. that this and such like exam­ples doe teach, that there is much falshood and deceit, in mans heart, and that fur­ther then wee haue proofe and experience of mens truth and sincerity, in good conscience keeping: wee ought not to bee too credu­lous, [Page 240] nor too ready to be­leeue them in their owne case, when they pretend to tell a truth, and goe about to cleare themselues from ac­cusation. And most of all, if it bee in a matter concerning their profit or pleasure, as­well as their credit. For, men will lye most grossely, to enrich themselues, and to seeke their pleasure and esti­mation; and therfore, when these bee in ieopardy, and cannot be vpholden, but by a lye, he is a rare man, which in such a case will not straine his conscience; yea, and go directly against it, both se­cretly in doing, and openly in defending euill. Such a sway sinne beareth in a man, and so deare it is to him, that nothing can seperate them [Page 241] two, but death; they are sworne friends, and euen as two twins, which goe toge­ther, and grow together, so that hurt one, and hurt both; greene one, and greeue both; so that Ruth was not so neer­ly knit to Naomi, her mother in law, as these, when shee sayd,Ruth 1. God doe so and so to mee, if any thing but death seperate vs twaine.

Now therfore,2. they being thus fast knit and linked to­gether, they doe as it were, sweare each to other (euen like a band of theeues toge­ther) that they will neuer be­wray one another. And hereby it doth come to passe, that when men haue sinned greeuously, and are brouhgt forth by most cleer and euident witnesses, to [Page 242] shame and punishment; yet hardly, and with much ado, will they bee made to con­fesse it, whereby they cause many to thinke them inno­cent, and falsely charged. And yet to the bewraying of such, and bringing them forth to their shame, and that the iust and vpright, who come against them, may bee iustified, God doth oft times himselfe (when there is no other way to be wray them) bring their wic­kednesse to light, or force them to confesse their guilti­nesse at length, euen as wee see it came to passe here in Saul, and daily doth and hath done in sundry other. But the Deuill holdeth them at this point, as long as hee can, in the hiding or denying [Page 243] of the same, till a stron­ger then hee, whom they are not able to resist, constrai­neth them to say, wee haue sinned.

And thus it was with Saul, God is in the conscience of hy­pocrites, forcing them to betray them­selues. the Lord would haue the se­crets of his heart disclosed, who had so long and stiffely denyed his sin. And there­fore hee would bring him to confession of it, though to no benefit of his owne; yet for the instruction of his Church, to the worlds end: It was neither wrung from him by force (for what man might constraine him) nei­ther was he brought to it by flattery (for hee that dea [...]t with him to confesse, was Samuel, the Lords faithfull Prophet) no, neither did the most weighty conuincing [Page 244] him by the same Prophet, preuaile with him, nor per­swade him to repentance, nor so much as to know­ledge his sin, for that he had done in the verses going be­fore: but Saul washed off all, as wee haue heard. But the Lord drew him in­to it by strong hand, whom he could not resist nor with­stand.

And though the telling him of losing his kingdome went neere him; and it is certaine, that he would haue done very much, to haue kept and retained it, and hee was more moued with the hearing of that word, then all that concerned the sauing of his soule. Yet what was his confession able to doe, toward the preseruing of his [Page 245] kingdome, which hee knew wel enough. It was the Lord therefore that drew him to confesse. And it may teach vs, that God who doth won­derfull things, hee also for­ceth lyars, dissemblers, and such as none can wring from them, the least acknow­ledgement of sinne, which yet is well known, that they are guilty of it, and do (with tooth and nayle (as they say) denie it, yet after all this, the Lord will make, euen them­selues to bring it to light, & confesse it.

And this he doth for these endes.Reasons 1. First that all may knowe how bad and vile the heart of man is, and how stiffe, wilfull and subtill it is, yea, and hardned, which would not easily be belee­ued, [Page 246] except the Lord should by some meanes bewray it, no other being more auaila­ble heereto, then the parties owne confession, which is more then many witnesses.

Secondly,2. the Lord doth it to this end, that we should not hide, denie, or extenuate our sinnes when we are con­uicted of them, or when we ought freely to confesse them, for by so doing wee shall encrease our sinne, and either be forced afterwards with the more shame to con­fesse it, as Saul heere did, or be pressed with the load and burthen of it (when God shall visite vs) to hardnes of hart and despaire.

Thirdly,3 that wee should not be too light of credit to beleeue men vpon their bare [Page 247] word, no, although they be earnest therein, for they may (for all that) euen themselues auouch the contrary.

Lastly,4. to this end God will thus drawe men to con­fession, to feare vs from bold denialls of the truth, and to teach vs to rule our hearts, & gouerne our liues in such good manner, that he bee not driuen to such vn­welcome arrestings of vs.

To this end I thinke it not amisse,A remar­kable in­stance of this doct. to tell you of a report which a graue Prea­cher vttered in the Pulpit, and it was this. There was a man who had committed a fearefull murther. Hee was conuicted thereof by the Law, he vtterly denyed it: he was vrged by his friendes to confesse it, but in no wise [Page 248] would be brought to it: the Preacher tooke him in hand, but he would not acknow­ledge it, he was brought to the place of execution, and there he was much laboured with to acknowledge it, but for all this, hee would yeeld no whit. What of all this, ye will aske, or to what end is this example al­leadged? I answere to very great, for when all hope was past, and hee was casting downe from the ladder, hee clasped his hands about the gallowes, and cryed out say­ing, it was I that committed the murther. It is therefore to bee feared, that at the death God will force such men to confesse, (to their woe) that which in their health and prosperitie they [Page 249] would neuer be brought to. We read of Achan, Ioshua. 7. 21 a man of the most honourable tribe of Iuda,Other ex­amples. that when Iericho was taken, and commande­ment was giuen, that no man should take to his pri­uate vse the execrable things (which were found in the spoile, vpon perrill of death; yet hee seeing therein a goodly Babilonish garment, of great price, and 200. shekles of sil­uer, and a wedge of gold, coue­ted them and tooke them: And when he saw that most solemne inquirie was made (by the Lords commande­ment) for him that had com­mitted the trespasse through all the tribes and families of Iudah: so that hee sawe hee must needes be found out, yet he keepes his sinne close, [Page 250] and goes for an honest man, (as he was of good wealth and reputation among the people) and was thought no worse nor otherwise of, then other his neighbours were, vntill he was bewray­ed, and detected in the scru­tiny, and search which the Lord commanded to bee made for the trespassers by lotte. But to passe to ano­ther: when Gehazai the ser­uant of the Prophet Elisha, had seene great offers made to his master, of siluer and gold by Naaman the Syrian, for healing him of his lepro­sie, and that his master had refused them, we read that he went after the noble man, when he was departed from the Prophet, and by a lying speach, got of him two tal­lents [Page 251] of siluer, and two change of garments, and when he came as at other times, to stand before his master, and to minister to him, and he had said to him, whence commest thou Ge­bazai? 2 King. 5. 25 did hee confesse it? nay: but with a bold lie co­uered the fact, slightly an­swering, thy seruant went no whether, meaning hee was but where he should be, that is about his busines: Who would haue said, that such an one, being seruant of so holy a man of God, would haue wrought such villanie, and haue cloaked it so crafti­ly as he had done, and still would haue done, if the Lord had not bewrayed him to his master? So sweete is mans sinne, and so couertly [Page 252] it will winde in with them that euen the wise may bee deceiued in iudging of them, and would not thinke so hardly of them, as they giue occasion: Which our Saui­our knowing,Ioh. 2. namely, what depth of subtiltie and hol­lownes was in mens hearts, did not commit himselfe to many, though such as seeing his miracles, did make shew that they beleeued in him; and because God hath made vs acquainted with such a truth, that there is much falshood and deceite in the heart, euen 7. abhominaci­ons as Salomon saith.

The vse heerof is,Vse. 1. that wee euer haue our hearts in iealousie, suspect and feare them, yea, search them tho­rowly and and proue them, [Page 253] yea, in the things which wee loue best, that wee bee not found guilty of any treache­rie,Note. and vnfaithfull dealing before God, but that our in­nocency and integritie, may alwaies be found to abide with, and accompany vs, and that whatsoeuer the wicked world delight to iudge of vs, yet they may not haue, no not so much as any shew of matter, iustly to conuict vs of: that so we may haue that sweete and pretious li­bertie to reioyce in, which the Prophet maketh so great reckning of, when hee saith, heereby I know that thou louest me,Psal. 41. 12. because mine e­nemie doth not triumph o­uer mee, but thou holdest mee in mine integritie.

Also this should teach vs,Vse.2. [Page 254] that we should not be ouer hastie, to iudge and deter­mine of mens estates, no al­though wee see some good tokens in them, by embra­cing the tydings of the gos­pell, more readily & cheere­fully then the common sort doe, till we haue experience and proofe of their syncerity and faithfulnes: for euery faire countenance to it, and to the professors of it, in the time of peace, is no suffici­ent testimony for vs to iudge of their vprightnes; yet nei­ther is it my meaning to condemne or iudge hardly of them, whose hearts we know not, neither can gage: but as charitie is not suspici­ous but hopeth well, euen so to iudge and speake of them: much lesse is it meete for vs [Page 255] to perswade our selues, that such as haue no care in them, but a shew of godlines, by worshipping of God with vs publiquely, are to bee ta­ken for faithfull christians, especially when we see, with our liuing with them, that they deny the power of godlines, to rule in their words and actions:Note. and yet I say not of those that bee such, that we are to giue any finall sentence vpon them, seeing the Lord changeth when and whome he will.

And further,Vse. 3. let vs marke that wee should not feare e­uer the more, if we walke in innocency, though wicked men bee secure, bold, and iustifie their badliues, some­time shamelesly, as though they would make vs beleeue [Page 256] that God allowed of their course, and vtterly condem­ned ours: for so it might seemesomtime, when wee see them prosper, and our selues vnder the crosse, euen as the godly Prophet him­selfe was troubled with this temptation, that, hee did in vaine clense his heart and wash his hands in innocencie when he saw them merriest,Psal. 73. 3. who liued most securely and worst.

But this example of Saul and such like, doe free vs from such feare. For they must come to confesse, that all the iollity of theirs was but froth, and that they highly displeased God, in the middest of their security, & therefore had more cause to houle: yea, all such glory [Page 257] of theirs must bee to their shame: and they must vo­mit vp their sweet morsells: And as the Psalmist faith, fret not at the vngodly whose wayes doth prosper, Psal. 37. 1. for so­dainely they shall come to a fearefull end: So I say: feare not to see them bold in euill, as though they could make it good in the end, for assu­redly the time must come, when they must wish that they had neuer done it, and confesse that therein especi­ally they sinned, in which they most gloried: and if it be so, then we may well say with the Apostle, what fruite had yee in those things where­of yee are now ashamed? Romans. 6. It is the part of a wise man, to beginne with some hardnes, that he may afterwards en­ioy [Page 258] more ease; and our Sa­uiour so teacheth his, that they must weepe and lament, Iob. 16. 20. but their mourning shall bee turned into ioy: Whereas the foolish world doth contra­rily, for it reioyceth in stol­len and vnlawfull liberties, which cannot hold long: and when they haue done; and would faine cloake them, they must goe to how­ling, sorrow and shame, for committing them: And it commeth the hardlier vpon them, and is more vnwel­come to them, because they accustoming themselues to pleasure and ease, they loo­ked for no breaking it of, nor for any change. And what other cheere did our fore­fathers finde in the booke of Iudges, in all their casting of [Page 259] the Lords gouernment and seruice, but crying? The which what wise men would haue sought and pro­cured it to themselues, espe­cially when it must bee con­tinuall, as the most is in such a case, because euery one cannot crie to repent, and therfore must cry in despaire and impenitencie.

And because I thinke this thinke this point is suffici­ently seene into,The godly haue small cause to long after the wic­keds deyn­ties. I will shut it vp, concluding vpon this that hath been said, and vp on like experience, that for my part it little moues me to see men walke after their owne desires, and to be (as they say) at their owne hand, to be lawlesse as it were, sin­ning with pride and con­tempt of reproofe, and ad­monition, [Page 260] and to please themselues in that which is euill. I say, it little moueth me to thinke them the only happie people, who liue in a manner as they luft, and set themselues a stint how farre, and beyond which they will not goe in seruing God: I la­ment the estate of all such, as looke after no serious and true worshipping of him; more particularly, the sloth, pride, and prophanenes of many in the ministrie: the little regarding of Gods matters, and setting vp of his honour, and magnifying the gospell as they may: in many of them who haue rule ouer other, how little care they haue to rule them­selues? (though no time be too much to look after their [Page 261] own profit, pleasure and pre­ferment) and in all sorts of people how preposterously they goe to worke, setting earth before heauen, darke­nesse before light, louing their foolish delights more then God, and hauing a shew of godlines, yet denie the power thereof, and are strangers from the life of God, I see their sorrow and woe not sarre of; Oh that I could perswade them, that which I knowe; and that mine eies were a fountaine of teares, that I could weepe bitterly, for the desolation that shall come on them. for let them say as long as they will with Saul; wee in thus liuing, doe please God and obey him, they shall (as little as they thinke it) confesse with Saul, [Page 262] that euen therein they haue sinned; and thereby vndone themselues.

A question whether Saul re­pented.

VERSE. 24. & 25.

And Saul said vnto Samuel, I haue sinned: for I haue transgressed the commande­men of the LORD, and thy wordes; because I feared the people, and obeyed their voyce.

Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sinne, and turne againe with me, that I may worship the LORD.

TWO of the foure things haue beene spoken of, the third followes.

Therefore to passe to the third of the foure points, touching Sauls confession, [Page 263] whether hee also repented. As the Disciples said of La­zarus to Iesus, Lord if hee sleepe he shall doe well: so say some of Saul, if hee bee come to confesse his sinne, he shall doe well: conside­ring how farre of hee was from it, and how hardly he was brought to it. Answere. To whom I answere, alas, that action was violent, and wrung from him for the losse of his king­dome, as may bee thought: it was not free and vnfeined (no more then Iudasses con­fession). [...] nor he constant in it, and therefore it was far from being a fruite of re­pentance.

But seeing the cause must first be reasoned of, before it be concluded▪ I will first say on both sides somewhat; I [Page 264] meane what likelyhood of repentance was in Saul: and on the other side, what may be brought forth and said a­gainst it, wherupon the truth will soone appeare.

That which may most probably be said for it, that I can see or finde, is this. First, that this confession of sinne was not only in gene­rall, but also particular, and of that very sin with which he was charged, and which he had before denyed. For if it had beene but generall, it might haue seemed to bee lesse regarded. And as hee did it particularly, so it was that, wherein he had most of­fended. Secondly, this may be said for some likelihood of his repentance, that hee did after this, call Samuell to [Page 265] goe with him to worshippe God, and desired him to pray for him.

But these were very weake proofes, as shall easily ap­peare by them, that shall be brought on the contrarie, and by that which shall fur­ther bee said of them. For concerning his confession, it was no better then Iudasses,Mat. 27. 4. which was also of a particu­lar sin, and that which most concerned him, as may bee seene by his words, when he said, I haue sinned in betray­ing the innocent blood: and it was nothing like Dauids in soundnes, who yet did con­fesse, but generally, saying, I haue sinned. Indeed for the outward manner of Sauls confession layd forth in words,2 Sam. 12. 1 [...] there can no eccep­tion [Page 266] be made against it: And I graunt that there was no more to be seene in the con­fession of the people of Is­raell,2 Sam. 12. whereby they testified their true repentance. But we must know that repen­tance is neuer in the scrip­ture, neither ought of vs to be measured by the outward confession only, but by the vprightnes of heart; lamen­ting after God, who hath beene so sore prouoked, and by the vnfained faith of the partie, and by the renoun­cing and forsaking of sinne.

These graces must bee found to accompany con­fession,Note. so that it may bee sound and good, and with­out them it is nothing worth: and Sauls being voyd of these, was in no [Page 267] wise to be taken for a true note of repentance. And that these must go with con­fession, is to be seene in ma­ny places of scripture. For Dauids confession, that it came both from faith and repentance, is cleere by Na­thans words, saying to him, vpon his confession made, the Lord hath forgiuen thee thy sinne: which is neuer obtained without them. And so Salomon saith:Prou. 28. hee that confesseth and forsaketh his sinne (which is done of none, but of him who be­leeueth it to bee forgiuen him) hee shall finde mercie. And therefore Sauls confes­sion, not going with the for­saking of his sinne (for hee waxed worse after it) neither comming from faith, which [Page 268] must haue gone before both, I conclude, that it was voyd of repentance. And for his worshipping of God which is the other thing alleadged to proue it, seeing hee grew worse after it, let all iudge as they ought, and they shall finde that as weake, to wit­nesse so weighty a matter, as his confession doth, for what change was in him af­ter (except from euill to worse) or what signe all that present time, or afterward that his heart relented, and melted for displeasing God? without the which, all the rest was but as the morning dewe, which is soone licked away with the heate of the Sunne: Indeede hee said, I haue sinned, yea, and to Sa­muel pray for me to the Lord, [Page 269] that hee would forgiue my sin; and againe: returne with me that I may worship the Lord: but what of all this? Did he not shewe himselfe to be the same he was before?

But to say any more of Sauls sinne, seeing it is mani­fest in the storie following, and I shall haue occasion in my text to say enough of it, I will not trouble the reader with needlesse repetitions, but referre him thither.

And thus much of the third point of the foure, whether Saul in confessing his sinne, repented also.

From which discourse,Vse of this discourse. yet let this bee learned, that many Protestants in our dayes, come far behind Saul in his confession: for hee made it particularly, and of [Page 270] that sinne which was most brought against him of all other, by Samuel: but those, of whom I speake, make ei­ther no confession, or in ge­nerall onely, as that wee are all sinners; or if of particu­lars, they shall bee such as concerne them not: as if a worldly man should pray a­gainst pride and drunken­nesse, or when they say the Confession in the Church after the Minister, neuer marking what they say: and the best of them doe but as he did, that is, confesse par­ticularly without repen­tance. And those that pra­ctise these manners of con­fession, are many thousands. These come behinde Saul in their confession, as they may easily see.

[Page 271] But to goe a little further: let the best looke that they haue better proofes of their good estate and welfare to God-ward, then the confes­sing of their sinnes, how particularly soeuer they bee made: for, they are no good euidences thereof. Yea, and not onely so, but let them as well beware, that other shewes of godlinesse (as weeping for sinne somtime) doe not deceiue them, or a­ny other common gifts of the Spirit, as to be sometime well moued at a Sermon, for none of them can witnesse their assurance, or be sound and cleere proofes to them of their saluation.

And therefore let other weake Christians take heed, that they bee not offended, [Page 272] neither take occasion to de­part from their good begin­nings in their profession, when they shall see such, who are of good hope, to go away from the good that seemed to bee in them: nei­ther let them faint and say, oh they shall neuer hold out to the end, seeing such as they, are thought to be farre before them, are fal­len away and reuolted. Fi­nally, let vs seeke out better and surer proofes of our re­pentance, and true turning to God, then confessing of sinne onely, and calling on God, as those: that we may cleere our consciences be­fore God and men, and that wee depart from iniquity, and bee not tainted or bran­ded with any kinde thereof, willingly.

Doct. 23. The Hy­pocrite bewrayes himselfe, euen in his best acti­ons.

I will now proceed to the fourth and last poynt: hee did not shew himselfe to bee the same he was before, I say therefore that Saul, euen in his confession, shewed him­selfe an Hypocrite, and that by his own words, who was so accustomed to accuse sin, by hollow and slight dea­ling, that euen now, when he was at the best, and came most neere to repentance of all other times; yet euen now (I say) he could not be free from it.

For, lest hee should haue layd too great fault on him­selfe, in confessing his sinne, therefore saying, I haue sin­ned: therefore hee sayd,The 12. note. I was afrayd, if I had not yeel­ded to them, contrary to Gods Commandement, to [Page 274] saue aliue the best of the cat­tle, that they would haue re­belled and haue risen vp a gainst me. Lo, this was the bladder without winde, and cloud without water, which appeared in Saul, when hee was at the best, I meane, brought to confesse his sin, which was nothing but a lie, and a coloured excuse. For, the Lord by the Prophet, in the 19 verse, conuinced him of a couetous minde and disobedient, that he himselfe turned to the prey. So, that as hee was hardly brought thus farre, as to confesse his sinne, so yet when hee did it, it was for feare of losing his Kingdome: yet, euen this (which seemed good in him) was corrupt and naught: for besides that, he [Page 275] bewrayed so much himselfe, as I haue sayd, by excusing his fact, so doth the Spirit of God by Samuel, bewray the same in the next verse, where he plainely sheweth, that he did not accept, nor allow of it. What shall we say then, if it be thus?Hard for an hypo­crite to leaue his trade. Truly this: that it is an hard thing for an hy­pocrite, to leaue and forgoe his trade of dissembling, e­uen as it was for Demetrius, Acts 19. to forgoe his wicked gaine; and for the Blackmore to change his skin, by washing; which, though it bee true of all sinnes leaning to man­ward; yet somewhat more it may be sayd of the hypo­crite, then of other sinners: For an open offender (as Paul and the Iaylour were) when hee is pricked in con­science, [Page 276] and troubled in minde, shall much easilier bee perswaded, that it is in truth, and shall bee forgiuen then the hypocrite shall: not that I stint or restraine the worke of the Spirit, that it cannot bee as effectuall in one, as in another: but God so disposeth ordinarily, that the hypocrite hauing sinned more grossely and greeuou­sly, shall be harderly able to apply, and be perswaded of Gods promises, then other sinners; though they bee in a like manner deliuered to them both. Ordinarily, I say (though God may, when it pleaseth him, doe other­wise) but hee shall long (for the most part) bee vnder the doctrine, before hee shall re­solue of his vprightnesse.

[Page 277] Whereby it may be seen,A long time ere any great good be done by preaching. that wee, by our preaching and priuate conferring, may a long time trauell and labor with wicked persons, before wee can bring them to see, and turne from their wicked liues, for the most will not bee brought to it (but hope they serue God, as well as o­thers do) and when we haue preuailed so far with them, as to make them see and confesse, as Saul heere did somewhat; yet at times, we haue them in neuer the bet­ter case, for all that: but they deceiue vs still: yea, them­selues rather, & frustrate our hope, that we shall seeme to haue don no good, inweary­ing our selues about them: so that the prophesie is ful­filled:Ier. 6. 29. The bellows are burnt, [Page 278] the lead is consumed in the fire, the Founder melteth in vaine, for the wicked are not taken a­way: as if hee should say, that all the labour that is ta­ken with them, is lost: and is it not come to this same, or like point at this day? for, to say nothing of sundry, yea, too many Ministers, who are far from burning the bel­lowes with any great paine­taking (who yet must know,Luke 19. that they were hired by the Master of the worke to la­bour, aud not to loyter, and to vse their talent, and not to bury it in a napkin) how many diligent and faithful Pastors,Mat. 11. 17 may make this complaint of the people: Wee haue piped vnto yo [...], and yee haue not danced: wee haue mour [...]ed to you, and yee haue not wept. [Page 279] All the day long hath the Lord stretched out his hand, Esay 65. 2. but to a disobedient and gaine-saying people: for, though they will heare vs, yet they doe but as the people did to Ezechiel in his time:Ezek. 33. 32 they sate and heard his words, but they did not after them.

I speake not this, as if I did heereby goe about, to perswade that all doe so, and that there is no fruite of our ministrie and labours, where they are faithfully and reue­rendly bestowed, for then I should be too vnthankefull, who confesse that I know euen in our parts, where I am best acquainted, that God hath blessed the la­bours of sundry, who haue sought and desired it: and in many places men haue [Page 280] been turned from their euill wayes, and to such as sate in darkenes, and in the sha­dow of death, light is risen vp: And it is credible, that if the ministers generally and throughout, sought the things that are Christs, more then their owne, and coun­ted it their ioy, & that wher­in they might glory at the comming of the Lord, to winne many: I say it is very credible, and little to be fea­red that an 100. fold more fruitfull haruest, might bee reaped by their paines and trauell, them now may, or is to be looked for: But yet to speake of the multitude and greatest number, euen where there is faithfull labouring, yet there is small profiting: for, though many come to [Page 281] confessing of their sinne (as they did in the time of Iohn Baptist, many then came from Iudea, and the Region round about Iordan, and were baptized of him, con­fessing their sinnes: yet sun­dry of them being Pharisies and Scribes repented not.) Euen yet here are too many of them, who do not so lay their sinnes to heart, as that they turne from them in­deed; comming to the oath and the couenant, as the peo­ple did in Nehemiahs time, that so they may bring forth fruit, worthy amendment of life: wheras we would think, that when they are brought so far, the worst were now past, and there were no more danger, or feare of condem­nation.

[Page 282] And what hindreth or is the cause why it is not so?The cause heereof. Euen their false heart, and the de­ceitfulnes of sinne; which hath blindfolded and hard­ned them: that wee may learne, what a bondage it is to serue sinne, and for men to giue ouer themselues to the allurements thereof: Whereas if we haue not ob­tained this at Gods hands, I meane to shake off that which we knowe will be our ouerthrowe; what haue we to reioycein? I denie not, but that the experiencedst Christians, haue enough to doe, to hold vnder their re­bellious hearts, and sin cau­seth them oft to cry out, ob wretched men that wee are! but yet for all that, they giue not place to the lusts therof, [Page 283] but rise againe if they bee fallen, and cannot be well in themselues, till they returne vnder Gods gouernment, where alone they count it good, being to remaine.

But when men come to know,Cantic. 5. 3. there is no peace to the vngodly, and namely, whilst they lye in any knowne sin, and when they haue confes­sed and professed against it; yet become slaues to it a­gaine, this is in no wise tole­rable: such by custome, and long lying therein, prouide, that when they would shew themselues best of all; yet they cannot then deale plainely, but they shall be­wray themselues, to such as can iudge, that they doe but halt, and deale hollowly, as Saul here did. For, what [Page 284] doth more bewray them, then their own words, when they shall bee ready to al­ledge, being vrged to vp­rightnesse and care; they hope there is reason in all things, an they cannot bee Saints, they say, in this life, and they are sure all are sin­ners, with such like.

And as this may be obser­ued to bee an vsuall thing,A returne to the do­ctrine: & fuller clee­ring of it. with men of little consci­ence, throughout their whole course, that though they acknowledge them­selues to bee sinners, euen in those things, which some­time they would defend, and maintaine to bee no faults; yet they forsake them not, neither abandon them vt­terly: so yee may see it to bee with them, euen in time [Page 285] of affliction,Note well. to wit, that they bee but hollow, as wee must thinke it now to haue beene with Saul, when in Gods displeasure, hee sent the Prophet to tell him, that hee should lose the best thing hee had, euen his king­dome.

And yet who would not thinke, that at such times, men would bee ready to yeeld to any condition, so that they might bee deliue­red from such troubles, as oppresse them? And much, I grant, they will yeeld and promise,Examples. then for feare: but (as yee haue heard of him) not heartily, nor in truth. God had so acquainted Pha­raoh, with his punishing of his treachery and disobedience, that hee brought him oft to [Page 286] confesse his fault, and to co­uenant the contrary: but e­uer, when hee should per­forme and keepe his coue­nant, hee went from it, and dealt falsly: whereupon, all such hollow and dodble dealing, was called Pharaohs sinne.

A most liuely patterne of this,Psal. 38. 34 Dauid setteth downe, of the people of Israel, out of former histories, saying: When he slue & plagued them, then they sought him, and they returned, and sought God ear­ly, and they remembred that God was their strength, and the most high God, their Re­deemer: but they flattered him with their mouth, and dissem­bled with him, with their tongue: for their heart was not vpright with him, neither [Page 287] were they faithfull in his coue­nant: whereby may bee ga­thered most cleerely, that though they sought to God, for feare of punishment; yet such was their falshood, that in their hearts they loued him not: and therefore, could not meane well and truely, not hauing due con­sideration, in their good speeches, what they said: And yet this is the best dea­ling, that such deceiuers and dissemblers can afford him: for, as Traytours set on the racke, doe vtter much, who yet loue not the Magistrate, who racks them: so sinners confesse much vnder the crosse; but by constraint and violence, not willingly and humbly to iustisie God in his punishing of them, nor [Page 288] for that they are perswaded hee loueth them, and there­fore they can shew none to him againe. And therefore, if men can doe no more, but so, idest, confesse in theit af­flictions, some faults to God, as the boy vnder the rod: if neither before their afflictions, they gaue true te­stimonies of their repen­tance, nor after, bring forth fruits of amendment. They are in no better account with God, then they, who neuer made any profession, or pro­testation of amendment, at all.

Quest. If yee aske, why God suf­fered them to come thus far, as to accuse and finde fault with themselues, if they bee neuer the better, nor neerer saluation?

[Page 289] Answ. I answer, there are many causes,Reasons why God vrgeth the bad to confession, although bootlesse. why God doth bring them thus far, as to confesse against themselues, though they bee neuer the better for it. One is in respect of his faithfull people,1. that while he holdeth the wicked vnder the crosse,Note. the faithfull may haue more freedome and li­berty to serue him; as the people of Israel had, while Pharaoh was plagued. For, as many breaches in the sea bankes, may bee repaired while the sea goeth away: and much corne in the in­constant weather, may bee reaped by the husbandman, while the day is faire and cleere: so the godly may edifie, and build vp them­selues in faith, feare and the knowledge of God, while [Page 290] he putteth his hooke in the nostrils of the wicked, and bridles them from rage, by such a forcing of them to confesse it to bee good and holy to liue so: and them­selues to be held vnder, with feare of Gods iudgements, is a righteous thing in the sight of God, and the godly are more incouraged thereto, when they heare the way of godlinesse to bee commen­ded by them, who were wont to speake euill of it, & to persecute those, which were the zealousest embra­cers of it: As, who doth not know what an embol­dening it was, to the poore Disciples at Damascus, and round about it, when they heard that Saul their Arch­enemy, who brought letters [Page 291] from the high Preists to im­prison them, was constrai­ned by the mighty power of God, to renounce and cry out of his doing, and to con­fesse his cruelty against the Saints, and to iustifie them; yea, when it was not known to them, that he had repen­ted; neither durst they, as yet, trust to him, that he was truely conuerted.

And this is one cause, why God doth suffer the bad, sometime to confesse their sins, and accuse themselues, although they should not come to true repentance, and this is done, as all may see, for the Faithfuls sake.

Another cause is, in respect of the wicked themselues, and that is this, that while they are forced to iustifie [Page 292] and allow of the sincere course of the seruants of God, and to cry out of their owne, they condemne their former wayes, when they lay in sin, and pursued those that were better then them­selues, and they doe thereby giue sentence against them­selues, if euer they doe the like againe. And thus much of the painted shew of re­pentance in hypocrites, by occasion of Sauls confessi­on. And this be said of Sauls hypocrisie, the last of the soure things concerning his confession.

Now to goe forward, see­ing Saul said also besides in this verse, that hee had done against the words that Sa­muel spake to him, and said moreouer, that he feared the [Page 293] people; therefore of both these a little. For the first: the words that Samuel spake to Saul, were the reprouing of his sinne, and the conuin­cing him of it, and the ag­grauating thereof, as God had commanded him to do. All which words wee haue heard, how boldly Saul wa­shed them off, and was no­thing moued at the hearing of any of them.

How is it then, that hee now acknowledgeth, that he had sore offended, in setting so light by the same? I grant, that his words were but froth, and that it was but a sudden pang, that caused him to vtter them: but yet wee see, God forced him thereto; to the end that hee might thereby bewray his [Page 294] hypocrisie, when it might be seene that hee amended not for all that, and also to leaue good instruction thereby, to all posteritie in time to come.

Doct. 24. The most carelesse hearers, shall one day con­demne themselues

For thereby we may see and learne that how little regard soeuer men haue of good lessons, exhortations, and admonitions, for the time when they receiue them (as too commonly we see it to be so) yet so much the more they shewe them­selues to be destitute of the feare of God, and bewray themselues to be farre from a teachable minde who doe so, for the time shall come, in which they shall finde great fault with themselues, for their so doing, and for their sleeuelesse regard that [Page 295] they haue had thereof, euen as we see that Saul here did; or else they shal shew them­selues, to bee in worse case toward God, then if they did so.

The many Sermons that are sleightly heard and little regarded, euen as if they were also as little worth their loose and negligent hearing of them, shall one day be cryed out of as fast, and the committers of the sinne, shall cast it vp, as vn­sauoury morsells, which men shall wish most hartily, that they had neuer taken them in: euen so they shall wish a thousand times, that they had neuer committed the sinne. For such may not thinke that the remembring of a sinne afterward, when [Page 296] God shall loade the offen­ders, with it, shall be like the time wherin it was commit­ted: which ought worthily to vexe the conscience of such as can rush violently into many sinnes, but are troubled for few: and lay on loade vpon another, but cast off none, who if they iudge not themselues before the Lord iudge them, the bur­den will presse them downe so,1. Cor. 11. and in such wise, as they shall not be able to beare it. And it shall bee as much to the comfort of those, who with honest and good harts, heare and receiue the word now, while it is preached to them, and feare their owne frailtie, that they may not offend. They shall not haue such after reckonings [Page 297] brought against them, as Saul heere had when he said to Samuell, I haue transgres­sed against thy words: and as many other haue, who hoard vp sorrow against themselues for long time af­ter, because they would not receiue instruction a long time before.

And this of the first of the two speaches which Saul vt­tred, when hee (beside the confession of his sin against God) said also to Samuell, I haue transgressed against thy words.

Doct. 25. The least hope of conceale­ment har­dens the hypocrite in sinne.

The second followeth which was this: [I was af­fraid of the people] How he bewrayed his hypocrisie in these words, euen when hee confessed his sinne, I haue shewed before. The thing [Page 298] that I note out of them here, is this: that he thinking Sa­muell could not finde out this that he alleadged, to wit, that hee feared the people, whither hee did so or no: he did therefore stand stiffely vpon that, although it was an vntruth that he spake. But heerein is liuely bewrayed a common sinne among vs, namely this: that if an of­fender thinke and be resol­ued that his fault be hidden from men, no perswasion can cause him to confesse it. The reason heereof in such is, partly, seeing if it be not wrung from them (which they most desired:) and partly seeing they thinke themselues as safe as in a ca­stle, if it bee not knowne, (such is their blindenes and [Page 299] hardnes of heart,) whereas both the Lord hath a thou­sand wayes to bring it to light, if hee see it expedient so to doe; and yet they are in no such safetie while they conceale it, as they imagaine, but rather in farre greater danger, both toward God, and the world also; to God seeing while they hide their sinne, they cannot prosper, neither repent while they harden their hart: and while they doe neither of both, what is their life worth, but the increasing of sinne, and heaping of iudgement? And it is worse for them to men­ward, because if it euer after come to light, they vtterly loose their credit among men, without which, it were better for them to be bani­shed [Page 300] from their society, then to liue with them: And if it come not to light, yet they who haue committed it, walke among men, either wounded or hardned, but the least of both is miserable. Ananias and Saphira his wife may exemplifie this more cleerely, and Gehazai with many others.

VERSE. 25.

Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turne a­gaine with me, that I may worship the LORD.

Now it is time to passe frō Saules confessiō;The words cleared. let vs heare of the other good things, which are heere said to haue beene in him. The [Page 301] one was that he asked after Gods mercy, and the for­giuenes of his sinne; and would haue Samuel go with him to worship God: But before I goe further, let vs first see what his meaning was, in bidding Samuell take away his sinne: seeing no man (as the scripture tea­cheth) can forgiue sins but God only.Mat. 8. The which be­ing graunted, it is not like that hee meant as the words import, that Samuell should take away his sinne, but hee either willed him that hee should pray to God for him) [as he was desired before to doe for the people of Israel] that he would forgiue him, or else that hee would as Gods mouth and minister, pronounce him pardoned. [Page 302] For these two wayes, the Prophet might then, and the true ministers may now as instruments, be said to for­giue and take away sinnes. And whether of these two it was he meant, is not ma­teriall.

Doct. 26. Gods fa­uour is pretious to the worst at one time or o­ther.

This being thus opened, whereby wee see what his meaning was; now we may the better see, what is to be learned from the words. For this is cleere heereby, that though Saul did not feare God vnfeignedly, yet he sought now to haue his sinnes pardoned, and to doe other duties to God: which cleerely sheweth that there is a time when Gods mercie is in price with euill persons, and the fauour of God is somwhat with them, though [Page 303] for a time they haue no sa­uour in them: For what is the delight of the most, but in that which is transitorie, as profit and pleasure. But as such regard not goodnes, but by fits and in their good moode, so they commonly haue neuer the fruite therof, but deceiue themselues, by meanes that they haue som­times good motions. For their goodnes is like a morning dewe, Hosea. 6. 4. as the Prophet spea­keth, whereas it should bee constant with them, and one time as another. For that which is good in it owne na­ture, is alwayes, and not in a passion to bee esteemed and set by: for it is neuer in kinde, but when it is deligh­ted in. And if that be kinde setting by it, then it is the [Page 304] due and fit season, to prise & esteeme highly of it while we liue, euen alwayes: as the Prophet speaketh; to day if ye will heare his voyce har­den not your hearts. 2. Cor. 6. 1. So the Apostle willing the Corin­thians, that they should non receiue the grace of God (by which he meant the gospell, in vaine: Luk. 19. 41. tells them that it was the acceptable time for them to receiue and im­brace it, euen then when they might in their health, and when it was preached vnto them. And for the neg­lect of this, that they did not know the time of their visi­tation, Christ made that pa­theticall lamentation ouer Ierusalem, saying: oh that thou hadst knowne in this thy day, the things that belong to [Page 305] thy peace, but now they are hidden from thee! And as heauenly things, to wit, Gods mercie, and his true seruice are alwayes to be ac­counted of: so in what man­ner they are to be prized; let Dauid tell vs in that Psalme wherein hee seeketh mercie,Psal. 51. 1 in what a seruent manner he did it: Thus hee faith, Haue mercie on me [O God] accor­ding to thy great mercy, and according to the multitude of thy compassions, do away mine offences. But with griefe I speake it,Vse of re­proofe. beside that the bet­ter sort are too too slouthful, & make too small account of grace and goodnes: so too many driue them off from day to day, and say they hope to obtaine them, and the mercy of God at the [Page 306] last, as well to their content­ment and comfort, as they who haue sought them all the dayes of their life, by which their speach and pra­ctise: they giue fearfull te­stimonie, that they shall ne­uer haue any part in them. Thus much of Sauls words in seeking forgiuenes of his sinne.

Secondly,Hipocrites know what Gods due is, though they de­light not in it. note in that he now offers to goe worship God, that hypocrites know what Gods due is from them and how they should deale with him, in oft and feruent praying to him, and walking with him, and that they do not well when they doe otherwise: yea, they go farre that way, euery one as hee hath more knowledge then other, as also may bee [Page 307] seene heere in Saul, who knew many things concer­ning his dutie. But vnlesse it be when they are in trouble or in a good moode, little serueth them, but they haue soone done in any earnest manner with seruing God: for it is certaine they haue no delight therein, but draw neare to God with their bo­dies, their hearts being farre from him.Mat. 15. And when they are driuen to looke to their doings, any thing more then commonly they doe, they see that it is nothing, well with them. And if [...]hey could be brought to exami­nation of them seriously, they would condemne their course vtterly: whereby let them knowe that their painting and dissem­bling [Page 308] with God) is nothing lesse then true seruing of him, and that in seeking to please him with the worke done,Vse. 1. they displease him most highly. And let this be spoken to the ioy of all vpright hearted Christians, for that their reward is great with God, how much a doe soeuer they haue with men, to hold on constantly in their good beginning, but are diswaded and discoura­ged. For in this soundnes of hart (constancy in the same being added) in one condi­tion of life as in another, to endeauour to obey God, they doe cheerefully differ from the other, and are di­scerned from them. For the hypocrite, as it is said in Iob, Iob. 27. doth not serue God alwaies, [Page 309] that is one time as another; in prosperity as aduersitie.

And let this warne vs,Vse. 27. not to vse the holy ordinances of God, only for a colour, to stop the Lords mouth with­all, and to satisfie him there­with, that is with a forme of worship, which is odious al­way, the heart being hollow and false, but especially when opinion of merit goes with it.

The words cleared. A question How farre forth we may con­uerse with offendors?

VERSE. 26.

And Samuel said vnto Saul, I will not returne with thee: for thou hast reiected the the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath reiected thee from being king ouer Israel.

WEe haue heard how Saul prayed Samuel, to goe with him, that hee might worship God, and be­seech him for pardon of his sinne, and it is said here that Samuel refused to goe with him: this was a strange an­swere of Samuel, this sterne­nes and techenes of his, (some will be ready to say) is not to be borne, for what could he haue of him more, when hee had confessed his [Page 311] sinne, desired him to pray for him, and to go with him, that hee might call vpon God? I say Samuel (God re­uealing it to him) so all this was but dawbing with vn­tempered morter, Answere. and that hee did all this, but for the feare of loosing his king­dome, not for any wearines and detestation of his sinne, for that he extenuated, and layd it vpon the people: he did not as Dauid when the Prophet Nathan came vnto him, for he freely confessed his sinne against the Lord, and did not lay it vpon any other: therfore the Prophet answered, the Lord hath for­giuen thy sinne. So durst not Samuel say to Saul, yea, ra­ther therefore he refused to goe with him, seeing he did [Page 312] not repent, but dealt hol­lowly, least hee should haue allowed him in his sinne. I grant, that which Saul said was enough to satisfice men, who looke but to outward signes of repentance, and haue not authority to search the heart; but God by his spirit reuealed to Samuel a further thing, which when he sawe, namely Sauls hol­low dealing, hee might not conceale it, therefore he be­wrayed it to him, saying, for all his confession, thou hast cast away the word of the Lord.

A 2. que­stion.But it will be demanded of vs who preach the gospel, and lay forth this and other scriptures; If Samuel bee thus excused and cleared, and his action against Saul, [Page 313] defended, it will be deman­ded (I say) whether we dare, or may do the like, to­wards any great and honou­rable person, who asking vs counsell from God, what he is to doe, to obtaine pardon of his sinne, should acknow­ledge any disobedience of his against the Lord, as Sa­muel did to Saul: If they should, they were worthy (it will be said) to be thrust out from hauing any accesse vn­to such persons, to teach them more discretion and reuerence toward them.

Answere. I answere: what any of vs through feare or other corruption, as flattery, might be like to doe I will not say: but what wee are bound to doe, if we had the like light and knowledge, as also au­thority [Page 314] and calling from God to doe a message from him to any such, I will de­clare: and this I say; if any such should giue outward signes of repentance by confessing his sins, crauing pardon of God, and our ioyning in prayer with him, and should make promise of amendment, it were our du­ty to allow of it, so farre as we can see and iudge, yea, & be glad of it also, (for where may wee finde so much as appeared in Saul, in meaner persons then kings) requi­ring of the partie in the name of God in all submis­sion, that hee looke that all truth and faithfulnes bee theretoo adioyned, seeing God hath an eye to the hart, and so we are to deale with [Page 315] meaner persons also: but if God should reueale to vs,Ier. 5.3. a­ny apparant signes of coun­terfaite and double dealing in him, as he did to Samuel in Saul, and that we may be able to conuince him therof plainely, so that hee cannot deny it; then wee are in no wise to iustifie his estate, but hauing a calling thereto, lay out the dangers thereof, cleerely and effectually, and labour that he may see, and so lay it nearer vnto heart, and acknowledge that his hollow and double dealing with God,Leuit. 19. that hee may re­ceiue him. For otherwise, we should hate him if we should flatter him, and not tell him of his sinne and the danger thereby.

Aud by this obiection thusVse▪ [...] [Page 316] answered, I may fitly take occasion to shew, and it may easily be gathered, how wee ought to walke with and be­haue our selues toward them who doe amisse, of which sort, there are especially three.Three sort of of­fendors, & how we are to deale with them. And first toward such as giue small hope, that there is any soundnes and true feare of God in them, but doe set a good face vpon their doings, that they may be thought and taken for good professors, although indeede they cast away the word of the Lord, that it shall not rule them,The 1. sort hollow professors. And with such wee ought so to liue, that wee offer them all good measure in neigh­bourlynes, but not be allow­ers of, nor bearers with their sinne, nor to haue any such [Page 317] neare familiarity with them, that thereby they may bee emboldened to remaine in it, as they shall easily bee, when they shall see vs, who professe the renouncing and abhorring of all sin, to be so merry with them, whom we know to liue in open sin.

And yet, I say not, that wee should disdaine or con­temne them in the least man­ner, though their liues bee euill, as long as they refuse not to heare; but bee gentle and meek toward them, and giue them their due, euen the reuerence that belongeth to them, in respect of their age, authority, estate, degree, or gifts, which they haue; but diligently taking heed, as I sayd, that wee tolerate not, neither allow of their euill wayes.

[Page 318] And so doth S. Paul com­mand: if any that is called a brother,1 Cor. 6.11. bee a Fornicator, or couetous, or an Idolater, or a Rayler, or a Drunkard, or an Extortioner, with such an one eat not, neither compa­ny: but as he restraineth his speech, so doe I: that if wee know them not, neither liue with them, or be not yet ac­quainted, though wee liue with them, wee should not make conscience of vsing them familiarly: for wee must shew our selues kinde to strangers, and such wee must hope to win to God thereby: for els wee must goe out of this world. And this I say of the duties, to the first of the three.2. Sort. Such as offend by weaknesse.

But to goe to the second sort: if any of good hope [Page 319] that wee liue with, doe fall into any fault by occasion, as either by the subtill delu­sions of the Deuill, or his owne flesh, wee who haue, by the grace of God, any greater liberty from sin, and haue more freedome to fol­low the direction of Gods Spirit,Gal. 6. 1. must labour, and bee ready to restore such an one with meeknesse, considering our selues, lest wee also bee tempted in like manner: for, in such a case, we would bee glad of the best aduice and counsell, and to bee handled kindely, and faithfully dealt with, to the end wee might bee recouered againe, and comforted.

But to passe to the third sort:3. Sort. Open sin­ners. if yee aske whether we should not also beare with [Page 320] such, as be open offendours, and cast away the comman­dement,Quest. as yet, and professe that they will not bee ruled by it, lest if wee winke not at their fault, our owne should not be winked at.

Answ. I answer, in no wise wee ought to doe so; but cast our care vpon God for it, assuring our selues that hee will keep vs from such fear­full falls, as long as we hear­tily desire to follow the dire­ction, which hee giueth vs, and that hee will ueuer the sooner giue vs ouer to Satan,Note. for our hating and disallow­ing of sinne, in other wic­ked persons. But will keepe vs the rather, that such foule blots fall not out in our selues, when wee in a good conscience, doe abhorre [Page 321] them deadly in others.

And thus I hauing an­swered, how wee ought to behaue our selues, toward these three sorts; I conclude, that wee should follow Sa­muels practice here, toward such as Saul was, as know­ledge guideth, who did not neglect, but take an oppor­tunity, to admonish and ad­uise Saul, so long as there was hope; but when hee professed to turne from his sinne, and yet euen then dealt hollowly and doubly; Samuel would not allow, nor beare him in it, but sought to depart from him, rather rhen hee would goe with him to worship God, in the case hee was in, as hee would haue had him. Euen so, when men in their words [Page 322] and deedes, bewray their treachery against God, tell them of it, as long as they will heare it; but, if they cast that louing admonition off, and put away the Word of God from guiding them, leaue them in it, rather then haue fellowship with them, that they may see for what cause they bee forsaken, and so (if it please God) they may come to amendment; but yet loue and pitty them, that when God shall giue further opportunity, wee may doe them good. As the Apostle to the Thessa­lonians exhorteth in the like case.

Doct. 26. We must doe no­thing, of which we cannot yeeld good rea­son.

Thus much of Samuels refusing to goe with Saul; now of the reason that hee rendred, why he would not [Page 323] goe with him, and that was, because hee had cast off the Word of the Lord. For which cause, the Lord had also cast him off, from being King. In which words, consider two things, the first concer­neth Samuel, the other Saul From the first wee learne, that wee should bee able to yeeld a reason of our doings alwayes, and shew it also, when it is expedient so to doe. For if we cannot ren­der a reason of them, wee doe them slightly, at least, if not rashly and dangerously: so that we may bee ashamed to men ward, and repent be­fore God. And that which S. Peter requireth concer­ning our religion and faith; that we should bee ready al­wayes to giue an answer to [Page 324] euery man that asketh of vs, a reason of the hope that is in vs:1 Pet. 3. 15 that rule, I say, hol­deth with the like equity in our conuersation, that wee should bee ready to giue a reason, why we liue thus, or so; and why we doe this, or that.

And the very heathen Cicero aduiseth, that a wise man should doe nothing, whereof hee cannot yeeld a probable reason. All that I haue sayd, is to the iust re­proofe of such, as haue little regard what they doe, or how they liue: who there­fore are of no credit, nor ac­count with God, or the bet­ter sort of men, seeing they looke not to giue a reason of their doings. But it is not meat for wise Christians to [Page 325] hang and depend on mens mouthes, for the allowance and commendation of their doings, whether they bee good or no: but to goe by a better rule, to wit, of exa­mining and obseruing their wayes, so that they may tru­ly say, they hauing weighed them in the waights of the Sanctuary, I meane, by the Word of God, that so they may be able to see, that they haue done them in a good conscience.Psal. 119. 59. So Dauid con­sidered his wayes, and tur­ned his feet into the way of Gods testimonies. And they that iudge themselues in se­cret before God, shall not be ashamed of their doings o­penly before men.

Doct. 28. Nothing should hurt vs, if wee cast not off Gods yoke.

The next and last thing, that I obserue in this verse, is [Page 326] that which concerneth Saul: that Samuel sayd to Saul, see­ing thou hast cast away the Word of the Lord, he hath cast away thee, that thou shalt not be King ouer Israel, so that if he had not done so, neither should hee haue beene cast out of his Kingdom. Where it is manifest, that if men did not as Saul, reiect the Word, so that it cannot gouerne them,Mat. 11. 29 and if they did not cast off Gods yoke,Psal. 50. 16 hating to be reformed, they should haue no cause to cry out, as they doe, of the heauy punish­ments which they meet with, and take hold of them, but reioyce and praise God, for his many and great bles­sings. So faith the Psalmist:Psal. 81. 13. Oh that my people would haue harkned vnto me, and that Is­rael [Page 327] would haue walked in my wayes! I would soone haue brought low their enemies, and would haue turned my hand against them. But this, euen this, that men will lye still in their sinne, and hold it fast, as the childe doth the sweet sugar in the mouth,Iob 20. is the cause of all their complaints of sore afflictions,Note. and losse of their best commodities; and heauy dayes, which though wee shall neuer bee free from altogether, no not the best, while we carry flesh about vs; yet wee might re­medy it in great part, if God had any authority, & might preuaile with vs. And if his owne children will rebell, and breake out of compasse to prouoke him, he will cha­stize [Page 328] euen them with his smarcy rods and correcti­ons. Euen as the Lord spake by the Prophet Obadiah, 2 Chron. 15. 1. to Asa King of Iudah, saying: O Asa, and all Iudah, and Ben­iamin, heare yee mee: The Lord is with you, while yee bee with him; if yee seeke him, he will be found of you: but if ye forsake him, hee will forsake you. 1 Pet. 4. 18 If God then will exe­cute punishment vpon his owne people, prouoking him: what maruell is it, though they bee loden with iudgements, who are none of his,2 Chron. 19. 2. but his enemies? And further then both the one and the other, doe hum­ble themselues, to walk with the Lord, they shall euer be in danger (as they may here see in Saul) of losing their [Page 329] best iewels. Of which I speake the lesse here, hauing handled it before in another doctrine.

VERSE 27, 28.

And as Samuel turned about to goe away, hee layd hold vpon the skirt of his man­tle, and it rent.

And Samuel sayd vnto him, The LORD hath rent the kingdome of Israel from thee this day, and hath gi­uen it to a neighbor of thine, that is better then thou.

IN this distresse and per­plexity of Saul, The text opened. that hee feared the losse of his king­dome, and yet could not hold the Prophet with him, when he turned to goe from [Page 330] him, Saul caught hold of his garment, and it rent; this he did not in wrath against him, for then he would haue vsed great cruelty toward him; as Ieroboam in the like action,1 Kin. 13. 3. intended against the man of God: neither did hee it, as testifying his earnest desire, to bee counselled and directed by him, which hee refused all the time the Pro­phet was with him (neither did he afterwards any other­wise) but he did it, onely to keepe him in presence with him; which, if hee might haue done, hee thought all should haue beene safe and well with him. For, he ima­gined there was no cause of feare, while Samuel was in place and company with him, and by that meanes, he [Page 331] thought to quiet himselfe, and to put away all such thoughts, as through the message which hee receiued from God, might haue held him in great vnquietnesse, whereby hee shewed how loth and vnwilling hee was, to haue him depart from him. Which affection of his had deserued high commen­dation, if he had desired Sa­muels staying with him, for the right end, to wit, that he might haue been to vpright­nesse, and true repentance.

Doct. 28. Hypo­crites may ascribe much to the means.

But it is cleere, that hee was farre from it: but yet seeing he went about to stay him, what may we learne of that, yee will (perhaps) aske, and what vse shall we make of it? I say, we learne there­by this, that though hypo­crites [Page 332] haue not a sound and vpright heart, yet they will ascribe somewhat to out­ward meanes, as to hearing, and to the prayer of the lips, and to this among the rest, that they may bee well thought of among the god­ly, and therefore they will haue them sometime in their company.

And why doe they so?Note. verily not to bee reformed; no, nor to be soundly infor­med by them: but they thinke, that for their so do­ing, they are the better, and that God will so account of them: and they flatter themselues in this, that they are herein before others: thus measuring themselues, by those which are worse then themselues, which is a false [Page 333] rule to goe by: wheras they should propound to them­selues, the best examples to follow, as they follow Christ,Mat. 11. 29 yea and Christ himselfe and his doctrine.

But they imagine, that as God will heare them, for their much babbling; so he will saue them, for their ac­companying somtime, with better men then themselues. And thus wee may gather, not onely by Saul, and ma­ny among vs; but by the thoughts of them in the last day; who looking to be re­ceiued of Christ, for such duties doing, alledged this [Lord] we did eat and drink in thy company: but Christ answering them, Depart from mee, declared that they should also haue sauoured [Page 334] of his company, and haue shewed, that they were ther­by reclaimed from their euil wayes, or else it was to small purpose to say, they were in his company. So the Lord, by S. Iohn, Reuel. 2 5. threatning to re­moue the Candle-sticke out of the place, except they a­mended, did not only quic­ken vp the godly thereby, but also awake and admo­nish the wicked, that the Go­spell should bee taken from them, which they could not abide to heare of.

Doct. 29. More doe frequent good company, then profit thereby.


And as Samuel turned about to goe away, he layd hold vp­on the skirt of his mantle, and it rent.

BVT to passe to another thing, who seeth not that this was extreme folly in a wise man, that he could not but hold him in his com­pany, and yet neuer the bet­ter for it?2 Kin. 3. 15. So Iehoraem could could bee content to serue his turne with Elisha the Pro­phet, in his sore distresse and danger, that hee was in: but otherwise regarded no whit his doctrine, nor message, to be reformed by it: but rather hated him. Euen as Aha­bal, so his father was willing [Page 336] to haue good tydings by Michaiah, 1 Kin. 22. when he went to war at Ramoth Gilead; but hee was so far off, from hea­ring the iudgement of God, for his idolatrie and disobe­dience at his mouth, or to bee willing to bee conuerted from it, to the true wor­shipping of God, that he sent him to prison with hunger and paine. Euen so it is, I must needes say, the heauy hand of God vpon many a­mong vs, and a point of grosse foolishnesse, though otherwise they haue wit and worldly wisdome with the most: that notwithstanding, they bee no Papists, to con­temne and despise the Prea­chers of the Word, yet they are not wise enough to make their profit of them: nay, [Page 337] though they loue them, as they doe other men; yet do they not seeke to know the end, why they are set among them, and what vse for the attaining of happinesse, they should seeke to make of them.

It was reuealed by God,Corrupt ends of mens con­uersing with the Minister. in ages past, though now more plainely in this latter age of ours, that Prophets and Preachers, should be re­ceiued for their office and message sake, which is, that they bring tydings of bles­sednesse, to be enioyed both here, as Luk. 11. 28. and here­after for euer, as Luk. 1. 69. but how doe people, for the most part, regard and em­brace this message of God, by their ministry? many of them will, to get a good pen­ny-worth [Page 338] in his tythes, at a good Ministers hands, hold in and keepe in fauour with him; and if they obtain that, they will speake well of him: others for some qualities of his, wherewith they are de­lighted; as that hee is a fit companion for them at play, a merry conceited person, and can discourse well and wisely of worldly matters; for these and such like they affect him.

And another sort, if they haue one that beareth the name of a learned man, though he bee little conuer­sing with them, or doe them little good, will perhaps glo­ry of, and commend him, though they care not whe­ther hee teach them or no.

That I say nothing of the [Page 339] ignorant and insufficient Ministers, with whom yet, many are as well content (if not better) then with the ablest and best. But what is all this? this is not to receiue him for his office sake and Ministry, as our Sauiour tea­cheth men,Mat. 10. to receiue a Pro­phet in the name of a Pro­phet, that so they may haue the reward of a Prophet. And thus men suffer them­selues, to be grossely bewit­ched, that Saul was neuer more palpably deceiued, in laboring to haue Samuel with him (when yet hee sought no spiritual counsel, or com­fort at his hands) then the most are in our dayes, that like and allow of the Mi­nistry, perhaps though many doe not so, and yet shall bee [Page 340] found (if any list to examine it) not to looke to be enstru­cted by them,Acts 26. 18 nor turned from the power and domi­nion of Satan, to the sin­cere loue and obedience of God, neither to bee called, and brought from darknesse to light, to faith and know­ledge, which are the ends, why the Gospel is preached among them; but onely in some such respects, to like and receiue them, as I haue before set downe.

But is this the manner of accounting the Ministry and Ministers, as Gods holy or­dinance, and his singular gifts? is this to make pro­phesie and preaching preci­ous? Is this to account and esteeme the tydings of the Kingdome of Heauen,Mat. 13. as a [Page 341] pearle? for so the Scripture cals it) is this, to receiue Gods holy Messengers, as Angels; and to shew, that their feet, or comming, is beautifull; because they bring a glad message, and a message of peace vnto them? Is it to loue, and esteem them so, as for their sakes, to bee ready to plucke their owne eyes out, if need were, for the singular benefit, which they receiue at their hands, and by their meanes?

It doth well appeare that the neare coniunction of true and christian loue be­tweene Gods faithfull mini­sters and their flocke,The true ends of this fellowship much neglected. which also ought to be betwixt all teachers, and the people committed to their charge, is either not knowne, or not [Page 342] greatly in practise: And if the true shepheard (as Christ teacheth) will so loue his flock,Iob. 10. 5. as he will loose goods and life for their sake, if oc­casion should be offred; and if they bee like affected to him, is there not (thinke we) some great matter betwixt them, which causeth this? And what is it? the naturall father, and sonne are not so nearely vnited as they: yea, greater things are enioyned of one by the other, then be­twixt them: for the father is but the meane of his sons being at all; but the spiritu­all father is the instrument of his euerlasting welbeing: he can only conuey or leaue to his sonne, his temporall pos­sessions and goods; but this is a meane whereby eternall [Page 343] riches, yea, a kingdome and that eternall, is enioyed by them whome hee begetteth by the gospell: againe, their loue can bee but naturall, therefore not euer firme and stable, but the loue of these is spirituall, and therefore endureth: and such louing and liuing together, should be betweene the one and the other: which I say, because the blinde and the beastly world, who knoweth no whit of this, when they see faithfull loue betwixt the teacher and people, doe to their further condemnation, reproachfully vtter these speaches, that the people make their minister their God: but while they thus speake, we may see that they see cause to loue them, and [Page 344] that there is another end why the shepheards of soules ought to bee desired and enioyed, and another manner of benefit to be rea­ped by them, then either Saul, or such as I haue spoken of, haue found: which ther­fore ought of all the people of God heereafter to bee sought and looked after.

Doct. 30 The hypo­crite may alvvay look to heare bad news.

VERSE. 28.

And Samuel said vnto him, The LORD hath rent the kingdome of Israel from thee this day, and hath gi­uen it to a neighbour of thine, that is better then thou.

IN the former verse wee haue seene how Saul [Page 345] sought to hold Samuel with him, but not for the end which ought chiefely to haue moued him: and in this 28. verse, Samuel takes occasion by the rending the lappe of his garment, to giue signification to him, that God would rend his king­dome from him, that so hee might make no doubt, but that it should come so to passe: And this hee did that he might haue driuen him to some sounder and hartyer dislike and confession of his sinnes, (though wee see hee preuailed not with him) therefore hee thus speaketh to him, as we see fearefully; and as well it teacheth al that list to learne, that while men remaine hollow and double, and deale not truly and [Page 346] plainely with God, they may look to heare no better then heauy tidings from him,Note. to sound in their eares, and to checke their consciences, whatsoeuer faire shew they make of any repentance, but to gather more signes then before of their damna­cion, by how much more they reiected Gods offers in calling them:1 King. 13. And should not this driue men from all their carnall shiftes,Vse. and bro­ken holdes, when they see that God hunts them out of their dennes, and pluckes their mufflers from their fa­ces?Chap. 14. 34. 35. And yet as bad as Saul was, and as little as God set by all the outward shewes that he made either heere, or in the former chapter, verse 34. to the 46. (which were [Page 347] many) yet it is cleere and most manifest,Many that make some shew, yet come farre short of Saul. that he went farre before many that pro­fesse the Gospell at this day: among whome a man may be a long time, before hee shal heare so many holy and religious speaches, as he vt­tred there (reade the place) besides his vpholding the true worship of God, in the which he declared his zeale in seuere punishing such as should dishonour him, yea, although it fell out to be his owne son. I say there be many found among vs, (who haue cleerer know­ledge of Gods will, then was reuealed to him) who yet neither may be matched with Saul in sundry com­mendable points, neither in this one, to attribute so much [Page 348] to Samuel the Lords Pro­phet, as he did: who desired his company, and held him with him. Which though it was not done in faithfulnes, with desire to bee reformed, yet who doubteth but that it was a good steppe to take profit by him in time, when he could yeeld him such re­uerence as he did, and giue him leaue to speake to him of the matters that were both harsh, toylish and vn­pleasant?Note well. And yet wee see for all this, God had no pleasure in him, that all who shall heare or read this story or the laying open of it, may feare and tremble, if their righteousnes and synceritie exceed not his; for no such shall enter into the Lords kingdome;Mat. 5. 16. which was one [Page 349] especiall end why I lay out this story before the eyes of men, as I said in the begin­ning. Neither let any obiect and say,Obiect. that his estate was fearefull afterwards: but now when this was done, which is heere mentioned, he was not so desperate and past hope: Answ. for I say that for the acts heere and before mentioned, (take one with the other) he was cast off, al­though it is to bee granted, that afterwards hee was much worse. Let no man deceiue himselfe, Samuel was forbidden to pray for him, at his departure from him, at the time heere men­tioned, as appeareth in the next chapter, verse 1. for at his departing from him after he had done the Lords mes­sage [Page 350] to him, which I haue now spoken of, hee left him no better, then at his com­ming to him hee found him.1 King. 13. 34. But as it was said of Ierobo­am (when the man of God had reproued his Idolatrie threatning him sore in the name of the Lord) that for all this he departed not from his euill way: So it is said of Saul, that when Samuel went away from him, he was no­thing bettred, nor reclaimed by him, ver. 34. after which going from him, it is sayd he came no more to see him, vnto the day of his death. And as for that it is said of him in 30. verse of this chap. that hee confessed his sinne againe, as he had done before, least any should think his latter confession to haue [Page 351] bene better then the former, it is branded by the holy ghost, with a manifest marke of hypocrisie, when he said I haue sinned, for this is ad­ded [but honour me before the people] signifying that he looked not so high as to God,Psal. 51. who requireth truth in the inward parts, but only his feare was, least men should haue knowne that God reiected him, and so might thereby haue cast him off, and haue refused him for their king. And of Saul thus much, for I haue said the best of him, that the scrip­ture sets downe in this chap. or afterwards, and shewed that nothing spoken of him, sauoured of true repentance. The further we proceede in this story, the worst we shall [Page 352] finde him. And first how he, by and by after Dauids victo­ry ouer Goliah, beganne to recompence his good with euill, hating him without cause, and seeking to kill him secretly, as in the 18. chap. appeareth, and then openly, as in the 19. may bee seene, & that many times in both, and so continued to his end, worse and worse.

Conclusiō of the whole, with seri­ous appli­cation.

And now I haue satisfied the desire of such as were earnest to haue the chiefe points of this chapter ope­ned, concerning Saul, that they may see his sinne, both when he stood in the denyall of it, and when he confessed it: I haue shewed also in the processe of the storie, as oc­casion hath beene offred, how fearefully many of the [Page 353] visible Church, doe very nearely follow him, & liuely resemble him, (if many of them go not beyond him in their euill actions and liues, and come short of him in their good parts) to this end, that if they haue any care of their soules welfare, they may more seriously thinke of their estate while they haue time, and come to true repentance. Rather learning so to doe, by the good tea­ching, and the examples of godly Ministers and Chri­stians, then to disgrace them as much as in them lyeth and discourage them, as it is too common a thing for many to doe. Now I say it remay­neth that wee pray earnestly to God, that this and such o­ther scriptures, being writ­ten [Page 354] for our instruction and edifying, may by his graci­ous working in vs, do vs the good, for which wee enioy them: that as they be lights to our steps, and lanternes to our feete, so they may guide vs into the way of peace, who haue beleeued, and already embraced the doctrine of them: and such also, as yet sit in darke­nes, may see great light to their euerlasting comfort.


This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.