A SERMON PREACHED at Hartford Assises, March 14. 1616.

BY John Squire, Preacher of Gods word in SHOREDITCH.

[printer's or publisher's device]

LONDON, Printed by T. S. for Nicholas Bourne, and are to be sould at his shop at the South-entrance of the Royall Exchange. 1618.

TO THE RIGHT WORSHIPFVLL THOMAS NEWCE, Esquire, High-Sheriffe of the Countie of HARTFORD; Grace, Mercie, and Peace.

SYR:

TO excuse my selfe for wri­ting, is the excuse of all Writers: You know it, I omit it. This Sermon was lately preached before you, now printed for you: your intreaty had the one, your command hath the other. Such as it is: it was in the Eares of some, shall be in the Eyes of others, and God grant it may be in the Hearts of all.

Yours in the Lord Iohn Squire.

A SERMON PREACHED AT HARTFORD Assises, March. 14. 1616.

I Being vnknowne in this place, and vnexpected of this people, ye may speake that phrase to mee, which the King did to his Guest, Matth. 22. 12. Friend how commest thou hither? I answere: I come not from the South, as the Queene of Saba did, 1 Reg. 10. to behold the maiesty of your Country, and admire the magnificence of your companie: Nor come I from the East, as the wise men did, Mat. 2. 11. to present you with gold, and to bring you golden presents: Neither come I from the West, as the violent winde did, Exod. 10. 19. to blow away the contentious grasse-hoppers of this corrupt gene­ration: (It must be Virga reformantis, not Ver­bum informantis, the sword of the potent Magi­strate, not the word of the poore Minister, which [Page 2] must bring that noble act to passe.) But I come from whence promotion commeth, Psalm. 75. 6. Neither from the East, nor from the West, nor from the South; but from the Lord. From the Lord I come to you, as one of the children of the Pro­phets did to the Sessions of Israell, 2 Reg. 9. 5. I come to bring you a message; Therefore, harken to me you men of Israell, that God may hearken vnto you. I bring you a message from the Lord: the Lord make it honourable vnto him, and profitable vn­to you.

My message which I bring to you, is part of Mo­ses his message which he brought from Sinai to the people of Israell, as it is written in the 20. chapter of Exodus.

Exod. 20. vers. 16. Thou shalt not beare false wit­nesse Text. against thy Neighbor.

Would wee be perfect Christians? Then must we performe two workes of Christianity: our duty to God, and our duty towards Man. Our breaches of the last may be called Legion, for they are many: of many, there are two maine ones. Wee wrong our neighbour eyther by the Violence of the hand, or by the Virulence of the tongue: The first is in­hibited in the precepts praemised, the other is forbidden in the Text: the Text therefore doth teach vs, as Saint Iames speaketh. 3 8. [...], to bridle an vnbridled euill, to take heede that wee offend not with our tongue: and wee are bound to obey this precept, by foure [Page 3] necessary bonds: Diuine, Morall, Naturall, Ciuill. Diuinitie doth teach that God is [...], that God himselfe, is the truth it selfe; and there­fore to speake and doe the truth, is to burnish the blemished image, and to ingraue the cha­racter of the diuinitie in a Christian soule: Our Manners wee senceably apprenend inclining to false-hood, euery man is a lyar, saith the Apostle, Rom. 3. 4. Therefore must this inclination be re­strained, by imbracing the truth. Nature looketh vpon an vntruth, as vpon some vnnaturall mon­ster: for Oratio, is oris ratio; the Soule is the Mo­ther, and the Tongue should be the Midwife of Truth: Now for the soule to conceiue a truth, and the tongue to bring forth a lye, this is vnreasona­bly vnnaturall. And for Policie wee cannot but know, that it is the disroynting of the body of the common-wealth, if that contracts be not a­uouched by testimonies, and if euery truth be not e­stablished by the mouth of two or three witnesses. Be­hold then the necessity obliging vs to the Truth, and Vae mihi si non euangelizauero: Woe be to me, if I speake it not: Woe be to you if you heare it not; and woe be to vs all, if we practise it not: A neces­sity is laid vpon vs. Thou shalt not beare false witnesse against thy neighbour, saith my Text.

I diuide my Text as Iacob did his company, Gen. 33. 2. into three parts: The person offending, Thou: The person offended, thy Neighbour: and the offence it selfe, Bearing false-witnesse. I will inuert the order, and put the persons offending hinder­most, [Page 4] as Iacob did Rachell and her children, lest some rough Esau (before he be appeased) should be an­gry and smite them, or me for them. I begin with the Offence, Bearing false witnesse: Men doe beare false witnesse two waies: Priuately, and Publikely▪ Priuately, by our selues. Publikely, before the Ma­gistrate.

Priuate bearing false witnesse, is a body of sinne, which I diuide into fiue members:

[...], Slandering.
[...], Railing.
[...], Tale-bearing.
[...], Flattery.
[...], Lying.

I may terme these fiue sinnes, the fiue fingers of Sathan; for whosoeuer is tainted with them, vndoubtedly the Diuell hath a great hand ouer him.

1 Slandering is both actiue and passiue: Actiue, when men are reprouers of their neighbours by slaunders. Passiue, when they are approuers of the slanderers, by hearing them. Both are forbidden in this Text; for the originall [...], gnanah, signifieth both to speake, as it is translated in the Text, and to heare, Psalme 143. 1. and both are com­prised in the 15. Psalm. Vers: 3. that man shal dwell with the Lord, who slaundereth not with his tongue, nor receiueth a false report against his neighbour. Whence Bernard shaped his sentence, Non essent qui detraherent, si non adessent qui audirent: that is, where there are no Receiuers, there no Theeues [Page 5] will be: and stop thou the eare of thine owne af­fection, do not heare slanders, and thou shalt muzle the mouth of detraction; few will dare to speake slanders. And reason haue we to performe it: be­cause the Diuell is the grand-slanderer, the father of slanderers, the grand-father of slanderers: he is na­med [...], an accuser, a slanderer: whence it is well said, if two men be (in communication) one speaking, and the other hearing slanders, they are both possessed; the diuell is in the eare of the one, and in the tongue of the other. And indeed it is my hearty vnfeigned wish, that both the Speakers and Hearers of slanders, might be Zimri and Cosbi, that both might be smote through with one sword of the Magistrate at one season.

2 The second sinne is Railing: Railers are open as Slaunderers are secret aduersaries of mens repu­tation: the one vnderminers, the other assailers of thy good name: He a ziba, this a Shemei. Railing, or (as the Scripture phrase is) Blasphemy, Leuit. 24. 11. is called [...] Killel, of Kalel, perforare, to stabbe or smite through, answerable to the phrase of the psalmist, who stileth words, swords; imply­ing that Railers stab at the very life of our credit. Happy were we, had we an Abishai, a Magistrate, who would and could take away the heads of these dead dogges; that Railers might no more barke a­gainst the honest name of their honest neighbours.

3 Tale-bearing is the next: Tale-bearers tell (though) the truth (yet) vntruly or vntimely: and therefore are in truth, false-witnesses. Leuit. 19. 16. [Page 6] Thou shalt not walke about with tales amongst my people: This was a Law in Israell, would God it were so in England also. S. Paul doth point at these men, 2 Tim. 5. 33. they are saith hee, [...], neuer busie at home, euer busie, ouer-busie abroad. Such are like Sampsons Foxes, they carry fire with their tailes, to set the whole world in a combustion. Oh that wee English, could deale with these Foxes, as the Welsh men did with their Wolues! that wee could plucke off their skinnes, till they were extinct, and not one left in a whole nation.

4 Flattery is the fourth: Slanderers, Railers, and Tale-bearers, Beare false-witnesse to thee against others: Flatterers, beare false-witnesse to thee against thy selfe. Therefore doe thou as God doth, hate them. Psal. 12. 3. God threateneth to cut off flattering lippes: These are mercenary wretches. Flatterers pro­strate themselues, thereby to sucke out priuate ad­uantage. As Iehonadab, 2 Sam. 13. did prostitute his seruice, to be the shamelesse instrument of Am­mons shamefull lust, that so hee might insinuate himselfe into the fauour of the yong Prince.

These are like false Looking-glasses, they make men to appeare to themselues to be younger, fairer, and comelier, then indeed they are: and they haue one true property of false Looking-glas­ses, Flatterers hurt our Eyes, that wee cannot see our selues. If my sentence might stand, I would censure such vnto the doome of Adonibezecke, Iudges 1. 7. Their toes should bee cut off, that [Page 7] they might goe to none: their hands should be cut off, that they might lay hould of none: and they should gather their crummes vnder mens tables: they fawne like dogges, let them feede like dogges: Flattery is a worke meriting such a wages.

5 Lying is the last limme of the Diuell: This di­uellish vice hath beene abhorred by all good men at all times. Cyprian in his Treatise against Game­sters, doth build his inuection against Dicers, vpon De Aleatoribus pag. 532. this ground: because gaming did occasion man­dram medaciorum, a world of lyes. Lactantius pro­nounceth Epit. c. 6. all lyes impious, because (saith hee) eue­ry lye, aut nocet, aut fallit, doth eyther hurt vs, or deceiue vs. Augustine doth retract, euen Ironies, Retract. l. 1. 6. 1. Rhetoricall figures, onely because they had the appearance of lying: it repented him of the petty Confes. l. 1. c. 19. excuses which hee made to his Parents being a childe, and to his Schoole master being a boy: and in his Epistle to Vincentius hee calleth Truth, Epis. 48. Vincen. the Character of a Christian, and saith, that a holy man dare not tell a lye. And doubtlesse all these holy men cursed this sinne out of the mouth of the holy one of Israell, lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, saith Salomon, Prou. 12. 22. And most iustlie, for this is the Ieroboam that made Israell to sinne; all priuate and publicke breaches of this precept, issue from this fountaine, Lying. Where­fore blessed were that Common-wealth, which would make this common vice like Ahab, lea­uing not one lyer to pisse against the wall: and his [Page 8] yoke-fellow Aequiuocation, like Iezabell, breaking the necke of that sinne, though the face thereof be painted, and an impious vice, cloaked with many godly pretences.

These are Priuate false witnesses, but the Publicke is the principall offendour against this precept: Of him more fully in the end of this exercise: Heere onely take notice that the false-witnesse, will not goe to hell alone, but hath manie attendants. There are sixe accessories [...]nto this Principall: three before the act, and after the act there are three guiltie of Bearing false witnesse. Before false wit­nesse is giuen, men may be accessaries thereunto praecipiendo persuadendo, & consulendo, that is, by commanding, perswading, and by councelling any to beare false witnesse. First, by commanding, eyther directly, as 2 Sam. 12. 9. Nathan told Dauid that he had killed Vriah, when as hee onely commanded Ioab to kill him: otherwise indirectly, when the superiour doth authorize inferiours, who are cor­rupt, Prou, 26. 8. As a man that putteth a stone in a sling, so is hee that giueth authority to a foole. If I put a stone into the sling of one, intending to braine his neighbour, I am guilty of that murder: so the Magistrate authorizing a corrupt man, hee is au­thor of that corruption. Next, to perswade any vnto false-hood, is a communicating of that crime, especially by that reall perswasion, Bribery; so Mat. 28. 12. did the Iewes giue large Money to the souldiers to testifie falsely against the resurrecti­on of our Sauiour. And by Councelling men con­tract [Page 9] the same guilt, as did the same Iewes in the same place, Mat. 28. 15. who taught the souldiers how to answere the Magistrates interrogatories. Thus by commanding, directly or indirectly, by perswading, or by councelling, many men be acces­sary vnto false-witnesse, before the testimony may be tendred. Afterwards they may be accessary, as many waies: Conniuendo, consentiendo, defendendo, that is, by Conniuence, or winking at it; by consen­ting & approuing it; by defending and excusing it. Those that winke at faults are faultie themselues; This was Elies case in another cause, 1 Sam. 3. 13. because his sons ran into a slander, and hee staid them not, therefore the hand of the Lord was heauy vpon him. So the Magistrate, who doth but su­spect false-witnesse, or any false-hood, let him looke forward to preuent it, otherwise conniuence may make him fall backward; Eli is a dreadfull exam­ple. Consent also contracteth the guilt, be it either expressed by plaine partaking with impietie, as Psalm. 50. 18. or be it suppressed, as Prouerb. 24. 11. 12. Deliuer them that are drawne to death: if thou sayest, wee know not of it, shall not hee that pondereth the heart vnderstand it? Not onely tendring, but also not hindring of false-witnesse is a breach of this commandement. Finally, excuse the act, and thou thy selfe doest act the sinne which thou ex­cusest, for woe be vnto them which speake good of euill, and euill of good, Isay 5. 20. Conclude we then that Conniuence, consent or defence, make men accessary to false-witnes, though performed. By this I haue [Page 10] opened many maladies, one word containeth one medicine for al of them: that one word in the Ephes. 4. 15. [...], To speake and doe the truth. This word, is like the word made flesh, Mat. 4. 23. it healeth euery sicknesse, and euery disease among the people. To Plaintise and Defendant, to Iudge and Iury, to Councellour and Aduocate, to Witnesse and to All, magna est veritas & praeualet; Great is the Truth—and God grant it may preuaile with all of them for euermore.

The person offended is our Neighbour: our Neigh­bour hath a double signification; eyther it is taken particularly for an adioyning acquaintance, as Luk. 1. 58. Neighbours are called [...], men who haue their houses neere together: Or it is taken generally for euery man, as Luk. 10. 37. the Samaritane is ter­med the wounded mans neighbour, each being an vndoubted stranger vnto the other. In this Text it is vsed in the second sence, a Neighbour, signi­fying any man, as Math. 5. 43. our Sauiour doth argue the glosse of the Pharises, as corrupt, for re­straining the word Neighbour, to signifie a Friend onely.

The Doctrine of which point doth spread it selfe into two branches. First Christians must haue a care and conscience that they beare false-witnesse against no man: not following the phrase of Lucilian in Lactantius, Homini amico & famili­ari mentiri non est meum; It is not (saith hee) my guise to lye vnto my friend, nor beare false-witnesse against my acquaintance. But, Thou shalt not beare [Page 11] false witnesse against thy neighbour; that is, against no man, saith my Text. Againe, wee must yeeld true witnesse vnto all men. Vnlike the Athenians, who were wont to pray onely for themselues, and for their neighbours of Chios: so for a Christian to giue true witnesse onely to whom hee is enfor­ced by Law, or ingaged by nature, this is Athe­nian, vncircumcised, and heathenish. Both these Christian duties are confirmed by Christ him­selfe, Math. 5. 45. Be ye children of your Father that is in heauen, for hee maketh the Sunne to rise both on the good and on the euill; and be a true witnesse vnto thy neighbour; that is, to euery one vnder the Sun, saith my Text.

Would God that this instruction were as vsuall as it is beneficiall. Behold heere a Cyno­sura, a loade-starre, to guide our conscience, in the proposing and composing of all contro­uersies; especially laying the foundation on that ground of religion, Math. 22. 39. Loue thy neighbour as thy selfe. If the Lord would please to infuse it into the hearts of all men, that Iudge, Iurie, Sollicitour, Counsellour, Aduocate, Witnesse, Accuser, that euery one would esteeme the Accused as himselfe: this wou'd make all men to be [...] and [...], to be Peace keepers, and peace makers; to vse a Conscience in accusing his Neighbour; Thou shalt loue thy Neighbour as thy selfe: this is a principle in Nature, God giue vs Grace to follow it.

Many persons offending are comprised in the first [Page 12] word, Thou: Thou shalt not beare false witnes against thy neighbour. Here the hearer may preach to the Preacher, and say to mee, Physitian cure thy selfe; and doe not Thou beare false-witnesse. For false-wit­nesse Augustin. Retr. 224. wee doe beare, when wee make our Sermons like the Manna (in the Iewish fable) to giue a seue­rall taste, answerable to each seuerall appetite: Such humorous humouring Sermons, the Lord doth execrate out of the mouth of Ieremy, 6. 14. They haue healed the hurt of my people with sweet words: And how they healed that hurt, Cyprian doth ex­presse, Cypr de Lapsis sect. 12. by an excellent comparison: Soothing Preachers are like vnskilfull Chirurgians, who soft­ly touch the wound on the out-side, thereby ma­king it to fester the more dangerously in the in­side. A fit resemblance: Who obscrueth not that the smooth tongue of the Preacher, maketh an impostumed hart of the hearer? Sensible of which sinne was holy Augustine, when he cried to God to Aug. Conf. 6. 6. pardon the sinnes of his youth, but especially this; that being young hee did Preach, non vt doceret, sed vt placeret: to delight the eare, rather then to smite the heart of the congregation. Let me there­fore begin this point with the words of that holy man, being an auncient and penitent Preacher: August. de Vir. Relig. cap. 55. Hortor itaque vos omnes charissimi, meque ipsum hor­tor vobiscum: I exhort you, first framing the same exhortation to my selfe! O my soule, doe not Thou beare false-witnesse: Be thou like S. Paul, Ephes. 6. 20. speake thy message boldly, yet speake as thou oughtest to speake.

First therefore, the honorable Iudges are hum­bly 2 to be intreated for Gods cause, that they will beare true witnesse in Mans cause. I acknowledge my selfe an vnworthy instructer of them, and their calling: to them therefore I Preach not, but pro­pound a Preacher answerable to their place; a Prince, Preaching vnto Iudges, 2 Chron. 19. 6. & 7. Take heed what ye doe; for ye execute not the iudge­ment of man, but of the Lord. Take heed, for with the Lord there is neyther respect of persons, nor receiuing of rewards. Verbum sapienti, an excellent Sermon in two words: There must be neyther respect of per­sons, nor receiuing of rewards. This is Iehoshaphats Sermon: I doe onely (this day) rehearse it to your eares, the Lord repeate it euery day vnto your hearts.

Neuerthelesse, although Elisha be good, yet 3 may Gehazi be bad: Naaman sueth to be cured of his leprosie (to haue some controuersie ended) which hath stucke to him, and his, for a long season; Noble Elisha biddeth him to wash in Iordan, informeth him in the honest easie meanes to heale him: onely Mr. Gehazi must haue a tallent of siluer; some siluer, Memorandum, for admission, or for expedition, A certaine fel­low had one squinte eye, and the other smote out: here-hence, one said vnto him, thou hast two eyes, but Vnum ncquam, alterum nequaquam, with one eye thou doest see ill, with the other thou doest not see at all. Historians say that some Magistrates haue beene attended by some such [Page 14] seruants. The Client commeth to one seruant, hee is nequaquam, he cannot see to helpe him: hee craueth fauour from another, and he is nequam, hee will not see to admit him—vnlesse it be through a paire of siluer spectacles. These are Gehazies! O that it were in my power to bequeath them the blessing of Elishai! That Seruant to a Iudge, that Clerke to a Iustice, or that Deputie to a Sheriffe, who shall (be a false witnesse) sell his neighbours cause, and his Maisters credit, for a reward, let the Leprosie of Gehazi cleaue to him for euer: Would God the worme of conscience might ne­uer cease gnawing their guilty soules, till they haue made speedy restitution, and open confession.

The great wheele in this Clocke of wickednes, 4 is the Plaintife, or Accuser: Who (though his cause be good, yet) if hee prosecute it for hatred, like Doeg, or for couetousnesse, like Iezabell, then dare I bouldly say to such a man, Thou dost beare false-witnesse against thy neighbour. But the Sala­mander, who loueth to liue in the fire of conten­tion, hee is a false-witnesse in an high degree. As Ferdinando Lopez aduiseth ambitious Princes to warre eight or ten yeares with one neighbour; then to picke a quarrell with another, lest vse in­struct the former to be as cunning as himselfe: Such a politician is many a Plaintife, who doth force his quiet neighbour into a forced vnquiet­nesse, by turnes, to arme himselfe for the wicked warre of continuall contention. In this cause my prayer in generall, is, that the Magistrates might [Page 15] be like the Aramites, 1 Reg. 22. 34. that they would bend the whole force of iustice against (this Ahab) this man, who troubleth all Israell: And in particu­lar my vnfeigned prayer is, that heauen would in­able my vnworthy selfe to be that Archer, 1 Reg. 22. 34. that ignorantly I might smite some such quarrelling wretch, though hee haue his harnesse on, and commeth with a seared conscience to this congregation.

These haue two maine assistants: the Suppor­ters, 5 and the Reporters of their cause: Councellours who speake to them in priuate, and Aduocates who plead for them in publike. I honour the Law, and will instruct them concerning their soules, as from my soule I desire they should instruct mee concerning my estate: where I suspect an ill case, I will tell it plainely. Let that imputation laid vpon the Romish Lawyers, bee as farre from ours, as Rome is from England. Thus wrote Hildebert Bi­shop of Mentz, of the Romane court: imploy them in your causes, and they delay them: imploy them not, and they hinder them. If you solicite them, they scorne you: if you enrich them they forget you. Neuer may this language of Canaan be vn­derstood in our land of Israell. Rather what Possi­donius reporteth of Augustine, let that be reported of all good Lawyers: hee would rather loose his friend; and in the name of God, let these rather loose their fee, than conceale the truth. And let euery conscionable Lawyer know, that if he aduise in a bad cause, at Gods barre that same Client shall ap­peach [Page 16] him to be Eue, that he gaue the apple, that his councel opened the way to the forbidden fruit: and as a praeamble to Gods hate, hee shall first in­curre mans hate, he that saith to the wicked, thou art righteous, him shall that people curse, Prou. 24. 24. Wherefore let me once councell the Councellor, of all other: Doe not thou beare false witnesse against thy neighbour.

Neyther can the conscience of the Aduocate plead for himselfe that he is good, if his tongue doth plead 6 for a cause which his conscience knoweth to bee bad. If [...] were not impossibilities: Oh that the noble soule of Papinianus liued in the bo­some of our English Aduocates. When Antoninus had made away his brother Geta, after the first yeare of their ioynt Empire, he intreated Papinia­nus (a famous Lawyer) to plead his excuse: Whose answer was like himselfe, Noble; It is easier said he, parricidium facere, quam excusare: to doe wick­edly, then to excuse the wickednes: Thou mayest (said hee) command my necke to the Blocke, but not my tongue to the Barre: I prize not my life to the pleading of an ill cause. Behold a Pagan man, but a patterne to Christians: and christia­nity will compell worthy Aduocates to imitation: for hee that iustifieth the wicked, and he that condem­neth the iust, are both an abhomination to the Lord, Prou. 17. 15. Therefore as the boy euery day cri­ed vnto King Philip of Macedonia, [...], Remember that thou art a man: So is it my hearty wish, that whensoeuer the Aduocate is [Page 17] beginning to plead, that then the spirit of God would whisper vnto his soule, the words of my Text. Take heed, now: Doe not thou beare false witnesse against thy neighbour.

Other accessaries vnto false witnesse, may be Bailiffes and vnder-Sheriffs. Some haue beene sus­pected, 7 (I would it were a suspition onely,) that Writs being sent into the country, haue beene en­tertained by these officers, as the Ephramites were by the Gileadites, Iudg. 12. 6. If they cannot pro­nounce Shibboleth, but Sibboleth: if there be but a syllable wanting in the word, but a quadrine in the gratification; they cannot passe, they dye for it, they must goe no further. Now these men doe hinder true witnesse, and thereby come within the compasse of false witnesse. And indeed, such as do hinder the Law from execution, happy were it, if the Law would put them to execution. To euery one of them therefore, let me cry againe, and a­gaine, as loud as thunder (for they dwell neere Ca­tadupa: these men are very deafe of that eare:) let me I say cry againe, and againe, to euery one of them, as loud as thunder: Doe not thou beare false witnesse against thy neighbour.

The Iurie also may be the instruments of false 8 witnesse. The Iurie should be like the Disciples, Luk. 10. 5. wheresoeuer they come, they should say, peace be to this house: but sometimes they are like the Apostles, Ioh. 6. 70. they are twelue in num­ber, but one of them is often (too often) a Diuell, a diuellish Iudas, who will betray the cause, be­tray [Page 18] the country, and betray the company, for fil­thy lucre. Would you know him by his badge? hee vsually beareth the bagge, and Bribery is his ma­ster. I heard of a wretch who sued that authority might flicke him on a Iurie, that so hee might sticke to his friend: if the Magistrate would sticke such a Pagan, as Ehud did sticke Eglon, Iudg 3. 21. he had a right recompence of reward. To preuent this vnchristian insolency, iniury, periury, to each of the Iurie I must propound a new Text, the third Commandement. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vaine, for the Lord will not hold him guiltlesse that taketh his name in vaine: Let the Iurie note onely that one phrase, if they sweare and for­sweare, God will not hold them guiltlesse. Let the pu­nishment of the third precept be their admonish­ment for the ninth precept: You are to sweare by God, and before God; therefore as you tender an oath, and tremble at Gods wrath, I charge you vpon the perill of your soules, let you Verdit shun this rocke: Doe not beare false witnesse against thy Neighbour.

Hitherto haue I muster'd out an army of rebels against this precept, yet remaineth the King be­hinde: hee is like Saul, 1 Sam. 10. 22. hee will hide himselfe as ashamed of his dignity: Notwithstan­ding plucke him out, and you shall finde him (in­deed like Saul) higher than all the premised offen­dors by the shoulders vpward. This vassall of sinne, and vessell of Sathan, is named in the expresse phrase of my Text; A false-witnesse is this man, [Page 19] this monster of men, a Knight of the Post, who doth post to perdition: a mischieuous miscreant, execrable to all men and narions. A false witnesse is dragged to damnation by a threefold gable of wickednesse; he is guilty of breach of Iustice, of iu­stifying a Lye, and of (the sinne of sinnes) Periury, saith Aquinas; and therefore most worthily exe­crated. The Israelites punished such by a Tali [...], limme for limme, and life for life: what he intended to offer by his falsehood, the same was hee iudged to suffer for his falsehood. The Romans censured a conuicted false-witnesse to be plunged head long Zanchi. tom. 4. lib. 1. pag. 193. from the steep mountain Tarpeia. Excellent lawes; no fault but this, they are not in force with vs in England. The holie ghost doth display this infi­dell in (yet) more liuely colours. Pro. 25. 18 A false witnesse is compared to an Hammer, a sword and a sharpe arrow. First for himselfe, because he hauing once cracked his credit (and being known for false and for sworne by him that hired him) like to those iron instruments, he becommeth hard, and putteth on a harlots face: shameles of Periurie.

Moreouer, there are three seuerall persons are smote by his false tongue, three seuerall waies, answerably to those three instruments: first a false witnesse is an Hammer to the Iudge, hee doth asto­nish him (as if one man should smite another in the head with an hammer,) so that hee knoweth not what to determine. Next he is a sword to him that hired him, hee incourageth him with hope to vanquish his aduersary the second time by his [Page 20] purse, and putteth a sword into his hand to kill the innocent. Finally hee is a sharpe arrow to him a­gainst whom he doth witnesse, (though that man be least in damaged, haue he but grace to be patient) yet to him he is a sharpe arrow, to sticke in his life, estate, reputation. To conclude: I say of a false-witnesse, hee is an Ahab, a villaine, who hath sould himselfe to worke wickednesse in the fight of the Lord: And I say to a false-witnesse, as Simon Peter, did to Simon Magus, Acts 8. 23. and 22. Thou art in the gall of bitternesse, and in the bond of iniquity, pray vn­to God,—if so be—that the wickednesse of bearing false witnesse may be forgiuen thee.

And thus haue I ripped vp this excellent Text, and it may be some impious conscience also. Wee see the disease, what medicine remaineth to cure it? The ordinary meanes is this: to make the Sermon, like the Preacher. The Preacher: you see me to day, I goe away, and most of you shall ne­uer see me any more: So for the Sermon, you haue heard it to day; it goeth away, and many (I am affraid too many) of you will neuer thinke on it a­gaine. This is the vsuall medicine: not so much as to thinke on the Sermons which goad our guil­ty conscience. But beware, it is desperate Physick, it is Opium, it will cast you into a dead sleepe, that you shall drop into Hell, before you so much as dreame of damnation.

Giue me leaue therefore to prescribe another: Indeed it is a Corasiue, but soueraigne notwithstan­ding. Let this time transport our soules to medi­tate [Page 21] one another time: Now you see one Iudge, the time will come when we must come before a­nother: one whom we belieue will come to Iudge both the quicke and the dead. As now the trembling malefactor is ledde out with a dismai [...]d soule, to behold the dreadful aspect of the seuere death-sen­tencing Magistrate: so then the guilty conscience shall be haled forth by thousands of ministring flames of fire, to appeare before that Iudge whose face is Maiesty, and frowne confusion: Doe but thinke vpon this; the very thought of it wil com­pell the Preacher to instruct bouldly, the Iudge to determine iustly, the Seruant to informe honestly, the Plaintife to accuse vprightly, the Counsellor to aduise wisely, the Aduocate to pleade warily, the vnder-Officers to execute law impartially, the Iurie to giue their Verdit sincerely, the witnesse to sweare feare­fully, and giue euidence truely: and all of vs to liue conscionably. We are before one Iudge, we shall be before another: The Lord grant that we may so discharge our duties this day, that we be not afraid to appeare before that Great Iudge at the last day. Amen.

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FINIS.

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