Sermons, Me­ditations, and Prayers, upon the Plague. 1636.

BY T. S.

Oh prayse the God of Heaven, for his Mercy endureth for ever.

Ps. 136.

LONDON, Printed by N. and Io. Okes, for Iohn Benson, and are to be sold at his shop in S. Dunstans Church­yard in Fleet-streete. 1637.

TO THE RIGHT Honourable EDWARD Bromfield, Lord Maior, and to the right Worshipfull Al­dermen, Governors of this Ho­norable City of London.

My Lord, and Gentlemen,

THE lines fol­lowing begin mournfully, and end thankfully; the mourning was, if not altogether, yet almost on­ly [Page]the Cities; the Thank­fulnesse is most of all, if not onely by, yet for the City: of these the beginning ex­presse the one, the ending the other: nor one, nor o­ther comming abroad could finde shelter more safely or more iustly then under the umbracula of your Honors and Worships protection: Into which custody if it shal please you to take them, the Author will, as he is bound, pray [Page]that Gods iudgments may ever reape your Repen­tance, your Repentance re­ceiue his deliverance, his deliverance accept your thankfulnesse, through Ie­sus Christ; in whom is ever ready to serve you,

Your Honor, and Worships devoted, T. S.

The Disease. 1636.

2. Chron. 7.13.14.

If I send a Pestilence amongst my peo­ple. If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray; and turne from their wic­ked wayes, and seeke my face; I will heare in Heaven, and forgive their sinne and heale their Land.

THE Text is a peice of a Promise, to a peice of a Prayer: the Prayer was made in the day by So­lomon to God: the Promise was made at night by God to Solomon: Solo­mons [Page 2]whole prayer was, That what prayer soever should bee made of any man, or of all the people of Israel stretching their hands towards the Temple that he built, that then God would be pleased to heare in Heaven and bee mercifull, Chap. 6. 29. 30. and give to every man according to his wayes; and Gods whole promise was,Chap. 7. 12. That he had heard his prayer, and chosen that place to himselfe, for an house of Sa­crifice.

Solomon distinguishes this whole tree of his Devotion, into particular branches, viz. If thy people bee put to the worse before their enemies, chap. 6. 24. 25 be­cause they have sinned against thee, and shall returne, and confesse thy name, and pray, and make supplicati­on before thee in this house: Then heare Thou from Heaven, and forgive the sinnes of thy people Israel, and bring them againe to the Land, thats for Warre, and therefore not for us; [Page 3]for blessed be the name of God, we have peace.

Hee goes on: When the Heaven is shut up, and there is no raine, c. 6. 26. 27 because they have sinned against thee; yet if they pray towards this place, and con­fesse thy name, and turne from their sinne, when thou doest afflict them; then heare thou from Heaven, and forgive their sinnes, and send raine upon the Land. That's for Dearth, and therefore not for us, for yet, blessed be the name of God, wee have plenty.

Hee proceeds: If there bee Pesti­lence, c. 6. 28. 29 or any other sore or sicknesse whatsoever, then heare thou the prayer and supplication of thy people. That's for the plague, and that's for us: For it is a time of plague, a fear­full time it is; yet as fearefull as it is, it is not desperate; for wee have Gods particular promise for this, as well as for the rest, If I send a Pesti­lence [Page 4]amongst my people. If my, &c.

Nay, wee have not onely Gods Promise, but our owne experience also for the truth of that Promise: For in Anno 1625. when in one Weeke there died 3344. the next week fell to 2550. the next to 1612. the next to 1551. the next to 852. the next to 558. the next to fewer, and the next to none. I pray God, wee may see none of those great Weekes. But if we do, what then? shall we despaire? no, we need not, he that performed his promise then, will performe his promise now; so that wee will performe our conditi­ons, and humble our selves and pray; &c. And so I have brought you by a circular motion to my Text again: and my Text is for all the world like a paire of Indētures, the one on Gods part, the other on mans part: God the Maister, Man the apprentice; and both their conditions runne on [Page 5]former conditions: Mans sinne, and Gods iudgements; chap. 6. ver. 22. When a man shall sinne against his neighbour: ver. 24. When there shall bee no raine because they have sinned. When there shall be sicknesse, and Fa­mine, and Plague, if they sinne against thee. ver. 36. So, Gods conditions of Destruction, runne upon mans condition of Transgression, and a­gaine, Gods condition of Delive­rance runnes uppon mans condition of Repentance. And they are foure on either side: first on Mans,

  • 1. Humility.
  • 2. Prayer.
  • 3. Seeking.
  • 4. Turning.
    Division.

If my people, &c. These are the con­ditions of our Indentures. And Gods are answerable:

  • 1. Hee will Exalt.
  • 2. Hee will Heare; heare in Heaven.
  • 3. Hee will forgive. And
  • 4. Hee will heale the Land.

[Page 6]Or you may consider this Text, as a Malady and a Medicine; as a Dis­ease and a Cure: the Disease, the Disease of the time, Pestilence; the Cure, the Cure of that, and all Di­seases, Repentance.

In the Disease I aske: first Propter quod, the provoking cause. Second­ly, Quid, the matter, what it is? third­ly, Vnde, the Authour. Fourthly, In­quos, who and what they are that are sicke of the Plague. Fifthly, Ad quod, the end and finall cause. These five are in those five first words of my Text. If beeing a supposing Word, implies the first and last: If God does it, somthing must pro­voke him to it: And if he be provo­ked to do it, hee hath some end in the doing of it: And then I the se­cond word, describes the Author: and Pestilence, the third word, the matter; and amongst my people, the last word tels you who, and what [Page 7]they be. In the Cure, I looke upon the severall simples; they are made by Man, as the Apothecary: And made effectuall by God; as the Doctor. The first is the gesture of Repentance, Humble. The second is the voice of Repentance, Devout. The third is the care of Repen­tance, Diligent. The fourth is the Digesture of Repentance, Whole­some, If my, &c.

And thus you see the coherence of the Text, and Context; and the concordance of the Time with the Text: For it is a penitential Season, and this is a penitentiall Sermon; it is a sorrowfull Time, and this is a sorrowfull Theame: it is a fearefull Time, and this is a fearefull Text: And yet it is a Hopefull time, and this is a hopefull Text too, for even in this Feare we hope: We sinne, Hea­ven frownes, God strikes, that's feare­full; wee repent, Heaven laughes; [Page 8]God stroakes, that's Hopefull.

Now, if I draw not these condi­tions like a perfect Scribe, if I com­pound not this Recipe like a learned Galen; you must impute part of that to my ignorance, and God mend it: part you must impute to my negligence, and God forgive it what I faile, you in your meeknesse pardon, God in his goodnesse per­fect. I begin with the first, The Dis­ease, If I send a pestilence, &c.

The first word is a tottering word,Pars 1. Si, If. If; it runnes upon wheeles, & so hath set my braines backeward and forward: if I goe forward with it, I enter into an house of diligence and Devotion, a Haven of Hap­pinesse and Deliverance; into a [...] House of Humility, and Prayer, o [...] Seeking and Turning; into an Ha­ven of Hearing and Healing, o [...] Mercy and Forgiving; and this may be seasonable for some. If [...] [Page 9]look backward with it, I enter into a ship fraught full of iniquitie; into a sea casting up waves of iudge­ments: a ship full of sinne; that is the lading, into a sea full of pesti­lence, that is the exchange. If: so loath is God to send some judge­ments amongst us. If: If he doth it, it is a chance; and a great mis­chance must force him to it. Some punishments come hardly from heaven; but if they come, they come as hardly upon man. No punishment at any time, but for sinne: but such punishment as the pestilence, surely it is for great sinnes; and that resolves my first Quaere, the propter quod.

Why is the pestilence amongst us?1a 1ae Propter quod? Why the plague Why so great a punishment as the plague? Because wee are sin­ners, because we are great sinners: Ingentia peccata, ingentia supplicia, God visites often, because we sinne [Page 10]often; but never sends his great vi­sitation of the plague, but when sinnes are very great: ordinary sins beget ordinary diseases; but the desolation of the pestilence never followed, unlesse some great abho­mination preceded. Never was destruction threatned, untill trans­gression was conceived. Never such a destruction as the plague ex­ecuted, untill some great transgres­sion was committed.

The word of God, the historie of man, this very time, they all make this true; Not a misery since the beginning of the world was, not a [...] miserie to the end of the world will be, not a miserie at this present is, but they are all the Brats of sinne; but the Plague; the Plague, Oh, that was evermore the spawne of some Whale-like sinne. Sinne and Hap­pinesse could not stand together in Paradise; as soon as sinne entred in, [Page 11]man was thrust out. Mala gens bonam terram malam efficit: an ill people makes a good land bad.Psal. 107.33.34. Hee turneth the flood into a wildernesse, and drieth up the water springs: a fruitfull land maketh he barren for the wickednesse of them that dwell therein. For the wickednesse of them that dwell therein: mark you that. Never was an ounce of judge­ment without a pound of sinne.Zephan. 1.1.2. I will surely destroy from the land, saith the Lord, I will destroy man and beast, I will destroy the fowles of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and ruines shall bee to the wicked, and I will cut off man from the land, saith the Lord. And why will the Lord bring such a destruction upon the land? Why? why verse 4 because there were a remnant of Baal, and Chemarims; verse 5 because there were some that sware by the Lord and by Malcham: verse 6 because there were some that turned backe [Page 12]from the Lord, and enquired not af­ter God: verse 8 Because there were some cloathed with strange apparrell: verse 9 Be­cause there were some daunced proud­ly vpon the thresholds. Runne to and fro through the street of that chap­ter, from the head to the foot, from the beginning to the ending, and see, and heare, and feare, and trem­ble. Sinnes were the cause of that threatned destruction: Sinnes were the Engines, Whirle-windes, Thunder-bolts, Earth-quakes, and devastation of that state.

And what is the cause of this plague? I doe but aske the questi­on; and I would to God that you could returne a Negamus to my questiō, an Ignoramus to my intero­gatorie. Have not wee Schisma­tiques and Heretiques amongst vs? Papists and Anabaptists? Papists for their Baalites, and Anabaptists for their Chemarims? Have not we [Page 13]hollow-hearted Hypocrites? men of two religions? that say with their tongues, Vivat Rex, and wish in their hearts, Praevaleat Papa? Have not wee Apostataes and A­theists? people that turne backe from God? people that forget God? that forget even God that made them? Have not we Gulles, and Gallants; and painted Iezabels? Have not wee Crane-paced leval­toes, that walke with stretched-out neckes? Have not wee covetous, deceitfull, greedy, sinfull, oppres­sing Vsurers, Brokers, Tradesmen, and Gentlemen? and is it any won­der then, if God send a plague? Ve­ry loath hee is to send it, and there­fore hee sayes, If: If I doe it; but such sinnes as these wil enforce him to it.

Why 14700. of the plague at one time, besides them that died in the conspiracie of Corah? Because [Page 14]they murmured. And have not wee them amongst us, that spurne at authoritie, and murmure against God himselfe? That chide with God himself, if he send not a showre of raine when they would have him? And is it any wonder if the plague bee amongst us? God is loath to shoote these arrowes, very loath, and therefore hee sayes, If: but such sinnes as these, murmure and distrust, will bend his bow, and make ready his quiver.

Why 70000. in the time of King David? 2 Sam. [...]4. But because King David would number his people, and trust in his owne strength. And have not wee them that Sacrifice to their owne nets? that trust in the multi­tude of their riches? and think they shall never be removed? No won­der then, if the plague bee amongst tis. Very hardly is God provo­ked to drawe this Sword; but [Page 15]selfe-confidence will whet it.

And the historie of man, the very Heathens tell you as much. Why was the plague so grievous upon the Scythians? It was inflicted, sayes Herodotus, Lib. 1. pag. 57. for their sacriledge in sacking the Temple of Venus. And have not we Church-robbers? Doe not many of you pay the par­son by an under-verted lease? and yet you will not give the over-plus to your painfull priest. And is it then any wonder that the plague is amongst us? God is loath to lift up his hand against you: but these sinnes will prevaile.

Why was the pestilence sent a­amongst the Iewes? It was,In Achaic. pag. 279. sayes Pausanias, for the prophane lust of Menalippus and Camaetho. And have not wee as barbarous lusts a­mongst us? Some Poligamists, that have many wives: some In­cestists, that uncover the mothers [Page 16]and the daughters nakednes, some the sisters, and many their neigh­bours? Is it then any wonder, that the plague is amongst us. God i [...] loath to consume us this way; but such sinnes as these must provoke him.

Why was there such a devouring plague in the time of Romulus? I was inflicted,In vita Romuli, pag. 67. sayes Plutarch, for the treacherie that was practised in the murther of Tatius. And doe not we deale treacherously one with ano­ther? Doe not we hunt every man his brother with a net? Doe no [...] wee seeke to undermine and cir [...] co [...]ve [...]t one another? Is it then a­ny wonder that the plague is a­mongst us? God is hardly drawne to send this judgement; but such sinnes as these, will perswade him to send many more, and many worse.

You see the Quare, why the [Page 17]plague is sent; Now upon the Qua­ [...]e, you must give me leave to play [...]he Lawyer, and propose a crosse [...]terogatorie, by Quomodo, How the [...]lague may be sent away againe. Applic. 1. It is [...]y application of it: And no way [...]o remove it, that I know,Numb. 16 46.47. but A [...] ­ons way, or Phinee's way, or King Davids way. When there died [...]4700. of the plague, Aaron takes censor, puts fire therein from the Altar, and put incense thereon, and goes into the congregation, and a [...] ­ [...]onement was made. Sic vos, so do you; Take the censor of humble devotion; put therein the fire of [...]eale from the altar of the Crosse; and put thereon the incense of Christs merits, and offer it quickly for the congregation; and Gods [...]and is not shortened, his eare is not stopped; but as then, so now, he will be reconciled, and accept of this for attonement, and stay the [Page 18]plague; onely you must stand, as he did, beewixt the living and the dead [...] your dead sinnes with sorrow, and the living graces of God with de­sire, and desire God with those teares, That from plague and pesti­lence hee would deliver us, for [...]esu [...] Christ his sake, Amen.

Or, if it increase to Phinea's num­ber, and there dye 24000. why then you must doe as Phineas did and what did he? Hee rose up from amongst the congregation, and tooke [...] Iaveling in his hand, and thrust Zimri and Cozbi through the belly, so the plague was stayed. Sic vo [...], so doe you: you are Phineas, Christ hath made you so to God his Fa­ther, Kings and Priests. Rise up [...] from the congregation, for you are downe; downe and asleepe in the sinnes of your companions: But at last awake; awake by repentance, and arise; Rise by faith, and take a [Page 19]Javelin; the Javelin of Reluctancie [...]d Feare; and smite Zimri, the [...]entation of sinne, and Cozbi, your [...]onsent to, and delectation in sinne; [...]d smite them through the belly, [...]at there may never againe bee a conjunction of your consent with [...]e Divels tentation; and intreate God, and he will doe it, say the [...]ague through Iesus Christ. Amen.

Or if yet the sicknes increase far­ [...]er, as in King Davids time, from [...]an to Beersheba, and slay 70000. [...]en; why then you must doe as King David did: He spake unto the Lord when he saw the Angel smite [...]e people, and said, Loe, 2 Sam. 24.17. I have sin­ [...]ed, and I have done wickedly; but these sheepe, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, bee against me, and my fathers house. Sic vos, so must you. If any of you are more conscious than others; and which of you is not? why then you must; [Page 20]or, if you are loath to bewray yo [...] selves, why then I will, I will spe [...] unto the Lord; for I have seene t [...] Angel smiting, and I will say; Wh [...] have the people of this parish, [...] this Citie done, O God: it is I th [...] have sinned, it is I that have do [...] wickedly; they, alas, knew not ho [...] to contrive these sinnes that I have committed; so that thou wilt spa [...] them, let thy hand be against me, and my house: for I am the greatest sinne amongst them all; and yet, but of th [...] extent I trust whom I [...]SUS CHRIS [...] will save; and if thou wilt save me and them from the plague, and he [...] then we will goe up, and reare thee a [...] Altar, and offer burnt offerings, an [...] peace offerings unto thee. From ou [...] sinnes wee goe up, and the altar of ho [...] ­ly protestations wee reare, and swear [...] unto thee, to meddle no more with sin [...] which hath brought this plague: an [...] will for ever offer unto thee the burnt [Page 21]offerings of broken and contrite spi­rits; and the peace offerings of Turtle repentance, and Dove charitie, and [...] leavened sinceritie upon the altar [...]f faith, in the crosse of Iesus Christ, for whose sake heare us, and helpe us, [...]nd have mercy upon us, and bid the Angel that destroyeth thy people, to [...]old his hand, that wee may live and [...]raise thee in the great congregation [...]ilitant, till wee come to thy congre­gation triumphant, to sing eternall Hallel [...]jahs to him that sits upon the [...]hrone, and to the Lambe at his right [...]and for ever. Amen.

If any of you think the removing of the plague is not worth so much [...]aines, I entreat you to goe along with me, and be resolved upon my second Quaere, the Quid, 2a 1ae, [...]uid, what is the plague what the plague is. And what is the plague, thinke you? To know what it is, you must not looke upon it under the genus of sicknesse: for then it is [Page 22]but Humores male dispositi, an ill di [...] ­position of the body, so Secundum definitionem, it is defined so, sickne [...] is; or, it is a want, a defect, a priva­tion of health. It is not a thing i [...] nature; but it is a thing against na­ture, a violation of nature: for therefore is sicknes called Disease [...], because it is sine sanitate without health. So secundum [...]em or it is Macula, a spot, quia corpo­ris formain deformat, because it dis­figures the beautie of the body: i [...] makes him mauc and meagre, pal [...] and wan: and it is Debitum, a debt, quia ad mortem obligat, because i [...] bindes us over to death, and arrests us at his suite. So it is, secundum nomen, it is named so, sicknesse is: Nay, sometimes it is a double debt, a debt to nature, and a debt to phy­sicke: if we dye, then natures debt is paid: if we recover, yet wee are still in debt to the physitian: so [Page 23]farre sometimes, that we spend the [...]st farthing of our substance: So it [...] as said of the woman in the Gos­ [...]ell; she consumed her whole estate [...]on the Physitians; or, it is a percus­ [...]on, and desolation; either a smiting [...] a desolation; so the Prophet [...]yes, I will make thee sick in smiting [...]ee, in making thee desolate: Mica. 6.13. And I [...]ink the Prophet there meanes the [...]lague; for the plague is a smiting [...]cknesse, and the plague is a desola­ting sicknes. It is a smiting, & there­fore called [...], for the fiercenesse [...]f it, it leaves a scarre behind it: and [...] is a desolating sicknes, & is there­fore called [...], because it spreds and diffuses it selfe into many, if not into all people: so secundum divisio­ [...]em, it is distinguished so, sicknes is, and this distinction complies most with the plague, such a thing is the plague, such a fearfull thing is the plague, and I pray God deliver us all from it.

You will see the Feare of it mo [...] perspicuously, and be afraid of [...] more heartily, if you looke upo [...] it comparatiuely, and if you lo [...] upon it consequently; what it is [...] respect of other Diseases; and wh [...] it doth, which no other Disease [...] can, which all other Diseases cann [...] do.

Compare it first with the Agu [...] the Ague onely weakens a Man; [...] seldome kills a Man; but the Plague that weakens and kils both, seldo [...] any Man dies of the Ague; an [...] therefore is the Proue [...]be become [...] truth, An Ague is Physicke, if in the Spring, for the King; seldome an [...] Man recovers of the Plague; som [...] do, but they are but some; and pray God deliver us from that ha­zard.

Compare it secondly with the Feaver; the Feaver distracts some times, and sometimes destroies; but [Page 25]it is but sometimes: but the Plague often distracts, and oftner destroies; few it leaves undistract­ed, few it leaves undestroyed; few it does, and they are but few. I pray God we may never trie it.

Compare it thirdly with the Plu­risie, That is but Membranae in­flamatio intrinsecus latera & costas succingentis, a paine in the side, an [...]nflāmation of the Liver, and blood­ [...]etting lets it out: But the Plague, that is, Totius inflamatio, inferius pe­des, superius caput, interius Cor, Exterius corpus succingentis, an in­flammation of the whole, and a paine all over; a paine in the head above, and a paine below in the Feete; a paine within in the heart, and a paine without, all the body over; and bleeding, and purging, and Sweating will all hardly helpe us. I pray God helpe us so, that we need no such helpe.

Compare it fourthly with the E­pilepsie, the Falling-sicknesse, they that are troubled with those Con­vulsions, fall downe, and rise again [...] but they that fal down of the plague seldome rise againe: that wee may not fall, or if we do fall, that wee may rise again, God deliver us from the Plague.

Compare it lastly with the Lepro­sie, and of all Diseases, it is most like that; and yet the Leprosie was never so as this. Like it it is, for as the Leprosie might not bee pronoun­ced, till the white Scab, or some other Symptome appeared: So, till the Soare arises, or the Spots ap­peare in the Body, no Body can say, any Man is infected with the Plague. Like it it is, for as the Leper was, so the Man infected with the Plague is shut up, and shut ou [...] from the Congregation.Cyrill. lib. 2. De Adv. Like it, i [...] is, for as Lepra est morbus adeo gra­vis, [Page 27]ut medicorum vim superet & Scientiaem. The Leprosie is such a Disease, that no Doctor can meete it, either by his Extractions, or his Instructions. Gravior, sayth the Fa­ther, quàm ut a Medicis ei succurri possit, aut illorum peritia expugnari: Such a strange Disease, that it with­stands the Physitians Science and his Ingredients: So I wonder, what Galen, what Doctor can cure the Plague! let him that can do it, Dic bone Damaetas, & eris mihi magnue Apollo: Hee that can, shall win the golden Fleece.

Like it though it be, yet it is a great deale worse; for the Priest might go to the Leper: Might? nay he was bound to it; but no Priest is bound to goe to a Man sicke of the Plague, not bound by any Law of Man or God. So fearefull a thing is the Plague comparatively; but it is a more fearefull thing effectually; [Page 28]For it brings with it the two grea­test punishments this World can in­flict. It brings with it an Outlawrie [...] and it brings with it an excommuni­cation. An outlawrie is the greate [...] punishment in the common Law and an excommunication is the greatest punishment in the civil law, and the plague does both. I [...] excommunicates us, and it out-law [...] ­ries us too: It out-lawes us from all workes of civilitie in the Com­mon-wealth, and we cannot goe a­bout our lawfull callings: and it ex­communicates us from all worke of pietie in the Church, and we [...] may not goe to publicke prayers. No body will goe to visite them not, or very hardly, the Physitian [...] They may not goe to visite any bo­dy, not the Divine. Their doore [...] are shut up, the red Crosse upon their doores, to bid us stand farther off, and over their doores, Lord [Page 29]have mercy upon us. And I pray God have mercy upon them that are infected, and howsoever hee deale with their bodies, save their [...]oules: and I pray God have mer­ [...]ie upon us, that we may not be in­ [...]ected: not in our bodies with the plague, nor in our soules with sinne; but deliver us through Iesus Christ, Amen.

You see the Quid est, what it is,Applic. 2. what the plague is; I must propose upon this Quaere, another Quomo­do, for the application of it: for be­ing a thing so fearfull, I make no question, but they that are infected, would willingly bee restored; and they that are not yet infected, would willingly bee so preserved: How then first, may they that are infected, be restored? The Physi­cians prescribe Bleeding, Purging, Sweating; so I entreate you to Bleed, to Purge, to Sweat: to bleed [Page 30]by Confession, to Purge by Contri­tion, to Sweat by Restitution. Za­cheus heard of no Salvation, vntil [...] hee had made Restitution. If there bee any accursed thing in your hands, as the Babylonish garment, o [...] Wedge of Gold in the hands of A [...] ­chan, restore it, that the plague may be stayed, that God my have glory and your selves health.

King David heard of no Transtu­lit peccata Deus, 2 Sam. 12.13. the Lord hath ta­ken away thy sinne, till he had con­fessed, and sayd, Peccavi, I have sinned. If there bee any sinne lies heavie upon your soule, if any sinne that in your conscience hath provo­ked God to this displeasure. If any rich man amongst you all, have ta­ken away the poore mans lambe; i [...] any Vsurer, or Bro [...]er, hath taken the poore mans bed to pawne, upon which he should lye, and for want of which he lyes in straw, or upon [Page 31]the hard boords, or the poore mans cloathes which hee should weare, or for want of which hee goes na­ked, or in such ragges that he is asha­med to come to Church, confesse it, for peccatum est, it is a sinne, and restore too: for, Non remittitur peccatum, nisi restituatur ablatum, no hope of remission without resti­tution: never thinke to be forgiven by God, till thou hast restored to man. No hope to bee delivered from the pestilence, till this accom­plishment of repentance. Make confession of your enormous sinnes to the Priest, that he may ease you, and make restitution of your ill got­ten goods to the true owner, that he may pray for you, and then, and not till then, it is to be feared, will God have mercy upon you, and de­liver you from the plague.

Nor did the Publican heare of any Iustification, until he had purged [Page 32]by Contrition: No, Abiit justifiae­tus, dones venit mortificatus; Hee went away justified, but first he came mort [...]ed. He smote his breast, and begged for mercy, and cryed aloud, Lord be mercifull to me a sinner, Luke 18. be­fore God in mercie did put away his sinnes. And so doe you, smite your breasts, breake your hearts, bruise your spirits, and write upon the posts of your soules, with the earnestnesse of your desires, Mise­rere, that God may have mercy up­on you, and open your doores, and bring you into the open gates of Si­on, to sing praises to the Lord. Goe with the Leper, and say, Domine, si vis, Matth. 8. potes, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me cleane; and ten to one if hee doe not make thee cleane. Goe thou that art out-lawed, and take out a writ of Reversation, and unfile the outlawrie. Goe thou that art excommunicated, and appeale: [Page 33]appeale from God to God: from Gods wrath, to Gods mercie; from God offended, to God appeased, [...]nd say with them, We have sinned, Iudg. 10.15. we know not what to doe; deliver us his day, we beseech thee, and he will; or if not restore you, yet he will do [...]hat which is better for you, if you [...]ave faith, and present you to him­ [...]elfe a glorious body, through Iesus [...]hrist.

But Quomodo. 2. How may wee [...]e preserved? How may wee that [...]re not yet infected, bee kept still from infection? How? why thus; [...]y Abstinence, and Patience, and Charitie, and Zeale: the Abstinence of David, the Patience of Iob, the Charitie of Cornelius, and the Zeale of S. Peter.

If sinnes that you have long'd for, your neighbours wife, your neigh­bours house, or what else soever, be brought home to your doore, as [Page 34]the water that David long'd for, was brought to his cave; yet doe as he did: and what did hee? Marrie, hee powred the water upon the ground, when hee had weighed his folly,2 Sam. 23.17. and sayd, God forbid that I should drinke this water: Is not this the blood of these men? So doe you; though you have playd the fooles, and long'd for a cup of Drunken­nesse, to please your palate; or a kisse of Vncleannesse, to please your flesh; yet now, before you drinke that cup, or touch this woman, con­sider your folly, and powre them upon the ground, and say, God for­bid I should commit these sinnes: will they not damne my soule? Did not Iesus Christ suffer death for them?

If goods that you have gotten honestly, bee lost by theeves; if children that you have brought up carefully, and prayd for fervently, bee destroyed by fire; if the body [Page 35]that you have kept temperately, be blained with plague sores: yet, as Iob did, so do you; rent your hearts, and say, Deus dedit, & abstulit Deus, Iob. 1. [...]1. benedictum nomen Dei. God hath gi­ven, and God hath taken, blessed bee the name of God.

If the poore bee about you, your neighbours; or under your charge, the pensioners, let them not lan­guish at home, nor starve in your streets; but give almes as the Cen­turion did,Act. 10.4. that God may respect you. It is no Poperie, I assure you, to say, That God respects men for their charitie.

If any Magus shall offer you mo­ney for Res sanctas, or Res sacras, for the holy things of God, or the holy things of the Church, answer him with zeale and indignation, as Saint Peter did,Acts. 8.20 Pereat tecum pe­cuniatua, Thy money perish with thee.

When you have done all, keepe a constant fire of Devotion, to puri­fie your hearts, that no corruption may come in by the windows o [...] your eyes; and perfume your ap­parrell with the righteousnesse o [...] Imputation, that the infection mis­take you not; and pray, pray with the Church, From plague and pesti­lence good Lord deliver us: and pray with the Church againe, O Almigh­ty God, which in thy wrath in the time of King David, didst slay with the Plague, &c.

For who else can?3a 1ae, Ʋnde? The Au­thor. who can re­move the Plague, but he that sends the Plague? and who is that but God? If you looke upon it as prae­mium, or meritum; a wages, or a me­rit, so my sinne, so your sinne is the cause of it; Causa deficiens: but if you looke upon it as it is Paena, or Correctio, a punishment, or a cha­stisement, so God is the cause of it, [Page 37] Causa efficiens: So the Prophet Micah points to God;Mica. 6.13 I will make thee sicke, I: and so does the Pro­phet Moses too;Num. 16.46. Wrath is gone out from the Lord, and the plague is be­gun: And so does the Prophet A­mos too; Is there any evill in the Ci­ty, and the Lord hath not done it? Amos 3.6 that is, any evill of punishment, not of sinne; for God is not the Author of any sinne, though he be the Au­thor of all punishment. Not any punishment, not any mercy; but wee may discerne in it Digitum Dei, The hand of God, and so sayes David; Storme, haile, tempest; they are all his Ministers to fulfill his Will: and so sayes God himselfe of this parti­cular, If I send a pestilence; If I.

And the very word it selfe speaks no lesse, Plague; it is Verbum aspe­rum, A killing word, the plague is: but it is the Lord that kills, sayes Moses, and it is therefore called [Page 38] [...], To kill, to kill as [...] were with the sword; but it is th [...] Sword of the Lord, no hand ca [...] weild this Sword, but the hand o [...] the Lord:2 Sam. 24.14. And therefore it is cal­led sometimes the hand of the Lord because in this punishment the Lord shews his power after a wonderful [...] and fearefull manner: somtimes it is called an Arrow; Psal. 91.6. The Arrow that flies by day: But no Bow can shoote this Arrow, but Gods: An Arrow it is, for the suddainnesse of it; and an Arrow it is, for the swiftnesse of it; it brings a suddaine destruction; for it creeps not as doe other Disea­ses, by little, and little; but it pier­ces suddainly, and it flyes with speed too, thorow a whole City, o­ver a whole Countrey, even from Dan to Beersheba; and who can shoote so suddainly, or so swiftly, but God?

And therefore take you heed of [Page 39]that fearefull curse and imprecati­on which is too rife in your mouths, [...] your servant doe but anger you; [...]our servant did I say? if your Childe that comes out of your [...]ines; nay, if your Wife doe but displease you, by and by you say, what doe you say? that which I [...]m afraid to thinke of; but you say [...]; The plague, the plague of God light upon you: You see how God hath heard, not your prayers, but your sins; and now you pray with all your soules, Good Lord deliver us from plague and pestilence.

But In quos? 4a, 1ae, In quos. A­mongst whom. Amongst whom is the plague? for the plague being a thing so fearefull, and God, a God so gracious, surely he sends it not, but In hostes, Amongst his enemies, if any; Does he? man indeed would doe so; He will love his friends, and plague his enemies, but Gods waies are not like Mans; Hee loves his e­nemies, [Page 40]and punisheth his friends [...] for his enemies, hee will not love them so well, as to bee angry with them; and that is the worst God does to any man in this world [...] when hee does not love them so well, as to be angry with them. Th [...] Israelites were in a good case, so long as God whipped them; but when [...] came to Auferam zelum, I will take away my iealousie, Ezech. 16.42. and be no more an­gry; by and by Loammi followed They were none of Gods people. A sure mark, They are Gods enemies, he wi [...] not frowne upon.

But if it be not, in hostes, amongst his enemies, that God sends a plague [...] yet in peregrinos, is it not? If not a­mongst his enemies, that hee hates, yet amongst strangers, that he cares not for. Man indeed would doe so; if he cannot spit his venom [...] upon his enemies, yet he will never doe it upon his acquaintance: but [Page 41]if upon any, upon them he knows not: But Gods wayes are not like Mans; for strangers that will not know him, hee will suffer them to runne on in their course; but for his acquaintance, hee will visite them, sometimes with plague and pesti­lence; so he dealt with David, so with Iob; two men, his nearest Ac­quaintance, and dearest Favorites of all men upon the face of the Earth.

It is not In hostes, amongst my ene­mies; it is not In peregrinos, amongst strangers; nor yet In vulgus, amongst the common people; no, none of these; but it is In populos, and In me­o [...], My people; If I send a pestilence amongst my people.

So sure are they, they that are his people, above all men in the world, of Rods: The Father whips his owne Childe, not his Neigh­bours, or a strangers: Nor doth [Page 42] God whip another people, but his owne; they come in no misfortune like other folke; so King David speakes of the wicked: They have children at their desire, and leave the rest of their substance for their babes: but the troubles of the Righ­teous, they are many. All crosses, and amongst them, the Plague, tell us, we are children; and somewhat more, they tell us, we are sonnes of Age, sonnes growne to some strength and ripenesse; for Babes, and Infants are too weake for the yoake.Prov. 3.11 12. My sonne therefore sayes Solomon, that is God by Solomon, de­spise not the chastisement of the Lord, neither faint when thou art rebuked of him: for the Lord correcteth every one that he loveth, as a Father doth his sonne, whom he receiveth.

The Comick said as much, when he sayd, Castigo te non quòd odio ha­beam, sed quòd amem: Why doth [Page 43]the Master whip his Scholler? Be­cause he hates him? No, because he loves him. Does God send a plague amongst us, because we are not? No, because wee are his people.

I draw this to a period; but the period of this I must speake to you in teares & comfort: in the teares of sorrow, & in the words of comfort.

But first, in teares: For though God doth send a plague amongst his people;Applica­tion. yet he doth not send a plague amongst his people with de-delight: because amongst his peo­ple, therefore you that live, must take heed how you censure them that dye: for the plague, to dye of the plague, is no evidence of repro­bation. No, it is the mad zeale of some foolish people to say so: were it so, King David would never have desired God to set his hand, his hand of plague against him, if hee [Page 44]must have gone to hell for it: but yet it is an evidence of wrath, and therefore you must take heed of se­curitie; God takes no pleasure in our smarting: No, hee would wil­lingly lay aside his blowes, if words would serve. If: if he does send a plague, it comes hardly from him. He would faine lay aside this sharpe plough, but hee cannot otherwise breake up the fallow ground of our hearts. Faine would hee lay aside these hammers, but hee cannot by the instrument of words, beate un­derstanding into our braines. Such stout and stubborne Schollers are we growne, that no School-master will fit us, but this severe and swin­ging one. God deales with us by these foule, because we will not be overcome by faire meanes. Oh God, thou doest not willingly plague us, but the strength of our corruptions necessarily enforce [Page 45]thee thereunto; which will not otherwise bee subdued. So Phy­sitians and Chyrurgeons are con­strained to cut, and launce, and burne, when milder remedies will not prevaile. When God did first lift up his hand against us in this plague, me thoughts, hee pulled it backe againe, as if he were loath to doe it; yet, sayes he, I wil give them a testimonie, that they are my people, it may bee, they will repent and cry. Thats the first. It desires your Teares to be waile the hardnesse of your hearts, though you are his people; because, If he sends a plague.

But secondly, though you cry, be­cause the plague is amongst you for the hardnesse of your hearts; yet, despaire not: for the very plague sent by God, testifies that you are his people. Never despaire, till God leave you to your selfe; when he does not love you so much as to [Page 46]afflict you. When God gives you not so much peace as to trouble you, then you may despaire. But if you have trouble and sicknesse, though that sicknesse be the plague, and sent, despaire not; for you are yet his people. So long as God punishes you, hee gives you phy­sicke: If he draw his knife, it is but to prune you; you are his vine. If he draw bloud, it is but to rectifie a distempered veine; you are his pa­tient. If he breake your bones, it is but to set them staighter. If hee bruise you in mortar, it is but that you may breathe up a sweet savour into his nostrills; you are his handy worke: and if one hand be under you, let him lay the other as heavy as hee pleases upon you: let him handle you which way hee will, if hee does not throw you out of his hands, it is no matter. If GOD frownes upon you, his threatnings [Page 47]are hopefull: But if God looke not upon you at all; then, oh then; you are gone. If he pursue you, you are well; but if hee have left you to you to your selves: then, oh then, farewell: but so long as God stu­dies your recoverie, you are well. Vox est animi non habentis in promp­tu quid statuat, & desperantis salu­tem. When God hath tried all meanes to reduce you, and failed in all, and then leaves you to your owne desperate wayes; then, oh then, thou art gone. It is the worst that ever God did say,Ezech. 16.42. Auferam ze­lum. This is Gods greatest anger, when hee will not let us know that hee is angry.Ier. 6.30. Refuse silver shall men call thee, because the Lord hath re­jected thee. Cain cryes out,Gen. 4. My sin is greater than can be forgiven. But why does Cain cry out so? Because I shall be hid from thy presence. Cain grew desperate, not because God [Page 48]looked not graciously upon him; but because God would not looke upon him at all.

See then, if God looke upon you any way, though with frownes in his brow, rod in his hand, menaces in his mouth, plague-sores upon your bodies; submit unto him, and repent, and turne from your evill wayes, and God shall not onely turne from the evill which hee hath brought upon you, but your trem­bling soule also shall no sooner cry out, Why am I thus visited with the plaguē? but your faith shall make a sweet reply from this Text, There­fore hath God sent a pestilence to as­sure us wee are his people, if wee will humble our selves.

That's the ad quod, 5a 1ae, Ad quod, The end. the end why we are plagued; To put an end to our sinnes. But this end of the sicknesse, is the beginning of the cure; and therefore I say no more of it, but [Page 49] Blessed be the name of God for cala­mitous dayes; praised be the Name of God, even for the plague, since by this bee calles us to repentance, and writes upon our doores, Lord have mercie upon us; And do thou, O God, in mer­cie looke upon us, and send such a bles­sing with this punishmēt of plague, as that we may humble our selves, and pray, and seeke thy face, and turne from our wicked wayes, that thou also mayest heare us, and for­give us, and heale our land through Iesus Christ. Amen.

The Cure. 1636.
The second Sermon.

2. Chron. 7.14.

If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray; and turne from their wic­ked wayes, and seeke my face; I will heare in Heaven, and forgive their sinne, and heale their Land.

THE words are, as I told you,Pars. 2a. the Cure of the Disease: In the compo­sition there are foure simples, and seuerall ingredients, [Page 51]and they are foure dosses of Pills: The first is a preparing Pill: It pre­prepares us to receive of God, and prepares God to giue us Exaltati­on, If we humble our selves, hee will heare in Heauen: and it is a great Exaltation that God in heaven, should heare us vpon earth. The second is an opening Pill, it opens our lippes to pray, and opens Gods eares to heare our prayers: If my people pray, I will heare. The third is a purging Pill; it purges us of sinne, and God of wrath; If my people turne from their wicked wayes, I will for­give their sinne. The fourth is an healing Pill;1a, 2ae. if my people seeke my face, I will heale their Land. I be­gin first with the 1. the preparing Pill, Humility; and in this I shall with Gods leave, sh [...]w you first, Quid est: and secondly, Quid effi­cit: First, what Humility is; and se­condly, what Humility does: And [Page 52]first, Quid est? What is it?

Humility is the first Ingredien [...] that cures the plague, for pr de is the first sinne that brought the plague, and all other Judgements into the world:Gen. 3. Eritis sicut Dij, To be like God: Oh, it tickled Adam to the heart, and therefore he made him­selfe unlike a man, hee made him­selfe like to the beasts that perish: In forma servi, Philip. 2.7 To be like a servant, this rejoyced Christ at the heart; and for this cause hath God exalted him with a name above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.

There is a Ladder of seven steps, by which wee goe downe to Hell, and the first of those steps is pride; pride hath got the first place of the seven deadly sinnes; and there is a Ladder of eight steps, by which we goe up to Heaven: And marke that, seven to goe downe, and eight to [Page 53]goe up, for facilis descensus Aver­ [...]i, sed revocare, &c. We easier, and with lesse paines goe to Hell downe-wards, than to Heaven upwards: but seven steps downe to Hell, eight up to Heaven; and the first of those eight is Humility; Humility hath the first place of all Gods graces, so Cromatius.

The eight Beatitudes are like Ia­cobs Ladder, that reach from Earth to Heaven, and the very first step, as the foundation of the rest, is Humi­lity; so Christ begins the Sermon of his Blessings: Blessed are the poore in spirit; blessed are the humble; Matth. 5. for humility is a poverty in spirit: that's the Quid est, and Definition of it.1a 1ae, 3ae. What is Humility.

If any one askes you, what humi­lity is, you answer him truely, if you say, It is a poverty in spirit; and as poore men are in their attire rag­ged, in their dyet course, and hun­gry, in their speech lowly, and re­verent: [Page 54]so Humility hath a lean [...] body; it keeps the body under, an [...] many times empty; a freeze coate [...] a coate of sackcloth, and covering of ashes; and a submisse language, [...] ever speaking in a low stile, and phrase. Looke else upon the Cen­turion for the speech of humility; he hath an high conceit of God, and a low conceit of himselfe: looke [...] else upon King David for the die [...] of humility; hee will neither eate, nor drinke: looke else upon the King of Niniveh, for the dresse and garments of humility; he will have no gay clothes in a time of destru­ction upon his grey heart: The Cen­turion speaks the voyce of humility, King David cookes the diet of hu­mility, the King of Nineveh cloths the back of humility, and they all act the gesture of humility upon their knees.

1. And first, what sayes the Cen­turion [Page 55]for the voice of Humility? Humilities voyce. Math. 8.8. what but this? Lord, I am not wor­thy thou shouldst come under the roofe [...]f mine house: Non sum dignus, I am not worthy, is evermore Humilities [...]anguage: Non sum dignus, I am not worthy, saies Iacob, not worthy of what? de maximis of Gods Rega­ [...]ioes; Gen. 32 10. it may bee so, very likely: no de minimis; I am not worthy of the least of all thy mercies: Non sum dig­nus, saies St. Iohn Baptist. I am not worthy; no not to carry Christ up­on his shoulders, as it is reported of St. Christopher: not so; but Non sum dignus calceamenta portare: Mat. 3.11. I am not worthy to unty his shooe­strings; a poore office wee would thinke: Non sum dignus saies Daniel, Dan. 9.7. We are not worthy of any thing but confusion. Quis ego? saies Gideon, that mighty man of valour: Who am I that I should save Israel?Jud. 6.15. behold my family is poore in Manasseh, and I [Page 56]am the least in my fathers honse: I am not worthy to doe it. I? Qui [...] ego ut alloquar? saies Abraham the Father of the Faithfull. Who am I, Gen. 18.17. that I should speake unto the Lord? I am not worthy, I.

So low a value does the humble man ever set upon himselfe, that no man lower: proud men take it well if wee humble our selves lower than is cause: so Iacob the Patriarch pleased his proud brother Esau with saying, Thy servant: and does not God take such submisse extenuati­ons of our selves very well? I am a worme and no man, saies David: and God made David a King, and no subiect, I am more foolish than a man, and have not the understan­ding of a man in me; and God made him wiser than his enemies. Who did ever bragge to God, even with­in the compasse of his desert, and was accepted? we may be too low­ly [Page 57]in our dealings with men, with God we cannot: the lower we fall, the higher he raises us: so it was with Naomi: ô call mee no more Naomi, quoth she, but Marah; no more Beau­ty, but Bitternesse; and God made her the Grandmother of David: But now, how many be there, that set faces upon want, and in the bitternesse of their condition affect the name of Beauty? Are there not too many in this age, that care more to seeme, than to be good?

But a good Christian hates this Hypocrisie, and those whom God hath humbled, and those who hum­ble themselves before God, care not to be respected of men: Good men thinke it not dainty, if the world thinke them filthy; but are commonly the first proclaimers of their owne unworthinesse: the Pha­risie coms with Gratias in his mouth.Luk. 18.11.1 [...] I thank thee oh God that I am not as [Page 58]other men are; but the Publican thinkes not himselfe worthy to lift up his eyes to Heaven: such a voluntary dejectednesse shall you ever finde in the humble: they humble themselves, though not humbled by God; but if humbled by God, then much more humble: whereas the wicked, though hum­bled by God, yet will not be hum­ble; such were Pharaoh, Herod, and Iulian, Exod. 5.2. and such I feare, there are many now. Who is God, that I should let the people goe? sayes Pha­raoh: What is the Plague, these foolish preachers speake of? say some wicked men now, that I should forsake my sinnes? vicisti Galilee, saies Iulian in scorne and contempt to Christ: Thou hast over­come me, thou Carpenters sonne of Galilee, but for all that I will not [...]oope to thee; and so doth many a sonne of Belial say now: There is a [Page 59]Plague amongst us, and destroies many, but for all that I will not yeeld yet.

And for all this, I trust there are some Godfrees too, who in the top of his honour refused to bee crow­ned with a Crowne of Gold at Ie­rusalem, because Christ was there crowned with a Crown of thornes: some Aurelius's of whom St. Cy­prian writes:Ep. 3 4. In quantum gloria sub­limis in tantum verecundia humilis at dū nihil in honore sublimius, nihil in humilitate submissius, as humble as the lowest in their places of high­est honours: Some St. Austens, Li. 13. cum Falci Ma­nich. who acknowledged himselfe the least, when indeed hee was the best Bi­shop of his time: Some Davids, that are humbled in their owne heart; now they are humbled under Gods hands by the Plague: And I pray God make us all so humble, that he may take off this heavy hand; to [Page 60]seeke him early, now hee slayes us; to confesse our selves worthily pu­nished for our former sinnes, that we may be partakers of his future mercies, Health and Happinesse: Health here, and Happinesse here­after, a continued preservation from the plague, and eternall deli­verance from hell, through Iesus Christ. Amen.

But I must intreate you to testifie your humilitie not onely by your tongue, but also by your backe; ei­ther like Iob, Ioh. 42.6. I abhorre my selfe in dust and ashes, or like the Ninivites, Let Man and Beast put on sack-cloth. Iona. 3.8.

Some there bee that say,Humilities cloathes. and say truely, that Humilitie confists not in the out-side, but the in-side; and Beggars may bee as proud with ragges, as Gentlemen with robes. Nor are the rich denyed, or dissal­lowed by any wise man, such vesti­ments as are fit for their callings, [Page 61]and their estate and substance will beare. And yet for all this, in times of mourning, it wants not proofe, that the Back should testifie the hu­militie of the Heart so well as the tongue. So when the approach of Holofernes was feared,Iudith 4.9.10. every one cryed to God with great fervencie, and their soules were greatly affli­cted, and they, and their wives and children, and their cattell, and eve­ry stranger, and hireling, and their bought servants, put on sack-cloth upon their loynes. So Achaeb, when he heard of evill upon him­selfe, and his posteritie,1 Reg. 21.27. Hee rent his cloathes, and put sack-cloth upon his flesh.

Never did grey heart delight in gay cloathes; humility is as well content with base freeze, as the proudest gallant with his Silke and Tissue. But I forbeare to speak of the attire of Humilitie: for I be­lieve, [Page 62]if I should spend a whole Ser­mon, as the Prophet Isaiah spent al­most a whole Chapter, and tell the proud Dames of England, That the Lord will make them bald, Isa. 3.17. and take away the ornament of the slippers, and the Cawle, and the round tyres of the head, and the head bands, and the rest there named? I should bee an­swered, That this as the fashion of the time; or, it may be, laughed at for a foole. I am content, but not satisfied: for it is verily imagined, that the raritie, and superfluitie of such strange dresses, are abhomina­tion unto God, as if we might fol­low the times; yet in a time of mourning, such as the plague is, a modest dresse fits with an humble heart. Howsoever, I shall turn the Prophets reproofe into a wish,vers. 24. That God in stead of sweet savour, may not give you a stinke; and in stead of a Girdle, a Rent; and in stead of dres­sing [Page 63]the haire, baldnesse; and in stead of a Stomacher, a girding of Sack­cloth; and burning in stead of beauty. Surely, when God clothes our bodies, as hee did Iobs, with Byles and Plague-sores, wee should then testifie our humilitie, even in our cloathes. Howsoever our cloathes be without, I pray God our cloathes within bee black and white; Blacke with Sorrow, and white with Puri­tie, that hee seeing our repentance for our sinnes, may also repent of this plague, and cloath us with those white raiments which they weare that follow the Lambe whi­thersoever he goeth. Amen.

And so from the Dresse, I passe to the Dyet of Humility, which is al­wayes spare and thin; either like that of Daniel, Water and pulse; Dan. 1.12. or that of David, when hee [...]ourned for his childe, Hee would not eate: 2 Sam. 12.17.

A Doctrine it is, This, That Pa­pists [Page 64]ascribe too much to, the Schis­maticke too little to. They make it an immediate matter of Religion, These no matter of Religion at all: They superstitiously observe it; These scrupulously decline it.

Such an act of Religion it is not, as wherein principally wee worship God,Rom. 14. [...] For the kingdome of God con­sists not in meate and drinke. sayes Mr. Paul, Et qui Deum per ventrem colit, propè est us Deum ventrem ha­heat, sayes Tertullian, Hee that wor­ships God by his belly, is not farre from making his belly his God. And yet for all that, it is a religious worke; else why did God command it, saying by his Prophet, [...] 2.15. Proclaime a fast.

This Fast is either corporall, in abstaining from meat; or spirituall, in restraining the affections from sinne. The corporall is not alwayes commanded by the State, nor doe I meddle with it; the spiritnall is [Page 65]evermore commanded by God, e­specially in time of Plague, and Fa­mine, and Warre. And this from God I beseech you to observe, Let your wanton eyes fast this time of wee­ping, from the sight of vanity; Let your curious eares fast this time of mourning, from idle rumours, and un­savourie talk; Let your glibbe tongues fast this time of feare from evil spea­king.

But what need I presse you to this? The time presses you enough; for let but your eyes imagine, they see their eyes, who are shut up by the plague, watering and washing their bed, bedewing their cheekes; and then your eyes will have little list to roave upon forbidden flesh. Againe, by as strong a phansie, let your eares imagine they heare their dolefull complaints, O Lord, thou hast justly restrained me of my liber­ty, for I have abused my liberty. I am [Page 66]worthily deprived of health. These soares are deservedly upon my body: for I have infected my soule more than once, and often: And then your cares will have little desire after newes and vanitie. And with your tongues speake what they speake; How long, Lord, how long shall thy iealousie burne like fire? for ever? O when shall I come into thy house? O forgive my sinnes, that brought this plague. O remove this plague, the iust scourge of my sinnes; and I believe your tongues will not easily lye and sweare, or talke idly.

In a word, let your polluted soules fast, and deny their owne wills, to doe Gods; so diet your bodies, that you may fat your soules; so feed your bodies, so fat your soules, that your Humility may have her perfect worke, and that brings me to my second consi­deration.

Quid efficit, What it doth: what doth humility? Exaltat, it exalts: 2a1ae, 2ae. what doez Humility. Humilitas est Schola, & scala coeli: He that desires to build high, and seeke those things which are above, must lay his foundation low; for humblenesse of mind is the Schoole teaching, and the Scale reaching Heaven: so he, and so the Poet, Quo minor est quisquis, maximus, &c. He that is least in his owne conceit, Prov. 18.12. is highest in Gods; so the Prophet, Before honour is humility: and so the Apostle,Iam. 46. God giveth grace to the humble. Pride is the beginning of sinne, and Humility is the A, B, C, of our Christian Ethicks; and there­fore sayes the Apostle againe, Humble your selves under the mighty hand of God, that he may lift you up. Iam. 4.10. Humility mounts the soule that uses it, to Heaven; Pride keeps us downe, for it is a plague. The plague is Tumor in corpore, and so [Page 68] pride is Tumor in mente; That a swel­ling in the body, this in the soule. [...] the plague be exalted, and become Macula in corpore, Tokens in the bo­dy, then the body dyes: so, if prid [...] be exalted, and become Macula in anima, Spots in the soule, then the soule dyes. And yet it is observed by some, that though the Tokens doe appeare, yet lying upon the earth, and breathing into the earth, may possibly cure it: And so humility, the lowest, and lowly­est of all Gods graces, will cure the plague of the soule, pride.

O quantum crimen superbiae, sayes St. Ambrose, ut ei etiam adulteria praeferantur! Oh how great a sinne is the sinne of Pride, that even Adul­teries are preferred and saved before it! Noverca virtutum, mater vitio­rum, The stepmother of vertue, and the mother of vice. The stepmother of Vertue, because it hates them, as [Page 69]many women doe those children their husbands had by former wives; and the mother of Vice, be­cause there is not one vice in the world, but therein is found the con­tempt of God, and that is Pride.

Humilitati autem nihil aequale, Tom. 5. p. 171. De Humilit. sayes St. Chrysostome, haec est bono­rum mater, & radix, altrix, & oc­casio, simul & vinculum: What is comparable to humility? Humility is the mother of all Graces, the root, the nurse, the occasion, and the bond of all Graces: The mother of all Graces shee is, for she conceives them; God had respect unto the low­linesse of his Hand-maiden: Luke 1. The lowlinesse conceived a respect in God towards her. The roote shee is, for they grow upon her; if they be not upon the stocke of humility, they turne into vices: Nothing more wicked than to cleanse the Leper, than to heale the lame, than [Page 70]to raise the dead, sayes St. Chryso­stome; How? nothing more wic­ked? why, these are good workes, how then are they wicked? Why, the Father tells you,Ibid. Si sit cum inso­lentia, If it be done in arrogance, and selfe-conceite, if it be done without humility: No fire of Charity, if it be not raked up in the cindars of hu­mility; and the Nurse she is; for the Graces of God, if they suck not up­on the Breasts of humility, they waxe leane, and starve: He hath fil­led the hungry, (Humble) with good things, but the rich he hath sent emp­ty away. And the occasion of other Graces she is; when Saul sought his Fathers Asses humbly, hee found a Kingdome gloriously: when hee sought himselfe vainely, hee lost himselfe, and his Kingdome foo­lishly. And the Bond shee is; for when the other Graces of God, se­ver themselves from humility, they [Page 71]become sinnes:Luk. 1.51. God puts downe the mighty from their seate, but exalts the humble and meeke.

You see what Humility does; It exalts, I could tell you much more that it doth; for all that I could and would tell you, I tell you, it secures. Socrates secured him­selfe from death, when the Tyrant threatned him with death, saying, volo mortem I would dye: Nay, but then sayes the Tyrant, thou shalt live: why saies he, volo sive mor­tem sive vitam, I will either dye or live, as you please, and so was safe: And so is the Humble man; as the Reed answered the Oake, The Oake wonders why the stron­gest of all Trees should bee some­times Eradicated, rooted up by the Roots, and sometimes blowne downe by the winde; when the Reede, the weakest of all things, should never be hurt by the wind: [Page 72]Why, saies the Reede, thou need est not wonder at this, for thou art a proud, and inflexible piece of wood, and will not yeeld; and therefore the winde that is stron­ger than thy selfe, breakes thee; whereas, I yeeld to every winde, and so no winde hurts mee, but I am secure; so saies the Humble man: Now God hath sent a Plague, I am willing to dye, and if it please him to take it away againe, I am willing to live: If I live; saies he, I will live to thy glory in newnesse of life, and ascribe it to thy mercy, if this destroying Angel passe over my house; and if I dye, I will dye to be glorified with thee, through Iesus Christ my Saviour: if I dye, in Heaven I will praise thee; and if I live, in Earth I will pray unto thee.

And that is my second part I am to speake of:2a, 2ae. The second ingredient [Page 73]for the cure of the Plague; Prayer: It is an opening Pill, it opens out hearts to conceive, our lips to utter a Prayer; and it opens Gods eares to heare our Prayer: If my people shall pray. I will heare.

In this I shall, if God will, shew you: 1. Quid est, what Prayer is: 2. Cui, to whom we must pray: 3. Quid efficiat, what Prayer doth: And 1. Quid est, What is Prayer?

Some have defined Prayer Com­paratè, 1a. 2ae 2a. Prayer what? and some Absolutè: They that define it by Comparison, tell us, That Prayer is the sacrifice of a Dove; that is, a Peace offering; and they that define it thus, direct us to first, Electio, the choice of a cleane one, by preparation, they meane, as the Psalmist saith, That our hearts indite a good matter: Psal. 45. and secōdly, Corpus, a Body, verba pura, viz. good words, & not to speak to God, as too many speake in this [Page 74]place to you, Non sence, by speaking Quicquid in bucc am vener it, what­soever comes next to hand: but so to speake, as God hearing, may ac­cept, and man hearing, may not pitty, if not laugh: not to comple­ment with God in uncoth language, nor yet to slight God with slovenly words, nor yet to weary God with tedious bablings, but with words well compos'd, that it be neither a leane body, nor a lame body. And thirdly Animā, A Soule: viz. Inten­tionē fixam, a fix'd intention; not to suffer our heart to roave & wander, while our lippes moove and speake, but to observe what we pray for, as we desire God to observe and grant our prayers. Wee pray of­ten, and God heares us not; and the reason is plaine, because wee heare not our selves. And fourthly, Alas, Wings, viz. Fidem, & spem; faith, & Hope; Faith, to deliver the message [Page 75]in Heaven; and Hope, to returne the answer upon earth, beleeving hee doth heare them, and hoping hee will grant them: And grant them God will, if fiftly, this Dove have plumas, and be not bare of feathers, viz. Gemitum & lachrymas, sighes, & teares. But last of all, you must be sure they have pedes, feete too, ope­ra Charitatis, Workes of Charity: And then, when GOD sees your prayers so compleate, he will, que­stionlesse hee will accept it for a peace offering. They that define Prayer absolutely, tell us, it is Ex­pressio mentis ad Deum in Nomine Iesu Christi, an expression of our desires in the Name of Iesus Christ to God.

An expression of our desires, not that words are ever necessary; for sometimes the heart may bee so o­vercharged with griefe, as that the tongue cannot speake. So we read [Page 76]of Hannah, and so of Moses; but that wee would make our tongues the Ambassadors of our hearts, when there is not a greater occasion to keepe them at home: For God made our Tongues, so well as our Hearts; and wee desire to have our Tongues in Heaven with our Hearts, and therefore must glori­fie the God of Heaven equally with our Tongues and Hearts. So the Psalmist,Psal. 45. My heart is enditing of a good matter, and my tongue is the pen of a ready writer; I will speak of the things which I have made unto the King. And so we, we must ut­ter, utter with our Tongues, what we desire with our Hearts.

But both our desire and expressi­on must bee in the Name of Iesus Christ; no promise but in him; no purchase but by him: Whatsoever you shall aske in my name, God will give it you: In nomine ejus it must [Page 77]be: for without him, we are like to have as course entertainment with God, as Ioseph promised his bre­thren, if they brought not Benja­min. By the Princes favourite, the subject obtaines the Princes favour; and by Jesus Christ, in whom, and in whom onely, God is well plea­sed,Math. 3. we obtaine whatsoever we ob­taine: and therefore as the Apostle, so I to you, Let your prayers be made knowne by him (viz. by Iesus Christ) to God.

And being made known by him, our prayers are sure of acceptance; for he hath purchased Gods favour for us, and that by a bloody rate,Hebr. 5. By his owne blood; By that hee entred into the holy place, to make interces­sion for us, this makes our Evange­licall sacrifices acceptable to God.

To God, I say: For as our pray­ers must bee offered, By; 2a, 2ae, 2ae. and in the name of Iesus Christ, so they must [Page 78]be offered to God, and to God onely; for God onely is the Cui, the ob­ject, To whom we must pray.

Not to Patriarch, or Prophet; for no precept for that. Not to Angel or Archangell; for no promise to that. Not to the Virgine Marie, or any shee Saint; for no example of this, let Rome say what Rome can to the contrary. But this is a matter of dispute, and so disputed it hath been, that it needs no dispute here; for they are not able to reply. And besides, their owne Doctrine and Example choakes them: for their doctrine never taught to offer, their example never did offer any thanks­giving to any Saint, or Angel what­soever. And yet thankesgiving is a part, and a chiefe part, of prayer: and therefore where no thanks­giving is due, there no prayer is due. Nor the one nor the other hath any object, but God: I shall therefore [Page 79]conclude this with a prayer to God.

God grant wee may never betake our selves to any other shelter, than Vmbra altissimi, that of God; for blessed be the people that bee in such a case; yea, blessed are the people which have the Lord for their God. God make us Saints in Heaven, and give us grace never to pray to any Saint; and to pray to him so, that when wee pray, he may heare.

It is my third consideration, in Quid efficit? what does prayer? 3a, 2ae, 2ae. And did I propose it so low, What does prayer? I should rather have pro­posed it thus, What does it not? It opens Heaven, and it shuts Heaven. 1 Reg. 18. Raine or no Raine, are at the com­mand of prayer. It defeates our E­nemies: So David overthrew the counsell of Achitophel by Prayer. 2 Sam. [...] 31. It obtaines favour with Kings:Neh, 2.4. So Nehemiah wonne grace with Ar­taxerxes [Page 80]the King, by Prayer. It o­pens Gods hands, and it shuts Gods hands:Numb. 11.2. So Moses, when God was angry, shut his hands, by Prayer. and when the people were hungry, by prayer Moser opened Gods hands to give them Manna. In a word, Prayer is, as Luther, speakes, though Hyperbolically, yet Divinely, Res omnipotentissima, an Almighty po­wer. By this,2 Sam. 24 Psal. 106. [...]. prayer, David in his time, and Phineas in his time, stayed the Plague. As they did pray, so God give us grace to pray, and to pray so, that this plague may bee stayed, through Iesus Christ. Amen.

Many objections are made against the necessitie of prayer, and against the efficacie of prayer. I have solv'd those objections else where;The third Sermon. and all that I say here, is, If any one amongst you all misse the aime of your prayers, it is, I will lay my life on it, it is be­cause your prayers are amisse: Mend [Page 81]them, and God will heare them; heare them, and forgive your sinnes, so that you mend your selves, and turne from your wicked wayes.

It is the third thing I am to speak of,3a, 2ae. and the third ingredient for the cure of the plague, Repentance is; It is a purging pill, it purges us of sin, and God of wrath. If my people turne from their wicked wayes, I will forgive their sinne. And herein I shall desire you to observe with me, 1. Qui, who are to turne, popu­lus, & populus universus, my people, and all my people. 2. Quid est, what it is to turne. That wee must take by the example of Turners. 3. A quo, from what we must turn, from our wicked wayes, from all our wicked wayes. 4. Ad quem, to whom wee must turne: for every motion hath a double terme, To God; turne to me sayth the Lord. 5 And lastly, Quid efficit, what good turning does us: [Page 82] It obtaines forgivenesse, forgivenesse of sinnes, forgivenesse of all sinnes. And when they are once forgiven, there is no feare, but with one helpe more, but the land will bee healed, and the plague removed.

Of which, may I so speake, and you so heare, and all of us so doe, Turne from our wicked wayes, that God may forgive us all our sinnes, and preserve us from the plague, and remove the plague from us, through Iesus Christ. Amen.

I begin with the first,1a, 3ae, 2ae. Who to turne. Qui, Who should turne; populus, & populus universus, My people, and all my peo­ple: 1. Gods people: for they that are not Gods people, either cannot, or doe not: They cannot, for want of grace; they doe not, for want of skill: They have no correction to drive them to it, they have no dire­ction to guide them in it: so unhap­py they, they that are not Gods [Page 83]people, that they have no unhappi­nes; They come in no misfortune, like other folk. So happy we, we, that are Gods people, that wee have many unhappinesses. We come into mis­fortune above all other folke; onely our mis-hap becomes a good hap; and our mis-fortune, a Fortune, a good fortune.

For when God whippes us, wee reade it in Corrigit, a Chastisement; but when God whippes them, it is in punit, a punishment. Chastise­ments are alwayes for amendment, punishments cōmonly for amerce­ments. When God does Castigare, correct his people, it is to amend them: When God does punire, pu­nish them that are not his people, it is to end them. With his people, God deales as a Father with his Childe, as a Master with his Schol­ler. And why doeth the Father [Page 84]whip his Childe? to make him bet­ter. Why the Master his Scholler [...] To make him learne his book. But with them that are not his people, God deales as a Judge with a male­factor: and why doth a Judge con­demne a Thiefe? To hang him, to hang him out of the way. Thus did God deale with the Egyptians, Hee sent them Frogges, Exod. 6. &c. and Lice, & Flies, and Grashoppers, and Murraine: and what was the end of all this? To o­verthrow them in the red Sea. But why did he send Fierie Serpents a­mongst the Israelites?Numb. 21 9. To make them looke up to the Brasen Serpent, that they might be healed. Why did he smite them at Ai? Iosh. 7.13. But to make them up, and sanctifie themselves, Why did hee suffer the Philistimes and Ammonites to oppresse them? but to make them say, We have sin­ned against thee, Iudg. 10.15. deliver us wee pray thee, this day. Why did hee send [Page 85]them Thunder and Raine in Har­vest?1 Sam. 12.19. but to make them pray unto the Lord, and confesse the addition of their sinnes. Why a plague in King Davids dayes?2 Sam. 24 17. but to make him con­fesse his sinnes. Why a plague now? but to make us that are his people, to turne from our wicked wayes.

Such a happinesse there is in being Gods people, for all the plague; and as Plato sayd, He thanked God, hee was a Man, and not a Beast; a Greci­an, and not a Barbarian: So we must, at least, so wee should, blesse the Name of God, that we are men, and not beasts, Christians, and not Infi­dels; his people, and not them, nor of them that are not his people: and God make us all so happy, that all of us may alwayes, especially in this time of plague, as to turne from our wicked wayes.

For it is not onely first, Populus, 2. Vniver­sus, all the people. but secondly, Populus universus; not [Page 86]onely My people, but All my people must turne: For all the people are sinners; and therefore all the peo­ple are in danger of the plague; and in more danger, because this sick­nesse is more dangerous than all o­ther sickensses, it is infectious; it is amongst us that tarry heere in the City; it may overtake them that are gone into the Countrey. I pray God it may not overtake them; I pray God remove it from amongst us: But yet it is amongst us, and for ought they know, or any man else, it may goe after them. If in King Davids dayes, it went from Dan to Beersheba; it may in our dayes goe from London, to the farthest parts of England: No way to remove it from us, no way to keepe it from them; but for them, and us, and all the people of God, To turne from our wicked wayes.

Were the sinne but private, and [Page 87]particular, and the punishment an­swerable, why then happily that particular mans turning might turne the plague out of doores. But the sinne, alas, is universall, and the punishment Epidemicall: All of us are sinners, all of us, though not happily all of us in the same de­gree, yet all of us in some degree are sinners, and most of us all in a very high degree, God have mercy upon us; and all of us are punished, some by feeling, some by fearing; some of us smart actually, all of us potentially; and therefore all of us must turne.

Nay, now I thinke on't, though the sinne were but private, and that private man had the passion of Re­pentance in respect of his owne sin, and cryed out with the Publican, God be mercifull unto me a sinner; yet notwithstanding all men should bee compassionate towards the ill case [Page 88]of others, and communicate with him in a joynt Repentance; the rea­son is, because hee is a member of the same Body. But the sinne, as I sayd before, is generall; we all say, and many of us, God mend our man­ners; doe but say so, We have erred and strayed from thy wayes like lost sheepe; and therefore all of us must participate in Repentance, and say, There is no health in us; but thou oh Lord have mercy upon us miserable offenders: For the Church is Corpus Homogeneum, and therefore Eadem est ratio partis & totius. All men are one Body, and every man is a member of that one body; and therefore the same remedy serveth both; what every man must doe in particular, all men must doe in ge­nerall.

All men are but one Body, and thus the Members are placed: The King is the Head, the Divine is [Page 89]the Heart, the Physitian is the Li­ver, the Lawyer is the Tongue, the Souldier is the Armes, the Merchant is the Lungs, the Commons are the Feete. The King rules, the Priest prayes, the Physitian feeds, the Lawyer pleads, the Souldier fights, the Merchant breaths, the Com­mons travaile: None of these can be spared, for then the Body will be imperfect; and therefore all of these, all Gods people must Turne. The King, though a King, and therefore the best of men; yet he is but a man, and therefore a sin­ner: and a Carbuncle may come up­on the Head; but I pray God, pre­serve our Head, King Charles, from plague and pestilence: The Priest, though a Bishop, and the holiest of then, yet hee is but a man, and therefore a sinner; and the poyson of the plague may possesse the Re­ligion of the Heart; but I pray God [Page 90]preserve the Heart of our Religion, and Devotion, the Clergy, from plague and pestilence. The Physi­tian, though the liveliest of men, yet he is but a man, and therefore a sinner; and the plague may by his venome stop the Fountaine of Blood; but I pray God preserve the Liver of our Body, the Physitian, from plague and pestilence. The Lawyer, though the nimblest of men, yet he is but a man, and there­fore a sinner; and the Sore may rise in the throat close by the Tongue; but I pray God preserve the Tongue of our State, the Law­yer, from plague and pestilence. The Souldier, though the strongest of men, yet hee is but a man, and therefore a sinner; and the Plague, stronger than himselfe, may breake the Armes; but I pray God pre­serve the Armes of our Kingdome, the Souldier, from plague and pesti­lence. [Page 91]The Merchant, though the richest of men, yet he is but a man, and therefore a sinner; and the plague may suffocate the Lungs; but I pray God preserve the Lungs of o [...] Kingdome, the Merchant, from the plague. The Common peo­ple is a man, and but a man, and therefore a sinner; and the plague may weaken the Feet, a Sore may rise in the Groine, but I pray God preserve the Feete of this Kingdome, the Common people, from the plague.

No way to perswade God to this, but for the Head, and the Heart; and the Liver, and the Tongue; and the Armes, and the Lungs; and the Feet, and all; all Gods people to turne from their wicked wayes. Some there be, that think themselves too good to humble themselves, and turne; and some that thinke themselves too unworthy to pray, and turne; but here is a checke for the one, and [Page 92]a comfort for the other; all my people must turne, The good man hath need, and the bad man hath leave.

Bee thou as good as King David, a man after Gods owne heart; yet K. David may fall into an adulterie, and a selfe confidence: and therefore not hee so good, but hee must turne. And indeed, how often did hee turne? Sometimes himselfe to God, and sometimes God to him, God to him by prayer, Turne not away thy face from thine annointed. And sometimes himselfe to God by re­pentance, Turne me, O God, and I shal be turned. And this is to teach good men, that when God is turned from them, or they from God, then that they by prayer should turne God to them; and they by repentance turne themselves to God, by tur­ning from their wicked wayes.

Nor none so bad neither, but hee may turne; not the Publican: and therefore Saint Matthew was cal­led, [Page 93]and Zacheus saved. Not the Thiefe; and therefore the Thiefe from the Crosse went into Para­dise. Not the Harlot, and there­fore Mary Magdalene had many sins forgiven her. Not the Persecutor, and therefore Saint Paul was con­verted. Not the Denyer, and there­fore Saint Peter wept bitterly. And I pray God give us all grace to weepe so bitterly, and to turne so truely, that God may remove the plague speedily, and send health into our houses perpe­tually, and grace into our soules eter­nally, through Jesus Christ. Amen.

This is not onely our Ministerie perswading: for you may thinke, and too many of you doe too often think too lightly of that; but it is al­so Gods Majestie commanding: and which of you dares thinke but highly of that? God commands all men every where to repent, Acts 17.30. viz. To turne. All men, deepe Polititians, [Page 94]rich Citizens, great Sinners, holy Saints, all his people, to turne.

But what is it to turne? 2a, 3ae, 2ae. To turne, what. That's my second consideration must tell you; and I must tell it you from the ex­amples of Turners: And for these examples, I looke upon Nehemiah; he met with an uneven peece of Timber, and he turned it round. I looke upon King David, hee met with a knotty peece of Timber, and hee turned it smooth. I looke upon King Nebuchadnezzar, he met with a loftie peece of Timber, and hee turned it thin and low. I look upon Israel, she met with a rotten peece of Timber, and shee turned it into the fire. I look upon S. Peter, he met with a foule peece of Timber, and he turned it cleane and faire.

1. Nehemiah at his returne from the Captivity,Nehem. 13.3.23. found in Ierusalem an uneven peece of Timber, a mixed multitude; Jewes that had [Page 95]married wives of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab, people that spake halfe the language of the Jewes, and halfe of Ashdod, and hee rounded them: he put away all their strange wives. Sie vos, so doe you: If you have in your house a mixed multitude, goods gotten honestly, by your labour; and goods gotten dishonest­ly, by Rapine, or Theft, or Vsu­rie, or Lying: away with them, re­turne them to the true owners, that Ierusalem may be repaired, that the plague may be stayed, that your bo­dies may bee healed, that your soules may he saved.

If the affections of your soules have married strange wives, the World, or the Flesh; if you come to Church, and speake halfe the language of Canaan, and yet serve the World, or lust after the flesh; take out a divorce, that you may serve God onely, that God, who [Page 96]onely can, may repaire the breach of the people.

King David met with a knottie peece of Timber,2 Sam. 11.4. [...] 8.13 he commits adul­terie with Bathsheba, when Ioab is besieging Rabbah, and sends for Vriah her husband to cover it; and when he would not goe home, nei­ther drunk nor sober, he dispatches him with letters, to dispaeth him of his life. And when his subtelty was found out by Nathan, hee smoothes it,2 Sam. 12.13.30.31. and sayes plainly, and sorrowful­ly, Peccavi, I have sinned; Et tran­stulit Dominus,, And the Lord tooke away his sinne. Sic vos, so doe you. If any of you, while your tongue hath been besieging Hell by prayers, as Ioab Rabbah by weapons; and in the meane time your heart hath committed adulterie, by roaving and wandring imaginations upon your gold at home, your businesse abroad, or your neighbour in the [Page 97]Church, either by lust, or talke, as David with Bathsheba; and you have sent for your eye, the husband of your heart, to cover this wic­kednesse, by lifting up the white of it to Heaven; why then dispatch it, pull it out: and now that Nathan your Minister, hath told you on't, be sorry for it, and confesse it, and say, I have sinned, that God may forgive your sins, that your tongue may conquer Hell, that the Crown of the King thereof, Lucifer, that Crowne which hee ware when hee was in Heaven, may bee put upon your head, and all his people, his tentations, and sinnes, and plagues, may goe under the Harrowes, and Axes, and Sawes of your repen­tance: and so shall the plague bee stayed, and you saved.

3.Dan. 4.30.31.32.37. King Nebuchadnezzar met with a loftie and proud peece of Timber, Is not this great Babel that [Page 98]I have built for the house of the king­dome, by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majestie? And by and by his kingdome was taken from him, and hee was driven from men, to eate grasse as Oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his haires were growne like Eagles feathers, and his nailes like birds clawes, and he confessed that Gods workes are truth, and those that walke in pride he is able to debase. Sic vos, so doe you. If any of you rich Citi­zens, that came hither with a staffe, like Iacob over Iordan, and are now become great, and have built you faire houses, Citie houses for pro­fite, and Countrey houses for plea­sure, yet walke not in the pride of your heart, say not, you have got this by the policie of your brain, or the strength of your hand; or if you have said so, as too many of you have sayd so, why then goe, [Page 99] eate grasse with the Oxen, feed hard­ly: wet your body with the dew of heaven, with thowres of ne [...]venly grace, with teares of true repen­tance: let your haires grow like Ea­gles, like Estridge feathers, to break off the Iron chaines o [...] your sinnes; and your nailes like birds clawes, to picke out the eyes of these proud tentations: Breake off your sinnes by righteousnesse, and your iniquitie by shewing mercie to the poore, that there may bee an healing of your errour, and a lengthning of your dayes, and a staying of the plague, through Ie­sus Christ. Amen.

4. Israel met with a rotten peece of Timber, coverings of graven I­mages, and ornaments of molten I­mages, and shee cast them away as a menstruous cloath. Sic vos, so do you. Isai. 30.22.23.26. If you have p [...] your crust in the graven Images of silver, or m [...]l [...]ea Images or gold; If you have wor­shipped [Page 100]your wealth, before you have your God; if you have taken more delight and paines in getting this trash, then the favour of God, why then, throw away these, be an­gry with these selfe-confidences, that God may send you seasonable weather, and give you bread, and binde up the breach of the people, and heale the stroake of your wound.

Fiftly and lastly, Saint Peter met with a foule piece of Timber, a Damosell meets him, and charges him to be Christs servant, and hee denies him: Another charges him, and hee denies him againe; and so the third time. Then Iesus lookes backe, the Cocke crowes, and hee goes out, and weeps bitterly. Sic vos, so doe you: If when you have met with a Maide, with a Woman, you have denyed Christ, and defi­led your selfe, his members. If a [Page 101]second time you have polluted his Temple, and lay with your neigh­bours wife: if a third time, you have defacced his Image, and denyed him; and belyed him, by selling his Wares at high rates, and put them off by Oaths and lyes: Why see, Ie­sus lookes backe, lookes backe with pitty, and anger both: The Cocke crowes, his Ministers call to you, doe you goe out, and turne from such wicked company, and weepe bitterly; that your Faith may not saile, that your bodies may not dye, that your Soules may not be damned; that you may live to praise God here joyfully, and in Heaven eternally.

For by turning here, God meanes a motion opposite to going on: you are in a way of sinne, that hath made away for the plague; if you goe on, you goe a wrong way still, and still the plague continues: If [Page 102]you would have the plague away, why then turne from that way; turne from it with indignation, and hate your sinnes as the Israelites did, turne from it by contrition, as Nebuchadnezzar did, and be sorry for your sinnes: Turne from it by confession, as King David did, and acknowledge your sinnes: Turne from it by Resolution, as Nehemiah did, and divorce your sins: Turne from it by compunction, as St. Peter did, and weepe for your sinnes: send up St. Peters teares to Heaven, that God may send some showers from Heaven, send up King Davids groanes to Heaven, that God may send health upon the Earth: Turne you from, that God may turne you to: They that will not turne, shall be turned; The wicked shall be turned into Hell, and all the people that for­get God. If you would have a turne to Heaven when you goe from [Page 103]hence; Then while you are here, turne from your wicked wayes.

That's the A quo, and my third consideration,3a, 3ae, 2ae. Frō what wee must turne. From what must wee turne? From our wicked wayes. And And here by the way, I looke upon the Metaphor, Wayes; and by wayes here is meant Manners, Courses, Con­versations, 1. Frō our wicked wayes. and the meaning is, Turn from your wicked manners, your wic­ked courses, your wicked conversati­ons. And againe, by Way is meant, not onely a course, but a setled course; not a starting, or a fit: but a constancie. Good men may start aside; as David into an adulterie, Peter into a denyall. but, Non est via eorum, It is not their way. This, and so the wicked may sometimes try the right way. Cain may stumble upon a sacrifice, and Saul upon an offering, and Caiaphas upon a pro­phesie, but it is not via eorum, they quickly take their former roade a­gaine; [Page 104]and so the whole meaning is You that are good, turn you from your wicked startings; you that are bad, turn you from your wicked courses: 2. From al our wic­ked waies. from all your wicked wayes. For not a sin, but must be repented of.

Israel was guilty of other sinnes; yet Israel could not get the victory, till Achans sinne was done away. Other sinnes there were, but Rabbah could not bee taken, till King Da­vid turned from his wicked way of adulterie. Other sinnes there were, but the plague would not be staied, till King David turned from his wicked way of selfe-confidence. Many other sinnes there are now, for which this plague is amongst us, but there are some wayes we walke in, some continued sinnes, either in­wardly or outwardly, Drunken­nesses outwardly, Hypocrisies in­wardly; Adulteries outwardly, Concupiscences inwardly; Pride [Page 105]outwardly, Ambition inwardly; Vsurie outwardly, and Avarice in­wardly. And answerably we must turne; Turne outwardly from our outward wicked wayes; and turne inwardly from our inward wicked wayes. Outwardly we must be so­ber, continent, humble, and libe­rall: and inwardly we must bee sin­cere, chaste, humble, and content. And this wee must especially doe; especially turne inwardly: for if we doe turne inwardly, we do turne outwardly. Whereas many men turne outwardly, that doe not turne inwardly. We may bee civill, yet hypocrites: we may bee chaste for the outward man, and yet adulte­rous within: wee may bee humble outwardly, as Achab was, and yet ambitious in our hearts, as Absolom was: wee may bee prodigall in the outward acts of charity, and yet co­vetous within in our desires.

And what say the Schooles of this? Our actions are so farre ver­tuous or vitious, as the will hath a hand in them. Vera bonitas & ma­litia sunt tantum in corde. True goodnes, true wickednes is onely in the heart. And God oftentimes takes not off his heavie hand, because we turne not from our wicked wayes with all our hearts. Non facta nu­merat, sed corda. Hee lookes not up­on our hands, but upon our hearts. Animae amaritudo est anima poeniten­tiae. The turning with our heart, is the heart of turning; the repentance of the soule, is the soule of repentance. And because this is all in all, I shall shew you in a word for all, whe­ther you doe turne from your wic­ked wayes with your hearts. There are two speciall rules to know it by: The first is Si in, the second is Si post.

1. Si in: if in the act of our tur­ning, [Page 107]we resolve never to have any more to do with sinne: if we throw our sins away,Hosea 14.8. as repenting Ephraim did: What have I any more to doe with Idols? Fie, Get you hence. Give me leave to aske some of you, Why doe you Vsurers call in for your money now? Because you will have no more to doe with usurie? or for feare you should loose your money in this sicknesse, and that when the sicknesse is past, you may have money to put out to use a­gaine? It is a turning this; But such a turning, that for all this, the plague may turn you into the earth, and these Reservations into Hell. I could aske the Drunkard the same question, Why does hee lay aside his pots now? Because he will ne­ver bee drunke againe? or because he feares by such quaffing, hee may inflame his blood, and get the infe­fection? and that at the fall, he may [Page 108]have his health, and fall to his Healths againe? It is a turning, this but, &c.

If you would have the plague turne from your heart, turne you from your sinnes, with all your hearts, with the resolutions and protestations of your hearts, That you will never have any more to doe with sinne. That is the first note.

2 The second,Tertul. Si post sequatur emendatio vitae, If after this resolu­tion there followes amendment, and a better life. Poenitentia sine emen­datione vitae vana, quia caret fructu cui Deus eam servit. In vain is that repentance, which is not followed with a better life; because it beares not that fruit, for which God planted it: that is, the fruits of Righteousnesse. If thou finde thy selfe after the plague, as bad as thou wast before the plague; in the plague thou hast [Page 109]repented, but so, that for all that, God will follow thee with another plague, or send thee into hell for it. The plague never kills, till it hath poysoned the heart: nor is the plague ever killed, til the heart hath poysoned it with Repentance.

From Plague and Hell good Lord deliver us all. And that wee may all be delivered thence, God give us grace to turne from all our wicked wayes with all our hearts; and assure us thereof in our holy resolutions pre­sently, and in our holy conversations futurely; that presently wee may ob­taine health, and futurely salvation, through Jesus Christ. Amen.

But being turned from our wic­ked wayes, to whom, 4a, 3ae, 2ae. Turne to what. or to what must we turne? Why, we must not turn, as too many wicked men in this world doe turne, from one sinne to another; not from prodigality to covetousnesse: This is to turne from [Page 110]one Divell to another; not from the extortion of pawne taking, to the oppression of usurie. This is to turn out one Divell by another: and for such a turning we may feare, That God will turne the plague of Pesti­lence into the plague of Famine, and that is worse: and turne out the plague of Famine by the plague of Warre; and that is worst of all. If you would have God turne away all these sore plagues, and leave a blessing behinde, then you must turne to him.Ioel 2.12. Turne to the Lord your God, sayes the Prophet.

Wee need not goe so farre for the example: Looke but in the former chapter upon the petition; and there it is in the 38. verse.2 Chron. 6.38. If they returne to thee with all their heart.

And indeed, to whom else should we turne? Hee is the Lord and so onely can: He is our God, and so surely will: With the Lord is power, [Page 111]with our God is mercie. By the po­wer of the Lord hee did create us, and doth preserve us: and therefore sayes the Psalmist, Psa. 100.3. It is hee that hath made us, and not we our selves: and therefore saith the Psalmist againe,Psa. 124.2 If the Lord himselfe had not been on our side, now may Israel say, &c. And may not wee say so now? If the Lord himselfe had not been on our side, when the plague destroyes a thousand on our side, and ten thou­sand on our right hand, but that it should light upon us too? No hand can keepe it from us, but the hand of the Lord. And by the mercie of our God hee did redeeme us, doth forgive us, and will save us. He re­deemed Israel, he will save his peo­ple, sayes the Psalmist. Luk. 1.71. He hath re­deemed us from our enemies, and from the hands of all that hate us, sayes Zacharie: and sayes hee here, I will forgive their sinne.

It is my fist and last considerati­on of this part,5a 3ae, 2ae what good by Tur­ning. Quid efficit, what good does this turning from our wicked wayes to God doe? Why, it obtaines forgivenesse, and here I shall shew you, God willing, first, that God onely can forgive sinnes: Secondly, that God certainly doth forgive all sinnes.

First, God onely can forgive sins; so the Iewe [...] disputed well,1a, 5ae, 3ae 2ae. Muk 2.20 when they sayd, Who can forgive sinnes, but God onely? Nor did Christ gaine-say it, though he sayd againe, The Son of Man hath power to forgive sins: for that was by vertue of the Union of the God-head and Man­hood into one Person; Originally it is in God, I, and onely too.

Nor is Quorum remiseritis any Barre,Ioh. 20. Whose sinnes yee forgive, they are forgiven: for the power of the Priest is but a Delegate, a ministeri­all, a dependent power; a power to [Page 113]ascertaine us, that such a thing is done Sicut in terra, sic in Coelo; As in Earth, so in Heaven: It is Primi­tive, Imperiall, and Soveraigne in God; therefore sayes the Church, O God, whose nature and property is alwayes (It will beare onely too) to have mercy, and to forgive; there­fore sayes Daniel, To thee ô Lord be­longeth mercy: Dan. 9. 2 Cor. 1.3. therefore St. Paul calls him, The Father of mercy, and God of all consolation; and so GOD proclaimes himselfe,Exod. 3 4. The Lord, the Lord God, strong, gracious, merci­full, and ready to forgive, &c. And so King David prayes, According to the multitude of thy mercies doe a­way all mine offences. Psal. 51.1.

In a word, sinne is onely directly against God, and therefore God onely can directly forgive sinne. As David therefore to his Auditory, Trust not in wrong, & robbery, nor in my childe of man, for there is no helpe [Page 114]in them: so I to you, trust not in In­dulgences, nor in Supererogations though the Churches, though the Saints; they are fallen, that you may stand upright; goe to God, but goe to God in the face of Iesu [...] Christ; for as it is Gods property to forgive, so it is his property to forgive in Christ. GOD looke [...] graciously upon none, but in the face of Iesus Christ: And then Ec [...] Agnus Dei qui tollit peccata mund [...] Behold the Lambe of God which take away the sinnes of the world. Ioh. 1.29.

And secondly,2a, 5ae, 3ae, 2ae. as God onely ca [...] forgive sinnes: so God certainel [...] doth forgive all sinnes, all sinne [...] that men turne from, and aske for givenesse for: so Christ himself tells us, All sinues shall be forgive [...] save the blasphemy against the Ho [...] Ghost. Mark. 3.38.

Object. And shall not that sinne be forgi­ven? how then doth God forgive [Page 115]all sinnes? Solut. To answer this, you must understand what Christ there speaks of; He speaks not, De personae Spiritus, Of a sinne against the per­son of the Spirit, but Dona, Against the graces of the Spirit: No sure; for, God blesse us, which of us have not sinned against the person of the Spirit? Which of us have not resi­sted, quenched, and grieved the Spirit? I: ô God have mercy up­on us, and against the Graces of the Spirit too; yet not to death, we trust [...]n God.

For howsoever the Schooles say, The sinne against the Holy Ghost, is [...]ot a sinne of Ignorance; No, that's [...]ardonable, as St. Pauls was; be­cause a man may affect too much knowledge, as Adam did; nor yet is it a sinne of Infirmity; no, that's [...]ardonable, as St. Peters denyall was; because a man may affect too much Soveraignty, as the Angels [Page 116]did; but a sinne of Malice it is, be­cause a man cannot affect too much Love. Yet with submission, I dare not send any weake conscience to despaire for this; for which of us have not sinned, when wee have knowne sinne to be sinne, and that against the arguments and perswasi­ons of our owne Conscience; yes, against the motions of Gods Spirit [...] and what is this lesse than a sinne of Malice? and God forbid, this should bee sinne against the Holy Ghost, and unpardonable.

No sure, it is not: The sinne a­gainst the Holy Ghost, that which is impardonable, is for all the world, like the mad mans sicknesse; not that it cannot be cured, but because it will not bee cured: The Glasse [...] which brings his health, he throws against the Physitians head, and fights against his owne Cure: And such is the sinne against the Holy [Page 117]Ghost; when God hath tryed all wayes, Judgments, Mercies, pro­mises, and threats; and all these are received in vaine, and the man will not repent: then, ah, then, I say no more; but as from all sinne, so from this sinne above all sinne, Good Lord deliver us. Till then, blessed bee the Name of God for it, there is no sinne against God, but may be for­given.

No sinne, though Tam multa, though Tam magna; though they be as many as Manasses's, more than the sands of the Sea; though they be as heavy as King Davids, a sore burthen, and too heavy for us to [...]eare; why yet for all this, God [...]orgave them, and why not us? surely he will forgive us, if wee will [...]oe as they did, Repent, and turne from our wicked wayes. For all this, Repentance doth, or rather intreats God to doe all this, you may bee [Page 118]sure on't, so that your Repentance be not like a Planet; sometimes i [...] Conjunction with God; some times in more, sometimes in lesse aspect; sometimes in plaine opposi­tion, for then you are not forgiven else if your Repentance be fixt, be sure on't; so that your Repentance be not like the plague: The plague takes one away, it may bee to day and then shuts up that house for Moneth; when the Moneth is ex­pired within a Weeke, and the poore soules hope for liberty, the the plague takes away another, an [...] shuts up the house for a Monet longer: So if your Repentance b [...] onely for fits, you may doubt o [...] forgivenesse; otherwise, if it be steady and constant, if you are so [...] ­ry for what is past, and resolu [...] for the time to come, and sinne [...] more, why, behold thou art ma [...] whole. All that I have to say to you [Page 119]more of this, is this, to beseech you to labour for forgivenesse: To be a sinner, Oh God, a sinner, it is the greatest plague that man ever pull'd upon his owne head; but to bee a forgiven sinner, to have our sinnes forgiven, this is a blessing of bles­sings; I, this makes a man blessed indeed:Ps. 32.1, 2. For blessed is hee whose un­ [...]ighteousnesse is forgiven, and whose sinne is covered: Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputes no sinne.

Many there be that care not, so they may have the carnall desires of their hearts; but as Abraham [...]ayd to God, when hee had given him Canaan, and many a larger promise, Lord, what is all this, see­ing I goe childlesse? Gen. 15.2 So say I to them; they have children at their desire, pleasures at their command, [...]ches at their becke; but what are all these, if they want forgivenesse: Oh happy, oh peaceable forgive­nesse, [Page 120]let me be as poore as Iob, as sicke as Hezechias, as hungry as Lazarus, I care not, so I may have the forgivenesse of my sinnes.

If you once have this, you may be sure, the next thing will be, The Land will be healed, if you seeke the face of God. It is my fourth, and last part, but the time parts this, and that; for that I must rest your Deb­tor till we meete againe: In the meane time, God give us grace so the turne from our wicked wayes, that he may forgive us our sinnes through Je­sus Christ: To whom with the Holy Ghost, three persons, one God, be ascri­bed all honour and glory, now, and for­ever, Amen.

The third Sermon.

2. Chron. 7.14.

And seeke my face, and I will heale their Land.

THis is the fourth,4a, 2ae. and last Ingredient that cures the Plague; I call'd it the healing Pill, and so it is, and so it had need to be: For the purging Pill left some Excoria­sions; we did not so turne from our picked wayes, but there were many infirmities left, even enough to de­ [...]troy us; many bleeding sores for [Page 122]all that, even enough to drive us to despaire, if God enter into Judge­ment with us: But there is mercy with God, mercy with him to heale us; and to obtaine it, we must seeke his face. And here I shall shew, with Gods leave, and your patience, first, what it is to seeke; and secondly, what is the Face of God.

In the first of these, wee must ob­serve first, a Quando; secondly, a Quomodo, thirdly, an Vbi; and them from all, which may bee a third ge­nerall part, what all this doth; it heales our Land, or rather intreat [...] God to doe, what here he sayes, [...] will heale their Land, and first of the first, what is it to seeke.

Quaerere est actus diligentiae, 1a, 4ae, 2ae. What it is to seeke. Rom. 3.23 to seeke proposes diligence, and supposes [...] losse; so wee are all at a bay, an [...] losse. Having sinned in Adam, w [...] are all deprived of the glory of God and so it came to passe with Adam [Page 123]as with a griping Vsurer, who ex­torting more than was due, lost all, both Principall and Interest: For Adam, by striving to know more than was allowed him, lost that knowledge which before was gran­ted him; and so became ignorant of God, and ignorant of himselfe; and what befell him, befell us. For as a man that is in the darke, cannot see any thing, no, not himselfe: so Adams brats being borne in sinne, which is the thickest darknesse, are ignorant, and cannot see either God their Creator, or themselves, his Creatures.

And hence it is, that there is a con­ [...]inuall seeking up and downe in the world; so that if a question were asked, what all men in the World [...]oe? it might bee answered in a word, Quaerunt, They seeke: some­what we want, somewhat we would have: though when we have it, wee [Page 124]are not contented with it; Multa pe­te [...]tibus desunt multa; untill we find that which is able to satisfie us, and that is God himselfe. So St. August. Ate Domine sumus, & irrequietum est cor nostrum, Lib. Con­fess. donec revertamur ad te: From thee oh Lord wee are, and we are not at quiet till wee are with thee againe. The wanton seekes to please his Flesh, the worldling seekes to fill his Purse, the profuse seekes to corrupt his manners, the Divell too, he seeks to damne our Soules; all these, and many more, runne about the street, and seeke, and are never satisfied: Onely God seeks our Conversion, and is well pleased in it. As I live saith the Lord,Ezek. 33.11. I desire not the death of a sin­ner, but rather that the sinner turn [...] from his wicked way, and live. And the godly man seekes the face of God and delights in it: Oh when shall come & appeare before the face of God sayes David?

So all men seeke, and therefore all men are lost; lost all in them­selves, because they have all lost God: Tua perditio ex to ô Israel, Thy perdition is of thy selfe oh Israel; They are all gone out of the way, they are al­together become abhominable, Rom. 3.12 there is also none that doth good, no, not one.

We are all, God helpe us, like the Woman in the Gospell, that lost her Groat; God give us the grace that she had, To light a Candle, and seeke; to light the Candle of Nature, and seeke the face of God in the booke of the Creatures, the Workes of his hands: To light the Candle of the Law, and see [...]e the face of God in the Words of his Mouth, the Bookes of Moses, and the Prophets: and to light the Candle of Grace, and to seeke the face of God in the expresse Image of his person, the Sonne of God incarnated, Iesus [Page 126]Christ. You see what it is to seeke; it is to use diligence for the recove­ry of what we have lost, and that is the face of God.

It is my second Consideration,2a. 4ae. 2ae, The Face of God, what. wherein I am to tell you, what is meant by the Face of God; and I conceive it necessary I should un­fold this phrase unto you; for wee cannot behold the face of GOD, and live; and how then are wee heere commanded to seeke the face of God, that wee may live, that our Land may be healed? Why that we shall know, when we know, what is meant by the Face of God, and what is here then meant by the Face of God?

1. Some by the face of God doe understand, Facies majestatis, The face of his majestie and glorie, but this in this life wee cannot enjoy; and whether wee shall throughly and perfectly enjoy it in the next, it [Page 127]is a question: For the Cherubims, as glorious and unspotted creatures as they are, cannot behold it for glorie,Isai 6.2. and therefore they doe veile their faces with their wings. In this life it is onely desireable, and wee may say with David, O when shall I come and appeare before the presence of God? Psal. 27.4. One thing have I desired of the Lord, which I will still seeke af­ter ever, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord, to behold the faire beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his ho­ly Temple. In the next life it is ad­mirable, and full of glorie.

2. Others understand, Facies Iu­stitiae, The face of his justice and judgement; But this is formidable, and full of feare; wee dare not be­hold it, we dare not: For King Da­vid, a man after Gods owne heart, did not dare; and therefore did hee so de precate it,Psa. 143.2. Enter not into judge­ment with thy servant, O Lord, for [Page 128]in thy sight shall no man living be ju­stified. So fearfull it was to him; how much more fearfull to us? For we feare and tremble now wee see but the backe parts of it, the plague. The plague, and all other judge­ments in this world, are but the backe parts of the Face of Gods judgement. His judgements in Hell are intollerable. Here we de­precate, From plague and pestilence deliver us, O Lord; if not from these, for these tall alike upon good and bad; yet from Hell, for Iesus Christ his sake. For Hell is onely for the bad, and not for the good.

Or if you you will take Iuslitia here in the fairest acception, for Righteousnesse; why even so, wee are not able to make answer to one of a thousand. Should God but ex­amine our good deeds, our Devoti­ons, and our Charities, our Fastings and our Repentances, by the exact [Page 129]rule of Righteousnesse, O God, how short should wee by them come of Heaven!

3. Others therefore by the Face of God, understand Facies Misericor­diae, The Face of Mercie. And this is it wee must seeke. The face of his Majestie strikes us dead, the Face of his Wisedome wee admire, the Face of his Iustice wee stand in awe of, the Face of his Vengeance we fly from, but the Face of his Mercie, his Mercie, This is that strong, out of which came this Sweet, and the full unfolding of Sampsons Riddle, This is that Lion out of which came this Honie-combe. I will not feare what man or Divell can doe unto mee, so long as I can seeke the Face of Gods mercie.

This is it, we are here bid to seek, and seeke it till we finde it, till we behold it, till it doeth manifest it selfe unto us.

But how may we know when we finde it? how may we know when the Face of Gods mercie doth ma­nifest it selfe unto us?

Why that we may know, if wee know how and when the Sunne doth manifest it selfe unto us. And the Sunne, you know, doth mani­fest it selfe, 1. Obscurely, 2. Plainly, and 3. Fully. The Sunne is mani­fested, 1. by Day light, that is, Ob­scurely, and this manifestation is common to all in the same clyma [...] unto which the Sunne is risen. 2. It manifests it selfe by Sun-shine, that is, Plainly, and this is not in all pla­ces where the day light is. It is 3. manifested in his full strength, that is, Perfectly, and this is onely in the Heavens, where the body is present, & no bodies enjoy it but the starres, because no other bodies can endure it but the starres; and there by they are glorious bodies. So [Page 131]God doth manifest his Face of mer­cie. 1. By the workes of his gene­tall providence to all the world,Act. 1 [...].28 In him we live, we move, and have our being. This is an obscure manife­station of himselfe, as it were, by day light; yet even this, as obscure as it is, is enough to make all men without excuse, Rom. 1.20. because hereby wee may understand His eternall power and God-head. He 2. manifests the Face of his mercie, by the peculiar workes of Grace to his Church. This is the Plaine Sunshine of his mercie: And blessed are the people that bee in such a case; Psal. 144.15. for Hee hath not dealt so with every nation, neither have the Heathen knowledge of his Lawes. The [...]est of the world, in respect of the Church, sits in darknesse, and in the hadow of death. May this face of is mercie, the Sunne of his Gospell, [...]hine bright & pure within the walles of this kingdome, till wee and our po­sterities [Page 132]after us, come to see and be­hold the third manifestation of his face in Heaven, which is the fullest manifestation that any creature is ca­pable of whether Saint or Angel, and thereby they are glorious and sancti­fied bodies.

That, that is here spoken of, is the second, and the meaning is this; seeke my face, viz. Seeke my mercy. My mercy as it is revealed unto you in the Mercy seat, and in the San­ctuarie, where the Incense Altar, and the Ark stood: the Incense Al­tar in the middle of the Sanctuarie, and the Ark in the Sanctum Sancto­rum; 1 Reg, 8.9. that in the body of the Church, this in the Quire, or the Chancell. Here stood the Arke with the Law of God in it, and the Mercy-seate upon it, which was called [...], or [...], a Propitiatorie, or a Propi­tiation, because it covered the Law, and hid it, that it might not appeare [Page 133]before God, to plead against man: and there in the Sanctuarie stood the Incense Altar,Exod. 30.10. which was sprinkled once every yeare with the blood of the Sacrifice, or the Sinne offering once every yeare, because an attonement was thereby made for the people. This was a type of Prayer, that of Iesus Christ, with whose blood, if our prayers bee sprinkled, He is the propitiation for our sinnes. 1 Ioh. 2.22.

That you may bee sure this is the meaning, you may looke upon the prayer, to which this Text is the answer. The prayer was this, If there be a pestilence, 2 Chron. 6.28.29. and the people shall pray with their hands spread to­wards this house, viz. the Temple of Solomon: that Temple was but a type, that type is long since ruined, but the truth thereof abides for e­ver, and it is this, If God sends a pe­stilence amongst us Christians, then [Page 134]we must humble our selves and pray, and turne from our wicked wayes, and seek his face by bonding our eyes to­wards the mercy seate, viz. his right hand, where Jesus Christ sits ma­king intercession for us, that our prayers may bee accepted, that our Land may be healed.

I conclude this with that of Saint Stephen, when his enemies stoned him,Act. 7.55. He looked up stedfastly into Hea­ven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, Si [...] vos, so doe you; now the plague destroyes your neighbours about you, looke you stedfastly up to Heaven, and by the light and Eye of Faith, see Iesus Christ at the right hand of God, and with faith­full prayers never leave importu­ning God, till hee have healed your Land, or saved your soules.

And one of these you shall be sure of, if not both; for marke the [Page 135]Apostles inference:Rom. 8.32 Hee hath given his Sonne for us, and will not he with him give us all things? It is as if he should have sayd, hee hath delive­red the better part, your Soules from Hell; and will not hee deliver your worse part, your Body from the plague? Hee did that by Iesus Christ, when you desired him not; and will not hee doe this for Iesus Christ his sake, when you desire him? there is no doubt to be made of it, so that we seeke him, as wee should: It is my third thing I have to doe, and here I am first to tell you, when you must seeke him.

First, there is a time we may find,1a, 1ae, 4ae, 2ae. Seeke God, when. if we seeke; secondly, there is a time we shall finde, if wee seeke; and thirdly, there is a time, though we seeke, yet we shall not finde.

First, we may chance to finde him, if wee seeke him upon our Death-beds, and never till then. [Page 136]But it is a chance, this, and a meere chance, if wee doe; some one, or two there are amongst 10000. that have so done: but it is not safe to follow this example; hee were but a mad man, that having a long journey to goe, would leave his money behinde him, because hee hath heard of one or two that have found a purse of money in their journey: And little lesse than mad is hee, that will deferre seeking of God till his Death-bed, hoping to finde him then, because one Thiefe upon the Crosse did so: there is no certainty this way; no wisedome to trust to this.

To seeke, I told you before, is an act of diligence, we must stirre our­selves, and turne our selves this way, and that way, and every way; and enquire of every one we meete, if we intend to finde what we seeke: But then, upon our Death-beds, [Page 137]alas, God knows, wee cannot stirre our selves, much lesse turne our selves; nor hardly enquire what we have to doe for paine. All that we can doe then, is to lye still in our beds, and let the Minister speake a few words in our eares; and if he wil be so kinde, as to administer a little comfortable Divinity to our soules, and so send them away, God knows whither: I speake not this, that any old man should despaire, no, de­spaire not, though you never sought God till your Death-beds; for one there was, and a Thiefe hee was, that never sought till then, and then did finde: But he was but one, and therefore doe you young men take [...]eed how you presume till then: For there were five Virgins, and this makes the Wager five to one, that were shut out for not seeking sooner, and received for answer, when they knock'd for entrance, [Page 138] Nescio vos, Math. 25.12. Away, I know you not; that wee may not receive the like answer, I pray God give us grace to seeke sooner. There is more hope to prevent the fire, when it is upon our Neighbours house, than to quench the fire, when it is upon our owne house: and it is more pos­sible to finde God, if wee seeke his face, when the plague is amongst us, then if wee deferre it, till the plague be upon us: If I send a pesti­lence amongst my people, is the Text, not upon them: while it is In aelios, a­mongst others, let us seeke, and not put off till it be In nos, Vpon us; and so happily we may finde him so, as to preserve us still from the plague, and to heale them of the plague. And God grant wee may so seeke, and seeke so successefully through Iesus Christ, Amen.

Secondly, there is a time, that though we seeke, yet we shall not [Page 139]finde; so sayes the Prophet:Hose. 5.6. They shall goe with their flocks, and with their heards to seeke the Lord, but they shall not finde him, he hath with­drawne himselfe from them: And Isaiahs Limitation sayes as much, Seeke him while he may be found. Isa. 55.6. And this shews plainely, that a time there is, though men seeke him, yet they shall not finde him; And so St. Bernard comments the words, Erit procul dubio cum inveniri non poterit, In Cantic. Serm. 75. and that is when this life is ended. Now is the acceptable time, now is the day of Salvation: you may put it off if you please, Et expectare salutem in medio Gehennae, quae facta fuer at in medio terrae: And seeke for salvation in the middest of Hell, which was purchased in the midst of the Earth. But when this life is ended, our seeking too is en­ded; if we finde not heere, wee are sure to misse hereafter; no hope to [Page 140]finde either in the Grave, or in Purgatorie or in Hell. Here if wee misse,Chrysost. Com. de Lazaro. we misse for ever. Non est po­stea situm in nobis poemtere aut com­missa diluere. No power to repent after this life, sayes St. St. Chrysostome; and St. Cyprian, Hic vita amittitur aut tenetur, Here we loose or gaine eternity. The next life is a time of rewarding, this onely a time of seeking.

And thirdly, in this life there is a time we shall be sure to finde, if wee seeke; and this is referred to pri­mum, and that primum is againe en­larged to semper. Mat. 6.33. First seek the king­dome of God, sayes Christ. And sayes David, Psa. 105.4. Qaerite faciem ejus semper, Seek his face evermore. Re­member thy creator in the dayes of thy youth, Eccles. 12.1. was Salomons direction. They sought Christ early in the mor­ning, Mark. 16.1. was the womens commenda­tion: So doe you, and you shall be [Page 141]sure to finde, if so bee your early bee stretched to perpetually; that is, If you seeke him first, and last, and al­wayes, why then, you shall finde God in grace to your soules, against sinne, in health to your bodies, a­gainst, the plague; and hereafter in glory to your soules and bodies against hell.

That is the first, Tempus opportu­num; 2a, 1ae, 4ae, 2ae, Seek God, Where? Cant. 3.1. the second is, Locus requisitus, or ubi decet; that a fit time, and this a fit place: Non in lectulo, not in your bed lazily. In lectulo quaesivi, sayes the Church; I sought him in my bed. I sought him, but I found him no [...]. Non in tumulo, Nor yet in the grave. The women sought him there, and were reproved with a Quid quaeritis? Why seek you the living amongst the dead? Non est hìc, He is not here: whereupon Saint Austen reproves Mary Magdalen thus; Quid quaeris in tumulo, De temp. Serm. 133. quem [Page 142]adorare debes in coelo, Why doest thou seeke him in the grave, whom thou oughtest to worship in heaven? Non inter cognatos; Nor yet amongst our kinsfolke neither: there, a­mongst them, Ioseph and Mary sought; they sought, but found him not: Whereupon St. Bernard thus; Quomodo, ô bone Iesu, inter cognatos meos te inveniam, qui inter tuos mi­nimè es inventus? O sweet Iesus, what hope to finde thee amongst my kindred, when thou wouldst not a­mongst thine owne?

But where? if not here, nor there, where then must wee seek for him? Why, in sinu matris Ecclesiae, sayes Saint Gregorie, Moral. lib. 18. in the bosome of our holy mother the Church. But where is that bosome? In Scripturis in Ec­clesia expositis, In the Scriptures ex­pounded in the Church. There one­ly you shall finde both Christ and the Scriptures. Et ubi Christus, ibi [Page 143]facies Dei, And where Christis, there is the face of God.

The Scriptures are in the Church,Rom. 3.2. For to her are committed the Oracles of God, and the Church is in the Scripture, and God in both. So S. Austen, In sanctis libris ubi mani­festatur Dominus Iesus, Ad Bonif. Ep. 50. ibi & eius Ecclesia declaratur. In the holy books of God, there is both the Lord Iesus and his Church. So Ioseph and Ma­ry found Christ in the Temple after three dayes search. There is his seat, and there hee is still,Luk. 2.46. In medio Doctorum, In the middle of his Mi­nisters, to aid them in preaching. In medio discipulorum, & in the middle of you to heare you in praying. Sic amat medium mediator Dei & ho­minum, Such love beares hee to the midst, that is the mediator betwixt God and Man.

In medio jumentorum natu, when he was borne in the middest of cat­tell, [Page 144] In medio Doctorum anno duode­ [...]mo, when he was twelve yeares old, in the middest of Doctors. In medio discipulorum doctrina, when he was preaching in the middest of his disciples. And now, where is he now? but, in medio nostrûm, in the middest of us. Matth. 18.20. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the middest of them.

So then, that you may finde, doe you seeke the face of God in the Church; in the Scriptures, but seek him there in the middle part of your selves too, your hearts.

That is the Modus; 3a, 1ae, 4ae, 2ae. Seek God, How? the manner how we must seek the Face of God, and the last consideration of the first part, I am to speak of.

Si quaeritis, Isa. 21.12. quaerite, saith the Pro­phet, If you will enquire, enquire: If you will seeke, seeke. Seek not loosly, slightly, slenderly; but if you will [Page 145]seeke to finde, seeke him with all your heart: so holy Bonaventure di­stinguishes these words, Petite quae­rite, In Luke 11.9. pulsate, Aske, seeke, knock; Di­stinguish these wo [...]s, sayes hee, as they are meanes to come to glorie. Then you must aske by prayer, seek by living well, and knock by perse­verance and holding out; but the sincerity of our heart is the greatest matter in living well.

Or distinguish them as meanes to come to wisedome; and so St. Au­sten does distinguish them, saying; Ad sapientiam non venitur, nisi quemadmodum Dominus docet; We cannot attaine to wisedome, but by that way the Lord Iesus hath dire­cted us, viz. by asking, seeking, knocking; that is, by praying, rea­ding, and repenting; but wee doe not onely reade with our eyes: no' but with our hearts too, if wee will understand what we reade: or else, [Page 146]by believing, hoping, and working, but hope is placed in the heart: if hope were not there, the heart would breake.

Or distinguish them, Ex parte pe­titi, in respect of the thing sought, so it is petite veniā, Quaerite gratiā, pulsate ad gloriam, Aske forgiuenesse, seeke for grace, knocke to enter into glorie. But grace is no grace, un­lesse it bee, as sought with the heart, so put into the heart. In a word, so he concludes it, To aske is the la­bour of the mouth; to knocke, is the labour of the hand; and to seek, that is the labour of the heart. So that there is no hope to see the Face of God, if wee seeke it not with our hearts. And so I conclude this part too, by contracting all that I have sayd, into these three conclu­sions.

1. Seeke him by the light of his Word: all other lights are but false, [Page 147]and like so many ignes fatui, as you walk up and down to seek God, let his word bee a Lanthorne to your steppes.

2. Seeke him by the conformity of your life; Oculus enim cordis per­turbatus, sayes S. Austen, avertit se a luce justitiae: for if your life be bad, you dare not looke upon the Sunne of Righteousnesse. By living ill, you may bee seen of God, but shall never see God; whereas by a well ordered life, you shall both see, and be seen of God: see him with com­fort, and be seene of him with de­light.

3. Seeke him by a heart establi­shed in grace: Oculus circumactus non videt etiam quae ante se sunt, sayes the same Father, a rolling or a squint eye cannot see the things that are iust before it. Nor the heart that is in and out, in grace to day, and [Page 148]out of grace to morrow: to day in a state of Repentance, and to mor­row in a state of Sinne, can ever seeke to see the Face of God. Look therefore for God in the Word of God: seeke God by conforming your lives to that Word, and see God you shall, if you hold out ac­cordingly to the end.

But,3a, 4ae, 2 ae. What good by seeking? Cui bono? what good o [...] all this? Why all this paines? Why seeke the Face of God? Why now? Why early? Why alwayes? Why at Church? Why with all ou [...] hearts? Why, doe you aske [...] why, it heales our land. It is the last par [...] of this Text, and high time I had made an end of it: I onely prove [...] it for the explication; and for the application, I pray God wee may finde the truth of it.

Looke upon Iacob, Gen. 32.30. Vidi D [...] minum à facie ad faciem, & sal­va [Page 159]facta est anima mea: I have seene God face to face, and my ii [...]e is pre­served. He sought the face of God, and God healed his life.

Looke upon Moses, Exo. 4.12. hee sought and saw the face of God, and his tongue that stammered, and was slow before, was healed.

Looke upon Gideon, Iudg. 6.16. he saw the face of God, and his hand that was weake before, was healed, and strengthened to save Israel.

Looke upon the Leper,Mat. 8.3. hee saw the face of God, to wit, Iesus Christ, and was made whole.

Looke upon the Hemorisse, Mat. 9.20. she sought the face of God, and tou­ched the hemme of his garment, and was healed.

Now, I pray GOD give us grace so to seeke his face, in the face of his love, in the love of his countenance, in the countenance [Page 150]of his well-beloved Sonne, IESUS CHRIST, that our land may be healed, this plague stayed, our bo­dies preserved, and our soules sa­ved, and all this, and all things else, for JESUS CHRIST his sake, To whom with the holy Ghost, three persons, one God, be ascribed all honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

Meditations upon the Plague.

What is the Plague? whence is the Plague? why is the Plague? three good questions to propose, they want three good Answers: well proposed, and well answered: They make a fit Meditation for the time; the Plague is the subject of the Time; the Time seekes the Cause of the Plague; the Cause desires the End for which the Plague is sent. First then, what is the Plague?

THis Quid hath many an Id, and Hoc; it is this, What is the plague or it is that: If I looke upon it under the Genus of Sicknesse, why then it is an ill [Page 152]disposition of the body:1. Mala dispositio. so Secun­dum Definitionem, It is defined so; Sicknesse is: or it is a want, a de­fect, a privation; a privation of health.2. Priva­tio. It is not a thing in Nature, but a thing against Nature, a viola­tion of Nature; for therefore is Sicknesse called Disease, [...]. because it is Sine Sanitate, Without Health: So Secundum Rem, it is thinged so, Sicknesse is.3. Macula. O [...] it is Macula a spot, Quia corporis for mam deformat, be­cause it disfigures the beauty of the body. 4 Debitum And it is Debitum, [...] Debt, Quia ad mortem obligat, Because it binds us over to death; It arrests us at Deaths Suite: so it is Secundum no­men, It is named so, Sicknesse is: Nay, sometimes it is a double Debt; a Debt to Nature, and a Debt to Physicke: If we dye, then Natures debt is payed; if we reco­ver, yet we are still in debt to the Physitian; so farre sometimes, that [Page 153]wee spend the last Farthing of our substance. So it was sayd of the Woman in the Gospell, she con­sumed her whole estate upon the Physitians: Or it is a percussion,5. Percus­sio. 6. Desola­tio. or a desolation; either a smiting, or a desolating: So the Prophet sayes, I will make thee sicke, in smiting thee, Mica. 6.13 in making of thee desolate by reason of thy sinnes. It is distinguished so, Sicknesse is; and of all sicknesses, this Division best complies with the Plague; and I beleeve the Prophet there meanes the Plague: for the plague is a smiting sicknesse, and is therfore called [...], for the fierce­nesse of it: And it is a desolating sicknesse, and it is therefore called [...], because it spreads, and dif­fuses it selfe into many, if not into all people.

In a word, the plague is an Out­lawry, and the plague is an Ex­communication: It is the greatest [Page 154]punishment in the Civill Law; and it is the greatest punishment in the Common Law; it outlawes us, and it excommunicates us too: It out­lawes us from all workes of Civili­ty in the Common-wealth, and we may not goe about our lawfull Cal­lings; and it excommunicates us from all workes of Piety in the Church, and wee may not goe to publicke prayers. No body may goe to visite them, hardly the Phy­sitian, they may not goe to visite a­ny body, not the Divine; such a fearefull thing is the plague, and I pray God deliver us from it.

For who else can?The pla [...]tre whence. who can re­move it, but he that causes it? and who is the cause of it but God? If I looke upon it as it is Praemium, or Meritum, A Reward, or a Desert; so my sinne is the cause of it, Causa deficiens: But I looke upon it as it is Poena & Correctio, A punishment, [Page 155]or a Chastisement, and so God is the Cause of it, Causa efficiens: So the Prophet Micaiah points to God; I will make thee sicke, I will: Mica. 6.13 And so does the Prophet Moses too; Wrath is gone out from the Lord, Num. 16.46. and the plague is begun. And the ve­ry word it selfe, Plague, speakes no lesse; for it is Verbum asperum, A killing word, the plague is. But it is the Lord that kills; and therefore it is called [...], To kill as it were with the Sword: But it is the Sword of the Lord, no hand can weild this Sword, but the hand of God. And therefore sometimes it is called the hand of the Lord; 2 Sam. 24.14. be cause in this punishment the Lord shews his punishment after a won­derfull and fearefull manner. And sometimes it is called an Arrow, The Arrow that flies by day: but no Bow can shoote this Arrow but Gods.Psal. 91.6. An Arrow it is for the suddainnesse, [Page 156]and an Arrow it is for the swiftnesse of it: It brings a suddaine destructi­on; for it creeps not, as doe other diseases, by little and little: but it pierces suddainly, and it flies with speed too, thorow a whole Citty, over a whole Countrey, Even from Dan to Beersheba;2 Sam. 24. and who can shoote so suddainly, or so swiftly, but God?

Manes indeed in one of his phana­ticall dreames, telles us, that a cer­taine Spirit in the aire, called Mes­sor, diffuses that contagion which breeds the plague. But wot you what his drift was? Marrie to esta­blish that Divellish conclusion of two beginnings, the one good, the other bad; and so to joyne another power in commission with God. But I believe, and I believe all good men believe the same, with me, that this Messor is one of Gods mowers.

Others there be that say,Beterg. de Ʋrbib. lib. 2. & 11. particu­lar cities have their Crytical dayes, and Clymactericall yeares; Every third yeare is fatall to the Grand Cayre in Egypt, in which 300000. commonly dye of the plague; eve­ry fifth, or seventh yeare to Constan­tinople, wherein the mortalitie sel­dome costs her lesse than 200000. And so some have noted the twen­tieth yeare to be mortall to London; but surely they are out in their ac­count: for wee have had three plagues within lesse than three parts of twenty yeares, one in 1625. ano­ther in 1630. and now a third is be­gun this yeare 1636. Surely then, they were then, and this is now, from the hand of God.

Others conclude the pestilence to proceed from nothing else, but a malignity of course arising from an ill conjunction of planets, or a con­currence of some other disaffected [Page 158]causes in nature; and their reason is, because they are able to trace the infection to the first body that dy­ed, or because they can distinguish betwixt a contagion received per contactum of other bodies, or oc­casioned by an infected aire.

They may as well deny Thunder to be the voyce of God, because by the helpe of Philosophy, they can probably guesse it to be the collissi­on of two clouds, and in them the contestation of two repugnant qua­lities.

No sure, as there is no mercie, so no judgement neither, wherein wee may not discerne Digitum Dei, the hand of God, whether it bee Winde or Storme, Tempest or Hayle, they are all his Ministers to fulfill his will; yea, and the very plague too: So sayes another Text, The wrath of the Lord kindled, Num. 11.33. and smote the peo­ple with an exceeding great plague. [Page 159]And another to that, and many more. If I send a pestilence. 2 Chron. 7.13. But why? Why doth the Lord send the plague?The Plague, why. If it be asked in propter quod, for what reason, It is for our sinnes. But if ad quod, to what end; It is to put an end to our sinnes, that we repenting for our sinnes, he may repent of his anger. Our humility is the finall cause and end of the plague; and I end it thus.

I dare not say, God hath infected the aire; but I dare, and doe say, I have infected the aire, I have infe­cted it by my sinnes; I have made my sins more infectious than the plague: For the plague infecteth but by sent, and that sent must bee neare. But I, wretch that I am, have sent my sinnes farre and neare. Some I have infe­cted with the sores of Drunkennesse, neare at the table; some with the spots of adultery, nearer in the bed; some with the tokens of pride, farther off in [Page 160]the street; many with the swellings of oathes, and many more farre and neare with those dangerous symptomes of covetousnesse and idolatry, of pro­phanenesse and hypocrisie, of theft and oppression, of lying and vanity; And what fire can purge this aire; but that of zeale? And who can kindle this fire, but thee, O God? O God, that thou wouldest once kindle it in mee: And lest it exalt the infection, I bessech thee to qualifie it with the moisture of wisedome, that my wisedome prove not dangerous subtilty, nor my zeale rash and saucie presumption: give me grace to tender them both unto thee in the Censor of an humble devotion upō the Altar of the Crosse: and doe thou so accept of both, that thy mercie may purge the aire, through the merits of Jesus Christ. Amen.

I dare not say, God hath infected my house; But I doe, and dare say, I have infected my house. My sins [Page 161]of anger, of rash and unadvised an­ger to my servants, have made thee my God, angry with mee the un­worthiest of all thy servants. My sinnes of ill example to my chil­dren, have provoked thee, my God, to make me the undutifullest of all thy children, an example to all thy children. My sinnes of unkindnesse to my wife, have incited thee, my God, to deale as unkindly with me, as with any the disloyallest peece of thy Spouse. And therefore in the lowest humility of a servant, in the submissivest dutie of a childe, and in the truest loyalty of a wife, I desire to make an attonement with thee my God, now while the plague is but yet begun. O God, receive it from him, who desires to receive from thee a blessing in those gar­ments which he hath put on by the hand of Faith, of thy Sonne Jesus Christ. I believe hee dyed for my [Page 162]sinnes, and rose againe for my Ju­stification; and in him I trust, as thou canst, so thou wilt pre­serve me, and mine this day, and ever, from Plague, and pesti­lence.

But whatsoever befalls my body by the hand of man, or by thy hand ô God, deale well with my Soule; which I beseech thee never to be­hold, but as it is dipped all over, and dyed cleane thorow with the blood of Iesus Christ: In whose garments streng then my Faith, that I may not bee affraid for the terrour by night, nor for the Arrow that flies by day, Psal. 91. nor for the Pestilence that walkes in darknesse, nor for the de­struction that wastes at noone-day. Oh let not a Thousand fall at my side, nor ten Thousand on my right hand; let no evill befall them, nor any Plague come nigh my dwel­ling: But deliver me from the snare [Page 163]of the Fowler, and from the noy­some pestilence; from the Tentati­ons of Satan, and from the conse­quents of sin, for his sake who o­vercame the Tempter, and suffered for sinne, Iesus Christ, Amen.

The Sicke mans Recovery, or his Duty after his Recovery.

John 5.14.

After that, Jesus found him in the Temple, and sayd unto him, Behold, thou art made whole, sinne no more, lest a worse thing come upon thee.

WHat a fit Meditation i [...] this Text for me? I [...] may be called The Sick [...] mans Recovery; or the sicke mans Duty upon his Recovery. And have not I beene sick? and an [...] [Page 165] [...] not recovered? Blessed bee the Name of God, I was sicke, and am well; and what is it fit I should doe, but what this Man that was sicke, did doe after he was well? and what that was, St. Iohn tells me, He went to the Temple; and thither he went; as I beleeve, to give thanks; and af­ter Prayers, he heard a Sermon, a Sermon of three parts:

  • 1. Of Commemoration.
  • 2. Of Admonition.
  • 3. Of Perswasion.

Was this Sermon preached onely to him? surely it was penned also for me: For whatsoever is written, is written for our instruction. And the Instruction of this is, to tell me, whither I should goe when I am recovered of a Sicknesse, from this mans Example, To the Temple; and what I should doe, from Christs [Page 166]Sermon: Even first, to remember this benefit, That I am made whole, Secondly, to obey this Precept, Sinne no more. And thirdly, the ra­ther for the perswasions sake, Lest a worse thing fall upon me.

This is the Theory, and these are the parts of thy Medication; may my execution and practice of it bee answerable, that in the Temple of the Church Militant, Iesus may finde me; and I in the Temple of the Church Tryumphant may find Iesus, Amen.

In hope I shall have grace to per­forme thy Desire, I beginne; and in my beginning I desire thee to ac­cept my Duty, it is my Duty, for Moses did it by way of Duty: Hee sung praises to the Highest, after that God had delivered Israel; and so did Deborah, she gave thankes to the Almighty, after that God had given her victory over Siserah. And [Page 167]did King David, after that God had blessed him, he blessed GOD a­gaine, with a Quid dabo? What shall I render unto the Lord for all the be­nesits that hee hath done unto me? This is the very end why GOD heares us in the day of trouble, to glorifie him. Thus did Christs Pa­tient, and woe bee to me, if I doe not so too: If I am unthankfull for what I have, I am unworthy of what I would have; whereas a thankfull acknowledgment of what I have received already, is a suc­cessefull invitation to receive more hereafter.

To thee therefore ô God I give thanks for what I have received; I have received Health, the Health of my Body; I blesse thee for it with my Soule. Oh that thou wouldst with that, give me this, the health of my Soule, with the health of my Body, and then would I [Page 168]blesse thee with my Soule and bo­dy: with my Soule I would give the Soule of Thankes; and with my Body, the thankes of my Body. The Heart of my body shall blesse thee with thankfull thoughts, the Tongue of my body with thankfull words, and the Hands of my body with the workes of Thankfulnesse: My Soule shall be thy Temple continu­ally, and I will dayly visite thy Temple with my body; my Soule shall be a Temple of Thankfulnesse, no Inscription shall bee there, but Sanctitas Iehovae, but Deo gratiae: Holinesse to the Lord, Thankes be gi­ven to Almighty God. And the Thankfulnesse of my body I will offer in thy Temple, and testifie it to thy Temples, to thy ruinated and decayed Temples, thy poore and needy servants, I will give the Oblations and offerings of Thanks: I will cloath them, I will feede [Page 169]them, and I will offer thee a thankes offering in thy Temple. Fit it should bee offered there, so that I am fit to offer it there. 2 A fitnesse is required in me to come thither, and if I am fitted, then no place so fit to offer thankfulnesse, in as there. I must be fitted to come there, for Iesus is there: and that is the fittest place, for there thou requirest it; Ie­sus wil finde me there: & there thou acceptest it, for I shall finde Iesus there.

1. And Iesus is an extraordinarie person, as the Temple is an extraor­dinarie Place: and therefore my comming thither, and carriage there, must be more than ordinarie. The place requires Zeale, and Reve­rence: Reverence in my behaviour, and zeale in my affections. The per­son requires Zeale and Reverence, Obedience and Confidence; Zeale, O­bedience and Confidence inwardly, [Page 170]and Reverence outwardly: indeed, all these in the inside of my soule, and outside of my body. My soule must stoope, and my body must bow: For at the Name of Iesus eve­ry knee must bow. Every knee, not onely that of the soule, but this of the body also. My affections must be servent, and my actions must fly. Sursum corda, & corpora, not onely the thoughts of my heart, but the hands of my body also must ascend, and be lifted up. My heart must be­lieve, and my tongue must con­fesse: for both desire to bee saved, and both are required to salvation, and with both I must obey. My heart, by enditing a good matter; my tongue, by being the pen of a readie writer. The cold of Winter must not quench my zeale, nor the heate of Summer thrust out my obedi­ence. The Summers drought must not suffocate my confidence, not [Page 171]the Winters frost cover my reve­rence. I may not take that libertie in Gods house, which I take in mine owne house. Nor may I bee so ar­bitrary in my Saviours precepts, as I am in my friends intreaties, and leave them as I please, done or un­done. The place is holy, and the person is heavenly, and therefore I must wash my hands, before I com­passe that Altar, and so present my selfe before that person, as if I were entring into heaven. And see, O Ie­sus, so I doe: In heaven there is no worldlinesse, no fleshlinesse, no di­vellishnesse; and to thy Temple I goe, without covetousnesse in my head, without wantonnesse in mine eye, without maliciousnesse in mine heart. O suffer not the Divell to di­vert mine attention by any carnall object, left I minde not my dutie; suffer him not to lull my devotion [...]nto a slumber, by heavinesse, lest [Page 172]my drowsie prayers pierce not heaven. Suffer him not to kindle the coles, or blow the fire of malice in mine heart, by an enemy, lest my thankfulnesse prove fectlesse: And what is wanting in me, doe thou, for thine owne sake supply, sweet [...] Iesus, that thou may est finde mee in the Temple.

2. Nor doe I this, and goe thi­ther, to prejudice thy Vbiquitie, in giving thee a vbi, and a certaine place of residence, no more then I diminish thy Eternity, in giving thee a Quando, and a certaine time of o­bedience. When I pray, Our Fa­ther which art in Heaven, I doe not do it to deny thee to be here where I kneele, when I say that prayer. But it is, that I acknowledge thee to bee there, where thou canst grant and accomplish that prayer, that I may look for thee in the best pla­ces, looke for thee, as thou grantest [Page 173]my petitions in the best place of the next world, at the right hand, and in the bosome of the Father, and looke for thee, as thou hearest my petitions here, in the best places of this world; in thine owne house, in the Church, in the Temple. For so thou hast Christened thy house, saying, Domus mea Domus orationis vocabitur, My house shall bee cal­led the house of prayer; and my thank­fulnesse, which I am going there to offer, is a part, and a chiefe part of prayer.

3. Nor yet doe I goe thither, to thy house, to give thee thankes, to barre my selfe from giving thankes at home in mine owne house, or a­broad in the fields: for every where I am commanded to pray, because I am commanded to pray alwayes; and by the same rule, to give thanks every where, because for all things. For thy blessings in the field, I [Page 174]must give thankes in the field, else why hath the Church appoynted perambulations? and for thy pri­vate blessings at home, I must give thankes at home, for thy bounty at my boord, and safetie in my bed, I must give thee thankes at my meales when I eate, and in my chamber when I rise, and so for my present health, as it is a private blessing, I give thee private thankes at home; and as it is a publicke bles­sing, by continuing a member in thy Church, I cannot doe lesse, and would I could doe more, than give thee hearty thankes in thine owne house, where the publicke Congre­gation may take notice of it in thy Temple.

4. Thither I goe, because I am not yet so strong, but that I need helpe; because I am not yet so ho­ly, but that I need holinesse. In hea­ven there is no Temple, but the [Page 175] Lord God Almighty, and the Lambe, Apoc. 21.22. they are the Temple of it. There is no danger of falling, & therefore no need of assistance there. But here, upon the earth, we need both; and to supply us with both, thy Tem­ple is called Auxilium, an Helper, 2 Chron. 4.9. not onely to tell us, that none is so well, but that he needs the helpe of the Church; but also, that when we are not well, we shall have the helpe of the Church to make us better, if we goe to Church, to the Temple. In Heaven too, they are perfectly holy; but upon the earth we are ho­ly but imperfectly; and thy Tem­ple is called Sanctificium, Psal. 78.69. not onely because it is made holy by cōsecra­tion, but because it makes us more holy by Iesus being in it. I am in some measure holy here where I am now at home; but I make no question, but I shall bee more holy there, not onely because Iesus will [Page 176]finde me there; but also because I shall finde Iesus there. Else, why diddest thou, O blessed Iesus, resort to the Temple? Not that thou nee­dest a subsidie of locall holinesse in thy selfe, but that thy example might bring others who need it, and amongst them my selfe, who need it more than all others, into thy Temple; so necessarie is my thank­fulnesse in the Temple, that I feare me, I shall bee no more holy, not longer healthy, unlesse I offer it there.

5 Nor yet doe I goe thither with this offering, to deferre my thank­fulnesse till I come thither; for God is no dilatorie God: he refuses not my thankfulnesse in my bed, nor a [...] my boord; not in my house, nor i [...] the fields. Hee commands them everie where, he expects them eve­rie where; but hee accepts them there, in the Temple: for there is [Page 177] the place of reconciliation, there is the word of reconciliation; and there is the authour of reconciliation, Iesus Christ.

3 And thither I goe, not onely for that necessitie; but also for this utilitie; not onely because Iesus will finde mee there, but because I may finde Iesus there; And there, O bles­sed Iesus doe I desire to finde thee. As the Tables of the Law were found in the Arke, as the Arke was cove­red, & as the cover of it was called [...], the Propitiatorie, or Mer­cie-seate, because it covered and hid the Law,1 Reg. 8 9. that the Law might not appeare before God, to plead a­gainst man.

This was thy type, O blessed Ie­sus, and bee thou the accomplish­ment of it to me, let me finde thee, as thou art called [...],Rom. 3. 1 Ioh. 2.2. my Propi­tiatorie, and [...], my Propitiati­on. Doe thou cover the imperfe­ctions [Page 178]of my best sincerity, or my sincerest thankfulnesse can finde no acceptation. I may finde thee else­where, but especially there; my praises may finde acceptation in other places, there they shall bee sure of it. The high Priest once in the yeare could be found no where, but in the Sanctum Sanctorum, Thou art my high Priest, O sweet Iesus, and there I desire to finde thee.

2. Not onely in the Quire, but al­so in the body of the Church: in the Quire, as the Mercy-seate in the Sanctum Sanctorum; and in the bo­dy of the Church, as the Incense-Altar in the middle of the Sanctua­ry. This I finde, was sprinkled once every yeere with the blood of the Sacrifice by the High Priest:Exo. 30.10. so let me find thee purifying my prayers; and my praises with thy Blood, else my prayers will be unavaileable be­fore God, else my praises will bee [Page 179]unacceptable with God: That they may be both availeable, and accep­table, I offer them in the merits of [...]he sweet Incense-Altar, Iesus: So let me finde thee in my Oblations, so let me finde thee in thy Directi­ons, so in my service to thee, and so in thy Sermon to me.

And what is the first part of thy Sermon? what but this?The Ser­mon. Ecce sa­nus es factus, Behold, thou art made whole. But what needs this? Can I forget this? Can I ever hold from beholding this? When I looke not upon this Ecce, and behold it not, I am worthy to be, and to be called Coece, and behold nothing: And yet my memory is very brit­tle, very brittle this way: An inju­ry I can remember a long time, an [...] turne, or an ill word from my Neighbour, from mine enemy; Manet alta mente repostum, I can­not easily remove it; such a thing as [Page 180]this is soundly settled. But Bene­fits, how quickly, alas, doe I forget them!Hose. 4.6. Psal. 106.21. Ps. 78.42. The Israelites forgat the Law of God: Nay, they forgat God that gave them that Law: They for­gat God their Saviour, and the day when he delivered them. And my Soule leaks as much as theirs: His Day, notwithstanding his Memento, I forget; even that Day which hee commanded to be sanctified; whe­ther the seventh, or the eighth day, or one in seven, I prophane them all: That day wherein he made me whole from the horrour of Hell, by the Resurrection of my Saviour, and that Day wherein hee made me whole from my Sicknesse, by the restauration of my selfe to my for­mer health. And therefore I blesse thy Name for this Ecce, and be­seech thee to put so much vertue in­to it, as that I may never behold this word Behold, but that I may [Page 181]there-withall remember I am made whole.

I am made whole; not, I have made my selfe whole, or the Physitians have made me whole; but I am made whole by thee, and blesse thee for it with my whole soule and body, in doing what thou comman­dest me to doe.

2 Sinne no more; for sinne caused this sicknesse,The Pre­cept. the stopping my eares at thy Word, hath stopped my eares from the quicknesse of hearing, and the shutting mine eyes to thy Directions, hath taken from mine eyes the quicknesse of seeing. My sinnes which weakened my soule in serving thee, have weakned my body in serving me. And now that I know my sinnes provoked thee to inflict this Sicknesse, and weakened me by this sicknesse, I will sinne no more, not so much for the smart that I feele, as for the act that thou forbiddest.

But Durus hic Sermo, and Super­bus hic sermo: This is a hard Speech from thee ô God: for who can beare it? and this is a proud speech from me, and I cannot doe it; and yet I will doe it as I can, and beseech thee I may doe it, as thou wilt ac­cept, though I looke never so nar­rowly over my selfe all day, yet at night, I cannot say, my Heart is cleane; and therefore I beseech thee, Cleanse me from my secret faults, & that my lips may not break out into out ragiousnesse, or my hands into wickednesse. I beseech thee againe and againe, keepe me from presumptuous sinnes, and whilst thou dost thus forgive me the one, and preserve me from the o­ther, I shall so farre observe thy Precept, Sinne no more; as that a worse thing shall not fall upon me.

3 For though I suffer by the hand of thy providence,The per­swasion. though I smart [Page 183]by the common accidents of this life, though I am persecuted for righteousnesse sake: Haec non dura­bunt atatem, none of these shall last for ever: Terminus malorum Mors, the Grave will be a Quietus est, a bed of rest; and Death an end of these miseries. But, Si amplius pec­cavero, pejus. If I sinne againe, If I sinne againe presumptuously, my mise­ries will be longer liv'd: There is a worme will gnaw upon my Consci­ence, a fire that will never bee quenched, a torment that will ne­ver be eased, a Devill that will ne­ver be intreated, a Hell that will never give me rest: from whence that I may be preserved, I beseech thee so to preserve me from sinne, as that I may bee preserved into e­verlasting life through Iesus Christ; upon the Altar of whose Crosse, I offer thee my thankes, and beseech thee to accept them in the suffici­ency [Page 184]of whose Merits, I desire thee to justifie me, that I may pray, and call thee, as he hath taught me, Our Father, which art in Heaven, &c.

Meditations upon the Plague.

IT is I that have sinned, Oh Lord, 2 Sam. 24.17. it is I, &c. So sayd King David, and he sayd it as a King: Is it not too much sauci­nesse in me, the meanest subject, to say what the mightiest King sayd? It would be so, if I did it to emulate it as a King. But alas, I doe it as a sinner; a sinner, not like him, but a sinner farre greater than himselfe. [Page 185]He committed the sinne for which that Plague was sent, and who hath provoked God to send this Plague, but my selfe? or if any man sinnes beare mine company, yet what mans sinnes can equall mine? Is a­ny man so selfe-confident as I am? who so bold, so presumptuous as the blind? And for Davids selfe-confi­dence was that plague inflicted, and why not this for mine? He was the Head of that Common-wealth, and am not I the Priest of this Parish? The plague was no where then but there; and where is it so great as here? What Parish about this Ci­ty compares with this? In many Parishes, none, in some, one; never a one neare this, never a two: The two greatest of all doe but equall this in theFor one Weeke. number; and surely it is for my sinnes, this; though they are all sinners, yet none of them all can say, It is I that have sinned, It is [Page 186]I; but onely I my selfe. Their sins alas, are but sinnes of Ignorance, at worst, but sinnes of Negligence: but mine are of Knowledge, and contempt; so I acknowledge my contempt, and to the confusion of mine owne face I say it, It is I, ô God, it is I that have sinned; but these sheepe, the people of this Parish, ô Lord what have they done? no­thing in comparison of me, theirs alas, are but infirmities: But mine, woe is me, are impieties: they sinne one against another in unrighteous­nesse, and against other Creatures in intemperatenesse; and so I, and more I, against my GOD in pro­phanesse. O my God, forgive them, and remove thy heavy hand; for­bid thy destroying Angell to strike them any more; and if thy anger bee not yet appeased, set thy hand against mee and my fami­ly, See, here is my selfe, and what [Page 187]is as deare to mee as my selfe, my wife and children, take which of us all, or all of us, which thou plea­sest, so thou wilt spare the Parish; so thou wilt spare the Citie; O spare them, and take mee: or if, as thou wilt, spare us all, and give them all grace to doe what thou hast gi­ven mee grace to promise, that I will doe what King David did: Reare thee an Altar; And this I will no longer put off to doe, but I doe it now. The Altar of a holy protestation I reare, that I will ne­ver have any more to doe with sin, at the thought of it I will tremble, the tentations of it I will resist, the company of it I will shun; and those particular sins, to which I am most subject, I will subdue. Strengthen mee, O Lord, to performe this, and bee pleased to accept these Sacrifi­ces, which upon this Altar I offer. Some meales weekly I will pur­posely [Page 188]misse, while the plague la­steth, and that I will give to the poore. Not a night will I goe to bed, but I will water it with teares, because it is I that have sinned; and yet thou sparest me. O spare them all, and accept from me these almes, and put these teares into thy bottle; send us health, fill us with grace to doe thy will, & blesse us all with the grace of our Lord Iesus Christ. Amen.

And David built there an Altar unto the Lord, 2 Sam. 24.25. &c.] And so have I, O God, I have built an Altar; the foundation of it is layd upon the earth; and I tremble at mine owne infirmities: The top of it reaches unto heaven; and I am constant in my resolutions, I will meddle no more with sinne, not onely with those sinnes which brought this plague, but not with any sinne at all. Nor doe I this out of presump­tion, or that I promise more than I [Page 189]meane to performe, though I know I cannot live, and not sinne; for I will not live in any sinne; And lest the Divell should hereafter suggest falsly, that I am as selfe-confident as St. Peter was, I do not say, I will not, as if the power were mine; but, by thy grace, O God, I will not. That I may not, pursue mee continually with thy grace. Never cease giving til I cease begging. And that I never cease begging, let the begging of thy grace bee evermore the begin­ning of my prayers; which prayers, as thou hast in some measure heard, so I beseech thee, accept of what thou hast heard, my burnt offerings of a broken heart & a contrite Spirit: For see, O God, I breake my heart, I sigh, I sob, I pine, I moane, and my heart pants after thee, the fountaine of living water, as the Hart doth after the fountain of wa­ter, that hee may live. Thou hast [Page 190]hunted mee with this Hound, the Plague: It hath beene on my right hand, and there slaine; on my left hand, and there destroyed; behinde me, and before mee, and not gone empty away; and yet it is not, bles­sed be thy name, in my dwelling. O take it out of my parish, take it out of this Citie, say to the Angell that destroyes this Citie, as thou diddest to that, that destroyed the people in Ierusalem: It is enough: stay thine hand; blessed bee thy Name for the Decrease of this weeke: Goe on ô God, goe on in thy Mercies towards us: And as I thinke it not enough to breake my heart, unlesse I bruise my Spirit too: by denying it those Recrea­tions, and potations, and comesti­ons that it desires; so doe not thou thinke it enough to diminish but distinguish the Plague; and I will, not onely not diminish, but increase [Page 191]those burnt offerings for my passed, and these peace offerings for my present and continued sinnes, of Repentance, Charity, and Sinceri­ty: of Repentance to thee for my sinnes, of Charity to the Poore for thee; of Sincerity to both: yet not expecting that thou shouldst be intreated for the Land, and stay the Plague from the City for this; For I am not worthy of the least of all thy mercies: but that I trust, Thou wilt bee intreated in mercy to accept these my sacrifices, and stay that thy Iudgement, through the merits of him for whose sake thou hast promised to deny nothing that shall be asked ac­cording to thy will: If it be thy will, deliver us from the Plague: As it is thy will, save our soules, or both; through Iesus Christ. Amen.

In wose Blessed Name and words, &c.

Resolves and Meditations upon St. Matth. 6. fit for all times, especially this of the Plague.

Matth. 6.

Ver. 2 When thou dost thine Almes.

Ver. 5 When thou dost pray.

Ver. 16 When thou dost fast.

Ver. 33 Seek first the kingdome, &c.

UNDER these foure Duties Christ compri­ses the whole summe of Religion: for what doth Religion binde us to doe? but to Give? to Pray? to Fast? to Seeke? To give to the [Page 193] Poore? to pray to God, Ver. 16. Whē thou dost Fast. Ver. 33. Seeke first the King­dome, &c. to fast from sinne alwaies, from meate some­times, and to seeke the Kingdome of God first: Or it may bee the former three containes all Religion com­mands; and in these three, we are to seeke the Kingdome of God; If any other thought thrust into our Charity, or Prayer, or Fasting, to thrust them out, and onely to enter­taine this, To seeke the Kingdome of God in these; to seeke it, and to take it; to seeke it in those two, as with two eyes, of Prayer and Fa­sting; and to take it with that one, as with a hand, the hand of Charity, consists Religion in those three, as the worke? and that one as the wages? or in all foure; as the worke and wages? (for it is a wages, and a great reward, when we either give Almes, or Pray, or Fast) it is all one to mee; for I doe those three for this end, or seeke this end in [Page 194]those three,Ver. 2. Whē thon dost thine Almes. Ver. 5.Whē thou dost pray. and doe all foure for no other end, but because Christ hath commanded me; and those o­ther ends which are subordinate to this.

It is a Part of thy Sermon, ô thou sweet Preacher to thy Hearers, and Saviour of thy doers I amongst the rest have heard this Sermon, and I with the rest, set my selfe to do this Sermon; For, I doe give Almes, I doe Pray, I doe Fast, and I doe seeke.

I doe give Almes',2. Quam fa­cis Elee­mosynam. else I should put lesse into the pot, and more in­to my purse; but what good will the saving of the one, or the filling of the other doe me, if I lose my owne soule? My soule is lost if I doe it not, though I doe not doe it, thereby to save my soule: My salvation is thy gift, and I begge it, but I shall not obtaine it, though I begge it, unlesse I worke it out, to [Page 195]obtaine it: The Almes of my meat,Ver. 16. Whē thou dost fast. Ver. 33. Seeke first the King­dome, &c. of my mony, of my cloathes, cannot purchase it; for Christ purchas'd it by his blood, yet for mee that purchase is not effectuall, without these workes: These workes will move thee to such a mercy, as to turne away this Plague, or some such temporall judgement: These workes will make mee like thee; for thou art the Father of Mercy: and these are workes of Mercy: These workes shall follow me to the grave hereafter; & are to me now an evidence, and sure foun­dation of eternall life: And yet, none of these ends doe I looke up­on in mine Almes; all that I aime at in them, is to glorifie thee, to glo­rifie thee in my obedience, to glori­fie thee in my example, to glorifie thee in my Faith; and if thou plea­sest to accept this Charity so well, [...]s to make it a light to shine so far, [Page 196]as that others may thereby be stir­red up to doe likewise, Ver. 2. Whē thou dost thine Almes. Ver. 5. Whē thou dost pray. as to take it done by me, because thou hast char­ged it upon me; as by it, to make my calling and election sure: I blesse thee with my soule, and shall evermore acknowledge my selfe created to good workes in Christ Jesus, and walke in them, and so carefully, that my left hand of va­nity and vaine glory, shall not know what my right hand of sincerity and obedience doth, for I doe give this Almes because thou hast com­manded me so to doe, and beseech thee to accept them, as that they may abound to my account; through Iesus Christ Amen.

And as I give Almes; so I pray, I pray Deaetically; 5. Quam or as. and I pray pro­seucetically; and I pray Eucharisti­cally, and all these Exteuxetically, I Deprecate, and pray against evill; [Page 197] Leade us not into Tentation, Ver. 16. Whē thou dost Fast. Ver. 33. Seeke first the King­dome, &c. but deli­ver us from evill; I supplicate and pray for good, Hallowed be thy Name, Thy Kingdome come, Thy Will be done in earth as it is in heaven, give us this day our dayly bread, and forgine us our trespasses, as wee for­give them that trespasse against us: And I gratulate and pray thee in praise and thank sgiving: Thine is the Kingdome power, and glory, and in all these, I intercede and pray for all men, as for my selfe, saying, Our Father which art in Heaven. In Faith I pray, and dare say, My Fa­ther, as Thomas said, and praid to Christ, My God, and my Lord; but in Charity, I dare not but pray and say, as Christ taught St. Thomas to pray, Our Father: Father of us all; all Creatures and things, by Creati­on, of all men, by Redemption; of all Christians, by Regeneration; of all Saints, by Adoption, and Obsig­nation; [Page 198]still, Verse 2. Whē thou dost thine Almes. Verse 5. Whē thou dost pray. Our Father, and that so I may finde thee, I pray that prayer in the same words, Our Fa­ther, which art in Heaven; not that my thoughts limit thy Vbiquity in this place of residence, or confine thee to Heaven: but that this place may limit the Vbiquity of my thoughts, and give them no other residence but in, and confine them onely to Heaven: to restraine my thoughts from roaving and ranging, and to fixe them onely on heavenly things; to levell them especially for heavenly blessings, while I pray to a heavenly Father; and prin­cipally for that, which is the princi­pallest of all things, and all bles­sings, the Hallowing of thy Name; not onely for the knowing of thy Name to bee great, not onely for the acknowledging of thy Name to be good, not onely for the allow­ing thy Name to be good and great, [Page 199]but for the hallowing of thy Name; Ver. 16. Whē thou dost Fast. Ver. 33. Seeke first the king­dome, &c. to thinke of it reverently, to speake of it fearefully, to sweare by it true­ly, to call upon it confidently, to use it in thought, word, and deed holily. A good Name is prefer­red by men above all things; and Thy Name is preferred by Chri­stians above all Names, and the Hallowing of thy Name, is the chie­fest of all Christian desires: This I desire, and desire that thy Name may be esteemed, beleeved, honou­red, obeyed, and reverenced by all men as Holy: And to effect this, I desire againe, Thy Kingdome come: Thy Kingdome come into us pow­erfully to rule us, justly to bridle us, mercifully to pardon us, graciously to sanctifie us; and gloriously to change our vile bodies, and make them like unto Thy glorious Body; or rather, like His glorious Body, who hath taught us to pray, Our Father [Page 200]which art in heaven, Ver. 2. Whē thou dost thine Almes. Ver. 5. Whē thou dost pray. Hallowed be thy Name, Thy Kingdome come, and that we may obey thee in the kingdome of Thy Grace, and reigne with thee in the kingdome of Thy Glo­ry. I desire, Thy Will bee done in Earth, in the kingdome of thy grace, as it is in Heaven, in the king­dome of thy glory: Thy Will that was delivered by thy Mouth, writ­ten by thy Finger, preached by thy Sonne, revealed by thy Spirit, expounded by thy Prophets, and applied by thy Pastors. This thy wil I wil & desire be done, as knowingly without errour, as faithfully with­out hazard, as fearfully without pride, in earth by earthly men, as it is in heaven by heavenly Angels: i [...] carth by sinners, as in heaven by Saints: in the earth of the common­wealth, as in the heaven of the Church: in the earth of the out­ward man, as in the Heaven of the [Page 201]inward man; Vers. 16. Whē thou doest ast. Vers. 33. Seek first the king­dome, &c. in the earth of the flesh, as in the heaven of the Spirit, in the earth of passion, as in the hea­ven of action; that wee may not blaspheme thee in suffering, by too much adversitie, and not doe thy will passively, nor forget thee in action, by too much abundance, and not doe thy will actively, I desire and pray unto thee, Give us this day our daily bread; give freely, for we deserve it not; give liberally, for we stand in need of it; Give perpetual­ly, for else our sinnes will abridge it; give Vs thy unworthy servants, Vs thy adopted sonnes, Vs thy di­vorced Spouse, Vs thy defaced Image, Vs thy wandring sheepe; Give us this day of the Sunne, and delay it not; this day of our life, else wee enjoy it not; this day of the Gospell, and deny it not; this day of thy grace, and refuse it not, this day of peace, and thy blessing [Page 202]with it; Vers. 2. Whē thou dost thine almes Vers. 5. Whē thou dost pray. give us bread to nourish our booies, to feed our soules, even all things necessarie for our being and well-being: But let it hee, as thy gift, so our bread, gotten by labour honestly, obtained by prayer fer­vently, sanctified by than. sgiving holily; and let it be our daily bread, as is eaily fie for us, and may make us daily depend on thee, without murmure or distrust.

That thy hand may not be short­ned to give, I desire and pray thee, to forgive and drowne in the sea of thy mercie, to forgive and blot out of the book of our accounts, to for­give us, poore, rich, great, small, old, young, all, Our dehts, both origi­nall, wherein wee were borne, and actuall wherein wee have liued; whether omitted by ignorance, neglect, or disobedience, or com­mitted against thee, thy creatures, others, or our selves; unreservedly, [Page 203]without future revenge; Vers. 16. Whē thou doest fast. Vers. 33. Seek first the king­dome, &c. uncondi­tionally, without present excepti­on, as wee doe with our hearts sin­cerely, all debts wholly, to all men generally, for Christs sake loving­ly; in whose name, and for whose sake, I pray by deprecation.

Lead us not into tentation, but deli­ver us from evill: For if thou joyne not perseverance to my repen­tance, I shall run upon a new score of debts, and make my end worse than my beginning; give us there­fore either freedome from tentati­on, and lead us not into it, or as­sistance in tentation, and deliver us from the evil of it; either exempt us from the fight, or assure us of the crowne. Our estate is weake, and we desire therefore to be led; the way is dangerous, and wee desire therefore not to be led into tenta­tion; or if by the leading hand of thy justice, we take some falles in [Page 204]the way; Vers. 2. Whē thou dost thine almes. Vers. 5. Whē thou dost pray. yet by the guiding hand of thy mercie, lead us out, that we feele no harme in the end. We de­sire not to bee encountred by the Divels furie, or the worlds subtilty, or the fleshes treacherie: not with the force of that Lion, or the fraud of this enemie, or the falshood of the other friend; or if thou doest lead us into these encounters of ten­tation, yet baile us againe, and deli­ver us from evill. We desire thee to keepe thy hand over us, that we be not foiled; at least to keep thy hand under us, that wee be not foundred; we desire such a triall, that wee bee not cast, or if so, yet that we bee not condemned. We are fearfull, not of thee, for thou temptest no man; but of them, and our selves, and there­fore we deprecate, Lead us not into tentation: and we are faithfull, not in our selves, but in thee; and there­fore wee obsecrate, Deliver us [Page 205]from evill. Lead us not; Vers. 16. Whē thou dost Fast. Vers. 33. Seeke first the king­dome, &c. beyond our abilitie to beare, above our strength to resist, without thy grace to quench the fierie Dorts of Sathan. Lead us not into ten­tation of the Flesh within us, by delight of wanton imaginations, or presumption in vaine opinions, lead us not into tentation of the World without us, by the suggestion of wicked motions, or motions to wicked suggestions: Lead us not in­to tentation of the Devill against us, by the injection of wicked desires, or the illusion of desperate at­tempts, but deliver us by thy pre­venting Grace before the infection, by thy present Grace, in the assault; by thy redeeming Grace, after the fall from evill; from the cause of evill, which is the Divell; from wic­ked companions, which are the in­struments of evill; from worldly vanities, which are the entice­ments [Page 206]to evill; Vers. 2. Whē thou dost thine Almes. Vers. 5. Whē thou dost pray. from sinne, which is the guilt of evill, and from damnati­on, which is the curse of evill.

Heare us, ô our Faether, in our de­sire of Holinesse, that thy Name bee hallowed; in our desire of Hope, that thy Kingdome come; in our de­sire of Obedience, that thy will be done: Heare us ô our Father, in our desire of thy providence, to give us our dayly bread; in our desire of Re­pentance, to forgive us our sinnes; in the desire of our Charity, as we for­give others; in our desire of perseve­rance, to preserve us from Tentati­on, and deliver us from evill; and none of this for our sakes, but thine owne; For thine is the Kingdome: wherein keepe us, in the desires of our Holinesse, Repentance, Chari­ty, and Obedience: For thine is the Power; whereby establish our de­sires in thy providence, and our perseverance; and thine is the Glo­ry; [Page 207]wherewith crowne our desires in the longing Amen of us the wish­ers, Vers. 16. Whē thou dost Fast. Vers. 33. Seeke first the king­dome, &c. in the needfull Amen of us the suitors, in the confident Amen of us the beleevers, in the faithfull Amen of thy selfe the promiser, in the certaine Amen of Iesus Christ, the teacher of us, from thee; who to thee, and him, and the Holy Ghost, ascribe the glory, and power of thy Kingdome, of the King­dome, of this Kingdome, and of all Kingdomes; so be it, Amen.

And that these prayers may a­scend, and pierce thy Eares, and not returne empty, I send them up empty; for I fast, and I fast not co­actively, or by constraint: for I blesse thy Name, I am in health, and have meate for my stomacke, and stomacke to my meate: But I fast willingly, I doe it chearefully; not politically. to exchange a meale of Flesh, into another of Fish, not Hy­pocritically, [Page 208]to macre my face, Verse. 2. Whē thou dost thine Almes. Verse. 5. Whē thou dost pray. and make it looke leane; but I doe in re­ligiously. For why doe I with­hold suftenance from my body, but to cheare up my Soule? Why doe I barre my Soule of her delights, but to keepe downe my body? why doe I keepe them both hungry, but to observe that Law thou gavest in Paradise, Eate not this Fruite? but to imitate the promulgation, the restauration, and the consummati­on of the Law? Thou diddest not pronounce it by Moses, thou did­dest not restore it by Elias, thou did dest not consummate it by thy Sonne without fasting; why doe I thus diet them both, but that I may enjoy the promise of the Gospell, and be filled? be filled with grace to doe thy Will upon Earth, as it is in Heaven. Never am I so like an An­gell, as when I fast: For in this Act Nature and Grace conourre; by Na­ture [Page 209]his memory is strongest, Ver. 16. Whē thou dost fast. Ver. 33. Seeke first the King­dome, &c. his minde clearest, his understanding brightest, his affections most mo­derate that eates but little: And by Grace his flesh most mortified, his Chastity best preserved, from evils loonest delivered, and with bles­sings longest beautified, who fasts oftenest. Why doe I deny my selfe all manner of foode, but to recover Paradise by fasting, which Adam lost by eating? Why doe I not touch so much as Bread, or Water, but that God may pardon my glut­ton and drunken sinnes? why doe I abstaine from all meate, but to pre­vent those sinnes, which if my bel­ly were full, my flesh would lust af­ter? why doe I restraine my hungry stomacke from that Dish it would, but that my Soule may obtaine that blessing it wants? why doe I for­beare those dainties my throat de­sires, but to avert those Judgements [Page 210]my Soule feares, Ver. [...]. Whē thou dost thine Almes. Ver. 5. Whē thou dost pray. and in some mea­sure feeles already?

And yet I doe not fast to merit any of these blessings at att [...]y hand, oh God: But, I fast from worldly labour, that my devoti­on may be quickned, and without distraction, and I fast from bodily foode, because I am unworthy of the least of all thy mercies; because I deserve the greatest of all thy judg­ments: I have abused my selfe in the use of thy Creatures, and I take this godly revenge upon my selfe for that abuse, in the want of thy Creatures; my soule knower not how to hunger for Heavenly Gra­ces; and to teach it, my body shall hunger from earthly creatures: my soule hath surfeted in times unlaw­full, and therefore my body fast [...] from meate that is lawfull: My sences have beene gluttons in the dishes of pleasure, and therefore my [Page 211]body shall bee her Physitian, Ver. 16. Whē thou dost fast. Ver. 33. Seeke first the King­dome, &c. and prescribe her a more sparing dyet by example:

O God, I fast, because I have sin­ned; and my sinnes are of those kindes of Divels, that will not out, but by fasting and prayer; I have sinned against the mercy of a rather, who hath provided for me: I have sinned against the mightinesse of a Master, who hath preserved mee from evill Nay, I have sinned a­gainst the Majesty of God, a God so righteous, that he hath threatned my sinnes with curses upon curses, and hath at last sent a Plague round about me, and a God so gratious, that though nothing else could keepe me from eternall damnation, yet rather than I should be damned, gave his sonne Iesus Christ to die [...]or me: a God, that will upon these considerations, and my rebellions, are long send some grievous Affli­ction [Page 212]upon me, Ver. 2. Whē thou dost thine Almes. Ver. 5. Whē thou dost pray. or deny me those blessings that I want, unlesse I prevent the one, and obtaine the other by repentance: But, can my heart bleede with sorrow? can my heart melt with remorse? can my heart dissolve it selfe into teares? and repent without fasting? There­fore I fast, that I may remember my sins and confesse them: therefore I fast, that confessing my sins. I may bewaile them; therefore I Fast, that bewailing my sins, I may forsake them; therefore I Fast, that forsa­king my sinnes, thou maist forgive them; & forgiving them, thou maist divert those judgments my sins cry for; and send those blessings, my sinnes kept from me.

Heare me oh my God, I doe con­fesse; I confesse all my sinnes, my originall, that I brought into the World, and my actuall sinnes, that I have brought up in the World but especially amongst them all, [Page 213]that () and that other () and those () which I committed ye­sterday, Ver. 16. Whē thou doest fast. Ver. 33. Seek first the King­dome, &c. which I committed then, then and there in thy presence, with a great deale of delight; I did com­mit them with pleasure, and doe confesse them with sorrow: For see, oh my God, I bewaile them, I groane inwardly, and cry outward­ly, and cry out upon my selfe, What a foole was I? What a Beast was? Oh wretch that I am, that I should ever be so unthankfull to God, so unkinde to my selfe, lesse I dare not doe, than thus bewaile those sinnes, in punishing my selfe: I would I could doe more, and I would more than Fast, and bewaile them: if forsaking bee more, I vow never againe to meddle with them: O God, doe thou forgive them, and [...] possesse mee of these Divels by the vertue of thy promise made to my charitable Fasting Prayers, that [Page 214]I may never againe bee troubled with them, Ver. 2. Whē thou dost thine Almes. Ver. 5. Whē thou dost pray and preserve me from the Plague I have [...]eserved, and thy other punishments which I feare; blesse mee with obedience, which I have robbed my selfe of, and al o­ther thy graces which I love. No o­ther end, oh God, have I in this Fast, but to subdue my flesh, and humble my selfe, but to dechne thy punish­ments, and enioy thy blessings, un­lesse happily it bee to seeke thy Kingdome. Not that I thinke by the merit of this, or any thing else that I have done, or can doe to finde it, but that by these meanes, and in this way, I shall the sooner and more easily finde it. In­deed I finde it in these, and so seeke it first, because I doe these. For though the kingdome of God con­sists not in meate and drinke, in the belly full, or emptie, in fasting, or not fasting; yet it consists in righte [Page 215]ousnesse, peace, and joy in the holy Ghost. Ver. 16. Whē thou doest fast. Ver. 33. Seek first [...]he [...]ng­dome, &c. And my char [...]e gets mee righteousnesse, righteousnesse be­fore man, my prayers get mee peace, peace with God; my fasting g [...] me joy, joy in the holy Ghost; [...] faith, all; and all these I have [...]ne faithfully: faithfully for the manner, for I have done them se­cretly and sincerely; no body knowes of them but my selfe, and faithfully for the end, for the glory of God, for I care not to be seene of men, I care not for the praise of men, and faithfully in the founda­tion: for I do believe these workes of mine are accepted; and I know, no workes are accepted but by Ie­sus Christ. And faithfully I enjoy [...]ll these, Righteousnesse, and Peace, and Ioy: for none of these are with­out Christ; but in Christ all these are, and in Christ, I am righteous, God hath justified me, and being ju­stified, [Page 216]I have peace: Ver. 2. Whē thou dost th n [...] Almes. Ver. 5. Whē thou dost pray for being justi­fied by faith, we have peace with God, through Iesus Christ our Lord. And the peace of God passeth all understan­ding, and therefore must bring with it that joy which never entred into the heart of man to understand, the joy of the holy Ghost.

Thus, O God, I have sought thy kingdome; and thus I have found thy kingdome; thus I desire to seek it continually, and continually prin­cipally; and these I desire to finde in it, till I be taken from the seeking of thy kingdome in grace to the the seeing of thy kingdome in glory, through Iesus Christ. Amen.

Now followes the Sermon of Our thankfulnesse, and Gods Mercy, which was Preached in St. Pauls Church the three and twentieth of october. 1636.

Our Thankfulnesse for Gods Mercy.

PSAL. 136. Vers. 26.

O praise the God of Heaven, for his Mercy endureth for ever.

THE Text cannot want a welcome, when it is ea­sie, short, and sweet; ea­sie to the Vnderstanding, short to the Memory, and sweet to the Affections. This Text, blessed be Gods holy Name for it, is so, and therefore does not so much desire, as [Page 2]deserve your kind entertainment, & courteous embraces; so easie, that the thinnest capacity may under­stand it, that the dullest understan­ding may conceive it; for who un­derstands not Mans duty? O give thanks unto the God of Heaven: and Gods pitty, For his mercy endures for ever; so short that it consists but of six words, three in the former, Cele­brate Deum Coelorum; and three in the latter part of the Verse, In saeculae misericordia ejus: And which of your memories is so brittle, that it cannot remember sixe? I never read but of one man that could not re­member five; not one of you is that one man: you can remember sixe. And to invite your Memory, it is sweete to your Affections too, as sweet as heart can desire. What doth the guilty man desire, but Mercy? Mercy to remit his sinnes. What doth the offending man desire, but [Page 3] Mercy? Mercy to dimit his faults. What doth the leprous man desire, but Mercy? Mercy to cleanse him of his leprosie. What doth the capti­ved man desire, but Mercy? Mercy to redeeme him from his bondage, and to set him at liberty. What doth the sick man desire, but Mercy? Mercy to cure him of his sicknesse. This, this is the desire of all your hearts; this relishes sweetly in your affections, that God in mercy would remove the Plague from amongst us: Why see, to give the Text a welcome, this is in the Text too; it is the very ground of the Text, For his mercy en­dureth for ever.

If this be not easie, short, and sweet enough, why then divide the Text, and the parts of it will bee more facile for the Vnderstanding, more portable for the Memory, and more toothsomme to the Affections: so portable for the Memory, that [Page 4]they are but two; and those two so facile for the understanding, that they are the plainest of all other.

First, an Exhortation to the Dutie of Thankfulnesse, O give thanks un­to the God of Heaven: And secondly, a Perswasion to doe that Duty; for if any one should aske why? why give thanks unto the God of Heaven? why? why because his mercy endures for ever, that is the maine part, and what so delightsome to the affecti­ons of miserable man, as the Mercy of a pittifull God?

Or if you will enlarge it, to make it more delightsome to the affecti­ons, and more plaine to the under­standing, though a little more com­bersome to the memory: Then you have in the Exhortation these three particulars.

First, the passion of the delivery, Oh; not simply, doe it, but Oh, doe it.

Secondly, the Ingemination of the Duty, Oh, give thanks, in the be­ginning; and Oh, give thanks in the ending of the Psalme.

Thirdly, the Excellency of the ob­ject, not to the King of men, not to the gods of the Heathen, no; but to the God of Heaven, or the Heavenly God.

Then againe, in the perswasion you have these foure particulars.

First, What it is to endure for ever: if you doe not aske that question, you will hardly understand what it meanes, how his mercy endures for ever.

Secondly, How this is true, His mercy endures for ever: For if you doe not know that to be true, or how that is true, the Affections will by and by, grow nauseous.

Thirdly, why David chuses rather this than Judgement. If you read the Psalme, and read therein, Hee [Page 6]overthrew Pharaoh in the Red Sea, Verse 15. he slew famous Kings: Verse 18. Or if you look upon the times, and therein see the Plague; why it may as well stand, one would thinke, His judgement en­dures for ever.

And then fourthly and lastly, why the Prophet repeats this so often, His mercy endures for ever, Twenty sixe times in this one Psalme? and when you understand this, it will make the Duty goe downe a great deale better; that is my first part, and I begin with it: I call'd it an Exhor­tation, and so it is; for herein David the King exhorts us that are subjects, to give thankes to the God of Heaven. Part 1.

A duty this is, and such a duty, that it needes not my Rethoricke to fa­sten it upon you: The Heaven and the Earth, the Sea and the Rivers, the Husbandman and his ground, the Shepheard and his Sheepe, the Car­rier and his Asse doe all perswade it: [Page 7]Heaven drops downe showres, and the Earth in Thankfulnesse sprouts up Flowers; the Sea fills the Rivers, the Rivers in Thankfulnesse empty themselves into the Sea againe; the Husbandman throwes his Corne in­to the ground, the ground in Thank­fulnesse returnes him ten for one; the Shepheard feeds his sheepe, the Sheepe in Thankfulnesse cloath the Shepheard; the Carrier baites his Asse, the Asse in Thankfulnesse carries him. I pray God we prove not worse than the Asse in unthan [...] ­fulnesse to God, for delivering us from the plague and pestilence.

Such a Duty it is, that no duty hath stronger precepts for it; no duty hath better patterns of it, no Duty hath fairer promises to it. The Old and the New Testament doe both com­mand it, Moses, and the Prophets, Christ, and the Apostles did all pra­ctise it, and the God of all, will re­ward [Page 8]it above all other services.

First,Ps. 50.14. 1 Thes. 5. Offer unto God Thanksgiving saies the Prophet; In all things give thankes saith the Apostle; and as if Nature did concurre with Scripture, Ingratum si dixeris, & omnia dixeris saies the meere naturall; you cannot say worse of any man, than to say, He is unthankfull: And well sayd that Royall King of blessed Memory, who knew the depths of Nature, and Texts of Scripture as well as any King before him, Ingratus de prae­teritis, indignus de futuris: He that is unthankfull for what he hath, is un­worthy to have what he wants: And if wee are unthankefull for our preser­vation from this last Plague, we shall be unworthy to bee preserved from the next Plague.

Christ therefore charged the Le­per that was cleansed, to offer for his Cleansing, as Moses commanded; and what was that, but as at least a [Page 9]Lambe, and a log of Oyle, Lev. 5.14. and a tenth [...]eale of fine floure for a meate offering: Lev. 14.21 22. [...] two Turtle Doves, or two young Pi­ [...]eons; the one for a sinne-offering, and the other for a burnt offering, for an of­fering of Thanksgiving.

A Duty you see it is strongly com­manded, and so it is secondly as highly practised: For Iacob the Pa­ [...]iarke did it;Gen. 32.10. I am not worthy of the [...]east of all thy mercies: with my staffe [...]assed I over this Iordan, and now [...] am become two bands: A thankefull acknowledgment this was, and Da­vid the Prince did it, and did it when [...]he plague was stayed:2 Sam. 2 [...].25. David bought the threshing floore of Araunah the Je­ [...] site, and built there an Altar unto the Lord, and offered thereon burnt offerings, and peace offerings. Samuel the Priest did it, Isaiah the Prophet did it, and bids us doe it too.1 Sam. 9.13. Isa. 12.4. Praise the Lord, call upon his Name, declare his doings amongst the people, make [Page 10]mention that his Name is exalted. And Iesus, that is both Prince, Priest, and Prophet,Ioh. 11.41 our Saviour did it; Fa­ther I thanke thee, that thou hast hear [...] me. And shall not the children doe what the Father did? the Prince did it, and shall not the Subjects doe it [...] shall not the people doe what the Priest did? Iesus Christ the Saviour did it, and shall not we that hope to be saved by him, doe it? and give thankes unto the God of Heaven, for shame else! For it is thirdly so fairely rewarded, that no Duty like unto it; if we doe the duty of Devo­tion, and pray, we are preserved, i [...] we doe the duty of Faith, and be­leeve, we are justified; if we doe the duty of Love, and forgive, wee are forgiven; if we doe the duty of Cha­rity, and give, it shall be given to us: But if wee doe the duty of my Text, and give thankes to the God of Heaven, God will glorifie us with [Page 11]himselfe in Heaven:1 Sam. 3.30. They that ho­nour me, I will honour; so sure is the thankfull man of glory.

And now I doubt not, but you are all ready to say, Give thankes, who does not? wee all give thankes unto the God of Heaven: Nor doe I doubt but you all say so; my doubt is whe­ther you doe so: For Thanksgiving, I must tell you, is no complement, no verball thing, but a Reality; it hath three words to expresse it by, and must be done in all three, else it is not done at all.

The first is, Gratias habere, To have thanks; and it is called Recognition, his place of residence is the Heart: when we thinke how gracious God hath beene to us this Visitation, the Plague tooke some away before me, some behinde me; some on my right hand, some on my left, yet I am left; God hath annointed the posts of my doore with the blood of the Lambe, [Page 12]that the destroying Angell might passe over mee, and my heart muses what to render to the Lord for this his goodnesse? when wee doe so, why then Gratiaes habemus, we have thanks in our hearts for God, or wee have Thankfull hearts to God.

2. Is Gratias referre; To returne thankes, and it is called commemo­ration, his Elocutour is the Tongue, when wee declare the wonders God hath done for us, the Plague knockt at my Neighbours doore, but passed mine, I was as fit an object for that destruction as any man, but God in mercy spared me, Blessed bee his name, and my Tongue saies, what shall I render unto the Lord for all the Benefits hee hath done unto mee, when wee say so, why then wee doe Gratias referre, give Thankes with our Tongues to God.

The 3. is Gratias agere to doe [Page 13]Thankes; and it is called Retributi­on; the Actor of it is the Hand, or Life; when the hand gives the obla­tions of Thankes, and the Life does the offerings of Thanks in sanctity to God, and is acceptable to him: in equity to man, and is unreprove­able with them: in Charity to the poore, and is profitable to them: When we doe so, why then, Gratias agimus, We doe, and wee doe give thankes to the God of Heaven.

So wee doe to man, if a man doth us but ordinary courtesies at an ex­traordinary pinch; why then wee doe first studie to magnifie him in our hearts: we were in Prison, hee hath payed our Debts, and set us at liberty: we were in Captivity, he hath redeemed us, and made us free, we were in danger, hee hath rescued and made us safe, ô what a friend was this, think wee! how good hath hee bin unto us! and so Gratias habemus. [Page 14]And then secondly we speake of him to others, how good he hath beene to us; this, and this he hath done for me, God reward him for it, and so Gratias referimus. And thirdly wee cast with our selves how to requite him; hee shall no sooner command, but we obey, and so Gratias agimus; and shall wee not doe so to God? From him we have whatsoever wee have, Redemption from the hands of all that hate us, Preservation from the Plague and pestilence, and there­fore we must give thanks to the God of Heaven.

Surely the very Heathens inten­ded no lesse in their Charites, they were three: The first was [...], and that signifies Letitia, Ioy; but Ioy is in the dilation of the heart. The second was called [...], which signifies to flourish, and that is in the Tongue. And the third [...], which signifies Splendor, [Page 15]and who shines more than he, whose life is a glorious Sunne? And doe you ever thinke to shine as the Sunne in Heaven, or to flourish like a greene Bay-tree in Paradise, or to be filled with those joyes, which never en­tred into the heart of man, unlesse you thus, with your hearts, tongues, and hands give thanks unto the God of Heaven?

King David surely thought so, else hee would never have delivered it with so much passion, as, Oh give thanks unto the God of Heaven. It is my second consideration, and the first particular of the first part, Oh; And this particle is sometimes Vox exhortantis, An exhorting word; so the Psalmist,Psa. 30.4. Sing unto the Lord ô yee Saints of his, and give thankes at the remembrance of his holinesse: Some­times it is Vox optantis, A wishing word: So the Psalmist againe,Ps. 107.21 Oh that men would praise the Lord for his [Page 16]goodnesse: Here it is both, ô th [...] you would doe it saies David [...] way of exhorting, and ô that could wish you to doe it by way desire.

So passionate he for this duty, th [...] sometimes hee exhorts himself [...] Praise the Lord ô my Soule, Psa. 103.1 and n [...] onely his soule, but also his Tong [...] and his hand; and all that is with mee praise his holy name: sometime his company,Psa. 95.1 O come let us sing un [...] the Lord, and Hymnus is a Psalm of Thanksgiving,Psal. 134. sometimes the Clergy, Praise the Lord ô house [...] Aaron, praise the Lord ô house of Lev [...] sometimes whole Assemblies, Pra [...] yee the Lord, Psa. 13 [...].1 2, 3. praise yee the name of the Lord, Praise him ô yee servants of the Lord, yee that stand in the house of t [...] Lord, in the courts of the house of o [...] God; Praise yee the Lord. Some­times whole Countries, let Isra [...] now confesse that he is gracious, and [Page 17]that his Mercy endureth for ever: Psa. 150.6 sometimes all creatures, Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord: and such he aimes at here, a publicke Thanksgiving for a publick Blessing; private thankes doe well, but not well enough; for they doe [...]ut pierce Heaven, whereas pub­licke scales it. And as hee, so wee; we should not thinke it enough to be [...]ood our selves, but strive to make others good too: As GOD hath [...]fused Grace into us, so should we [...]ndeavour to beget Grace in others. When we see a cholerick hasty man, we should strive to make him a Iob, a [...]nne of patience; when wee see a dissolute swearing man, wee should [...]rive to make him a Peter, a sonne [...]f Repentance, when we see a false [...]issembling man, we should strive [...] make him a Nathaniel, a true Is­ [...]aelite, a sonne of Sincerity; when we [...]e a naturall and unthankfull man, a [Page 18]man that ascribes the Plague to the malignity of the Ayre onely, and the staying of the Plague, to the se­renity of the Ayre onely, we should strive to make him a David, a man of Thankfulnesse; both wishing and exhorting with a great deale of ear­nestnesse, Oh give thanks unto the God of Heaven.

This we should doe indeed, but indeed, this we doe nor; wee rather seeke to make men worse and worse, than better and better: We, alas, if we see a Drunkard, we call him to the Taverne; if an Adulterer, to the Stews; if a Glutton, to the Ordi­nary; if a coverous man, to the house of providence, the Vsurer or the Broker: So forward are wee for sin, that wee infect one another; and therefore no wonder that the Plague hath beene amongst us; so backward are we for Grace, that a wonder i [...] is, the Plague is stayed; since we ex­hort [Page 19]not, since wee wish not one a­nother to give thanks unto the God of Heaven.

Were David living now, or we that live now, of Davids minde, the Duty would be doubled, and the desire would be ingeminated, Oh give thanks, oh give thanks.

It is my third Consideration, and the second particular of my first part, the Ingemination.

But what needs this? what needed the Prophet to double an Exhortati­on of such consequence? had not one beene enough? can wee forget this, To give thanks? Can wee re­member this yeere 1636, that so many have beene swept away, swept away by the Plague, and wee left behinde? Can wee remember this, and not give thankes to the God of Heaven, though it were but once spoke of? Such a Schoole master as David would not; but wee, we, [Page 20]such Schollers as wee are, have me­mories so labile, and so fragile, so brittle, and so short, that, as St. Paul sayes, we need Repetition upon Re­petition; Exhortation upon Exhor­tation; else we shall, and will forget to give thankes unto the God of Hea­ven. So brittle are our memories this way, God blesse us, that wee need an In emination; but so fast, and strong another way, God bee mercifull unto us, that we need not so much as a single remembrance: An injury we can remember a long time, an ill turne, nay, an ill word from our Neighbour, from our e­nemy, Manet alta mente repostum, we cannot easily remove it; such a thing as this is soundly settled: but bene­fits and good turnes, how quickly, a­las, doe we forget them?

So forgetfull were the Israelites this way,Hosea 4.6 Ps. 106.21 that they forgat the Law of God; nay, they forgat God that [Page 21]gave them that Law:Ps. 78.42. They forgat God their Saviour, and the day when he delivered them: And doe not our Soules leake as much as theirs? His Day, notwithstanding his Memento, we forget; even that Day which hee commanded to be sanctified, whether the Seventh, or the Eigth day, or one in the seven, we prophane them all. That day wherein he made us whole from the horrour of Hell, by the Resurrecti­on of our Saviour; and that day wherein he made us whole from the terrour of the Plague, by comman­ding that destroying Angell to hold his hand: And therefore blessed be his Name for this Ingemination of his servant David, Oh give thanks, ô give thanks unto the God of Heaven.

Deum Coelerum, The God of Hea­ven: This is the marke whither wee must ayme in shooting our Thankes; and my fourth Consideration, the [Page 22]third particular of my first part: And herein you have three Directions.

1 First, a Direction for the Object, to God. 2 Secondly, a Direction for the matter, for heavenly blessings: and 3 thirdly, a Direction for the man­ner, with heavenly praises. The Di­rection for the Object, is directly a­gainst Papists; the Direction for the matter, is point-blanke against Mam­monists, the Direction for the man­ner, is absolutely against Hypo­crites.

1 First, the Papist, hee prayes to Saints, but never gives thankes to Saints; and yet Thanksgiving is a chiefe part of Prayer, the first part, the last part, indeed, all in all. He that prayes, prayes for what hee wants, and so looks upon his owne necessity: but he that gives thankes, gives thankes for what he hath, and so lookes upon Gods bounty. Now by the rule of Order, he, to whom [Page 23]one part of Prayer is due, to him is every part of Prayer due: But the Papists by their owne Act deny Thanksgiving to bee due to Saints. For where is the Papist that did ever give thankes to Saint Roch, or Saint Sebastian for staying of the Plague? yet they are their Plague-saviours: where is the Psalter that hath any Benedicamus to any, but to the God of Heaven? But this is a matter of Dispute, and this is not a place for Dispute, I therefore say no more of it, but this to the God of Heaven: God grant, that in the time of the Plague, or any other calamity, we may ne­ver betake our selves to any other refuge than Vmbra Altissimi, The right hand of God; nor give our pray­ses, when we are delivered from the Plague, than Nomen Altissimi, The mercy of God, as wee doe this Day, give thanks to the God of Heaven, who hath delivered us from the plague.

2 Secondly, the Mammonist, the worldling, the covetous man, the Vsurer, and his pew-fellow, the Bro­ker; he prayes for earthly blessings, and he gives thanks for earthly bles­sings; earthly blessings must not be forgotten; no: therefore the Church hath appointed Perambulations, to give thankes to the God of Heaven for his blessings upon the Earth: but for all that, Heavenly blessings must e­specially be remembred; for sparing us so long, and giving us so large a time of Repentance; for his Word and Sacraments, for a religious King, for a holy Clergy, for a conscionable Magistracy, and such other meanes of Grace; for the for­givenesse of our sinnes, and such heavenly blessings, Ob give thankes unto the God of Heaven.

Thankfulnesse, I confesse, is a common duty for all blessings, and a necessary duty for all blessings; and [Page 25]yet sometimes the very doing of this duty, is worse than the neglect of it: When the Taylor lookes upon his cloaths, which hee stole from the Gentleman he made the last suit for; when the Vsurer lookes upon his Thousands which he hath gotten by Eight in the Hundred: when the Shop-keeper beholds his bagges, which hee hath filled by selling his Wares at unconscionable rates: when the Executor lookes upon his large revenues which hee hath cou­ [...]ened poore Orphans of; and such like as these, shall give thankes to the God of Heaven for such like blessings is these, it is as acceptable as the sa­crifice of a Dogge, or Whore, and that's abhominable: You should first have made Restitution of such [...] gotten goods, and then come and offer the sacrifices of Thankful­nesse, that the God of Heaven might and Salvation into your houses.

3 Thirdly, the Hypocrite, hee gives thankes to the God of Heaven, but it is with lips, his heart is farre off; or if his heart and tongue bee some­times friends, yet his life is false, and spurious, because he is envious and malicious; sometimes barking at the Churches Discipline, some­times detracting from his neighbors worth, and so hee seemes to man to give thankes, he cares not to abuse, and mocke, and dissemble with the God of Heaven.

But I might have spared these three last Notes: for you are not supersti­tious Papists; you give thankes to God onely: you are not covetous Mammonists; your blessings that you give thanks for came from Heaven [...] you are not dissembling Hypocrites give Heavenly praises for Heavenly blessings. If I doe not now speak [...] truth, you are too blame; and if have done you any wrong in spea­king [Page 27]too well of you, I pray GOD make you such as you should bee, and so direct you in giving thanks [...] the God of Heaven, that his mercy may endure for ever. As in it selfe so [...]o you.

It is my second part of my Text; the Reason, and perswasion to en­force us to performe the Duty: Oh [...]ive thanks unto the God of Heaven: Why so? for his mercy endureth for [...]ver.

Were there no more but the precept Celebrate Deum Caelo­ [...]um: Oh give thanks unto the God of heaven, I were bound to doe it: [...]or I am bound to obey God: but then God is pleased to wooe our bedience, and to backe his Precepts with perswasions, we are then much [...]o blame, if we obey not: Give [...]anks therefore to the God of Heaven [...]e must, because his mercy endureth [...] ever. It is a faire Reason; that [Page 28]of all Creatures, God made onely one reasonable; if you looke upon your selves, you may soone know who it is; it is Man, onely Man, a [...] his fellow servants, the Ange [...] Stones have Being, Plants life, Beast have Sence; onely Men and Angel have Reason: Nor was man ma [...] Reasonable, onely to have Reason and to use it, but to be improved b [...] it, and made better: Scripture nee [...] no Reason to enforce it, yet rath [...] than man should neglect Scripture and not obey it, see the goodnesse [...] God; Hee backes his Exhoration with such a Reason, as is able [...] turne the most rebellious heart i [...] Duty and Obedience: Oh give than unto the God of Heaven, for his mer [...] endures for ever.

But I must not stand here for ever my time begins to fade and vanish before it quite ends, I shall resole those foure Inquiries in this part [...] [Page 29]cluded, I proposed but now; the first whereof is; What it is to endure for ever?

To endure for Ever, and Everla­sting, are in opinione vulgi, conver­sible: and a thing is said to be Ever­lasting, either, first because it lasts [...]ong: as it is said of the Idolatrous City in Deuteronomy; Deu. 13.16 It shall bee an [...]eape for ever: and so of Ai; Joshua [...]urnt it, and made it an heape for ever. Josh. 8.1 [...] And yet that heape is mouldred [...]ong since into nothing, or into dust, which is as little, and next neighbor [...]o nothing: and here it is Aeternum [...]uia Diuturnum: Or secondly, a [...]hing is said to be Everlasting, be­cause it lasts for ever, for the time to [...]ome: so the fire of Hell is said to [...]e Everlasting: Depart yee hence into Everlasting fire, Mat. 25.41. is the laft and lasting [...]oome of the wicked: and here it is Aeternū quia sempiternum; or third­ly, a thing is said to beeverlasting, be­cause [Page 30]it is continually and perpetu­ally: so God who is Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the En­ding, and yet hath neither Begin­ning nor Ending, is said to bee Ever­lasting; and here it is Aeternum quis extra Terminos.

Betwixt these you may distinguish; Eternall is that which hath an Ever­lasting Fore-noone, and an Everla­sting After-noone; so God onely can be said to be Eternall. Diuturnall, is that which lasts long, though it hath both a Morning and an Eve­ning; it knew a Sunne-rising, and shall know a Sunne-setting: so the World may be said to be Diuturnall; it was made in the Beginning, and it shall be destroyed in Ending. Third­ly, Everlasting, or Sempiternall, is that, which hath an Everlasting af­ter-noone, it shall never have a set­ting, though it had a rising, no Eve­ning though a morning: So mans [Page 31]soule and Angels may be said to bee Everlasting. In a word, man cannot define what Eternall is. St. Augustine describes what it is not: Aeternum est in quo non est praeteritum aut fu­turum, non fuit aut fuerit sed solum est. Eternall is that, in which there is no Time past, no Time to come, nor hath beene, nor none shall bee, but onely [...]s: And yet other Tenses sensu com­posito abs (que) presentis temporis exclusi­one, may truely, though not proper­ly bee given to Eternity, which is God:Rev. 1.8. I am Alpha and Omega the Be­ginning and the Ending saith the Lord, which is, which was, and which is to come. Whereupon St. Austine: Fuit, quia nunquam defuit: Erit, quia nunquam deerit; Est, quia semper est. God was, because never Time was, wherein God was not: God shall bee, because never Time shall bee, wherein God shall not be: God is, because hee is Everlasting, [Page 32]Eternall: And who can define what God is? The Angels enjoy it, but they cannot define it, for then they must perfectly know what God is, who onely is Eternall; and therefore can onely tell what Eternall is.

And yet, that you may know how Gods Eternity differs from other things that are sayd to bee Eternall, you may please to understand, that things are sayd to be Eternall or E­verlasting more plainely thus.

First, that have both beginning and ending, or secondly which have be­ginning, and no end; or thirdly, which have no beginning, yet an end: or fourthly, which have nei­ther beginning, nor end.

First, things having both begin­ning and end, are sayd to be for ever; and of these are two sorts: First, things that have no determinate Date,Deu. 13 16 [...] [...].2 [...]. as the heaps before spoken of. Secondly, such as are immutable [Page 33]while their Date lasteth; so those things which remaine inalterable for the time of a mans life, are sayd to be for ever, Exod. 21.6 Exod. 12.24. as the boaring of a mans eare made him a servant for e­ver: so were the Passeover and Le­gall Rites called an Ordinance for e­ver.

Secondly, things that have a be­ginning, but no end; as good and e­vill Angels, mens soules, Heaven, and Hell; all these had a beginning, but none of all these shall ever have an end.

Thirdly, things that have no be­ginning, but an end, as Gods De­crees: They never had beginning; and therefore sayes St. Paul, Grace was given us before the world began: 2 Tim. 1.9 but his Decrees have [...] end.

Fourthly, things that have never beginning, nor ending, and so one­ly God; God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost, and his proper­ties [Page 34]are everlasting, or endure for ever, and amongst them his Mercy.

It is my second Enquiry how this is true, His Mercy endures for ever? and I resolve it thus: Whatsoever is in God, is God, and everlasting as God is; and therefore his Mercy, his Mercy endures for ever; Et à parte ante, in the everlasting Fore-noone or our Election: Et à parte post, in the everlasting Afternoone of our Glorification. Yet heere you must consider for ever, either absolute in God, and so it is [...], In sae­cula, for ever and ever: Or else Re­spective to us; and so it is [...], In sae­culum, for ever. As I take it the Pro­phet here speakes in the last sense the Respective: so in the three Age [...] of the world; first, Ante, Before the Law; there Gods Mercy endure [...] for ever: Hee taught them by in­stinct. Secondly, Sub, Vnder the Law; there he writ them a Rule, the [Page 35]Ten Commandements, how they should live, and live well. Thirdly, Post, After the Law, which lasts to the Worlds end, in the Covenant of Grace, the Gospell of Iesus Christ, which will bring us, if wee obey it, from being beholding to his Mercy, to the beholding of his Mercy for e­ver.

Or divide the world into sixe A­ges: First, the Infancy of the world, from Adam to Noah; there Gods Mercy was everlasting, and endured for ever. Judgement seemed to pre­vaile twice: first, in Adams naked­nesse, and his exile from Paradise, but Mercy presently got the upper hand,Gen. 3.15 in the promise of the Womans seed to breake the Serpents head; and covering our nakednesse with the Merits of Iesus Christ, which shall bring us againe into Paradise. Se­condly, Iudgement seemed to pre­vaile againe in the Deluge, and [Page 36]drowning of the World;Gen. 7.23 but Mercy got the upper hand instantly, in sa­ving Noah and his Family in the Arke; figuring thereby our Regene­ration by his holy Baptisme.

Secondly, the Childhood of the World,Gen. 19.16. from Noah to Abraham. There His mercy endured for ever: Judgement seemed to prevaile in the fire of Sodome; but mercy tooke place againe in saving Lot.

Thirdly,Exo. 2.23. the youth of the World, from Abraham to David: There His mercy endured for ever: Judge­ment seemed to take place in the E­gyptian bondage, but mercy pre­vailed in their deliverance by Moses.

Fourthly, the Manhood of th [...] World, from David to the Captivi­ty: There, His mercy endured for e­ver: Judgement seemed to prevail [...] in the demolishing of Ierusalem by Nebuchadnezzar; 1. Chron. 36.19. but mercy took [Page 37]place againe in the reedifying it by Nehemiah: And now I am upon that hint, I may say the same of this place: Judgement seemed to prevaile upon this Temple of St. Paul, (St. Paul, I say, the onely Cathedrall Church in the Christian World, de­dicated to the service of God, under the name of St. Paul) when it lay like the Diacony the Deacons of the Church [...], in the very dust; but mercy hath got the upper hand, and wee may say as they said, nay, we are too blame if we doe not say it: Blessed bee the Lord God of Israel, which hath put such a thing as this in­to the Kings heart; Ezr. 7.27. to beautifie the house of the Lord which is in Ierusalem: Yea, blessed be the Majesty of our King, and blessed be all those, who put a helping hand to this religious worke, of Reedifying, and Beautify­ing St. Paul, and above all, Blessed bee the God of Heaven, because [Page 38]his mercy endureth for ever.

Fifthly, the Age of the World, from the Captivity to St. Iohn Bap­tist: There, His mercy endured for ever: Judgement seemed to pre­vaile in the departing of the Scepter from Iudah, but mercy tooke place in the comming of Shilo.

Sixtly, and lastly, the old and last age of the World, from St. Iohn Bap­tist to the Worlds end: There, His mercy hath endured, and doth, and will endure for ever: Judgement see­med to prevaile in Herod, in Pilate, in Iudas, in the Iewes, when they put Christ to death and buryed him but mercy got the upper hand, and Christ came up againe, and rose from the dead, and ascended into Heaven, and fits at the right hand of God to make Intercession for us: Judgement seemed to prevaile, when Arius de­nyed the Divinity of Christ: When Apollinarius stumbled at the Huma­nity [Page 39]of Christ: When Nestorius de­clined the Union of these two Na­tures in one person: When Enty [...]hes forged a confusion of the two Na­tures: but mercy got the start againe, when the Councell of Nice defined Christ to be [...], God of God, very God of very God, of the same substance with his Father: When the Councell of Constantinople de [...] ­ned Christ to bee [...] not onely perfect God, but also perfect Man, of a reasonable soule, and Humane flesh, subsisting: When the Coun­cell of Ephesus defined God and Man to bee but one Christ: When the Councell of Calcedon defined Christ to be one, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person: for which blessed union; Oh give thanks unto the God of Heaven; because by the Merit of that union, his mercy en­dures for ever to us. And so now, to let other times passe; Judgement [Page 40]seemed to prevaile in the Plague: This Plague that scattered us asun­der, and consumed many of us; but mercy you see hath got the upper hand againe, & this weeke there dy­ed of the Plague but 555. a faire and a large decrease; for which, Oh give thanks unto the God of Heaven: And doe Thou, who art the God of Hea­ven, not onely diminish, but extin­guish the Plague; command this destroying Angel to hold his hand; because Thy mercy endures for ever: Amen.

And if Gods mercy endures for ever; Quare tumultuatur anima tua? Why is thy soule disquieted within thee? because of thy present estate, thou art fallen into some deadly sinne, and canst not tel whether thou shalt be forgiven; or is it because of thy fu­ture state: thou art holy now, but fearst thou shalt not so continue, and perse­vere in grace: Why man, thy present [Page 41]falls doe but shew thee thine owne weaknesse, and for it thou must bee humbled, and repent, that thou mayst be forgiven; and the feare for thy future condition, does but shew thy changeablenesse; and for it, thou must be carefull, and pray for a continuance in holinesse, that thou mayst be sure.

God may for a while forsake thee, and suffer thee to be an instrument of vexation to others, as hee did Saint Paul: hee may give thee over to the Plough, to the Harrow, to the Dung hill, as He did holy Iob. Hee may give thee over to a Feaver, to a Sadnesse, to a Sicknesse, to a plague, as he did Hezekiah; thou maist be led into the tentation of an Adultery, of a Drunkenesse, of a Murther, as was David: to a denying of Iesus Christ, as was Saint Peter; yet none of these can make a finall separation, if thou seriously repent. The Madianite [Page 42]Merchants of sinne, sadnesse, sick­nesse may buy the present possession of thy Soule; yet if thou wilt grow due to God by a new and true Re­pentance, thy dejected soule shall no sooner cry out, Quis liberabit? O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me? but thy Faith shall make a sweet Reply from this Text, The God of Heaven; because his mer­cy endures for ever. This is a good Reason why we should not despaire, and a forcible perswasion it is, to give thankes to the God of Heaven, for his Mercy endures for ever.

It is my third Enquiry, why Da­vid makes choyce of Mercy to per­swade our Thankfulnesse? Will it not stand as well, Oh give thankes unto the God of Heaven, because his Iudgement endures for ever? It may seeme so if you read the Psalme; Which overthrew Pharaoh in the Red Sea; which slew mighty Kings, Og [...] [Page 43]the King of, &c. No; rather Mercy for all that, than Iudgement; because his Mercy is more everlasting to us than his Iudgement.

For take the disproportion be­twixt a Yeere, and a Moneth, and that is twelve for one; betwixt a yeere and a weeke, and that fifty two for one; betwixt a yeere, and a day, and that is three hundred sixty five for one; be­twixt a yeere, and an houre, and that is eight thousand, seven hundred sixty for one; betwixt a yeere, and a mo­ment, and that is many thousands for one; and such a disproportion there is betwixt the Everlastingnesse of Gods Iudgement, and Mercy to us.

In the Apocalyps it is sayd,Cap. 9. ver. 10. Their tower, the evill Angels was to hurt Men five Moneths: Then againe,Apoc. 2.10 Ye shall have tribulation ten dayes: And in Daniel, Seventy Weekes are deter­mined upon this people, Dan. 9.24. and upon the holy City, to finish the transgression [Page 44]and to make an end of sinnes, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting Righteousnesse. And so in the Prophet Isaiah, For a small moment have I forsaken thee, Isa. 54.7, 8 but with great mercies will I gather thee: In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment, but with e­verlasting kindnesse will I have mercy upon thee, saith the Lord thy Redee­mer.

Observe ye now, there is a Moneth, wee may be hurt; five Moneths; there is a weeke, seven weekes for iniquity; there is a day, tribulation for ten daies and there is a moment, wrath for a moment, but Righteousnesse everla­sting, everlasting kindnesse, everla­sting mercies: And therefore rather Mercy than Iudgment, oh give thank [...] unto the God of Heaven, for his mercy endures for ever.

1 For 1. his mercy hath a prerogative of Alliance; his mercy is manifeste [...] [Page 45]in himselfe; his iudgment never, but for our sinnes. Hee made us in mer­cy, when we desired him not; he re­deemed us in mercy, when wee de­serv'd it not; and without desert, up­on desire and endeavour, he will save us in mercy; Oh praise the God of Hea­ven therefore, for his mercy endures for ever.

2 For 2. his mercy hath a preroga­tive of Antiquity, his iudgment shewed not it selfe in the Creation, his mercy did, his judgment was in posse, and by way of condition; but his mercy was in esse, and act, and pos­session; therefore rather Mercy, than Iudgment.

3 For 3. his mercy hath a prerogative of Honour; it honours God, and God honours it; it honours his power, in overcomming the power of Sa­tan; it honours his Iustice, in satis­fying the Iustice of himselfe; and it honours his Wisedome, in finding out [Page 46]such a Sacrifice which was propitia­tory for the sinnes of the whole World, Iesus Christ: And whence is all this honour to God, but from the mercies of God;Ioh. 3.16. For God so loved the World, that He gave His onely begotten sonne, &c. And God honours it: for He gives it the right hand at the last day: The Mercifull are those Sheepe which hee will set at his right hand at Doomes-day:Mat. 25.33. and the right hand is the hand of Honour. Oh give thanks unto the God of Heaven therefore, for his mercy endureth for ever: His Mercy ra­ther than his Judgement.

For fourthly, his mercy hath a prerogative of Duration and conti­nuance: sometimes an interruption of mercy there may be by Judgment, but evermore mercy recovers againe. In the year 1602, (to go no farther than the easie compute of our owne re­membrances) Judgment interrupted [Page 47] mercy, and there dyed of the Plague, 30578. but mercy saved ma­ny more thousands alive, and tooke place againe for 22. yeares: for till 1625. no Plague in this Ci­ty, and then there dyed of the Plague, 34576. but many more thou­sands mercy saved alive, and reigned sole liver againe for 5. yeares: for till 1630. no Plague in this City; and then there dyed of the Plague, but 1317. but many, many more thousands did mercy preserve and keepe alive; and hath reigned 6. yeares againe; and there are some thousands dead of the Plague this yeare, but many more thousands, by mercies favour, reserved, and a­mongst them, our selves, blessed be the God of Heaven: And why are we preserved yet? but to give thanks unto the God of Heaven, because his mercy endureth for ever.

Would you be preserved still? and [Page 48]would you have mercy sweepe away this Judgement? would you have mercy continue for ever, and give no more place to Judgement for ano­ther Plague? why no way so good, as for us to be like God; and this is a sure way, when our mercy, like Gods, endures for ever.

God hath respect to us, for his owne mercies sake, and God hath re­spect to us for our mercies sake too: For his owne mercies sake; and therefore it is, that we are not consu­med: And for our mercies sake; for God respected Cornelius for his workes of mercy; so the Angel told him: Thy Prayers and thine Almes­deeds, are come up for a memoriall be­fore God. Act. 10.4.

And doe not you thinke that God hath respect to this City, for the mercifull workes of this City? Your Hospitals, wherein so many poore Widowes, Orphans, Men, Women, [Page 49]young and old are relieved, so many sicke and lame cured: Your Bride­wels, wherein so many idle loyte­rers are made to worke: and so ma­ny wanton Harlots punished: Your Bedlams, wherein so many mad men are Dieted, and some restored: Your Pest-houses, wherein so many infected persons are regarded, and some recovered: All these, and ma­ny more cry to God, that His mercy may endure for ever.

Shall I commend one worke of mercy more to you all; to all you that are hard-hearted Creditors, where you see your debtors so poore, that they have nothing to pay; that then you would be like God, and forgive them all the debt: Else if nothing will serve your turns, but their bodies, to make Dice of their bones; then read that Parable in St. Mathew the 18. and you shall finde, the mercilesse Creditor hath [Page 50]little hope of mercy with God.

Nor is this any way advantagious to you who are Debtors, to find out shifts, and breake, and conveigh your wares into your neighbours Store­houses, thereby to make your Credi­tor beleeve you have nothing to pay, and therefore to forgive you: no, you that are debtors, must pay all that you owe, if you have where­with: if not all, yet so farre as you have to pay withall: This you must doe, you must doe this, as you hope to be saved, and find the mercy of God.Luk. 19.8.9. Zacheus never heard of salvation, till he had first made resti­tution: nor may you hope for it, if you have wherewith to restore; But if you have nothing to pay, no­thing indeed, why then your Credi­tors must be like God, and forgive you all the debt: His mercy endures for ever: and so must ours.

Yet one more, for one more worke [Page 51]of mercy: And this to you all, all in generall, and together, rich and poore, if you would have Gods mer­cy endure for ever to you: your mer­cy must endure for ever to God. But can a man be mercifull to God? Yes, he may; and no Popery in it up­on my life: God complaines, and complaines of you, and complaines to you: That you presse him with sins, Am. 2.13 as a Cart [...] pressed with sheaves: And this pressing him, is a meere op­pressing of him, and therefore you must bee more mercifull unto him, and lay no more load upon him: thou [...] the single eares [...] Infirmities yet you must take head of the double sheaves of Im­pre [...]es, [...] presse, [...], and God forbid that man should presse his God: These your Impieties have pressed and squeezed a Plague out of the Cup of his Wrath, and it hath beene drunke amongst us: [Page 52]If you would not drinke the dregges of it your selves, bee more mer­cifull to God, presse him no more with sinnes, if you would have this Plague quite and cleane re­moved: and then you shall live, and live to give Thankes to the God of Heaven, because his mercy endures for ever: Else if you presse him still, His Judgements will en­dure for ever. And David you see, makes choyse of mercy rather than Judgement, to perswade our thank­fulnesse: Oh give thankes unto the God of Heaven, because, not his Iudge­ment, but his mercy endureth for ever.

For ever, and Everlasting are the mercies of God indeed: Everlasting, and for ever in number; so many, that no Arithmetician can number them: Divide them, if you will, you may, into Temporall, Spirituall, Eternall: Temporall, [Page 53]to our bodies, Spirituall to our soules, Eternall to both soules and bodies: but number them you cannot, for they are a multitude, an infinite multitude:Psa. 51.1. Doe away mine offences, according to the mul­titude of thy mercies, saith David: A multitude they are, not onely in the Genus, but the Species; and in the particular of the Species too: A multitude of Temporall; Bread to feede us, Cloth to cover us, Fire to warme us, Wine to re­fresh us; Oyle to cheare us; the whole World is not able to recount them all: A multitude of Spirituall; his word to teach us to beleeve, to worke, to pray; his Spirit to helpe us to pray, His sonne to pray for us, His Sacraments to preserve our soules and bodies unto Everlasting life, and who can name them all? A multitude of Eternals; Beauty [Page 54]to the Body Joy to the Soule, Glory to both, Everlastingnesse in all.

Everlasting thus in the number, and Everlasting in the extension too; they compasse us round; before us, in his preventing mercy; behind us, in his forbearing mercy; over us, in his for­giving mercy, under us, in his sup­porting mercy; on our right hand is his embracing mercy; As the Hills stand round about Hierusalem,Psa. 125.2 even so stand the mercies of God round a­bout them that feare him: your selves, I trust in God: His ever­lasting mercies are about you.

Everlasting thus, in the Number, and extention; and Everlasting thus, in the Succession too: His iealousie visites the Iniquities of the Fa­thers upon the Children, Ex. 20.5.6. unto the third and fourth Generation of them that hate him, but he shewes mer­cy unto thousands in them that love him, and keepe his Commandoments. [Page 55]To us, ô God, we beseech thee, & to our children, and to our childrens children, so long as the Sunne and Moone endures, and for ever, and for ever.

Everlasting thus in number, in ex­tension, in succession, and everlasting thus too in duration: Si dixerit, totâ die, dixerit nihil; sed in saecula saecu­lorum, non dixisset amplius. Had he sayd, his Mercy endures for a Day, hee had sayd as much as nothing: but saying, for ever, his Mercy endures for ever, what could hee say more? And that is a sufficient Rea­son to resolve my fourth Enquiry, why David repeats it so often, Twenty sixe times in this Psalme, his mercy endures for ever.

So sweet a Theame it was, that the good man was ravished with it; he thought hee could never speake enough of it. And indeed, who can? There are onely two men that think [Page 56]they speake too much of it, the Pa­pist, and the Schismaticke: If the Pa­pist did not thinke hee spake too much of it, hee would never come in with his merit: would Andradius the Jesuite stand up with his Debitum ut donum, and tell us, that eternall life is not so much of Gods mercy, as of mans merit? would Bellarmine lay downe his Paradisum ex merito, and tell us, We may purchase Paradise by merit? would Vega more despe­rately say, Gratis non accipiam, I will none of Heaven, unlesse I may merit some part of it, if they did not thinke too much were spoke of mercy? You shall amongst them, finde Merit twenty sixe times in one Chapter, and Mercy not above once: whereas in one of Davids Psalmes, you shall finde Mercy twenty sixe times toge­ther, and Merit not so much as once, David and the Iesuites surely were not of one opinion in this point.

And so the Schismaticke too; if hee did not thinke, hee spake too much of Mercy, would hee ever come in with his absolute Reproba­tion, that God made some men purposely to damne them? A likely thing that God should be more cruel then man! Did ever any of you, nay, did ever any man get, or beget a child purposely to breake his necke when hee was borne? Why? if there could be a man so cruell to his Childe that came from his owne loynes, why yet God would be more cruell, if he should make any man on purpose for to damne him: for Damnation is a thing farre, and infinite worse than Death; for by Death, a Child is de­livered from the miseries of this World; but by Damnation, a man is taken from the pleasures of this world, and hurled into unspeake­able torments.

Good God, that any man should [Page 58]thinke, that God, who exhorts all men to give him thankes, because his mercy endures for ever, should make any man amongst them all, on pur­pose for to Damne him! Reprobati­on is a word that came from Fury, not from Mercy; let him beleeve it that never meanes to give God thanks, and despaire: I will beleeve, that I, the greatest of all sinners, that thou, that any man may bee saved, if thou, or I, or any man doe beleeve, that Gods mercy does endure for ever; so that thou, and I, and any man doe live answerable to that Mercy, and repent, and beleeve, and pray, and give thankes unto the God of Heaven, because his mercy endures for ever.

His Mercy! This, this is the onely thing we live by; this is the onely thing wee hope to be saved by, such a thing, This, his Mercy, so sweete, as in the Contemplation thereof, I could even Live and Die, or rather [Page 59]could live, and not Die; for whosoe­ver lives and beleives in Gods mer­cies, and in Iesus Christ, shall not die eternally. The Mercy of God; it is Davids Amabaeum, and the bur­then of this Song, Praise the Lord, for his Mercy endures for ever: And so twenty sixe times in this Psalme; Praise the Lord, for his Mercy endures for ever. His Majesty may astonish us, his Glory may beate us downe, his Greatnesse may strike us dead, his Omnipotencie wee adore, his Wisedome we admire, his Iustice wee stand in awe of, his Uengeance wee flie from; but, his Mercy! his Mercy! this is that strong, out of which came this sweete, and the full unfolding of Sampsons Riddle: this is that Lyon out of which came this Hony-combe, I will not feare what Man, or Divell, what Plague, or Pestilence can doe unto me, so long as I can give thankes unto the [Page 60]God of Heaven, because His Mercy endures for ever. Amen.

That was my beginning, and it is my ending; it was the beginning of us all, for of his mercy wee all are, and are what we are: and I pray God it may be the ending of us all, and all of us Die in the Mercy of God; while we live, God give us grace to make such use of his Mercy; his Mercy temporall, and his Mercy spiritual, that then, when we die, we may en­ioy his Mercy, which is Eternall E­ternally, through the merits of his e­ternall Sonne, Iesus Christ. To whom, with the holy Ghost; three persons and one God, bee given e­verlasting thanksgiving, for his mercy which endures for ever. Amen.

FINIS.

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