IACOBS VOVV.

A SERMON Preached before his MAIESTIE, and the PRINCE his Highnesse, At HAMPTON COVRT, September. 23. 1621.

By Christopher Swale, Doctor of Diuinitie, and one of his MAIESTIES Chap­laines in Ordinarie.

LONDON, Printed by John Bill. 1621.

The Text.

Gen. chap. 28. vers. 20. 21. 22.

20. Then Iacob vowed a Vow, say­ing, If God will be with me, and will keepe mee in this way that I goe, and will giue me bread to eat, and raiment to put on.

21. So that I come againe to my fa­thers house in peace, then shall the Lord be my God.

22. And this Stone, which I haue set vp as a Pillar, shalbe Gods house: and of all that thou shalt giue mee, I will surely giue the Tenth vnto thee.

IACOBS Vovv.

WHICH words are the Vowe of that holy Patri­arke Iacob, who being mortally hated of his bro­ther Esau, for deceiuing him (as he tearmed it) both of his Birth-right, and of his Blessing, was forced to flie for his life: And by the aduise of his Mo­ther, with the expresse consent, and commande­ment of his Father in the first verse of this chap­ter, hee trauailed towards Padan-Aran vnto his vnckle Laban for succour; in hope there not onely to haue his life secured frō his brothers rage; but also to be prouided of a Wife, amongst his owne kindred, which might be a helper, and comforter vnto him: yet he went not forth like a Woer, nor like either his father Isaacs sonne, or his grandfa­ther:Gen. 24. Abrahams seruant, with Gamels, and Men, [Page 2]and Iewels, and other prouision for such a iour­ney, (for then perhappes hee had neuer made this Vowe,) but hee went all alone like a poore Pilgrime, with his staffe in his hand, and so came wearie, and late (the Sunne being downe) vnto a certaine place, neere vnto Haran, where he tooke vp his lodging for that night:Homil. 54. in Gen. and as Saint Chry­sostome saith, Ibi dormiuit, vbi nox eum comprehen­dit, He slept there where he was benighted, not in any towne or house; or tent, but Sub dio, ma­king the earth his bed, heauen his canopie, and a stone (which hee found in that place) the pillow whereupon he reposed his head: and yet hauing a wearied bodie, and a quiet conscience (which are two good Engines, to draw on sleepe) he slept as soundly vpon that hard pillow, as if hee had lien vpon a bed of Downe: And in his sleepe he drea­med of a certaine Ladder reaching vp from earth to heauen, vpon which the Angels of God ascen­ded, and descended, and the Lord himselfe stood at the toppe of the Ladder; who made vnto him a large, and a most gracious foure-fold promise, in the 13.14. and 15. verses. 1. That he would giue vnto him and his seed, that land vpon which he then slept. 2. That hee would multiply his seede as the dust of the earth. 3. That in his seed, all the Nations of the earth should be Bles­sed; And lastly, that he would be with him, and keepe him whithersoeuer hee went, and bring him againe vnto that land, and not to forsake him vntill he had performed all, that he had pro­mised vnto him.

When Iacob awoke out of his sleepe, and perceiued that the Lord was in that place, and he not aware of it, and that that place was no other, but the house of God, and gate of heauen, verse 17. he was stricken with feare and reuerence, as euery one ought to bee, that commeth within the gate of Gods house, and tooke the stone that lay vnder his head, and set it vp for a pillar, and powred oyle vpon the top of it, and called the name of that place Bethel, that is, the house of God.

And entring into a serious consideration of this gracious Promise, which farre exceeded all that hee could either aske, or thinke, hee did not through vnbeliefe make any doubt of the perfor­mance thereof; but certainely belieuing that it should be accomplished in due time, like a thanke­full Pilgrime, or a man euen ouer-ioyed with vn­expected, but yet assured hopes; he began to stu­die with himselfe, what hee should render vnto the Lord, for all these benefits promised vnto him; and not finding any better meanes to ex­presse his thankefulnesse, he vowed a Vow in my Text, saying, If God will be with me, &c.

Of which Vow there be two parts. The first is, Petitio, a Request, which he desired of God; The second is, Promissio, a dutie, which he promi­sed to performe to God.

The Petition in these words, If God will be with me, and will keepe me in this way that I goe, and will giue me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come againe to my fathers house in peace; The dutie [Page 4]which hee promiseth to performe in liew of this benefit is three-fold. 1. That the Lord shall be his God. 2. That the stone which he had set vp for a pillar, should be Gods house. 3. That of all that God should giue him, he would giue vnto God the Tenth. Of which points in order as they lie in the Text.

And first of the Petition, or request, which (as you see) is very moderate, and reasonable: for whereas God had promised vnto Iacob foure things; Iacob doth not desire all, nor halfe, nor the thirde part of that which was promised, but contenteth himselfe with the last, and least of all those foure things, and desireth nothing, but on­ly necessaries for the present; not Quailes, or Manna for delight; but onely bread for necessitie, that is necessarie food: not purple and fine linnen for pompe; but onely raiment to put on, that is, necessarie cloathes: not the attendance of many feruants; but onely the protection, and blessing of God, without which, neither his food, nor rai­ment, nor any thing els could doe him good, nor himselfe, either be well, or be.

But what is the reason why Isaac, who was ex­ceeding rich, sent foorth his sonne Iacob (who by Gods prouidence was now lately made his Heire) so exceeding poore, that he is faine to petition for foode and raiment, whereas Abraham his father, sent foorth his very seruant vpon the like iourney richly furnished, and sumptuously attended? Was Abrahams seruant better then Isaacs sonne?

To omit the diuers Allegories which Saint Au­gustine, Aug. Ser, de tē ­por. 79. Gre. mor. lib. 5. cap. 21. and Gregorie haue obserued vpon this pas­sage, [Page 5]the reasons, as Theodoret and others haue well summed them vp, might be these.

  • 1 Vt fratr is conatus melius declinaret, that going poorely, and priuately, his brother Esau might not so easily misse him, nor know which way to pursue after him.
  • 2. That this miserie might mooue his brother to compassion, and reconciliation.
  • 3. Vt animus esset reuertendi, that carrying no wealth with him to maintaine, or detaine him abroad, he might haue the more mind to returne vnto his father home againe.
  • 4. And lastly, that hee might haue the better experience of Gods mercie, as indeede he had, for which hee returned thankes vnto God at his re­turne in the 32. chap.

Iacobs pouertie may teach vs, that although worldly prosperitie be the good blessing of God, wherewith he often enricheth his owne children: yet hee euer, at one time or other, chasteneth those, whom he loueth, and traineth them vp in his schoole of affliction, and nurtureth them with his Ferula of wants and crosses. Virgatua & bacu­lus tuus, saith the Psalmist &c.Psal. 23.4. they must as well be humbled, and instructed with his rod of correcti­on, as supported with his staffe of comfort. Abra­ham and Isaac, Iob, and Dauid, and Iacob also in my Text, after his returne from Padan-Aran, were all rich, and our Lord himselfe was Lord of all, and yet none of them wanted either their wants or crosses. And the children of Israel, Gods owne people were not onely pinched with wants [Page 6]in the wildernesse;Ios. 23.13. but were pricked with thornes in their eyes, and goades in their sides, euen in the land of Promise.

Whence wee may learne, that Aduersitie is the blessing of God vpon his Children, aswell as Pro­speritie. Res prospera donum est consolantis, res aduersa donū est admonent is Dei, saith S. Augustine, Prospe­ritie is the gift of God comforting, Aduersitie the gift of God admonishing: Prosperity may bee the more pleasant, but Aduersitie many times is the more profitable: which made Dauid out of his own ex­perience ingeniously confesse,Psal. 119.71. that it was good for him, that hee had beene afflicted. And so it is good for vs all to be afflicted sometimes, els we should forget both God, and our selues, and bee too much wedded to this world, and say with Saint Peter, Mat. 17.4. Bonum est esse hic, and begin to build such Tabernacles here vpon earth, as would hin­der vs from our euerlasting Tabernacles of blisse in heauen. And thus much of Iacobs pouertie and want.

But now being in so great want as hee was at this time, why doth he preferre so poore a Peti­tion vnto God, who is so rich in mercie? And whereas God had now lately appeared vnto him here in Bethel, and promised the whole land of Canaan to him, and his, why doth hee desire so poore a pittance, as food and raiment, which would onely keepe life and soule together? the very foules of the aire are furnished with these.

And yet Iacob desires no more, to teach vs, how moderate wee should be in the desire of earthly [Page 7]things. We may and ought to be euen couetous of things spirituall, and heauenly; so saith the Apostle: Couet after the best gifts: 1. Cor. 12.31. but of tempo­rall, and earthly things we may not be couetous, more then is necessary for our callings & estates: because as our Sauiour teacheth,Luke 12.15. Amans life doth not consist in the abundance of the things which hee possesseth. Therefore the Apostles rule is, that hauing but [...] onely food and rai­ment, 1. Tim. 6.8. wee must be content therewith: for Victus, & vestitus sunt diuitiae Christianorum, saith Hie­rome: food and raiment are the riches of Christians: and our patterne of Prayer doth warrant vs, to petition onely for our daily bread, that is, as it is excellently expounded in that Royall Meditation vpon the Lords Prayer, Written by the kings Maiestie. onely for such temporall things, as are necessary for our Esse, or at farthest, for our Bene esse. And they that cannot be con­tent with these, but with the Horse-leaches daughters, still cry, Giue, Giue; and will needes be rich, fall into temptation, and a snare, and into ma­ny foolish, and hurtfull lusts, which drowne the soule in perdition, and destruction, 1. Tim. 6. Iacob hauing once seene God in Bethel, and set his heart vpon him, who is the true treasure, neither admired, nor much desired (more then was ne­cessary) this worldly trash.

Where wee may see, that howsoeuer world­lings doe not onely admire, but euen adore riches, and honours, and earthly pleasures, as their sole trinitie, yet the Children of God, knowing that earthly honors, and riches are but shadowes [Page 8]of heauenly, and the pleasures of sinne, not so much as shadowes of heauenly pleasures: vse these things, when God giueth them; but nei­ther abuse nor admire the same And why should men admire shadowes, painted fires, which flame, but warme not? and may fitly be compared vnto Glo-wormes, or peices of rotten-wood, which in a darke night shine like stars, but when the Sunne ariseth, and sheweth what they are, the one ap­peareth to be a poore worme, the other nothing but a rotten sticke: So these glorious outward things, shine like Starres in the eyes of the Chil­dren of darkenesse: but the Children of light, whose eyes are purged from those skales of dark­nesse, doe plainely see, that in regard of true con­tent, they be Vanit as vanissima, wormes, & stickes, before which Solomon incomparably preferred wisedome;1. Kings 3.9. and Agur in the Prouerbs of Solomon, prayed expressely against riches in the thirtieth Chapter, aswell as pouertie. Mendicitatem, & di­uitias ne dederis mihi: Giue me neither pouertie, nor riches, but feed me with food conuenient for me. And this is the reason, why Iacob in my Text, petiti­ons neither for riches, nor honour, nor any other outward thing, but onely for bread to eat, and cloathes to put on.

And yet one thing more is to be obserued in Iacobs Petition, out of these words of my Text, where he saith, If God will be with me, and keepe me in this way, that I goe, and bring me againe to my fathers house in peace; wherein besides foode, and raiment, you see hee desireth the protection, and [Page 9]blessing of God in his whole iourney going out, and comming in: without which, neither his bread could nourish, nor his cloathes keepe him warme, nor any thing else doe him good. For Man doth not liue by bread onely, Mat. 4.4. but by euery word which proceedeth out of the mouth of God, that is, the blessing of God vpon bread: For as in Phisicke, a diseased man is prescribed to boile certaine medi­cinable hearbes in running water, and then to drinke a quantity of that water, and so is cured of his disease: and yet wee know, that it is not the water, but the decoction, or infusion which cu­reth the Patient: so it is not the bread that nouri­sheth, nor the abundance of outward things, which enricheth, or contenteth, but the infusi­on of Gods blessing, which is the staffe of bread; without which a man may starue for hun­ger,Leuit. 26.26. Ezek. 4.16. with bread in his mouth, and die like the children of Israel with the flesh of Quailes in their teeth.Psal. 78.31.

Whereas on the contrary, Daniel feeding vpon bare pulse, strengthened by the blessing of God, which is the staffe of bread, and of all other nourishment, was fatter, and fairer,Dan. 1.15. then they that were fed with the Kings diet: For it is the blessing of God, that maketh rich: and a little,Pro 10.22. that the righteous hath,Pro. 16.8. is better then the great reuenewes of the vngodly. And wee may ob­serue in our owne experience, many a man, who with a dinner of greene hearbes,Pro. 15.87. as Solomon spea­keth, that is short diet, course clothes, hard lodg­ing, and a poore estate, looketh fatter, liueth [Page 10]merrier, sleepeth sweetlier, enioyeth more hearts ease, and true content, and in trueth liueth better then others that weare a chaine of golde. And therfore wisely did Iacob desire nothing but food, and raiment, and Gods blessing vpon them, which hee knew would serue his turne. And thus much of the Petition, or Request which Iacob desired of God.

Now I come to the duties, which he promiseth to performe to God, in the next words, Then shall the Lord be my God, &c. herein Iacob, who was afterward surnamed Israel, Gen. 32. hauing receiued but euen the promise of a benefit, presently voweth the performance of a duetie, to teach all true Israe ­lites, that Beneficium postulat of ficium: and that the thankefulnesse of the receiuer, ought to answere vnto the benefit of the bestower, as the Eccho an­swereth to the voice: wee doe no sooner receiue the one, but we are immediatly bound to returne the other.Psal. 116. So doth Dauid, Thou hast deliuered my soule from death, mine eyes from teares, and my feet from falling, There is the benefite receiued; and then it followeth in the very next words, I will walke before the Lord in the land of the liuing, Verse. 9. there is the duetie returned: So likewise in my Text, If God will be with me, and giue me bread to eate, and cloathes to put on, there is the benefit petitioned for, and promise, Then shall the Lord be my God, &c. there is the returne of a duetie vowed.

Now wee all haue receiued the same or the like benefits, both spirituall and temporall, whereby we are all bound vnto the like thankefulnesse; but [Page 11]where is the performance of the same, or the like duties? We owe as much, or more vnto God for his benefits, then Iacob did, but who voweth, or paieth vnto him the like duties, that Iacob did? What heart can thinke, or what tongue can ex­presse our infinite obligations? First for spirituall fauours: Infinitely are we bound vnto God for our Creation: more then infinitely (if more might be) for our Redemption, and our effectuall Cal­ling vnto the participation thereof. What shall we then render vnto the Lord, for all these bene­fits done vnto vs? Totum me debeo, saith S. Ber­nard, pro me facto: quid igitur rependam pro me re­dempto? Iowe euery whit of my selfe (vnto God) for my Creation, what shall I then render vnto him for my Redemption?

And Saint Ambrose saith,Ambr. super lue. ser. 5. Nihilest quod dignum referre possumus pro suscepta carne Maria, quid pro cruce obita, quid pro verberibus, & sepultura redde­mus? We are not able to be sufficiently thankefull for taking our flesh of the (Virgin) Marie, what shall wee then returne vnto him for his suffering vpon the Crosse, for his stripes, for his buriall?

And as for temporall benefits, we are farre be­fore Iacob; he wandred vp and downe the world like a poore Pilgrime, with his staffe in his hand: he kept sheepe, and was parched with the heat of the day, and frozen with the cold of the night; and in my Text, the bare earth was his bedde, a hard stone his pillow; he had nothing, he desired nothing, but onely bread to eate, and cloathes to put on, and the protection and blessing of God [Page 12]vpon him in his iourney, and yet hee, euen for these vowed a Vow vnto God. Wee sit vnder our owne Vines, and our owne Fig-trees in peace and rest,Amos 6.4, 5, 6. We lie vpon beds of Iuorie, and stretch our selues vpon our couches; we are clad in purple and fine linnen, and fare delicately euery day; we eat calues out of the stalles, and lambes out of the flockes; wee drinke wine in boules, and annoint our selues with costly oint­ments, and inuent instruments of Musicke (like Da­uid.) But who is either sorrie for the affliction of Io­seph, the extreame miseries of our Brethren in neighbour-Countries, or who is sensible of our owne great prosperitie, and our incomparable happinesse, or who for all this voweth one Vow to God?

When our Sauiour CHRIST had cleansed ten Leapers,Luke 17.17. there was but one found amongst all those ten, & he a stranger too, that returned to giue God thanks. I feare there is scarsely one of an hundred amongst vs, that is but euen so thanke­full vnto God for all his benefits, as that stranger was onely for his cleansing.

When this good Patriarke Iacob returned rich from Padan-Aran in the 32. chapter of this booke, he neither forgate what he was then, nor what he had beene before: and therefore in a thankefull remembrance of Gods great mercies towards him, he payed one part of this Vow in that place, and worshipped God,Gen. 32.10. saying, O Lord, I am not worthy of the least of all thy mercies. for with my stasse I passed ouer this Iordan, and now I am become two bands.

Many a one there be in this honourable Court, who haue passed ouer, not the riuer of Iordan, but the riuer of Trent, or Thames, or Seuerne with their staues in their hands, that is, poore estates in com­parison, and haue beene deliuered from many dangers, and are now euen laden with riches and honours; And yet I doubt there bee not manie, that for all this, haue vowed with Iacob, to haue the Lord for their God, or to build him an House, or to pay him the Tenth of all that he hath giuen them.

One Religious Vow, you see weekely payed in this place by our royall Iacob, I meane our Tues­dayes Exercise; which was deuoutly vowed, vpon as iust an occasion, as euer Vow was made. And hitherto (God be thanked) it hath beene religious­ly performed. God grant that this our Iacob may long, and long liue a happie King of this happie Island, euen as long (if it bee his will) as the olde Patriarke Iacob did, to pay this tribute, and the rest of his Vowes vnto the King of Kings. And can wee that are his seruants, haue a better pat­terne to imitate, then the Religious example of so Royall a Master? therefore I will conclude this point, with that zealous exhortation of another King, Psal. 76.11. Vouete & reddite Domino Deo vestro. Ʋow vnto the Lord your God, and keepe it, all yee that are round about him: bring presents vnto him that ought to be feared. And thus much of the generall of Iacobs Vow.

Now I come to the particular duties vowed; and they are three. First, that the Lord should [Page 14]be his God, that is, that hee would worship the true God, and no other. Secondly, that the stone which hee had set vp for a pillar, should be Gods house: that is, he would dedicate that place vnto the publique worship of God. Thirdly, for the maintenance of both these, he would giue the Tenth of all that hee had. All which were ne­cessary duties, and euery one of them hath a ne­cessary relation, and dependance vpon other; For if God must be worshipped, then must hee haue a place to be worshipped in, which is here called an House, and our SAVIOVR saith,Mar. 11.17. shall of all na­tions bee called the House of Prayer; And if a House of Prayer, then a maintenance for that House, and them that shall say Prayers in it. Of these in order, and first of the first.

Then shall the Lord be my God.

To haue the LORD for our GOD, is the very summe of the first Commandement, the meaning whereof, as all Interpreters expound it, is to loue God aboue all, to make him our treasure, and in­finitely to preferre him, and his Seruice before our selues, and all other things in the world. A duetie whereunto euery man is bound, as well as Iacob, and euery man that is not an Atheist, will confesse, and professe as much: But how they per­forme this dutie, or either loue, or preferre God aboue all, who so farre preferre themselues, their honours, pleasures and profits vnto Gods Ser­uice, that they spend more houres of time, and pounds of money vpon the one, then minutes, or pence vpon the other; and bestow more cost euen [Page 15]vpon points and shooe-strings in one day, then vpon the worshipping of God in a whole yeere, iudge ye. Aures omnium pulso, conscientias singulo­rum conuenio, as Saint Augustine speaketh. If the Lord be their God, where is his feare? where is his loue? where is his honour? there goeth more to this, then the hearing of a Sermon once, or twise a weeke; especially as it is vsually heard, which is scarce worth the name of a hearing: and Iacob meant more then so in my Text. For to haue the Lord for our God, is to loue him aboue all, as I said before, and to serue him Semper, & ad semper, with an vniuersall obedience, both in regard of time and place, and with Dauid to haue respect, not vnto some one, or two;Psal. 119.6. but vnto all his Commandements. They which serue God on the Sundaies, but not on the weeke-dayes; in the Church, not in their Chambers, Closets, Callings, and whole course of life; and that, not for praise, profit, pleasing of men, or custome; but out of a good and honest heart, and a conscience of their duties, doe not performe this part of Ia­cobs Vow, to haue the Lord for their God. And thus much of the first dutie.

The second followeth in the next words, And this stone, which I haue set vp for a pillar, shalbe Gods House. A dutie necessarily depending vpon the former; for if God must be worshipped, then must he haue a place to be worshipped in, here called an House.

Now some thinke, that this place where Iacob slept, and set vp this Pillar, was Mount Moria, and [Page 16]that he called it Bethel, or the House of God, Pro­phetically by a Prolepsis, because the Temple should afterwards bee built there: yet there may be two other reasons, why Iacob calleth this pillar Gods House, as before he called the very place Bethel.

1. Because God had manifested his presence here, in an extraordinary manner, as he did after­wards both in the wandring tabernacle, and in the fixed Temple, where he was, therefore said to dwell,1. King. 8.13. as in an House.

2. Because Iacob consecrated this place vnto the Seruice of God, and chap. 35. and 14. verse, set vp an Altar for his worship in stead of this Pillar, and (as may probably be thought) would haue built a House for Prayer, and sacrificed in this place, if him selfe, and the Church had beene then setled here, and had opportunitie, and meanes to haue done it. But being a Pilgrime, and in his iourney, he did what he could for the present, he anointed a Pillar, erected an Altar for Sacrifice, and dedicated a place for an House of Prayer; whereby we may see what great care this holy Patriarke had of the place of Gods worship: his first care was for the worship it selfe, which hee vowed in the former words: his next care is of the place of his worship, in these words.

To teach vs, that as our first care should be of the worship of God: so our second care should be of the place of his worship. The obiect of our first loue, must be God him selfe: the obiect of our second loue, must be the House of God. O Lord, I [Page 17]haue loued the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth, (saith Dauid) Psal. 26.8. Thy seruants take pleasure in her stones, and fa­uour the very dust thereof. Psal. 102.14. And Psal. 84.10. One day in thy Courts, is better then a thou­sand. I had rather be a doore-keeper in the house of my God, then to dwell in the tents of wickednesse: And he rendreth the reason, why he so exceedingly lo­ued the House of God, in the very next verse: for there the Lord is the sunne and shield, Vers. 11 there hee will giue grace and glorie: and no good thing will he with­hold from them that liue a godly life. God is in all places by a generall prouidence, but hee dwelleth in his house by a speciall presence. Hee distilleth the droppes of his mercie vpon euery part of the earth, but hee powreth it downe vpon that holy ground which is dedicate to his Seruice. There, be shineth like the Sunne: there, hee defendeth like a shield hee filled the Temple at Ierusalem with his glorie: hee made many gracious promi­ses to them that praied therein, or towards it and still where two or three are gathered together in his Name, hee will be in the middest amongst them: Mat. 18.20. and no good thing will he with-hold from them, that worship him in the beautie of holinesse, and wait for his louing kindnesse in the middest of his Temple. Psal. 48.9.

Priuate Conuenticles are not to be compared with the publique Assemblies of the Church that is both the throne of Gods glorie, and his Mercie­seat.

Which euer so inflamed the holy men of God [Page 18]in former ages with the zeale of his House, that they spared neither cost, nor paines, nor euer af­fected any thing so much, as the building and beautifying thereof. I will not suffer mine eyes to sleepe, nor my eye-lids to slumber (saith Dauid,) vntill I find out a place for the Lord, an habitation for the mightie God of Iacob. Psal. 132.Luke 7.5. The good Cen­turion in the Gospel builded a Synagogue at his owne charges. Great Constantine, that mirrour of deuotion, bare twelue baskets of earth vpon his owne shoulders towards the founding of a Church. And when that noble Captaine Teren­tius had done such seruice in Armenia, that the Emperour Valens bade him aske whatsoeuer hee would, for a reward of his seruice, his onely suite (as Theodoret reporteth) was vt Orthodoxis vna praeberetur Ecclesia: Hist. tripart. lib. 8. cap. 13. And when the Emperour tare his petition, and bade him aske somewhat els, hee still persisted in his suite, and called God to record, that hee would make no other suit but that. And how zealous our owne forefathers haue beene in this kinde of deuotion, I need not speake, the zeale of Gods House did euen eate them vp: the goodly Monuments whereof, yet extant in all our Cities, and many Countey-Parishes (which haue spared vs both the labour, and charge of building Houses vnto God) speake for them. But some of those Houses which they haue built, and euen the fairest of them, since their Butteresses, and Pillars (I meane their maintenance) hath beene pluckt a­way, begin to droope alreadie, and in time, (if it be not preuented) will moulder away, and drop [Page 19]downe: And yet who pittieth the ruines of Sion, on repaireth any one wall, or window thereof? Will your selues dwell in sieled houses, Hag. 1.4. and suffer the Houses of God to lie waste? Shall Pater noster build Churches, and Our father pull them downe? (as the prouerbe is) or suffer them to fall?2. Sam. 1.20 O let not that be told in Gath, nor published in the streetes of Askalon, lest the Philistines reioyce, lest the vncir­cumcised triumph.

Therefore to conclude this point, Seeing wee need not with Iacob in my Text, vow to build: let vs all out of our zeale vnto Gods House, vow to beautifie, or at least to keepe vp those Houses, which are built to our hands. And thus much of the second duetie, which Iacob vowed in these words, This stone which I haue set vp, &c.

The third followeth in the last words, And of all that thou shalt giue me, I will giue the Tenth vnto thee. A duetie necessarily depending vpon the two former, as I said before: For if God must be worshipped, and haue an House, then must there of necessitie be a maintenance: therefore Iacob in the third place, for a perpetuall maintenance of the worship, and house of God, and them that shall attend therein, voweth for himselfe, and all the posteritie, as well of his Faith, as Flesh, vnto the end of the world, the paiment of Tithes; Of all that thou shalt giue mee, I will surely giue the Tenth vnto thee.

But what is the reason why Iacob here voweth to giue vnto God rather the Tenth then any other part of his goods? Surely howsoeuer some other [Page 20]causes may bee alleadged, yet the true reason is, because Iacob knew, either by the light of Nature, or by the tradition and practise of his Ancestors, that this quota, the very tenth, and no other part, was, is, and for euer must be as due vnto God, as either his House, or his worship: therefore he ioyneth these three together, being all relatiues which depend one vpon another; Se mutuo po­nunt, & auferunt, and they are all equally due vn­to God: And due vnto him, not by any common right, as other things, but by a speciall proprietie, and right of reseruation: whereby Almighty God from the very Creation of the world, and dona­tion thereof vnto the vse of men, reserued vnto himselfe, and separated from common vse, vnto his owne Seruice, some out of euery one of these fiue things, which should neuer after be alienated, or taken away without Sacriledge.

  • 1. A forme of Diuine worship, which may ne­uer be giuen to any other.
  • 2. A time for this worship, which is the Saboth day, neuer to be abrogated.
  • 3. A place of worship, which is his House, ne­uer to be prophaned.
  • 4. A Priest-hood, which may neuer bow knee vnto Baal.
  • 5. And lastly, for the maintenance of all these, Tithes, which hee therefore calleth his owne in­heritance, neuer without Sacriledge to be impro­priated.
    Ambr. Ser. 34. in feria tertia post 1. Domini­cam, quadrages. in vlt. edit. col.
    De omni substantia quam Deus homini donat, decimam partem sibi reseruauit. Of all the substance which God hath giuen vnto man, he hath reserued the [Page 21]Tenth part vnto himselfe. They be the very words of Saint Ambrose, And S. Augustine saith,
    Aug. de temp. Ser. 219.
    Deus sibi tantum decimam vendicans, nobis omnia condona­uit. God challenging only to himselfe the Tenth, hath giuen all things vnto vs. And that hee reserued to himselfe the tithes for this purpose, euen from the beginning, as well as any of the other foure things may appeare by this; That for any thing we know to the contrary, tithes were payed euen from the beginning of the world: for some thinke, that Caine, and Abel offered the very tithe as they were instructed of their father Adam: But how­soeuer that be, certaine it is, that there is no soo­ner mention made of any Priest [...] of an or­der fit to receiue them, then there is mention of paying of tithes vnto him. For Abraham the father of the Faithfull, no sooner met with Mel­chise dec a Priest of an Order, but for an example vnto all his posteritie, euen all the Faithfull, vnto the end of the world, hee gaue him tithes of all the spoiles. Gen. 14. And gaue it him, not as an arbitrarie gift; but as a necessarie due vnto God: for hee sware not to take so much as a Shooe-lat­chet of the King of Sodoms, And yet hee tooke the tithe, to offer, not as his, but as Gods due. And Iacob in my Text, amongst other Morrall dueties (for here is nothing Ceremoniall) voweth the paying of tithes: and in the 27. of Leuiticus, which is the first place where tithes are mentio­ned vnder the Law, God doth not then begin to reserue them, and to say, All the tithes of the land [Page 22]shalbe the Lords; but claimeth them as his due of old by ancient inheritance, Vers. 30 saying, All the tithe is the Lords, it is holy vnto the Lord; not it shall be. And so being his owne of old, he onely assigneth them vnto the Leuiticall Priest-hood for that time. And thus you see them due, both before, and vnder the Law.

Now let any man shew, when, and where they were abrogated by the Gospell? Not by our Sa­uiour CHRIST, who speaketh of them twise, or thrise, and so had iust occasion to haue abro­gated them, if he had had any such intent; yet hee abrogateth not, but rather confirmeth them. Matth. 23. Haec oportuit facere; These things ought you to haue done. Nor by the Apostle, for S. Paul is so farre from abrogating, that on the contrary he both commandeth, and establisheth them, and prooueth them due. He commandeth them, Gal. 6.6. Let him that is taught in the word communicate with him that teacheth, [...] in all good things. Indeed he nameth not the very Quotum, how much they were to communicate, as taking it for graunted, that the Galathians themselues knew that to be the trueth, both by the light of Nature, and by the Scriptures, and by the perpe­tuall practise of the Church, and by the practise of the Heathen themselues, who vsed to offer their Tithes to their Idoles.

And 1. Cor. 9. hee plainely establisheth for a perpetuall ordinance the paying of Tithes: for saith he, Vers. 14 Euen so hath the Lord or dained, that they [Page 23]which preach the Gospel, should liue of the Gospel. Euen so, (that is as appeareth) out of the former verse, As they that ministred about holy things in the Temple, Vers. 13 liued vpon those holy things, and they that waited vpon the Altar, liued of the Altar: Euen so must the Ministers of the Gospel liue, vpon the selfe same maintenance. Now how liued they? Indeed the Priests of the Law had other emoluments, which were Ceremoniall, and temporarie: but their principall, morall, certaine, and perpetuall main­tenance was out of those ordinarie, and annuall Tithes, which are Gods standing Inheritance; therefore of them must the Priests of the Gospell liue; Euen so (saith the Apostle) hath the Lord ordained: here is no abrogation, but a ratification of this eternall ordinance.

And lastly (which in mine opinion is the most impregnable place) Heb. 7. the Apostle strongly prooueth, that the Tithes must for euer remaine due vnto God: For being to prooue the excellen­cie of CHRISTS Priest-hood, aboue the Priest-hood of Aaron, and Leui, hee prooueth it by the perpetuitie thereof: because CHRIST remai­neth a Priest for euer after the order of Melchise­dec: whereas the Leuiticall Priest-hood was alrea­die ended, & to prooue the perpetuity of Christs Priest-hood, he vseth no other Medium, but this perpetuall tithing, Vers. 8. Here men that did re­ceiue Tithes, that is Leui, who died both in regard of person and office: but there, that is CHRIST in Melchisedec receiued them, of whom it is wit­nessed, [Page 24]that hee liueth: therefore if Christs Priest-hood be perpetuall, then must his tithing be per­petuall, or els the Apostles argument is to no pur­pose.

And thus you see it prooued by these three places of Scripture, that these Tithes, which Iacob vowed in my Text long before the Law, are still due vnto God, and his Church in the time of the Gospell iure Diuino: And this hath beene both the constant opinion of all Antiquitie, and the perpetuall practise of the Church, whatsoeuer any late Historie doth report to the contrary. Therefore it is absurde to say, that these Tithes were onely Leuiticall, and that there is now no­thing but a competencie due by a Morall equitie: For how can they be only Leuiticall, which were vowed by Iacob in my text,Heb. 7.8. and paid by Abraham, and by Leui himselfe in the loines of Abraham, fiue hundred yeeres before the Leuiticall Law began. And to speake of a Competencie now, is a meere conceit: For who shall presume to prescribe an vncertaine Competencie, where God himselfe hath set downe a perpetuall certaintie, which hee neuer yet altered? Or why should any man think, that God, who prouided a standing, certaine, and liberall Maintenance for the Leuiticall Priest-hood in the time of the Law, which was lesse ho­nourable, should leaue the Ministery of the Gos­pell, which exceedeth in honour vnto an vncer­taine and beggerly competencie: especially fore­knowing, and foretelling that in these last dayes [Page 25]Charitie should waxe cold, and men be louers of themselues, and their pleasures, more then louers of God, and his Church. And yet hee requireth Hospitality at our hands too, which he knew the worlds competency could not affoord.

Therefore it must needs follow for a certaine conclusion, where with I will end, that all true Ia­cobites, or true Israelites, which liue vnder the Gos­pell, are bound to performe all Iacobs Vow in the time of the Gospell, and not onely to haue the Lord for their God, and build, or at least main­taine his houses; but also, of all that he hath gi­uen them, to giue the Tenth vnto him. And therefore, as Salomon saith, It must needs be a de­struction for any man to deuoure these things that are sanctified, the vsurping, and deuouring whereof, (as I verily beleeue) hath beene the destruction of many Houses amongst vs. Noluimus partiri cum Deo decimas, saith Saint Augustine; Serm. de tem. 219. cap. 39. Modo au­tem totum tollitur: We would not giue our Tithes vnto God, and now all is taken from vs. And Malachi saith, They are cursed with a Curse all the whole Na­tion of them, that robbed the Lord of Tithes and Offe­rings. And Dauid curseth the deuourers of these holy things, with the most bitter curse, that euer he cursed any creature.Psal. 83. O my God (saith he) Doe vnto them that say, Let vs take the Houses of God into our possession, as vnto the Midianites, as to Sisera and Iabin; which perished at Endor, and became as dung for the earth. Make their Nobles like Oreb, and Zeeb: yea all their Princes, as Zeba and Zalmunna: [Page 26]make them like a wheele, and as the stubble before the wind: As the fire burneth the wood, and as the flame setteth the mountaine on fire; so persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraide with thy storme, &c. God keepe all our Nobles and Princes, and People from this bitter Curse: for the auoiding whereof, and obtaining the contrarie blessing, me thinkes many should not onely, with Iacob in my Text, vow to giue their own Tithes; but vow to redeeme these captiue-tithes, out of the hands of other men, who haue vsurped the same, and to restore them vnto the Lord againe, who is their right owner; then which, they cannot almost of­fer a more acceptable Sacrifice, or Seruice vnto him.

And yet how these houses of God are taken, and still helde in possession, and his Inheritance still embezelled in these dayes, the cryes [...] the poore Leuites euery where doe witnesse, not onely in those places, where all is gone, and onely a Com­petency (as it was then supposed) often pounds a yeere left (which is scarce a Competency now for a Hog-heard) but also in many other places, where the tithes are not quite impropriated, but yet so gelded by pretended prescriptions, and vn­conscionable, nay vnreasonable customes de modo decimandi, & de non decimando, and they many times confirmed by prohibitions, that the poore Leuite hath in some places, not the tenth, in some, not the twentieth part of the tithe. I would to God that the Body of the Honorable Parliament [Page 27]were as willing as the Religious and Royall Head thereof, to take this grieuance into their serious consideration, that this Parliament might haue the honour to enact some wholesome Law for the honour of God, the aduancement of his Church, the peace of their owne consciences, and the reliefe of the poore Clergie in this behalfe; that so we might all (as we are all bound) pay Ia­cobs Vow vnto the God of Iacob, and receiue from him Iacobs blessing. Which God graunt for his Sonne IESVS CHRIST his sake, who is our eternall Priest, to whom with the Father, and his Blessed Spirit bee all Honour, Praise, and Thankes-giulng for euer, and euer.

AMEN.

FINIS.

LONDON, Printed by John Bill. 1621.

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