THE VOYCE OF THE CRYER.

Containing

  • 1. A Denunciation of Gods Iudge­ments.
  • 2. An Inuitation to Repentance to pre­uent the same.

Deliuered in two Sermons

By Alexander Ʋdny B. in Diuinity, and Chap­laine to his Maiestie in Ordinary, and Mini­ster of the Gospell at Hanking in Kent.

1. Pet. 4.17. For the time yet is come that iudgement must begin at the house of God.
Aug. de ciuit. Dei. Tunc manifestus veniet inter iustos iudicaturus iustè, qui occultè venerat iudicandus.

LONDON, Printed by T. C. for Iames Bowler dwelling at the signe of the Marigold in Pauls Church-yard. 1628.

TO THE RIGHT HONOVRA …

TO THE RIGHT HONOV­RABLE WILLIAM EARLE OF PEMBROKE, LORD HERBERT of Cardiffe Marmion S. Quintin, Lord Steward of his Maiesties Houshold, Lord Warden of the Stanneries of Devon. and Cornewall, Gouernour of Portsmouth, Chancellour of the Vniuersitie of Oxford, Knight of the most noble Order of the Gar­ter, and one of his Maiesties most Honourable Priuy Councell.

RJght Honourable, there be two causes which should mooue and force all hearts to mourne and lament (the feare of euils and losse of good) these two may come in one day, saith the Pro­phet,Isa. 47.9. there are two sorts of men, the one good, the [Page]other euill; good men doe euer sorrow, for this world is their hell; and euill men should euer sor­row and lament, for God is their enemy? the one for the afflictions which they feele, the other for the iudgements which they may and doe feare: Verba iusti dolore sunt plena. Gregor. Mag. 5. moral. To the wicked Stimulus conscientiae est scelerum paena. The times are such as should bedew, the words of good men with lamentation. Quocunque ad­spiceres luctus gemitusque sonabant, For­maque non taciti funeris intus erat. Hier. in vlt. c. Esae. The godly doe and must take to heart griefe for sin: for thereby God is mooued to wrath against vs, the times of griefe beseemeth not the seasons of ioy. Heu quàm difficile est imitari gaudia falsa? Ouid. 1. trist. & 3. Claudian Difficile est tristi, fingere, mente, iocum. My speech must be short, because J speak of griefe, which our times doe require to bee performed of all, albeit a few of all doe supply the same: yet they to whom the Lord hath bestowed many and rare blessings, may and should fill vp the gap. Of the which number your L. is a speciall member vn­der God and his Maiestie in this kingdome for the aduancement of Gods glory, and all good workes; [Page]which godly and noble, and worthy disposition, is knowne to bee in you, the effect is at all occasions proouing the same, to the great comfort of all well disposed people of this land.Luke 2.52. And as the Scripture saith, That as the Lord Jesus, our righteousnes, did increase in yeares, stature and wisedome, so he did in the fauour of God and man; and from Christ as the fountaine, these blessings are distil­led vpon the children of men, according to the mea­sure of Gods dispensation: which Salomon pray­ing for obtained, whose example no question your Lordship hath followed, who not onely haue Gods holy Spirit, moouing you to bee zealous of good workes, whereby Gods great fauour is manifested; and in so great estimation with so mighty a Mo­narch: but also honoured, respected, loued, by Church and policy, and so by consequent most de­seruing, that all should haue their eyes and hands directed vnto you, as to praise God for so good an instrument, as also to encourage you to goe on in so godly and righteous course of life to the end of this mortall life, and then to enioy your crowne of life eternall. Jn consideration of these great gifts be­stowed on you, J haue made choise of your honour, [Page]and that with great cause, Sivc enim illustrem generis prosapiam scrutor, sive devotam in Deum pietatem ruminor, sive summam in literas & studia humaniora, propensionem reputo, sive siugularem in Doctos & lite­ratos quosvis clementian pensito: sive illu­stres dotes alias, verè dignas considero, op­time, inter optimos in venio. Seneca lib. 1. cap. 8. de ben. And seeing these gifts are extended to many out of your Lordships good inclination, and vnto me also, J cannot but say with Aeschines, who when Zo­crates schollers did bring gifts vnto him in token of their thankfulnesse, yet Aeschines his affecti­on was comparable with any, albeit worthy of Zo­crates, but one thing J freely giue which is my selfe. And seeing J haue receiued fauour at your Lordships hands, J wished J could expresse my thankefulnesse in greater measure, then my abili­ty will permit: yet J offer my seruice and this myte of my weake labours to your honourable pro­tection, albeit not fit for the presse in so great light, had I not beene vrged by the well affected that heard it. It merits with the security and ini­quity of the time, my desire is, that it may rouse [Page]vp, all those that are asleepe in sinne, a double re­spect makes it due vnto your Lordship, Nimis enim ingratus scytha vel geta fuerim, if J should not acknowledge my particular obligation, and secondly your Lordships propensitie, and ar­dent study to aduance Gods glory, the safety of his roy all Maiestie and welfare of your countrey, for these causes and many more, Libellum mole quidem, sed non pondere exiguum, reue­renter offero, atque inscribo, & hoc quali­cumque monumento, singularem obser­uantiam, gratitudinem & charitatem me­am declaratam, ac testatam volo, ala­criori animo obtaturus multo nobiliora, si facultas voluntati respondere posset. And thus ceasing further to trouble your Lord­ship, but neuer ceasing to honour and serue you, praying the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ the father of glory and mercy, who in these last dayes of the world hath drawne vs out of darknesse vnto his marueilous light, through the Lord Iesus by the spirit in the word, increase, preserue, and blesse your honour, with all sort [Page]of heauenly and earthly blessings, and when yee foughten the fight of faith and finished your course with ioy, that yee may at the last day, be crowned with immortall and eternall glory.

Your Lordships most humble and dutifull to be commanded, Alexander Ʋdny.

THE VOICE OF THE CRYER: Containing A FEAREFVLL DENVN­CIATION OF GODS IVDGEMENTS.

The Text MATTH. 3.10.‘Now is the axe laid to the root of the trees, therefore euery tree which bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewen downe and cast in­to the fire.’

AMongst the many meanes which the Lord vseth for the conuersion of sinners, to draw them vnto re­pentance, two are most ordinary, effectuall and common, his Mer­cies and his Iudgements; both ioyned together in one verse, by the sweet singer of Israel;Psal. 101.1. Of Mercy and of Iudgement O Lord God vnto thee will I sing: both comprized in this Verse by Iohn Baptist the forerunner of Christ. Mercy, [Page 2]that God had also amongst others, raised vp to preach vnto them the doctrine of Repentance, that as yet they had time, wherein they might repent, that God would accept of their repentance, if it were in sinceritie; that if they did bring forth good fruit, they should not be hewen downe: Iudgement, that vnlesse they did bring forth good fruit, they should be hewne downe and cast into the fire: vnlesse they did repent and be­come new men they should be condemned, and tormented with the Diuell and his Angels world without end.

Before I come to handle the words in particular, diuers things are to be obserued in generall: viz. 1. Concerning the Occasion. 2. The Substance. 3. The Method. 4. The end of this Commination.

Touching the Occasion: thus it was with many of the Pha­rises and of the Saduces, although with others they went out to be partakers of Iohns Ministery, yet because they accusto­med themselues to and outward shew of Religion, without sin­cerity, presuming vpon the externall priuiledge which they had of being Abrahams seed, Circumcised as the children of A­braham; and therefore that God was bound vnto them, and that being the seede of Abraham by generation of the flesh, they were within the Couenant of Grace, and should be saued.

Therefore Saint Iohn doth in the words of my Text endea­uour to ouerthrow this their presumption, exhorteth them vnto repentance, whereby they might both perswade them­selues, and testifie the same vnto others, that they were not ba­stards but true sonnes; not the children of the Diuell, but the children of Abraham, 3. Things to be obserued. by faith in Christ Iesus. Hence three things may be obserued.

First, Obser. 1 that many may outwardly submit themselues vnto the Ministery of Gods Word in hearing the same, which yet not­withstanding doe it not in sincerity.Mar. 6.20. The Pharisees and the Sa­duces went out as others did, submitted themselues outwardly to the Ministery of Gods Word preached by Iohn, and yet in hypocrisie: thus did Herod, of whom it is recorded that he reuerenced Iohn, and when he heard him, he did many things, [Page 3]and heard him gladly, and yet in hypocrisie:Act. 8.13. thus did Simon Magus, of whom it is written, that hee beleeued also and was Baptized, and continued with Philip, and wondred when hee saw the signes, and great miracles which were done: thus I feare ma­ny of vs doe; we come but in hypocrisie, we heare but in hy­pocrisie, this commeth to passe either when we heare to be seene of men, and respected by them, or when we heare for nouelties sake, or when we heare for feare of punishment sake, or when we heare that we may carpe & cauel at that which we heare, or when we heare for any other respect then for the glo­ry of God and our owne saluation. And as in the hearing of Gods Word, so likewise in the receiuing of the Sacrament, in Prayer, in giuing Almes, in Fasting, and they may be done in hypocrisie.

This may teach vs to be diligent and carefull, that when ei­ther we heare Gods Word, or performe any other part of his seruice, we may doe it in sinceritie, as true Nathaniels, with­out guise.

Secondly, Obser. 2 that the Ministers of Gods word ought to take notice of their hearers, of the vices whereunto they are giuen, and accordingly to rebuke them for the same: when Iohn saw many of the Pharises and Saduces, and knew (no doubt by the reuelation of Gods spirit) that they were come in hypocrisie, he rouseth them vp with this alarum, Now also is the axe laid to the root of the tree: thus did our Sauiour Christ at diuers times, some come to him in hypocrisie, some in sincerity, according­ly he behaued himselfe towards either. This will be profitable towards Preachers, this will be profitable for hearers, hereby Gods glory shall be aduanced, the kingdome of the diuell and sinne destroyed: shall it not be profitable for Preachers when they can distinguish betwixt chaffe and corne, when they out of a good conscience can approue themselues to be right dispo­sers of the mysteries of Gods kingdome; to be such, as with­out respect of persons endeauour to beat downe sinne, and o­uerthrow the kingdome of Sathan? Shall it not be profitable for hearers, when by the lanterne of Gods word, they shall see euen the secrets of their heart discouered, their most neere and [Page 4]deere sinnes rebuked? Will it not be for the aduancement of Gods glory, when both Preachers and Hearers, in speaking and hearing, conforme the mselues vnto Gods will, Preachers by a conscionable rebuking of sinne; Hearers, by a conscio­nable practize of Gods word, for repressing sinne; and when sinnes are thus particularly rebuked by the ministery of Gods word, they must needs goe to wracke, and so the kingdome of the diuell ouerthrowne.

This serueth for exhortation both vnto Preachers and peo­ple; Preachers, that they may with the eye of discretion, di­stinguish betwixt their hearers, taking particular notice of their chiefest vices, that with an holy and bold resolution to rebuke them for the same, without respect of persons; let them with Nathan tell Dauid, thou art the man; with Iohn the Bap­tift, tell Herod, it is not lawfull for him to haue his brother Phi­lips wife; and here vnto the Pharises, Now also is the axe, &c. People, that they may wlllingly submit themselues vnto the reproof of Gods word: Art thou wounded? suffer thy wound to be lanced. Art thou ficke? be contented to take bitter pils, that thou maist be whole. Dost thou come an hypocrite? let Gods word sharper then any two edged sword meet with thee, that thou maiest goe away a sincere Christian, esteeme them most, which doe least sooth thee vp in thy sinnes, and account them not alwayes thy best friends which sowe pillowes vnder thy arme-holes, which proclaime peace when there is warre, which tell thee thou art reconciled vnto God, when thou knowest that thou doest not feare nor serue him, which cast thee asleepe in the bed of security, which moue thee ra­ther to applaud them, then to mourne for thy selfe, and for thine owne sinnes, which both thou hast and dost commit against God.

Thirdly, that no externall benefit, blessing, or prerogatiue bestowed either vpon our selues, or our predecessors, can make vs happy, vnlesse we liue an holy and sanctified life ae­cording to Gods will reuealed in his word, and the holy con­uersation of those,Ioh. 8.39.44. for whose sakes we esteeme our selues bles­sed. The Pharisies and Saduces discended of Abraham accor­ding [Page 5]to the flesh, did therefore account themselues to be hap­py; whose error in judgement, as St. Iohn doth here reprehend, so our Sauiout at another time, If ye were Abrahams childran, ye would do the workes of Abraham: and againe, Ye are of your father the deuill, and the lust of your father ye will doe: Behold therefore (saith Paul, Rom. 11.22. confirming this doctrine) the bountiful­nesse and seueritie of God, towards them which haue fallen seueri­tie, but toward thee bountifulnesse, if thou continue in his bounti­fulnesse, Rom. 2.25. or else thou shalt also be cut off. And againe, for Circum­cision verely is profitable if thou do the Law, but if thou bee a transgressor of the Law, thy circumcision is made vncircumcision. What shall it auaile thee to discend of good parents,Quid prodest tibi pium sal­uatoris nomen lectitare in li­bris, nec habers pietatem in mortbus? Rer. sup. cant. ser. 1. if thou dost not imitate them in holinesse and sanctification; yea, this shall tend more to thy condemnation, then to thy saluation or consolation: example we haue of this in Hophni, and Phinias, the two sonnes of Ely, who was the Priest of the most high God, that for their wickednesse were slaine in battell, and their posteritie was rooted out for euer before the Lord. Dauid was a man after Gods owne heart,1 Sam. 4.17. yet hereby neither was Ab­solon preserued from hanging, Amnon or Adonijah from be­ing killed, neither was it sufficient for Iudas that he was a Dis­ciple of Christ, because he did not imitate the righteousnesse of Christ. The Israelites did eate Manna from heauen, the food of Angels, and yet died because of contempt.Quid profuit Cam quòd filius fust Noa, aut quid mocuit A­braham quòd patrem habuie Thare luteorū deorum culto­rem? Not to multiply examples, as the Idolatry of Terah, did not hinder Abraham his sonne from worshipping the true God; so it did not profit Cham, that his father Noah was a holy and just man. Greater cause haue parents to boast of their religious children, then children of their religious parents.

The Reasons of this Doctrine are these: First, Reason. 1 in respect that if true happinesse did proceed from any externall priui­ledge or prerogatiue, then Christ Iesus were not the onely or true ground of mans saluation, we might be happy without him: but there is no happinesse without Christ,Hab. 2.4. by him we are reconciled vnto God, & therefore no externall prerogatiue doth auaile at all, the iust man shall liue by his faith in him.

Secondly, Reason. 2 in respect of the Couenant betwixt God and A­braham, [Page 6]which was,Gen. 17.9. that God should be the God of Abraham, and his posteritie also; whereunto there was a condition an­nexed,Ezck. 3.20. that Abraham and his seed after him in their generati­ons for euer should keepe the couenant of God, wherein if they did faile, in making defection from God, then the Lord was not bound to performe his part of the Couenant to wards them: now they hauing broken their part of the Couenant, in making defection from God; therefore this exteruall priuiledge in being the seed of Abraham, doth not free them from Gods judgements: when the righteous man falleth from his righte­ousnesse and committeth iniquitie, he shall dye in sinne, and his righteous deeds, which he hath done, shall not be remembred.

Thirdly, Reason. 3 because if there should bee any true happinesse to the wicked, for claiming affinity to the Saints, then there should be a liberty to sinne, hauing this as a pretext of their sinne; yea it should be more offensiue to the Saints, whereby there should bee as a doore opened, whereby others might sinne.

The vses of this doctrine are diuerse;Si mandata domini custo­dires scriberis cum electis, si autem prate­rea juis man­da [...] i [...] domin [...]s aliquid boni, adieceris ho­nori, hoc eris apnd deum quàm futurus eras. Eus. b. lib. S. hist. eccles. text. lib. de pu­dictrier impro Gal. and first it reproueth the Papist, who affirme, that by their workes, de congruo & condigno, (that it is by the good workes of others) men may be saued. The originall of this error, was inuented by one Hermes, to whom (as they alledge) an Angell did appeare, prai­sing him for his good workes, who said, if thou keepest the Commandements of God, thou shak be written with the elect, but if thou do more good workes, then the Lord hath com­manded, that thou shalt be more honorable before God then thou was to be.

This testimony is worthy of small credit, seeing euer his whole workes are repudiated by those of greatest Antiquity, amongst the learned, Ensebius, and Tertullian, S. Hierome. This is a most fearefull consenage of Gods, as if men could do more then they are bound to doe,Beza in cap. 2. ad Colos. v. 22. this is not the way to ap­peare righteous before the Lord: The Patriarches did obserue the Ceremoniall Law, yet hereby they could not be iustified, For by the workes of the Law, Rom. 3.24. shall no flesh be iustified before God: we are iustified steely by his grace, through the Redemption [Page 7]that is in Christ lesus; when euen such as are most holy haue done all what they can,Luke 17.10. they may say they are but vnprofit able seruants: if those who haue had the greatest measure of sancti­fication, were not of sufficiencie to deliuer themselues from the power of death, how much lesse are we able, which pull ini­quitie with the cords of vanity, and draw sinne vnto vs as with cart roapes; this extent goeth further: In that the Spirit saith, There is none that sinneth not, and doth good, no not one: If then the Papist did but awake, and see a sight of his owne sinnes, hee would go out of himselfe, and from all earthly helpe, & cloath himselfe with the righteousnesse of Christ;Discute bona merita tua & videbis quia dona sunt mea. August. de 6. Apost. ser. 2. yea euen many of them being summoned by death, the Law accusing them, their conscience tormenting, the iudge condemning them, reason conuincing them, and Sathan ready to execute the sentence of indgement vpon them, are forced to foregoe their errors, and consent to the truth of this Doctrine, that there is no saluation but in the blood of Christ crucified: if they would take notice of good workes, they may finde that they are the proper gist of God, not inherent in them, or an acquired habit by them, but onely by imputation of Christs righteousnesse.

The second vse of this Doctrine, is to distinguish betwixt the godly and the wicked; the godly are neuer at rest, Vse 2 neither haue peace of conscience, for any externall benefit bestowed vpon them, vntill they haue an inward sence and feeling of Gods mercy in their hearts, whereby they are powerfully through the Spirit of regeneration, to performe the workes of sanctification, and to make Gods benefits to kens of their loue, by obedience to his will: the wicked by contrary, presume vpon outward blessings, and externall prerogatiues, resting vp­on them without any further endeauour for-holinesse in life and conuersation.

The third vse of this Doctrine is for exhortation; Vse 3 doe not account your selues happy for any earthly benefit, vnlesse it be sanctified, neither labour for any, but so farre as they haue re­lation to Christ. Wealthy Iob became quickly poore, the ho­nour of Herod consumed with vermiue, Sampson lost his strength, Diues with his riches perished: Reioyce not euen in [Page 8]the Gospell it selfe, without profit thereby, for if thou doest a­buse it,Rom. 11.21. or contemne it, God will remoue it; if God spared not the naturall branches, take heede lest he also spare not thee: thou art but a wilde Oliue, get thee vnto Christ as a branch ingraf­ted into this stocke; and being incorporated, and as it were be­come one with him, keepe with all diligence that prerogatiue, that nothing divert thee from him. If the Heathen could say vnto his Countreymen the Athenians, when they committed any offence,Hoc nonfa­cerent Lace­demony. certainly our enemies the Lacedemonians would not haue done thus, thereby to disswade them from their Iewde behauiour; much more wee which are created according to Gods owne image, which weare the badge and cognizance of Christians, learne both in respect of that nobility which wee haue in Christ, and that glorious eternitie which wee hope for when mortality shall bee swallowed vp of life; to abstaine from relying vpon any externall prerogatiue, but onely as wee are in Christ, of whom we are denominated Christians: thus of the occasion.

Touching the substance, it containeth matter both of mercy and of Iudgement,Mat. 4.6. which were the two parts wherein the mini­stery of Iohn consisted,Isaih 5.4. as it was foretold of him: so likewise here he doth faithfully execute and performe both. The whole speech is figuratiue and allegoricall, which may be thus resol­ued: God is compared to an husbandman, who had planted a vineyard in Iudea, namely his Church, which from time to time he had manured and dressed, What could I haue done more to my vineyard that I haue not done vnto it? The people are compared vnto trees, of which the Lord saith, I looked that it should haue brought forth grapes: Ibid. 4. The ministery of Iohn to an axe, that will cut quickly; either to hasten to damnation, or to saluation: By the rootes of the trees, are meant the soules and consciences of men, to which the word is well applyed: The he wing down and casting into the fire, signifieth the finall sentence which at the great day shall be executed vpon such, as at the hearing of the Gospell preached, remaine vnfruitfull: so yt it is thus much in effect, as if Iohn had said vnto them; as trees when they nei­ther blossome in the summer, nor render increase the time of [Page 9]reaping, notwithstanding of their planting and pruning, are fit for nothing but to be cut downe and cast into the fire: cuen so likewise ye for all your glorious shewes, vnlesse ye take heed vnto your selues, and bring forth fruit worthy amendment of life, shall by the power of my ministery, be hewen down & cast into the fire, euen prepared and fitted for eternall destruction.

Hence two things may be noted from this Allegorie: First, touching the husbandman, hee is God;Isai 5.2. Ier. 2.21. Iohn 15.1. thus hee writeth of himselfe, thus our Sauiour testifieth of him: an husbandman, inrespect he is the first planter of his Church; as also because he is the continuall dresser and manurer of the same: an husband­man in whom we may behold both skilsulnesse, and [...]ineful­nesse, in hedging it, gathering out the stones of it, building a tower therein, purging it, pruning it; and carefulnesse to plant it with the best plants, to hedge it, to watch ouer it, to defend it from wilde Boares, and Foxes: and patience in looking and waiting from time to time, from yeare to yeare, that it may bring forth good fruit.

Touching his husbandry it is the Church so named in many places of Scripture, and that in diuerse respects; as a vineyard hath need of planting, watering, pruning, purging, digging,Psal. 80.9. Cant. 2.12. & dunging; so the Church hath neede of planting, watering, pruning and purging; as vineyards are not euery where, but there where they are planted;Isai. 3.14. so the Church is not euery where, but there where the Lord hath planted the same:Ezek. 17.6. as in a vineyard there are Vines; so in the Church is Iesus Christ,1 Cor. 3.6. the true Vine-tree of life, whose branches are all such as by faith cleaue vnto him, which abound in fruite, and bring forth pleasant grapes, euen the gifts and graces of Gods Spirit: as the grapes are gathered and pressed out; so are the members of Gods Church, their faith, patience, experience, and hope, are manifested; are not teares pressed out? yea oftentimes their blood for the testimony of a good conscience: finally, as in a vineyard all the trees are not fruitfull, but some prouing bar­ren, are cut downe and cast into the fire; so in the Church, all are not liuing branches of this true Vinc, many proue fruit esse, and therefore shall be taken away and perish: Wherefore see­ing [Page 10]God is the husbandman, & the Church is his Vineyard, let vs pray vnto him, that such as are not yet planted, may by him be transplanted from their old stocke Adam, and may bee in­grafted vpon the roote of Iesse Iesus Christ, and that such as are already ingrafted, may bring forth good fruit. God hath beene painfull about vs, he hath beene carefull ouer vs, he hath beene patient, waiting for our fruitfulnesse; he might haue digged vs downe long agoe, hath hee spared vs yet, O then let vs not proue barren, but fruitfull in good workes! Thus of the sub­stance.

Touching the Method, St. Iohn denounceth iudgement, to rouse th [...]m from their securitie, and a waken their sleepie con­sciences, calling them a generation of Vipers, bidding them a­mend their liues, and repent them of their sinnes, telling them now also The Axe is laid to the roote of the trees, and that vn­lesse that they did bring forth good fruit, they should bee bewen downe and cast into the fire; and yet vnder this, be doth also offer them mercy, that if they did bring forth fruit worthy of amendment of life, they should not bee hewen downe, but perpetually saued.

Hence two things may be obserued; First, that the Law must precede the Gospell. Secondly, that the Gospell is to bee conjoyned vnto the Law, and to accompany the same.

For the first, the Law must precede the Gospell, the Mini­sters of Gods word must first denounce judgement out of the Law against sinne,Gen. 2.27. before they proclaime mercies out of the Gospell vnto sinners; thus dealt God with Adam before his fall, In that day that thou eatest thou shalt die the death: so also before the giuing of the Law, there were thunders, lightnings, yea Mount Siuai was all in fire and smoake,Isai. 1.4. Ioel 1.8, 12. Matt. 4.17. Act. 2.36. Rom. 3.18. the trumpet soun­ding exceeding loud, and the Mountaines trembled, and all the people were afraid of death. Thus Isaiah begun his prophesie; thus did Ioel begin his; thus our Sauiour Christ; thus Peter; thus the Apostle Paul; and thus S. Iohn in the words of my Text.

The Reasons hereof are these: Reason. 1 First, because hereby the pride and corruption of our nature is cast downe, by the Law. [Page 11]As in a glasse we behold and attaine a knowledge of our owne infirmities, as the Apostle Paul saith,Rom. 7.7. I knew not sinne but by the Law, for I had not knowne last, except the Law had said, thou shalt not Iust. Secondly, Reason. 2 hereby our consciences are pricked in respect of our sinnes, as the Iowes were when they came vnto the Apostles, said, Men and brethren what shall we doe? Thirdly,Act. 3.37. because hereby impenitent sinners should haue no cloake, Reason. 3 whereby they might pretend ignorance, or vpon presumption apply Gods mercies vnto themselues, which doe not belong vnto them.

The vse of this Doctrine, is both for reprehension, Ʋse 1 and ex­hortation; for reprehension vnto such as doe not preach the Law, & vnto such as cannot abide to heare the Law preached, such do not imitate Iesus Christ aright, who told his hearers, That vnlesse they did repent, they should all likewise perish. Some againe cannot abide to heare the Law preached, they are all for mercy, the Gospell, saluation; and yet they liue contemners of mercie, enemies of the Gospell, dispisers of grace and salua­tion; they defire to sinne securely, to haue pillowes sowed vn­der their arme pits, they neglect their duty towards God, by their A the sine, prophannsse, ingratitude, idolatry, blasphemy, prophanation of the Sabbath, and yet would heare of nothing but mercy; they neglect their duty towards their neighbour, by their disobedience and maliciousnesse, vncleannesse, thest, falshood, couetousnesse, drunkennesse, and yet would heare of nothing but mercy; they would haue plaisters before they bee wounded, physicke before they be sicke, cordials before they haue corrasiues, which is absurd.

For exhortation, Ʋse 2 that Preachers lift vp their voyce like a trumpet, and to tell the people of their finnes, threatning Gods judgements against them for the same vnlesse they do repent. Vnto people, to endure patiently the threatnings of Gods word, to be so much the more willing to heare them, because they will awake you vp from your sinnes, and call your con­science that ye may abandon them, yea when ye come to the hearing of Gods word, make this reckoning, to bee rebuked, perswading your selues, the lesse ye are soothed, the more [Page 12]profitable shall it be for you.

For the second, the Gospell must be conioyned vnto the Law:2 Sam. 12.13. Iohn although he doth denounce iudgement, yet if they would bring forth good fruit, he doth also offer them mercy;Isai 1.19. Luk. 13.5. thus did Nathan vnto Dauid, Isaias vnto the Iewes, and Christ vnto his Hearers. The Reasons hereof are these; first, because the preaching of the Law, doth properly belong to such as are impenitent and not conuerted, vnto such as con­tinue in their sinne, vnto hypocrites and secure Christians, ac­cording to that of the Apostle, The Law is not giuen vnto a righteous man, 1 Tim. 1.9. Isai 61.1. but vnto the lawlesse and disobedient: whereas the Gospell doth belong vnto the penitent, to such as are poore in spirit, and contrite in heart. Secondly, because as wicked men are more terrified from sinne by Comminations from the Law, so the godly by Gods mercies proclaimed in the Gospell. Thirdly,Gal. 3.2. because the Law onely teacheth vs what we should be, the Gospell how we may be such. Fourthly, because the Law without the Gospell is ineffectuall; By the workes of the Law shall no flesh be instified; Rom. 3.20. 2 Cor. 3.6. Ibid. 9. the letter killeth, but the spirit gi­ueth life; The Law is the Ministration of condemnation; the Gospell, the ministration of righteousnesse, couering our sinnes, healing our diseases, offering free remission of sinnes by Iesus Christ, vnto all which as beleeue in him.

This serueth both for Exhortation and Reproofe: Exhor­tation to vs, to distinguish betwixt the Law and the Gospell, betwixt the threatnings against impenitent sinners, and the promises vnto the penitent, that they preach the Law vnto such as haue most neede, and the Gospell vnto such as haue most need of it; as also because they cannot exactly distinguish of their hearers, therefore let both be conioyned together, that neither the penitent despaire by the preaching of the Law, nor the impenitent presume by preaching of the Gospell, vnto the people to prepare themselues, either for threatnings or comforts, according vnto their present estate: threatnings if they are impenitent, comfort if they are cast downe through the consideration of their sinnes: as also to be carefull in the application of Gods word, that they doe not apply the Gospell [Page 13]vnto themselues, continuing in sinne; neither the Law, if they truely repent them of the same.

This should teach vs, when either preaching nothing but iudgement, or nothing but mercy; by the former terrifying Gods children, by the latter imboldning the wicked: this re­proueth the people, which either looke still for mercy, or still for iudgement, and which either out of a conceit of the since­rity of their owne hearts, apply mercies vnto themselues, and iudgement belongeth vnto them; or out of a needlesse or wrong suspicion of their owne hypocrisie, apply Gods iudge­ments vnto themselues, when as mercies are propounded vnto them, and they are the children of God. Thus of Method.

Touching the End why Saint Iohn doth thus threaten them: It was that they might take notice of their present and misera­ble estate, and whilest they had time might repent, and so escape the danger. Hence this obseruation doth arise:

That before God doth inflict any iudgement, he giueth ad­uertisement and warning thereof, that it may be preuented: thus he did vnto the first World, vnto the sinfull Cities, vnto the Niniuites; thus did our Sauiour vnto Ierusalem, he gaue warning of that lamentable destruction, yea before it came to passe, diuers signes did appeare, aduertisements for desolati­on, as Iosephus doth relate: and did not God giue vs suffici­ent warning, and aduertisement of those iudgements which of late haue fallen vpon this Land; thus doth Iohn at this time to the Pha [...]isees.

And Iohn doth this, first that those his aduertisements and warnings might moue vs to repentance; this effect they wrought both in wicked Ahab, and likewise in the Niniuites: the hunter doth not disquiet his prey, but rather waits till it rest, that he may thrust it through; but God doth rouse vs vp, least we be thrust through. Secondly, that the wicked may be the more inexcusable, yea & forced to approue of Gods iudge­ments when they fall vpon them.

This serueth for Instruction, Exhortation, and Reprehensi­on: Instruction, to shew vs the truth of that excellent com­fort, [Page 14]that God doth not delight in the death of a sinner, if he were desirous to destroy he needeth not to giue vs warning, but because he is vnwilling we should perish, he doth giue vs admonition of our danger that we may repent.

Exhortation, seeing it hath pleased God to giue vs war­ning, O let vs in time take warning, let vs humble our selues vnder the mightie hand of God; Ioel 2.14. let vs rent our hearts and not our garments, and returne vnto the Lord; wee shall finde him mercifull and gracious, slow to anger, and of great kinde­nesse.

Reprehension,Iet. 29.29. we haue not taken to heart Gods aduertise­ments and warnings: the Lord may complaine of vs as he did of his owne people, that we would not heare: great iudge­ments haue seased vpon vs already, greater may, as they are daily threatned, because we doe not heare. Both the Israelites and the Iewes were led into captiuitie, the one vnto Syria, the other vnto Babylon, because they would not heare, they des­pised those warnings which were offered: did not the Spaniard in 88. seeke the destruction of this Land, as he doth now: did not the Papists, Anno 1605. in that horrible Gun-powder treason, plot the death both of Church and Common-wealth? Doe not innumerable Locusts of the bottomelesse pit of hell, sent by the diuell and that Romish Antichrist, swarme in this Land? Hath not there beene such a Pestilence of late, that the like was neuer amongst vs? How many haue died by fa­mine at home, by the Seas and Sword of the enemy abroad? yet for all those aduertisements we neglect Piette, prophane Gods Sabbath, blaspheme his name, omit the duties both of the first and second Table: where is our amendment and con­uersion vnto the Lord, wee rather increase then decrease in wickednesse? and is not this one euident token that the Lord will yet poure an heauier iudgement vpon vs, a rebellious Na­tion, contemning the day of our visitation, therefore as Hosea said to Iudah, Hosea 4.1.2.3.4. loe I say to Britaine, Heare the word of the Lord yee children of Britaine, for the Lord hath a controuersie with the Inhabitants of the Land, because that there is no mercy nor truth, nor knowledge of God in the Land: by swearing, and lying, and [Page 15]killing, and slaying, and wheredome, they breake one, and bloud toucheth bloud; therefore shall the Land mourus, and euery one that dwelleth therein, shall be cut off, &c. We feare the sword it may seaze vpon vs, let vs then repent in time of all our sinnea. In taking to heart the iudgements threatned, let vs make vse of our time of peace, in being zealous of Gods glory and our owne saluation; let vs turne to our first loue, from whence we are fallen, ere the Lord make a full end of vs: let vs imitate such as feared the word of the Lord among the seruants of Pha­raoh, Exod. 9.20. who being warned by Moses, made their seruants and their cattell to flye into the houses: let vs, I say, take warning in time; least iudgements seaze, as vpon the Sodomites in the like kinde, take vs at vnawares, whilst we expect no such thing. These of the end.

Thus in Generall, both touching the Occasion, Substance, Method, and end of this Commination: I come now to speake of the words in particular.

Now also is the axe laid to the root of the trees, therefore eue­ry tree which bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewue downe and cast into the fire.

THese words containe a denunciation of iudgement, con­sist of these three parts, which all concerne the same. 1. A publike Proclamation of Iudgement, Now also is the axe laid to the root of the trees. 2. The extension, or generality of this Iudgement, euery tree that bringeth not. 3. The Execution, accompanying the contempt of the former Proclamation, is hewne downe and cast into the fire. Of these in order.

Touching the Proclamation,The first part. Now also is the axe laid to the root of the trees, these foure things are to be considered. 1. The Time (Now also.) 2. The Instrument (the axe.) 3. The vse of this Instrument (is laid.) 4. The Subiect (vnto the root of the trees.)

Concerning the first, the Time, Now also: the present tense is put for the future, as is vsuall in the Scriptures; noting vnto vs not onely the certainty of Gods iudgements, but also that [Page 16]when mercies are despised, iudgements shall come.

For the second, all the threatning, punishments and iudge­ments, which the Lord hath pronounced in his word, either in generall or particular, shall as certainly come to passe, as if al­ready they were past; although vncertaine vnto vs, either in respect of the time when, or the manner how they shall be exe­cuted: hence is is that God is called by Daniel Palm [...]ni, that is, a secret numberer,Dan. as knowing the time when to performe his promise, either of mercy or of iudgement: hence the Psalmist saith,Psal. 75.3. when I shall take a conuenient time, I will iudge righteously; that is, when I see my time (saith God) to helpe your miseries I will come and set all things in order. Thus did the first world finde them, thus the Sodomites, thus the Egyptians, thus the Is­raelites when they were in captiuity; thus Nebuchadnezzar, thus Pharaoh, thus Saul. And as his Iudgements, so also his Promises shall as certainly come to passe, as if already they were past, all which are in Christ Iesus yea and Amen; God himselfe being yesterday and to day, euer the same for euer,

The Reasons hereof are these. 1. The vnchangeablenesse of his will,Reasons. Act. 17.30. with whom is no shadow of changing or alteration: he hath appointed a day in which he will iudge the world in righteousnesse; in which he will both execute both generall and particular iudgement. 2. His ability and power to per­forme what he hath decreed; many may lay downe a purpose and resolution, which they are not able to bring to passe, but God hath decreed that he hath power to accomplish. 3. For the comfort of Gods children, least they should despaire.

But it may be demanded, 1. whether all those iudgements which are threatned shall certainly be accomplished. 2. Why the Lord doth conceale the particular time of his comming, either to iudgement or mercy. 3. Why God doth deferre to deliuer his owne children from wicked men, and doth not execute iudgement vpon them when they doe sinne against him.

To the first I answer, that Gods iudgements are threatned a­gainst vs conditionally, if we doe not repent, if we doe con­tinue [Page 17]in sinne; otherwise, if we doe not repent, and forsake our sinnes, they shall either not sease vpon vs at all, or otherwise in mercy, not in iustice: hence commonly they haue this conditi­onall coniunction, as annexed vnto them, if ye doe not amend; as when we intend any iourney, we vnderstand, if it shall please the Lord; so when the Lord saith he will destroy vs, we are to take it as appertaining vnto vs, if we doe continue in our sinnes.

To the second I answer, that the Lord doth conceale the particular time of his comming, either vnto Iudgement or vnto Mercy, both for the triall and humiliation of his owne children, and for the furtherance of wicked men vnto repentance, be­cause the more vncertaine iudgements, when they shall come, the more should these hasten their repentance, that they may preuent the same; the more, I say, they should prepare them­selues by repentance to auoid iudgements, that they may be par­takers of mercies.

To the third I answer, that God doth delay to execute his iudgements vpon wicked men (most commonly) to draw them vnto repentance; and doth deferre to deliuer his owne children from them, but that they may be truely humbled, and that they may call vpon him, acknowledging by whom they are deliuered, yea that hereby greater euils may be preuented; after which manner, the Lord for a long time did exercise his seruant Dauid, whom his faithful God did not suffer to be temp­ted aboue that which he was able to beare, but at length deli­uered him from them all, all things working together for the best to such as loue God.

The Vses of this Doctrine are both for Reprehension and Exhortation: Reprehension to wicked men, which through the lusts of their owne flesh promise vnto themselues liberty, saying, where is the promise of his comming?2 Pet. 3.3. euen as if God were mutable, his word false, and his delay in executing iudge­ments, were a certaine argument either he could not, or would not execute them all. Notwithstanding of their contempt of this kinde, there were some in the Primitiue Church, such as Basilides, T [...]monius, Simon Magus: and after them the Here­ticks [Page 18]called Gnostici, as the Ecclesiasticall Histories make men­tion, their sinne died not with them; the diuell in this last and worst age, hath consented the same to spring vp againe, and that in foure sorts of people, Atheists, Anabaptists, Papists, and formall carnall Protestants. Atheists, which liue neither fea­ring the torments of hell, nor desiring the ioyes of heauen, be­leeuing neither; who say with Pharaoh, Who is the Lord, that we should serue him? Anabaptists, which condemne all obedi­ence vnto Magistrates, teaching that ciuill iurisdiction is vn­lawfull. Papists, which giue liberty to prophanesse, vniustice, couetousnesse, &c Prophanenesse in setting vp a new Priest­hood, offering (as they say) a Sacrifice for the quicke and the dead, whereby they abolish the Mediation and Sacrifice of Christ: Iniustice in deposing Kings, and making Subiects to rebell against them: Couetousnesse, for selling Pardons for sinnes for 1000. yeares to come, yea making men to despaire of their owne saluation, teaching that we cannot be assured of the king dome of heauen, without a speciall reuelation. Formall Protestants, which turne the Counsels of Gods Election into wantonnesse; reasoning thus, If I be elected vnto saluation I shall be saued, how badly so euer I liue, or if I be appointed vnto damnation, so it shall come to passe, because Gods coun­sell is vnchangeable. By those horrible Blasphemies Gods iudgements are abused, the grace of God by them turned into the liberty of sinne.

Exhortation vnto vs all, timely to repent vs of our sinnes; Gods iudgements may seaze vpon vs, whilst we are most se­cure, when we are least aware: we are as grasse which wi­thereth, and as the flower which fadeth, the breath of the Lord may soone blow vpon vs for our destruction. In Paradise men might haue liued or died,Mortes potet deferre, non a [...] ­ferre, veniet & sinelis, veniet quands neseis. August. now we liue and must dye: we are changed from grace and glory into sorrow and miserie; be­fore sinne nothing could change vs, now euery thing doth change vs; as one saith of Death, so it may be said of other Iudgements. They may be deferred, not remoued, they shall come when thou wouldst not, they shall come when thou knowst not: when winter commeth we waxe old, when age [Page 19]commeth then we become withered; when sicknesse com­meth, then we become weake; death will come, and then we shall dye: the cloathes we weare vpon our backes, the Sunne setting ouer our heads, the graues vnder our feet; yea, the meat which goeth into our bellies, telleth vs we must decay: one creature doth summon another vnto iudgement; the fish in the sea, the fowles in the ayre, the beasts on the ground, the one day liuing in their elements, the other day dressed for our meat, giue vs warning: our fathers summond vs, and we our children. To the graue we carry others, others shall carry vs to this bed wherein all must sleepe.Gen. 47.9. Psal. 22.6. Hence Iacob called his life a pilgrimage, Paul his life a race, Dauid himselfe a worme and not a man. A Pilgrimage hath an end, a race hath a stop, a worme is trodden downe vnder-feet: and all this is to teach, that we must dye. Wherefore I say, seeing both the particular iudge­ment of death, and other threatned are certaine, haue we not all cause speedily to repent vs of our sins, that both others may be preuened, and when we dye, our death may be the begin­ning of endlesse ioy of life euerlasting?

For the second, when the time of grace and saluation is offe­red (not imbraced, then iudgements shall come; the people of the Iewes had a time of repentance, the ministery of the Law and the Prophets, now also haue they a time of iudgement, vn­lesse they did repent) for the contempt of so great a mercy of­fered: the destruction of the old World by the inundation of waters, for their contempt of the ministry of Noah; the herri­ble confusion of Corah, Dathan, and Abiram in the dayes of Moses; the wickednesse of Saul in the dayes of Samuel; the contempt of the Israelites after their deliuerance from Babylon and Assyria, being like the Blackamoore which doth not chang his colour, or the Leopard his spots: and the iudgements which seazed vpon them, clearely confirme this point. The Iewes had many both painfull and faithfull Teachers, yet they would not imbrace the mercy offered: Christ the light of the world, him they did crucifie, Paul famous throughout all the world, who had preached euen from Illyricum vnto Spaine, for him they laid wait, that they might kill him, many others they had but all in [Page 20]vaine, they would not heare: What followed vpon this? most fearefull iudgements: within two and forty yeares after the ascension of Christ,Tripart. hist. Ierusalem was destroyed by Titus the son of Vespasian, and the whole land of Palestina, at this day all groaneth vnder the Turkish thraldome. The Primitiue Church for the contempt, did also vndergoe most fearefull iudgements. The Romans for their contempt, were ouerthrowne by the Goths and Vandales, and forced to forsake the ancient Septicolles, and make their residence in Campus Martius, where Rome standeth at this day. The Citizens of Ephesus, Colosse, and Co­rinth for their contempt, were by fire from heauen, by the earth quake and pestilence destroyed: to come nigher home, England had her dayes of peace, which being abused, followed the scourge of Queene Mary, whereby many thousands lost their liues; yea, euen of late God hath in diuers things visi­ted vs, by Famine, Pestilence, and euen for our contempt of mercies offered, which yet if we doe refuse and reiect, greater iudgements shall cease vpon vs.

The Reasons hereof are these. 1. In respect of the Iustice of God, which must needs take place, where Mercy is reiected. 2. The Glory of God, which is euen purchased by inflicting iudgements vpon contemners.

The Vse of this point is for exhortation vnto vs all, that see­ing we haue this day of mercy wherein we may repent, euen to embrace this occasion of the same, left our impenitency open a doore to Gods Iudgements.

O Britaine thou hast a day wherein God offred mercy vn­to thee, by the Preaching of the Word, saying vnto thee, as our Sauiour vnto Ierusalem, O Ierusalem, Ierusalem faine would I haue gathered thee, as the hen gathereth her chickens, but what may be complained of? but thou wouldst not. If time be neg­lected, shall there still be more for repentance? no assuredly, therefore the Apostle saith,Heb. 4. To day if yee will heare his, voyce, harden not your hearts. Let vs draw nie vnto the Lord while he calleth, for then he will be found of vs in the day of saluati­on. To all things there is an appointed time, Eccles. 3.1.2.4 and a time to euery purpose vnder the heanen; a time to be borne, and a time to dye; [Page 21]a time to weepe, and a time to laugh; a time to mournt, and a time to dance. Sonne of man write the time of the day, euen of the same day the King of Babylon set himselfe against Ierusalem vp­on the same day. The time of the King of Iudah his prophana­tion,Hos. 7.5. and as some thinke, is noted in this ironicall phrase; This is the day of our King. By the contrary, such as mourne and are gricued at the afflictions of Ioseph, are marked in the fore­head with the letter Tan: they shall haue their day of gladnesse, glad tidings of greatioy: let vs watch and be sober, lest the Master finde vs sleeping, and so instead of ioy, we get sorrow; let vs make vse of our time whilst we haue it; let vs embrace mercy whilst it is offred, for death may soone take hold of vs,Serapaniten­tia, rarò est vera. Hiero. in Mat. 25. & in Epist. delay not the least houre, for late repentance is seldome true: let vs daily call to minde Hieromes continuall Meditation; Whether I sleepe or wake, or whatsoeuer I doe, I heare the sound of that terrible trumpet knelling in mine eares, O ye dead arise and come vnto iudgement. Thus of the Time.

Concerning the second point, the Instrument, an Axe: 3. Point. Deut. 19.5. Isai. 10.15. Ier. 46.23. In the holy tongue [...]. Deut. Chap. 20. verse 19. [...]. Psal. 71.6. [...]. Isar. 44.12. [...]. 1 Sam. 13. verse 20.

Secuirs a secando, from cutting: in the Scriptures it is taken diuirsly, sometimes for an instrument wherewith men are ac­customed to cut downe trees; sometime for the pride and presumption of the deuill and wicked men, Shall the Axe boast it selfe against him that heweth therewith? sometimes for the wrath of God, by which wicked men are cut downe; sometimes for the word of God, which as a spirituall axe, cut­teth downe spiritually, wicked men and hypocrites, like barren and rotten trees: and thus it is chiefly to be taken in this place, according to the judgement both of Ancient and Moderene writers. Thus Hilarius. and Gregorie, He appointed the Iewes to be cut off by infidelity; thus Chrysostom, The axe is the sharpest. Designabat abscindendes esse Iudaos per infidelitatem. Greg hom. in Euang. Securis est acutissima.

Touching this instrument, three things may be noted: 1. the weight of it, it is heauy: 2. the sharpnesse of it, it cutteth: 3. it frameth & fashioneth seuerall peeces of wood for their seueral vses, whether for building or burning or the like; hence also three things may bee noted touching the ministerie of Gods word.

First, that the judgements denounced against wicked men out of the word of God, are heauy, of great weight and bur­den. Secondly, that the ministery of Gods word, is of a sharpe cutting nature. Thirdly, that the ministery of Gods word, doth fit and prepare such as obey, vnto saluation; such as are dis­obedient, vnto condemnation.

For the first, that the judgements pronounced out of the word of God are heauy, may be proued by that bloody speech of Cain, Gen. 4.13. My penishment is greater then I can beare: And no wonder, for is it not just with God, that such as weary God with their sinnes, as lade him with their abhominations, should themselues be pressed downe with judgements; where­fore let vs be carefull, that we do not contemne the warnings of Gods word, lest heauy judgements do sease vpon vs, least we receiue a terrible and forcible blow.

For the second, the ministery of Gods word, is of a sharpe and cutting nature; hence it is called a two edged sword; a sharpe sword with two edges; R [...]. 1.16. Reu. 2.12. the sword of the Spirit; mighty in operati­on, sharper then any two edged sword; The Lord will sharpen his wrath, (saith the Wiseman) for a sword, and the world shall fight with him against the vnwise. Ephe. 6.17. Heb. 4.12. Wisd. 5.20. Wicked men finde this by daily experience: the adulterer, the blasphemer, the drunkard, as formerly Herod, and the Scribes and Pharisies at diuerse times. Whence we may learne both to try the spirits whether they be of God or not, as also to fit and prepare for the right hearing of God.Isai. 30.10.

To try the spirits, those that cast men a sleepe in the bed of security, and preach things pleasant to the corrupt nature, which speake smooth things, which rouse not sinners from their sinnes; such I say handle the word deceitfully, yea they preach not Gods word, but with their owne inuentions. By the contrary, such as tell thee of thy sinnes, as gall thy spirit, as cut thy conscience, as conuince it, as plainly rebuke thee for thine iniquities, such preach Gods word vnto thee; beleeue them. To prepare our selues for the right hearing of Gods word, euen by a full purpose and resolution, to haue our sinnes rebuked, and our wickednesse pointed out vnto vs.

For the third, that the ministery of Gods word doth fit and prepare vs either for saluation or damnation, may be proued by that speech of the Apostle Paul vnto the Romanes, Rom. 1.16. For it is the power of God vnto saluation, vnto euery one that beleeueth: and to the Corinthians, We are vnto God the sweet sauour of Christ, 2 Cor. 2.15.16. Ier. 5.14. in them that are saued, & in them which perish; to one we are the sauor of death vnto death, & to the other the sauor of life vnto life. Hence it is, that the word of God is compared vnto fire, either to purge, or to consume; to a winde, which will either clense vs, or blow vs away; to water, which will either wash, or drowne vs: Hence it commeth to passe, that the word of God hath different operations, not in regard of it selfe, but in regard of those vpon whom it worketh.

This serueth both for reprehension, and exhortation: For reprehension vnto such as contemne Gods word, deride and speake against the preaching of the same, as if it were not the Axe by which wee are framed and fashioned for the Lords building.

Exhortation vnto euery one of vs, to be frequent in hearing the word of the Lord, that we may bee made fit for the seruice of our God: Which of vs will be contented to haue our hou­ses built of rugged and vnhewen stones? and do we thinke that we can bee fit for Gods building, vnlesse our superfluities by Gods word be pared & weared away. Thus of the instrument.3. Point.

Concerning the third point, the vse of the instrument laid or put to the roote of the trees; noting vnto vs two things: First, the propinquitie of Gods judgements: Secondly, the de­lay which he vseth in executing his judgements.

For the vnderstanding of both these points: two things are to be obscrued: First, if the Axe, be put to the roote of the trees, why are they not cut downe? Secondly, if they bee not cut downe, why then is axe laide vnto them; or if Gods judge­ments be threatned, why are they not executed; and if they are not to be executed, why then are they threatned?

For answer vnto both: First, The axe is laid to the roote of the trees: Gods judgements threatned, and yet not executed, be­cause the trees are reasonable trees, men endued with reason; [Page 24]the rootes of these trees, the hearts of men, which in time may change, turne and bring forth good fruit; namely, when God by his Spirit shall renew their wils, and bestow vpon them wil­ling minds to performe the actions of holinesse: In the perfor­mance of good, our wils are not actiue, but meerely passiue, we haue no free will vnto that which is good, wee are not onely prisoners,Ephes. 2.1. bound with the cords of sinne, but starke dead, without any ability in our flesh to performe any good worke, but by the operation of Gods Spirit; we are not onely desti­tute of that originall righteousnesse wherein wee were created, but also our hearts are altogether enclined vnto euill, The in­uentions of our hearts are euill continually: wherefore I con­clude against the Papists, that seeing by nature wee want origi­nall righteousnesse, and also are prone vnto all euill, therefore we want free will vnto that which is good: This the Apostle Paul confirmeth, The naturall man perceiueth not the things that are of the Spirit of God, 1 Cor. 2.14. for they are foolishnesse vnto him, nei­ther can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. Our righteousnesse is in Christ Iesus onely; both in respect of his actiue and passiue obedience, Through whom God doth ac­count vs righteous, 2 Cor. 5.4. imputing his sonnes righteousnesse vnto vs, whom he hath made to be sinne for vs, which knew not sinne, that we should be made the righteousnesse of God in him.

Secondly, although the trees are not presently cut downe, yet is the Axe laid vnto them, though Gods judgements are not presently executed, yet are they denounced and threatned, euen that hereby we may feare our cutting downe, and in time bring forth good fruit, that so we may not be cut downe at all, for (as Chrysostome saith) although wicked men do not amend by feare,Quam vis [...]tus nec ti­more corrigi­tur, tamen bo­nus, nssi timu­erit, perivit. Chrysost. yet vnlesse the godly feare they shall perish. Thus for the information of the vnderstanding.

The obseruations which then arise from the applycation of the instrument, laid or put to the roote of the trees are these. First, that when Gods word is vrged and applyed to mens con­sciences, and by preachers laid and pressed to the hearts of the hearers, they then behold the propinquitie of Gods iudge­ments whereby they belong vnto God, they are moued to re­pent; [Page 25]which made Dauid to say, I haue sinned; and againe,Psal. 143.2. en­ter not into iudgement with thy seruants; Gen. 41.32. Ioseph told Pharaoh that his dreame was doubled vnto him twise, because the thing was established by God, & God would shortly bring it to passe, or hasten to performe it: so I tell thee, thou hast need to feare when thy conscience is informed by the word, of those judgements pre­pared for the wicked.

Let my counsell bee acceptable vnto you, Breake off your sins by righteousnesse, and your iniquities by shewing mercy vnto the poore. In time forsake your wickednesse,Dan. 4.27. seeing the Iudge is rea­dy to knocke at the doore, and now the Axe is laid to the roote fo the tree.

Secondly, that howsoeuer our sins deserue that God should execute his judgements against vs so soone as they are threat­ned, yet out of his abounding loue and mercy, hee doth pro­long his judgements, and not presently execute the same,Ezek. 18.32. As I liue (saith the Lord) I desire not the death of a sinner, but that he should conuert and liue. The Lord doth stretch out his armes all the day long, to a froward and rebellious generation: Matt. 11.28. For this cause our Sauiour doth most willingly inuite vs, Come vnto me all yee that are weary and laedued with your sinnes, and I will case you. Gods mercies are aboue all his workes,Psal. 145.9. more willing by prolonging his judgements to conuert vs, then by executing them to destroy vs. The truth of this doctrine appeareth in that Parable of the Figge tree; which although it was vnfruitfull for the space of three yeares, yet the dresser of the Vineyard did say, Lord let it alone this yeare also, till I digge round about it, Luke 13.6, 7. and dung it.

The Reasons hereof are these: First, that such as are appoin­ted vnto life, may haue conuenient time to vse those meanes by which they may bee furthered thereunto. Secondly, to con­uince such as are disobedient contemners of the time of their visitation, who shall be forced to approue the just judgements of God vpon them for their contempt; as Achan, who being taken, confessed he had sinned, of which Daniel speaketh, We and our fathers haue sinned, in transgressing the Law; therefore iustly is thy wrath kindled against vs, Iosh. 7. for shame and confusion be­longeth [Page 26]vnto vs: other Reasons I haue touched before.

The vses hereof are both for exhortation, and reprehension: For exhortation, first to be truely thankfull vnto God for this his aboundant mercy towards vs, saying with Dauid in gene­rall, What shall I render vnto the Lord for all his mercies: in par­ticular, For sparing vs so long, and giuing vs so large a time of re­pentance: We must take the cup of saluation in our hand, and sing his euerlasting praise, who sits vpon his throne, and in greatest miserie sheweth mercie: We receiue great blessings from God; eyes to see, hands to worke, feete to walke, a time to repent; and yet alas all other creatures, the Sunne, the Moone, the Starres are thankfull, we vnthankfull. Secondly, to make right vse of our time, redeeming the time which wee haue spent a­misse, if God doth bestowe vpon vs a time, let vs not runne the more vnto sinne, but the more be with drawne from the same.

Reprehension, vnto such as turne the mercies of God into wantonnesse, as abuse his gracious time, wherein God doth spare them, and do daily increase in finne, and runne on in wic­kednesse. The first world was spared for a 120. yeares, so Pharaoh, the Isratlits, the primatiue Church vnder Constan­tiue, Germanie, France, England, but did not make the right vse, did not turne vnto the Lord, therefore judgements came vpon them: and I pray you hath not God spared vs this long time, he might haue taken vs away by the sword by the famine by the pestilence, as many amongst vs haue beene; but it hath pleased him yet to spare vs: judgements are threatned against vs, and yet where is our amendment? what vse do we make of this time? sinne doth now more abound amongst vs, from the highest to the lowest, then formerly it hath done; and is not this an euident token, that the sweetnesse of mercy shall be tur­ned into the bitternesse of judgement; and then wee shall re­pent, that in time, wee did not vse time aright; iudgements shal finde vs out, howsoeuer wee may thinke to escape them: Pharaoh bad Moses goe out of his fight; but iudgements shall not depart from vs when we would. It is Sathan that doth incite vs to neglect the opportunity of time, because he gaineth by our forgetfulnesse, therefore with Dauid wee might pray, [Page 27] Teach vs O Lord that we may number our daies, Psal. 90.12. that we may ap­plie our hearts vnto wisedome: The wicked whilst mercy is offered, neglect this numbering, are more busie to multiply sin; in short time become perfect swearers, expert drunkards, cunning deceiuers, and so make not right vse of their time. In life to liue well is joyfull, to dye well is comfortable; but after an euill life to dye in impenitencie, this is most fearefull. To conclude this point, whilst it is to day, let vs heare and obey; whilst Gods iudgements do not lie vpon vs, but hang ouer our heads, let vs in the feare of God, by repentance preuent them, that they may be remoued. Thus of the application and vse of the instrument.

Concerning the fourth point,4. Point. the subjects whereunto the Axe is laid, vnto the roote of the trees, that is, the word applyed vnto the hearts and consciences of men; men are not all of one sort, some are vngodly, some are godly; yet both may fitly be compared vnto the roote of the trees, and the word of God is to be applyed vnto both.

In a tree two pointes are to be noted: First, that which is aboue the ground, which remaineth after the branches are cut off, commonly called a stocke Truncus. Secondly, that which is vnder the earth, hid and couered by the earth, firmely fastned to the earth, both which Iob conjoyneth together, Though the roote of it waxe old in the earth, and the stocke thereof be dried in the ground, yet by the sent of water it will bud. The godly and the wicked may bee compared vnto both these parts of the tree, though in a different respect.

First, I say the godly may be compared vnto that part of the tree, which is super terram, aboue the ground; for as it may bud, and tender twigs may spring from it, although the bran­ches be cut off, euen so although Gods children for a time may be terrified, and as it were cut downe by Gods judgements, yet at the length they spring againe; or although Gods chil­dren for a time may seeme to haue the graces of Gods Spirit, decaying or dead, yet at the length they appeare as young branches out of the stocke, though they seeme cut downe, it is but onely for a time, God can againe make them to fructifie, [Page 28] he purgeth them that they may bring forth more fruite. Iohn 15.2.

Secondly, the godly may be compared vnto that part of the tree which is sub terra, Iam. 1.17. vnder the earth, for as the roots are firmely setled and fastned to the earth, whereby the tree is more firme and stedfast; euen so are Gods children, by faith firmely setled and fast grounded to the Lord Iesus Christ, with whom is no variablenesse,Prou. 12.3. nor shadow of changing. Thus Salomon proueth a man cannot be established by wickednesse, but the root of the righteous shall not be moued: Rom. 8.39. and Paul also perswadeth himselfe, that neither death, nor life, nor Angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any creature, should be able to seperate vs from the loue of God which is in Christ Iesus our Lord. Matt. 7.24. Gods children fastned vnto Christ, are like the house built vpon the rocke, able to endure the stormes and windes of temptation: the foundation of our faith remaineth sure; strong is Mount Sion, which cannot be moued: and afflictions are vnto Gods children, as that still and soft voyce which passed by Elias, whilst he was vpon the Mount: God doth by his grace and presence support them in the midst of their troubles, that nei­ther sinne, nor Sathan, nor afflictions shall be able to hinder their Progresse in the wayes of saluation. The truth hereof ap­peareth by these two Reasons.Hos. 14.6. 2. In respect of the certainty of our Adoption through Christ, by vertue whereof our roots are fastned as the trees of Lebanon, from whence there com­forts doe arise to remoue our feare and doubting. 1. Through him we shall receiue euerlasting life. 2. We shall neuer pe­rish. 3. None is able to take vs out of his hand Secondly, in res­pect of our obedience to this coniunction with Christ; of which wisdome saith,Iohn 10.28. Let thine heart hold fast my words, and thou shalt liue: Prou. 4.4. our loue is so great vnto Iesus Christ, that death cannot dissolue the same; we must say with Iob, Though thou killest me, yet will I trust in thee; the Mediation of this Vnion is more sweet then the hony & the hony comb; for whose cause we must con­temn all the pleasures of this world, & account them bitternes.

The Vse of this point is for our Instruction. First, constant­ly to perseuere in the Doctrine of saluation, fast setled and [Page 29]firmely grounded vpon Iesus Christ; Such as endure vnto the end shall be saned: Tit. 1.9. Ephe. 4.14. Lu [...]. 17. If we doe this we shall obtaine the crowne of glory, which the Lord hath promised to such as loue him: Let vs be no longer children carried about with euery winde of Doctrine, by the deceit of men, and with craftinesse, whereby they lye in wait to deceiue vs.

Secondly, to be thankfull for this our incorporation into Christ; not suffering this so excellent a benefit to slip out of our minde, imitating herein not those nine vnthankfull Lepers, but the tenth returned backe againe to expresse his thankful­nesse. And as we are to be thankfull, so we must be carefull, lest we dissolue and breake this our coniunction by falling a­way from that faith wherein we haue beene baptized to the beggerly rudiments of this world: for then the diuell depar­teth from vs, will returne vnto vs, and our latter end shall be worse then our beginning.

As the godly, fo the wicked may be compared both vnto that part of the tree which is aboue the ground, and that part of the tree which is vnder the ground.

2. I say the wicked may be compared vnto that part of the tree which is aboue the ground; in respect that part of the tree which is aboue the ground, is more subiect vnto danger then that part which is vnder the ground: so the wicked are subiect vnto the wrath and iudgements of God,Exod. 9.31.32. when as his owne chil­dren are free; the wicked are as the Barley and Flaxe in Egypt, whieh by the Hayle were smitten: whereas Gods children are as the Wheat and the Rye, they were not smitten,Isai. 5.24. because they were hid in the ground. Secondly, as that stocke is most com­monly the most rotten piece of the tree, ioyned to the dust of the earth, and the one dissolued into the other; so likewise the wicked which are not in Christ Iesus are but durt and dung, the off-scouring of the world in the presence of God, in a most vn­happy and miserable condition; as the flame of fire deuoureth the stubble (saith Isaias) and as the chaffe is consumed of the flame, so the root shall be as rottennesse,Isai. 4.1.2. and their bud shall rise vp to dust, because they cast off the Law of the Lord of hoasts,August. Epist. 10. and contemned the holy one of Israell. And againe he saith a­gainst [Page 30]those prophane Nations whom he would destroy be­fore his people Israel, so that be gaue them as dust to the sword, and as scattered stubble to his bow. The wicked are called by Saint Augustine, Paluis mortis, the dust of death, because they are appointed to death, whom the winde driueth away as dust: Iob in his miseries saith, My sleepe is cloathed with wormes, and the filthinesse of dust. So that I say as the stocke rotteth in the dust, so the wicked, who are but dust, shall dye in their sinnes, and rot in their iniquities without hope of life, either in this life or in the life to come. As from the dust of Egypt there came a swarme of Lice, whereby the Land was plagued of God, so from the wicked a rotten, dusty and vnfruitfull stocke, pro­ceede innumerable sinnes, wherewith they themselues shall be plagued.

And as the wicked may be compared vnto the stocke, so fitly may their sinnes be compared to the dust or rottennesse;Propter aridi­tatem. therefore, first, as a rotten stocke is destitute and voide of sap and humidity whereby it may waxe greene, bud forth and fru­ctifie; so the wicked haue not a liuely sap, nor the water of the spirit of Christ Iesus, whereby they may bud and spring vp from dead workes to newnesse of life; the want thereof the Prophet found in Ephraim; Hos. 9.6. Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried vp, they can bring no fruit. And Iob saith of this wicked man,Iob 15.39. that he shall neuer depart out of darknesse, the flame of Gods Angels shall dry vp his branches, and he shall goe away with the breath of his mouth. Propter leui­tatem.

Secondly, as rottennesse or dust is not Solidum quid, a solid matter, but is tossed with the winde; so are the wicked lighter then vanity it selfe;Psal. 1.4. Prou. 10.25. they are as the chaffe which the winde driues away:Dan. 5.27. as the whirlewinde passeth, so is the wicked: no more Belshazzar King of Bab [...]ll being weighed in Gods bal­lance is found to be but light as a feather.

Hence we may perceiue a cleare difference betwixt a wick­ed man and a godly man; the wicked is wauering, the godly is stable.Prou. 10.15. Theresore Salomon saith, the righteous is an euer la­sting foundation; but the wicked are euen subiect to alteration and that at all occasion: for euery little crosse vnto the wicked [Page 31]is a mighty tempest, breaking the anchor of their faith, and rock of their saluation, which makes them goe a whoring after vn­lawfull meanes, and not to haue recourse vnto the Lord. The wicked saith Esaias, are like the raging Sea, that cannot rest,Isai. 10.15. whose water casts vp mire and dirt:Iam. 1.18. wauering minded and vn­stable in all their waies. This our owne daily experience con­firmes vnto vs in these our dayes: the Apostles words proue true, for the most part of men are foming out their own shame, rotten trees without fruit, wauering Stars, to whom is reserued the blacknesse of darknesse for euer of this fort,Iud. 13. there are not onely among the comon people, a great many, but euen among the Rabbies, great ones; not a few changing from one Religion to another, as reeds shaken with euery winde of doctrine, thus manifesting their owne rottennesse.

Secondly, the wicked may be compared vnto that part of the tree which is vnder the ground; for as it doth fast cleaue vnto the earth, and can hardly be remoued from the same, but with great paines and labour; so the wicked doe fast cleaue vnto sinne, and are so stedfastly glewed vnto the world, and the pleasures thereof, that not without great difficulty, they cannot be drawn from the same: whence it commeth to passe, that howsoeuer for a time they may dissemble, and play the hypocrite with Demas, Iudas, Saul, Achitophel, yet at the length they bewray themselues, and for the loue of the world, they will forsake God himselfe and his kingdome; that they loue the praise of men, more then the praise of God, that their af­fections are set vpon things below. It is not an easie matter to remoue the roots of a tree which hath continued a long time, it requireth Spades and Mattocks to digge about it and stubbe, it must haue an Axe to cut it, and all little enough. The con­uersion of a sinner, of a worl [...]ly minded man, of a rich man, whose heart is by couetousnesse in league and couenant with the things of this world; I say the conuersion of such a one is an hard and difficult piece of worke, with men impossible, which is the onely worke of Gods spirit. Oh suffer not your selues to take so deepe root, be not so desirous of the things of this world, set not your hearts vpon them, for if ye belong [Page 32]vnto God, it will cost you deare many sigh, groanes, teare, pray­er before you shall againe get it rooted out; perswade your seiues of this, that the nigher and stricter ye cleaue vnto the world, and sinne, the further you are from God and your owne saluation.

Thus hauing shewed you how fitly both the godly and the wicked are compared vnto trees, it remaines that I should proue, that as the axe is laid to thereote of the trees, so the word is to be applyed to the hearts and consciences of men, as the A­postle saith in the declaration of the truth,2 Cor. 4.2. We approue our selues vnto euery mans conscience in the sight of God. It is liuely and mightie in operation, Heb. 4.12. and sharper then any two edged sword, and entreth thorow euen vnto the diuiding a sunder of the soule and the spirit, and of the ioynts and of the marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, 1 Cor. 14.25. by which the secrets of mans heart are made manifest: Hence it is, that the word of God is compared vnto a hammer,Ier. 23.29. to beat vpon the hard Ada­mantine hearts of men,Ezek. 9.19. by which God doth take away their stonie heart, and giue them an heart of flesh: vnto fire, by which the Lord doth purge their hearts from dresse and cor­ruption:Ier. 5.14. Isai. 55.10. vnto raine by which the heart is watred that it may fructifie; and for this cause the Preachers of Gods word are called Stewards of the misteries of God, 1 Cor. 4.1. such as may rightly di­uide Gods word, and apply it to the consciences of men, either for their further humiliation, or for their comfort. Thus haue the Prophets done, thus the Apostles, thus out Saniour Christ; they did not respect persons, but told men their sinnes by the word of God, as Iohu Baptist did to Hered, & here to the Pha­risies, as Nathan to Dauid, and the Apostle Paul to Ananias, and Peter to Simon Magus.

The Reasons hereof are these: 1. because the heart is the sountaine of life, thence murthers, adulteries, thefts, slanders doe proceed, Prou. 4.23. Math. 13.19. Gen. 6. Ier. 13.9. the imaginations whereof are euill continually, which is deceitfull and wicked aboue all things, who can know it? yea no man can perceiue the sinfulnesse of his owne heart, without the power of regeneration, though wee haue example both from Christ and his seruants to direct vs towards the kingdome of [Page 33]heauen, yet we forsake them through the sinfulnesse of our heart, either through our naturall corruption, or the instigati­on of the diuell, who from our naturall corruption taketh oc­casion to tempt vs vnto sinne. He put it in the heart of Iudas to betray his Master, whereby we run euen headlong vnto our owne destruction, and our hearts cannot he rectified, but by the word of God. Secondly, if the heart were not rouzed vp by the word of God, but did continue in sinne, it would become hardned, and then past all feeling of godlinesse,Rom. 1.28. and so be burnt as with an hot iron, with a cauterized conscience giuen vp to a reprobate sence, an estate most dangerous, a condition most miserable, a forerunner of euerlasting condemnation. By this no iudgement, no affliction, plague or punishment can become effectuall. Pharaoh and his Land were wonderfully plagued with variety of iudgements, but they did not draw him vnto repentance because his heart was hardned. This the Lord doth preuent out of his vnspeakeable mercy in his owne children, by the application of his word vnto their hearts, whereby they may repent them of their sinnes, become mollified and tender hearted, and so escape the wrath to come.

The Vses of this Doctrine are for Exhortation and Repre­hension: Exhortation vnto vs all in generall, and vnto both Preachers and people in particular.

Vnto vs all in generall, euen to take notice of the sinfulnesse and corruption of our hearts, that wee endeauour and labour for a speedy remedy out of the word of God: let vs I say take notice of our omission of good duties, of our commission of euil, of the negligence of our duties towards God and our neighbour, and the ground whence those proceede, which is our hearts, that hereby wee may haue our hearts reformed by the word of God, that God may create within vs a cleane heart, Psal. 51.10. and renew within vs a right spirit. So long as our heart remai­neth asleepe, and is not wakened by the word of God, so long we cannot rightly setue God; yea, though with Saint Basil we did goe into a Wildernesse to auoid wicked company. Vn­to Preachers, to approue themselues before God and man in a good conscience, by their liuely and particular application of [Page 34]Gods word. God doth inioyne it vnto them, God doth re­quire it of them, God doth expect it from them: hereby thou maiest perswade thy selfe of thy calling from God, and that thou doest performe it according to his will; true it is thou maiest vndergoe much hatred, be in great danger and trouble for the same;1 Cor. 4.9.13 Isai 17.13. Zach. 3.8. 1 Tim. 5.21. thou maiest be forced to flye for thy life, with Elias imprisoned with Ieremiah, hated with Micaiah, forbid to come any more vnto their presence with Moses, forbid to preach in the name of Christ with Peter, and the Apostles; they may wait for thy life, as for Pauls; thou maist be brought be­fore the Iudgement Seat, as the Apostles; thou maist lose thy head with Iohn Baptist, be killed with the sword as Iames was; thou mayest for thy paines be made a spectacle to the world, as the filth of the world, and the off-scouring of all things: thou maist be wearied with men, thou maist be wondred at, yet notwithstanding of all this, or any thing else which can be done vnto thee by men, thou must performe this dutie, doing no­thing partially, not respecting persons, but laying the axe to the root of the trees.

Vnto people to prepare themselues before they come vnto the heating of the word preached, by an expectation to haue their sinnes told them, and resolution to apply those things which they heare vnto their hearts: art thou an adulterer, a murtherer, a swearer, a sabbath breaker, a thiefe, an enuious person, secure, negligent, backward in performing religious duties; And make account before thou come, that thou shalt heare thy sinnes disclosed, rebuked, and doe thou also apply those iudgements, which are denounced in the word, in gene­tall vnto thy selfe, in particular, I am the man.

This should teach vs in our calling not onely to informe the iudgement, but also to reforme the will by application of the word, which being omitted, it is a token of weakenesse or ig­norance, for we must be as a candle in a candlestike; yet for all this faint not.

People which will not haue their finnes rebuked, which will not haue their wounds searched, which cannot abide that any Preacher, nay that God himselfe out of his word should re­proue [Page 35]them: Who is the Lord, say they with Pharaoh, that we should know him? we will fill our selues in taking our pleasure, and in giuing way to the corruption of our nature, according to the seuerall inclinations, that we are most giuen vnto, whe­ther they be sinnes of ignorance or of malice, or of infirmity, or if it be the common sinnes of the world, as pride, couetousnes, drunkennesse, whoring, and swearing; I tell thee man, except thy heart and affections be seasoned with grace, and especially in heating of the word, when Sathan is then most busie to tempt, the word which is the sauour of life, shall turne to the sauour of death and vnto thy destruction. Whatsoeuer the Preacher doth say we will not beleeue him, And to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundance; to such saith Solo­mon, Eccles. 11.9. Reioyce O young man in the dayes of thy youth, and let thy heart cheare thee in the dayes of thy youth, and walke in the wayes of thine owne heart, and in the sight of thine eyes; but know thou that for all these things God will bring thee into iudgement. Gods word shall be applied vnto thee, either for thy confusion or consolation.

Thus for the fourth Point,The 2. Part. and so much for the first part of my Text, the Proclamation of Iudgement (Now also is the axe laid to the root of the trees.) The second followeth, the exten­tion or generality of this Iudgement; euery tree which bringeth not forth good fruit.

Touching the Extention and Generality of this Iudgement, it belongeth vnto euerie tree which bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be hewne downe and cast into the fire.

All trees doe not alike prosper, some proue fruitfull, ethers wither and dye; of fruitfull trees there is also great difference, some bring forth good fruit, others bad fruit. So likewise a­mongst men and women, the most part are barren touching goodnesse as the Figge-tree, destitute of fruit, but most fruitfull in eulll, bringing forth bad fruit; they are but a few (in com­parison of the other) which are good trees bringing forth good fruit. Now touching those trees, euerie one that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewne downe and cast into the fire.

Hence these obseruations may be gathered.

First, that it is not enough, not to doe euill, vnlesse also we doe good; not enough, not to bring forth bad fruits, vnlesse also we bring forth good fruits.

Secondly that as trees are knowne by their fruits, so men and women, by their obedience vnto Gods Commandements.

Thirdly, that God without partiality or respect of persons, will proceede against all such as liue not an holy and sanctified life, through obedience vnto Gods Commandements.

For the first, it is not enough, not to bring forth bad fruit, vnlesse also we bring forth good fruit: therefore the Prophet Dauid saith, Depart from euill, and doe good: and the Prophet Isaiah, Cease to doe euill, learne to doe well. The figge tree was cursed by our Sauiour, not because it brought euill fruit, but because it brought not forth good fruit, whereby his hunger might haue bin satisfied. This may teach vs to try and exa­mine our selues, whether wee haue brought forth good fruits; I doubt not but many will say,Psal. 34.14. Isai 1.17. we haue wronged no man, we haue liued of our owne; and let be so, but what good hast thou done? hast thou sought the glory of God, to edifie thy neighbour, hast thou laboured for his good, as for thine own? hast thou cloathed the naked, relieued the needy, fed the hun­gry, visited the sicke, comforted the sicke, comforted the di­stressed, prayed for the welfare of others? Thou wilt answer me (if truely) that thou hast not done those things; then I reply, thou art not a good tree, thou dost not bring forth good fruit, and therefore shall be hewne downe: if then thou dost no good,Mat. 12.30. thou dost euill, this doth necessarily follow; He that is not with me is against me, saith our Sauiout; if I say thou doest not that good which thou maist, and in some measure as thou shouldest, it is fit thou shouldst be hewne down. But alas, what should I speake of bringing forth good fruit, when as men and women in these dayes, are so fruitfull in euill. And if euen those trees which bring not forth good fruit, shall be hewne downe, how much more those which altogether bring forth euill? whose throat is an open sepulcher, whose heart is a den of theeues, whose words and actions tend altogether to the dishonour of God, as (alas) it is too too common in this wofull age.

For the second, as trees are known by their fruit, so men and women by their obedience vnto Gods Commandements; for to yeeld obedience vnto the whole Law of God, is to bring forth good fruit, such as God requireth. For the illustration of this point, these two things are to be considered. First, by what means we may bring forth good fruit. Secondly, by what signes we may discerne, if we doe bring forth good fruit.

Concerning the first, that wee may bring forth good fruit, that is, that we may walke conscionably, in the practise and o­bedience of Gods Lawes, both touching our generall and par­ticular calling, these seuen things are required of vs. First, that we take particular notice of these which God doth require of vs, of that fruit which God doth expect from vs, an abridge­ment whereof we haue in the ten Commandements. 2. Wee must resolue particularly to yeeld obedience vnto euery one of those Commandements, vnto the whole Law of God, and euery part thereof. 3. We must consider the necessity of the performing the same, both in respect they are commanded by God, and in respect that the neglect of them depriueth vs of heauen. 4. We must endeauour to be cut off our old stocke A­dam, and be engrafted into Iesus Christ. 5. We must haue life and iuyce in vs deriued from our root Christ Iesus, whereby we may be made like vnto Christ, both in his death by dying vnto sinne, and in his resurrection, by rising to newnesse of life; whereby we may say with the Apostle Paul, Now I liue, Gal 2.20. yet not I now but Christ liueth in me, and in that I liue now in the flesh, I line by faith in the sonne of God, who hath loued me, and giuen himselfe for me. As a tree receiueth moislure from the root, or otherwise cannot fructifie, so we cannot bring forth good fruit, vnlesse we receiue spirituall moisture from Christ, of whose fulnesse we receiue grace for grace. Ioh. 1.16. And as trees cannot bring forth fruit, vnlesse they be well and surely rooted; so we, vnlesse by saith rooted vnto Iesus Christ 6. Let vs call to minde what great paines God doth take, (as a carefull husband, that we may bring forth fruit) planting, pruning digging, and dung­ing and should all this be in vain, should not we fructifie? 7. Let vs daily pray vnto God, the giuer of all good gifts, that hee [Page 38]would be pleased to make vs fructifie.

Concerning the second, what signes we may discerne if we doe bring forth good fruit: I answer, that good fruit may be discerned,Col. 2.7. either by the sight, or by the taste, but chiefly by both conioyned together, because that some fruit (such as the Apples of Sodom) doe appeare pleasant and beautifull to the eye, which yet are vnsauory, bitter and vnpleasant to the taste; so by viewing and trying our workes, we may discerne of their quality and nature, viewing of them, let vs compare them with the good fruit of others, mentioned in Gods word, as our faith with Abrahams, our patience with Iobs, our wickednesse with Moses; and finding that in the qualitie, they agree in the quantity and measure they differ, thou maist perswade thy selfe, that thy fruit is good, in trying and tasting it if thou finde it sweet, pleasant, delectable, whereby thou art desirous to doe more, and thou wouldest not for any thing, but that thou hadst done it, and dost resolue daily, to make a further pro­gresse, and to bring forth more and better fruit, thou maist re­ioyce and be glad, thou art a good tree bringing forth good fruit, to the glory of God and comfort of others.

Thus then ye see that men and women are to be discerned to be good trees, by their obedience vnto the Commandements of God. Which may serue for exhortation vnto vs all, euen conscionably to walke in the wayes of God, caresully to per­forme the Law of God, dutifully to become vnto the Com­mandements of God both in generall and particular, and then we may be assured, that howsoeuer we may in some measure faile, and in great weakenesse and imperfection performe those duties, we are good trees and bring forth good fruit.

In vaine doe such boast that they are good trees, when as their fruit is bad; a good tree cannot bring forth bad fruit, as a corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit; if thou conti­nuest in the course of vngodlinesse, if thou be now as much set vpon these ends, as thou wast formerly, rather more, if thou a­bidest in any one particular sinne, without repentance, if thou doest speake against the Commandements of God, and will not conforme thy will vnto his, in the obedience of the [Page 39]same, assure thy selfe, thou art a bad tree, and hast bad fruit.

Concerning the third, God without partiality or respect of persons, will proceede against all such, as liue not an holy and sanctified life in Christ Iesus through obedience vnto his Com­mandements; he will not proceede against the poore and spare the rich, against inferiors and spare superiors; no, no, euery tree which bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be hewne downe: no man of degree, estate or condition, whether high or low, supe­riour or inferiour, shall be exempted from the same;Luk. 13.4. Vnlesse ye repent, saith our Sauiour, ye shall all likewise perish. If God did punish Moses for his Infidelity, Dauid for his Adultery, which brought forth at that time bad fruit, what shall become of those that bring forth no good fruit at all? the want thereof trans­formed Nebuchadnezzar into a beast, caused Hered to be eate vp with vermine, Iudas an Apostle to be hanged, and euerla­stingly to be tormented in hell.

The Reasons hereof are two. First, in respect of the nature of God, impartiall, no accepter of persons. Secondly,Act. 10.34. the iu­stice of God, in iudging impenitent sinners, disposers of grace and saluation offred vnto them through Iesus Christ.

The Vses of this Doctrine are threefold. For Instruction to teach vs that the Lord is the searcher of hearts,Heb. 4.13. Gregan 29. Iob. cap. 9. that all things are perfectly knowne vnto him, neither is there any creature which is not manifest in his sight, but all things are naked and open vnto his eyes with whom we haue to doe; our externall workes are seene of men, much more our inward thoughts of the Lord. Whence it appeareth that it is vaine for vs to dis­semble and be bypocrites in matters of Religion before God, or not to be vpright in our dealings towards men, seeing that the Lord both seeth all, and vnlesse we repent iudges all.

For consolation vnto Gods children, which bring forth good fruit, when as others shall be hewne downe, and cast into the fire, thou shalt scape: here wicked men mocke and reuile you, account you sottish and foolish in spending your time in the seruice of God, but resolue thou shalt not perish, as they shall: If euerie tree which bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be hewne [Page 40]downe; then euery tree which bringeth forth good fruit shall stand, not be cut downe, and cast into the fire.

For Exhortation, seeing all which lead not an holy and san­ctified life, shall be brought vnto iudgement; seeing euery tree which bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be hewne downe and cast into the fire, then let vs endeauour to lead an holy and sanctifi­ed life, that so we may escape the wrath to come.

Let vs redresse now whatsoeuer may condemne vs, then no Proctor shall haue place to plead for vs, no bribe shall buy vs out.In se discat, se inspictat, se discat; fiat se quarat, & se inueuiar, & quod destlicee nacet, quod pla­cet [...]tet, & planter. Au­gust. de verb. dom. ser. 12. Let vs I say, get the knowledge of our selues, looke in­to our selues, search our selues, seeke our selues, finde our selues, kill whatsoeuer doth displease vs, desire and plant what­soeuer doth please vs: we stand vpon life and death, let vs therefore in time pray and begge for pardon, that we escape that fearefull day to come; for he that confesseth and forsaketh his sinnes, shall finde mercy: let vs by a conscionable carriage of our selues, stop the mouthes of our Consciences, that they may stand for vs, and not against vs, before the Tribunall of God.

Thus of the second Part, the Extension and Generality of this Iudgement;Prou. 28.13. euery tree which bringeth not forth good fruit. The third followes, the Execution of Iudgement, following vpon the contempt of the former Proclamation of Iudgement, be hewne downe and cast into the fire.

Touching this Execution of Iudgement,The 3. Part. two things are to be considered. First, the manner how the Lord will proceede in Iudgement against such as bring not forth good fruit. Se­condly, the time when this Execution shall be accomplished.

Concerning the first, the manner how the Lord will pro­ceede in Iudgement against fruitlesse Christians, is twofold. First, he will hew them downe. Secondly, he will cast them into the fire.

For the first, he will hew or cut them downe. Men may be said to be cut downe (in generall) from the originall righte­ousnes of Christ, by the transgression of Adam, from their pro­fession of the truth, by apostacie, wounding the conscience vn­to death. In particular, from their outward pompe, glory and [Page 41]worldly prosperity by affliction and trouble, from their plea­sures in this life by death: hew downe the tree, Dan. 4.14. and breake the branches, shake off his leanes, and scatter his fruit, that the beast may flye from vnder it; there's an hewing from worldly profperity. The wicked his root shall be dried vp beneath, and aboue shall his branches be cut downe; Iob 18.16. there's a cutting (as I take it) by death. Thus both the wicked and the godly may be hewne downe, although in a different manner, for both afflicti­ons and death vnto Gods children are profitable; euen to the wicked terrible, euen types of their last cutting downe at the day of Iudgement. By hewing or cutting downe, three things may be vnderstood. First, that diuision aad separation which the ministerie of Gods word would worke amongst them. Se­condly, the hardnesse of heart, wherein (iustly) they should be giuen vp, if they continued fruitlesse. Thirdly, that exter­nall separation from God, his Angels, Saints, and all happi­nesse, at the generall, fearefull and terrible day of Iudge­ment.

Hence three things may be gathered:

First, that the Preaching of Gods word, is the cause of se­paration and diuision amongst men: a thing wonderfull, and yet most true; it separateth betwixt the gold and the grosse, betwixt the Sheepe and the Goates, betwixt the Wheat and the Chaffe; it maketh the father against the sonne, and the son against the father;Mat. 10.34. and thinke not (saith our Sauiour) that I come to send peace on earth, I come not to send peace, but a sword. Paul was a persecuter, he was in great credit and estimation, but when he became a Preacher, he was persecuted from place to place: the word bringeth to light, and discouereth some to be hypocrites, which both had deceiued themselues and others; what diuision and separation did this make in the primitiue Church, in this Land in the dayes of Queene Mary, in France at this day, take one example for all; the Apostle Paul hauing preached vnto the Iewes at Rome, some were perswaded with the things which were spoken, some beleeued not.Acts 24.24. I might in­stance diuers other examples, touching this operation of the Word in making diuision, betwixt neighbours, brothers, pa­rents [Page 42]and children, husband and wife, yea betwixt a man and himselfe. So that the Word preached, as it doth confirme Gods children, it he weth downe hypocrites, and discouereth what they are.

The Causes hereof are not in the Preaching of the Word; for the Sunne is all one, that shineth vpon pleasant Gardens, and vpon stinking Dunghils; the fire all one, which hardneth the Clay, and softneth the Waxe; the Word all one, that is preached to the godly and vngodly; but in respect of the diffe­rence which is betwixt the hearers. The godly heare it, and bring forth good fruit, the wicked heare it, and remaine fruit­lesse, so it heweth them downe. The wicked not perceiuing the benefit which may bereaped by the word, but hating it, plea­sing their sinfull desires, and so coutemning it, remaine igno­rant of the vse of it, and so are iustly cut downe. Whence I in­ferre, first, that notwithstanding of this hewing downe, of this separation, and diuision which the Gospell worketh, yet it is most needfull to be preached; for it is better that hypocrites be discouered and hewne downe, then remaine in close, they should both depriue themselues and others, yea and there be a separation betwixt such, as are by the most strict bonds of na­ture coupled together, that some of them might be saued, then that continuing in worldly friendship all should perish. Se­condly, that not the Gospell or Ministery of Gods word is the cause of our hewing do we, but our contempt thereof disobey­ing the same, which I speake for this end, because many blame the Gospell for all these hurts which befall them, as Master Latimer noteth in one of his Sermons, Vpon a time (saith he) the people of Sandwicke met together to consult about the season, why their towne was more ouer blowne with Sand in few yeares, then it was of a long time before; an old man an­swered, that he did remember that there was no steeple nye, but since there were the same might come vpon that occasion, whereby he ment that preaching of Gods word might be the cause, as assuredly many wrongfully imagine touching other things.

The Vses of this point are three fold.

For consolation vnto the children of God, howsoeuer that by the preaching of the word hypocrites shall be hewne downe, yet they shall be safe. The Gospell is the power of God vnto saluation to all them that beleeue; it is to them the sauour of life vnto life. If we belong vnto God, the word of God shall be profitable vnto vs; if we receiue it with meeknesse, it is able to saue our soules.

Gods children by the word bring forth good fruit, some thirty, sixty, and a hundred fold; Gods word doth worke in them sorrow for finne, humiliation, an auoiding of the occasi­ons of sinne, a labour to performe the workes of pietie and godlinesse, and may we not much reioyce when we performe those things.

For Instruction: the cleare shining of the Gospell doth gall and torment wicked men; which is a signe they did neuer feele the power of Gods spirit within them, working for their conuersion. Of those men there are two sorts, the one more publike, the other more priuate. Some publikely fight a­gainst God with a stretched out Arme, and a stiffe necke, as Pharaoh, Who is the Lord, saith hee, that I should know him? Others goe more subtilly to worke, are more politicke then the former; They are fauourites of the Gospell, whilst there is prosperity and peace. The Galathians esteemed of Paul as an Angell of light; the towne of Millan was so affected to Ambrose, that rather they would loose their liues, then their Bishop: Dauid had friends; yet the case is altered; the Ga­lathians fall away, Ambrose not so much respected; Dauid, by such as bare him fare formerly, persecuted. Moses was not at all times esteemed alike; when Christ turned the water into Wine, and fed the people by hundreds and thousands, all was well, then he was called Rabbi and Rabboni, then they would make him a King, &c. but when hee said, they are of their father the Diuell, then away with him, crucifie him: Paul now called Mercurius, by and by a murtherer; these our dayes are full of such, whilst there is peace, then they feeme religious, when trouble commeth, they not onely reuolt, but persecute such as are truely religious.

It is true that the children of God, being asleepe, left vnto themselues for a time, may be offended at the word preached (who therfore are by the preachers of Gods word to be roused from their securitie, that they may perceiue their errour, rou­zed I say by the terrour threatned out of the Law of God; if they haue a long time continued in the course of godlinesse, or otherwise if they be but nouices in the schoole of Christ, by a more milder course) but they doe not so continue, they repent, they are sorry, they are grieued for the same, where as the wick­ed remaine still so yea daily grow worse and worse, and there­fore shall be hewne downe.

Secondly, that such as remaine fruitlesse, and will not be reformed, shall be giuen ouer vnto the hardnesse of their owne heart, and left vnto their owne deserued condemnation: This is a terrible punishment, a fearefull hewing downe, which proceedeth from the contempt of Gods word, when the wicked haue had the outward Ministerie of Gods word for a long time, and God hath by it called them to repentance, offering grace and saluation vnto them, if they doe not embrace it, but continue in their back wardnesse and rebellion, then the Lord by hardnesse of heart, hewing them downe, he maketh their hearts fat, so that hearing they doe not heare, seeing they dee not see.

O let vs be carefull to preuent this fearefull iudgement, ra­ther let vs be hewne downe, by crosses, affliction, and death, then by hardnesse of heart; let vs pray vnto the Lord daily to mollifie and soften our heart.

Thirdly, that the wicked at the day of iudgement, shall by a perpetuall separation, be hewne downe from the fellowship of the holy Trinitie, blessed Angels, and glorified Saints, which our Sauiour himselfe confirmeth,Mat. 24. Goe yee cursed of my father vnto euerlasting fire, prepared for the Diuell and his Angels; their hewing downe by the word in this world, precedes their hewing downe at the day of iudgement; that proceedeth from this; for such as are here hewed downe, by the ministery of the word, giuen ouer to a reprobate minde, and an hard heart, shall then by finall separation be hewed downe, from the presence of God.

This letteth vs see the miscrable estate of wicked men, both in this life and in the life to come: here they are hewed downe by the ministrie of Gods word, then they shall be perpetually hewed downe by the sentence of the iust Iudge, Goe ye cursed of my father, &c. This finall hewing downe shall not befall vnto all sinners, but onely to such as are impenitent; many may in this world be hewed downe, by temporall iudgements, which repenting shall not be hewed downe in this last iudge­mknt. To this purpose the Apostle speaketh of the Iewes, And they also, if they abide not still in vnbeliefe, shall be grafted in, Rom. 11.23. for God is able to graffe them in againe. Such as belong vnto God may for a time fall away (as all such doe totally, which are out­wardly planted and not inwardly) and so by assliction hewed downe, but they doe rise againe, and by repentance blot out their fall, and therefore shall escape this finall hewing downe.

For the second, he will cast them into the fire: by fire in this place we may vnderstand, the iudgement which at the great day shall be executed vpon wicked men, the extreame and most sharpe paine appointed for them in hell; concerning which, these sixe things are to be considered. First, that it is fearefull. Secondly, that it is painefull. Thirdly, that it is vnspeakeably painfull. Fourthly, that it is continuall. Fiftly, that is vniuer­sall. Sixtly, that it is eternall: other questions as being more curious then profitable, I willingly passe by; such, as whether it be a materiall fire, how it is maintained, &c.

First, I say it is fearefull, and that if either wee consider the place where it is, Hell; for what it is to torment wicked men, how vnpleasant it is, not for light, heat, or comfort, as other fire is, but to torment and terrifie, accompanied with diuers o­ther torments, vtter darknesse, the worme that neuer dieth, weeping and gnashing of teeth, which shall neuer be quench­ed; fearefull was that destruction of Sodom, but more fearefull this, that did end, this shall neuer.

Secondly, it is painfull, and therefore called the Lake bur­ning with fire and brimstone: the extremitie whereof both in body and soule, the heart of man is not able to conceiue; a taste [Page 46]where of we may haue in the rich Glutton.

Thirdly, it is vnspeakeable: as Paul was not able to expresse the ioyes of heauen, no more can wee the extremitie of this fire.

Fourthly,Mat. 3.12. it is continuall, alwayes without any intermission, which doth so much the more agrauate the misery of the wic­ked, this fire cannot be put out.

Fiftly, it is vniuersall, both vpon soule and body, and consci­ence, both outwardly and inwardly.

Sixtly,Mat. 25.41. it is eternall: if it would once cease, though after ma­ny thousand yeares, there were some hope, but it shall continue world without end, for euermore, from whence there is no re­demption.

Hence we may learne, that seeing this fire is so fearefull, so painfull, so vnspeakable, so continuall, so vniuersall, so perpe­tuall, and the wicked not repenting them of their sinnes, shall be (without doubt) cast thereinto, euen in time to forsake our sinnes, and to turne vnto the Lord, by true and vnfained repentance, bring forth good fruit, where by we may escape so terrible a torment, the fire of hell. O let vs feare and trem­ble when we heare or read hereof, yea let vs alwayes haue it before our eyes, that wee may be withdrawne from sinne, least sinning and not repenting, wee become partakers thereof.

O wicked man why doest thou runne on in sinne, why art thou so carelesse of thine owne welfare? wouldest thou burne willingly? thinkest thou, that thou canst abide the fire? no cer­tainly thou canst not: if thou canst not abide that the least member of thy body should abide in the fire, but for a little time, how shalt thou be able to abide the fire of hell, both in body and soule eternally?

Concerning the second: when this Execution shall be ac­complished: although that chiefly it shall be executed in the great and generall day of iudgement, yet notwithstanding it doth begin euen in this life; as then they shall be finally hewne downe and cast into the fire of bell; so also here they shall be hewne downe by the ministry of Gods word, and feele this [Page 47]fire begunne in them, their Conscience accusing them, tor­ments affrighting them, they themselues driuen vnto despe­ration. Hence wee may perceiue the miserable estate of wic­ked men, both here and hereafter, in this life and in that which is to come.

Whereby we may learne in time to become obedient vnto the Preaching of Gods Word, not despising the gracious of­fers of mercie; for certainly, to conclude with the words of my Text, Euery tree which bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be hewne downe and cast rute the fire.

FINIS.
THE VOYCE OF THE CRY …

THE VOYCE OF THE CRYER.

Containing A forcible Inuitation to REPENTANCE.

By Alexander Ʋdny B.in Diuinity, and Chap­laine to his Maiestie in Ordinary, and Mini­ster of the Gospell at Hauking in Kent.

Lament. 1.20. Abroad the sword bereaueth, at home there is as death.
Chrysost in Serm. Nemo ad Deum aliquando flens accessit, qui non quod po­stulauit acceperit.

LONDON, Printed by T. C. for Iames Bowler dwelling at the signe of the Marigold in Pauls Church-yard. 1628.

TO THE RIGHT HO­NOVRABLE Sr. THOMAS Couentrey Knight, Lord Keeper of the great seale of England, and one of his Maiesties most Ho­uourable Priuie Councell.

WE reade in holy Scripture, Right Honourable, that godlines with contentment is great gaine,2. Tim. 6.6. for it hath not onely promise of this life but of the life and glory to come: for proofe whereof we haue in the person of Obed-Edom, That when the Arke of the Lord, was well entertained in his house, 2. Sam. 6.11. both he and all that did belong to him were blessed of God, for the Arke was not [Page]onely a token of Gods presence, but also a type of our ministery; To which God hath conioyned himselfe to be present with vs vnto the end of the world. By the Arke many miracles were done, by it the waters of Jordan were diui­ded, the walls of Jericho fell downe to the ground, the Jdoll Dagon was dismembred. But the Arke of the new Couenant doth much more, it passeth all Gods children through the mighty floods of afflic­tion, breaketh downe the walls of temptation, ca­steth Popish Jdolatry to Gebena from whence it came, as not able to looke the truth in the face, this doth present Christ the way, the truth, and the life, and doth exhibite Christ vnto vs, God and man to be our righteousnes, sanctification and re­demption. Now the way to meet with all these bles­sings, with Obed-Edom, is to entertaine the Arke of the Gospell, but yet these blessings are not obtained in respect of the presence of the Gospell, but in respect of beleeuing, obeying, and reuerent estimation and entertainement of the same, for as we must loue God, imbrace his lawes, aduance the Gospell, so must we imitate the example of O­bed-Edom, who did not breake the tables of [Page]stone, Aarons rod, or misused Manna, which would haue bred his ouerthrow, but as he did car­ry a reuerent respect and estimation to the Arke, so he did to the supporters thereof, he brake not off the rings, nor the barres in the rings, by which it was carryed from one place to another. Jt is a dif­ficult matter for a man in our dayes to profit him­selfe by the Gospell, that doth for any earthly re­spect, despise a powerfull Ministery, who as the Barres in the Arke doe preach the truth, and car­ry the Arke of the Gospell vnto the world; neither was the Ring or Barre changed, but keept as it was ordained by God and his seruant Moses; and wheresoeuer this hastie disposition is, we may assure our selues it leaues some bountifull remem­brance: to your Lordsh. is recommended a care of the reuerent estimation of the Arke and affaires thereof. You are as a towre vpon the top of an hil, & so much the more reason haue you to walk wise­ly, & that in respect of your great priuiledges, that the lawes of God & the kingdom may be conioynd with an vpright and godly course of life, because Plus effecit apud populum, which laudable course your L. doth follow, which hath the more [Page]emboldened and encouraged mee to present this small token of my good wills vnto your Lordship, albeit J haue not vsed the common Method of ma­ny in the like case, which were rather to write of you, then to you, yet neither to be neglected, for in publishing (though sparingly) my knowledge of your worth to the world, some might taxe mee with flattery which J condemne in others, but on­ly on the other part, some may censure me to haue written of you according to the pouerty of my abi­lity rather then to the fulnes of your merite, but howsoeuer peraduenture it will seeme strange when this commeth to your Lordships hands, what assurance of your good acceptance, should haue mooued me to dedicate the same vnto you, J haue not done it mercinarie, further then my paines may aduance the Gospell, for then I would haue presented it to your hands; nor vaine glori­ously in crauing your approbation, but freely and honestly out of that respect which J owe to that innate goodnesse, which J hope is and shall ex­presse it selfe in you. And herein I thinke my selfe happy that J liue to know one of so great qualitie as your selfe, whose breast goodnesse makes her ha­bitation [Page]which J may the more boldly say, in that J heard from your mouth, that your desire was to aduance and prefer, those that were worthy to the worke of God, for the which, and for mine owne part also, as J endeauour my selfe to runne after the high calling of God in Christ Iesus, so I desire to imitate the fertill lands, Qui multo plus red­dunt quam acceperint, quia si non dubita—mus bona conferre his qnos speramus no­bis profuturos, quales debemus esse in eos qui iam profuerunt? But yet J say, Non red­derevero, bono viro, it cannot absqua iniuria id facere possit, Receiue then a signification of my loue, a testification of duty. Accipe ergo hanc obseruantiae meae humilem tesseram, & quidem sereno vultu ac animo clemen­ti accipe: Inde pium meum in te affectum elice, meque clementia solita porro prose­sequere. Illud vbi impetravero magnum me quid impetrasse existimabo, pro quo tamen nil praeter preces pias, officia & obsequia humilia reponere queo. And thus humbly ta­king my leaue, wishing to your Lordship all health and happines, with the increase of all spiri­tuall [Page]and temporall blessings. And that this small gift may haue as good acceptance in your Lordships fauour, as it is well intended by me: to this effect I pray the very God of peace sanctifie you throughout, and I pray God your whole spirit, and soule and body, bee preserued blamelesse vn­to the comming of our Lord Jesus Christ: in him, Farewell.

Your Lordships in all respectiue dutie to be commanded, Alexander Ʋdny.

THE Voice of the Cryer: Containing A FORCIBLE INVI­tation vnto Repentance.

IOEL 2.12.‘Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turne yee even to me, with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning.’

IN the former part of this Chapter, the Prophet threatneth vnto the Iewes heauy iudgements, and a fearefull desolation from the Assy­rians, whom God at the length would send vnto them: beholding them secure and carelesse, obsti­nate and impenitent, he rouseth them vp by a Proclamation of dolefull tydings. The day of the Lord is come, for it is at hand; a day of darknesse, and of blacknes, Vers. 1.2.11. a day of clouds and obscuritie, &c. The day of the Lord is great and very terrible, and who can abide it?

In these words, as a most louing Pastor vnto his flocke, he declareth the remedy, whereby this fearefull desolation might [Page 50]be preuented; namely, by true and vnfained Repentance: con­cerning which two things are to be considered. First, the due­tie enioyned. Secondly, the reasons where by it is enforced.

The Duetie enioyned is true and vnfained Repentance, con­sisting of these two parts. First, internall in the affection, re­quired both of Priests and people, turne ye euen to me with all your heart. Secondly, externall, and in action consisting of three points. 1. Fasting. 2. Weeping 3. With mour­ning.

The Reasons whereby it is enforced are three. 1. From the occasion, therefore. 2. From the time, now also. 3. From the author, saith the Lord. Therefore now also, saith the Lord.

I shall first speake of the Reasons, then of the Dutie it selfe, at the pleasure of God.

The first Reason then whereby our Prophet doth exhort the Iewes vnto Repentance,The occasion, Therefore. is from the occasion of the same, laid downe in this encreasing particle, therefore: which hau­ing relation vnto the former verses, pointeth out vnto vs the great danger wherein the Iewes stood at this time; iudgements being denounced against them; iudgements being prepared for them; iudgements euen hanging ouer their heads, which could not otherwise be remoued, but onely by their repen­tance. The Reason may be framed thus: If those iudgements which are denounced against you, cannot otherwise be remou­ed, but by true and vnfained Repentance, then it is needfull that you should repent: but those iudgements which are de­nounced against you, cannot otherwise be remoued, therefore it is needfull that you should repent.

Hence this obseruation may be gathered: that,

When either Gods hand is heauie vpon vs, Doct. or his iudgements are denounced against vs, we ought vnfainedly to repent vs of our sinnes. Gods hand was heauie vpon the Iewes at this time, as may be gathered out of the former chapter, greater iudgements were denounced against them, in the beginning of this, and therefore now they are exhorted vnto Repentance. Thus did Iehosaphat, 2 Chro. 20. hearing that the Aramites were come a­gainst him, He set himselfe to seeke the Lord, and proclaimed a [Page 51]fast throughout all the Land. Thus did the Israelites, when two seuerall times they were discomfited by the Beniamites, They went vp vnto the house of God and wept, Iudg. 20.26. and sat there before the Lord, and fasted that day vntill the euening. Thus did the Ni­niuites after the denunciation of Gods iudgements by Ionah. Ionah 3.5. Hence it is that the Prophets, after they had denounced. Gods iudgements, did alwayes from thence exhort them vnto Re­pentance. Thus Isaiah, Why should yee be stricken any more, Isa. 1.5.16. &c. wash you, and make you cleane. Thus Ieremiah, Ier. 4.6.8. I will bring euill from the North, and a great destruction; for this, gird you with sackcloath, lament and houle. Thus Daniel hauing expoun­ded Nebuchadnezzars dreame, and warned him of his ap­proaching fall, exhorteth him to breake off his sinnes by righte­ousnesse, Dan. 4.27. and his iniquities by shewing mercie to the poore. Thus Hosea, for this shall the Land mourne: come and let vs returne vnto the Lord. Thus Amos, Hos. 4.3. & 6.1. Amos 4.2. & 5.4. The Lord God hath sworne by his holinesse, that loe the dayes shall come vpon you, that he will take you away with hookes, and your prosperitie with fish-hookes, &c. seeke ye me and ye shall liue. Thus Zephaniah, Zeph. 1.2. &. 2.1. I will vtterly con­sume all things from of the Land, &c. gather your selues together before the decree come forth. Thus our Sauiour Christ,Luk. 13.5. Ʋnlesse ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Thus our Prophet, he doth both aduertise the Iewes of their imminent danger, and also how they might be deliuered.

The Reasons of this Doctrine are these two. First,The Reas. 2. Because Gods hand is heauie vpon vs, and his Iudgements are denoun­ced against vs; for this end, that we may repent and returne vnto him: according to that of the Prophet,Isa. 26.16. Lord in trouble haue they visited thee, they powred out a praier when thy chastning was vpon them. For this cause the Lord complaineth, that al­though he had afflicted his people, yet they did not returne vn­to him.

Secondly, because vpon Repentance, God doth withdraw his Iudgements either inflicted or denounced: inflicted, 2 from the Israelites, He regarded their affliction, when he heard their crie: threatned, from the Niniuites; And God saw their workes, Psa. 106.44. Ionah 3.10. that they turned from their euill way, and God repented of the e­uill [Page 52]that he had said he would doe vnto them, and he did it not.

The Vses of this point are twofold.

1. For Reprehension vnto all of vs in this Land, vpon which Gods hand lyeth heauie, against which so many Iudgements are denounced, and yet (alas) we continue in our euill courses, and doe not repent vs of our sinnes; yet which is worse, we daily grow worse and worse, adding sinne vnto finue, and multiplying our abominations in Gods sight. What could haue beene done more vnto vs, then the Lord hath done? yea at this same time, all those causes whereby God hath prouoked others to humiliation, concurre together to moue vs to Repen­tance. Publike, open, powerfull and malicious enemies hunt after our destruction, that they may deface Gods glory, root out Religion, possesse our Inheritance, and make our streets runne ouer with blood. God bloweth vpon those actions which we vndertake, either by Sea or Land, as daily experi­ence teacheth: Gods Iudgements both in generall and parti­cular are denounced against vs, as they were against the Nini­uites; we haue beene visited with the Plague, the famin, strange diseases, &c. The sword of our enemies hangeth ouer our heads, few are sorry for the afflictions of Ioseph, the loue of most both towards God and their distressed brethren is waxed cold: we fall away from our former loue and zeale which we haue had to Gods glory and our owne saluation; and yet who taketh those things to heart? who doth repent him of his sinnes?

For Exhortation both vnto Preachers and People.

Preachers to be carefull both in fore-seeing and fore-warning Gods Iudgements; Vse. 2 and like wise exhorting vnto Repentance. God hath appointed vs Watchmen, Seers, Ambassadours, Phy­sicians, we must accordingly declare Gods will vnto you, and both shew you your disease, your danger, and the meanes whereby you may be deliuered. Remember (my brethren) what Commission the Lord gaue vnto Ieremiah; Speake vnto them all that I command thee, Ier. 1.17. be not dismaid at their faces, least I confound thee before them. And vnto Ezechiel, When I say vn­to the wicked thou shalt surely die, Ezek. 3, 18.19 and thou giuest him not war­ning, [Page 53]nor speakest to warne the wicked from his wicked waie to saue his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquitie, but his bloud will I require at thine hand. Let vs remember I say that God hath made vs Watchmen, and that therefore we ought to giue warning. O let vs crie aloud, and spare not, Isa. 58.1. let vs lift vp our voice like a trumpet, and shew our people their transgression, and what iudgements are prepared for them, that so they may repent, at least we may saue our owne soules.

People, euen truely to repent them of their sinnes, in respect of Gods Iudgements both lying vpon vs, and greater hanging ouer our heads. Hath God beene pleased to spare you so long, and not quite destroyed you, repent in time, become obedi­ent vnto the word of God calling vpon you. Repent I say, that God may be glorified in his mercy, our enemies may be sub­dued, our present calamities remoued, and further iudgements preuented: to conclude this point, seeing God hath dealt with vs in this Land, as he did with the Iewes, seeing he exhorteth vs vnto Repentance by a Proclamation of Iudgements as he did them, and we haue as much neede to repent as they had, I con­clude with that exhortation of Zephaniah, Gather your selues together, Zeph. 2.1. yea gather together a Nation not desired before the de­cree bring forth, before the day passe as the chaffe, before the fierce anger of the Lord come vpon you: otherwise the Lord may iust­ly in the day of his wrath make vs subiect vnto the crueltie and slauery of our enemies. Thus of the 1. Reason.

The second Reason whereby our Prophet exhorteth the Iewes vnto Repentance,The time, Now also. is taken from the time wherein he did exhort them, laid downe in these words, Now also, wherein di­uers things may be noted. 1. That as at this time, so also at o­ther times the Lord hath exhorted them vnto Repentance, as might be confirmed by the Prophesies of Ionah, Amos, Ho­sea, Isaias, Micah, Nahum, and Ieremiah, all which did pre­cede this our Prophet Ioel. Secondly, that as yet there re­mained hope for them of obtaining pardon, and preuen­ting those Iudgements threatned, if they would truely returne vnto the Lord. Thirdly, that God did not promise againe to call vpon them, or any longer to spare them, if they did [Page 54]not delay, and put off their Repentance, as formerly. The Reason may be framed thus; If God haue spared you so long, and not vtterly destroyed you notwithstanding of your de­serts, and doth now also inuite you to Repentance; not like to spare you any longer, if you doe not now amend, then you ought to returne vnto him: but so it is, that God hath yet spa­red now, doth now also inuite you to Repentance, and is not like any longer to beare with you; therefore you ought now to Repent, now to turne vnto the Lord. Hence this obseruati­on doth arise: Doct. that,

The bounteousnesse, patience, and long suffering of God ought to moue vs vnto a present and speedy Repentance. God hath beene bountifull vnto the Iewes, in exhorting them so of­ten, in sending so many Prophets vnto them; hee had long born with their frowardnesse and backwardnesse, he had wea­ried himselfe by waiting vpon them; yet againe he offereth vn­to them mercy, by the same, to prouoke them vnto a speedy and present Repentance.Rom. 2.4. This the Apostle Paul confirmeth; Despisest thou the riches of his goodnesse, and forbearance, and long suffering, not knowing that the goodnesse of God leadeth thee vnto Repentance. 2 Cor. 6.2. And againe, Behold, now is the acceptable time, Heb. 3.13.15. behold now is the day of saluation. And againe, Exhort one another daily, while it is called to daie, lest anie of you be hardned through the deceitfulnesse of sinne: to day if ye will heare his voice harden not your hearts.

Reason 1

The Reasons hereof are these. First, because for this end the Lord doth forbeare vs, spare vs, call vpon vs, euen that we may repent.Ezek. 18.23. God is not bound thus to deale with vs, but out of his exceeding great loue; he doth spare vs, not desiring the death of a sinner.

Reason 2

Secondly, because if we doe not Repent, and returne vnto the Lord, then we shall be left inexcusable, we shall be forced to confesse Gods iust iudgement in our confusion, following vp­on the contempt of his mercy offered vnto vs; yea after our hardnesse and impenitent hearts,Rom. 2.5. we treasure vp vnto our selues wrath against the daie of wrath, and reuelation of the righteous iudgement of God.

The Vses hereof are threefold.

For Reprehension vnto all such as abuse the goodnesse, Ʋse 1 pa­tience, and long-suffering of God, delaying and putting off their repentance from time to time. And doe not we thus? how often hath the Lord called vpon vs? how many hath he sent vnto vs? how many Sermons of Repentance haue we heard? and yet alas we doe not repent: we still presume of mercy, that God wil stil spare vs, will stil be gracious vnto vs: let vs not deceiue our selues, for certainly God wil not be mocked of vs still.

For Exhortation vnto euery one of vs.

1. To be thankfull vnto God, Vse 2 for his vnspeakable mercy to­wards vs, in sparing vs so long, in waiting vpon vs so long, in giuing vs so large a time of Repentance: he might haue con­founded and destroyed vs long ere this time, yet he doth now offer mercy, he doth now also inuite you to Repentance.

2. To embrace those gracious offers of mercy and saluation now presently offered vnto vs, not putting off from time to time, saying with Salomons sluggard, Yet a little while, Prov. 6.10. yet a lit­tle folding of the hands. Why wouldest thou buy Repentance at such a deare rate; the longer thou delayest, the more hardly canst thou repent, the more painfull shall thy Repentance be vnto thee?

For Consolation vnto such as are cast downe through the sense and consideration of their sinnes, Vse 3 and of their continuance in the same. There is a comfort for thee; Now also, the Lord doth inuite thee vnto Repentance; doe thou Repent, and thou shalt be saued, Gods Iudgements shall be withdrawne from thee, thou shalt not be destroyed; thy Repentances cannot be too late, if it be true. Neither doe I speake this to encourage any to goe on in sinne, and so by presuming vpon Gods mercies, to continue in sinne, for such are in a dangerous and lamenta­ble estate, but onely for the comfort of such as are in danger of desperation, through their long continuance in sinne; to them I propound the example of Manasses, Marie Magdalen, Za­cheus, Paul, the Thiefe at the right hand, that they should not despaire. To the others, I might instance thousands of examples, of such as by delaying did perish, that they should not presume. Thus of the 2. Reason.

The third Reason whereby he exhorteth them vnto Repen­tance,The Author. Thus saith the Lord. is taken from the Person of him that speaketh, or from the Author by whom, and in whose name our Prophet was di­rected thus to speake vnto them, layed downe in these words, Thus saith the Lord. The Reason may be framed thus. That which the Lord himselfe doth command you, enioyne vnto you, and require of you, that you ought to doe: but so it is, the Lord doth by me exhort you all vnto Repentance, to returne vnto him; therefore you ought to Repent and returne vnto him. Hence these three things may be obserued.

  • 1. That God by the preaching of his word doth reueale his will vnto vs.
  • 2. That before the Lord inflict his Iudgements, he doth giue warning and aduertisement thereof.
  • 3. That vnlesse it please God to worke Repentance in our hearts by his Word and Spirit, we can neuer truely Repent.

For the first, Doct. God doth by the Preaching of his Word re­ueale his will vnto vs, both for our performance of that which is good,Ier. 15.19. 1 Cor. 3.9. 2 Cor. 5.20. and abstinence from that which is euill. Hence they are called Gods mouth, Labourers with God, The Embassadours of God. By them he did for the most reueale his will in former ages, by them he doth reueale his will in these our dayes: as he sent his Prophets vnto the Iewes, with Thus saith the Lord, in their mouth, so he doth now send Preachers to reueale his will vnto you.

The Vses hereof are threefold.

For Instruction, Vse 1 if God by the Preaching of his Word doth reueale his will vnto vs: Hence we may learne.

1. Reuerently to esteeme of the Word preached, and of the Messengers thereof. Of the word preached, as the word of God, as the Wisedome of God, as Oracles of God, which is to be preferred before thousands of Gold and Siluer,Psal. 19.10. and is swee­ter then the hony and the hony combe. Of the Preachers, as disposers of the secrets of Christs kingdome;1 Pet. 4.11. such as despise them, despise God himselfe: as the Lord said vnto Samuel, They have not reiected thee, 1 Sam. 8.7. buty the haue reiected me, that I should not reigne ouer them. And our Sauiour Christ, Hee that [Page 57]heareth you, heareth me, and he that despiseth you, despiseth mee, and him that sent me. Luk. 10.16.

2 To know Gods will reuealed in his word. God doth not now reueale himselfe vnto vs, by Prophesie, Reuelation, Vrim and Thummim, and the like, as formerly vnto the Iewes he was wont, but by his word preached, which doth instruct vs in the same.

3. To obey the will of God, reuealed to vs in the preach­ing of his word; resoluing to heare what God shall speake vnto vs out of his word, and to performe such things as we heare.

For Reprehension, both vnto Preachers and People.

Vnto Preachers, Vse 2 which either are puft vp with their gifts of knowledge, learning, eloquence, not remembring that they haue them from the Lord,Eze. 13.7.10. and that they are his Messengers to declare his will: or which preach not Gods word but mans traditions, and their owne inuentions, confirming their Do­ctrine rather with humane testimonies, then the written word of God.

Vnto People, which either absent themselues from the hea­ring of Gods word preached, or if they come, giue not that re­uerence as is fit; yea, there are many amongst vs, which either could be content that there were no preaching, or that it were very seldome. There are also many, which preferre the Popes holinesse before the Scriptures, yea allow those things which are contrary vnto the same: as one speaking of Confirmati­on, saith,Guido. editus anno 1595. mamp. Curat. in Tract. 3. Itart. 2. Ier 20.8. Though it be not found in the Canonicall Epistles of Saint Peter, yet our Lord and Pope hath it in the decrees of the Church of Rome. Thus they preseire falshood before the truth, and humane traditions laboue the word. Besides, how ma­ny are there, which both mocke the prezchers, and preaching of Gods word, to whom Gods word is a reproach and de­rision?

For Exhortation both vnto Preachers and People.

Vnto Preachers to stirre vp their People vnto attention, Vse 3 by Thus saith the Lord: whereby they shall become more cheere­full,Luk. 4.20. whilst the eyes of the people are set vpon them; and peo­ple [Page 58]more attentiue, knowing that it is God which speaketh vn­to them.

2. To propound vnto their people the Oracles of God; If any man speake (saith Saint Peter) let him speake as the Oracles of God. 1 Pet. 4.11.

3. To deline [...] Gods will vnto their hearers both faithfully and diligently, according as they haue receiued from him.

Vnto People, diligently to attend vpon this ordinance of Preaching; loathe not this Manna, despise not this Seede reiect not this Milke, refuse not this Treasure, though in earthen Ves­sels, looke not vnto the meanenesse of the Preachers thereof, For God hath chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise: 1 Cor 1.27. whilst this blessing is continued make vse of it, and reuerence the Preachers thereof, for if we contemne it, there may come a famine thereof,Amos 8.12. that we shall seeke it, and not finde it.

For the second, Doct. Before the Lord doth inflict his iudgements he giueth warning and aduertisement thereof; Thus saith the Lord: which our owne particular experience may sufficiently confirme. Gods hand is now heauy vpon vs (as of late it hath beene) Iudgements are daily by the Preachers of Gods word denounced, and are like to fall vpon vs: haue we not sufficient warning? We had warning of our former visitation, we haue warning of another, yea the former (without Repentance) is but a forerunner of a greater.

The Vses of this Point are.

First, Vse 1 to obserue and admire Gods wonderfull loue both vn­to the Iewes and vnto vs: he gaue them warning and aduertise­ment, so also he giueth vs.

Secondly, Ʋse 2 to take with those warnings and aduertisements, that you may in time repent you of your sinnes: pretend not excuses, as if ye knew not, for you haue had many warnings already, and now at this time I giue you warning and aduer­tisement from God, that vnlesse you doe repent, and returne vnto the Lord, you shall be destroyed.

Thirdly, Vse 3 to reproue those which will not take any warning and aduertisement: they neither thinke of Gods iudgements [Page 59]themselues, neither yet are desirous, that others should aduer­tise them: much like vnto the Sodomites. whom Lot aduerti­sed of their imminent danger,Gen. 20.14. He seemed vnto them as one that mocked: and like the Iewes, who being warned by Ieremiah concerning the will of God, whereof at their owne desire he had enquired, said, Thou speakest falsely, Ier. 43.2. the Lord our God hath not sent thee, to say, Goe not into Egypt to soiourne there.

For the third, Doct. Vnlesse it please God to worke Repentance in our hearts by his Word and Spirit, we can neuer truely repent. We may weepe out our eyes, we may mourne, we may fast, and yet vnlesse God truely touch our hearts, all is in vaine. The Re­pentance which the Lord worketh, is a Repentance vnto life.Acts 11.18. This point is needfull to be vrged in these dayes, wherein men are so carelesse in liuing, and wretched in sinning, as if Repen­tance were in their pocket, whereas there is no true Repen­tance vnlesse God enter into the minde, then follow the sobs of a contrite heart. As the sap and iuyce runneth fast from a greene piece of wood, whilst it burneth, till it be consumed; so when the Lord commeth into the heart, there is weeping till the power of sinne be consumed. Repentance is not the wring­ing out of a teare, or the breathing out of a sigh,Note. or the lifting vp of the eyes, or a bare saying, I haue sinned: but it must be with weeping, sighing, praying, confession, and true amend­ment of life, the speciall gift of God.

The Reasons of this obseruation are two. First, Reas. 2 because Remission of sinnes doth accompany Repentance; as it is written, God hath ordained a Saniour, for to giue Repentance vnto Israel, Act. 5.31. add forgiuenesse of sinnes: wherefore it followeth, that as a man cannot pardon his owne sinnes, so he cannot Repent when he list: sinne may quickly be committed, but hardly rubd off a­gaine. Some may say, we haue sinned grieuously, Quest. but we know not how nor when we haue repented? I answer, Answ. That thy sins haue beene so long pardoned, as thou hast truely repented for them, and that thou hast as many seales of thy pardon, as thou hast shed teares, sighs, sobs, and art warned inwardly for thy sinnes and transgressions.

Secondly, Reas. 2 As it is the word of God which hardneth the [Page 60]heart, so it is the word of God which softneth the same. Hence it may be demanded, Quest. How doth it stand with Gods Iustice to punish men for not repenting, if he deny them Repentance? and how can men be condemned for an hard heart, seeing God hardneth the same? Answ. I anwer, An hard he art and a bad life doe not simply condemne a man, but continuall delight in euill without once praying to be deliuered: God men haue had bad hard hearts, but haue lamented, so haue euill men, but reioyce in it: though God harden the heart, he doth not bestow an euill heart; the heart is hardned, that we may acknowledge, that a soft heart commeth from God. Wouldst thou know then if God hath wrought vpon thine heart? marke how thou louest sinne, how thou art pleased with the hardnesse of thine heart, dost thou loue them? thine heart is damnable, dost thou loath them? thine estate is comfortable.

The Vses of this point are twofold.

For Exhortation: Vse 1 Seeing the Lord worketh Repentance, then let vs pray diligently vnto the Lord for the same; let vs all say,Lam. 5.21. Turne vs vnto thee O Lord. Dost thou finde heauinesse in thy heart, dulnesse in thy soule, in performing of good, and readinesse vnto euill, then pray vnto the Lord for thy conuer­sion, for thine estate of life is worse then death? Dost thou liue without Repentance? there is but a little space betwixt thee and death, betwixt thee and hell; yet notwithstanding I dare say, that of all suits preferred before God, this espe­cially was neuer denyed. Dost thou liue a prophane life, and yet hearing some Sermons of death and Iudgement, defirest to doe better? stay not here, but conferre with thine owne conscience, and pray vnto the Lord, that thou maiest doe his will, and that hee would be pleased to strengthen thee that thou maiest performe that which he com­mandeth: Pray both in publike and priuate, pray continual­ly, then I assure thee, drunkennesse shall not drowne thee, co­uetousnesse shall not ouer-rule thee, pride shall not deface thee, whoredome shall not vndoe thee, stealing shall not shame thee, the world shall not deceiue thee, nor thy selfe condemne thee.

For Instruction: If Repentance be the speciall gift of God, Vse 2 and we are to craue Repentance from him, then we are to take notice of our sinnes, for which we ought to repent, and vnlesse first we know them, we cannot truely repent them. To this end, we must come with a generall confession before God, and also particularly lay open our sinnes in his sight: we must daily vse those meanes by which we may attaine vnto a knowledge of them: Gods word, the Law of God, our owne consciences, our brethren, the Church, euen our enemies; that we may know our sinnes, we must count them, as an Vsurer doth his mony, behold them as an husbandman doth his ground; condemne them, as a Iudge doth a thiefe; pray a­gainst them, as a Mariner doth to remoue a storme; fight a­gainst them, as a Souldier doth against his enemie; accuse them as a Lawyer doth one which is guiltie: if we once get a know­ledge of them, then their number will appeare infinite, their reward damnation, their power execrable, their presence intol­lerable, then a drop of mercy is worth all the world, then we shall pray against them; if we pray against them, we shall ob­taine Repentance, yea we shall mourne that we cannot repent as we would, and if we doe repent then our sinnes shall be par­doned, and in stead of sorrow, the Lord will bestow vpon vs vnspeakable ioyes. Thus of the 3. Reason.

And so much for the Reasons whereby our Prophet exhor­teth the Iewes vnto Repentance, laid downe in these words, Therefore now also, thus saith the Lord.

I come now to speake of the Dutie whereunto he doth ex­hort them, and that is vnto true and vnfained Repentance: for the vnderstanding of which, two things are to be obserued in Generall.

  • First, That God doth not respect our miseries, vnlesse we doe repent.
  • Secondly, that without the preaching of Gods word, iudge­ments cannot amend vs.

Concerning the first: God doth not respect our crosses and calamities, except true Repentance be ioyned therewith. Doct. Isa. 58. This the Prophet Isaiah confirmeth, testifying that the Lord did not [Page 62]regard the outward fasting of the Iewes, because they did not truely repent. We may haue sicknesse, indure pouerty, yea we may dye, and yet neuer the neerer God, except we haue repen­tance the ornament of a Christian. Quest. It may be demanded, seeing the Lord doth punish vs, and our sufferings are the punish­ments of sinne, Why the Lord is not pleased and pacified with vs; for it may seeme extreame dealing both to punish vs in this life, Answ. and in the life to come? I answer, That though we suffer for our sinnes, yet our suffering is not satisfaction for sinne; for the reward of sinne is death euerlasting, and also all the miseries of this life, and therefore we must not excuse our selues for any crosse or calamitie; for we may haue all those troubles, and yet (vnlesse we repent) we shall neuer see the kingdome of heauen, nor the glory thereof.

The Reasons hereof are these two. Reason 1 First, Because all the suf­ferings of this life are but the beginnings of sorrowes, they are not the tenth part of that vengeance which the Lord wil poure vpon vs for our sinnes, vnlesse we repent; to haue sicknesse, to want appetite to meate, to be grieued with the Ague, Fe­uer, Palsie, they are nothing but the beginnings of sorrow, and if it were possible that one man, or one woman could endure all these torments, yet he might goe to hell fire, wanting true conuersion in the time of his trouble.

Secondly, Reason 2 because the troubles of this life are common both to the wicked and the godly: this the Prophet Ezechiel wit­nesseth, Thou shalt be broken in the midst of the vncircumcised, Ezek. 32.38. and shalt lye with them which are slaine with the sword: though God correcteth euery one whom he loueth, yet he loueth not euery one whom he correcteth.Note. Christ was crucified, the Apo­stles martyred, yet beloued of God; Herod was eaten of wormes, and yet out of the fauour of God, his misery in this life, doth not better his estate in hell: Iosiah a good King, and Ahab a wicked King, died both in warres, yet the estate of the one was not the better because he died as a good man did, neither the estate of the other worse, because he died as an euill man died. In one and the same fire Gold glistereth and drosse smoaketh; so by Tribulation good men become purged, [Page 63]whereas euill men become worse.

The Vses of this Doctrine are these two.

First, seeing our affliction cannot moue God to pittie vs, Ʋse 1 vnlesse we repent, therefore let vs learne to obey the exhorta­tion of the Prophet in Scripture, Turne vnto the Lord your God. Thy bloud cannot pacifie the wrath of God, whereas teares of Repentance can: bodily plagues doe not moue God to pitie vs, when as spirituall sorrowes doe. To apply this in particu­lar vnto our selues; Haue not we had great iudgements lying vpon vs? how many Souldiers haue we lost, crying and dying in their owne bloud? how many haue perished by famine? haue not many houses beene swept cleane by the Pestilence, not onely in London, but euen in remote places, and doe they not yet continue: Doth not the Lord see them? he doth: doth he see them, why then doth he not pittie our desolation? doth he pittie it, why then doth he not stay it; for no question but the cryes of the afflicted doe pearce the heauen? and yet they doe continue. O England, it is no wonder; so long as thou continuest rebellious in so great a light, thou maist looke for the encrease and continuance of Gods iudgements vpon thee; for the Lord will neuer remoue his iudgements, vntill we for­sake our sinnes: because we doe not turne vnto the Lord, therefore our health is turned into sicknesse, our life into death, our peace into warre, our mirth into mourning, our plenty into want: let vs turne before all be ouer-turned, let vs fill our chambers with mourning, lest the whole Land be filled with lamentation.

Secondly, Vse 2 seeing God regardeth not our miseries vnlesse we doe repent, then it followeth that our sufferings are not wor­thy of the life to come; for our ioyes shall be greater there, then our sorrowes can be here. There shall be no sicknesse, mi­sery is ended, and death destroied; so that we ought to suffer patiently, here to liue so, we ought to labour to dye so, and dye in despight of death to raigne so.

Concerning the second: Without the preaching of Gods word iudgements cannot amend vs. At this time the Iewes were wonderfully afflicted, fearefull iudgements were denoun­ced [Page 64]against them, yet this doth not the turne, God by his Pro­phet doth exhort them to Repentance. Though the Lord should shake the earth terribly, thunder omnipotently, darken the light searefully, multiply punishments abundantly, yet this alone cannot conuert the soule. The Lord at another time com­plaineth, that He had giuen them cleannesse of teeth in all their Cities: Amos 4.6.7.9.10 11. that he had with-holden the raine from them: that he had smitten them with blasting and mildew: that the Palmerworme had deuoured their Ʋines and Oliues: that he had sent amongst them the Pestilence; that their young men were slaine with the sword, &c. yet they did not returne vnto the Lord. So that I say, no outward crosse worketh repentance: this our owne expe­rience witnesseth: Is not this Land greatly afflicted, doe not Gods iudgements hang ouer our heads (if we had eyes to be­hold them, and hearts to consider them) and yet who are con­uerted? who doe truely returne vnto the Lord?

The Reasons hereof are these two. Reas. 1 First, because the Lord for the most part,Deut. 32.41.42. doth send his Iudgements to reuenge, that euen his arrowes may be drunke with bloud; the speciall end of Gods iudgements is to take vengeance on a sinfull Land. But it may be obiected, Obiect. Doe none repent in the time of ad­uersity, being vnder the crosse? yea, there are a great many, because the Lord ioyneth the Word and the rod together, Answ. his word by which he doth instruct them, his rod by which he doth correct them.

Secondly, Reas. 2 because the Word is of greater force then any iudgements are in the conuersion of a sinner; a worke (I assure you) both great and admirable; The word of the Lord is like vnto fire, Ier. 23.29. like vnto an hammer, mightie in operation, sharper then any two edged sword. Heb. 4.12. Euery word in the holy Scriptures is as a thunder-bolt; this pulleth vp sinne by the roots.

The Vses hereof are these two.

First, to teach vs. that we should haue the word of God in great estimation: Ʋse 1 We feare to be drowned by water, persecu­ted by land, and euery member of our bodies to become sub­iect vnto many sorrowes; and yet those especially hurt when we see and feele them, but the word of God worketh when [Page 65]when we neither see nor feele it. The crosse afflicteth vs, but the word instructeth vs; afflictions punish, and bring vs the heauy newes of condemnation, but the word bringeth glad tydings of life euerlasting; by iudgements we are blinded, by the Gospell we are enlightned; by Iudgements we are indan­gered, by the Gospell we are defended; Iudgements threa­ten the life, Gods word doth threaten our soule with euerla­sting death, vnlesse we repent: make much of the word in thy health, for I assure thee,Ephe. 4.18. sicknesse cannot so prepare thee for the Lord, the word will then be sweet to heare, when all o­thers faile; miracles would make vs wonder, and world­ly pleasures make vs proud, but Gods word maketh vs to Repent, and to liue the life of God in Christ Iesus our Lord.

It may be obiected: this seemeth a strange doctrine; Obiect. Doe not sorrowes and afflictions conuert vs vnto the Lord? Why then are they sent? why should we account of them as we doe, seeing such as are afflicted reape so small comfort by them? I answer, that this conclusion is damnable: Answ. Shall not the Schol­ler care for the rod, because it cannot teach him; and should we set light by the Lords Iudgements, because they cannot conuert vs? No, they must keepe vs in obedience, although they cannot beget obedience within vs; they informe vs, though they cannot turne vs: as Dauid was afraid of iudgement, so must we; let vs tremble as the earth doth, let vs weepe and mourne, we know not how soene the wrath of God may sēaze vpon vs, with what calamity we may be troubled, by what death we may be taken away. Let vs, I say, feare the word and workes of God, and then we shall not neede to feele them.

Secondly, to teach vs, that when we are visited by Iudge­ments, Vse 2 euen to pray vnto the Lord, that he would by them worke our conuersion, seeing that of themselues they cannot beget Repentance within vs. Thus in generall.

I come now to speake of the Duetie in particular, both in­ternall in the affections, in these words; Turne yee euen to mee with all your heart: and externall in the action; with fasting, [Page 66]and with weeping, and with mourning. Of these two in order.

Concerning the first. The inwsrd forme of Repentance is described in these words, Turne yee euen to mee with all your heart: wherein these points are to be handled. 1. The action, Turne. 2. The persons exhorted to turne, yee, euery one of them. 3. To whom they must turne, to mee, the Lord. 4. How they must turne, euen with all their heart, speedily, readily, and willingly.

For the first.1. Point. Turne. The Duetie whereunto our Prophet exhor­teth them, is to turne, or to come vnto themselues againe: whereby two things are intimated. First, that such as sinne a­gainst God, in so doing depart from him. Secondly, that such as doe truely repent them of their sinnes, they doe turne from their wickednesse and euill wayes; So that true Repentance is a turning from sinne and wickednesse; yea onely such as truely repent are in their right mindes, all others are out of their wits, mad and franticke.

For the vnderstanding of this Point, these foure things are to be considered. First, the nature of it. Secondly, the reasons to moue vs vnto it. Thirdly, the meanes whereby to attaine it. Fourthly, the signes whereby it may be discerned.

The nature of it may be the better conceiued,The nature of our turning. by compa­ring it to the conuersion of earthly bodies in the Scriptures: as the Sunne is turned into darknesse, so men shining in this world must be ashamed and confounded because of their sinnes: as the Moone sometimes encreaseth, at other times decreaseth, alwayes changing; so must a sinner be alwayes decreasing in sinne, increasing in grace; as a rocke is turned into water, so must our hard hearts into plenty of teares; as a stone is turned into copper, and giueth a sound, so when we are touched by the spirit of God, then must the voyce of our confession sound: as the Sea is dried vp, so must our bitternesse of sinne be turned into the drouth of repentance: as the sparkles of fire ascend, when the body being mixed with earth cannot, so although our bodies as yet cannot ascend, yet we send our sparkles and teares vnto the Lord: as fire doth mollifie the hardest Iron, so must our hard hearts by Gods spirit. This fire is kept vnder the [Page 67]ashes of humility, and the remembrance of the day of death, whose feare doth conserue the fire of Gods grace in the heart of a penitent sinner. Briefly, this conuersion is a turning from sinne, yea from euery sinne;Heb 12.1. Let vs lay aside enery weight and sinne (saith the Apostle) which doth so easily beset vs. Let eue [...]y one turne from his euill way, Ionah 3.8. and from the wickednesse that is in their hands. It is a ready and speedy turning, for by delay we endanger our owne saluation.

The Reasons which may moue vs to turne are these. 1.The Reasons why we should turne. The Necessity. 2 The Equity. 3. The Vtility.

The Necessity, if either we consider God, our selues, 1 our euill wayes, or the reward due vnto them. God, who is dis­pleased with vs whilst we goe from him; which doth earnest­ly exhort vs, and absolutely command vs to returne vnto him: our selues, poore, silly, wretched creatures, which may easily be deceiued & led headlong vnto destruction: our euill waies, euill in themselues, abhominable in Gods sight, hatefull vnto good men, leading vnto euerlasting condemnation: the re­ward due vnto them, death and euerlasting torments in the fire of hell.

The Equity: 2 whether it is more equall that we should o­bey God, or the diuell; the motions of Gods spirit, or our owne corrupted natures: hath God beene so kinde and graci­ous vnto vs, it is most iust and equall, that we also should be­come obedient vnto him.

The Vtility: 3 as those which runne on in wickednesse are in the way of destruction, and in danger of destruction; so also such as doe returne, and forsake their former wayes, shall cer­tainly be saued.

The meanes whereby we may attaine vnto this conuersion, and it may be effected in vs, are these:

First,The meanes whereby we may be moued to turne. we must haue the knowledge of the Law of God in our vnderstanding. Secondly, we must know what our sinnes and transgressions are, which we doe commit against the Law. Thirdly, we must know the guilt of sinne, cleauing vnto the action it selfe. Fourthly, we must know the iudgements and wrath of God, which doe sease vpon such as breake this Law. [Page 68]Those points being throughly marked; in the next place the sinner is to apply the same vnto the conscience after this man­ner, which may be called the practicall Syllogisme of the con­science.

Euery one which breaketh the Law of God, is guiltie of e­ternall death, saith the minde.
But I am a breaker of the Law of God, saith the Consci­ence, as an accuser.
Therefore I am guiltie of eternall death, saith the Consci­ence, as an vpright and iust Iudge condemning.

The meditation hereof turneth the minde from sinne to godlinesse.

The signes by which our conuersion may be discerned are these:The signes by which our conuersion may be discer­ned. though thy flesh be not altogether subdued, though thou doest not alwayes mourne, and shed teares for thy sinnes committed, though thou canst not wholly forsake sinne, yet if thou doest earnestly desire vnfained Repentance, if thou doest by all meanes abandon and forsake sinne, if thou doest endeauour to serue God, thine endeauour is accepted of God. Doest thou finde the power of sinne weakned within thee? doe thy relapses in sinne beget in thee feare and humiliation? doest thou continue in prayer, that the spirit be not ouercome? assure thy selfe, that sense and feeling within thee, is an euident token that thou art not subdued by sinne, but in the end shall become victorious ouer the same; for our Repentance is not onely to put out sinne, but to assure vs of the life of grace, and that Gods power is made perfect in our weaknesse, so that we may euen be comforted in our fallings, and moued to labour for perfection, that we may liue the life of grace, whereby we dye daily, and may ouercome Sathan, and haue peace both with God and man, for being Iustified by Faith, Rom. 5.1. wee haue peace with God through our Lord Iesus Christ.

The Vses of this point are these.

For Reprehension vnto all such as bragge and boast of their Repentance, Vse 1 and yet haue no change or alteration wrought within them, they haue not yet returned from their euill way, nay [Page 69]rather goe further on in wickednesse, and with more eagernesse then formerly.

For Exhortation vnto euery one of vs to turne, to be conuer­ted: Vse 2 many meanes are vsed for thy conuersion, many motiues may incite thee to endeauour for it, great benefits shall besall vnto such as haue it: O then turne, testifie thy conuersion by thy Repentance, thy Repentance by thy returning. Thus of the 1. Point.

For the 2. The Persons which are exhorted to turne,2. Point. Yee. are all and euery one of vs, Turne yee. This dutie is required both of rich and poore, of Pastors and people, of superiors & inferiors, of euery one of vs, all of vs must turne, and no wonder; because all are out of the way, there is none righteous,Rom. 3.10. we were all con­ceiued and borne in sin, and therefore haue neede to returne.

This serueth for Exhortation vnto euery one of vs, Ʋse. to consi­der our miserable estate by nature, that so we may returne: if our eyes were opened, we might plainly see how farre we are out of the way, whereas now we thinke our selues in the same: Doe not exempt thy selfe from the performance of this dutie, either by thy greatnesse, riches, knowledge, sanctity, &c. for assuredly as euery one of vs are exhorted here to turn, so euery one of vs haue need to performe the same. Thus of the 2. Point.

For the 3. To whom we must turne,3. Point. To me. and that is vnto the Lord; Turne euen vnto me, saith the Lord: as if he would say, You haueby your sins, gone from me, returne now againe by Repentance vnto me. I am that Summum bonum, which yee should seeke: I am the fountaine and author of all goodnesse: from me you haue life and being, and euery thing which is good: It is I which haue chastened you, which haue wounded you for your going from me; it is I which will heale you again, if ye return vnto me. This is confirmed by the Prophet Ieremie, Lam. 3.40. Let vs search end try our wayes, and turne againe vnto the Lord.

The Vses of this point are twofold.

For Reprehension, vnto such as turne not vnto God, Vse 1 but ei­ther vnto the creatures, Saints and A [...]gels; or vnto the inuen­tions of men, stocks and stones; or vnto their owne merits.

For Exhortation, to turne vnto the Lord: Ʋse 2 wee haue gone [Page 70]astray from him, let vs now turne vnto him; we haue by our backsliding displeased him, let vs endeauour by our returning to please him let vs imitate the Prodigall,Luk. 15.20. who hauing gone from his father, returned vnto him. Thus of the 3. Point.

For the fourth.4. Point. With all your heart. How we must turne; euen with all our heart: the word (euen) in the originall signifieth not onely vntill, but also greatly, and very swiftly, as it may be taken, 2 King. 9.20. The word (heart) in the originall signifieth also the minde and the vnderstanding; whence the meaning appeareth to be this: that,

God doth require of vs, Doct. readily, swiftly, with all our heart, minde and vnderstanding to returne vnto him. They shall re­turne vnto me with their whole heart: Ier. 24.7. the want of this the Lord bewailed in his owne people; This people draw neere mee with their mouth, and with the lips doe honour me, but haue remoued their heart farre from me. Isa. 29.13.

The Reasons hereof are these. Reas. 1 1. Because Faith cannot be obtained without the conuersion of the heart, and without faith it is impossible to please God: Heb. 11.6. such as doe not liue well, cannot beleeue well. Reas. 2 2. Because there can be no true Repentance, vn­lesse the whole heart be changed; so soone as we are regene­rate our hearts becommeth one. Hence it is, that of all sinners, fewest hypocrites are saued, and of all persons they are most hatefull, yea and hell it selfe is named the Lake burning with fire and brimstone, prepared for them, because they haue a dou­ble heart, Reason 3 or, as we say, an hollow heart. 3. Because, as the heart is the first beginning of moystnesse, so the heart of the Saints must be full of deuotion, and not like the heart of the wicked, which is full of rottennesse: as the heart is first framed in na­ture, so it must be first resormed by grace: as the heart is hol­low within for the conseruation of heate, so must our vn­derstanding conserue spirituall graces: as from the heart the other members receiue their life, which failing, they also faile, so from the inward holinesse of the heart, we goe on in an holy life and conuersation. Reason 4 4. Because the Lord will accept no sernice which is not done with the heart;Prou. 23.25. hee craueth the heart, hee principally delighteth in the heart; [Page 71]he requireth euery part of his seruice to be performed with our whole heart. We must seeke him, serue him, obey him,Deut. 4.29. loue him, know him, feare him, &c. and here returne vnto him with our whole heart. Reas. 5 5. Because the heart is subiect to many out­ward diseases being distempered, so also inwardly it is most subiect vnto sinne, yea the Diuell doth more labour to defile it, and to cast it asleepe by tempting vs to neglect the means of knomledge, to run on in our vngodly courses, to become carelesse in time of prosperitie, to presume vpon Gods mer­cies: hence it is that Salomon saith,Pro. 4.23. aboue all things keepe thine heart: for as a full vessell cannot receiue any other liquor, so no more can the heart be fit to receiue grace, till sin be out:Vinum semper est in motu do­nec separetur purum ab im­puro. as wine is euer in motion till that which is pure be separated from that which is impure, so those whose hearts are turned, are still in feare, till they be separated from the contagion of sinne.

For the illustration of this point, these things are to be con­sidered. 1. By what meanes the heart may be turned. 2 How the heart may be tryed. 3. How the heart may be established in Gods seruice. 4. How the heart may entertaine the motions of Gods Spirit. 5. How we may discerne the security and drou­sines of our hearts. 6. How our hearts may be roused vp from their security. 7. How we may know the greatest and chiefest sinne of our heart. Of these briefly.

For the 1.The meanes whereby the heart is turned The meanes whereby our hearts may be turned are these. 1. The consideration of our miserable estate by na­ture. 2. The meditation of our present estate by grace. 3. An acknowledgement and confession of our great corruptions. 4. A reformation of the causes of our backwardnes. 5. An ex­amination of our selfe by the glasse of the law and of consci­ence, alwayes iudging our selfe and renewing our spirit by re­pentance. 6. Contrition, a breaking of our hard hearts with the hammer of Gods word.

For the second, the heart must be examined and tryed.How the heart may be tryed. 1. Not by it selfe, but by the law of God. 2. Not by the world, or by opinion, but by the spirit. 3. Not by the law of men, but by the rule of faith. 4. Not by the outward condition, but by our [Page 72]inward experience. 5. Not by the examples of the most, but of the best. 6. After a true and holy manner, and that daily in particular, concerning both good and euill, and the strength of both. 7. We must haue a right end in our resolution, not vaine-glory, nor selfe-loue; neither for loue of the world, for feare of death, but to be prepared for it, not to preferre our selfe before others, or to bee angry at the good of others, but that we may still hunger and thirst more and more after grace.

For the third,How the heart may be establi­shed in Gods seruice. our heart may be setled and established in the seruice of God. 1. By resigning it into the hands of God, which we performe by yeelding the heart to be daily tryed of God. 2. Doing all things as in the presence of God, comfor­ting our selfe in Christ, relying vpon his promises by faith a­boue all sense and feeling whatsoeuer. 3. By paying our vowes vnto the Lord, fearing our selfe in our best actions, and Satans readines to set vpon vs, approouing our selfe by striuing a­gainst corruption, liuing in spirituall duties, louing one ano­ther, waiting for our end. 4. We must watch ouer the out­ward man. 5. Wee must moderate our liberty in respect of time, place, and person; our guide must bee in this, loue and wisedome.

For the fourth, wee may entertaine the motions of Gods Spirit in our hearts.How we may entertaine the motions of Gods Spirit. 1. By discerning and esteeming of them. 2. By reioycing in them as in our chiefest treasure. 3. By putting them in practise, and praising God for the same.

For the fifth, we may discerne of the security and drousines of our hearts by these rules.How we may find out the drousines of our hearts. 1. If there be within vs a loathing of holy duties. 2. If our consciences are continually turmoiled with great tetrors. 3. If we finde but little or no comfort when we haue performed holy duties. 4. If wee finde much con­tentment in our willingnesse to sinne, and vnwillingnesse to die, then our hearts are cast into a drousines and security.

For the sixt,How our hearts may bee roused vp. our hearts may bee awakened and roused vp from this security. 1. By the powerfull ministery of the word. 2. By strong cryes vnto God. 3. By crauing the prayers of the faithfull. 4. By a resolution to become more carefull. 5. By [Page 73]endeauouring more constantly for the conuersion of others. 6. By exercising a daily course of Repentance in respect of daily sinne. 7. By priuate and publike humiliation and fasting be­fore God.

For the seuenth, we are to take notice of the chiefest sinnes of our heart, whereby we may chiefly conquer them,How we may find out the chiefest sins of our heart. which being vanquished, in time we shall ouercome the rest, for from the purity or impurity of the fountaine, the streames flow ac­cordingly: this we may doe. 1. By diligent hearing of Gods word, which will meet euen with our most secret corruptions. 2. By a diligent and carefull obseruation of our thoughts, words, and actions, by which the vsurer shall finde that coue­tousnesse, the adulterer, that vncleannes, &c. are their dearest darlings, the chiefest sinnes of their heart, out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 3. By a generall and vniuer­sall reformation and mortification of our lusts, in the perfor­mance wherof, we shall meet with the greatest resistance from those our chiefest sinnes. 4. By an examination of our selfe, if we might retaine some sinnes which we would chiefly retaine, those are our chiefe sinnes.

The vses of the former doctrine are threefold.

Vse 1

For instruction: there can bee no true Repentance, vnlesse the whole heart be changed: it is not onely outward in words or in practise, but inward in the affection of the mind, and therefore our Sauiour saith, First cleanse that which is within. Our memory must be changed by remembring God: our vn­derstanding by knowing God: our will by beleeuing God: our affections by louing, desiring, meditating, and reioycing in things heauenly. All must concurre together, else it is not with the whole heart. Some haue knowledge, but want true faith, some haue will, but want memory, all which must bee a­mended, we must conferre often to get memory, reade much to get knowledge, heare much to obtaine faith pray alwayes, whereby we shall get good effections. Seeing God doth re­quire the whole heart, and our imperfections are exceeding great, we must euen pray with S. Augustine, Da, quod iubes, & iube quod [...]is. Aug. Lord giue vs pow­er to do what thou commandest, and command what thou willest.

For reprehension vnto such as either delay to returne vnto the Lord, Vse 2 or turning vnto him, but not with their whole heart. Some turne but in hypocrisie, their outward actions and inward affections goe not together. This is abomination in the sight of God, God will either haue the whole heart, or none of it. Seeing, I say that the Lord doth require of vs to returne vnto him wholly and totally, this excludeth 1. Euery hypocriticall conuersion when there wanteth sincerity. 2. Eue­ry conuersion from good vnto euil, as from being a Protestant to become a Papist, or from euill to euill, as of a Prodigall to become a couetous miser. 3. Euery false conuersion, as when sinne turneth from vs, not we from it, when we doe not turne from sinne, till the strength of nature be decayed, when for some by-respects we forsake sinne, as the drunkard le, ueth his drunkennes, in respect of want of meanes, or the weaknes of his stomacke. 4. Euery halfe turning or imperfect conuersion, when we turne from many sinnes, not from all, as Herod, who although he did many things well, yet would not forsake He­rodias his brother Philips wife.Mar. 6.20. Hos. 6.4. This is as a morning cloude, as the dew of the morning.

For exhortation vnto vs all to draw nigh vnto God with a pure heart, Vse 3 for thus wee are most fitting for him. In old times there must bee no blemish either in the Priest or in the sacri­fice, our hearts now are both, and therefore we ought to draw nigh with a pure heart, in full assurance of faith, hauing our hearts sprinkled from an euill conscience, and our bodies wa­shed with pure water.Heb. 10.22. As the sacrifice of Cain was reiected, so are the prayers of the wicked, as hauing their hearts corrupted. The heart rules the life, purge the heart of ignorance, pride, and dissimulation, and all things which may disquiet the con­science when thou commest before the Lord, and the oftner thou doest come, the more thou shalt be changed. Pray that the Lord may cast thee in a new mould, or thou shalt be for thy negligence cast into hell fire. Let vs watch ouer our hearts, ouer that part which is vnsound: for there is no man but hath some wound in the soule. We must doe with sinne, as the A­postle counselleth to doe with anger,Eph. 4.25. Let not the sunne goe [Page 75]downe thereon. Doest thou delay to returne, thou abusest the mercy of God? if thou loue any thing aboue God, thou deny­est him: the more thou delayest truely to repent, the further art thou separated from God, and the nigher and faster thou hastest vnto thine owne destruction. Thus of the fourth point, And so much for the inward forme of Repentance layd downe in these words, Turne ye euen vnto mee with all your heart.

Now I come to speake of the outward forme of repen­tance which concerneth action, consisting of three parts. 1. Fa­sting. 2. Weeping. 3. Mourning. The former was to bee in­ternall in the affection, this externall, and in action, whence this generall obseruation doth arise: that.

Both outward and inward repentance must bee ioyned to­gether. Doct.

Thus Peter to expresse his repentance wept bitterly: where the body is wounded, there issueth out blood,Mat. 26.75. so where there is true repentance in the heart, it doth outwardly expresse it selfe, in fasting, weeping, and mourning.

The reasons here of are these two. 1. Reas. 1 because (although out­ward repentance may be where there wanteth the inward, yet) the inward cannot be without the outward, yea, where the outward is, we ought charitably to iudge of the inward 2. Reas. 2 Be­cause when inward and outward repentance concurre toge­ther, God doth giue pardon, and is pacified.

The vses hereof are twofold.

For instruction: Repentance must be in the heart; Ʋse 1 and not in the heart only, but also in the workes; and not in the works onely, but also in the affection, & not in the affection onely, but also in the conuersation, a small reformation, is not a full re­pentance. If good lawes bee not ioyned with godly minds, and reformed wayes with weeping hearts; neither the one, nor the other, shall giue vs comfort. Therefore we must conioyne both together.

For exhortation. As we are not afraid or ashamed to sinne, Vse 2 so let vs not be ashamed to shew forth the tokens of our humi­liation. Many like theeues are not ashamed to steale, but are a­shamed [Page 76]to confesse. Let vs rather glory in repenting for our sinnes, then in acting of them: wee haue many sinnes, let vs shed many teares, wee haue great sinnes, let vs shed foorth great sorrow for sinne: We haue watched in sinne, let us watch in prayer, we haue loued sinne, now let vs loue to sorrow for sinne, looke on thy soule weeping, as thou wast wont to be­hold thy sins reioycing. Hast thou beene a drunkard, be sober; if a theefe, feare God: if a blasphemer, vse Gods name reue­rently, and as Paul of thest,Eph. 4.28. so I say of all sinne, Let him that hath sinned, sinne no more. Thus let vs by our outward humili­ation and repentance giue a testimony, both vnto our selfe and others, of our inward, that as outwardly, so also we are hum­bled inwardly. Thus in generall.

The parts required in our outward humiliation are three. 1. Fasting. 2. Weeping. 3. Mourning. Of these in order.

And with fasting. This word according to the custome of the Hebrewes,2 Cor. 7.10. doth signifie the humiliation of the whole bo­dy. 1.Maymon in his Treat. of the rest sixt day cap. [...]. ser. 4.5. Inward by sorrow for sinne, which worketh repen­tance, whose effects are these, carefulnesse, indignation, feare, vehement desire, zeale, reuenge, iudging our selfe with dete­station of our sinne. 2. Outward, by abstinence from all filthy pleasures, which according to the Hebrew canons were meat and drinke, washing and anointing themselues, putting on shooes and all fine apparell, abstinence from their wiues; which the Scriptures confirme.Psal. 35.13. Dan. 3.12. Exod. 33.4. 2. Sam. 15.30. & 12.20. Dauid afflicted his soule with fa­sting: Daniel did not wash and anoint himselfe, the Israelites put off their ornaments, Dauid went barefooted, weared sackecloth, did not wash and anoint himselfe in the time of his humiliation, V­riah abstained from lying with his wife. They were to begin their fast the ninth day of the moneth at euen, (from which onely the sicke and such as were vnder nine yeeres of age were exempted) that walking thereby in newnesse of life, the body of sinne might bee destroyed: which ought also to be the end of our fasting when we doe performe the same.

Before I come vnto the particular discourse of fasting we are to take notice of the profit and vtilitie arising therefrom,The vtility of fasting pro [...]d by ex [...]mples in nature. which may be manifested vnto vs in the creatures by diuerse and sun­dry [Page 77]examples, all which being simple bodies, consist of two na­tures, the one celestiall, the other elementary.

1. The fruit of fasting may be learned from the quality of the Moone, which although it bee of a celestiall nature, yet is the more darkened by reason of her grosse and corpulent nature, whereby some blacke spots doe appeare, yea the more nigh the earth she is, she is, as I may say, rather of a terrestriall then a celestiall nature, for the which she doth not so fully partake of the light of the Sunne as the rest of the Starres. So although the nature of man be light in respect of his vnderstanding, yet the more he feedeth, and the more full he is, he is the lesse disposed to the light of wisedome. Therefore Dauid saith,Si quis astimat se abundantia cib [...]rum p [...]rio­num que persrui & posse [...]acar [...] sapientia, [...] in delicijs ver­sare, H [...]r. They that are darkned are full. This is the darknesse of the Moone, when we are filled with the things of this life; if any thinke that by the abundance of meats and drinkes he may enioy and giue his minde vnto wisdome, he doth occupy himselfe in pleasant phantasies.

2. From the element of the earth, which is dry and hard, therefore God sendeth raine to make it fruitfull; so are we by abstinence, but when the water of life is powred into our soule, we are made fruitfull in good workes, our hearts become well disposed: when we wither by abstinence, and are moystned by heauenly grace, we become fruitfull by good workes.

3. From the element of water, wherein the Crocodile is pro [...]blinded, which on the dry land seeth clearely; so by the abundance of nourishment, the eyes of our vnderstanding are darkned; therefore Salomon saith,Eccles. 2.3. I thought to haue drawne my selfe from Wine to bring my minde to wisedome.

4. From the Ayre: the lesse vapours, the more cleere it is, the more vapours the darker. Hence vpon Mount Olympus it is most cleare, which the learned did ascend to behold the course of the Starres, for there Olympus outreached the clouds:Nube [...]e [...]essit Olympus-Lucā. P [...]nguis ventor non g [...]g [...]t [...]. so it is with the minde of Man, by abstinence the vnderstanding be­commeth more quicke and cleare, whereas a fat belly doth not beget a fine wit.

5. From the element of fire, in respect of the seuerall pro­perties of the same. 1. As fire giueth light in darknesse, so ab­stinence [Page 78]enlightneth the minde, and that by extinguishing the heat of lust. 2. As fire serueth to prepare our nourishment, so abstinence maketh it to turne to our good, whereas the sto­macke being cloyed with meat, it turneth to putrifaction. 3. As fire serueth for a defence, as a wall (to which vse it serued Alex­andor the Great being in the Desarts of India beset with Lyons) so is fasting as a wall and targe to defend vs from sinne. 4. As fire serueth to purge things corrupted, so (as Austin saith) fa­sting purgeth the minde.Ieiunium crati­oni deuotionem & fidneiam do [...]at. or ati [...] wr [...]utem im­p [...]trat ieiunan­d [...]. & ieiunium gratian pro­ [...]eretur oraen­di: ieiuniu [...] oratime [...] robo­rat, oratio san­ctificat i [...]uni­ [...] & domino representat. Ber. ser. 4. de quadrag. 5. As fire was vsed both before and in the Law for to burne vp the acceptable sacrifice; so fasting doth prepare our body for Prayer, that we may be heard of the Lord: therefore this same Prophet conioyneth both toge­ther in this Chapter, Ʋerse 14.15. it giueth (as Bernard saith) deuotion and courage vnto Prayer; Prayer begetteth fasting, and fasting furthereth prayer; fasting strengthneth prayer, pray­er sanctifieth fasting, and represents it vnto the Lord. 6. As fire did not hurt the three children in the furnace, but Gods power was the more manifested in their deliuerance, so this dutie of fasting being rightly performed, doth not hurt, but rather the power of God is more manifested in deliuering from those troubles for which they fast. 7. As the fire is encreased by Oyle, euen so by abstinence the oyle of pietie aboundeth. There­fore our Sauiour saith,Mat. 6.17. When thou doest fast, anoint thy face with Oyle, which is by doing the almes of godlinesse. So wood doth nourish the fire, this wood or those trees are good works; and therefore our Prophet saith, Sanctifie a Fast, that is, offer vnto God an holy abstinence of the flesh accompanied with good workes: yea, daily experience doth teach vs, that those which eat but little, and are hardly brought vp, liue longer, and are lesse subiect vnto sicknesse, then others.

So then the creatures are Schoolemasters vnto vs, instruct­ing vs in the performance of this dutie: if we learne by them to abstaine from iniquities, and the vnlawfull pleasures of this world,Iciunium pur­gat mentem, subl [...]unt sensum &c. Aug ser. de [...]eiun. this is a perfect Fast. This purgeth the minde, helpeth the iudgement, maketh the flesh subiect to the spirit, maketh a broken and humble heart, disperseth the clouds of concupis­cence, extinguisheth the heat of lust, and kindleth the light of chastity.

Now I come in particular to speake of this outie, concer­ning which these things are to be handled. 1. What it is. 2. The kindes thereof. 3. By whom it is ordained. 4. The time where­in it must be obserued. 5. Wherein it doth consist. 6. How it is to be performed. 7. The seuerall ends thereof. 8. The be­nefits proceeding from thence.

For the first, the Fast required in this place,What fasting is. Gen. 12.10. Act. 27.21. Act. 9.9. Mat. 4.2. Exod. 34.28. [...] King. 19.18 Mat. 3.4. is not such a fast as doth proceede from the shatting of the heauens, [...]or hard­ning of the earth, which is properly called famine: neither that which doth proceede from want of meat; neither that extra­ordinary abstinence occasioned by visions; neither such a mi­raculous fast as of Moses. Elias, and our Sauiour: neither such as the daily sobriety and temperance that was in Iohn Baptist; neither such as that supersticious fasting of the Papists in ab­staining from flesh, and eating more delicious meats, the ob­seruation whereof is by them not onely accounted a thing reli­gious, but also meritorious: such sorts of Fasts, I say, our Pro­phet doth not require, but a true religious fast, which is an ab­stinence from meat and drinke for a religious vse lawfully com­manded, that is, seasonably to abstaine from refreshing of our bodies, to make them fitter for religious duties (although A­dam was commanded to fast from the forbidden tree) Moses was the first (of whom we read) that did performe,Est. 4.16. Ionah 3.7. Luk. 3.33. Mar. 2.18. Mat. 9.14. Dan. 10.3. Iudg. 20. and that willingly in crauing God pardon for the sins of the people.

This deiection, together with the seuerall parts thereof are a­greeable to the holy Scriptures, which these marginall quota­tions confirme.

It may be demanded, Quest. whether we should abstaine from all sorts of meat, as the Niniuites did; or onely from pleasant meat, as Dauid did? To this I answer, that Fasting may be con­sidered. Answ. 1. Of one single act for one day, as the Israelites did.1 Sam. 31. 2. Of distinct times following one vpon another, as the men of Iabesh Gilead who fasted seuen dayes, which is not so to be vnderstood, that they fasted so long by one continued act of abstinence, but that they fasted euery one of these seuen dayes, eating nothing all the day long, and at euening making a course meale. This both Osiander a Protestant on 1 Chron. 10. and [Page 80] Tostatus a Papist on 1 King. 31. doe confirme. Wherefore I say, that a single act of fasting (if nature can so long endure) is to be kept without meat or drinke, but if the fast consist of ma­ny acts it is lawfull to eat, by the example of Daniel, who fa­sted euery day of the three weekes space,Als [...]ed. Theol. Polem. tart. 4. de Ve cont. p. 50.6. and at night broke his fast, according to the custome of the Iewes. Therefore Christ is said to haue fasted as well the night as the day, to put a difference betwixt his fasting and the fasting of the Iewes. It is then an imperfect fasting, when either there is not abstinence from all food from morning to night, or when there is an ab­stinence onely from one sort of meat and drinke, as flesh, and wine, and not from others.

For the second.The kinds and sorts of Fasting August. super Psalmum. 43. The kinds and sorts of Fasting are especial­ly two; the one worldly, the other religious: a wordly Fast, is 1. For a worldly cause, as S Paul made the people fast to be auenged of their enemies. 2. For healths sake. 3. To spare meanes. 4. To keepe the stomacke for better fare: an holy Fast, is for an holy an religious end, the abuse whereof the Lord reproued by his prophet;Zech. 7.5.6. saying, Ye fasted vnto your selues, but not vnto me.

Here a question may be propounded: Quest. That if the end of fa­sting be that which maketh the difference betwixt a religious anp a prophane fasting; what if both doe concurre together, as if one fast both for the health of his body, as also to tame the pride of his flesh, to which kinde is such a Fast to be reserred? I answer, Answ. that if onely one of those ends be intended, then the other is but accidentall; and the denomination followeth the preuailing side, but if mans intention be mixt, partly concer­ning the soule, and partly the body, this last respect taketh a­way from the worth of the former. The Reason is, because the intention of a mans minde cannot perfectly be set vpon two contrary obiects at one time, therefore it is most fit to deferre the one till the other be accomplished, and what we saue by fasting to bestow vpon the poore, as they did in the primitiue Church,Aug. super Psa. whereunto S. Augustin doth exhort in these words; Let that which is withdrawne from our daintie fare, be giuen to the needy: let hungry Christ receiue that which a fasting Chri­stian [Page 81]doth abate. A Religious Fast, is either priuate or publike, both which are either ordinary or extraordinary. An example of publike we haue in the Niniuites; and for priuate Fasting (though many mocke it, and speake against it, yet) it is also warranted from Gods word both in the Old and New Testa­ment, as we may read, Leuit. 26.29. which Statute was not Ceremoniall, but Morall, because we sinne daily against God, and we cannot say, that extraordinary actions did fall vpon that day vnto that people. So also Mat. 9.14. Luk 2.37. Whence may be gathered that fasting was kept in the dayes of Christ, for a religious vse; Christ reproued the abuse, but not the law­full vse: which dutie was performed by Anna, Who serued God, Luk. 2.37. with fasting and prayer night and day. So that this sort of fasting is lawfull, and helpefull to further our humiliation: both it selfe and the seuerall kindes thereof are commanded in the word of God.

For the 3. The Author and ordainer of Fasting,The Author of Fasting. Exod. 19.3. Luk. 23. Mat 6.17. was God himselfe in Paradise: as God did command it both before and vnder the Law, so doth Christ also in the Gospell. By eating, the Serpent ouerthrew the first Adam, by abstinence the second Adam ouercame the Serpent and restored vs to life againe. It is not a late inuention of men, but hath for its warrant both the precept and practise of Christ.

For the 4. The time wherein this dutie is required of vs,The Time. is either when our enemies conspire against vs, as Iehosaphat did;2 Chron. 20. or when we behold the face of the Lord against vs, and his hand punishing vs, as the Israelites: Iudg. 20.26. or when Gods Iudge­ments are threatned against vs, as the Niniuites; or when wick­ednesse is not taken to heart, as it was in the dayes of Ezra: Iona. 3.5. Ezra. 8.23. or out of a loue to Gods glory, and preseruation of his peo­ple, as Queene Hester and Mordicai: Hest. 4.15. when our outward state and condition doth decay: when Gods Iudgements doe not prouoke vs vnto Repentance: when we haue committed some grosse sins, which we would haue pardoned: when we would preuent future sinnes: when we finde a want of spirituall bles­sings, and the like.

For the 5. The parts of a Religious Fast are two, externall,The part of a religious fast. [Page 82]and internall; externall, in abstaining from labor and all world­ly businesses (wherein the Iewes were so precise, that they held it as vnlawfull to doe any worke vpon that day, as vpon the Sabbath,Maymon. Treat rest of the 10. day. cap. 1. ser. 1.2. yea and ordained the breakers of both to be punished alike.) Internall, consisting of two parts, Repentance and Pray­er. Repentance consisting of two parts, sorrowing for sinnes past, leading of a new life. In the sorrowing for sinnes past, there must be first a sense and feeling of our misery: secondly, lamentation for it. Thirdly, an vnfolding of the same before God. 1. I say, there must be a sense and feeling of sinne: to en­force which we are to remember, the time, place, and manner of our sinnes; we are to take notice that our sinnes offend God; and that we deserue punishment both in this life and the life to come: for which we must mourne and fast, which is true humiliation. 2. We must lament our misery, which is the groa­ning of the heart, and is sometime expressed by our voyce and teares; and if God heare the groanes of other creatures, how much more the groanes of his owne children, 3. We must confesse this our miserable estate to God, not in generall, but in particular, that hereby we may acknowledge Gods goodnesse, and our owne wickednesse; which, vntill we haue some grace, we are still ashamed to confesse, although to such as doe ac­knowledge their sinnes, God is faithfull and iust to forgiue them. Prayer, 1. That the Lord would remoue his iudgements from vs. 2. That he would bestow all sorts of blessings vpon vs. 3. That God would giue vs grace; first, to abstaine from euill, of which Saint Ierom said, It is a pleasant fact to the body, when the minde fasteth from vice; for if we would haue God to turne from the euill of punishment, we must first turne from the euill of sinne: for what profit is it to astaine from the ea­ting of flesh, if in the meane time both the mouth and our o­ther members be giuen ouer vnto impieties, to abstaine from meat and to doe euill, is the Diuels fast, who doth euill, and yet eateth nothing. 2. To doe that which is good: first, in performing our dutie towards God: secondly, in louing one another, forgiuing wrongs done vnto vs, and debts owen by the poore, if they be not able to pay: which three are by our [Page 83]Sauiour ioyned together, Fasting, Prayer, and Almesdeeds;Mat 6. which actions of Christianity ought to be performed by eue­ry Christian; we must be like Cornelius, who saith, Foure dayes agoe, I was fasting, vntill this houre, and at the ninth houre, Acts 10.32. I prayed in my house, and behold a man stood before me in bright cleathing, and said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine almes are had in remembrance in the sight of God.

For the 6. This dutie is thus to be performed. First,How wee ought to fast. there must be an abstinence from meat and drinke, that the body may be afflicted: yet so, that nature be not destroyed, neither we made more vnfit for spirituall duties. 2. We must abstaine from morning vntill night, as by the Scriptures, the custome of the Iewes, and the custome of the Church thereafter is eui­dent and plaine. 3. We must abstaine from all pleasures which may prouoke vs to sin. 4. All persons (excepting such as want strength and discretion) are bound to keepe this humiliation. 5. We ought to put on our meanest apparell. 6. We must make a more solemne confession of our sinnes, both in gene­rall and in particular with more strong cries and groanes to ob­taine pardon for our sinnes, with plenty of teares, which were accompanied with putting on sack-cloath, bowing of the bo­dy, renting of the garments, lying in the dust, of which the Pro­phet Micah speaketh, Therefore will I wait and houle, Mic. 1.8. I will goe stript and naked, I will make a wailing like a Dragon, and mour­ning as the Owles. 7. All the members must fast, the eye,Ber. ser. 3. de quad. the eare, the tongue, the hand, much more the soule it selfe.

For the 7. The ends of Fasting are 1. To subdue the flesh,The ends of Fasting. and mortifie our bodily lusts, that they may become subiect to the will of God. 2. To stirre vp deuotion and attention vnto holy duties; for by it the heart and affections become lighter, purer, more fit, and in better order for the seruice of God. 3. To testifie by our humiliation that we deserue to be cut off from God; that we deny our selues the vse of Gods crea­tures; and that we rather deserue death, as being by reason of sin, vnworthy to enioy the smallest of Gods creatures.

For the 8.The benefit. of casting. The benefits of Fasting (besides those formerly mentioned) are diuers. 1. Hereby both blessings haue beene [Page 84]obtained, and fearefull iudgements haue beene remoued, yea turned into blessings. 2. By it Gods children haue not onely beene confirmed, but assuredly perswaded of their saluation. 3. By it Sathan is defeated, cast out and ouerthrowne, and the Saints are more enabled to the performance of all Christian duties; and the like fauour may the Church of God expect in the conscionable performance hereof, vnto the worlds end. 4. By this we testifie our dutie to God, before we dare meddle with the creatures for our comfort. 5. Hereby we learne mor­tification, whereas the fulnesse of bread begetteth vncleannesse; thus did the Apostle Paul bring his body into subiection to the Law of God;1 Cor. 9. so also Hilarion a deuout man, hauing after much fasting (for he eat but a little bread, and drunke water) felt the power of the flesh within him, knocked vpon his breast with his hand: Thou heast (saith he) Ile make thee leaue kicking, neither will I feede thee with barlie, Hieron de Vita Hilar. but with chaffe, I will pull thee downe with hunger and thirst, and lade thee with heauie weights, and hunt thee through heat and cold, that thou maiest rather thinke on meat then of wantonnesse. And the Reason here­of is, because plenty maketh the stings of lust to branch out; as vermine, weeds, and vnbroken clods, hinder a plentifull har­uest. 6. Hereby the minde is eleuated towards heauen, both by conforming our bodies to our mindes (according to that of the Prophet,Isa. 26. In their affliction they will seeke me early:) as also by cutting vs away, from our worldly delights, from which we ought to abstaine (though they are lawfull) to giue our selues to Fasting and Prayer.Ne quidem tempora idonea, qui super sunt. Bafilde Ir. hom. 1. pag. 327. Hence Quintlian saith, that when there is much time spent in feeding, euen that which re­maineth is vnprofitable, as indeede it is, in respect of the exercise of Religion; and therefore both Saint Basil and Saint Augustine compare Fasting to Feathers, which the ayre maketh to flye vpward, and the things of this life to Bird­lime which pull vs downward. 7. It doth further our Repen­tance, both in following after, and going before the same: In following after, as in the Niniuites, and Dauid. The Niniuites sinned, and would not eat, sinned and would not be cloathed, sinned and would not giue their beasts food; we sin, and yet we [Page 85]eat, yea we sin in eating: we sin, and yet we drinke, yea we sin in drinking; we sin and cloath our selues, and sin by cloathing. In going before, because it is a chastisement which a sinner in­flicteth vpon himselfe for his offence; therefore saith S. Basil, Simil. As wormes which breed in childrens bellies must be expelled by bitter medicines, so sin by fasting: and S. Ambrose saith, that delicate fare is pleasant (though hurtfull) to the body; as hony maketh the liuer to swell, which better things bring in temper: so fasting, although it seeme vnpleasant, yet is most profitable. The truth here of by experience we may finde in our selues.

The Vse of this point is for Exhortation vnto vs all: Ʋse. that see­ing fasting is so profitable, so excellent, and of such great vse; let vs all carefully performe the same: We had experience here­of in our last humiliation, when God so miraculously (moued by our prayers) stayed the Pestilence raigning amongst vs: Oh that we would more frequently both publikly & priuatly make vse hereof. We haue disordered affections mouing vs to euill, withdrawing vs from good, Gods iudgements hang ouer our heads, which (vnlesse by Repentance they be preuented) light­ing vpon vs, may bring this Land into great (if not vtter) de­solation; and why doe we not by fasting humble our selues before God, for our sinnes and the abhominations of the Land, that so his iudgements may be remoued from vs; and we returning and drawing nigh vnto him, he may be pleased, euen to returne and draw nigh vnto vs?

And with weeping. This is the second thing which our Pro­phet requireth in their Repentance. The word in the Originall signifieth to send forth many teares, as we may read Gen. 45.14. and Ier. 9.10. This second hath great affinity with the third, and therefore that you may the better vnderstand both, both are to be handled together.

And with mourning. This is the third thing required. The word in the originall signifieth, not onely a weeping, whereby teares appeare but also mourning, which is in affliction, in the inward parts, which chiefly belongeth vnto a funerall pompe, as 1 King. 12.13. So that the Prophet doth not require them onely to fast, but likewise to weepe, to mourne, to groane in [Page 86]the spirit with sighs and sobs vnto the Lord, to be wounded in spirit.

For the better vnderstanding of this godly sorrow and mourning, we are to vnderstand that weeping and mourning is a most excellent medicine for a troubled conscience, yea for the most part, they doe accompany the same, therefore Dauid saith,Psal. 42.3. Cibus animarū corroboratio sensuum, abso­lutio peccato­rum, refectio mentium, la­uacrum culpa­rum. Cassiod. That teares were his bread night and day, whereupon Cas­siodor saith, that mourning is the food of the soule, the streng­thening of the senses, the absolution of sinne, the refreshing of the mind, and the washing of faults. Hence they may be com­pared to many things in nature, of which I shall instance onely one, of water: for as water serueth 1. to wash away filthinesse outwardly, so the teares of vnfained repentance to wash away sinne,Psal. 51.7. Wash mee (saith Dauid) and I shall bee whiter then snow. The swans after they haue coupled together, doe not eate till they wash themselues, neither yet the Storke and Elephant re­turne to their fellowes till they haue washed themselues, much more need haue we to be washed with the vnfained teares of repentance 2. Waters are viuificatiue and quickening, and therefore we see trees which in the winter seeme dead, when spring commeth, and the water ascendeth, doe blossome; so the mind benummed with sinne, is by the teares of true repen­tance renewed, which otherwise would die, as the fish being out of the water. 3. As water is fruitfull wherewith the earth being watered produceth euery thing in its kind, so our hearts hardened in sinne become mollified by the teares of Repen­tance. This effect of water is certaine, by that ouerflowing of Nilus in Egypt. 4. As water doth comfort such as are weary, both man and beast; so doe the teares of Repentance the wea­ried & troubled conscience. 5. As water softneth that which is hard, so the teares of repentāce take away the security of Gods children, when the waters are mooued, we shalbe whole. 6 As water is a strong fortification, as at Babylon, whose strength (though her walls were very great) consisted in this, that it was compassed about with waters, so the teares of repentance doe preserue vs against the strength of temptation and persecu­tion; as by the falling of the water, the ayre becommeth puri­fied [Page 87]and cleare, so by the teares the conscience is clarified, for after temptation commeth a calme.

So then this weeping and mourning (required in my text by the Prophet, requisite to be in vs at this time) doth purifie, strengthen, and purge the heart of man to the performing of good workes, in arising from the works of darknes to a mar­ueilous light.

Thus hauing shewed you the necessitie and excellency of those teares, of this weeping and mourning; these things are also to be considered.

  • 1. The diuers kinds of teares, and what teares are required of vs.
  • 2. The reasons which may induce vs, to weeping, mour­ning, and shedding of teares.

For the first, there are two kinds of teares. 1.The kinds of teares. Wicked teares. 2. Godly teares.

Wicked tears are false and counterfeit, diuellish and hellish 1. I say the wickeds tears are false & hypocriticall.Ier. 41.6 Such as Ioabs when he killed Amasa; Ismaels, when he killed the people that came to Gedaliah: Ahabs, whē he was reproued by the Prophet for Naboths death: Iudas his after he betraied Chrrist. These are Crocadile teares which weepeth when she hath killed a man, and by and by will doe the like. These are theeuish and who­rish teares, who weepe before the Iudge, but being at liberty walke in their former course. 2. The wickeds teares are diuellish and infernall, euen such as of the damned in hell, where there shalbe weeping and gnashing of teeth, which teares and mournings (saith Saint Gregory) are more to bee feared, then expressed.

Godly teares are of foure sorts. 1.4. Kinds of godly teares. Such as proceed from Gods children to cleere and declare their innocency, as were the teares of Ioseph, Susanna, and the holy Martyrs of God in the time of persecution, whose teares are put in the bottle of God. 2. Such as proceed from a strong and liuely saith in the time of affliction whereby euen Gods children are comfor­ted and refreshed, of which Dauid saith,Psal. 42.3. My teares haue beene my meate day and night, while they haue said, where is my God. [Page 88]Therefore saith Saint Augustine, the Saints shed teares to see God dishonoured: griefe troubleth the soule: mourning doth enlarge it: enlargement giueth it case. For in griefe wee sigh, sob, and mourne lest the heart should burst with griefe, and in another place he saith, that nothing was pleasnt vnto him, but mourning and teares. 3. The teares of brotherly loue and compassion: the teares which Christ weeped ouer Lazarus were loue-teares, whereunto euen the beasts doe inuite vs, as the horses and dogges of Iulius Caesar did compassionate and lament their dead master.Beda. 4. The teares of true Repentance, such as were in Peter, whose offence was washed away by his teares running downe, when his shame was too great to bee knowne, which ought to bee in euery one of vs, the tongue may dissemble, but those lay open the inward affections of the heart. Those are especially required in this place.

Thus then,What kind of teares are com­mendable. all sorts of teares are not commendable and acceptable t [...] but 1. such as are shed when we heare that God is dishonored. 2. When the word of God is oppressed, and the liberty thereof. 3. When the Church and seruants of God are persecured, Gods word is contemned, the righteous are taken away from the earth, the people are destroyed in their finnes: such should our be at this time.

For the second,Reasons to mooue vs to weepe and diuers reasons may prouoke vs to the per­formance of this duty. 1. The remembrance of our grieuous sinnes and transgressions both originall and actuall. 1 2. The feare of Gods anger and iudgements to be powred out vpon vs by reason of our sinnes. 2 3 3. The misery of this present life in the company of sinners amongst whom we liue. 4 4. The consi­deration of the ioyes of heauen which through sinne we haue lost, and cannot otherwise be obtained, but by true weeping and mourning. 5 5. Weeping (which declareth a sorrow for sin) and mourning (wherby is signified a deepe and feeling sorrow) are tokens of true repentance. Send foorth the mourning wo­men, and let them make hast, and take vp a lamentation for vs, That our eyes may runne downe with teares, and our eye-lids gush out with water: Ier. 9.17.18. Ierusalem wept sore in the night, and her teares run downe her cheekes. 6. They wash vs from sinne, com­fort [Page 89]the cold conscience, and mollifie the hardnes of heart; and therefore teares in the holy tongue are taken for wine and oile; for as wine doth gladen the heart, and oyle maketh the face to shine, so tears comfort and make the conscience ioyfull. 7. The loue which we owe vnto our country, 7 Israel could not be glad in Babel, and (although we are not in captiuity, as they were, praised be God) what cause haue we not to mourne? Psal. 137.4. seeing our foules are by sinne vanished from God; and our bodies and hearts diuided asunder, whereat euen our enemies reioyce: is not Gods hand both outwardly vpon our bodies, and in­wardly heauy vpon our soules, euen hardnesse of heart, which of all others is most fearfull; yea, of all things mans heart is most hard, vngentle, and intractable. Hereby both our selues are deceiued and others, we deceiue our selues in the iudge­ment of things, vsing blinde and false spectacles, mistaking Gods will, esteeming euill good, and good euill, excusing our selues by the example of others, trauailing with false guides, custome, example, multitude, ciuill honesty, lawes of men, &c. and so an errour in iudgement, breedeth deceit in practise: we deceiue others, in leading them by our example, from the wayes of holinesse into the wayes of vnrighteousnesse: and haue not we cause to weepe for this. 8. 8 They are comman­ded by God himselfe, they haue beene vsed by our Sauiour Christ and his Apostles,Iohn 11.35. and holy men and women in former times, to refresh their troubled soules, yea the very stones pro­uoke vs to this dutie, which before change of weather drop teares.

The Vses hereof are threefold.

For Exhortation: Ʋse 1 seeing mourning and weeping are the companions of true Repentance: oh let vs all mourne & weep, say of our sins, as Bernard saith:Ber. de spec. penit. O wretched and vnhappy ge­neration, whose father is hard carefulnesse, whose mother is shamefull filthinesse, whose sister is base vncleannesse, whose nurse is falshood, whose reward is euerlasting bitternesse: O sinfull generation, borne in care, swadled in shame, attended by vice, nourished with folly, wedded to sinne, hath issue eternall misery. Let vs lament the abundance of our finne, lest we [Page 90]lament for the losse of Sion; either we must weepe here, or weepe in hell. Let vs weepe with Mary Magdalen, if we would be comforted with her. It is not enough to weepe with the eyes, vnlesse also we weepe with our hearts, otherwise we are but time-weepers. Oh let the eyes of our vnderstanding and memory call to minde those sinnes which we haue done, and mourne for them; and let the eyes of our bodies shed teares abundantly, send them downe the cheekes, as through spouts, yea making furrowes therein by their continuall plow­ing. Let vs truely weepe, vnfainedly repent, and so continue vnto the end,Gen 32 26. 1 Sam. 1.12. as Iacob would not let God goe, till he had ob­tained a blessing, as Hanna ceased not from weeping till she had obtained her desire; so let vs still weepe and mourne, till God accomplish our desires t as sweet drops doe make a fer­tile spring, so harty mourning maketh a vertuous soule; and that this may be performed, the Apostle Paul requireth sixe things:Rom. 12.1. 1. We must giue our body and soule to God. 2. We must giue that which is our owne. 3. It must be willingly, not constrained. 4. Our gift must be holy and vndefiled. 5. That it may be acceptable to God. 6. That it may be reasonable. Oh that we would looke into our owne estate, and narrowly marke the same; we might finde many things which might moue vs to weepe:Eccles. 3.4. Salomon saith, that there is a time to weepe: we may say, now is that time in this Land. Gods iudgements vpon vs, greater hanging ouer our heads: the distressed estate of Gods Church abroad, the multitude and malice of our e­nemies, diuisions and contentions amongst our selues; the great abhominations of the Land: all these (I say) and many others should moue vs to weepe and mourne. Oh let vs wash our beds, and water our couch with our teares: and thus sowe­ing in teares, we shall reape in ioy. Let these be the causes of our teares;Psal. 126.5. these are the times of mourning wash your faces with water, and couer the Lords altar therewith, take heede vnto thy selfe, for they which now laugh shall one day weepe. Oh, blessed is the shedding of such teares, producing the fruits of celestiall comfort. One weepeth in sicknesse, another for oppression, and wordlings for worldly causes; but it is thou O [Page 91]righteous soule, which shalt receiue profit by the teares, in the purifying of thy minde.

For Reprehension, vnto such as either mourne not at all, Vse 2 or mourne not aright: many mourne not at all, neither for their owne sinnes, nor for the abhominations of the Land: Who weepeth when he heareth God dishonoured? whose eyes stand full of water, at the Apostacie of thousands in following the Beast, which are marked in the forehead for destruction? who mourneth, that our greene trees dye and wither, and that we which are aliue, are but dry branches? who weepeth for himselfe? who weepeth that he cannot weepe enough? we are for the most part hard hearted, vnacquainted with this holy exercise: some weepe not aright, as hypocrites, and other worldlings for worldly causes.

For Consolation, vnto all such as exercise this holy dutie: Vse 3 thou weepest at euening, thou shalt haue ioy in the morning; thou shalt be marked with the letter Tau, and preserued,Ezek. 9.4. when others shall be destroyed: thy teares shall not be shed in vaine, the Lord doth behold them, the Lord doth re­gard them; the Lord will bestow vpon thee thine hearts desire.

Thus ye haue heard the God did require of his people (as he doth now of vs) to testifie their vnfained Repentance, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning: that as formerly they had multiplied their sinnes, they might now multiply their sorrow for them; and as formerly they had reioyced in their sinnes, so now they might weepe and mourne for the same; that as formerly they had pined their soules by sin­ning, they might now abstaine from all their former de­lights, punishing their bodies with fasting, with wee­ping, and with mourning. Hence two other points may be obserued.

1. That great sinnes require great sorrow and lamentation. 2. That a sorrowfull spirit ought to accompany a penitent heart.

For the first: Great and generall offences require a great and generall sorrow and lamentation. The Israelites being o­uercome [Page 92]by the Beniamites, Iudg 20.26. fasted and prayed all the day vn­till the euening, and the day following they obtained the vi­ctory: our priuate and publike sins, require priuate and publike humiliation, that we may vanquish our sinnes as they did their enemies.

The Reasons hereof are these two. Reas. 1 1. That there may be some proportion betwixt our sinnes and our sorrowes: that great sins, and great sorrowes, much sinning, and much mour­ning may follow the one vpon the other. Reas. 2 2. That both we may be the more prouoked to repent, and the Lord more mou­ed to pardon: the more sensible our sorrowes are, the more fer­uent are our prayers, and the more feruent our prayers are, the more doe they prouoke Gods loue towards vs:Mat. 17.21. this kinde go­eth not out, but by prayer and fasting; if our sorrowes are sen­sible, our prayers earnest, our groanes strong, then thine heart is acceptable vnto the Lord.

The Vses hereof are twofold.

For Instruction: Vse 1 In expressing our Repentance, we must vn­dergoe many sorrowes: our life must be filled with feare, our heart with sorrow, our comforts with mournings, we must sus­pect our eating, lest we take too much delight therein; we must doubt our actions, lest they proue hurtfull; we must bridle our naturall affections, lest they exceede measure; hauing alwayes a care to run the way of Gods Commandements.

For Exhortation: Vse 2 We haue sinned much, oh let vs repent much; if we be children, let vs now fast, weepe and mourne: if Ʋriah would not rest in his bed,2 Sam. 11.11. till Ioab and the Lords hoast were at rest, then I exhort you now in the feare of God, fast, weepe, and mourne now in this time of misery, and rest not in this time of trouble, in these dangerous dayes. I doe not say that the Bridegroome is taken from vs (although we deserue it) but it is to be feared that our Candlesticke shall be remoued; for there is now more time spent in feasting then in fasting, in laughing then in weeping, in reioycing then in mourning: our sinnes cannot otherwise be put away, God iudgements otherwise be remoued, but by fasting, weeping and mour­ning.

But alas our Tauernes and Alchouses, our Stewes and Sta­ges are often suller, yea at all times more frequented, then our Churches: our peace maketh our liues licencious, our manners monstrous, and our names odious. The Lord amend it.

For the second. Doct. A sorrowfull spirit ought to accompany a penitent heart: hence the Apostle Paul saith,2 Cor. 9.10. Godly sorrow worketh Repentance, neuer to be repented of. This seeking is not in many in these dayes; and therefore it may be accounted a wonder; but it may be more admired, that we haue so much preaching, and so little practise. The Medicine that worketh most forcible, causeth greatest paine, and speediest cure; euen so the bloud of Christ, doth most sweetly wipe away oursins, when we are most pricked inconscience; marke this, you which haue neuer wept one teare for your sinnes; without Repen­tance there is no saluation; without godly sorrow there is no repentance; without prayer there is no godly sorrow: this followeth vpon a sense of Gods anger for our sinnes.

The Reason hereof is this; Reason. because there is no comming to Christ, vnlesse we finde our selues oppressed, then we haue most accesse vnto Christ, when we haue most sorrow: and thus the Lord doth temper our estate, that when wee are lost in our selues, he findeth vs, for his strength is per­fect in our weaknesse. O happy sorrow which draweth vs to our God? as a guide it leadeth vs; as a broome it swee­peth the passage; it craueth pardon, and openeth the gate of Christs mercy, and lendeth vs wings to flye thereunto: as in the winter most raine falleth, so in distresse there is greatest comfort.

The Vses hereof are twofold.

For Instruction: then we are in greatest danger, Vse 1 when we are least sorrowfull; worldly medicines (playing, dancing, drinking) are not fit for those heauenly sores. Drinke is good, but not for them which haue caten poyson; so mirth is good, but not alwayes. It must be at some times banished with fa­sting, weeping and mourning, neither must our mourning take away hope of pardon (which is the estate of the wicked, [Page 86]for if we doe truely mourne, Gods anger shall be turned a­way, he will pardon vs; our faith (though weake) maketh vs victorious: as there may be life in the body, though not percei­ued; so there may be in the soule, though not discerned; as it was [...] Dauid, who said, This is my death, yet recouered both his health, and ioy in the holy Ghost.

For Exhortation: let vs by true sorrow for sinne, testifie our true Repentance: by this purgation we shall recouer health, though the paines of true Repentance exceede the paines of the body: and for this cause good men are said to suffer hell in this life, yet assure thy selfe of heauen in the life to come; mourne and weepe, though God for a time delay, yet he heareth thee, and will grant thy requests. Our Sauiour saith, Father I thanke thee, that thou hast heard me: and yet at this time Lazarus was not raised. Marke this well, that we must also be ready to beleeue that God will grant that which wee aske as we are ready to demand and pray for the same.

To draw to an end: As the Lord by his Prophet required of the Iewes to turne vnto him with all their heart, with fasting, weeping and mourning, that they might preuent those iudge­ments which were threatued against them: so also at this time, he requireth this dutie at our hands, he requireth our tur­ning; euen an holy reformation of our corruption, where­by we must be sorry for euill doing, and more carefull to admonish others by our fals, and to preuent sinne in our selues, and more wise to auoid the occasions thereof. If wee finde more cheerefulnesse in troubles, more patience in waiting vp­on God, more care to make our enemies Gods friends, taking to heart sinnes of the time; more sorrow for sinne, then crosses; if we feele an increase and growth of grace, with a longing desire for our perfection in glory: these are certaine and vndoubted tokens of our true conuersion vnto the Lord; which is the onely meanes to remoue those iudge­ments which lye vpon vs, and preuent those which hang oue­our heads.

For this cause let vs try and examine our selues, what wee finde within vs which may condemne vs. To this effect, let the heart which is the seate of the affections speake to euery one or vs, or more plainely let conscience now speake boldly to all sorts of people (for the heart is still put for the conscience amongst the Hebrewes, they hauing no particular word for it, so that a pure heart, and a pure consci­ence are equiualent tearmes, as diuers places of scripture con­firme) telling them both whererein they doe amisse, and like­wise what God doth require of them.

And thou, oh Conscience,What consci­ence ought to tell. that thou maiest execute thy of­fice aright; speake in the language of Canaan, spare no mans person, tell euery one of their sinnes.

Goe vnto all Christian Princes, will them to tread in the scope of Iosiah, by weakning the power of Autichrist,Princes. pulling downe the high places, spreading Leuites throughout their land to preach the word of God, that godlines may bee maintained and sinne punished.

Goe vnto the Nobilitie, and tell them,The Nobles. that there is no true Nobility without a good conscience.

Goe to the Counsellers, and Iudges, and say vnto them,Iudges. that Magistrates must be men of courage: fearing God, lo­uers of the truth, and haters of couetousnesse, that they ought to abandon Balaams wages, and shake all bribes out of their laps.

Get thee to the tribe of Leui, Say,The Ministry lay hand suddenly on no man, bid them that they deliuer the whole counsell of God, though some with Demas embrace the world, and others with Iudas betray their master; let them cry in the eares of all men, and shoot the arrowes of Gods vengeance against the brasen faces of impenitent sinners.

Goe to the Gentrie, tell them that Gentility consisteth not in cutting of a card, casting of a die, marching of a cocke,The Gentry. or in hollowing after a dismall cry of hounds, or in buying and sel­ling spirituall liuings, but in liuing vpon their own in the feare of God.

Goe and tell Tradesmen,Tradsemen. that they must make an equall measure and iust ballance, and that they keepe a good consci­ence abroad and at home: Let labourers take this to heart, for if the Lord did not often crosse men in their tillage, they would euen worship their Ploughes.

Goe,Papists. and tell the Romanists, that there is no true and vp­right conscience kept by blowing vp Parliament houses, mur­dering of Kings, or causing their subiects to rebel against them.

Tell the Iewes that the Messiah is come,Iewes. in whom, if they doe not not beleeue, they cannot be saued.

Goe,All wicked persons. terrifie all wicked persons; tell the Swearer, that the flying Booke full of curses shall light vpon him: the Sabbaoth-breaker, that there is no rest for him in hea­uen: Whoremongers, that the Lord shall iudge them: Murtherers, that murther cryeth to the heauens for venge­ance: Lyars, Drunkards, Gluttons, Epicures Deceiuers, &c. meet with them all (for thou canst haue accesse vnto them at all times) strike, wound, and terrifie the whole crew of them: hunt them from lurking places, that they may be turned from their euill wayes, ere they be turned to eternall torments.

Oh, let vs in time returne vnto the Lord, before destru­ction come vpon vs: let vs not in this time of peace, abuse Gods mercies, resisting the law of righteousnesse. This was the losse of those famous Churches in Graecia, and Asia, this may be our lot; it may come to passe (and we may iustly feare it) that others may say of this Land, as we now of theirs, there were Churches, but are not now; there was the Gospell preach­ed, but is not now. The Lord giue vs eyes that we may be wise in time, and repent, in that we haue fallen from our for­mer loue.

Be not vnthankefull for your Peace, lest it be turned into Warre; be not proud of your benefits, lest you be stripped of your ornaments be not secure in your glo­ry, lest you bee put to sorrow. Let vs all pray for true conuersion vnto the Lord, and that our Peace may con­tinue: Let God be our Gouernour, let the Saints dwell [Page 97]amongst vs; let the Churches be our Courts; let the Preachers be our Councell; let Religion be our exer­cise; let Prayers be our weapons, and Faith our shield, and holinesse our armour: Let vs root sinne out of our hearts; let vs wash all the spots of euill from our liues: let vs cast downe all the Castles of the Diuell in our Land; let vs driue away whatsoeuer worketh vnrighte­ousnesse. Those are the teares which the Lord desireth, euen such as proceede from the conuersion of the heart.

Let Prince and people, Clergie and Laitie, mourne with speede, for the Lord is gone out against vs: weepe old men and women; weepe young men and maides; let vs all mourne, for the day of the Lord is at hand, and is come already. Therefore now turne with fasting, weeping, and mourning; let it be in greater measure at this time, then hath beene formerly, because Gods anger is in wonderfull measure kindled against vs. Let sorrow be our songs; and if we doe truely mourne, then I say with Chrysostome, as after a great raine, the ayre becommeth cleare and pure;Sicut post vehe­mentesimbres mundus aer ac purus efficitur, ita & post la­chrymarū plu­vias serenitas mentis sequitur, atque tranquil­litas. Chrys. su­per Matt. Psal. 34.19. so after a shower of teares followeth the puritie and tranquilitie of the minde. So shall the Prophecie of Dauid be fulfilled in vs, that although the troubles of the righteous are many, yet the Lord deliuereth them out of them all. Such as weepe sowe precious seede, and shall (doubtlesse) re­ioyce in bringing home their Sheaues: if wee sowe in teares, wee shall reape in ioy; for Christ shall wipe all teares from our eyes, and shall bring vs at length to a Citie, not made with hands, but eternall in the heauens, where there shall be no night, neither candle, Reuel. 22.5. nei­ther light of the Sunne, for the Lord God shall be our light, and we with the Saints shall reigne for euer and euer.

FINIS.

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